President Trump recently found himself in hot water for making the suggestion that several congresswomen should “go back” to the countries they came from to “help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” While we might disagree with the politics of the likes of AOC or Ilhan Omar, as libertarians we’re all used to being on the receiving end of the “Don’t like it? Leave!”-styled arguments. Here’s a few of the issues with this particular argument.
So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
The first major issue is what is known as the ergo decedo fallacy. I’ve written on the fallacy before, but will briefly recap it here. The fallacy occurs when, rather than actually addressing the arguments or stances of the person in question, the opposition instead suggests leaving or abandoning the line of questioning altogether, usually because of the belief that they are motivated by some loose affiliation or support of an outside group. It also goes by the name of the traitorous critic fallacy. The added layer of fallacious argumentation on Trump’s end with this one is that 3/4ths of the congresswomen that his tweet was directed at were actually born in the United States, making his “crime-infested” accusation a fair bit more humorous.
Occasionally leaving is a valid response. For example, if someone at a bar is trying to start a fight for no reason, then leaving might make more sense than engaging, because it will neither solve nor accomplish anything. This is not the case when it comes to politics or economics, especially considering that, for libertarians at least, the political and economic systems we aim for don’t really exist anywhere yet.
Another issue with the “Don’t like it? Leave!” argument is that it generally comes from some form of appeal. The argument for leaving tends to arise in the defence of the status quo. The reasoning amounts to little more than either an appeal to tradition, appeal to popularity, or an appeal to common belief (which, it should be noted, is technically different from the appeal to popularity). As I have also discussed these fallacies at length before, or, at least, they are exceedingly straightforward in what they are, I won’t bore you with the details of each fallacy here.
Before we all start cheering on Trump attacking socialists, or engaging in attacks of our own, let’s review the logic that’s being used. Even if those being attacked are people we ourselves oppose, there’s no reason for us to debase ourselves and fall into the same illogical pits. Those that use this argument are, frankly, the ones that need to leave.