In logic, a non sequitur is the fallacy of asserting a conclusion which simply does not follow from the given premises. The world being what it is, I noted a while back that that isn’t a strong enough criticism for some popular arguments; we need a new category, the contrarium sequitur (or contra-sequitur for short), which is the fallacy of asserting a conclusion which is exactly the opposite of the conclusion that you should draw from the given premises.
As an example, take Mark C. Taylor’s April Op-Ed from the New York Times, on restructuring the American University. Taylor argues that American Universities have become timid, rigid, insular, and sclerotic. He believes that curricula and institutions must be fundamentally restructured in order to
make higher learning more agile, adaptive and imaginative. And he reckons that if you want to make an institution more agile, adaptive, and imaginative, then the best thing to do is to abolish existing organs of self-management and bring American Universities under the control of a politically-appointed regulatory bureaucracy since
colleges and universities, like Wall Street and Detroit, must be rigorously regulated.
Oh, yeah. Of course. Because when I think of restructuring for
imagination the first thing I think of is
quick! let’s get a micromanaging politically-appointed regulatory bureaucracy set up to create a one-size-fits-all solution!