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A Field Guide to Bad Faith Arguments

Once you recognize these weak tactics in your mentions, you can easily outwit them

Credit: JakeOlimb/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

What’s a bad faith argument?

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, owner of a stolen Supreme Court seat. Photo: The White House/YouTube via Wikimedia Commons/public domain

Don’t waste time responding to these arguments on their own merits — they have none.

The cartoon strawmanner

Illustrations of bad faith argument “cards” by David Wells (@MisterWells) on Twitter. And additional thanks to @bilald for the initial idea.

The lie detector

The freeze peach advocate

Illustration by David Wells (@misterwells)
200 activists and several journalists were unfairly arrested as part of protests against Trump’s inauguration in 2017. A judge finally dropped charges in July of 2018. Not pictured: free speech defenders defending them. Photo: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The purity tester

The logic nerd

Responding to the logic nerd is a joy because if you fail to play along with their game, they will ad hominem the shit out of you.

The tone police and persuasion pundits

Illustration by David Wells (@misterwells)

When people are really making an argument about persuading someone, they actually try to persuade them. If not, it’s just more bad faith.

The both siderist

Nearly all the Republican moderates have been voted out of office. Redefining “moderate” doesn’t make them more moderate, it just drags the debate to the right. Chart: The Washington Post

Debating in good faith

Democracy is pretty cool. We should try it some time. Voting rights, science policy, political communication and grassroots activism.

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