Quote: “What stopped last week’s terrorist attack was ethnic profiling … It is a fact that you could not catch 24 Muslim terrorists by surveilling everyone in Britain equally.” Traitor-hunting blogshell Ann Coulter.
Figure of Speech: fallacy of false choice, offering fewer choices than actually exist.
For months, Figarists have been bugging us to figure Ann Coulter. Figaro abstained till now because he finds her writing tedious and her babelicious pictures distracting. (Especially the cleavage-baring portrait that appears on the cover of her latest book, Godless. Talk about a mixed message.)
Where were we? Right. Anyway, Ms. Coulter’s latest blog shows logic as flimsy as the lingerie she loves to write about. Ethnic profiling had to stop the London terrorists, she argues, because the government could not keep track of every Brit. The White House may beg to differ; that data mining thing shows a lot of promise. But by offering only one alternative to ethnic profiling, the right’s blondest wing commits a fallacy. Besides profiling and universal spying, you might, oh, say, follow up on a lead. Which is exactly what happened: Tipped off by a guy close to the terrorists, Scotland Yard took the novel step of doing something about it.
See what we mean? Spotting fallacies in Ann Coulter is like hitting the side of a barn. A slim, saucy barn, in a little black dress, with that adorable hair flip over one eye…
Snappy Answer: “Super idea! Detain anyone who doesn’t look like Ann Coulter.”