Bill Kidder: A quick lesson in syllogisms |

Bill Kidder: A quick lesson in syllogisms

Bill Kidder

Reading the letters in the Appeal published on Sunday, March 25, I am reminded of my old college days when we learned about syllogisms, and how they are so commonly manipulated and misused. Here’s a classic example:

A. Penguins are black and white.

B. Some old TV shows are black and white.

C. Therefore, some penguins are old TV shows.

Here are some better examples, taken from some of the letters you published last Sunday:

Example one:

A. Eugene Duncker wrote: “What they (the left) really want is to disarm us all, just like … Nazi Germany.”

B. Under Hitler, the 1938 German Weapons Act completely allowed the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, and the possession of ammunition. The legal age was lowered from 20 to 18, and permits were increased from one year to three years. The only exception were Jews, who could not manufacture or deal in firearms and ammunition, or effectively own guns or knives because they were deemed “untrustworthy.”

C. Therefore, Mr. Duncker must be an untrustworthy 90-year-old Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany.

Example two

A. Mr. Duncker also wrote: “The left doesn’t care about any of their ‘arguments’ for gun control. What they are after is PEOPLE CONTROL … that control is impossible when the civilian population is armed and prepared.”

B. The military has jet fighters, nuclear subs, flame throwers and bazookas.

C. Therefore, civilians need Trump to give them their own jet fighters, nuclear subs, flame throwers and bazookas to be safe from the unarmed, controlling left.

Example three

A. Bill Johnston of Carson City wrote on the same issue, “Based on what I read in the letters to the editor, I am wondering, what do liberals rally believe, and do they want? My conclusion is that they have no solutions to the issues facing our country but are quite good at attacking anyone who expresses views contrary to their own. The attacks are vicious and often quite personal.”

B. Today, automatic firearms are prohibited in virtually every civilized country in the world except the United States.

C. Therefore, nearly everyone in the civilized world is a vicious liberal.

Example four

A. Gary Cain of Carson City wrote in the same issue, that the term “well regulated” in the Second Amendment must be read “with knowledge of the language AT THE TIME it was written.” He went on to write that the time “well regulated” meant “in good working order,” like clocks. Mr. Cain therefore asked, “So, why is that term used in the Second Amendment? Simple, for a militia to be in good working order, the guns, too, must be in good working order, so the people kept the guns at home.”

B. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English language, published in 1768, defined “regulate” as “1. To adjust by rule or method; 2. To direct.” Johnson didn’t mention clocks.

C. Therefore, thanks to Mr. Cain’s logic, today the term “well regulated” means “WTF!”

Example five

A. Penguins are black and white.

B. Letters to the editor are printed in black and white.

C. Therefore, some penguins don’t know what they’re squawking about.

With apologies to all smart penguins everywhere,

Bill Kidder

Carson City