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What's this fallacy called?


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I'm currently thinking of a fallacy where a person - usually angered by an accusation they believe is false - attempt to retaliate against their accuser by engaging in the very acts which prove the accusations true.


To fit this criteria, the accused person cannot merely act in a dishonorable way. Rather, he must engage in the very specific actions which landed this accusation in the first place.


For example, suppose a man is accused of being violent. Enraged at this accusation, he then proceeds to beat the crap out of his accuser until that accuser withdraws his statement.


Alternatively, suppose a man who believes he is being persecuted by corrupt government goes to a local government office who specializes in providing vocational rehabilitation. They fear he might be impossible to work with due to his "delusional" beliefs of persecution, and so they refuse him any aid, effectively giving him even more ammunition.


Or how about this example? One that's actually happening in the real world!




This judge is met with accusations of corruption. She believes these accusations to be false and completely libelous. So, she reacts by ... shutting down freedom of the press!


Or how about this story, which is almost identical, except replace "freedom of the press" with "freedom of speech?"




You could also suggest that those who support the death penalty are guilty of this fallacy. "Wait a minute ... you're saying we should teach people not to kill by ... killing?"


Of all the variations of this logical fallacy, there's always an extra, unspoken bit of irony about these fallacies: The people subject to them (the accused, not the accusers who are victimized by the fallacy) usually don't even realize that they're engaging in this fallacy! I mean ... newspapers can't be allowed to say just whatever they want about anybody they want! Libel has always been illegal! The First Amendment was never intended to be absolute, right? So, it only makes sense that the reporter should be punished, if indeed he were pulling these accusations entirely out of his butt, right?


So, what is this fallacy called? Where you A) attempt to refute accusations B) by engaging in the very conduct that proves these accusations true, and C) often (though not necessarily) don't even realize the fallacious nature of their logic your until it's spelled out for you.

Edited by dstebbins
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Isn't it just hypocrisy?


No, that's when you hold someone to a different standard than you hold yourself, and/or when you try to criticize someone of having a flaw that you have yourself without realizing that you have it (like in the Bible verse Matthew 7:5 "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye").


Like a father holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other telling his kid not to drink and smoke.


The fallacy I'm thinking of is when the father, met with an accusation that he's an alcoholic, decides he's going to prove you wrong by getting royally plastered. I'm not talking about drinking out of depression over being met with this accusation; I'm talking about drinking alcohol with the specific purpose of refuting the accusation that he's a drunkard.

Edited by dstebbins
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When it's unintentional, it's called conservative myopia. When people mean to do it, it's called Republican strategy.


"If climate change was real, would I have bought a Hummer 3?"


"I'm going to lie about how much more of a liar my opponent is."


The only logic involved is "do unto others before they do it unto you".

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