Argument from Antiquity – FT#30

Argument from Antiquity – FT#30

Show Notes

The Argument from Antiquity is a fallacy where the arguer claims that something is right or good because it’s traditional. If a person claims that we should do something a certain way because “that’s the way it’s always been done” or that a particular herb must have great healing properties because it’s been used for thousands of years, they are using an argument from antiquity.

We started out with this clip of the Donald arguing that walls are like wheels, in that both have been around for a long time and still work best:

Then we looked at his preference for steam over modern launching devices on aircraft carriers:

And finally, he heard KellyAnne Conway fitting an impressive number of untrue claims in alongside the fallacy in a 12 second clip about the Census:


In Mark’s British Politics Corner, we talked about Boris Johnson rewriting the history of the British Empire:

And we talked about this attempt to place Jeremy Corbyn’s history in the kindest possible light:


In the Fallacy in the Wild, we talked about this clip from the Parks and Recreation episode “Article Two” (which unfortunately YouTube has blocked in North America):

Then we discussed a clip from Dr Oz, where Oz makes al kinds of claims about old-timey medicine:

Then we discussed a section of this routine by British stand-up Stewart Lee:

Here are the statements from this week’s Fake News game:

  1. I was in China, and China is not doing well. We’re doing well. We have all the records. 22 records, I think we have. And I said to President Xi, I call him the King of China, because he’s the president for life, so that means he’s the King. It’s a great thing. I won’t say that I’m thinking about that because that would be the big story tomorrow — “President Trump says he’ll be president for life”, so I won’t say that. But we’ve sold millions and millions of hats.
  2. Wind’s not so good. And you know, you have no idea how expensive it is to make those things. They’re all made in China and Germany, by the way, just in case you — We don’t make them here, essentially. We don’t make them here. And by the way, the carbon and all of the things flying up in the air, you know, the carbon footprint? President Obama used to talk about the carbon footprint and he’d hop on Air Force One, a big 747 with very old engines, and he’d fly to Hawaii to play a round of golf.
  3. Sean now is working on the Reciprocal Trade Act. If they charge us, we charge them, very simple. They charge us, we charge them. And I think you’re doing great on it, Sean, and I appreciate it, man. Great job. But he’s the tree climbing, you know, these characters that go up the trees then they come down. He said, “No, going up isn’t the hard part, it’s coming down because if you miss you’re dead.” And he said he’s missed about four times.

Click below for the answer

Mark went back to the tradition of getting it wrong this week, so he’s now on 41%.


Then we talked about Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress. The clips we focussed on were among this short selection:


And finally, here are the stories we really didn’t have time to talk about:

  • In what could be seen as an attempt to distract the media from stories of former Trump pal and noted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Trump appears to have picked overt racism as the theme of his 2020 campaign.  After telling four US congresswomen, three of whom were born in the USA, to go back where they came from, Trump and his sycophants have lamented that you can’t disagree with minorities anymore without getting accused of racism by the hypersensitive leftists. I thought this was America! Look, if you tell a woman to get back in the kitchen and make you a sandwich, you’re a sexist. And if you tell a person of color to go back where they came from, you’re a racist.  And if your best defence is to send creepy skinhead Stephen Miller on the Sunday shows to tell everyone how not racist you are, you’ve already lost the argument.
  • And this week’s “What’s Trump done that’s amateurish and delusional and embarrassing” goes to: – solving the India-Pakistan-Kashmir problem or rather making the problem worse. India are now at pains to deny that PM Modi ever said anything to the White House’s own Walter Mitty about intervening on India’s behalf in a conflict over the disputed territory of Kashmir which has run probably since partition in 1947. Thanks to his unique combination of ineptitude and overconfidence he may well have set back any chance of peaceful negotiations continuing by the same 70-odd years. Look Donald just as Pakistan PM Imran Khan gave up cricket to become a politician perhaps you should give it all up and try to become a golfer – oh no wait a minute… 
  • Following the Mueller testimony, the House Judiciary Committee has filed an application to have the Grand Jury material in Mueller’s report unsealed. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said on Friday the committee is considering “whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional duty, power of the utmost gravity, a recommendation of articles of impeachment”.  When asked if this is essentially the same as an impeachment inquiry, Nadler said that “in effect” it is. Seems like someone got tired of waiting for Nancy Pelosi.
  • In a brilliant switcheroo not seen since the latest Ramones t-shirt gag, Trump stood in front of a doctored Presidential Seal at the Turning Point USA’s Student Teen Action Summit in Washington DC – the graphic quite blatantly?, subtly? featured the Russian double-headed eagle clutching a wad of cash and a fistful of golf clubs – A reference to the 110 odd trips to golf venues since taking office – at about $1m dollars a pop extra in increased security and travel! And “E pluribus Unum” was replaced with the Spanish for “45 is a puppet”. In true alternative facts style a representative for Turning Point USA, told the Washington Post that the fake seal was a mistake, the result of a rushed online search. But while the group called the slip-up “unacceptable”, they maintained there was no “malicious intent” – just when you thought the US don’t do irony! It was a brillianty-seized opportunity to show the seal that was created as a private joke by Charles Leazott who added that the person who put it up was “either wildly incompetent or the best troll ever”. “Either way,” he said, “I love them”, as Dee Dee, Johnny and Joey woulda said in approval “Hey Ho, let’s go!”.
  • Trump has named Richard Spencer as his third acting Defence Secretary since January. To be clear, that’s Richard V Spencer, former Secretary of the Navy, but given Trump’s newfound pride in white pride, I must admit there was a moment where I thought maybe punchable white-supremacist and alt-right figurehead Richard B Spencer had been made Defence Secretary. To be honest, I did have to Google it before I was absolutely sure, and how fucking scary is that?
  • Last week Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad told Trump to his face In an impassioned explanation of the horrors she, her family and many women and girls suffered under Isis, how terrorists kidnapped her and killed her mother and brothers. He replied: “Where are they now?”. Errr… Whilst the rest of the free world were hanging on her every word Trump simply missed the importance of what she was saying – i.e. that ISIS wasn’t the be all and end all merely the latest in a series of similarly power-hungry despots still exacting similarly harsh inequalities in the region. Rather than see the need for a long-term commitment to a global intervention on such things he was more interested in why she got the Peace prize – with the subtext “oh why haven’t I?”. He patronisingly added, like your grandpa who has no idea what you’re talking about “Oh you were the first to escape” – maybe he’s thinking “ oooh I could escape…” – yes please I’ll happily jump over the vaulting horse for hours whilst you dig Donny!
  • Presidential bête noire Ilhan Omar will have some competition when she’s up for reelection next year, and the Republicans are fielding a power candidate in the form of Danielle Stella. Here’s Stella at a recent event Stella has all the attributes of a perfect Trump acolyte. Aside for being every bit as erudite and coherent as Trump himself, she’s also a Q-Anon conspiracy theorist and accused felon, having been arrested twice this year for shoplifting over £2,000 worth of merchandise.  If convicted she might have to drop out of the race due to a potential five year prison term, unless of course Trump changes the rules to let people govern from behind bars. Actually I’m a little surprised he hasn’t done that already, in preparation for his whole family heading in that direction.
  • 92,000 odd people have spoken as 0.13% of the electoral populace in bringing back democratic control to the UK by voting Boris Johnson to be the latest Prime Minister of Britain – or as Ivanka tweeted the United Kingston – which I guess is the joint commonwealth of a suburb of London and the capital city of Jamaica. With such a large mandate from the masses, Boris is not making the mistake Theresa May did and calling a general election out of some higher less self-serving sense of integrity and need to gain a national mandate for her actions, oh no – because as John Crace in the Guardian newspaper pointed out “if a developing country had just changed its entire government without an election, we’d be calling it a coup. And if that coup had been led by a man clearly unfit for office, whom even his own family can’t trust to tell the truth, we’d be calling that country a failed state. But as this is the UK and the leader in question is Boris Johnson, we plead the exceptionalism of a first-world democracy.” Well it’s good to know that Boris is happy to continue to commit fallacies we have already covered in the podcast… Otherwise you’d only cry!


That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening!

Jim Cliff

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