A nice overview of the “Motte & Bailey” argument is here, at Lamb’s Reign. To quote in part:
When it comes to the motte & bailey fallacy, it’s when someone is making a very hard to defend claim (bailey), and then when challenged they resort to vague generalities or platitudes which are much more commonly agreeable (motte). From their high perch atop the motte they can act like this easier to defend statement is what they were arguing for the whole time. It’s an evasive maneuver that shields them from having to defend the dubious statements which were being made in the bailey. Sort of like a reverse strawman.
Bailey claim: Adolf Hitler was a force for good with many great achievements. He revived the pride of the beleaguered German people, eliminated the factionalism that plagued the Weimar republic and beat back the Bolsheviks. America should have joined forces with Germany!
Challenge: (Comprehensive and stinging rebuttal utterly refuting the argument and proving that Adolf Hitler was indeed evil with overwhelming facts and counter arguments)
Motte response: I will always stand against Bolshevism which is morally repugnant and your pro-Bolshevist response will not deter me!
No one argued in support of the Bolshevists.
Bailey claim: “Slavery was a side issue! The south seceded to defend states rights!”
Challenge: (Comprehensive and stinging rebuttal utterly refuting the claim that slavery was a “side issue” with regard to southern secession with overwhelming facts and counter arguments)
Motte response: “The notion that the North invaded the south because it wanted to free the slaves out of the kindness of their hearts is ridiculous.”
No one argued that the North invaded the south for virtuous reasons. That wasn’t being argued.
The first argument was ridiculous and easily rebutted. It represents the real point that the person is trying to persuade people of. When challenged, rather than concede the original point, the point is evaded rather than dealt with and instead more commonly agreeable generalities are inserted in its place.
Note especially this:
“The first argument was ridiculous and easily rebutted. It represents the real point that the person is trying to persuade people of.”
That first argument can be a vast range of lunatic nonsense, from “things make themselves, given billions of years” to “men can marry men, and women women” to “men are women, if they say they are.”
Motte and bailey arguments fail when pressed, which is when Our Masters turn to judicial fiat, or electoral mandates, or control of the educational, academic and media apparatus to get their way. Arguments are the cover: guns are the core.
But such arguments are useful as cover, to get a foot in the door, a crack in the wall.
Foolishness will still fail: but when backed by the carrots and sticks of the State — and a certain lack of resistance by the populace — they can be socially and legally enforced for a while, from a few years to decades.
Till the money runs out, and/or certain unexpected implications kick in.
“But so what? During my lifetime, I got what I wanted, showed off how much power and control I had, and utterly dominated all those filthy, moronic and repulsive Christians.
And that’s all that really mattered.”
Christians will inherit the earth, so we must plan for the time when the power and authority of Our Loving Masters lie broken on the ground.
And, once that era starts, it will never end.
- The Aztec and Incan human sacrifices are never coming back.
- The Southern Slaveowners are never coming back.
- The Kings and Emperors of yore are never coming back.
- The Nazis are never coming back.
- The era of European Domination is never coming back.
- The Commies are never coming back.
- and the Progressives & Liberals — after the welfare state is busted into bankruptcy, the media complex shattered, and the priestly authority of the expert falls apart — are never coming back.
The only real competition worthy of the name are the Muslims: and for a century or two will actually grow: European Arabs have children, while Secular Europeans do not. But the Jihad have already lost Black Africa, and both Iran and North Africa is just beginning to drop off the scopes.
After the US is bankrupted, they will pull out their military from the Middle East, and real Christian growth in the region can kick in.