Newshub’s handy book of logical fallacies and white saviourism

Caption: A Newshub journalist basks in the grateful adulation to which they feel entitled.

Just in case witch-hunts and meekly donning oppression-rags isn?t enough to signal how virtuous they are, Newshub have a handy guide for readers to shield themselves against the hatey hate-speech of any of their friends who inexplicably persist in noticing that some followers of the Prophet have a teensy propensity to violence. Apparently realising that logic isn?t on their side, Newshub?s guide is a comprehensive cavalcade of logical fallacies and white-saviour complex.

They kick off the whole charade with that old favourite: begging the question. Why bother actually listening to someone when you?ve decided in advance what they?re saying? Newshub and their readers already know that anyone who disagrees with them is just a racist. But, just in case, be ready to straw-man them. Quote:

Try to reply to them outside of the premise of their statement, framing, or language. If your only comeback to “all Muslims are terrorists” is “no they aren’t”, you won’t get far. End of quote.

Probably because almost no one ever actually says that. ?Replying outside the premise of their statement? is a straw man fallacy: pretending to refute an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that wasn?t made. Quote:

Instead of coming right back with a counter-argument, asking questions can give you a chance to think. End of quote.

Avoiding answering an argument is precisely the opposite of thinking. If you can?t answer an argument, at least have the honesty of admitting so. Trying to distract attention with rhetorical questions is the worst kind of sophistry.

Now we get to the real champagne comedy. Quote:

Avoid personal attacks. End of quote.

Too late, Newshub: your whole article is premised on personal attacks. When you proceed from the starting-point of calling people ?racist? and ?Islamophobic?, then personal attacks are all you?ve got. I challenge any Newshub journalist or reader to hold a conversation about Islam without using these attack-words. ?Nazi?, ?white supremacist?, ?alt-right? and ?far-right? are out, too. Those are all personal attacks.

Still, if Newshub and their pals really do avoid personal attacks, the resultant silence will be a sweet blessing. Quote:

Use key words Shift the goalposts.

One clever way to move the conversation beyond an anti-Muslim statement is to focus on a key word in the statement and shift the meaning in your response. I like this tip because it’s easy to remember in the moment.

So your holiday dinner guest says: “It’s about time the Government does something to protect all Kiwis from terrorists.” In response, you can say, “I totally agree, we should protect people from terror, like those who are fleeing violence and war.” See, you’ve shifted the meaning of who needs protection and what the terror is. End of quote.

No, you?ve shifted the goalposts. The original argument was specifically about protecting all Kiwis from terrorists. Changing the argument to all people, and ?fleeing violence and war? is a completely different argument. All you?re doing is tacitly conceding that you can?t refute their actual argument, so you?re making up a new one to suit yourself.

A facts-based argument about Islam and terror is dangerous ground for Newshub and their ilk. After all, the facts about Islam and terror are corrosive to the ?progressive? narrative. It?s a bit hard to prattle that Islam is a ?religion of peace? if you?re forced to admit that hundreds of people are murdered in the name of Islam every month.

So above all, avoid facts and appeal to emotion instead. Quote:

Tell a story about what the world would look like if values that you and the listener share were shaping the world?”Everyone deserves to live and pray in safety and peace.” End of quote.


Hmm. Tell that to Christians in places like Nigeria and the Philippines. But the problem with this is that it?s not a serious argument, it?s a platitude. As we see too often, the left privilege feelings over facts. But emotions are an unreliable guide to truth. On the contrary, emotions cloud judgement.

Finally, if all else fails, be a white saviour. Try to read the cartoon below without retching. It?s a classic case of ?white saviour complex?: the patronising notion that ?woke? white leftists have to come charging to the rescue of helpless minorities.

But, as Orwell reminds us: ?a humanitarian is always a hypocrite?.

Caption: Fear not, helpless brown person! I, a fearless white person, am here to protect you!