Strawman: What is the actual offensive part


The word “pussy” is indeed no more obscene than “cunt”. However, that is a strawman.

According to the BBC, Donald Trump said: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”. The offensive speech isn’t acknowledging that women have vaginas, or using a colloquial term for them. The offensive speech is that one may grab them, presumably without verifying consent first.


Strawman: The Inconsistent Immigrant

There are several issues here.

  1. Nobody claims that all immigrants (or even just all illegal immigrants) are the same. There is no logical contradiction between believing that Jose, who is a much harder worker than I am, will “steal” my job and believing that Ramon will be too lazy to work and end up supported by the government one way or another.
  2. The meme says “immigrant”. This is another strawman, because the public policy argument is only about immigrants who are violating immigration law.

h/t Robert Boyer and David Burkhead

Strawman: What Does Believing In America Mean?

This depends on what it means to “believe in America”. If it means believing that all other Americans are non-violent, then the meme makes perfect sense. However, such a belief would be delusional.

If believing in America means believing in the ideals expressed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, then arming oneself makes a lot more sense. Is it against American values to believe that under certain circumstances rebellion against the government is justified? Let me quote a famous American document (emphasis mine):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Does this justify rebellion against the current government? We can argue, but I am very clearly in the no camp. Revolution is almost always a bad idea, as even the declaration says:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

However, it means that rebellion is justified under certain conditions. Therefore, being armed lest such conditions happen and you won’t have the means to rebel is consistent with American values or “belief in America”.

Strawman: Hard Work and Wealth

Leaving aside the assumption that all African women are the same (at least in these two regards), this is attacking a very convenient strawman. Nobody says that hard work guarantees wealth. Certainly not in countries where you have to pay off officials to do anything.

What conservatives say is that in a relatively free market being enterprising and working hard typically means you’d be able to gain wealth. Most of Africa doesn’t have a very free market.

h/t Layla Sumner

Strawman: Passing Laws to Prove One’s Morality

This is true, but it implies that laws that, for example, allow discrimination on religious grounds are passed to prove that a particular group follows a certain religion.

That is not the case. Such laws are not passed to prove morality or faith, but as a preemptive strike against lawfare. People who believe their religion forbids them to facilitate certain ceremonies don’t want to be sued for refusing to facilitate such ceremonies. The point isn’t to show that their religion forbids something, but to be excused from forced participation.

Charles Manson’s Wedding

The guy in this picture is a murderer who is serving life and recently got a marriage license. Presumably, the purpose of this meme is to show that opposition to gay marriage is linked in some way to murderers.

There are several issues with this:

  1. Most conservatives would allow a person in prison to get married, but in the case of Charles Manson would have executed him soon after his crimes in 1969, removing all of his rights.
  2. This does not address any of the arguments raised against gay marriage (I’m saying this without expressing an opinion about whether those arguments are right or wrong).
  3. Conservatives oppose gay marriage, to an extent, because they fear having to be forced to participate or keep their disapproval silent. Again, this does not address that.

Strawmanning the Opposition?

The caption reads: “The caption for this deeply disturbing photo we found on Facebook says: “Many of you have done the Ice bucket challenge. Let’s see how many of you will do the American Challenge! You have 48 hrs to post a pic of yourself with an American flag, a Bible, and a gun or post on your timeline why you do not accept the American Challenge! Let’s show the world that we are PROUD AMERICANS!”

This seems like an attempt to make all gun owners seem like people fearfully cling to their bibles and guns. The link to the original doesn’t work, so this may be a hoax.

h/t George Girod