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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
What is a "Boggs Violation"? 
7th-Dec-2016 08:08 am
A Boggs Violation is a double standard in arguments: you allow your side freedoms you do not allow the other, and consistently construe the other's argument so that you can maintain the conclusion that they are stupid, venal, and evil.

It comes from a hard-fought battle at the Reform Club, finally brought to a close by Denny Boggs, 6th Circuit Justice who submitted the following [numbers added]:

re: By the way, apropos targeting metaphors and the like

Danny J Boggs [Sixth Circuit Address]
Fri Apr 2 05:42:07 PDT 2010

I think we could just bring this thread to a conclusion by simply agreeing that:

1. All of MY SIDE's references and statements are to be taken in the coolest, hip-ironic, culturally aware, benign-metaphorical way possible (see Watts v. United States, and [granting my side the full benefit of the] the conflicting interpretive modes the various judges/justices on the Supreme Court and the Court[s] of Appeals [have approved]),


2. All of YOUR SIDE's references and statements are to be taken in the most mindlessly literal, threatening way possible.

That should work for almost all of our commentators, of whatever persuasion.

3. Also, any charge against MY SIDE requires exquisite legally admissible proof of its accuracy,


4. Any charge against YOUR SIDE must be true if it was asserted by anyone, anywhere.

5. People on MY SIDE are responsible only for what they said personally, in full-quotation context.


6. People on YOUR SIDE are responsible for the inferred implications of anything said by anyone who ever held any idea vaguely similar to what your people think.


On internet discussion groups, a "Boggs Violation" consists of reasoning wherein your opponents are relegated to the even numbers of the list, while your own side has the privileges of the odd numbers. In the case of the Reform Club, this brought the discussion to and end. Frequently when it is alleged now, the purpose is to stop the side committing the Boggs Violation from doing so without acknowledging it.
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