Ad Hominems, Shenanigans, and Scaremongering

Often I find interesting, informative articles about any number of cultural, political, or practical topics. Tonight, I read this lengthy, enlightening piece on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by The New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin.

The Not-So-Hidden Ad Hominem
Toobin both chronicles Thomas’ court decisions and recasts a dark veil over his personal life. Mixing philosophical, logical analysis with personal attacks is the classic example of an ad hominem (“against the man”) argument. Toobin tries to discredit Justice Thomas’ beliefs by discrediting his character; but this, as every logic textbook reminds us, is a logical fallacy.

The Double Standard
Just one example will here suffice:

  • Over and over again, Toobin claims that Thomas acts as a lone ranger on his own ideological initiative, making him the conservative puppeteer behind the right-moving court system.
  • But, late in the article, Toobin mentions that the Attorney General of Virginia and a Federal District Court Judge in Florida both fought against Obama’s Healthcare plan, all the while citing that they simply followed Thomas’ lead.

Here’s the problem: how can Thomas be acting on his own initiative but the other conservative judges, lawyers, and activists can’t? Why must Clarence Thomas be the Darth Vader behind “the dark side” of originalism?

Toobin’s Shenanigans
The answer lies in Toobin’s hidden agenda shenanigans. He means to publicly discredit and defame Justice Thomas’ judicial philosophy before the fight against Obamacare begins in the Supreme Court. That’s why Toobin begins and ends the way he does, using descriptions of Thomas’ influence to scaremonger the American public. But will we see through it and read the logic for ourselves?

If we do, we’ll see that Justice Thomas simply reads the Constitution using historical authorial intent, the way any document must be accurately read.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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