Comment Of The Day: “Decided: The Ten Reasons I’ll Be Voting To Re-Elect President Trump [6-10]

Scotsman Willy

With his Comment of the Day, Humble Talent neatly identifies as a rationalization a disingenuous argument that I have been fighting on social media for four years. This is the dodge, and it is a dodge, of moderate progressives and once reasonable Democrats who refuse to accept that the party and ideology they felt good about supporting has taken a hard-left turn to fanaticism.

“Oh, no,” I have been told. “The Green New Deal”/ confiscate guns/ reparations/ Medicare for all/free college tuition/ cancelling student loan debt/late term abortions/punishing “hate speech”/ open borders/ “defunding the police”…even impeaching the President and so on ad nauseam aren’t really Democratic party agenda items. Just a few over-enthusiastic and well-publicized activists are pushing those, and it’s unfair to say that the entire party wants such things. Yes, yes, it’s true that Democratic leaders don’t clearly oppose these ideas, but….”

Some of them might even believe it. However, the over-all effect has been to lie to the American public, which has a right to know just how estranged from practical government and democratic principles one side of the political spectrum has become. HT will have his rationalization added to the list as soon as he settles on a name.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Decided: The Ten Reasons I’ll Be Voting To Re-Elect President Trump [6-10]:

I’ve said off and on for years that “NAXALT” should be in the list of rationalizations.

It’s a mutation of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. With “No True Scotsman”, someone says “A person did that!!? No true believer in our ideology would do that! So they aren’t part of our ideology!” It’s kind of an ad hoc moral rescue where people try to distance themselves from members of their group by creating immaterial differentiations.

With NAXALT (Not all X are Like That) The fallacious are admitting that people in their group do what you’re talking about, and they might even be admitting they don’t appreciate the behavior, they just want you to discount it or draw conclusions about the group from the actions of their members. Defenders (or users) of NAXALT will describe it as a call against bigotry: Because how dare you judge a group based on the actions of its members.

The thing is that with NAXALT, users are giving away the premise even if you don’t realize it, because the subtext is “But obviously some are”, and the ones that are 1) can have a massive disproportionate impact and 2) are still part of your group, and derive part of their worldview from that association. While it would be wrong to judge individuals inside the group on the actions of other people in the group, it is not unreasonable to judge the group and point out significant problems with its ideology. And attempting to avoid conversations about ideological issues by pointing out that the issues aren’t universal isn’t honest.

Not all Muslims will become irrationally angry and behead people drawing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, Peace and Blessings be upon him.”

…but some do.

7 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Decided: The Ten Reasons I’ll Be Voting To Re-Elect President Trump [6-10]

  1. Well done, HT and congratulations. I like short, simple “NAXALT.” But I have to admit, on first reading the acronym, I could not resist thinking about a former governor of Nevada named Laxalt.

    • That might be more evergreen. I’d considered calling it “The Rioters 93” in reference to the “93% of protests that weren’t violent”, but then I’d also considered calling it “Odlaw’s Deception” after the “Where’s Waldo” villain… I’m not great at naming things.

  2. I think this rationalization comes from the sunken cost fallacy. People feel like they have invested too much into supporting the Democrat party to turn back now, so they rationalize away the parts they don’t like.

    I always thought of this as the head in the sand rationalization, but I like Humble Talent’s explanation better.

  3. As expected, I committed myself to commenting here about a pet peeve I have.

    NAXALT (Not all X are Like That) is a common mis-formulation of part of Aristotle’s Square of Opposition. Specifically, it is a contradictory statement from the Universal Affirmative, All X are Y. To contradict that, many contradict the entire statement and say, as Humble Talent essentially did, “Not all X are Y.” This is an improper formulation of the contradiction, which is the Particular Negation, Some X is not Y, which is what Humble Talent correctly infers in his comment.

    This is a relatively harmless mis-formulation, compared to the far more common negation of the Universal Affirmative. That would be transforming All X are Y to All X are Not Y. The most common example of this is when the Universal Affirmative, “All Men Are Created Equal,” is transformed into “All Men Are NOT Created Equal,” which is equivalent to the Universal Negation, “No X are Y.” Thus, instead of saying that some people are not equal, they are saying no one is equal to or anyone else, while needlessly bastardizing Aristotle’s Square of Opposition in the process.

    Like I said, it’s a pet peeve….


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