Saturday, June 18, 2011

Drop the Puck

On Wednesday evening for the third time in the forty-year history of their National Hockey League franchise, the Vancouver Canucks were defeated (this time by the Boston Bruins) in the finals of the Stanley Cup playoff (they have never won the Cup, the ultimate prize in ice hockey). And for the second time in the Canucks’ Stanley Cup playoff history, after the defeat a riot ensued in downtown Vancouver. According to The Canadian Press, “Rioters burned cars, smashed windows and looted stores in the city centre for several hours on Wednesday. . . .The riot caused millions of dollars in damage, left at least 150 injured, including nine police officers.”

Who was to blame for the riot?

Again quoting The Canadian Press (via

Goaltender Roberto Luongo said it was disturbing to watch images of Wednesday's riot.

"It was disappointing. Those were not the real Vancouver fans that were doing that," said Luongo.

"I think it was isolated groups. It was tough to watch that something like that happened to the city."

Other players echoed Luongo's comments that the team's devoted fans couldn't have had anything to do with the riot.

The responses of the Canucks players were following the line set down by the team’s management. General Manager Mike Gillis claimed, "Those aren't our fans who were doing that."


Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing." The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing."

Antony Flew, Thinking about Thinking (1975)


Flew has given the name “No-true-Scotsman move” to the attempts by debaters to shift the boundaries of evidence to exclude from one’s side all examples that would reflect negatively on one’s argument. And it is a very popular ploy. As the philosopher Julian Baggini has stated:

One reason why the no-true-Scotsman move is so tempting is because none of us likes to think that we keep company with people we find abhorrent.