The False Dichotomy

Ah, the false dichotomy, a favoured tool of people who somehow think it'll get you on their side...which normally means idiots. It's probably older than dirt, and while I haven't been around for that long I've definitely been around long enough to get sick of it.

I first learned about the false dichotomy in a quasi-academic manner - by looking it up on Wikipedia, in fact, out of curiosity. Being a shy person and not really being around people who liked to argue (well, except for me), I didn't really get much of a chance to do any fallacy-spotting until I was a bit older and more social. And now that I am actually older and more social, I don't regret that I've done my fallacy-spotting. I don't regret that I've seen a lot of stupidity and cruelty. I just truly wish that I could do more than just sit on my arse and whine all day, and sometimes I can't even do that...

...As to why I'm so sick of it? Because I'm sick of people having their hands forced. That's it. I'm sick of being told that I am one thing or the other, that I can be with someone or against them - for that is what it comes down to. You are with us or against us. You are good or you are bad. False dichotomies work in two ways: they bully people into going along with what the manipulator says, but more than that, they shut down debate by presenting you with two choices and nothing in the middle. If you aren't aware that there's more than two options, you could easily be tricked into arguing something flatly repulsive - whether you agree with the manipulator or not. As long as it comes down to choosing between two things, neither of them particularly palatable, you are going to be bullied into picking some terrible option.

This is what sickens me. There are so many options in this world - and the false dichotomy refuses to recognise that in favour of bullying and the stifling of debate, because the people using it are simply too scared, too stupid or too intellectually dishonest to recognise that there are any more than two.