Letters: Coopers reasoning example of ad hominem arguments

June 14, 2007 11:00 pm

I am not personally acquainted with Eileen Cooper, with any member of the Board of Supervisors, nor with any member of the Friends of Del Norte ("Fine is nothing but a reprisal," June 6).

I have no economic interests in Del Norte County other than having purchased a home and retired here 12 years ago.

I am not an extreme environmentalist, but I do agree that Del Norte County has been allowed to become the trash dump of northern California and certainly needs to be cleaned up.

I have no personal knowledge of the facts behind the recent dispute over Cooper's septic tank, but neither side seems to deny that it was in fact allowed to spill raw sewage into Lake Earl over a period of several years.

That said, I can only comment on the absurd and self-defeating nature of the arguments used by Cooper and her friends in defense of her failure to fix the problem in a timely manner.

Cooper's own argument, and especially that of her friend Wendy Bertrand in her June 12 letter ("Board bullying Cooper rather than improving county"), are prime examples of"ad hominem" arguments and should be framed and preserved as lessons in how not to behave in a debate.

In case they don't know, an ad hominem argument is an argument "against the man," and means an argument which only makes personal and irrelevant attacks against the opponent and deliberately avoids any direct defense of the issue at hand.

I can only say to Cooper and her friends: "Shut up and fix the problem before you make yourselves and the Friends of Del Norte the laughing stock of the state!"

John P. Cupp

Smith River