Ad Hoc, Ad Loc, Quid Pro Quo

[ Posted Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 – 14:43 PST ]

The title of this piece quotes the well-known philosopher Jeremy Hilary Boob, PhD. The full quote is, of course:

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo
So little time! So much to know!

and comes to us from the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine, right before singing a song about Boob, Nowhere Man.

If you think this is building up to some deep and meaningful point, well, it's not. Sorry to disappoint you.

Because today, for your humble author, the Real World has demanded my full attention, so instead of well-thought out and well-reasoned prose, today we're just going to have a little fun with language.

The following comes from a list sent to me by one of our far-flung correspondents, and seemed perfect for a hastily-written attempt to fill today's column space. The first one on the list is most likely familiar to anyone who has frequented the comments area of just about any political blog over the years, but the remainder of the list will likely give you a few ten-dollar Latin words with which to impress your friends and drinking buddies.

So, in the spirit of the "open thread" for today's comments, I give you a list of argument types to avoid. I have added, for your reading pleasure, a loosely-translated example (very loosely, in some cases) from the second-grade schoolyard playground (to provide clarification, of course, and not to engage in cheap attempts at humor or anything of that nature). So here are fallacious arguments for everyone to argue about today. All should properly be preceded by "argumentum" if you want to get picky.


Ad hominem -- personal attack on the opponent

"You're a poopy-head!"


Ad baculum -- threat of violence

"Oh yeah? I'm going to kick your butt, you poopy-head!"


Ad ignorantium -- lack of contrary evidence

"Oh yeah? You and what army?"


Ad misericordiam -- agree with me, or you'll hurt my feelings

"I'm going to cry and tell the teacher you hit me if you don't agree!"


Ad invidiam -- you don't agree because you're jealous

"You know I'm right because the teacher likes me better."


Ad verecundiam -- I'm right because I'm more important than you

"Who do you think the teacher's going to believe, you or me?"


Ad populum -- everybody believes this

"Everyone knows you're a poopy-head!"


Ad nauseam -- endless repetition

"I know you are, but what am I? I know you are but what am I?"


Ad novitatem -- My idea is new, therefore it is right

"You are so uncool. We're cool, and you're a poopy-head."


Ad antiquitatem -- My idea is old, therefore it is right

"I'm older than you are, therefore I'm right and you're a baby poopy-head."


Ad crumenam -- I'm right because I'm rich

"My Daddy makes more money than yours does!"


Ad lazarum -- I'm right because I'm poor

"Gimme your lunch money, poopy-head!"


-- Chris Weigant

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


14 Comments on “Ad Hoc, Ad Loc, Quid Pro Quo”

  1. [1] 
    Hawk Owl wrote:

    Certainly an icon of our (video) age ought to be the perfect example of what happens when all of the fallacies are stripped away and a mega-symbol is forced by events to nakedly admit "I was wrong."
    I'm thinking of Alan Greenspan in front of a Senate Hearing after the Wall Street melt-down. Pressed on how, for decades he had insisted that a profit-based economy was the only choice because the market and its pursuit of profit will ALWAYS self-correct any problems, Greenspan sweated, his eyes blinked, he wiped his forehead, his words fumbled until he finally said in a quavering voice: "I was wrong; I was wrong."
    No "ad ________" anything. Just the truth Ma'am"
    as Chris quoted Jack Webb saying recently.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, in the spirit of the "open thread" for today's comments,

    {perk} Open Thread???? >:D


  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like CrapCare has got ANOTHER 'deadline'..

    Any quatloo wagers as to whether or not it will be made?? :D


  4. [4] 
    Moderate wrote:

    profit-based economy was the only choice

    Of course a profit-based economy is the only choice; the problem is that a truly free market actually requires oversight to prevent oligopolies.

    Under President Clinton, government regulation dwindled to nothing. It's worth noting, however, that Greenspan saw the current crisis coming and warned Ben Bernanke of it, yet Mr Bernanke chose to sit on his hands and do nothing.

    I remember Greenspan uttering the "r" word back in February 2007.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale and Moderate,

    Just wanted to say that I'm going to be filing away all of these infinitely useful argumentum ads ... for future reference, ya know.

    And, that goes for the translations, too!

    Heh heh heh ...

  6. [6] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:


  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:


    Here's the one you'll probably have to use more often...

    Ad DeadOnBallusAccuratium's an industry term, poopy head.



  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    "We're not going to pass Healthcare with a 50 plus 1 majority."
    -Senator Obama, on the Presidential Campaign trail.

    Another "Joe Wilson" moment.

    Ya know, if that were Bush, ya'all would be screaming, "LIAR!!!!"... :D


  9. [9] 
    Hawk Owl wrote:

    "Moderate" -- I agree with you completely. "Profit based" economy is the only choice, but that doesn't mean it's the perfect choice. I think I mentioned some time back that I vividly remember hearing Paul Samuelson make a similar observation, -- qualifyied it by remarking that the "opposite" of capitalism was not "socialism/communism," but rather oligopolies.

    It was, um, interesting to have that in the back of my mind during the [Clinton era] 90's as the mania for mergers & conglomerates swallowed up any real "competition," (the basis of a true capitalism) in pursuit of bigger & bigger profit dreams -- abetted by Senators who overturned the Glass - Steagall Act as archaic & irrelevant.

  10. [10] 
    Moderate wrote:

    Don't get me wrong, I certainly think healthy mergers and acquisitions can be a huge benefit to the consumer, but it's important that the focus be on what is in the best interests of the consumer, not what delivers the most profit to owners.

    Competition, as you say, is the bedrock of capitalism, and for me the core goal ought to be to deliver the best for the consumer. The theory being that what is in the consumer's best interests will lead to more custom, and more customers mean more profit. Unfortunately the recent trend has been to increase margins and deliver lower quality output for the consumer, and that is unacceptable.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    "Ad DeadOnBallusAccuratium's an industry term, poopy head."


    thanks, vinny. how about:

    Argumentum ad peliculum
    i'm right because i can quote movies, ya hoser

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    >Here's the one you'll probably have to use more often...

    Ad DeadOnBallusAccuratium's an industry term, poopy head.

    I like it! And, I'm gonna add it to the list. :D

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Or perhaps:

    Argumentum ad vulcanum?

    I'm right becase Spock says so.



  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Okay, so this is the best I can do to add to our growing list ...

    Argumentum ad Bidenitum
    I'm right because the longest argument always wins, you poopy-head, you!

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