We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We will try a dull fallacy today, to prove our seriousness - Tautological Fallacies
"Tautology" has a grammatical meaning (a redundancy, or stating the obvious), and a related logical meaning. Most logical syllogisms are tautologies, which means that the statement is true by a given definition, and thus advances little while appearing to say something new. That is the boring thing about syllogisms and, anyway, we rarely think syllogistically. But it can distort, when the premiss or definition contains a definition error. You must be alert to error in the premiss, whether stated or, more commonly, implied, before bothering to think about the conclusion:
Simple example: All good girls should get baubles for Christmas, and Ginny is a good girl. Therefore Ginny must get baubles in her stocking. (That is a perfectly logical tautology.)
Example: Child molesters are chronic repeat offenders, therefore Billy Bob is probably guilty this time.
Example: All mammals bear live young, and milk to their babies, but the platypus lays eggs. Therefore, the platypus is not a mammal.
Example: Opponents of global warming measures are ignorant of science and oblivious to the looming climatological crisis. Clinton and Bush, therefore, refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty.
Example: Republicans want children to starve and go without education, and want to bomb innocent Iraqi children. Sen. Joe Lieberman is one of those latent Republicans, and therefore is comfortable with killing Iraqi children.
Example: It is no surprise that Republicans voted to continue killing and torturing innocent Iraqis (see the implied definition? Tautological Fallacies are more effective when the definition is covert, or implied, rather than stated. It is a specialty of The New York Times.), but the number of Democrats who voted with the majority was disconcerting to anti-war Democrats.
The tautological fallacy is a variant (slight) of begging the question. Both terms can be misunderstood. Why not use the simpler and self-explanatory circular argument? See a pertinent comment on the following post: