IT WOULD appear that Nationalist Front blackshirt, Stuart Campbell, of Wings Over Scotland is ‘splitting’ the navel gazing online Yes campaign. One of the most frequently heard defenses of the Wings blog is that it “is accurate and cites sources” – a logical fallacy known as argumentum ab auctoritate. Forgive AhDinnaeKen’s laughter as we use this mini-series of features to demonstrate why the cabal of ever increasing Wings supporters are being sold a pup. In this post, we* take a look at a common fallacy exploited mercilessly by Campbell when ‘proving’ his alleged analysis – Dicto simpliciter:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
JOAN MCALPINE MSP’s, Twitter feed, alerted us to this little Twitter spat.
It’s worth reading through the whole thread. Several relatively prominent online Yes Tweeters engaged in a wee stooshie about the merits or demerits of Wings Over Scotland.
AhDinnaeKen became interested because 1) The Firstminster of Scotland’s speechwriter and ‘special’ aide took the time out of her busy parliamentary day in the run up to Sep 18, to ReTweet it and 2) one of the comments by Jeff ‘Nelson Salmondella’ Breslin, regarding Hillsborough, needed further analysis.
Jeff attempted to defend Wings by stating that he saw “nothing particularly offensive” in Stuart Campbell’s post on Hillsborough.
The Hillsborough piece by Campbell, ironically entitled, ‘No Justice for the 96‘ is typical of posts in Wings Over Scotland in terms of its narrative style and structure: it’s well written, fairly comprehensive in its selective facts and conclusions – and it’s completely fallacious. So fallacious, in fact, that it undermines itself and is offensive in that it feigns authority in order to falsely legitimise Campbell’s tribal, bigoted hatred against Liverpool fans.
The crux of the piece and the ‘trenchant’ insight into Campbell’s pathology of hate is encapsulated in the following statement written within the piece:
“At Hillsborough, EVERYONE pushing their way into the tunnel KNEW perfectly well that it opened into an enclosed area with no exits, hemmed in by overhanging steel fences, which minutes before kick-off was likely to already be crammed with people, and which took the inherently-hazardous form of a stairway.”
The phrase “everyone” combined with “knew” is a lie. It commits the logical fallacy of Dicto simpliciter, or sweeping generalisation as it is commonly known.
Dicto simpliciter is frequently used to fit people into stereotypical moulds e.g. Frenchman are great lovers or short men have an aggressive chip on their shoulder or the average Scot is a drunk – everyone knows that.
In Campbell’s case, he appeals to the stereotype of the time – which was also the prevailing Thatcherite belief – that Liverpool fans were mindless, murderous, thugs. The implication being, despite the reams and reams of contradictory evidence, that the Liverpool fans knew they were killing fellow fans. Such a belief isn’t just stupid, it’s pathologically mind numbingly stupid.
Campbell went further in his hate piece. Having built a case predicated on a lie, he then further blamed Liverpool fans for the enclosed fences at Hillsborough being there in the first place:
“Hillsborough could have happened at almost any ground in the country in the late 1980s, but Liverpool’s fans must shoulder a disproportionate share of the blame for the existence of the fateful fences, which in part arose from their murderous actions at Heysel Stadium four years earlier.”
Another lie appealing to incomplete knowledge and relying, instead, on bigoted uninformed sentiment to fill in the cracks.
The Dicto simpliciter logical fallacy is routinely relied upon in order to appeal to generally accepted truisms. It’s a godsend fallacy for those harbouring grievances against other groups. Put into crude terms, the majority of Wings Over Scotland’s posts tediously and relentlessly build upon the following stereotypes: media bias is bad, Tories are heartless and bad, Labour are sellouts and bad, Better Together are “anti-Scottish” and bad – you get the tedious stereotypical idea.
AhDinnaeKen has covered Campbell’s Hillsborough lies before. We’re going to cover more of his lies and falsehoods, and the logical fallacies used to deliver them to his credulous readership. We*’re tired of intelligent apologists such as Garve Scott-Lodge or Jeff Breslin or Joan McAlpine attempting to excuse Campbell’s belligerent blackshirted bigotry.
It’s a stereotype associated with Nationalism that advocates of its creed – such as Campbell and his ‘alert readers’ – are prepared to turn a blind eye to its potential atrocities.
Campbell’s writings are mostly atrocious. They rely on buying into Nationalist stereotypes and cliches for them to be believed. It’s all a part of the groupthink mindset relying on ‘othering’ which has paved the way for Campbell’s, so far, limited success in gaining publicity and financial reward for himself.
In the Twitter spat linked to above, Garve Scott-Lodge also claimed that quotes used against Campbell are taken out of context in order to impugn Campbell. We* invite him to correct AhDinnaeKen on quotes taken out of context in this piece.
In future posts, AhDinnaeKen is going to highlight some of Campbell’s more cliched fallacies, selectively, without sentiment and as temperately as possible, given the tedious nature of the material being dealt with.
[ * tired overly used joke based on pluralis majestatis which is as relentlessly tiresome as any Wings post ]