Pubdate: Mon, 06 Jan 2003
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Bruce Symington


Don't you just love the illogical arguments advanced in some letters to the 
editor? Witness the letter from Cindy Matthews in the Dec. 19 Record where 
she advocates keeping marijuana illegal.

The error in her logic is to compare the use of cannabis to shoplifting. 
There are two types of crime: natural crime, where anyone can tell that it 
is a crime, such as murder, robbery, etc. and regulatory crime, such as 
speed limits, store hours, and others. An uninformed observer would not 
know it is a crime to smoke cannabis because smoking tobacco is legal.

Her comparison of theft, which is an obvious crime, and cannabis smoking, 
which is not, is called a "straw man" argument, where it is argued that two 
dissimilar things are the same. One might as easily compare murder with 
opening a store on Sunday.

Bruce Symington

Medicine Hat, Alta.
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