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Reductio ad Absurdum

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Reductio ad Absurdum

In case you’re not conversant in Latin, reductio ad absurdum means “reduced to absurdity,” and is a principle of logic used to disprove a proposition by taking it to its ultimate conclusion. For example: “If you elect a man to the most difficult executive position in the world who has never run anything in his life, he will not only not fail, but will excel at the job.” If you apply reductio ad absurdum to this proposition, you have the United States of America from 2008 to the present.

What caused me to regurgitate reductio from the cloaca maxima that passes for my brain was signing for the delivery of a small, strangely shaped spring that keeps tension on the floorplate latch in a Remington 700. The spring on one of my old 700s had grown weak over the years and the floorplate popped open at inconvenient moments. Remington was nice enough to UPS a couple of replacements, and when the UPS driver showed up, he asked what on earth could be in such a tiny package that I had to sign for it.

“A spring,” I said, “but it’s part of a gun, so I guess Remington is obliged by law to send it signature required.”

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