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Logical Mistakes

While I try to get my life back to normal, here are two links to eliminate mental defects (or at least to help you to laugh at them):

(Don’t forget The NonSequitur for real-life examples of all kinds of fallacies).

Speaking of flawed statements, Rachel Maddow shows why Bill O’Reilly’s gloating about ratings is not the issue here (what a takedown!).

Commenter Ted Frier analyzes the issue:

It was not just ego that O’Reilly was exposing when he bragged that he’s got more viewers than Maddow. He was also expressing the fundamental difference between liberal and conservative media and their audiences — which is: liberals are consumers of their media while conservatives are actually citizens of theirs.

Maddow has the "Rachel Maddow Show." Keith Olberman has "Countdown." But O’Reilly presides in a "No Spin Zone" that is a subdivision of "Fox Nation."

And by immediately responding to Maddow’s criticism of him with an appeal to the size of his audience, O’Reilly was exhibiting another aspect of the group-think and tribalism at the heart of the conservative worldview: this tendency among right wing pundits to weigh their success not by the brilliance of their insights or the artistry of their articulation but by the sheer size of the crowd they are able to gather. Which makes sense since group consciousness and solidarity is the essence of all right wing movements, including fascism.

It’s really quite remarkable when you stop to think about it. How many times have you heard Bill O’Reilly respond to a well-placed put-down from his relentless tormentor, Keith Olberman, by comparing the size of Olberman’s audience to O’Reilly’s own market share? And now he’s done it with Rachel.

It’s not about the quality of one’s ideas, you see. It’s all about the size and loyalty of the following you can build. No wonder the right wing is so obsessed with President Obama’s legendary "charisma," or the "messianic" powers they imagine he holds over the teeming throngs he can hypnotize seemingly at will. Yet, when the right wing looks at Obama and sees a demon, it’s really their own inner selves they see staring back at them instead.

Conservatives, unlike liberals, tend to wear their politics on their sleeve. Indeed, they often wear them on their T-shirts. "I’m a proud Ronald Reagan Conservative" is just the sort of slogan you might expect to see on a piece of right wing apparel. But why is it I have such a hard time picturing anyone on the left with a shirt announcing: "I am a Proud FDR Liberal?" I can’t even imagine it on someone who still hangs a picture of the great man on their wall back home.

And it’s this overpowering need that conservatives have to be a member of a group – and not just any group, but a group that is tightly defined – that makes them pleasant as companions but fundamentally unfit for the hard work of a democracy like ours, with so many different kinds of people, groups and interests that must somehow be woven together.

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