‘No true Scotsman …’ prize: No true Catalonian?

From a letter in the Financial Times, the details of which I forgot to record (will look them up soon):

Spain will never be a true democracy unless it can free itself of its shackles from the past — demilitarise its police, create an independent judiciary, and most of all truly come to love and respect the Catalans. Two stark facts symbolise this conflict. Catalonia’s Lluís Companys remains the only democratically elected president to be executed in 20th-century Europe, and yet the person who signed his death warrant, Francisco Franco, is buried in a huge marble mausoleum near Madrid.

There’s one for the pol-sci scholars: it’s not enough to have rule of law, representative democracy through elections, and freedom of speech. ‘True democracy’ requires ‘freeing oneself from the shackles of the past (whatever that means – I suspect in Spain there are 45 million definitions) and coming to love and respect just one of many ethnic minorities.

Having seen this informal fallacy occur over and over again in the last few years, I’m amazed at its tenacity. ‘True X’ is used over and over again, the fact that it is a fallacy which renders an argument valueless never seeming to occur to either user or audience. I don’t know if the reason for its persistence is anthropological or neurological. But for whatever reason, it’s as robust as the virus for cold sores.


About Stebbing Heuer

A person interested in exploring human perception, reasoning, judgement and deciding, and in promoting clear, effective thinking and the making of good decisions.
This entry was posted in 'No True Scotsman' Award, Informal fallacies in reasoning. Bookmark the permalink.

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