Catalog of Canards

April 30, 2012 at 5:11pm

The catalog of canards condensed

Below are all forms of fibs, lies, canards, casuistry, flummery, tergiversation, artifice and tidbits of tarradiddle covered in the book Shooting The Bull.


The Lie of Fear: Creating a false sense of fear in order to motivate people to action while easing them past critical thinking.

The Lie of Definition: Using purposefully vague or misleading definitions to create political or legislative leverage, especially when it splits the opposing faction.

The Lie of Intimidation: Triggering instinctive reactions to create unfounded fears.

The Lie of Omission: Purposefully excluding information to inappropriately change beliefs about an issue.

The Lie of Looming Catastrophe: Using worst case scenarios, regardless of how remote, to instill a fear of uncontrollable danger.

The Lie of Association: Using invalid associations to demonize a person or position.

The Lie of Lewinsky: Forcefully making flat denials of observable fact to cast doubt in otherwise lucid minds.

The Lie of Concern: Demonstrating an insincere state of concern for others in order to achieve tangential objectives.

The Lie of Camaraderie: Portraying false associations with a person or organization to create an emotive bond.

The Lie of Statistics: The use of numbers that present misleading information and distort perspective.

The Lie of Authority: To speak with authority, though not fact, and by such presence keep others from questioning the information.

The Lie of Context: Showing either a small snippet alone, or a string of snippets together, to create a false impression of what happened.

The Lie of Non Sequiturs: Combining vaguely related, or completely unrelated, information to create a false impression or conclusion.

The Lie of Invalidatable Conclusions: Pronouncing with certainty what has never been and can never be proven.

The Lie of Invalid Policy Comparisons: Comparing two seeming similar policies so the rational effects of one are inappropriately associated with the other.

The Lie of Big Databases: Claiming that sufficiently large databases will instantly identify useful information.

The Lie of Proportion: Avoid showing relative proportions in order to avoid showing the weakness of an argument.

The Lie of False Intents: Proclaiming a false goal to mask one’s real objective.

The Lie of Historical Obfuscation: Obscuring or marginalizing historical trends in order to lure people toward the same end.

The Lie of Science: Using weak or irrelevant studies by topic “experts” to convince people that greater minds have reached a valid conclusion.

The Lie of Methodology: Using inappropriate and misleading research methods to create ill-founded conclusions.

The Lie of Incomplete Comparisons: Examining only one aspect of a cause-and-effect relationship to create the impression of a single cause and effect.

The Lie of Inappropriate Experts: Using otherwise credible people without subject matter expertise to research or opine on a topic.

The Lie of Picked Cherries: Using selected studies, or selected parts of studies, to substantiate an invalid conclusion.

The Lie of Mass(ive) Assault: Generating a huge amount of convincing but inadequate “research” in order to make an issue appear to have “scientific consensus.”

The Lie of Universal Competence: Using experts in one field of study to opine in a different field, and having their credibility conceal poor research.

The Lie of Peer Review: Using bands of researchers who share the same biases to review and approve suspect research.

The Lie of Technology: Asserting that one or another technology will correct a perceived social disorder.

The Lie of Snowflakes: Claiming that every unit of a mass manufactured product is inherently unique and will always remain that way.

Lie of Concealment: Promoting a seemingly benign policy to surreptitiously enact a malignant one.

The Lie of Increments: Claiming that only a small intrusion into private matters is planned, knowing it can be made infinitely more intrusive later.

The Lie of Even Better Technology: Insisting that failed technologies will or have improved while ignoring the inherent problem.

The Lie of Business Acumen: Making inaccurate claims about the limited impact to business and customers in order make a costly proposal sound reasonable.

The Lie of Pantyhose: Claiming that people’s situations are similar enough that one-size-fits-all solutions work universally.

The Lie of Legislative Salvation: Assuring people that law by itself will cure a social ill.

The Lie of Accountability: Falsely assuring people that those charged with performing a duty will attempt to do so.

Lie of Moving Sources: Changing the claimed source or cause of a perceived problem when facts make it necessary.

The Lie of More: Insisting that more of the same will produce a different outcome.

The Lie of Mass Micro: Claiming that a law restraining the masses will control the minority who actually cause problems.

The Lie of Distance: Comparing places to which the average voter has never traveled to create a misleading policy analogy.

The Lie of Selected Cells: Selecting a small number (often two) points of reference to create a false comparison, ignoring the remaining combinations.

The Lie of Exotic Divergence: Contrasting two items without exploring everything that might cause their differences.

The Lie of Limited Perspective: Avoidance of exposing the big picture or long-range trends.

The Lie of Vague Intentions: Uttering ill-defined but popular objectives while striving for specific and unpopular goals.

The Lie of Humanitarianism: Appealing to people’s hopes that aberrant human behavior can be post-processed, and later enforced, by government.

The Lie of Slices: Using a small slice of data to simultaneously obscure the reality presented by all the available data, and creating a false sense of blame.

The Lie of Cost: Using arbitrary and inconsistent definitions of cost to create a sense of a serious problem.

The Lie of Duration: Not exposing the duration of the topic in order to inflate or deflate the apparent cost, risk or benefit.

The Lie of Blindness: Willingly repeating factoids that have been disproven in order to perpetuate the myth.

The Lie of Balance: Avoiding exposure of the opposite assumption in order to avoid providing balanced perspective.

The Lie of Unexamined Alternatives: Examining only half of an obviously two-sided discussion to keep people from obtaining a full perspective.

The Lie of Synchronicity: Creating the appearance of mass, spontaneous mutual consensus to cause the public to believe there is an urgent issue to be resolved.

The Lie of Mirrors: Constantly stating the inverse of a fact in order to steadily remove belief in that fact.

The Lie of Magic: Redirecting the attention of the public away from the core of the topic to complicated irrelevancies.

The Lie of Shifted Terms: Inverting the meaning of words in order to invert an argument.

The Lie of Loyal Opposition: Rigging expert analysis and generating media coverage of the same to mask the true consensus.

The Lie of Bluff: Stating a lie with authority to get the media to repeat your claim.

The Lie of Action: Making claims that contradict your past actions in hopes that those actions are forgotten and your future actions will not be predicted.

The Lie of Inclusion: Including inappropriate people or organizations in a group.

The Lie of Union: Connecting two or more unrelated elements that occur in proximity to create the appearance of a problem caused by one.

The Lie of Straw: Using seemingly evil entity as a non sequitur point of argument.

Lie of Linguistic Substitution: Using similar-sounding phrases to blur the distinction between the undesirable and desirable so the desirable is vilified.

Lie of Clusters: Combining disjointed and emotional elements to obfuscate more basic fallacies.

The Lie of Coalition:Pretending that membership in an organization is popular and the ranks are swollen and stable.


Some additional canards I could not cram into the book

Political pervs are busy people, and they have coughed up a few canards beyond the scope of the first edition of Shooting The Bull and the endurance of the average reader. Below I have summarized some additional displays of their deception.


The Lie of the Promised Land: Promise of utopian outcomes with no conceivable method or means for achieving them, often to gain a smaller, incremental advancement.

The Lie of Guilt: Playing to a human’s innate sense of guilt, motivating them into otherwise irresponsible action.

The Lie of Distracting Terminology: Injecting confusing and inconsequential jargon into a discussion to distract people from the simpler and more understandable issue.

The Lie of Equivocation: The use of a term which has multiple meanings to present a false impression of the issue (e.g., “Michael Bloomberg is a man.”)

The Lie of Minutia: Presenting massive amounts of meaningless detail to distract people from focusing on conclusions or other important information.

The Lie of Historical Vectoring: Presenting one historical element as a proof of concept without presenting the full scope of historical pressures.

The Lie of Obvious: Stating that something is obvious in an attempt to prevent someone seeking information.

The Lie of Isolation: Making people feel as if they are out of touch with group concensus (a.k.a. The Gore Bore).