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Suppose someone would argue that there is no difference between an anti-abortion display and a Ku Klux Klan display, because it offends women in the same way that a Ku Klux Klan stand would offend black people, and then used that as a point to support the fact that anti-abortion displays should be banned. Would that be just a faulty analogy, or could it also be considered a version of the guilt by association fallacy?

I'm not sure because it's not directly talking about, say, the Ku Klux Klan endorsing anti-abortion stands and dismissing it on that basis alone, but it does seem to be trying to turn opinions against the pro-life stands by comparing it to a terrible group of people without just cause.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Joseph Weissman Jan 16 '16 at 17:27

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  • Ku Kux Klan displays are not banned. – user3294068 Apr 29 '15 at 22:23
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A few problems:

  1. The Ku Klux Klan is essentially (literally, by its essence: that is it's defining characteristic) anti-black people (more broadly, they are against all but a certain group of people, so they have seen there enemies to also include Jews and Catholics, but their violence and focus has always been focused on African Americans). People who are against abortion are not essentially against women, they are just against what they see as the killing of fetuses. There are, for example, many women who are in the pro-life movement. There aren't any African Americans in the Ku Klux Klan outside of Chappelle Show skits.

  2. To say some group "causes offense" means that it is comparable to the Ku Klux Klan quickly leads to absurdity. Take the opposite view you've proposed - pro-life people find abortion morally offensive, but I doubt from the tone of your question that you would say that means that those who perform abortion are to be compared to the Ku Klux Klan.

  3. To say that the Ku Klux Klan "offends black people" is also a gross understatement. The Ku Klux Klan has performed countless acts of physical violence against black people, including children.

  4. Finally, the Klan endorsing the pro-life stance says nothing more about the pro-life stance than if it endorsed the pro-abortion stance, as you say, because that is an association fallacy.

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"There is no difference between an anti-abortion display and a Ku Klux Klan display, because it offends women in the same way that a Ku Klux Klan stand would offend black people" <- This isn't true.

I think that's the crux of it: At least in that example, anti-abortion display is an utterly different thing to a ku klux clan display.

By that, I mean: how are women offended by an anti abortion display ? That would be a very personal thing. Some women might agree with it. It depends on their stance on the matter.

Wheras the Ku Klux Klan seems to put a blanket 'hate-on' for anyone with darker skin. Personal opinion/stance/character doesn't come into it.

What's happening is that a claimed association with a truly awful group is being used to bring down another group, when the association isn't valid.

So I'd argue that the problem here is a false analogy.

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I think this is actually a species of post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

I take it the form of the argument is as follows:

  1. The KKK and its views are racist and otherwise terrible.
  2. The KKK offends people.

  3. "Anti-abortion" displays offend people.

  4. Ergo, the "anti-abortion" movement is just as terrible as the KKK.

I think the central thing that makes it fallacious is that the unifying feature is that someone is offended by each. But that's not really unifying. Instead, it merely shows that two things have a common effect on certain people -- which does not mean they have the same moral standing.

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