PHL1010 Columbia Southern University Unit III Table of Dirty Tricks Project UNIT VIII ESSAYTABLE OF DIRTY TRICKS For this assignment, you will create a table of the most prominent fallacies in thinking. Select 15 of the 44 “Dirty Tricks” outlined in your textbook beginning on page 313. Include each of the following items in your table: the name and number of the dirty trick, the decision-making that would lead someone to employ this trick, how you would detect it was being used, and one or two ways in which you might counter the strategy. UNIT VIII ESSAY TABLE OF DIRTY TRICKS
For this assignment, you will create a table of the most prominent fallacies in thinking. Select 15 of the
44 “Dirty Tricks” outlined in your textbook beginning on page 313. Include each of the following items in
the name and number of the dirty trick,
the decision-making that would lead someone to employ this trick,
how you would detect it was being used, and
one or two ways in which you might counter the strategy.
Dirty Trick #1
Accuse your opponent of doing what he/she is accusing you of (or worse).’ This
trick is sometimes called “pointing to another wrong.” When under attack and
having trouble defending themselves, manipulators turn the tables. They accuse
their opponent of doing what they are being accused of. “You say I don’t love you
I think it is you who doesn’t love me!”
Manipulators know this is a good way to put their opponents on the defen-
sive. They may want to up the ante by accusing the opponent of doing something
worse than what he/she is accusing them of: “How dare you accuse me of being
messy? When was the last time you even took a shower?”
Dirty Trick #2
Accuse him/her of sliding down a slippery slope (that leads to disaster). The manipu-
lator uses the slippery slope trick when a person implies that if someone does one
thing (A), it inevitably will lead to a domino effect of negative things that, in the end.
will result in something terrible: A is not so bad, but A leads to B, and B leads to C.
and C is horrible!
Imagine a mother lecturing her teenage daughter: “Okay, maybe there’s noth-
ing wrong with a kiss, but remember where kissing leads and where that leads and
where that leads. Before you know it, you’ll be the mother of an unwanted baby!
Your young life will be ruined forever!” Manipulators who use the slippery-slope
argument conveniently forget that many people walk carefully on slippery ground
and don’t fall down.
of people (and caused millions of deaths along the
TRICKERY AND MANIPULATION
er attack and
on’t love you!
Naturally, they could do this only by deceiving themselves into thinking that they
e simply being scientifically careful. And, of course, they made a lot of money
in the process (
which strongly influenced their ability to deceive themselves).
Appeal to experience. Skilled manipulators, con artists, and politicians often
imply that they have “experience to back them up, even when their experiences
are limited or nonexistent. They know it is much harder for someone to deny what
they say if they speak with the voice of experience. Of course, they sometimes
will come up against an opponent who has more experience than they do. In that
case, they attack their opponent’s experience—as not representative, as biased, as
limited, as distorted, or as subjective.
on the defen-
me of being
one does one
t, in the end
3 leads to C
at leads and
Dirty Trick #5
Appeal to fear. Deep down, most people have a lot of fears-fear of death, dis-
ease, loss of love, loss of attractiveness, loss of youth, loss of income, loss of
security, rejection by others. Unprincipled manipulators know that people tend
to react primitively when any of these fears are activated. Thus, they represent
themselves as having the ability to protect people against these threats (even when
they can’t). You should distrust authorities who say that certain groups (or people)
effectively to make sure people line up behind governmental authority and do
of life, our homes, our property.” Politicians often use this strategy quite
what the government–that is, what politicians -want.
poor man!” Use of this ploy enables the manipulator to divert attention from the
innocent people who are harmed by a presidential decision or policy.
Dirty Trick #7
subterfuge, and ruse, are careful to present themselves as people who share the
Appeal to popular passions.’ Manipulators, and other masters of counterfeit,
values and views of their audience, especially the “sacred” beliefs of the audience.
someone. Masters of spin stir up prejudices, hatred, and irrational fears. They
Everyone has some prejudices, and most people feel hatred toward something or
imply that they agree with the audience. They act as if they share their views. They
work to convince the audience that their opponent doesn’t hold sacred the belief
they hold sacred.
This strategy has many possible variations. One has been called the “Just Plain
Folks Fallacy,” in which the manipulator says or implies something like this:
“It’s good to be back in my home (city/state/country) and with people I can really trust. It’s
great to be with people who face things squarely, who use their common sense to get things
done, people who don’t believe in highfalutin’ ways of thinking and action.”
Dirty Trick #8
Appeal to tradition or faith (“the tried and true”). Closely related to Dirty Trick #7,
this strategy emphasizes what seems to have passed the test of time. People are often
enslaved by the social customs and norms of their culture as well as by traditional
beliefs. What is traditional seems right: “This is the way we have always done things.”
Manipulators imply that they hold firm to what their audience is familiar and
comfortable with. They imply that their opponent will destroy these traditions
and faith. They don’t worry about whether these traditions harm innocent people
(like the cruel customs and laws against Blacks before the civil rights movement).
They create the appearance of being independent in their views although the views
they reach “independently” just happen to coincide with those of the crowd. They
know that people are usually suspicious of those who go against present social
norms and established traditions. They know enough to avoid openly opposing
the social customs to which people are unconsciously (and slavishly) bound.
Dirty Trick #9
TAL TRICKERY AND MANIPULATION
on from the
National and international news (designed for national consumption) is always
written with this premise in the background. We may blunder, but we always intend
to do the right thing. Manipulators take advantage of this questionable premise by
speaking and writing with such assumptions in the background. This posture is re-
lated to the fallacy of begging the question and leads to question-begging epithets.
See “Beg the Question,” Dirty Trick #11.)
Dirty Trick #10
able arguments, manipulators ignore those arguments and instead find a way to
attack the reasoner personally. Name-calling (even mudslinging) often works (de-
pending on how you do it). Spin artists know what a given audience will reject
and insinuate that their opponent supports those terrible things. For example, the
opponent might be labeled a communist or an atheist. Or it might be said of her
that she supports terrorism or is soft on crime.
This strategy is sometimes called “poisoning the well.” It leads to the audience
dismissing an opponent in a sweeping way–no matter what the opponent says in
his defense. Of course, spin artists knows the importance of reading the audience
correctly to make sure they don’t go too far. They realize that the more subtle they
can be, the more effective their manipulation will be.
13.7 Think for
INTERNALIZING THE FIRST 10 DIRTY
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