Hello kids! The term of the week is “False Dilemma Fallacy” –
This is a type of logical fallacy that involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there is AT LEAST ONE ADDITIONAL OPTION. The options may be a position that is between the two extremes (such as when there are shades of grey) or may be a completely different alternative.
For instance – Chicken Restaurants. If this restaurant makes a comment or stance against a group of people. By eating at this restaurant, one isn’t necessarily saying that they agree or disagree with their opinions. It could also be that they just like their chicken.
We could go on to use the example of religion and politics but I think…damn…i hope most get the picture. My good friend Jessy Leros once told me. “Rock, just because there are two paths shown in front of you…doesn’t mean you can’t create your own path.”
Then suddenly I imagine the following debate taking place. Granted this is just my imagination and it hasn’t happen, it’s not the first time I’ve come to answers by simply placing people who I’ve met in real life, into an arena in my mind. The answers they give is what I’d expect them to give based on what I’ve seen and heard from them thus far.
She points at me and accuses. “Well Rock. That just means you’re ignorant! You’re pretending not to choose a side which only shows that you don’t care about what’s happening!”
With my hands in my pockets, I look over my shoulders at her. “Why are you giving me crap? Can’t I just eat here in peace?”
“If you do, then you’re saying that you agree with their position against the LGBT community!” She says.
Deeply offended, but managing to contain to myself, I offer a rebuttal with a calm expression which she misinterprets as chauvinism. “I disagree.” I begin. “On the contrary, you know that I deeply value your opinion and respect you as a friend. This does not mean that I will always agree with your opinions and beliefs and that’s alright. I like friends who differ from me because I like to think that I can learn from them. The birds who “flock together” are missing out on the beauty of diversity.”
“However…” I say as I finally turn to square my shoulders toward her. “This false dilemma fallacy you throw upon me is upsetting. It seems that you’re telling me that just because i refuse to choose a side, I don’t care, and that’s not true. I do care, but I disagree with the tactics by which you and a lot of individuals who share your opinions seem to be presenting.”
“You say that civil rights for the LGBT community isn’t hurting anyone. They’re not bothering anyone nor does it impede on anything I’m setting out to accomplish. It doesn’t affect anyone’s business in anyway. But is that really true? Just now, by you saying that I must choose a side, I must stay away from this restaurant less I’m against civil rights…by you saying that, you’re kind of making me feel like crap. You’ve dug a guilt trip and are trying to push me in. The fact that you’re turning red only shows that you’re putting in too much emotion where logic should be the precipice.”
“We’re just trying the make the world see how we’re bullied and persecuted. People like you try to turn a blind eye to it and that isn’t right!” She says.
That makes me smile. She’s finally using her head. “I’m all for that, missy. Believe me I am. I’m all for protest and voicing your opinion for all the world to hear. It’s an amazing thing to open people’s eyes to a new idea, a concept different from that of which they’ve lived their lives since birth. But forcing people to see it your way. Telling others that they are wrong and should be ashamed of themselves because of they disagree with you. Isn’t that a form of bullying? A form of oppression?”
“I see it your way, of how people are being picked on and the discrimination is there. I can’t say with entirety that I know exactly how you feel because I’m not gay. While I have been mistaken as a gay guy because I was in my high school’s drama club, I won’t even begin to say that I’m the same as you in that regard. I’m saying that you can’t blame others for having a hard time understanding how you feel and what you’re going through. I’m saying that you should take that in consideration when you cast judgment on others. Don’t be so quick to label someone a homophobe.”
That’s the end of the debate. Now comes the hard part where I reflect on a debate that has never happened. …Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, yes, but that doesn’t mean that they have to make it known. It greatly disturbs me when some people make their opinion known, and then when someone comes in with sound logic that inadvertently pokes holes in their theory, their slapped in the face with… “Look, I’m entitled with my opinion. You have no right to criticize me!”
Such sillyness. Kakaka! The fact the I’m typing this on my website, goes to show how damaging I feel my words can be to unreceptive so called activists who have a faulty theory cemented in their subconscious.
I’m not saying that my words are perfect. I’m not saying that everyone else is wrong and I’m right. But I grew up under that oppressive false dilemma fallacy. As a teen, I couldn’t articulate why I felt like a villain even though I cared so much for my fellow neighbors. I had stumbled into those guilt trips and looked up from the hole to religious fanatics and traditionalists glaring down at me. As an adult, I refuse fall for those guilt trips again.