Ad hominem

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Concept.png Ad hominem 
(debating tactic)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
An ad hominem attack is an (counter) argument that attacks a person directly, without addressing the point that was made initially.

The ad hominem attack is used to counter an unwanted position without going into the details of the argument. It means answering without addressing the point. These arguments are logically fallacious, because they rely on presenting irrelevant information, in an attempt to discredit a certain argument by discrediting its source. Though questioning the source of information can certainly be valid in some cases, this type of argument is fallacious in cases where the attack has nothing to do with the discussion at hand, or in cases where the person using it fails to demonstrate how it relates to the discussion.[1]

Typically this term refers to a manipulation strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument to derail the discussion, to avoid addressing the substance of the argument itself.

“When asked to address Duesberg’s announcements about the HIV/AIDS hypothesis, Gallo often dismissed Duesberg’s objections because, Gallo suggested, Duesberg was gay and/or mentally disturbed (Duesberg is straight, and sane): “[Duesberg] comes to meetings with guys with leather jackets and the hair and so on in the middle. I mean, that’s a little bit odd. Doesn’t it speak of something funny?””
JFK Jr (2021)  [2]

Role in Brainwashing and character assassination

Ad hominem attacks can be vehement, sweeping and personally abusive attacks. It has been demonstrated in the Harvard human experiments and analyzed as part of cult programs and Maoist "forced confession" ideology that mental breakdown and loss of identity can be achieved by applying forceful and orchestrated peer pressure alone.

The attack may be compounded by threats, such as ostracism or excommunication from the social group the individual belongs. This is commonly done by questioning the mental sanity of the target, citing as "proof" the reaction to the provocation, which was part of the ad hominem attack.

The most well-known character assassination of this type is the enemy image of "conspiracy theorist". Characteristically, a host of queer and irrational theories from Nazis to aliens are promoted and financed by deep state actors, to make it easier for them to discredit criticism by lumping it all together with "those nuts".

See also

The Function of Ad Hominem Arguments


 

Examples

Page nameDescription
"Conspiracy theory"An enemy image used to equate scepticism of government with craziness. It was developed by the CIA to try to contain doubt about the FBI's "Oswald did it, case closed" approach to the JFK assassination. It is now being associated with dangerous and violent insanity, in an effort to promote internet censorship of free speech.
Enemy imageA misleading view of a person or people, which hampers reconciliation and real communication


References