Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pratfalls in Wingnut Thinking: Deconstructing Dr. Walter E. Williams

Okay, here’s my last deconstruction of self-contradictory wingnut writing for 2008. This one is courtesy of Dr. Walter E. Williams, who in the very opening sentence of his column commits one of the cardinal sins he’s warning readers about, and the sinning doesn’t stop there.

Column title: Avoiding Pitfalls to Straight Thinking

Motivating factor for column: Liberal professors are brainwashing our kids.

Central thesis: “Part of… learning [to think straight] is to be able to understand the distinction between subjective statements, for which there are no commonly accepted standards of proof, and positive statements for which there are.”

First broad assertion: “Many professors, mostly on the liberal side of the political spectrum, use their classrooms to proselytize students.”

Second broad assertion: “While acceptable at most universities, [proselytizing students] is nothing less than academic dishonesty….”

Proof cited for these broad assertions: None

Moment of hilarious obliviousness: “I tell students that if they hear me say something subjective, without my having prefaced it with ‘in my opinion,’ they are to raise their hand and tell me that they took my class to learn economics and not to be indoctrinated with my values.”

Bonus fun: “Personally, I want students to share my values that personal liberty, along with free markets, is morally superior to other forms of human organization.”

No comments: