Friday, February 16, 2007

Slogan averts war

Today I saw a bumper sticker on a parked car which read simply "NO WAR". I paused for a few minutes and penned an encouraging note to the car owner, and then left it under his/her windscreen wiper. It read:

I was walking past your car and saw your NO WAR sticker. At the time, I was seriously considering starting a war. However I found your argument as expressed in the sticker compelling and in the end, unanswerable. So I decided not to start a war after all. I would like to thank you on behalf of the untold thousands who might have been killed, injured or displaced in my war.

The Onion has a nice satirical take on the fallacy we at Humbugonline call Argument by Slogan. An extract appears below, but you can read the whole thing here.

Of course, it took more than that one march to end racism—we also put up dozens of flyers and got interviewed on the campus radio station.

We pinned our "Celebrate Difference" buttons to our "Carpe Diem" T-shirts, and proceeded to shake institutional racism to its core until it crumbled and fell into dust. And the whole thing, including the pre-march rally, took about 90 minutes.

It's tragic how the younger generation is willing to sit idly by and allow outrages and atrocities to persist. Can't they stop text-messaging each other long enough to march around for an hour and a half and utterly eradicate a social problem anymore? I only wish we had had the foresight that day to paint a few more signs calling for equal rights for gays and the
transgendered, and demanding higher fuel standards for automobiles—why, we'd be living in a virtual utopia right now.

How many more must die in Darfur before a few hundred college kids meet in a leafy outdoor setting, chant, walk around, and bring an end to the killing once and for all?

Sometimes I want to get up there myself and rally the sophomores and juniors and seniors of this world to do something. Anything. But my generation has already done its part—we ended racism. Eighteen years ago, on that sunny college campus, we closed our nation's most shameful chapter, just like we ended rape when we took back the night that following year.

It's someone else's turn to take to the streets for the day.