Tu Quoqu…erm

Arguments from hypocrisy can legitimately target a number of features of a speaker’s case.  They may show that a proposal is really impractical, or they may show that things are more complicated than the speaker’s pronouncements make it seem.  Or they, in ad hominem fashion, may show that the speaker lacks the ethotic standing (has a moral right) to lecture us about X, Y, or Z.  But they usually are irrelevant — that’s why they have a name for the fallacy, the tu quoque.

One, I think uncontroversial, constraint on these (even fallacious) versions of arguments from inconsistency/hypocrisy is that the two events must be actually inconsistent.  Otherwise, no hypocrisy.  Surely, an argument from hypocrisy needs for there to be hypocrisy, first.

Enter Jerome Hudson over at Breitbart with his clearly newsworthy report on Matt Damon’s apparent hypocrisy:

 “Great Wall” Star: “I’m not a fan of walls”

So, how is this news? Moreover, I don’t see the hypocrisy.  The Matt Damon movie is about a wall keeping out lizard monsters and what look like sword-wielding dragons.  The Trump wall isn’t designed for that purpose, no matter how racist you are.

One thought on “Tu Quoqu…erm”

  1. I suspect that, in the fevered imaginations of the people at Breitbart (and those who willingly and credulously consume such materials) the folks who come to this country to spend 14 hours a day bent over double, picking strawberries 6 days a week, are just such monsters. Perhaps my rhetoric in the above is slightly overblown, but in this entrenched, “authoritarian” mind set (here I am thinking explicitly of Altemeyer), the movie is a “reasonable” metaphor for how they view the world.

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