Monday, September 29, 2014

9 Best Things About Being Filipino-American

Number 10 is that Filipino-Americans are great friends to have. (Shout-out to my buddy, fellow Knight of Columbus Ray Huie!)

I've mentioned before in this blog that I lived for over a year in the Philippines when I was a child, back in 1969-1970. Clark AFB, in Angeles City (about 40 miles northwest of Manila on the big isle of Luzon), was my dad's last station before he retired from the Air Force. I learned the pole dance; and I grew to love chicken adobo, a very simple dish the recipe of which includes quite a bit of — yes, you guessed it — vinegar. By the way, vinegar IS an all-natural, effective household cleaning solvent.

Although there are quite a few Buddhists, Moslems, and  Protestants in the Philippines, it's a predominantly Catholic country, a legacy of Spanish domination. And yet, while many Filipinos have at least a Spanish first name, only a handful of people still speak EspaƱol, and only a little over a million people speak Chavacanos, a collective name for six creole languages that use Spanish words in Austronesian grammars. So I hesitate to call the Philippines a Latin or Hispanic country; it's more an Asian/Polynesian hodgepodge with a Latin brio.

It's been over forty years since I left. I'd love to go back.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Catholic Stand: Eugenics and the "Hitler Card"

The Fallacy Files website, which is devoted to exploring and exploding errors in reasoning, gives the following forms for “the Hitler card” fallacy (also called the “ad Hitlerum” or “ad Naziarum”):
Adolf Hitler accepted idea I.Therefore, I must be wrong. The Nazis accepted idea I.Therefore, I must be wrong.
Hitler was in favor of euthanasia.Therefore, euthanasia is wrong. The Nazis favored eugenics.Therefore, eugenics is wrong.
Hitler was a vegetarian.Therefore, vegetarianism is wrong. The Nazis were conservationists.Therefore, conservationism is wrong.
The author of the blog puts the fallacy as a sub-category of the “guilt by association” fallacy, and explains, “Some instances of the Hitler card are factually incorrect, or even ludicrous, in ascribing ideas to Hitler or other Nazis that they did not hold. However, from a logical point of view, even if Hitler or other Nazis did accept an idea, this historical fact alone is insufficient to discredit it.”

Certainly, comparisons to Adolf Hitler and the crimes of the Third Reich get over-played. For example, I recently saw a meme in Facebook which compared side-by-side quotes from Hitler and Hillary Clinton on the need for an authoritative government. However, you can pull similar quotes from many people whose goodness was unquestionable, or who were at least no better or worse than the rest of us. If you doubt me, check out Romans 13:1-7 — if that isn’t giving a full-throated approval of a strong governor, nothing is.

If all contentions, which invoked Hitler/the Nazis, argued to the wrongness of a specific position from the support of Hitler/the Nazis for that position, I would have no qualms with this taxonomy. The “broken clock” maxim applies as much to psychopathic dictators as it does to anyone else. However, in the case of eugenics and euthanasia, our logician is committing a fallacy — specifically, a straw man.

Read the rest at Catholic Stand!