The Motte and Bailey Tactic

Every post at Ace is worth at least a glance. For example, I got to this post by reading today’s Sunday Morning Book Thread which contained not just one, but two things of interest worth remembering.

First of all, there’s this:

Last week, in the discussion on the unavailability of Tommy Robinson’s book, “Mohammad’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill For Islam“, I neglected to mention the name of Tommy’s co-author, Peter McLoughlin, who has written his own book, “Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal“, which really sounds quite depressing.

I accept that I should be more distraught or angry about this, but it’s not my country and I’ve run out of shits-to-give for countries intent on suicide. For the sake of completeness, I do document the same situation in Denmark because it’s not as well known and for the sake of language practice.

The second part of this post was the mention of the “Motte and Bailey tactic” which itself was an item explored at Ace a year before in conjunction with feminist activism.

This is due to the leftwing feminists’ dishonest use of the “Motte and Bailey” tactic in propaganda.

The Motte and Bailey tactic uses as its central metaphor a medieval castle. There are two main areas of it: the bailey, the useful but poorly defended area around the castle that must be defended, and the motte, the tower fortification itself, small but designed to resist assault.

The idea is that dishonest propagandists, such as feminists, will define “feminism” in two different versions: the Motte version, and the Bailey version.

The Motte version is the most defensible definition of feminism: that women are social and legal equals to men and should suffer no man-made impediments to their own pursuits of happiness.

Hard to argue against that — that’s why it’s the Motte. The peasantry retreats to the well-defended Motte when the area is under attack.

But feminists also deploy a Bailey definition of feminism: That feminism means that we must have abortion on demand and that there may be no dissent about this, that the Wage Gap which doesn’t exist must be eradicated by government action, that rape does not need to be proved by evidence, that some people with penises are actually women if they say they are, and so on.

Now, this terrain is harder to defend. This is the outlying area around the Motte — the Bailey. Feminists really intend feminism to mean this series of dubious and fringe ideas, but when you call them on it, they retreat to the Motte and say, “But Feminism only means that women should be social and legal equals; how can you disagree with that, YOU HATER?!!!”

Fascinating in that I immediately found a similarity with discussions about government funding and why we can’t cut anything. The Motte portion of government funding is the police, the fire department, the armed forces, roads, water pipes (to and from), etc. The Bailey is syringes for the homeless, bike paths, recycling, etc.

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