This particular time, Tony Blankley takes offense at Barbara Boxer’s exchange with Condoleezza Rice:
“`Who pays the price?’ Boxer asked Rice. `I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a personal price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families… not me, not you.'”
Many on the right, including Tony Blankley, are spinning this exchange as some kind of low blow attack by Boxer on Rice. That is to say that they assert that the act of pointing out that Rice has no children was some kind of attack on Rice’s character. (Or he lives in a state cognitive dissonance where he understands logic yet also feels that he is `right’)
Tony Blankly, on the McLaughlin Group, looked like he took genuine offence calling the event a “vicious as-hominem attack”. This demonstrates that he is either a brilliant actor, or he doesn’t understand (or is willing to ignore) logic. He is either comfortably ignorant of reason, or comfortably deceitful in his fake disgust.
For those who haven’t had a logic course (something I’d like to see included in every high school education), an ad-hominem attack is a “change the subject” trick where one attacks a person’s character rather than the person’s argument or reasoning. This kind of attack isn’t valid when that person’s character is in fact irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of their conclusions, or irrelevant to the formal validity of their argument. Even Hitler is correct when he asserts (hypothetically) that:
? Editorialists who dispense with reason in favor of pre-supplied talking points are not worth reading.
? Tony Blankley dispense with reason in favor of pre-supplied talking points.
? Therefore Tony Blankley is not worth reading.
Pointing out to Hitler that he is? well? Hitler? doesn’t work against this argument. However much it may satisfy our sense of moral perspective on the subject of Hitler, attacking Hitler’s character does nothing on the subject of his argument. It doesn’t show falsity in his statements or invalidity in his argument’s form.
The amazing thing here is the argument proffered by Boxer isn’t an ad hominem attack. Boxer asserts that it is important to note that who “pays the price” and then asserts that `who’ does not include Boxer or Rice:
? Neither Boxer nor Rice are in the American military.
? Neither Boxer nor Rice have family in the American military.
? The American military and the families are the ones who would pay the price for any escalation of the Iraq war.
? Neither Boxer nor Rice would pay the price for any escalation of the Iraq war.
None of Boxers assertions are ad hominem distractions into Rice’s character.
There is one interesting aspect of this whole brouhaha that I do take offence at. If one were to believe that Boxer was attacking Rice’s character in a vicious ad hominem attack, one would have to believe to be a childless woman is somehow a major character flaw,? major enough that the mere act of pointing it out might be considered vicious. If this is true then I truly have learned something new today. I’ve learned of yet another reason to loath Toney Blankley.