An Aggregation Fallacy is the support for two or more causes that are in opposition to each other that co-exist within an ideology. Currently the best example of this is the support within progressive liberalism for third way feminism and LGBT rights at the same time as support for Islamic immigration.
It is both ideologically and practically impossible to champion the causes of the former, whilst also supporting the latter. We should not need to point out this logical inconsistency, but hey, that’s the world we live in.
In his book, The Uses of Pessimism, political philosopher, Roger Scruton explains the idea of an aggregation fallacy as follows:
‘When the French Revolutionaries crafted their famous slogan, ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ they were in a state of exaltation that prevented them from seeing any fault in it. In their eyes liberty was good, equality was good and fraternity was good, so the combination was thrice good. That’s like saying lobster is good, chocolate is good and ketchup is good, so lobster cooked in chocolate and ketchup is thrice good.
The French had to go through a painful process of discovery before realizing what they had embarked upon. Even when Robespierre fanatically promoted ‘the despotism of liberty’ it did not dawn on the Jacobins that they were committed to a contradiction: the goal of equality requires the destruction of liberty.
The thinking here embodies a fallacy that is replicated whenever the desire for good things impetuously cancels any attempt to understand the connections between them… As a result, they add one good thing in an ever expanding wish-list. And because each good has been taken from its context and transferred to an imaginary world, the result is almost certain to involve aims that cannot advance together.’
Warning: pointing out progressive aggregation fallacies might lead to being labelled a fascist or a racist.
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