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I read an excellent explanation about an informal fallacy in a textbook about 20 years ago, but now I can't find it.

It involves people rejecting a proposal to fix one issue because larger, more important issues exist.

For example, if someone argues "the government shouldn't spend money on trying to reduce sexual assault while climate change hangs over our heads threatening to kill more people than are assaulted. We should be working on that, instead."

The fallacy, the textbook explained, was that it assumed the government could only work on one thing at a time. Such a prioritisation might justify spending more resources on the higher severity issue than the lower severity one, but it didn't justify rejecting a proposal that might help the lower severity one.

I see people arguing this fallacious position frequently, and want to have some resources to support me turning that around, but I don't know the name of the fallacy.

Can anyone tell me the name of the fallacy?

marked as duplicate by Conifold, Frank Hubeny, Community May 3 '18 at 4:24

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  • @MauroALLEGRANZA: Please make that an answer so it can be voted upon, edited, accepted etc. – Oddthinking May 2 '18 at 14:55
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Maybe Not as bad as fallacy (also known as the fallacy of relative privation) :

if something is worse than the problem currently being discussed, then

the problem currently being discussed isn't that important at all.

In order for the statement "A is not as bad as B," to suggest a fallacy there must be a fallacious conclusion such as: ignore A.

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