Letter From Thailand - 6/23/10
An essay about the Intellectual Environment I am living in, and a list of logical fallacies in the Thai Monarchist/Militarist/Yellow Shirt Propaganda
Weekend Thoughts From Thailand About The Intellectual Environment I am Living In
Today at 5:17pm
There were protests in the streets in May which resulted in over 100 civilians killed and hundreds wounded - almost all casualties were red protesters. The apologist who supports the military's killing of the protesters claims that live gunfire came from the red camp. And they claim that even ONE (1) shot fired from the red camp negates the legitimacy of the entire movement. One shot negates the demands of several thousand protesters who had their votes disrespected by the Thai Military in the coup in 2006. Furthermore all protesters therefore lose their human rights, civil rights and ~right to live~. Period. End of discussion. "Scum of the earth be gone with ye!" ALL protesters therefore cannot complain when they are thrown in jail beaten fined harassed and killed. This is the ONE shot justification - followed by wholesale repression and abrogation of rights. Oh my, how convenient. To date this is the only logical justification that this government has offered for its existence.
This rationalization - almost universally used by the yellow apologists - is an absolutist, totalist mindset that conveniently disregards the fundamental rights and humanity of those with whom they disagree.This is the party line and this idea is used to intimidate reds, throw all the red leaders in jail and charge them with "terrorism", and then brand ALL the protesters - including teenage girls, children, my students and old people - as "terrorists" who threaten the very existence of Thailand.
I say to yellows that they should tread lightly because the next time, these same repressive measures will then be easily justified when turned around and used against them. Hahaha. No time for that because they are "the chosen Thais" and they will rule forever. HAHHAHAHA. Kind of looks like a replay of the 8 year Bush minority government program of hysteria and fear.
One month after the killings in Bangkok we are still living peacefully and quietly under a mystical never-ending "State of Emergency" - which allows the current government to make up laws as it goes along. This ~might~ be lifted in parts of the country in the next 2 weeks if all the good little Thai children play nice and pretend to recognize the legitimacy of this government and ignore the stench of all the dead bodies. Call me when that happens.
My opinion is that the Emergency is really a Public Relations Emergency for the current Thai Prime Minister to divert attention from the stinking mountain of dead Thai bodies he helped to create. My suggestion is that he hires "Hill and Knowlton" PR firm out of New York. They are the same group who gave us "Naira" - the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to America - who told an entirely fictional tale of Iraqi soldiers ripping newborn babies from their incubators. That got us Gulf War 1. They also successfully sold Americans on the scary WMD story - that got us Gulf War 2 - which helped to prop up six more years of Bush rule. So you see, all the current government really needs is a better PR team.
Many yellows and their foreign supports cheer every repression and killing, maiming, censoring, removing of rights and so-called "laws" as they magically and randomly appear from thin air with no justification other than maintaining yellow power.
As a foreigner myself I am particularly disgusted with the attitude of these European and North-American foreigners who live here and unashamedly support the bloody killing of Thai people. Many of these ex-pat folks (more than often usually failures back in their home countries) have businesses in Thailand that traditionally were quite profitable because they ruthlessly exploited Thai workers and paid them minimalist wages. For example in my language school - which is owned and run by hyper-yellow British guys - the hard-working woman from Isaan who cleans and takes care of the building and who works 10+ hours per day/ 6 days a week is paid about 5000 baht per month - or $151 per month. This she must use to take care of herself and her kid and mom back in Isaan. The university educated Thai teachers make about $3 per hour. So don't ask me for any sympathy for these petulant yellow-minded children who stomp their feet and demand special privileges while taking advantage of, threatening, jailing and even killing the very people who made them rich. A bigger pack of morally degenerate leeches I have not found anywhere else on the planet.
Right now Bangkok and the yellow elite are practically at war with the very ground they sit upon and the very country in which they find themselves We'll see how long this program can be maintained. Make your bets now.
TO MY FRIENDS OVERSEAS
If you have time, please complain loudly and often to the Thai embassy in your home country that the current Thai "government" is out of control and killing, disrespecting and witch hunting its own citizens. A fair national election - and soon - would help quite a bit.
Partial list of Logical Fallacies Used in Thai Yellow Shirt Propaganda
Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
This fallacy is committed when it is concluded that a person's claim is false because 1) it is inconsistent with something else a person has said or 2) what a person says is inconsistent with her actions. This type of "argument" has the following form:
1. Person A makes claim X.
2. Person B asserts that A's actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X.
3. Therefore X is false.
A: All I want is a new election and my vote to count.
B: Last time you voted for Thaksin who is a terrorist and bad guy. Therefore you should have no election and no vote
Poisoning the Well
This sort of "reasoning" involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person. This "argument" has the following form:
1. Unfavorable information (be it true or false) about person A is presented.
2. Therefore any claims person A makes will be false.
A: Somebody shot live bullets from the red camp. Therefore all claims by every red protester, their opinions, freedoms and very life are forfeit in perpetuity.
HINT: This is the central argument at the crux of the claimed legitimacy of the Abhisit government and its continued program. Continue to use it at your discretion.
Appeal to Belief
Appeal to Belief is a fallacy that has this general pattern:
1. Most people believe that a claim, X, is true.
2. Therefore X is true.
Everybody in Bangkok knows Thaksin is a rat.
Therefore Thaksin is a rat.
Appeal to Consequences of a Belief
X is true because accepting that X is true has positive consequences (for me) .
EXAMPLE: We don't need quick elections (cuz I'll lose)
Appeal to Fear
The Appeal to Fear is a fallacy with the following pattern:
1. Y is presented (a claim that is intended to produce fear).
2. Therefore claim X is true (a claim that is generally, but need not be, related to Y in some manner).
Example: If there is an election, or the emergency decree is lifted then Thailand will descend into chaos and might cease to exist.
Appeal to Novelty
Appeal to Novelty is a fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is new. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:
1. X is new.
2. Therefore X is correct or better.
EXAMPLE: Abhisit is not Thaksin. Therefore Abihisit is preferable.
Appeal to Popularity
The Appeal to Popularity has the following form:
1. Most people approve of X (have favorable emotions towards X).
2. Therefore X is true.
Everybody in Bangok approves of the killing of protesters and supports the actions of Abhisit's government and knows it is good for Thailand. Therefore it is good for Thailand.
Appeal to Ridicule
The Appeal to Ridicule is a fallacy in which ridicule or mockery is substituted for evidence in an "argument." This line of "reasoning" has the following form:
1. X, which is some form of ridicule is presented (typically directed at the claim).
2. Therefore claim C is false.
EXAMPLE: Red thugs and Red terrorists destroyed the peace and quiet. Therefore their demands are illegitimate.
Appeal to Spite
The Appeal to Spite Fallacy is a fallacy in which spite is substituted for evidence when an "argument" is made against a claim. This line of "reasoning" has the following form:
1. Claim X is presented with the intent of generating spite.
2. Therefore claim C is false (or true)
A: I think I'll vote Red.
B. Remember, Red's are non-human terrorists who threaten the very existence of Thailand.
A: OK - maybe I will reconsider
Appeal to Tradition
Appeal to Tradition is a fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or "always has been done." This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:
1. X is old or traditional
2. Therefore X is correct or better.
Institution X in its current incarnation has a long history in this country. Therefore Institution X and its current incarnation are correct.
Burden of Proof
Burden of Proof is a fallacy in which the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side. Another version occurs when a lack of evidence for side A is taken to be evidence for side B in cases in which the burden of proof actually rests on side B. A common name for this is an Appeal to Ignorance. This sort of reasoning typically has the following form:
1. Claim X is presented by side A and the burden of proof actually rests on side B.
2. Side B claims that X is false because there is no proof for X.
Red shirts are responsible for their own deaths despite the fact that they were all several meters away from the finger that pulled the trigger.
When lethal force is used which results in death and injury, the burden of proof (usually extremely high) lies with the shooter, not the shot.
Once a Burden of Proof fallacy has been invoked (see above), Poisoning the well is a necessary tactic of Propaganda to reinforce the mistake.
Circumstantial Ad Hominem
A Circumstantial ad Hominem is a fallacy in which one attempts to attack a claim by asserting that the person making the claim is making it simply out of self interest. In some cases, this fallacy involves substituting an attack on a person's circumstances (such as the person's religion, political affiliation, ethnic background, etc.). The fallacy has the following forms:
1. Person A makes claim X.
2. Person B asserts that A makes claim X because it is in A's interest to claim X.
3. Therefore claim X is false.
A: The Red Shirts have a more well reasoned program, not riddled with logical fallacies
B: All of you reds took money from Thaksin, therefore your claim is bunk.
The first type of fallacy of Composition arises when a person reasons from the characteristics of individual members of a class or group to a conclusion regarding the characteristics of the entire class or group (taken as a whole). More formally, the "reasoning" would look something like this.
1. Individual F things have characteristics A, B, C, etc.
2. Therefore, the (whole) class of F things has characteristics A, B, C, etc.
A: There were one or more shooters in the red shirt camp. Therefore all the red protesters are violent thuggish terrorists, totally illegitimate untrustworthy and bad for Thailand.
Description of Division
The fallacy of Division is committed when a person infers that what is true of a whole must also be true of its constituents and justification for that inference is not provided.
There are two main variants of the general fallacy of Division:
The first type of fallacy of Division is committed when 1) a person reasons that what is true of the whole must also be true of the parts and 2) the person fails to justify that inference with the required degree of evidence. More formally, the "reasoning" follows this sort of pattern:
1. The whole, X, has properties A, B, C, etc.
2. Therefore the parts of X have properties A, B, C, etc.
A: The Red Shirt movement is composed of terrorists that are a threat to Thailand. Therefore the 3 year old kid, teenage girl, guy in a wheelchair and 80 year old grandma who attended the protest are terrorists as well.
Description of False Dilemma
A False Dilemma is a fallacy in which a person uses the following pattern of "reasoning":
1. Either claim X is true or claim Y is true (when X and Y could both be false).
2. Claim Y is false.
3. Therefore claim X is true.
A: You don't support the Yellows, so you are a Red.
etc.....Get the drift? My advice is that you pray that this stuff never reaches an international court.
Any political propaganda which can't build its case based on reason, will continue to have to defend itself from claims against its legitimacy.
Imagine the scene:
Lawyer at the Hague questioning "Thai person X " in the dock.......
Thai Person X "But those terrorists made me shoot!!!! They killed themselves."
Laughter......fade to black
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion