A case of ignoratio elenchi

Dear Editor,

If the opinions regarded by some as “inviolable sagacity” are indeed “as flawed as they may be,” then the learned attorney-general should have pointed them out in his letter of Sept 30 in SN (‘The President has untrammelled freedom to assent to and withhold assent from Bills’). Instead, he launches into more of his own flawed opinions.

His chief technique this time is the ignoratio elenchi, a kind of red herring logical fallacy where the perpetrator appears to thoroughly refute an argument, while only disproving something that was in fact not asserted. The deception is more successful the nearer the false premise resembles what should have been refuted.

No sensible analyst I have read disputes “that the President has an undoubted and untrammelled freedom to assent to, and to withhold his assent from, Bills presented to him.” Certainly the PNC in the main opposition cannot dispute what they had hoped to enjoy forever.

Resentment is not a valid basis for argument. So the AG must have either found an uninformed person or fabricated the straw man that he can burn.

What is clear to every informed commentator outside the influence of the communist groupthink of the PPP is that the 21 days has expired and the President has given no reason for his non-assent, as required by the constitution, except for the false circular one I identified in my last letter (SN, Sept 22). Most nonsensical of all, the AG is being paid out of the public treasury, to keep something from the President that he has a right to. Four-year-olds play those pretend games without wasting money.

And please don’t regale us with verbiage that predecessors did the same wrong thing. I was denied the opportunity to contribute or validly vote on the constitution in 1978. As far as I am concerned it is already flawed, but I have to live with it until God delivers me from it. The AG must therefore refrain from imposing his own flaws on what he thinks might be flaws in the Bills.

Even typographical errors have to remain. That is the nature of our flawed system. The alternative would be more anarchy, chaos and violence.

Yours faithfully,
Alfred Bhulai

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