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what is ad hominem?

Isn't ad hominem attack the strategy of attacking the person rather than examining the issues?

Isn't it possible to couch a personal attack in terms of the demonstrated behavior of the enemy? For instance, "Smoking is the filthy, nasty habit, of filthy, nasty people, and my opponent smokes like a chimney, so I won't say that he is a bad person but who could fault you for drawing such a conclusion?"

I use smoking here, but one could make similar accusations about two-faced, hypocritical, political behavior, couldn't one?

Did Mr. Norse miss my point? Is not the main thrust of the original posting ("Krohn the Educator? No, Krohn the Politician. Again.") to attack the credibility of Mr. Krohn personally, regardless of whatever facts are used to press the attack?

Is the intent here to motivate Mr. Krohn to straighten up and fly right, to educate him about the common cause and how he might work more effectively to advance it, or simply to expose him as a poseur, just another politician (a damning insult in its own right)? By pursuing that latter line, wouldn't we move into the territory of the ad homimen attack?

Might self-declared people's advocates please keep their eyes on the prize? Is it truly necessary to hobble others in order to advance one's own agenda? There are dangerous poseurs out there, to be sure, but has the case been made -- can it be made? -- that Mr. Krohn is one of them? And beyond the question of Mr. Krohn, can't alliances be forged, even with poseurs, to advance the cause? Of what real use is infighting, except to waste time and energy while the people's real enemies are steadily gaining ground?

Are we so confused?
 


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