"a test not of belief but of assent"

I recently received a comment from a person in Roermond, Netherlands regarding a post I made in June of 2007. That post invoked a work by Robert H. Thouless – Straight and Crooked Thinking – an out of print book that I highly recommend. (A later edition – How to Think Straight is also out of print, but has been more available).

The 2007 post showed how, in a 5 minute radio interview, State of Michigan Rep. Andrew Meisner (D-Ferndale) committed 15 of the 38 “dishonest tricks of rhetoric” Dr. Thouless identified in his book. It was fresh in my mind when I read today’s edition of Best of the Web Today.

So I write to commend James Taranto for applying the Thouless principles to a polling company and to John Avlon, a left-wing political “analyst” who uses the poll as “evidence” to support an article beginning with this sentence*: “In a disturbing parallel to the Nazi’s [sic] kristallnacht, windows are shattering in Democratic offices nationwide.” Avlon’s intent is the lately common one of discrediting the Tea Party movement as violent racists.

Taranto’s debunking is thorough. RTWT

‘Wingnuts’: An Autobiography?
The curious case of John Avlon and the “scary new GOP poll.”

*later removed