Political illogic

    “NABUBUWISIT NA ako ha, everytime I file cases sasabihin politically motivated. I am apolitical. Wala akong pinapanigan (I’m getting fed up. … I don’t favor anyone).”

    Enraged by allegations that the suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay’s was driven by politics, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Wednesday dared her critics to have her impeached.

    With the above, relevance comes anew to this piece that appeared in the October 1, 2006 issue of the now defunct Pampanga News. The itemized samplings, neither necessarily nor exclusively of, by or about the Binays, updated for currency.

    POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: the omnibus catch phrase that has become a convenient and uniform, albeit foolhardy, escape clause of elected officials haled to the Ombudsman or the courts on charges of graft and corruption.

    Politically motivated, in thus mintage, makes a mockery of reason if not a negation of logic.

    For, it seeks to compensate with trivialized emotions what it sorely lacks in intellectual discourse; opting for high drama over cold reason.

    So, rather than reasoned arguments to disprove the charges ranged against them, the accused resort to all means of (ir)rationalizations that comprise the body of Material Fallacies of Reasoning any student of my day learned in Philosophy 101. (With the reason and logic so uncommon nowadays, I wonder if they still teach this course.) It goes thus:

    Item A: “I do not want to stoop to their level by dignifying with any comment the allegations against my person.”

    Classic argumentum ad hominem — a shift from the issues to the personality of the accuser, even to the point of ridicule.

    Item B: “Will you believe this administration attack dog raising all these allegations against me, a democratically elected official?

    The fallacy of emotive language is exampled here – running dog meant to cast aspersion, to refer to the accuser with contempt.

    Item C: “After all my sacrifices – foregoing with my highly lucrative profession, neglecting my family just so I can be an exemplary public servant – this (graft case) is the gratitude I get!”

    An appeal to pity, to gain public sympathy, deftly skirting the main issues – this is argumentum ad misericordiam.

    Item D: “I would have not have been elected to the Senate if I was corrupt as governor/ mayor.”

    This is argumentum ad verecundiam – the appeal to respect, or prestige being equated with evidence.

    The implication in the item cited — that a corrupt official cannot get elected to the Senate – falls under another fallacy: contrary to fact conditional error. It alters reality and then draws conclusion from this alteration. The Senate incorruptible? Cow dung!

    Item E: “They filed these cases against me because I am the leading candidate for President.”

    The post hoc fallacy or finding consequence in sequence. It is made to appear that an announcement of highest probability of winning in the next elections triggered the filing of the cases against the accused, a false cause really.

    Item F: “They are accusing me of overpricing the buildings in my city, how about their PDAF and DAP?”

    Offense as the greatest defense. The accused turned accuser – appending similar allegations of wrongdoing to his nemesis. This is the fallacy of tu quoque — “you yourself do it.”

    As in pare-parehu tamu mu king akbak nang Hudas (we are all the same in Judas’ skewer.) Item G: “This (graft case) is what I get for being the best mayor this city ever had.”

    Two fallacies interplay here: irrelevance or ignoratio elenchi, and contradiction. At issue is the graft case, so arguments must focus on that. And being the “best mayor” is highly debatable. Where did that title come from?

    The above are but a sampling of erroneous ways of reasoning that have assumed a semblance of validity, given the pervasive system of idiotization in the country today.

    And what idiot can be worse than one in Congress who admitted to lapses in the observance of governmental rules and procedures, rationalizing them as necessary to ensure smooth government operations and service delivery!

    To him the appellation solon is most misappropriated. A wise lawgiver in a law circumventor! More than dialectical contradiction, there is sheer illogic here.


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