Politically Incorrect, Therefore True

I can’t begin to count the number of times someone has hit me with the Politically Incorrect, Therefore True fallacy (any Latin translation would be greatly appreciated). The basic idea is this: you assert something nonsensical or excessive, and then argue that because your ideas are not mainstream, any disagreement with you must be a form of politically correct repression. Included are arguments that a certain policy prescription must be followed because it’s the hard way.

Ironically, some arguments have been so successful in their use of PI->T that they’re now dominant, even though the people who believe in them still adhere to the myth that they’re being oppressed. It’s apparently dogma among conservatives and possibly moderates that women are biologically worse than men at math, and that blacks and Latinos are naturally dumber than whites while Asians are smarter. And yet, criticize either of these arguments, and you’ll get the standard reply: “Oh, this is yet another PC brainwashing.”

Let’s grant you for a moment that you’re being oppressed; that still doesn’t make you right. If you want to speak truth to power, you’re welcome to; just give evidence that your sexist, racist, militant, or pro-torture views are right. If after you’ve established your veracity without logical fallacies you want to talk about your oppression, feel free.

5 Responses to Politically Incorrect, Therefore True

  1. Stentor says:

    IOW, “speaking truth to power” is not the same as “speaking contrarianism to power.”

  2. Good one. I have not heard this fallacy before.
    The vast majority of ideas are wrong, including politically incorrect ones.

  3. […] Alon of Abstract Nonsense writes about an (emerging) fallacy, the argument from political incorrectness. This fallacy, to me, is somewhat akin to the Galileo gambit; that deviation from the mainstream is admirable in and of itself. Doubting in commonly accepted knowledge, a constrained contrainaism, is fine, so long as they can back it up with evidence. An unconstrained contranaism, where just speaking out against consensus is “brave and daring” is unproductive. Just because you contradict consensus doesn’t mean you are right. In fact, it is the contrarian’s task to prove the common knowledge wrong. […]

  4. inaeth says:

    Hmmm, I wrote an article called “The Marty Mentality” as one of the first few posts on my blog. (Hell, I’ve only been blogging for a little bit, not even three weeks so far…) I think what you are talking about comes very close to what I was talking about. Usually, it seems to me, when a person is utilizing this metaphor/logic/praxis, it is usually reinforced by certain people’s assumptions that everyone else is brainwashed but them. You can see it in the Religious Reich circles all the time: the majority of the country is Christian, but when they want a Christian policy that is debated, they will immediately play “True by unPC” card you described. The sad thing about this is that it seems to be extraordinarily effective in a lot of circles.

  5. […] in a while, someone in the West speaks contrarianism to power and suggests democracy isn’t a good idea. Usually the alternative peddled is some […]

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