May 12, 2014

Preemptive Tu Quoque: a new rhetorical fallacy

A combination of the complex question (in which the question imputes an answer to another question that was not asked (“When will you stop being such a bully?”)) and projection (in which one thinks that everyone is just like oneself), the preemptive tu quoque asserts the imputed accusation, which is one the speaker is himself guilty of, i.e., the speaker projects his own sins onto his opponent, both forcing the opponent to defend himself and innoculating the speaker against the same charge because “Tu Quoque”, or “No: You are”, has even less force of argument.

Preemptive Tu Quoque is similar to simple Hypocrisy. It reveals more about the speaker than about the speaker’s subject.