Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stop the witch hunts

Iain Murray makes a great argument -- we should evaluate the quality and persuasiveness of opinion pieces by evaluating the quality and persuasiveness of the piece. He writes:
An opinion piece -- whether an individual op-ed or a column -- exists to promote a point of view by argument. It does not seek to establish a fact, but to win people over to a particular viewpoint or opinion. Therefore, the strength of the argument is the key factor in determining the effectiveness of the piece. A sloppily constructed, poorly thought-out argument will convince no one -- while a tightly constructed, coherent, and well-written argument can sway minds. That is why opinion pieces are considered intellectual ammunition in the war of ideas.

The only valid response to a persuasive argument is an equally persuasive argument towards a different conclusion.

He describes the witch hunt against writers like Michael Fumento and the fallacious arguments which are used against them.


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