How to Spot a BS Argument #2: Ergo Decedo

Man pointing

If you don’t like this article, then GTFO.

Just kidding, we need the ad revenue. But seriously, that’s how this fallacy works… or rather, doesn’t work. Because it’s a fallacy; it literally* doesn’t work… except as an argument by someone spewing bullshit at you.

Anyway folks, buckle your seat belts and fluff your motion sickness bags: we’re about to take a trip to a surprisingly well-populated suburb of Stupidtown. The funny thing is, you’ve been meeting people from there all your life and just never knew it.

Stupidtown: it’s up the road from Flavortown, but all they have are Olive Gardens.

How can you tell if you’ve met one? Easy: just voice a perfectly reasonable criticism of their neighborhood. Maybe you’re passing through and notice off-leash dogs everywhere, not just at city parks but in restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and even hospitals. If you remarked to a local on how this was a bad idea–if not because of the possible car accidents, then because of serious health risks, you’d be met with the following response:

Well if you don’t like it, why don’t you just leave?”

Sound familiar at all? See, you have met one of these people, haven’t you? And obviously, by “these people” we mean, “this fallacy”. (It’s called a metaphor; literally… literarily, whatever.)

Ergo Decedo – Latin for “Well Then, F**k Off” (Basically)

The reason this is a fallacy is simple: it completely avoids addressing the actual argument or criticism, instead, putting the emphasis on the affiliation of the person making it. It’s a form of Ad Hominem–attacking the person rather than the argument.

But it’s an even more insidious form of that common fallacy, because it appeals to our primitive tribal nature. It’s based on the idea that if you don’t belong to the “in” group–by way of accepting their social norms–you don’t have any right to criticize those norms. So not only does this argument avoid addressing the criticism, it’s circular, fingernails-on-your-brain stem stupidity: in order for your criticism to be valid you must not have a criticism of the thing you want to criticize.

Let’s look at it another way:

Love It or Leave It

“It was white velour you revolting bastard!”

Your significant other walks in on you doing something disgusting… let’s say for the sake of relative propriety that you’re sitting bare-assed on the couch, chewing off your toenails–you can imagine whatever you’d like in this scenario. They express their revulsion, and you reply, “well if you don’t like–seeing me gnaw on my own feet while my butthole rubs all over the couch–(or whatever other sick thing you imagined), why don’t you just break up with me?”

So now that you’re back on the dating scene you have plenty of time to reconsider what you said. As you sift through the ashes of your t-shirts and Pokemon card collection, that squishy gunk between your ears might brush up against everything that’s wrong with the entire chain of thoughts that led up to you being newly single. Gee, you think to yourself, maybe criticism should be independent of one’s status in the group. You also think, maybe I should get some toenail clippers.

Parting Shots

It should go without saying that this fallacy is used mostly in political arguments. But it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or who’s making it: it’s bullshit within any set of lines on a map, within any group, political party, cause, or monkey troop. If you’re going to bring Patriotism into it, it’s a safe bet you’re doing so because you don’t want to face up to criticism; and you’re not fooling anyone except people who can’t identify the sharpened end of the pencil in the voting booth. Besides, this guy is more badass than any politician you’ve ever voted for in your entire life, and he disagrees:

No caption needed.

 

So love it, and leave that bullshit somewhere else.

FIN

Footnotes

*In the actual sense of the word used by people who aren’t happily sodomizing the English language on a daily basis**.

**This does not include the Merriam-Webster Freaking Dictionary any more; or maybe we should say “anymore”, irregardless***.

This makes us want to figuratively murder people

***That was deliberate. Shame on you.