Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If Kids Stay in School...

When President Obama announced his plans to speak to schoolchildren across the United States, many parents, especially those of the "Right-Wing," became very upset. Believing the President intended to brainwash their children with his "socialist policies," some parents chose to remove their children from school for the day, allowing their fears of socialism to dominate rationality. In his political cartoon, Bill Schorr illustrates the logical fallacies used by opponents to Obama's speech, errors in reasoning that reveal the irrationalities of their opinions.

Using three different panels in his political cartoon, Bill Schorr shows how logical fallacies can arise when logical syllogisms are used incorrectly. As defined by Aristotle, logical syllogisms are a form of logic in which Statement A equals Statement B, Statement B equals Statement C, with a conclusion that Statement A must equal Statement C. With each of the panels representing a statement, an easy conclusion is drawn between panels A and B; that is, if children go to school, they will be educated voters. Likewise, panels B and C can also be seen to correlate, although through a hasty generalization. Using Aristotle's logic, if A equals B, and B equals C, then A must also equal C. In this case, Obama's opponents, as parodied by Schorr, utilize a failed logical syllogism. Children attending school are not indicative of the eventual political power of the Republican Party: there are too many outside variables influencing not only the choices of voters, but the type of education children earn as well. In this manner, a logical fallacy is created, an unfounded syllogism stemming from the irrationality of overly concerned parents.

As mentioned above, a hasty generalization is also made between panels B and C, resulting in a logical fallacy. Jumping to the conclusion that educated voters will lead to the demise of the Republican Party is a false notion. As seen throughout history, educated voters belong to both major political parties in about equal numbers, resulting in the continual change in power within American politics. Simply believing that educated voters are preventing the Republican Party from returning to power is also a denial of other, more conclusive factors that affect the choices of voters, educated and casual supporters alike. This conclusion, made by members of the GOP and other individuals, needs more evidence before the platform of the Republican Party is dismantled by hopeless party leaders.

Another logical fallacy also occurs in the oversimplification of the concerns surrounding President Obama's speech. As illustrated above, the GOP is afraid of losing all power; however, not only do they misattribute this fear to Obama's speech, but they also define their fear by a single issue. Rather than identifying the many causes of the Democratic Party's current control of law-making in the federal government, Republican parents who pulled their children out of school are using the President's pep talk as an easy explanation for grievances concerning their political party. Oversimplifying the reasons for an event may be easier to explain to a general audience, but such explanations do not strengthen an argument, especially when extreme measures, such as keeping children home from school, are taken.

Though limited in its scope in addressing the concerns of antagonists to President Obama's speech, Bill Schorr's political cartoon provides a clear illustration of faulty logical reasoning. Arising in many aspects of the arguments given by parents and members of the GOP alike, logical fallacies show the irrationality of the hype concerning the President's supposed brainwashing pep talk. Socialist or not, better logical reasoning is needed before keeping children home from school in order to prevent them from hearing a speech by the President of the United States.

Schorr, Bill. "Cagle Cartoons." Cartoon. Daryl Cagle's Poltical Cartoon Index., 18 Sept. 2009. Web. 23 Sept. 2009.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is interesting and intriguing that you analyzed a political cartoon. That was smart because many inferences and judgments can be made, especially about logical fallacies. One particularly great aspect about your analysis was the way you incorporated Aristotle's conclusions.I would be interested in a couple other fallacies if you could find any.