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June 23, 2017

I Never Knew This Had A Name

Feminist: All men are rapists.

OregonMuse: What, are you high? You know that's complete bullshit.

Feminist: No, it's not, it's why we need feminism -- to smash the patriarchy.

OregonMuse: Feminism is bullshit.

Feminist: You're obviously a h8r. "Feminism is the radical proposition that women are people, too." How could you be against that?

-----

Do you see what the feminist did there? She led with a controversial, hard-to-defend statement, and then, when pressed, retreated to a safe, no-sane-person-can-be-against-this platitude. And then pretended the two are the same. I've seen this in one form or another for years and it's just infuriating. But I never knew until about an hour ago that it has a name.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold, the Motte and Bailey trick:

Motte and bailey (MAB) is a combination of bait-and-switch and equivocation in which someone switches at will between a "motte" (an easy-to-defend and often common-sense statement, such as "culture shapes our experiences") and a "bailey" (a hard-to-defend and more controversial statement, such as "cultural knowledge is just as valid as scientific knowledge") in order to defend their viewpoint. Someone will "support" the easy-to-defend (motte) temporarily, to ward off critics, but does not actually believe what they're saying. The "difficult" (bailey) version always remains the desired belief, but is never actually defended. For all intents and purposes, the MAB'er is defending a "ghost" belief.

So MAB is a specie of the genus "bait and switch." I found this graphic on Twitter that illustrates the MAB with a couple of examples:



motte and bailey.jpg

It has suddenly occurred to me that the old "clown nose on/clown nose off" stunt that Jon Stewart pulled on Tucker Carlson to great effect could be seen as a kind of MAB sub-specie.

Anyway, that's all I've got this morning. Hopefully, ace will be here soon with some real content.

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posted by OregonMuse at 11:31 AM

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