Appeal to Fear

The ad baculum fallacy derives its strength by appealing to timidity or fear.1 In other words, see things a certain way or else get beaten by a bludgeon.

AZ State Route 77 (Beeline) ADOT sign boasted, “Want to return to normal? Get vaccinated.”2 Afraid to disagree? That’s because there is an ad baculum fallacy but secondly what does it imply…those who don’t vaccinate are the problem. (Go get your pitchforks!) I would argue that Bifurcation may also apply here. Bifurcation (Either-or) according to the Amazing Dr. Ransom, “complicates everything by pretending to simplify it. It whispers to me that I have two and only two options.”

A recent Washington Post article caused me concern due to the phrases: “There is no way to know who is vaccinated” and “Without a standardized system of vaccine certification…”3 Whoa, whoa! Arizona is one of the lucky states that offer the religious, medical, and philosophical vaccination exemptions.4 From what I can tell, other states claim to offer philosophical exemptions but deny them in regard to public education. Consequently, Arizona stands out.

I have a question: why are vaccinated persons allowed to be sans masks and yet, those who aren’t vaccinated must? Vaccination inoculations last about 6 months but the exact duration isn’t known.5 Some literature suggests natural covid exposure antibodies last up to 8 months.6 Therefore, this vaccination route isn’t about normalcy; its about control. In other words, the outcry is for knowing who is and who isn’t.

Enter Israel’s Green Passport System

An article states, “this is the ticket back to some kind of normalcy.”7 Israel? Really? Did you not learn? The pass allows those who are unvaccinated a “pass” to social events, cinemas, and restaurants for up to three days after a negative covid test. Show your pass, you may enter. How is the green pass different from the yellow star? Munich recently banned antivaxxers from wearing the yellow star that was altered with the text, “unvaccinated.”8 Germany’s Anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein charged, “If people pin so-called Jewish stars on themselves in demonstrations, thereby drawing comparisons that relativize the Holocaust, then the means provided by law should be applied against them.”

Equivocation. Because Klein is changing the definition of “relativizing.” Relative means “resulting from connection with” (Webster’s Writer’s Dictionary). However, Klien is implying “diminishing” or “to make small” the plight suffered during WWII.

Weak Ad Hominium. Because Klein is attempting to discredit the argument by attacking the antivaxxers’ characters instead of acknowledging their argument. I think there may be a pinch of Sensitivity Shamming added as well.

Irrelevant Thesis? Also known as Missing the Point of which Straw Man is a subclass. I’m not 100% sure whether this applies.

Any logicians out there who care to weigh in here? If I have applied any error in logical argument please leave a comment below.

So if I apply commissioner Klein’s logic then any image can “relativize”…Che Guevara posters popular in so many college dorms because they “relativize” South American Progress. By refusing to hold up your fist, you are a white supremacist.9

Interested in Logic?

Start here, “The Fallacy of Teaching Fallacies First” by Memoria Press.

** Sources:

  1. https://ses.edu/logical-fallacies-101-ad-baculum/
  2. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-health/2021/05/10/arizona-senator-kelly-townsend-state-covid-19-vaccine-messages-communist/5025918001/
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/05/14/cdc-mask-update-decision-confusion
  4. https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/school-immunization-exemption-state-laws.aspx
  5. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/04/how-long-does-the-covid-vaccine-last.html
  6. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/covid-antibodies-can-last-8-months-after-infection-even-if-you-have-hypertension-diabetes/articleshow/82569736.cms
  7. https://news.yahoo.com/israel-rolls-vaccine-passport-system-162215497.html
  8. https://www.timesofisrael.com/yad-vashem-warns-of-abuse-as-antivaxxers-liken-vaccine-passes-to-yellow-star/
  9. https://www.the-sun.com/news/1367895/blm-activists-raise-fist-white-supremacists-diners/
  10. Further Reading: AIER | “Medical Journal Warns About Masks’ Potentially Devastating Consequences” by Jeffrey A. Tucker & Jenin Younes, published April 15, 2021 https://www.aier.org/article/medical-journal-warns-about-maskss-potentially-devastating-consequences/.

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