We’re Off, But Before We Go

Guido is, Aer Lingus allowing, off to the home country this weekend and Neo-Guido is off to Russia, so there is not likely to be anything posted this weekend. Nevertheless Guido is sure co-conspirators will enjoy passing the time reading Toby Young’s patient and fair-minded shredding of Mehdi Hasan’s Debt Delusion, available for £1.79 from Amazon. It is worth enriching Mehdi in a small way to enjoy how his forcefully made assertions have unravelled as the Eurozone debt crisis has worsened. Mehdi’s central claims have been shown by the worsening debt crisis to be false within months of being made.

In the piece Toby notably draws attention to argumentative Mehdi’s often used trick of appealing to the authority of others to back up his opinions, committing the classic fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam. Guido suspects that is because Mehdi is not confident that his argument stands alone on its own shaky foundations. Toby doesn’t mention thin-skinned Mehdi’s other trait, which reflects badly on him, of just dismissing an argument because someone he finds disagreeable makes it. He will describe the opponent’s argument as “hysterical” or “desperate” when in reality it is just contrary to his own. Mehdi does the converse of argumentum ad verecundiam when he seeks confirmation by disapprobation, dismissing an opposing argument because the proponent is someone he holds in disdain. Mehdi should resist his tendency to do this and take on Toby’s critique head-on.



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