There's a section in the Oregonian editorial below (highlighted in bold italics) that is composed of a number of fallacies and is, therefore, inaccurate in its details. However, in its substance and structure it is illustrative of a few important points.
First, the fallacies:
** "A lot of us country folks . . ." is an argumentum ad populum, or appeal to the people to assert the rightness or correctness of something.
** "A lot of us country folks . . ." is also fallacious because it's based on anecdotal evidence: Where's the data to back up this assertion?
** ". . . as far back as when 'green' was simply a color, not a statement. Back then . . ." is an argumentum ad antiquitatem, or the assertion that a thing is right or good because it's old.
** The sentence "it seems to me that everybody recycling an empty toilet paper roll expects to get a Congressional Gold Medal" is an example of an argumentum ad hominem fallacy: Undermining the value or integrity of an individual or group as a way to support one's argument.
** The letter as a whole illustrates an implied fallacy of bifurcation in that it attempts to set up a false dichotomy: contemporary urban people who think they're being sustainable are not sustainable, whereas "us country folks" are sustainable and have been for a long, long while.
** The letter as a whole also illustrates the straw man fallacy, because by using anecdotes and over-simplifications, the writer misrepresents the position(s) of people trying to incorporate more sustainable practices into contemporary society; these misrepresented positions are then much easier to debunk ("everybody recycling an empty toilet paper roll expects to get a Congressional Gold Medal") than the fully articulated and contextualized positions of the advocates.
Now, some of the interrelated points this editorial illustrates:
** The propensity to over-simplify positions of those they see as opponents (the "straw man" fallacy).
** The propensity to mythologize historical developments ("us country folks have been 'environmentally friendly' as far back as . . .") so as to characterize their position as preferred to another.
** The propensity to assign superior moral attributes to one's point of view ("'common sense,' . . . or just 'the right thing to do'") while belittling another's point of view.
These patterns seem to repeat themselves in all kinds of subject areas debated in the public sphere. It's disheartening. As often as I see this kind of thing, I'm compelled to conclude that a significant portion of the voting public isn't adequately prepared to participate in the democratic process because they lack the critical thinking skills to be more than pawns for one ideologue or another.
Stop tooting green horn
Thank you so much for your recent report on sustainability. It has greatly inspired me, up to the point to where I seriously considered cancelling my subscription to The Oregonian. You see, taking the weight of Friday's paper at 10.7 ounces as an average, I could save a good 244 pounds of paper each year, maybe even more. (I'll let your green experts figure out how many trees or partial trees that would make).
A lot of us country folks have been "environmentally friendly" as far back as when "green" was simply a color, not a statement. Back then, it was called "common sense," "saving money" or just "the right thing to do" (a k a "decency"), and nobody bragged about it.
Nowadays it seems to me that everybody recycling an empty toilet paper roll expects to get a Congressional Gold Medal. Naturally, they would then loudly broadcast the fact that they recycled the bubble wrap it came in.