Thursday, March 7, 2013

Logical Fallacy: No True Palestinian

We've talked about logical fallacies a lot on this blog, most notably when it is deployed by pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel commentators in order to justify a position. Of course, logical fallacies are not limited to any particular political point of least until now. I've seen a new tactic be deployed a lot recently both on the Huffington Post and elsewhere in order to defend the Palestinians. Our example, however, comes from Reddit for a change. As always, click to zoom in:

I call this the "No True Palestinian" logical fallacy. It's similar to but not exactly like the fallacy of division. If you read about this kind of thing a lot, you might be familiar with the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. It works like this:
"The No True Scotsman fallacy involves discounting evidence that would refute a proposition, concluding that it hasn’t been falsified when in fact it has.If Angus, a Glaswegian, who puts sugar on his porridge, is proposed as a counter-example to the claim “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge”, the ‘No true Scotsman’ fallacy would run as follows:(1) Angus puts sugar on his porridge.(2) No (true) Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.Therefore:(3) Angus is not a (true) Scotsman.Therefore:(4) Angus is not a counter-example to the claim that no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.This fallacy is a form of circular argument, with an existing belief being assumed to be true in order to dismiss any apparent counter-examples to it. The existing belief thus becomes unfalsifiable."
When it comes to the "No True Palestinian" argument, it works more like this.

The claim is made: "Palestinians don't support terrorism." The fallacy runs like above:
1) Terrorists operate with the support of many if not most Palestinians.
2) But not 100% of the Palestinians support those terrorists.
3) Therefore, no true Palestinians support terrorism. 

It's more like hair splitting than actual fallacy work, but the principle is the same as No True Scotsman. Evidence that contradicts the claim that the Palestinians are anything less than perfect angels are dismissed because "you shouldn't generalize." The Palestinians who do support terrorism are dismissed. Although it is true that generalization is not only wrong but also a fallacy in and of itself, that's where the "No True Palestinian" argument takes on the form of a strawman. In our Reddit example, no one said that 100% of the Palestinians voted for Hamas, yet the employer of the fallacy still took umbrage as if he did.

According to the "No True Palestinians" if even one Palestinian living on the other side of the world doesn't completely approve of people like Hamas, then others are not allowed to criticize the Palestinian nation as a whole for their extremist behavior. This is a double standard that for some reason only seems to apply to the Palestinians. Nobody defends the Iraq War by saying "I didn't support it!" Yeah, we know you didn't support it but America still want ahead and did it, and America deserves criticism for it. Just like the Palestinians.

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