Monday, January 14, 2013

Argument from Intimidation–A Favorite Debating Tactic of Bullies With No Other Argument Otherwise

Not only was Ayn Rand prescient when she wrote “Atlas Shrugged” in 1957 she did it again with this essay from 1964. It’s a bit shorter than “Atlas Shrugged”. It’s about what she identified as another logical fallacy that she called the Argument from Intimidation which is closely related to Argumentum Ad Hominem. From the essay:

The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy. The pattern is always: "Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea."

Argument from Intimidation is the type of “argument” employed by Piers Morgan as he debated Ben Shapiro of last week but Shapiro recognized the tactic and wouldn’t be intimidated and as Roger Kimball put it a PJ Media, Morgan was deftly filleted by Shapiro.

Go and read the whole essay. It isn’t long and it’s well worth the read if you want to recognize and defeat the tactic.

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