Masters of the Strawman Technique

How many times does it feel as if some people on Social Media are “bashing” something to an extreme – overgeneralizing it to a fault?

It always feels like the front end of manipulation to me. A marketing manipulation. Something that leads to a sale – of an idea, a brand, a product, or service. Or maybe it’s just someone crying out for attention.

And so it raises my suspicions immediately.

It might work on others. But not often on me.


straw man (sometimes written as strawman) is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted, but instead replaced with a false one. A common form of setting up such a straw man is by use of the notorious formula “so what you’re saying is ….. ?”, converting the argument to be challenged into an obviously absurd distortion. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”.

The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and the subsequent refutation of that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s proposition. Straw man arguments have been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly regarding highly charged emotional subjects.



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