High Ground, The Fallacy of the

This is the simple tactic (a distraction) of insisting that the argument is very much more serious, with much greater moral substance or urgency, than the other person appears to think, and that to continue with his line of argument would therefore not only be wrong but also irresponsible. It may, truly, be necessary to point out the urgency of a problem, but that is only the context for the argument; it should not be allowed to usurp the argument itself.

Example: “Get real, we’re talking about total collapse of energy → we have to develop nuclear power” (or “. . . food supplies → biotechnology”).

An emergency, real or manufactured, can be used as an excuse for claiming the high ground over practically everything. The 1933 Reichstag fire provides a demonstration of this fallacy in action.M17


Related entries:

Pharisee, Expertise, Indignation.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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