“What do they teach them at these schools?” – The Famous Professor Kirke
Our second to last argument for Trump voting is very weak indeed. It represents the leading edge of the last ditch (like the “It’s all your fault!” approach), for use when all else has failed. It is the idea that the only reason people could have for still standing against Trump is an arrogant refusal to admit they’re wrong. The speaker might say this is because their target wants to feel morally superior or just that he/she is stubborn. The end result is the same: the argument tries to show that the other person’s opposition to Trump isn’t based on reason but instead on some moral failing. Here’s what it might look like:
“Listen! Do you want to risk our entire country’s future on your unwillingness to admit you’re wrong? How arrogant can you be? Get off your moral high horse and vote Trump!”
This is a form of argument that had traditionally been the last resort of those who have no leg to stand on. It is so well known that logicians even have a name for it: The Genetic Fallacy. This is an informal fallacy where you attack the person rather than the argument. Why? Because you know you can’t win the argument on the facts and so you divert attention from it by attacking the other person. Here, if you can succeed in labeling your opponent “arrogant” or “snotty” or whatever*, you can “win” by making people dislike him/her. Better, if you can make him/her dislike themselves, you can force a change of mind quite literally for no reason at all. In that sense, it really doesn’t matter if you’re saying to the other person “you’re arrogant,” “you’re ugly,” or even “Nuh-uh, you!” As long as your opponent doesn’t want to be thought of as any of those things, he/she has to give in. The actual facts of the matter have nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Ironically, somewhere out there, there are indeed some anti-Trump people who are arrogant snots whose opposition to Trump comes from that alone. Even so, does that prove Trump is fit to be president and therefore worthy of another vote? C. S. Lewis coined the term “Bulverism” to describe this particular fallacy. In short, just because a statement comes from irrational sources, it doesn’t follow that it must be untrue. For example, I may have an irrational fear of heights, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not right to be afraid to walk across that rickety bridge. It may well be that it is unsafe. So, just showing that some people do oppose Trump out of arrogance doesn’t go a step further toward showing he’s fit to be president. In order to do that, you have to provide positive proof – something the speaker has probably run out of if they’ve had to resort to this argument.
Yet another problem is that this doesn’t describe any #NeverTrump person with whom I am personally acquainted. I know myself best, and I can say that “arrogance” has nothing to do with my own position. I would like nothing more than to find out that I’m completely wrong, that Trump really is a moral man, that he’ll make a great president, and I can eat humble pie and get on with life confident of the future. The problem is the evidence testifies to the exact opposite. Therefore, I’m not refusing to admit I’m wrong because I’m too arrogant; I just see the evidence pointing in a different direction. Further, I do not see evidence of blind, unreasoned hatred in any of the many posts or articles originating from like-minded people. They are firm, they are frank, but they are not hateful. Just browse this site, for instance.
On the other hand, a sizeable portion of the rhetoric I see coming from the pro-Trump side is filled with both hatred and arrogance. For example, consider what David French has faced for daring to make a strong stand against Trump. Recently, another Trump supporter implied that Evan McMullin was inviting a “Mormocaust” by running against Trump. I’m not suggesting that all or even most Trump supporters would agree with this, but the fact remains that I haven’t seen this level of nonsense from anyone other than a Trump or Clinton supporter. (Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place – human nature dictates they must be out there somewhere.)
In the end, once the fallacies are revealed and dealt with, this is an attack we each must handle by asking ourselves honest questions. Is my opposition to Donald Trump rooted in arrogance? If the `answer is “no”, then we should see this “argument” for what it really is: simple bullying that should have been left behind on the school yard playground.
*Or “racist” or “homophobic”. That may be why this argument sounds familiar – it has been a favorite of the Left for a very long time.
Answering the arguments:
- “We allied with Stalin. Why not vote for Trump?”
- “If you can’t vote for the candidate, vote for the platform. Vote Trump!”
- “Haven’t you heard? Trump is a baby Christian now!”
- “Why is it only Bill Clinton gets away with rape? Vote Trump!”
- “Because Hillary. Vote Trump!”
- “You have an obligation to vote for the pro-life candidate. Vote Trump!”
- “Vote Trump. Because SCOTUS.”
- “But Trump is surrounding himself with good people! Vote Trump!”
- “If Hillary wins, it will all be your fault! Vote Trump!”
- “You should repent of your arrogance and vote Trump.”
- “You will answer to God if you don’t vote Trump.”
Interested in what I think we should do about it? Find out here.