Monday, May 12, 2008

The Logical Fallacy of Tu Quoque, Ego Quoque and Ego Peior

The Latin words Tu Quoque literally mean You too.

The Tu Quoque Fallacy, put simply, is the fallacy of saying
You also do those bad things you are accusing me of doing instead of actually dealing with the bad things being presented in a debate. This deflection of criticism is a type of obfuscation that evades the responsibility of addressing the arguments put forth by the critic.

The Tu Quoque is used by the object of the criticism. Thus, if a non-Muslim criticizes a Muslim for the Islam he follows, the most common deployment of Tu Quoque comes out of the mouth of the Muslim.

The variation on this I call “Ego Quoque -- which literally means "I too". When a non-Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslims in a dialogue with a fellow non-Muslim, and that fellow non-Muslim happens to be deformed by PC MC, then the fellow non-Muslim will tend to respond to the criticism of Islam or Muslims by jumping in to defend them with a variation on the Tu Quoque. Since, however, the non-Muslim is not a Muslim, but rather belongs to the same civilizational or cultural community as his fellow non-Muslims, I call his similar ploy the Ego Quoque fallacy: It is, in effect, saying Well, we also do the bad things we are accusing them of doing” or Well, we're no better than they are.

This is, on the surface,
a rather self-sacrificing posture, potentially noble and laudable and open-minded, but in the context of PC MC it lurches into the territory of the incoherent, the inane, the perverse, the hypocritical, the treasonous and the suicidalparticularly when the object of the criticism (Islam) is an outrageously anti-liberal system which is nourishing innumerable fanatics around the globe who want to destroy us if they cannot subjugate us to their evil totalitarianism.

Thus, in our politically correct times, we commonly encounter the normal perversity of a non-Muslim Westerner coming righteously to the defense of Islam and Muslims whenever they are criticized, by employing the Ego Quoque Fallacy --
usually manifested in various questions meant to be self-evidently rhetorical: What about the Crusades? What about the Spanish Inquisition? What about the witch-burnings? What about Christian wars of religion? What about slavery? What about Western Colonialism? What about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What about Vietnam? What about the genocide of the American Indians? Etc., ad nauseam.

Indeed, President Obama did exactly this in his speech on April 6, 2009, before the parliament of Turkey when, in the context of the subject of the attempted genocide of Armenians by Turks which he with gingerly (yet transparent) adroitness sidestepped, he invoked
the legacy of our past treatment of Native Americans.

The purpose of these falsely rhetorical questions, of course, is to counter the criticism of Islam and Muslims by saying, We the West have been just as bad. The fundamental incoherence of this tactic rarely dawns on the person using it -- for is he saying that we used to be as bad as Muslims, but are no longer, in which case why does he maintain opposition to our criticism of Islam? And does this not matter? Or is he saying that we are still as bad? On what basis then does he believe in anything worth pursuing sociopolitically, if he thinks everybody, Muslims and non-Muslims are equally bad? On what basis is ethical progress to be pursued when all sides are equally bad? Where does the blueprint for progress come from? Why, it comes, in the case of PC MC (and even more so in the case of Leftism), from the utopian complex of modern Gnosticism, of course.

And this is where the fallacy of Ego Peior comes in
-- which is Latin for We are worse than they are.

The Ego Peior is the ulterior position beneath the incoherence of the Eqo Quoque
-- implying that we (except for a special subset of the West, the Leftist Elect ever striving to transform the evil West into Utopia) are in fact worse than the Muslims. Thus, often those who employ the Ego Quoque are not merely positing a level playing field of Well, we are just as bad as they are. Oftentimes what is lurking beneath the apparent equivalency of the Ego Quoque is the deeper Ego Peior -- We are worse than they are.The logical conclusion of this pathos can only be either to willingly submit as dhimmis to the superior civilization of Islam, or to convert to Islam and join the Jihad against ones own worse West.

The Ego Peior beneath the Ego Quoque is also fundamentally incoherent, and the clearest formulation that can be wrested from it is the startling, and absurd, paradox I discovered to lie at the heart of Montaigne's self-critique of his own West:

"We are worse because we are better."

The fundamental incoherence of Ego Quoque can be kept in suspense virtually forever, as the interlocutor deploys other diversionary tactics
either out of a muddled head deformed by PC MC, or out of a darker antipathy to the West that festers in Leftism.  (Of course, the Westerner more deeply diseased by the Leftist antipathy, as he sinks into the Gnostic substratum of his pneumpathology, can find ultimate release from all his incoherence by jumping ship altogether and converting to Islam -- thus becoming the Other in order to fight his former Self.)

In sum, the Tu Quoque/Ego Quoque/Ego Peior Complex does not really even rise to the level of a logical fallacy: it resembles more the elementary tactic of childish evasion, further warped by the neurosis of PC MC, or the psychosis of Leftism (or the pneumopathology of Gnosticism). All these deficiencies do not, however, prevent it from being used regularly and nearly universally in various forms & flavors (the flavor with cream & sugar of "Leftism Lite" -- i.e., of PC MC -- being the most popular), among our millions of fellow Westerners whenever one has the impertinence of raising criticisms of Islam and of its followers (much less the condemnation it and they so richly deserve).

Further Reading:

For an extended analysis of the
strange logical welter of the Tu Quoque/Ego Quoque/Ego Peior complex, see my essay on Montaigne.

2 Comments:

Blogger Petrander said...

Instead of Ego Quoque, isn't better to use 'Nos Quoque'? As in "We do it too!"...

5:57 AM  
Blogger Hesperado said...

Petrander,

Good point; and I'd thought about that already.

Just as there is the singular plural of the "Royal We", so too there could be said to be the singular plurality of the "Collectivist I".

Plus, I like to retain the "Ego" in the formulation, as a gently subliminal and ironic reminder of the egotism involved in the PC MC psyche.

9:58 AM  

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