Okay, so maybe the title is a smidge strong. Given an infinite amount of space for a title I might have called it: If The Government Comes To Euthanize You, Don’t Hire Ron Fischer As Your Lawyer; He Can’t Think Of Any Existing Law That Outlaws Governmental Euthanization of People.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Grand Forks lawyer Ron Fischer wrote a letter to the editor that’s making the rounds right now. It’s an expression of his paid-for opinion about “Measure One,” the horribly written initiated measure that will likely take away your right to make “end of life” decisions for yourself and your family members. Here’s an excerpt from Fischer’s letter to the editor:
I know a thing or two about end-of-life issues. First, I am a constitutional lawyer, born, raised, educated and living right here in North Dakota. Second, I am battling cancer, so end-of-life issues are more than a theoretical concern to me.
Professionally, I have been dealing with issues of constitutional law for the past 34 years. I’ve litigated countless cases concerning constitutional issues, including five years as an attorney in the U.S. Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan, where I received multiple awards for outstanding service.
In 2004, I was honored with a Fellowship in The American College of Trial Lawyers, widely considered to be the premier professional legal organization in America, whose membership is limited to no more than 1 percent of the lawyers in any state.
In addition to my professional qualifications to speak about Measure 1, I have a keen personal interest in making sure North Dakotans retain control over our own end-of-life decisions.
So let’s break down Mr. Fischer’s letter to the editor into its subparts. I’m going to try to address these in the context of the Logical Fallacies I learned about as an undergrad taking Ted Messenger’s “Introduction to Logic” class back in the olden days. Dr. Messenger used the textbook by Irving M. Copi to teach us the basics of crap arguments. I bought a copy of Copi’s book (latest edition) a few years ago just because I remembered it being one of the best undergrad textbooks I ever had my hands on. Dr. Messenger taught us about what a bunch of “logical fallacies.” You might call them “crap arguments.” I don’t have Copi’s textbook with me now (I’m on vacation out of town) so I don’t recall if I’m using Copi’s exact words. But you’ll get the idea:
(1) Ron’s Resume: Ron tells us he used to work for “The Justice Department”!!! Dun Dun Daaaaaah!!! Game over right? A guy who used to work for the Justice Department knows everything, right? But it wasn’t just any Justice Department; it was the Justice Department under — wait for it… — Ronald Reagan! Hey! Reagan is the Messiah, right? But Fischer even won awards for “outstanding service.” Everybody give Ron a round of applause. He worked for the Justice Department under the administration that …read more