David Swindle wrote a great post recently about the importance of using the strongest arguments possible when defending a position. He went on to lament the tendency of some conservatives to employ “musket arguments” instead:
Just because an argument is correct it doesn’t mean that it’s the best one to use. A musket might be able to win in a fight but it’s hardly the most effective choice.
I would only add – because David’s overly generous view of humanity probably prevented him from stating what he thought was the obvious – that whatever weapon you finally decide on, it should probably be loaded. A weak argument is bad enough; a non-existent one is downright embarrassing.
Consider for instance a post currently metastasizing across the internet warning darkly of an "FDA ban on injectable vitamin C." The use of the singular case here is not accidental; of the bazillion or so hits obtainable by Googling “fda injectable vitamin c” the vast majority are either wholesale copies or cosmetic rearrangements of a Jan 4 article by the Alliance for Natural Health, demurely entitled Action Alert—Now the FDA Is Going After Vitamin C!
The FDA has just notified one pharmacy that it will no longer be allowed to manufacture or distribute injectable vitamin C—despite its remarkable power to heal conditions that conventional medicine can’t touch. Please help reverse this outrageous decision!
The government, instead of banning intravenous vitamin C, should instead be supporting research into it.
Please take action immediately! Please contact the FDA, and tell them to take their job of protecting our health seriously—by allowing injectable vitamin C, magnesium chloride, and vitamin B-complex 100 to continue being manufactured and sold!
You can almost hear the many bloggers who immediately repackaged these assertions, without further investigation or scrutiny, sighing loudly: “You had me at ‘FDA’!”