[Mini-fisk] JR Hill, defending monarchy and conflating arguments


ComRes recently carried out a poll for the Sunday Telegraph, asking the question: ‘Do you believe Britain is better off as a monarchy or would be better off as a republic?’ 66% voted monarchy, 17% republic and 17% don’t know. Yet the Observer insists that the Royal Family is outdated. Is it not ironic that, in the name of democracy, the Observer rejects polling suggesting a democratic majority in favour of monarchy? Today, theirs is the minority opinion, and in democracies minority opinions are not carried. So, by all means disagree. We can do that sort of thing in a constitutional monarchy. But perhaps we should admit that it is the republicans who are outdated? (source)

JR Hill doesn’t show us the link of “yet” in his initial comment. A poll showing us what the average person thinks doesn’t contradict an argument from a single person. It doesn’t link in two ways.

First 66% could vote that women should be denied jobs, “yet” a John Stuart Mill could argue differently. That doesn’t tell us who is right in that debate (spoiler: it’s the great Mill), it shows us differing opinions. The “yet” should be replaced by another conjunction, like “and”.

But, that’s still probably wrong because of the second way it doesn’t link.

In saying that the Observer thinks the Royal Family is outdated, the only way for that sentence to link is if the Observer was making a FACTUAL claim based on the same poll data – not a moral argument. It would make sense in this way: “The poll says that 66% voted monarchy… yet the Observer insists the poll says majority voted against monarchy”.

The Observer isn’t arguing how many agree, it’s arguing the idea is unjustified.

Indeed, when Hill says “theirs is a minority opinion”, he again seems to be linking majority with justification of argument. This is an appeal to majority fallacy. And again, the Observer wasn’t describing data which is what Hill is doing and conflating.

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