There is a list of “logical fallacies” that I see published every now and then. The exact list of fallacies seems to change with every such list, but it usually lists 10-15 things that are deemed “logical fallacies” that automatically make a person wrong. And I propose this is nothing but an attempt at thought control.
For instance, there is an “Appeal to Tradition” fallacy. Claiming that something worked in the past for other people so it must be effective now is considered a fallacy. But why wouldn’t we have respect for something that did in fact work in the past? Are we so bold to think that some new technology that we just developed, which passed but some number of tests, is what works indisputably well now? Do we have no respect for past solutions, in which hidden factors might have been making something work, without us realizing it? We rather notoriously have no respect for such hidden factors. One of my main arguments is that we are far too quick to give up traditions and practices that did in fact work well enough, not recognizing how or why these complicated systems ended up developing. By rejecting tradition, we now focus on the new and what our hubris makes up our mind about. It makes us entirely too susceptible to new shiny products, some of which were purposely offered as a manipulative trick, and which have rather routinely burned humans all over the world and all throughout time.
If we do have an “Appeal to Tradition” fallacy, at this point, we should at least have an “Appeal to Science” fallacy. And, at that point, we shouldn’t have any “fallacies,” because we should have respect for both tradition and for new thought, of which should duel and dance a bit, as well as a sense that not everything works for everyone. We really can’t clamp this down perfectly. Telling the person who is asking us to think of tradition—to think of our ancient past—that they are de facto illogical is a total power move.
Or, another fallacy listed is an “ad hominem” attack. We all know this means to insult a person. I called a person a misogynist once and he asked me to back up my “ad hominem” attack. I called him a misogynist because he was a misogynist. And abusive mindsets such as that tend to not be able to see their abusive behavior. So, in the name of not making an “ad hominem,” am I not allowed to state a fact of reality as a I see it—that someone is behaving in a misogynistic way? His assertion that women were lazy was just an observable fact. My statement that he was a misogynist was a logical error.
This makes its way into our legal system. In a “defamation” case a person cannot claim someone is a bad thing. If a woman accuses a man of being violent, she can be sued for “defamation.” She is not allowed to state reality as she sees it. These thought paradigms we have, where we determine one way of thinking is good and another is bad, i.e., we bring a moralistic paradigm to thought itself, have very real consequences.
These “logical fallacies” gear our thinking to that which tabula rasa defines us as: pure creatures of logic. We are born with nothing at birth. We are here to take in evidence and make up our own minds. That we are born with the wisdom of our ancestors right in us or that past traditions might be worthy of understanding and even saving is not something these “logical fallacies” allow. They clamp down on this thinking, hard, deeming it, verbatim, illogical.
Perhaps this is why Mary Poppins rolled her eyes at Mr. Banks, as well as British society in general, with their “logic.”
The book will be The Moral Bias of Objectivism: How Moral Ideals Cloud Objectivity