Sunday, May 12, 2013

Context-dropping and guns

Psychotherapist Michael Hurd has a valuable article at Capitalist Magazine in which he explains the importance of a fallacy Ayn Rand identified: the fallacy of dropping the context surrounding a statement or issue.  Hurd shows how gun control advocates are guilty of context-dropping:
The term for this is context-dropping. Context-dropping is the willful refusal to consider all the facts of a given situation before drawing a conclusion.
For example, the reply to this claim — “I’m against guns” — with the full context considered is: “I’m for guns when they’re in the hands of law-abiding people, or legitimate legal authorities, such as the police. I’m against guns when they’re in the hands of criminals, or anyone who would initiate violence.”
Hurd also shows how context-dropping was common during the cold war era and argues that it's not coincidence that those previously in support of a no-nukes America are the same who support a no-guns America.  I wholeheartedly recommend this article.