Argument From Authority and False Dichotomy – The New Dogma

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Social Media is leading the charge to embrace fallacy, tribalism, groupthink, and stupidity.  Welcome to dogma redefined.

How frequently do we see social media posts such as:

“Do you think (blank) should be (blank)?

YES or NO”

Take your pick – it might be “Should Biden be impeached” or it might be “Should Trump be indicted” – no matter – these are all the same.

What they have in common, typically, is that to accept the premise you must accept any number of facts not in evidence, and you must also accept that the only two answers are “YES” or “NO.”  You are presented with an argument from authority and then asked to respond by buying into a false dichotomy.  Depending on which “tribe” you identify with, your response will either be praised or attacked by your own “tribe.”  You see, there is no in-between, and you can’t challenge the premise.

Recently, it was my pleasure to participate in a roundtable discussion on Rucksack Radio.  One segment of that show was a discussion of how dogma has spread beyond the typical religious context into almost everything.  If you would like to watch the show, on Rumble you can tune in here, and on YouTube here.

On that show, we all agreed that this phenomenon seems to have coincided with the rise of social media.

But why?

Every year I spend a week or two deer hunting in the mountains of eastern Washington.  There are about 12 of us in the group.  Many in the group know one another quite well outside of hunting camp but some of us only see one another once a year and really don’t know one another all that well.  We do know enough about one another to avoid a fistfight in camp after we’ve all downed about 15 beers.

Now imagine that group having a discussion via social media where everything said is public.  You don’t know who is listening.  You may be attacked by hundreds of people if you say something that questions the dogma of your tribe.  And so, to avoid that, you play it safe.  You don’t dispute the premise and you either vote with your tribe or remain silent.  You only make posts designed to get clicks, likes, or followers.  You only make posts your “tribe” will affirm. 

Thus the new definition of dogma is born.  The argument from authority is not challenged.  The false dichotomy is not challenged.  And this applies universally to all topics.

If you believe an election was legitimate, you are on the side of the “cheaters.”  If you question the results of an election, you are an election denier.  If you question an authority on climate, you are a climate denier.  If you believe the climate “experts” you are being duped into a scam.

There is no room for reasonable questions or disagreements.

How many times have we heard politicians and media personalities lament the police officers that were killed on January 6th?  No police officers were killed that day, one protester was.  But the facts don’t matter, once the dogma within your tribe is established that is the end of the discussion – the end of the questioning.

In this environment, critical thinking is not allowed by any “tribe.”  Our media and our educators are not only ok with this, they actively encourage it.  Critical thinking is to be squashed, and there is no “side” or “tribe” that is not guilty of this.

This sets us on a path to stupidity and ultimately to tyranny.  You aren’t doing anyone any favors by refusing to question the dogma.  You are not doing your “tribe” any favors, and you certainly aren’t doing your country any favors.  Imagine how many lives might have been saved if more people were questioning the dogma in Germany in the early 1930s – or Russia in the 1900s.  The reason they didn’t was the same then as now, fear.

So we are left with a simple question: Are you more afraid of being attacked now for disagreeing or are you more afraid of what will happen in the future if you acquiesce now?


Please check out my website  Please check out “The Group” for RSS feeds to some of my favorite writers and podcasters.  Thank you for reading!  And – I’ve started a store on the website – mostly for friends but you may be interested – check out the Gadsden Store.

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