Things To Act
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
Your Logic Does Not Resemble Our Earth Logic
Two gems from today's opinion page [remarkably, some semi-current opinion stuff is now on newsnet, but not, of course, anything I actually want to quote]:

"Throughout history, other people have died for their sacrifices and visions to seize [interesting word choice--not the best connotations] the lands and liberties we all enjoy today. People such as Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King Jr. and even the Prophet Joseph Smith demonstrated tremendous amounts of faith in their personal quests and missions here in this life. To restrict future space travel is to mock all of the sacrifices our forefathers have made for us."

If this was supposed to be comically over the top, it worked. If serious, not so much. You could argue that Columbus has a record supporting exploration (though basing the space program on his methods would lead to colonies on a planet other than the one we were aiming at), but King and Smith? While I'm quite supportive of the expansion of the space program generally, I can understand reasonable arguments against it--and hardly think that there's any logical (or persuasive) reason for pro-space advocates to appropriate the legacies of heroes who had nothing to do with space exploration.

"Consider that Kerry voted against the majority of senators and representatives who fought to approve an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the U.S. flag from desecration. For a man proud of his military service, I am unimpressed."

Do these two ideas have a logical connection I'm not seeing? Most arguments linking veterans and flags that I recall hearing link the idea that veterans fought for freedom, not for attempts to limit obnoxious expression. And this is the first, presumably most important argument the author can come up with as to why Kerry is "downright scary" (I can think of others).

As a side note, the best way to know that Texas v. Johnson was decided correctly is to read the dissents [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=491&invol=397] . Bad poetry and faulty analogies utterly fail to carry the day.

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