Shrimp, Caper and Olive Salad; Socrates, Sophistry and Politics

This is not a political post.

It’s another attempt on my part to encourage people to think for themselves and not follow blindly.

There is so much misleading information and statements masquerading as facts floating around the internet, that I wanted to share something that may help sort through it all.

It was either that or put my fist through my monitor…..

First, the food:

This was the first course for my dinner party. I buy freshly cooked, cleaned shrimp. If you need to cook the shrimp, poach them in simmering water with lemon juice until they curl and turn opaque, 3 – 5 minutes. Cool, then make the salad.


My original recipe served eight; this serves two.

Shrimp, Caper and Olive Salad

Total time: 10 minutes prep, 2 – 6 hours marinating

  • 6oz (180gr) cleaned, cooked shrimp
  • 1 tbs capers
  • 1 1/2 tbs green olives, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed
  • Salad greens for 2 small salads
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp tarragon wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tbs salad olive oil

Shrimp, Caper and Olive Salad


  • Whisk together all ingredients for vinaigrette.
  • Add shrimp, capers, olives, dill weed, and stir well to combine.
  • Refrigerate for 2 – 6 hours
  • When ready to serve arrange lettuce on 2 plates.
  • Divide shrimp mixture and place on lettuce.
  • Pour any remaining vinaigrette over the top and serve.

Print Recipe

I’m a little behind on my reading.

That explains why, yesterday, June 18, I finally read the January issue of the Mensa Bulletin.

So I’m six months late….

There is a fantastic article in it called “Philosophy and Political Fallacy, when candidates supplant reasoned debate with false arguments”. In it the author, Tom Fournier, lays out some of the ways politicians avoid talking about anything that’s important.

Despite the weighty title it’s an interesting ready and you can find the entire article here in a PDF:

Allow me to give you a few examples to pique your interest.

To put it in perspective, and to explain the Greek terms, the tactics described in the article were widely practiced, polished and fine-tuned by the Greeks, in particular Socrates, some 2400 years ago.

First this about ancient Greece: “…. students were taught a win-at-any-price strategy, and debate was rarely about discovering truth or good.” 

Sound familiar?

These are some of the techniques they used and that our own politicians are still using today:

Ad Hominem: “… to avoid honest debate by simply disparaging the character of the opponent”

 X is proposing a tax increase to help impoverished families yet his devotion to families is hardly credible given his admitted illicit affair.

Now instead of focusing on helping impoverished families and / or the tax increase everyone talks about the affair.

Argument ad Populum: …“emotional appeal to the populace”

Leaving (whatever) war before a complete win means our soldiers died in vain.

The implication is that only an unscrupulous / evil person would end the campaign, denigrating all the soldiers who died. The emotion clouds the ability to see the real reason  behind the decision and makes it socially unacceptable to consider both sides of the argument.

Ignoratio Elenchi:“ignorance of the refutation” – extrapolating the opponents position to an unintended, ridiculous extreme

… a health-care regulation offering patient counseling for end-of-life care options might be unfairly extrapolated as an intent on establishing ‘death panels’ to determine who is worthy of care.

Now the advocate of the counseling has to defend against the charge of death panels, making death panels an issue when the idea didn’t even exist before the accusation.

False Choice:

Were WWII kamikaze pilots a tragic waste of youth or a noble sacrifice?

To the Japanese, weren’t they both?

Either we cut spending or we raise taxes.

Wouldn’t a plan to do both make the most sense? Why does it have to be either / or? It’s the either / or aspect of so many issues that polarizes groups.

The article sites more examples and more detailed explanations of the techniques.

We are being manipulated and it’s our own fault.

“We are to blame for the current unbridled use of fallacy in our politics. We reward campaigner deceit with political office, and we reward biased media pundits with high viewer ratings even when they parrot fallacies unchallenged.”

It really is time to start cutting through the crap to get to the important issues and think for ourselves.

And, if, after we cut through it all we find nothing is left…. Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?

(At least I know Belgium is not a city…. Unlike a Cheeto-dusted someone who shall remain nameless.)

Last update on June 19, 2016

6 thoughts on “Shrimp, Caper and Olive Salad; Socrates, Sophistry and Politics”

  1. Shrimp salad is spot on. So is your commentary. I can’t believe the level of discourse and flat out lies by the cheeto-dusted idiot.

  2. Phoenicia, it lays it all our rather nicely, I think

    Thanks, Kate…. If only more people would read it and think

    Tanna, thanks… I agree, the logic discussion would have been fun

    Ina, thanks – and I agree with that statement, too

    Penny, it it totally unbelievable! And scary

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