Allow me to begin with the definition of sophistry. It is defined in the Mirriam Webster dictionary as "subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation". Sophistry has been utilized in philosophical discussions and courses for centuries. Among the world's greatest critics of sophistry in both religion and politics was Ghandi. Now that we're into the heart of the presidential campaign, it is time for the discerning voter to begin to take stock and analyze what the political candidates are saying. Are the republicans really attempting to fool the American public through the use of sophistry? Let's see.
" This president is responsible for the largest national debt in history." This is an interesting statement that the republicans and their candidate would like the American people to believe is true. The problem is that the argument is deceptive. While the deficit is, in fact, the numerically highest it has been, the republicans fail to explain that the deficit is the cumulative debt of all previous administrations and the interest that continues to accrue on that debt. They also never explain that the debt is exacerbated by the cumulative effect of two wars which were deceptively kept off the books for five years and tax cuts that decimated a budgetary surplus and exploded a deficit. This is sophistry in its most perfect form.
" I will cut this deficit and will give every American a 20% across the board tax decrease' + " We will increase the defense budget" may actually go beyond sophistry and move into the realm of outright lies. Allowing the benefit of the doubt, the statements are based, at best on the republican's deceptive reasoning and argumentation and their need for the American public to do the same. It is saying that somehow there can be an equation that goes 10 + 2 + 2 = 6. The excuse after the equation is marked incorrect that we didn't see the plus signs and thought that they were minus signs is specious at best and demonstrate intentional deceptive reasoning at worst.
" We are going to strengthen social security and medicare for future generations through privatization and vouchers." Sophistry at its most blatant. To deceptively tell voters that destroying the safety net for seniors is strengthening it, is a statement based on both deceptive reasoning and argumentation.
Issue after issue, statement after statement, the republican party and the Romney / Ryan ticket in 2012 are engaging in sophistry of the highest degree. Their positions on women's rights, equal rights for all, education, voter suppression, and yes, even foreign policy are turning today's republicans into modern sophists. They cannot present a clear, truthful picture of what they are presenting to the American people. So instead of a campaign based on reality, we now have a Sophist Party.