A response to "Remember Freedom"

Friday, November 18, 2005

Written by Luke Weiler

This letter is in response to a Letter to the Editor that ran in the Nov. 10th Ontarion - page 13

Some letters to the editor are just too badly written to let pass without comment.

The letter titled "REMEMBER FREEDOM" submitted by Matthew Kohls falls into this category. I submit this criticism as a service to the community.

"Remember Freedom" is a textbook example of how not to make one's case. It contains four separate straw-man arguments, 2 jingoist claims, one self-contradictory sentence, one insane analogy, and a C-minus, first-year analysis of moral relativism. If one reads "Remember Freedom" closely, one in fact realizes that there is no substance whatsoever in this letter – it is a Frankenstein of false analogies, unthinking jingoism, and unfair assumptions, all stuffed with straw.

Mr. Kohls, please note:
you mischaracterize the issue to be the University discouraging military service. This is not the issue at all.

you attribute to Mr. Gilbert a hypothetical response (to the Kosovo War) of your own invention and then proceed to argue against it.

you also attribute to Mr. Gilbert a philosophical position of your own concoction (being a moral relativist) and then criticize him for "having it". Both this and the former tactic are blatantly unfair.

you never respond in any way to Mr. Gilbert's claims about Canada's engagement in Haiti, except to flatly deny them. Where is your proof that he is wrong?

Finally, for a person with such poor writing skills as yourself, you employ a very condescending tone towards Mr. Gilbert. This is just bad form.

I am so glad to see the recent explosion in letters to the Ontarion. A thriving debate is essential to the university community. I urge all participants to reflect before writing instead of firing off the first thing that comes to their heads. It makes the discussion so much better.

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