Logical fallacies and the issue of wet socks

Photo courtesy of mbman.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of mbman.wordpress.com

By Joshua Wagner, Contributing Writer

Whatever deity rules over the earth has devised cunning ways to torture humankind. War, famine and disease are the best known devices, but they are not the most devious. Wet socks are truly the most cunning stratagem against humanity.

After spending over an hour doing laundry, one expects a finished product. Countless quarters, vending dollars, bottles of detergent and fabric softener have been faithfully poured into laundry machines with two purposes: to wash and to dry. With enough detergent and water washing can easily be accomplished, but, despite what one may think, there is not enough hot air on campus to dry every sock.

Scientific research has proven that a bunched sock will not dry. Humans know this. We go through our laundry to find such contorted articles of clothing; however, socks are elusive. They are large enough to grow musty in the drawer left wet but are small enough to slip through the hamper unseen. Despite their elusive nature, no sock can pass through the folding process unhindered. It is in this criminal lineup that a damp sock is caught.

When confronted with a wet sock, one must make two decisions. One decision is conscious, “What will I do with this damp piece of cloth?” The answer to this question does not matter. To dry it further would not mitigate the insult of its existence. On the subconscious level one must ask, “Will I change my habits to stop this from happening?”

Life presents many problems like wet socks. Solving these problems is easy through the simple steps within the wet-sock philosophy. First, identify the problem. Second, admit fault. Third, change.

Many tribulations faced in college could be easily corrected with this problem solving technique. If you believe that the difference between a colon and a semicolon is a “winkyface” 🙂 😉 you may need to use the wet-sock philosophy. First, identify the problem: “I do not know why this colon is winking at me.” Second, admit fault: “I should have paid closer attention in eighth grade.” Third, change: “Wow, there is a difference!”

Fallacies are the most cunning type of “wet sock.” Fallacies can sometimes be mistaken as a “dry sock,” as they appear coherent on the exterior. Occasionally, one will mistakenly wear a wet sock and, in extreme cases, do so in public. This causes discomfort to both the wearer and those surrounding him.

One distinctly pungent “wet sock” circulating campus is a straw-man fallacy. “Do you enjoy hugging babies vs. killing them?” has been posted around campus. Prolife individuals believe that an abortion is equivalent to killing a child. That is a legitimate belief. Pro-choice individuals believe that an abortion is equivalent to halting the potential of having a child. That is a legitimate belief. No party takes joy in killing babies. Anyone who claims otherwise is developing a straw man of another belief.

“Is fixing the country more important than your golf game?” is another fallacious statement in circulation. The writer implies that an opposing side values golf over the state of the country. This is a straw man. Nevertheless, would not an idle president be ideal in the limited government that true libertarians desire? He could be writing more executive orders instead of playing golf.

Other inflammatory quotes have been dispersed across campus as well. The core beliefs behind these messages are legitimate. Limited government, freedom and accountability are worthy causes. The way they have been presented is flawed. Like a wet sock, fixing the problem now would not mitigate its existence. Whoever wrote these comments must realize their mistake, accept it as their own and change the way they express themselves.

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Author: Joshua Wagner

Josh Wagner '19 is a chemistry and mathematics double major who enjoys bike rides on the battlefield and waving around a red pen as the Gettysburgian's Managing Opinions Editor. When not editing for the Gettysburgian, he can usually be found working in the College Life Office, helping students with calculus as a PLA, or studying in the library.

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1 Comment

  1. Hey Josh,

    Thank you for the article, it was very funny at times (why is this colon winning at me?) and you did a great job of presenting your argument in a relatable and coherent manner.

    I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to more in the future!


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