A non sequitur (ˈnän-ˈse-kwə-tər), according to the Merriam-Webster on line dictionary, is: "a statement that is not connected in a logical or clear way to anything said before it."
Examples abound on national television. Ed Henry asks oxymoronically named Josh Earnest about the President's reaction to ISIS overrunning Ramadi, and Earnest answers, "The President is committed to ensuring the national security of the United States throughout the world." Umm, yeah. But even if that were true, Josh, what does it have to do with the question?
Megyn Kelly asks Robert Zimmerman whether the Duggars are hypocrites, and Zimmerman responds (inaccurately) that they are preventing other people from living their lives the way they want.
It's as though nonsequiturists are totally oblivious to what other people are saying. They seem to be listening only to the voices inside their own heads. One is tempted to ask, What the devil are they thinking?" The answer, of course, is they aren't thinking at all – because they can't.
Nonsequiturists can't help it. Their brains are filled with talking points to the exclusion of facts. Without facts, they are incapable of thinking logically, and being unable to think logically, they are incapable of communicating meaningfully. The most they can do is select the talking point closest to the subject or question and repeat it over and over like a parakeet.
Nonsequiturism is not a disease. It's a symptom. It's root cause is thinking in terms of right and wrong instead of true and false. True and false are absolute values that translate readily to possible and impossible. Right and wrong, on the other hand, are subjective judgments that are readily swayed by emotional considerations.
Right and wrong are easily preempted by the less thought–evocative Newspeak simplifications of good and bad, and people who think in terms of right and wrong are ripe candidates for good-bad therapy. good-bad therapy is what we use on children who are not yet capable of rational thinking. But it's also used on adults to stifle rational thinking.
Good-bad therapy seeks to convince the patient that reality is a dichotomy and that all choices are dilemmas. Its purpose is to destroy the patient's ability to think critically. If you think only in terms of good – bad, it's easy to simultaneously entertain fundamentally contradictory beliefs, such as poverty bad – wealth bad.
And you have to be able to think beyond dichotomies to recognize that diametrically opposed concepts like democracy good – government good cannot possibly both be true.
Good-bad therapy results in conformable thinking, which is its purpose, but it also results in non-pragmatic thinking. Without facts against which to reference your thinking, it's impossible to make logical decisions. It doesn't matter if it's self-destructive; if it feels good, do it. It makes no difference whether it works or not; if it sounds good, do it.
Good-bad therapy is creating a generation of self-destructive, uncommitted, and feckless, Americans who are incapable of thinking beyond the current propaganda and Perception Control campaigns.
And nonsequiturism is the least of the dangers they present.