Home > Argumentation > The “Hateful Bigots” “Argument”

The “Hateful Bigots” “Argument”

If there’s one thing that gets me, it’s poor argumentation. You should feel free to hold positions that counter my own, but you should have valid reasons for them. Reasons that are not reasons will be savaged.

Which brings us to the “hateful bigots” argument. You know exactly the kind of argument that I’m talking about: “Those who believe in ____ are nothing but hateful bigots.” We’ve seen it with gay marriage, we’ve seen it when people who refuse to vote for Obama, we’ve seen it leveled at people who want to do nothing but spend less.

The problem is that the “hateful bigots” accusation is a monumentally poor argument. For one thing, it’s an exercise in question begging. Follow the steps.

  1. “You disagree with me, so you must be a hateful bigot.”
  2. “How do I know that you’re a hateful bigot?”
  3. “It’s obvious – you disagree with me.”

That is circular reasoning par excellence. The next time you are tempted to call someone hateful, or label them a bigot, take a look at your reasons for doing so and ask yourself whether you’re presuming that they have no reasons themselves. They probably do.

Finally, this “argument” is ironic in the extreme. The presumption that an opponent must have no valid reasons and therefore is necessarily a hateful bigot sounds an awful lot like bigotry, doesn’t it? And it certainly isn’t nice. Dare I say it’s hateful?

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