Oct 6, 2018: Brett Kavanaugh sworn in as Justice of the Supreme Court
Logical Fallacy and the Kavanaugh Confirmation, part 2
During the heated social discourse about the Kavanaugh Hearings, which ran rampant on Facebook, among other forms of social media, the opponents to Justice Kavanaugh held firmly to an appeal to emotion which stated, "Rape was not prosecuted in 1982. Women reporting it were ignored. We know so much more about that, now! This victim would never have been taken seriously in 1982..."
I know that this is the substance of their syllogism:
A: Rape was ignored by law enforcement in 1982
B: Rape is no longer being ignored
C: Kavanaugh should not be confirmed in order to right the wrong done to his accuser.
Of course, there are several flaws in this syllogism's conclusion. Fallacy of the Four Facts, for example, which looks like this:
A: Rape was ignored in 1982.
B: Rape is no longer being ignored.
C: Brett Kavanaugh raped this person in 1982.
D: (and the fallacious fourth fact) Brett Kavanaugh should not be confirmed in order to account for the way rape was ignored in 1982.
We don't know rape was ignored in 1982.
We don't know that if it were ignored in 1982, why it isn't being ignored, now, also.
We don't know Brett Kavanaugh raped this person.
And finally: the confirmation process could neither attest to the validity of any allegations, nor was it, in its design, any substitute for both criminal courts, and prison time.
There are a lot of invalid conclusions involved in the Kavanaugh issue, made mainly by those in opposition to his appointment to the SCOTUS.
But, the proof that the flaws exist as quantifiable into a single term, during that era in time while, on line, I was astonished at old and dear friends concluding something as profoundly flawed as this, was not to be found among the List of Logical Fallacies, anywhere.
So, I blended the Red Herring Fallacy with the Historians Fallacy, and I am now calling this the Fallacy of Modernization.
The Fallacy of Modernization states that a conclusion is illogical when it pre-supposes that a social concept has received an update, due to the passage of time, which now makes the group that participated in the social concept stigmatized. That, somehow, some crime was tolerated then, but is not tolerated, now.
The reason that this is necessary is that rape, the subject of most of the controversy, has been illegal for a very long time. It has not been updated by the passage of time, to enjoy any sort of new, and categorically taboo association with it, which it did not also posess in the past.
While rape laws have been clarified, to include conceptually defining rapes which occur while the victim is willingly in the company of the assailant as, date rape: the crime, itself, rape, had it been reported, at any time in American history, would have resulted in the convening of an investigation, the reporting of statements, warrants, and, ultimately, the engagement of judicial processes. Even crimes of rape where the assailant had been willingly in the victim's company!
No victim of a crime would have been ignored, just like the conditions for date rape have not ever served as exculpatory for the assailant, at any time in American history.
The Fallacy of Modernization is like the Historians Fallacy, which states that we cannot apply modern values to historic events. This, in a broader sense, might even validate the anti Kavanaugh crowd!
Thus, in the clarification that acts of malice, whatever they are, were, or will be, will not become, "less illegal" by the passing of time, further defines the Fallacy of Modernization as valid.
Murder is not ok now, and, thus, will be less ok, tomorrow.
Rape is the same way from any standpoint.
If rape were being ignored by American Jurisprudence in 1982, then, it is being ignored, now!
The Fallacy of Modernization also touches on the Fallacy of Emotion, which states that a conclusion based on emotional values and not logical ones, is illogical.
It is a bit of the Red Herring Fallacy, which redirects an argument to support unrelated data, and, since it does not, the argument is invalid.
The fact is that a crime, whose elements are new, cannot be less immoral due merely to the elements involved in the commission of that crime having never before appeared in one ensemble.
Like computer crimes: no defendant walked out of court due to the novelty of the digital age, and the newness of the act he committed. Fraud was the charge. Under clearer, and more narrow definitions, "computer fraud" became a criminal charge.
But, the initial act of pro Mal criminality, fraud, may have been difficult for the Judge to instruct to the very first jury: but the fraud was not any less legal for the first computer fraud defendant, than was the act of embezzlement that a crooked office manager may have engaged by forging checks.
Thus, the Fallacy of Modernization cannot be excluded due to the proliferation of new technologies, and with them, the possibly new social values which they may incur: if it is pro Mal in the past, then it is pro Mal, now.
If it was ignored in the past, then, it is being ignored, now.