Firmitas

Legitimacy from Effort

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© 2011-2019 by Zack Smith. All rights reserved.

Legitimacy from Effort

The arguer asserts that because a thing is the product of prolonged effort and/or intense work, that this gives weight to arguments linked to it.

  • Much effort was expended on Project X.
  • Therefore it is deemed that Proposition A is true e.g. that Project X is worthwhile. ]]

This fallacy is related to Appeal to Emotion. If you're a member of the group that made the effort, it's an appeal to pride. If you aren't, it's an appeal for sympathy. It's also an appeal against wanton destruction, and an appeal to fear the hyped-up risks of stopping.

Examples

We're spent so much trying to Q(help) that country become democratic, but now you want us to pull out? You're so wasteful.

The bridge is almost built. It has taken ten years and millions of dollars. So what if it goes to an uninhabited island that can't support human habitation?

The spread of our religion was a great undertaking, requiring millions of people working across centuries. Therefore it doesn't matter if its foundational ideas are unproven claims and wishful thinking.

Weaknesses

Just because an effort required time and resources, that does not mean it was a good idea. Lots of bad ideas lead to bad projects.

If a project is started in error, then the more expensive that it is, the more urgent that it be stopped as soon as possible.

An effort that is begun based on lies and does not address and reject those lies will cause more harm than good.

You can call into question whether corruption is involved. Boondoggles are increasingly common and anyone benefitting from them will argue against stopping.