In previous posts I discussed various forms of invalid lines of reasoning – lines of argument that were not just casually erroneous, but formally and demonstrably wrong. In the case of the enthymeme about the existence of a right to privacy, the error is allowed to move forward because the people making the argument fail to fill in (and then attend to) all of the premises necessary to make their argument valid. Jonah Goldberg’s argument was far, far worse: Goldberg contented himself with promiscuously throwing about terms and quantifiers without any evident concern, or even grasp, of how such things actually function.
It would be a gross mistake to simply dismiss the people making these errors as merely uneducated fools. The “no right to privacy” fallacy I previously detailed has been argued for by legal scholars of significant practical and scholarly background, and Jonah Goldberg is a college educated journalist with a substantial background in the industry. So how are such obvious – indeed, manifestly egregious – errors committed?