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"Library at Greenhills School, Greenhills, Ohio " Library of Congress, P & P Online, LC-USF33-TO1-001183-M3Ad Hominem Examples Exercise

Abstract: Argumentum ad hominem examples are provided and analyzed for credibility.

Fallacy Practice Recommendations:

(1) Study the features of the argumentum ad hominem from this web page: Argumentum ad Hominem.
(2) Read and analyze the following passages.
(3) Explain with a sentence or two as to whether or not you judge an ad hominem fallacy to be present.

  1. “The U.S. secretary of state has called for a ‘very strong message’ to be sent to Iran, after allegations of a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. … But Iranian officials condemned the allegations as a diversionary tactic[:] ‘ These are cheap claims. By giving it a wide media coverage, it was evident that they are trying to cover up their own problems.’”[1]

  2. “Kristina Henkel, a gender expert specializing in equality in schools, disputes the argument that gender pedagogy and neutrality are being foisted on Swedes. ‘Sweden has a long tradition of working with equality and this has had strong support among politicians,’ she says, and adds that ‘the question of gender neutrality, or of everyone having equal rights despite their gender, has also been driven by activists at the grassroots level.

    But Elise Claeson, a columnist and a former equality expert at the Swedish Confederation of Professions, disagrees. ‘I have long participated in debates with gender pedagogues and they act like an elite,’ she says. “They tend to be well-educated, live in big cities, and have contacts in the media, and they clearly despise traditional people — that is, the … heterosexuals living in nuclear families.’” [2]

  3. “The legendary Cosmo Girl, Helen Gurley Brown, died and with her, one hopes, a not-so-fabulous legacy. This would be the demonstrably ridiculous notion women can have it all. … The most telling line from all the tributes written about her might provide a clue. Brown said she never had children because ‘I didn't want to give up the time, the love, the money.’“[3]

  4. “[President Obama] actually said (in 2007): ‘I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And … I'm a better political director than my political director.’ Obama is a man of considerable intelligence. But he's not half as transcendentally smart as he thinks he is. He needs a servant in his chariot reminding him he's not an immortal.”[4]

  5. “[Republican presidential candidate Herman] Cain evaded a series of questions about sexual harassment allegations. … He was then asked, ‘Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?’ He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, ‘Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?’”[5]

  6. “Peter Morici [states] his view that Hurricane Irene would lead to positive outcomes … due to the rebuilding, [and] ‘the capital stock that emerges will prove more economically useful and productive.’ This inspires Boudreaux to offer to come over and destroy Morici's house and car, since newer versions will surely be ‘more economically useful and productive.‘”[6]

  7. “Now, for those who think the war on terror is not war but law enforcement, … I assert they are living on a different and distant planet. For us earthlings, on the other hand, the case for Obama's drone war is clear.”[7]

  8. “Romney's post-election behavior has been, in a word, small. Never again, likely, will his voice and influence be as powerful as they are now. … The man who spoke passionately about his love for the American auto industry was driving around in a new Audi Q7. ”[8]

  9. “The president got his tax hike in the fiscal cliff debate. To ask for more now without significant spending cuts, entitlement reform and a re-written tax code aligns him with the extortionists who ruled Chicago during the Roaring 1920s.”[9]

  10. “Given his track record on marital fidelity, former President Bill Clinton is not the person I would consult about ‘committed, loving relationships.’ Clinton used those words in a Washington Post op-ed last week, urging the Supreme Court to overturn the 1966 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, which he signed into law.”[10]

  11. “After a 35-year career in agriculture, which took me to all corners of the world in segments ranging from animal productivity to plant protection, genetics, and biotechnology, I … reviewed Prince Charles' speech. I found foolishness and arrogant condescension. While calling the current state of agriculture a ‘systematic failure,’ he made absolutely no reference to the miraculous developments of the past century … ”[11]

  12. “…Sen. Harry Reid claimed Romney hasn't paid his income taxes, and demanded Romney disprove this unsubstantiated allegation … What makes this a farce is Reid has not released his own income tax records …”[12]

  13. “On a media blitz across the state [S.C. Governor] Nikki Haley was asked a question — a rather simple question — by [Gina] Smith [a reporter for the [State newspaper]. ‘Gina, I am not going to answer any of your questions,’ the governor responded. … Haley posted the following on her Facebook page: ‘In response to my refusal to answer Gina Smith's question today; she is the same report[er] that (1) wrote a Front Page, Above the Fold story about me being indicted, with no truth what so ever [sic]. (2) She went on to write a story about my 14 year old daughter without having the facts.”[13]

  14. “Prior to leaving Egypt for the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi told The New York Times the United States needs to ‘fundamentally change’ its approach to the Arab world. That includes, he said, showing greater respect for Arab values, as well as helping to build a Palestinian state. … It isn't the policies and attitude of the United States toward the Arab world that needs changing. It's the attitude and policies of the Arab world that need to change. For a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who still subscribes to the group's radical beliefs, to blame America for problems in the Arab would is like blaming the mirror for what it reflects.”[14]

  15. “The recent hype about global warming comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Most of its members are serious scientists. But reporters don't realize that those scientists, like bird flu specialists, have every incentive to hype the risk. If their computer models (which so far have been wrong) predict disaster, they get attention and money. If they say, ‘I'm not sure,’ they get nothing.”[15]


1. “US to Pressure Iran Over ‘Plot to Kill Saudi Envoy’” BBC News 12 October 2011 (accessed 13 Oct. 2011).

2. Nathalie Rothschild, “In Sweden, a Debate Over Whether Gender Equality Has Gone Too Far,” Christian Science Monitor, 7 Apr. 2012

3. Kathleen Parker, “Death of a Salesgirl,” Index-Journal 94 No. 110 (18 Aug. 2012), 9A.

4. Charles Krauthammer, "The Big Bird Counterattack," Index-Journal 94 No. 166 (14 Oct. 2012), 9A.

5. Jonathan Martin, et al., “Exclusive: 2 Women Accused Herman Cain of Inappropriate Behavior” 30 Oct. 2011

6. Gene Epstein, “Assume a Pen: An Economist's Epistles,” Barron's 92 no. 49 (3 Dec. 2012), 39.

7. Charles Krauthammer, "In Defense of Obama's Drone War," Index-Journal 94 no. 293 (19 Feb 2013), 6A.

8. Dana Milbank, "Romney Can Retire Later," Index-Journal 94 no. 220 (8 Dec. 2012), 9A.

9. Cal Thomas, “Extortionist in Chief,” Index-Journal 94 no. 297 (23 Feb. 2013), 9A.

10. Cal Thomas, “The Sound of Inevitability,” Index-Journal 94 no. 316 (14 Mar. 2013), 8A.

11. Alan Koepcke, “Aristocratic Agriculture,” Barron's 92 no. 43 (22 Oct. 2012), 54.

12. Thomas Sowell, “The Paul Ryan Choice,” Index-Journal 94 no. 108 (16 Aug. 2012), 6A.

13. Richard S. Whiting, “Governor, Take a Lesson From GWF,” Index-Journal 94 no. 118 (26 Aug. 2012), 8A.

14. Cal Thomas, “Who Needs Reform Most: Egypt or America?” Index-Journal 94 no. 151 (28 Sept. 2012), 10A.

15. John Stossel, “Earth Daze,” Index-Journal 95 no. 331 (April 14, 2014), 9A.



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