Reductio ad Hitlerum
Beck has stuck his foot in his mouth so much recently that it is hard to believe he will have a job in the very near future. Anyways, here is the best rant on Beck I have seen thus far. Prepare to be amused:
What Beck is doing is a fallacy known as Reductio ad Hitlerum. I have seen this in some undergrad papers. Have any of you seen this in your own experience? Any horrible examples?
From Wikipedia (Yeah, I know Jim, but it’s a blog post and I have a lot of work I have to get to today… I hang my head in shame!).
Reductio ad Hitlerum, also argumentum ad Hitlerum, (dog Latin for “reduction to Hitler” or “argument to Hitler,” respectively) is an ad hominem or ad misericordiam argument, and is an informal fallacy. It is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context. Hence this fallacy fails to examine the claim on its merit.
Its name is a pun on reductio ad absurdum, and was coined by an academic ethicist, Leo Strauss, in 1953. Engaging in this fallacy is sometimes known as playing the Nazi card, by analogy to playing the race card.
The fallacy claims that a policy leads to—or is the same as—one advocated or implemented by Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich, and so “proves” that the original policy is undesirable. For example: “Hitler was a vegetarian, so vegetarianism is wrong.” The tactic is often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract and anger.