Talk:You're either with us, or against us

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NPOV vote[edit]

Is this article neutral enough to have the "Disputed neutrality" banner removed? --JJLatWiki 00:01, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

this article in its present form is untennably anti-Bush and does not conform in any sense to NPOV. Xtra 05:07, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Well, the article is more or less factually correct. Bush did say what he said and it DID lead to the Iraq war etc. If anything about it seems anti Bush it is probably because Bush acted like an idiot all the way through. AFAIK though, that quote took place after 9/11 and was intended to ask nations to support the US in the war on terror - the Iraq war came much later. Can someone pls verify this timeline? In other words, what is questionable about this article is not its POV but its factual correctness.Qwertyca 19:16, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The issue of factual correctness is secondary to the issue that the article assumes knowledge of motive: " intimidate foreign nations..." PFrields 20:57, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Agreed, there is no proof cited by the author that definitively indicates that Bush made that comment to intimidate others (as opposed to just saying something that came into his head for no reason). So what is to be done about this article (or that comment in particular)? Qwertyca 09:13, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I have try to fix the article a little bit. I think the dispute should be solved; thus i have added "allegedly" (which is probably not the best option).

Also i have enlarge the article and give it a structure. I think it would be good to document the use of the phrase (e.g. when did hitler use it?) and see other situtations when it was used.

J4vier 8 Apr 2005

I don't think "allegedly" restores a neutral point of view. I suggest you strike completely, "allegedly with the intention to intimidate foreign nations into supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq—something that would have bolstered attitudes in the United States to foster pro-United States/anti-foreign sentiments, as evidenced by increased animosity toward France during the leadup to the invasion of Iraq."

The phrase was used November 6, 2001, less than 2 months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Some people directly correlate this usage to Hitler's usage and say it was an absolute threat, wherein nations that don't provide some kind of direct, material support for the United States' war on terror and anywhere that war might lead, especially the eventual war in Iraq, stand literally opposed to the United States on all levels. Others say the President was showing that there are numerous nations already providing support or by other means fighting against terrorism and the United States is now another party to that group of nations and now after the Sept 11 wakeup call, the only nations not actively fighting terrorism are the nations that literally oppose us. In the context of the news conference, in which he was joined by French President Jacques Chirac, President Bush was probably doing a little of everything. He was simultaneously attempting to engender domestic confidence that action was being take to protect the United States from future attacks and to bolster our traditional allies and our new allies, while cautioning our idle allies that their inaction could be seen as aiding the terrorists, while also warning the terrorist nations that we've been left with little choice but to act aggressively and maybe even proactively to protect our nation and our allies from terrorism. Presumably, President Bush's use of the phrase had a significantly different meaning and motivation than most previous historical uses.


I, too, think the article is biased (anti-Bush), and I'm about as anti-Bush as one can get. I like the idea of striking the 'allegedly' stuff, as suggested above, or adding a 'pro-Bush' section. Striking it is probably more simple, easier, faster, and it'd give us some time to digest this and get some context from others who can beef-up the historical-vs-contemporary context argument - on both sides. As far as bashing Bush, that he even said something so outrageously-Nazi-esque speaks for itself, IMHO. It's important to have this information posted, but we have to let people think for themselves. By all means, let's provide the facts on both sides, but take a lot of care to not doing folks' thinking for them. Good work on this! --shmooth- 4 July 2005 05:28 (UTC)

I was the one who made the suggestion to strike the entire original paragraph and add the text above. After a couple weeks (at least) passed, I decided to make the change myself. Today, I made more changes to separate the factual statements from the opinion and interpretations, even though Hitler's usage has not been substantiated. I blockquoted the original entry as I think it is a common interpretation, especially among the anti-Bush community. I am no fan of Bush, and I feel neutral in my interpretation of this quote.

p.s. I don't know how to "add" to discussions without editing the entire discussion page, so I will go back and separate my comments from the others.

JJLatWiki 4 July 2005 17:09 (UTC)

I was just wondering, Bush and Hitler can't have been the only people to have used this slogan. Another example that comes to mind is Revenge of the Sith, where Anakin Skywalker says almost the same thing. I think this article focuses too much on just Bush.Xunflash 6 July 2005 22:14 (UTC)

I agree Xunflash. The user who originally posted the slogan and the "History" was fairly clearly anti-Bush. They didn't research Bush's use of the phrase to provide a verbatum quotation and didn't provide any information upon which to perform further research. The correlation to Hitler's use of the sentiment is uncorroborated and seemed to be referenced solely as a political motivation. In other words, he "invoked Hitler".

When Episode III hit the streets some reviewers made the same correlation you do regarding Skywalker's use. Some have said that Lucas was making a rare political statement and making a jab at the President with a direct paraphrase and then following it with the benevolent character saying, "Only the Sith think in such absolute terms.", or something along that line. As a Lucas and Star Wars fan, I hope that Lucas wasn't selling out his professional legacy by inserting commentary about contemporary politics. I think it is ironic that the entire series is specifically and in absolute terms about diametrically opposing Good versus Evil. The character who says the "only the Sith think in such terms" line has spent his life developing skills to take advantage of light side of the Force while avoiding the "Dark Side" of the Force. The Star Wars saga is all about being with one side and against the other, and yet all of a sudden one of the preeminent characters is a "Moderate" Jedi promoting the gray area between the light and Dark Side.

I too would like to see other historic uses of the sentiment. It must have been used before Skywalker, Bush, and even before Hitler.

JJLatWiki 7 July 2005 15:35 (UTC)

I've found no evidence of Hitler having used the phrase. The earliest attribution I have is to John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State (quoted here: I did find an attribution to Joseph Stalin for a very similar phrase, but it wasn't in anything I'd consider a reliable source. JulesH 9 July 2005 15:20 (UTC)

Two things:[edit]

  1. Evidence should be provided that Hitler used the phrase, or the assertion should be removed. A few minutes of searching online (being careful to exclude mirrors of this page) turned up no evidence, but I'm open to the possibility that it's out there. At this point, it seems like it was added with no factual evidence, merely as an attack on Bush.
  2. The name doesn't really work. Probably should be changed to with us or against us.

For the record, I'm not pro-Bush, but this article really needs to be made more neutral, and the Hitler assertion is as good a place as any to start. Dave (talk) July 8, 2005 02:41 (UTC)

Absolutely correct. We don't need this article comparing Bush to Jesus either though.

The biblical reference is not meant as a comparison to Jesus. Since the Bible certainly predates Bush's use, the "slogan" has a history that presumably goes back about 2000 years, whether or not one believes that Jesus is the son of God. It is a factual reference with supporting documentation. As such, it warrants inclusion.--JJLatWiki 23:58, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

I added another link of a similar Bush usage on Sept 20, 2001. Again, far too far before the Iraq war to make a claim that includes Iraq. Thanks for removing the Hitler reference Dave. And JulesH, I suggest you post the other uses you find. It makes for a much more interesting and complete entry.

JJLatWiki 10 July 2005 23:08 (UTC)

I think this would fit better in an article regarding perceiving things in absolutes (i.e. black and white but no grey) Xunflash 20:55, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

Which Jesus?[edit]

Someone removed "Christ" from the "Jesus Christ" section of the historical usage. In my opinion, although to me it is blatently obvious to whom "Jesus" is referring, should we assume that everyone reading this "Jesus" is in fact Jesus Christ of Nazareth and the basis of the Christian faith? Removing "Christ" makes it ambiguous, adding the name of the book where these references can be found removes all ambiguity.

JJLatWiki 16:20, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. Any reference to Jesus Christ should specify as such. Furthermore, there are two instances of the same quotation from Jesus, one in the 'historical' section and another in the 'fiction' section. Without getting into arguments on a whole other topic, I think one of these needs to go, and it's probably the one in fiction/literature. What are your thoughts? User: Figg, 16/8/2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Preposterone (talkcontribs) 17:17, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

The bible is not a historical source. Given the choice between these two categories, neither of which is entirely correct, I think it would be better classed as literary. Unless there is a surviving historical record of the historical Jesus of Nazareth saying this.... (talk) 01:30, 21 April 2013 (UTC)


It seems to me that 99% of this article focuses on Bush, ie someone made the article to express thier political opinians. Freedom of Speech is great, don't get me wrong, but is this really a Encyclipedia article? Could you find some where else to post this. I just don't think it belongs in an Encyclipedia.

Bias By Commission[edit]

The bias in this article comes primarily from the fact that the Bush usage is analyzed to such a large degree. The very title "Subjective Analysis..." should be a clear indicator of this. The entire section is unnecessary and only indirectly related to the quotation. The article leads the reader from the slogan into a political commentary in such a way that leads them to wonder if the entire article was conceived as a vessel for this commentary. Whether or not the commentary is accurate is beside the point, its very presence represents a bias and if that section is deleted and possibly some more examples of usage of this slogan are presented, then the article will be rather close to NPOV. I encourage someone to follow through on that. Perhaps I will soon if no one raises a compelling argument not to. LambaJan 05:27, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Move Slogan: You're either with us, or against us to You're either with us, or against us (slogan)[edit]

I'm about to carry out this move on the grounds that the existing title for this article suggests that there is a "Slogan" namespace parallel to the article namespace, and using "(qualifier)" is an established form for indicating that an article is about something of the indicated type. --- Charles Stewart 20:53, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Removal of paragraph[edit]

From article page:

==Subjective Opinions and Interpretations on President George W. Bush's Usage of the Slogan==
Some people say Bush's usage was an absolute threat. The threat being that nations that don't provide some kind of direct, material support for the United States' war on terror and anywhere that war might lead, especially the eventual war in Iraq, stand literally opposed to the United States on all levels. Others say the President was showing that there are numerous nations already providing support or by other means fighting against terrorism and the United States is now another party to that group of nations and now after the Sept 11 wakeup call, the only nations not actively fighting terrorism are the nations that literally oppose us. His statement could also have suggested that the United States would not be passive in its fight against terrorism and would pursue the terrorists to any country that did not care about, or actively supported terrorists. The United States then went on to invade Afghanistan, a country that was deemed to harbour the masterminds of recent terrorist attacks in the United States.
In the context of the news conference, in which he was joined by French President Jacques Chirac, President Bush was probably doing a little of everything: He was simultaneously attempting to engender domestic confidence that action was being take to protect the United States from future attacks and to bolster our traditional allies and our new allies, while cautioning our idle allies that their inaction could be seen as aiding the terrorists, while also warning the terrorist nations that we've been left with little choice but to act aggressively and maybe even proactively to protect our nation and our allies from terrorism. Presumably, President Bush's use of the phrase had a significantly different meaning and motivation than most previous historical uses. Some "anti-Bush" observers speculate and charge that the President was already planning Operation Iraqi Freedom that would take place 16 months later and this quote was meant to intimidate other nations into supporting that future operation. For example, the original entry for this quote read:

The slogan has become ubiquitous after George W Bush's use of it; allegedly with the intention to intimidate foreign nations into supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq—something that would have bolstered attitudes in the United States to foster pro-United States/anti-foreign sentiments, as evidenced by increased animosity toward France during the leadup to the invasion of Iraq.

It's important to note the chronological proximity of President Bush's use of the sentiment to one of the worst foreign attack on the US mainland ever. The rarity of such events in American history makes comparisons to recent past presidents irrelevant.

There are a few things wrong with this... first, it incorporates a lot of POV. Second, it is uncited and possibly unverifiable. Third, it is analysis... we don't do that in an encyclopedia. We stick to facts. So many weasel words and unencyclopedic information and speculation. We can discuss, but for now, let's keep this out. --LV (Dark Mark) 17:13, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Propose merge[edit]

I propose merging this rather short description of a type of logical fallacy into false dilemma. bd2412 T 15:40, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Please discuss here.

Catweasel comments[edit]

I looked and looked for a place to post this.

Jesus said quite the opposite because he was Jesus, a TEACHER, What he said encompassed everyone. If you are not my enemy , you are my friend. All people are encompassed What his students said Divided everyone.. if you are not in my club , you are an enemy.

Worse, not one supposed "scholar" ever corrected this huge mistake of President Bush quoting a student instead of the teacher..

For the student it is normal , because he is supposedly learning. Such as a drink at Jacob's well. Both the woman of the well and the students of Jesus were equally shocked ... But for different reasons ...

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Catweasel (talkcontribs) 05:16, 30 August 2007

So the Bible misquotes Jesus? Can you cite the actual quotation? And what does it have to do with Bush? --JJLatWiki 16:19, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


I think there should be a section that deals with the issue of whether or not this is really a logical fallacy. I tend to believe that in some instances the phrase is a valid one. Some issues I believe are black and white. People like me are painted as being unintelligent in this article, and I think this warrants systemic bias. - WarHawk


I attempted to explain my edit in my edit summery but I hit the enter key by mistake. I added the word "sometimes" since there are instances where the phrase isn't a false dilemma. It's only a false dilemma when there is in fact a third option. ---J.S (t|c) 02:11, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Why is bush not on this list?[edit]

Why is bush not on this list? Come on folks, we are supposed to be building an encyclopedia, not slowly tearing it down. Odessaukrain 17:06, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

That's pretty harsh from someone who apparently didn't actually read the article. Is it typical for you to add data to an article and provide absolutely no supporting citations? You may also notice that Bush never said, "Your either for us or against us." --JJLatWiki 21:04, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


Adolf Hitler told the Reichstag on Feb. 20, 1938: "A man who feels it his duty at such an hour to assume the leadership of his people is not responsible to the laws of parliamentary usage or to a particular democratic conception, but solely to the mission placed upon him. And anyone who interferes with this mission is an enemy of the people.

You are with us or against us."

GOOGLE —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:43, 11 April 2007 (UTC).

Good quote. Now could someone find a credible source? --JJLatWiki 14:18, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

historical uses[edit]

Okay, so the phrase has been used by Jesus Christ; George Orwell, regarding World War II; and a Senator and the President in the US responding to the September 11th attacks. Oh yeah, and also by a midwestern governor, regarding a toll road controversy?? Is it just me, or is that last one not nearly as notable as the others? 03:43, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

It's been a week without any comment on this, so I went ahead and removed it. 01:53, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Oh, and this is a different issue, but: this page calls a false dilemma an informal fallacy, but the page for false dilemma says it's a formal fallacy? I'm too much of a dabbler when it comes to logic to know which is really correct, but... 04:06, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the toll road controversy, I think that's actually a rather interesting example, as you have the governor of a state asserting that those who oppose something as picayune as a toll road are "against our future". bd2412 T 03:05, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. If you take "Historical uses" to mean, "Historically significant uses", then the toll-road quote probably doesn't belong. But maybe the header should be changed to avoid such possible confusion. Because I think the toll-road quote is a good real-world example that demonstrates the fallacious use, versus the speech act use. What if the header was changed to "Real-world examples"? --JJLatWiki 15:10, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I think I'll re-add it with this explanation, if no one objects. bd2412 T 22:26, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Re-added. Cheers! bd2412 T 23:36, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
No objection here. I like that quote. --JJLatWiki (talk) 20:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Article proposed for deletion[edit]

I proposed this article for deletion, for the following reason: "This appears to be simply an opinion held by various people over time, that doesn't merit an article of its own; and may even be synthesis, since no source is cited linking all of these examples together." If you disagree, and think it should be kept, feel free to discuss it here. Korny O'Near (talk) 03:30, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Weak keep - My only opposition to deletion is on the basis that the phrase attracts people with a deep hatred toward the people who have used the phrase and having the article in place with accurately cited quotations takes away some of the steam. When I first started watching this article, its main purpose surrounded the use by Bush and almost implied that he was the first person to use it. The article was entirely personal opinion about how Bush used the phrase and it was inaccurately quoted and not cited. In editing this article, I've learned more than I ever imagined about the phrase, logical fallacies, and speech acts. I hope that there have been school children who have used this article as the basis for further learning when their teachers discussed the phrase in classrooms around the world. It would be most beneficial for a philosophy or political science expert to find some citations supporting the crux of the article and not just the historical uses. --JJLatWiki (talk) 16:12, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Keep. The article is about a valid and (historically) notable logical fallacy. - Sikon (talk) 17:48, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not a logical fallacy, though, as the article itself points out. Korny O'Near (talk) 20:42, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Keep - it is an historically notable expression, which may or may not be a logical fallacy, depending on the circumstances. bd2412 T 20:54, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Delete? Yeah. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 06:58, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Why remove the category to informal fallacies?[edit]

User:Korny O'Near has at least twice removed the category: informal fallacies with the edit summaries first stating, "Removed categories - phrase is neither a logical fallacy..." and then stating, "-removed "informal fallacies" category - an informal fallacy is a type of logical fallacy (an informal one)", even thought the article establishes the subject as a false dilemma and which in that article establishes "false dilemma" as an informal fallacy. So, if I use deduction and say that this subject (A) is a "false dilemma" (B) and a false dilemma is an "informal fallacy" (C), then A = B and B = C, then this subject is an informal fallacy. And if Category:Informal fallacies (D) is a list all C then A belongs in D, and therefor the category should remain. --JJLatWiki (talk) 23:12, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for creating this talk page section, I probably should have done that before deleting the category the second time. The thing is, as the article noted before and still notes (though in a reworded way), this phrase is sometimes not a false dilemma/informal fallacy/what have you - sometimes (almost all of the time, I would say), it just explains the speaker's view of things. Adding it to that category would give the impression that it's always a fallacy. Korny O'Near (talk) 23:48, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to discuss it. I think what you're saying is that, assuming B = C, since A is not always equal to B then A should never be in a list of all C, because being on such a list implies that A is always C. I disagree because I think a subject such as this can have multiple properties and it doesn't have to exhibit a particular property at all times. Sort of like how Bono isn't always acting as an AIDS activist, but is always listed in Category:AIDS_activists. I also disagree that this subject is almost always used to explain "the speaker's view of things" and therefor isn't a false dilemma. In my opinion, it is almost always a false dilemma because the speaker rarely has the power to enforce the binary decision. I, as a manager, can tell my subordinates that "either you are with me on this job, or you're no longer employed here". "You're either with us, or against us" may be Bush's point of view, but there will always be those who neither ally with or oppose us, he can't force them to join us or take up arms against us. So, the fact that the audience does have more than just the 2 options is precisely why it is a false dilemma. I could have the opinion that you are either with me or against me in a debate over the content of this article, and I might actually feel that if you don't explicitly standup in my support, you are explicitly standing against me, but there are many people who watch but don't really care either way. So it is still a false dilemma unless I can take action to support it. --JJLatWiki (talk) 17:26, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, your analogy gets at the heart of why I don't consider this article really suitable. A person, place, or thing, like Bono in your example, is a fixed entity, that one can say things about that are undeniably true or false. That's what encyclopedias are all about. A statement, on the other hand, like this is, can have a different meaning anytime it's stated; it's no more or less than the sum of the words it contains. But as to your specific argument, I'd say that most of the time when it's stated, the phrase really means "either you're with me, or I shall consider you as my enemy" - which is not a fallacy at all. I think the article's introduction, as it currently stands, backs me up on that. Korny O'Near (talk) 20:39, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I think an encyclopedia may seem mostly to consist of facts about fixed entities only because there are so many fixed entities. But there are also entities with properties that change over time, or have multiple properties that could be exhibited simultaneous or exclusively. There are probably many things with such fluid and dynamic properties in philosophy, political science, and popular culture. That alone shouldn't exclude them from an encyclopedia. I disagree that even though a statement can have different meanings, this one is "no more or less than the sum of the words it contains". Bush, or the U.S., certainly did not declare everyone an enemy simply for not supporting the war on terrorism. The article's introduction describes the polarizing desire of such a statement, but not the possible outcome. Anyone should know that "not backing Bush" is not the same as "backing the terrorists", and there are other options even if the speaker did not express them. Except for maybe Sean Penn who seems to think that there are 2 choices, and he'll be damned if he's gonna back Bush, so he must back the terrorists. --JJLatWiki (talk) 23:16, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, I don't really understand your digression at the end, but the point is, whether or not Bush followed through on his words, he could have, and thus the statement as he intended it (i.e., "we will consider you", etc.) was not a fallacy. Korny O'Near (talk) 00:12, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Do you honestly think Bush was making a formal declaration of war and it wasn't just political rhetoric? He was speaking as President and in a sense, on behalf of the citizens of the United States, not for himself. As such, he doesn't have the power to declare someone an enemy simply for not pledging allegiance to the U.S. If he said, "You're either with me or against me", then perhaps he could personally exclude all other options, but as an individual it carries little weight and he knows full well that he, individually or as President, could never follow through on the threat. No, I would argue that in all historically significant uses, it's use was a false dilemma. That said, categorizing it in informal fallacies isn't important enough to me to restore it again if you decide to delete it. I'll defend and assist anyone else who restores it in the future. --JJLatWiki (talk) 15:03, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
It obviously wasn't a formal declaration of war, it was a threat. Again, I think you're confusing the issue: Bush's statement may have been empty bluster and physically impossible, but it wasn't logically impossible. If I say, "I'm going to lift that 1,000 pound weight bare-handed", it would have to be an incorrect statement, but it's not a logical fallacy. Korny O'Near (talk) 16:08, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
But it was a false dilemma because there are options beside the 2 he presented. Did he mean at the time that if a nation does not support OUR war on terrorism, we would classify that nation itself as a terrorist nation? If not, then the statement was a false dilemma. According to the wikipedia article on false dilemma, a false dilemma is an informal fallacy. The reason this subject is a false dilemma is because the disjuncts are not exclusively contradictory. A logically true expression would be "Either you are with us or you are not with us" because the disjuncts exclude a middle. The reason the subject is an informal fallacy is because the truth-value of the disjuncts is contingent upon the facts of the world (as opposed to strict logic) and in the Bush case the facts of the world permit other options. --JJLatWiki (talk) 18:27, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

"Did he mean at the time that if a nation does not support OUR war on terrorism, we would classify that nation itself as a terrorist nation?" Yes, he did, more or less. Thus it's not a fallacy - he could have followed through on it, and I guess maybe he even did, depending on whom you ask. Korny O'Near (talk) 18:53, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

OK. So you think that all the nations who are not part of Bush's "Coalition of the willing" have been classified as terrorist states? That would be a majority of countries in the world, or about 144 internationally recognized nations now considered terrorist nations by the United States. Including Sweden, Holland, Russia, China, India, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Mexico, and Canada. I'm of the opinion that Bush knew some of the other nations in the world would not join the U.S. war on terror and he never intended to add them to a list of terrorist nations. If you think he meant what he said and was making a literal declaration, then we'll just have to disagree. --JJLatWiki (talk) 20:15, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, by "with us" I assume he meant morally, not in military support, especially since no war had yet been declared. In any case, you keep making the argument that his statement didn't pan out, which, as I've noted before, is irrelevant to whether or not the statement is a logical fallacy. Korny O'Near (talk) 21:03, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Most of the countries in the coalition did not provide military support. Turkey wouldn't even let U.S. forces pass through its territory to reach their Iraqi border. So it seems Bush's definition of "with us" is extraordinarily broad, and apparently only Iraq wasn't on the list of "with us". And the reason Bush's use was a false dilemma is because he never intended to paint the world in such black and white terms. --JJLatWiki (talk) 22:02, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

In the general case this phrase is not a fallacy. There are certainly cases where it could reasonably be true. DJ Clayworth (talk) 21:08, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

So generally, whenever a politician says, "Either A or B", there is no C? --JJLatWiki (talk) 22:02, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, in the case of politicians, there often is a C; but if B represents a future action, then it's not a logical fallacy - just an incorrect statement. Korny O'Near (talk) 22:40, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
What about the case where someone says, "Either you are with us, or you are with our enemy"? Does the arguer mean sometime in the future we may or may not choose to act on the decision you make today? So if someone makes such a statement, only at the end of time can it be concluded to have been a false dilemma? Someone like Osama bin Laden could proclaim, "Either you join us or die", and literally mean that pending adequate time and resources, he will kill everyone who refuses to join him. Perhaps in a more abstract sense, in the way George Orwell spoke against pacifism, Bush could have meant that by not supporting us you're hurting our efforts to prosecute the war and therefor by default supporting the terrorists. That's a pretty philosophical position though, and in which the arguer still has not excluded other options. Or, perhaps, Bush was using some strange form of the Law of counter-indication where what he really meant was, "if you're not with the terrorists, you're with us." Which would still be a fallacy since other options are still available. --JJLatWiki (talk) 23:44, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
JJ, you're really out there on this one. This statement is CLEARLY logically valid as applied to several situations. You're dangerously close to trolling and are making tons of logically invalid arguments yourself. I mean... one right after the other. Korny, I applaud your patience. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 23:51, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll go through all the books on my shelf that discuss logical fallacies and argumentation and cross out one of the most classic examples of false dilemma. Thanks for the warning. --JJLatWiki (talk) 00:03, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
The point is, once again, that such a statement may or may not be a logical fallacy, depending on the meaning of the speaker, and that it appears that Bush, by "you are with the terrorists", meant "we will consider you to be with the terrorists", and that thus, when he said it, it was not a logical fallacy. This interpretation seems to be borne out by the next line in his speech, which was "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." (Emphasis added.) I think that also holds true for many others who have used the same formulation, including, for instance, Hillary Clinton the week before. Korny O'Near (talk) 02:00, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
After Matt's accusation, I intended to let this drop, but since you still wish to discuss the point and you don't seem to be a troll, I'll indulge. Yes, the intent of the speaker is the reason it can be an informal fallacy. So the question apparently is; Did Bush mean what he said? Are you saying that since Bush's subsequent line says (paraphrased), "any nation that harbors or supports terrorism will be regarded as a hostile regime", his preceeding that "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" must have a high truth-value? Someone who harbors or supports terrorism is clearly "with the terrorists", BUT is it not possible for someone to be against terrorism and also not support our war on terror? --JJLatWiki (talk) 15:12, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

It's not clear to me that you understand the difference between a statement that's a logical fallacy (informal or otherwise) and one that's simply incorrect. It's possible that Bush's statement was not logically flawed but still turned out to not "have a high truth-value" - in fact, I'd argue that that's the case. Korny O'Near (talk) 18:24, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I understand the difference. Take for example, "You either eat that fish, or you will starve to death." It is a false dilemma if, while other food is plentiful, the only intent is to convince your child to eat and you don't actually intend to let your child die for not eating that fish. It is factually incorrect if the fish is the last piece of food known to exist BUT other food is in fact available. It is logically valid if the fish is actually the last piece of food available and is the only way that life can be sustained while waiting for food. So now, is it possible for someone to be against terrorism AND not support our war on terror? What was incorrect about Bush's statement? Is it "incorrect" if he was simply verbalizing his intent? If it was his intent, then are you saying he simply didn't follow through on his intent, but did fully intended to? --JJLatWiki (talk) 19:25, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I don't know what his actual intentions were, but I'm arguing that he announced an intention that he could have followed through on but, most likely, didn't. Korny O'Near (talk) 20:31, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok, so you're just stating your opinion, not stating facts. I think you're arguing that he actually meant to separate the nations in black and white terms and he fully intended to follow through with actions commensurate with those used against outright supporters of terrorism. I'm arguing that he was engaging in hyperbole AND knowingly never intended to follow through with any action on that basis. In addition, I'm arguing that he never had the ability to follow through. I could be (and apparently am likely to be) wrong, so maybe you can point out a nation or 2 against which we've taken action based on them not being "with us". --JJLatWiki (talk) 21:32, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
No - as I just said, I don't know what his intentions were. It could well be that he was engaging in hyperbole/bluster/whatever you want to call it. That still doesn't make his statement a logical fallacy. Korny O'Near (talk) 23:48, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I know you don't know what he meant. I'm just asking your opinion. You said before that the determining factor was the meaning of the speaker. If he was using hyperbole, then he didn't mean it literally. If it was an exaggeration and wasn't meant literally, can it simultaneously be a logically valid arguement? --JJLatWiki (talk) 17:55, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Here's the point: it's possible that he wasn't engaging in hyperbole, that he really meant it, and that he fully intended to follow through on it. As long as you agree that there's a greater-than-zero chance that that was the case, I don't see how you can call it a logical fallacy. Korny O'Near (talk) 18:34, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I'll admit that he could have meant what he said, but that only satisfies your requirement, not necessarily everything. In books that discuss false dilemma in more detail, they say that the speaker doesn't have to know they are presenting a false dilemma for it to be one. I think you're of the belief that a false dilemma implies a deliberate deception, but a false dilemma says, a false dilemma "may arise simply by accidental omission—possibly through a form of wishful thinking—rather than by deliberate deception". Such is often the case. So, I'll admit a >0 chance that Bush meant what he said, but that would be more concerning for me than if he was speaking metaphorically. --JJLatWiki (talk) 03:11, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I didn't quite state the issue fully. I contend that there was also a greater-than-zero chance that he would have actually fulfilled that statement, launching wars or doing whatever else you might think his statement meant against countries that didn't pledge their moral support to the U.S. If the statement were a true logical fallacy, even an informal one, there would be no chance that the statement could come true, since it was inherently incorrect. Korny O'Near (talk) 23:40, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Korny that there are clearly non-fallacious interpretations. If Bush intended to convey that there was really no such thing as "neutrality" in fighting terrorists (i.e "those who do not, support the fight against the enemy thereby embolden the enemy") then there was no logical fallacy. Don't "with or against" statements usually take that tone? bd2412 T 00:39, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree too, that the statement can have non-fallacious uses. Which is the reason, when it is fallacious, that it's an "informal" fallacy. A way that the "with or against" statement can be true is for example, in deciding which group of players to play with in a pickup game of basketball. It's logically valid because the facts of the world make it so: a) you want to play, and b) there are only 2 sides. However, pacifists would disagree that neutrality aids either side in a war. And in most significant uses of the "with or against" statement, Sidgwick's Law of the Counter-indication means that for "all who are not with are against" to be logically valid, its counter, "all who are not against are with", must be true. Even in the basketball analogy, the statement is only true for those wanting to play. Someone could choose to sit on the sidelines just to watch and appreciate the game, and it would be illogical to claim that such a spectator is for team B if they don't cheer exclusively for team A. --JJLatWiki (talk) 17:55, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Look at the George Orwell piece. Clearly a logically valid exposition. If everyone else who uses the phrase is using it with the same argument in mind, there is no fallacy. bd2412 T 20:30, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
No, it's fallacious if there are more options than those presented, whether or not the presenter knows it. Orwell makes a good arguement against pacifism, but didn't change the minds all the pacifists and didn't cause governments to round up all pacifists as enemy conspirators. --JJLatWiki (talk) 04:34, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
WHEN it's fallacious, it's an informal fallacy. "The statement can sometimes be interpreted as a false dilemma, which is an informal fallacy", as the article currently reads, is correct. Now, a frying pan certainly can be a weapon, but I assure you that you won't find it in Category:Weapons. This phrase is not intrinsically a fallacy just because it can be used in a fallacious manner. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 02:42, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Correct, it's not "intrinsically" fallacious. The phrase is fallacious if there are more options than those presented. The more extreme the presented options are from each other, the more likely it is to be fallacious. For example, when the speaker implies the only 2 choices are total agreement or total opposition. Those 2 options could be factually the only 2 options, but it would exceedingly rare. No matter what the speaker means or what the facts of the world are, it is a "dilemma". If the speaker doesn't mean it as a literal dilemma or is incapable of making it a literal dilemma or doesn't know it's not a literal dilemma, the dilemma is false. --JJLatWiki (talk) 04:34, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
In the George Orwell explanation, there are in fact only two options. The fact that Orwell "didn't change the minds all the pacifists and didn't cause governments to round up all pacifists as enemy conspirators" is completely irrelevant. The pacifists who were not convinced may have been wrong. The governments that did not round up pacifists were following the law, which does not permit rounding up pacifists even if their pacifism hurts the war effort. Also, there are potentially degrees of harm; even though some pacifism may indeed have harmed the war effort, the harm was minimal, or was at least overcome without turning additional resources towards discouraging it. But minimal and nonexistent are two different things. bd2412 T 04:48, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
In George Orwell's mind there were only 2 options. Even within supporters and opponents of each side of the conflict, there were varying levels of support or opposition, with extremists saying moderates were hampering the war effort. What if Orwell said (and absolutely meant), "either you take up arms against our enemy, or we'll count you with the enemy"? Would that have been a false dilemma? --JJLatWiki (talk) 15:35, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that is not a false dilemma at all. It may be factually incorrect (those who fail to take up arms may end up not being treated any differently), but it is logically true. bd2412 T 22:55, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I see. So, the notion can be false (factually incorrect), but it's still not a fallacy even though the definition of a fallacy is "a false notion". That would mean, a dilemma that is factually false can still be logically true if the speaker thinks so. --JJLatWiki (talk) 23:49, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Is it even a false notion? If I say, "either you do X or I will consider you an enemy", my decision to consider you an enemy is subjective, internal to me. To say someone is "against you" can be an internal classification, therefore it may be true that you consider the neutral party to be "against you". Now, if Orwell says "either you take up arms against our enemy, or I'll count you with the enemy", that is probably true, because he is free to "count" you however he wishes; if he changes to "we'll" count you, then he may be speaking for all like-minded people; if he's purporting to speak for, e.g., the nation as a whole, it is more likely that he is mistaken (but first you have to know what is meant by "we"). bd2412 T 01:13, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes. I could choose to do X or accept being Orwell's enemy. Orwell could even enforce his belief, if only internally. If Orwell is speaking for a group of factually like-minded people, I suppose it could still be true. But enforcing the dilemma is getting more difficult. What if it's the President of United States speaking to the entire world saying, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Is he capable of speaking for the "us"? Or is he speaking only about his internal feelings or about the like-minded people? Is it a dilemma he's presenting? Is it factually correct? Not "did he know it was or was not factually correct". Is it? --JJLatWiki (talk) 04:04, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Well it is certainly logically correct, which is in opposition to the point of the category you wish to add. There is no Category:Factual fallacies. bd2412 T 05:23, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
So are you agreement that it is a dilemma? If so, do you agree that it is factually incorrect? By the way, I didn't add Category:Informal fallacies, but if books on philosophy, fallacies, and literary arts that talk about false dilemmas are accurate then the category sure seems to apply. --JJLatWiki (talk) 15:48, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Consequences not logically devastating[edit]

Regarding the quote from Neutrality and the Academic Ethic:

The fallacy involved in the assertion that you either are with us or against us is that it can be said by either side. The consequences of this are logically devastating. Both sides can regard a third party as an opponent (since it is not with us, it is against us) or with equal plausibility as an ally (since it is not against our opponents, it is with us).

The logic of this quotation and the reference to it is faulty. For the quote to be correct, we have to assume of a third party that "since it is not against our opponents, it is with us." However, this fact not mentioned in the original phrase, and is merely deemed "plausible" by the author of the quote. Plausibility does not logic make.

It is perfectly possible for three parties to be in opposition to each other with no allies between them. The quote does not acknowledge this alternative.

Theycallmeloopy (talk) 19:34, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Obi-Wan and Anakin[edit]

Anakin Skywalker says to Obi-Wan Kenobi, "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy." 
Obi-Wan responds, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." 
(In a semi-ironic reversal later on, Anakin states that "From my point of view, the Jedi are evil," 
to which Obi-Wan emphatically responds, "Then you are lost.")

I'm not sure how this is a "semi-ironic" reversal. It seems to me simply a rephrasing of the earlier exchange.

"If you're not with me, then you're my enemy." <- Absolute statement

"From my point of view, the Jedi are evil." <- Absolute statement

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." <- Rejection of absolute statement

"Then you are lost." <- Rejection of absolute statement

In both instances, Obi-wan's statement could also be viewed as absolute, and therefore as a contradiction in terms: but no more so, in my opinion, than if someone says: I am tolerant of all peoples except those who are intolerant of others. It seems inconsistent but, from a practical standpoint, it is reasonable.

ZippyDan (talk) 13:47, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

The statement "from my point of view, the Jedi are evil" can be understood as two statements. The first, "from my point of view," is an absolute statement that "the following statement is subjective." The second, "the Jedi are evil," would usually be an absolute statement, but in the context of the first, is understood as a subjective, not absolute, statement. Obi-wan's reply could be interpreted either as an absolute statement, "you are lost," or as a subjective rejection of Anakin's subjective statement, essentially: "Then from my point of view, you are lost." The latter interpretation doesn't seem to fit with the wider Star Wars narrative, which paints Anakin/Vader as absolutely lost/evil, so it is reasonable to assume the first interpretation is correct. YardsGreen (talk) 19:31, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
On another note, the statement "I am tolerant of all peoples except those who are intolerant of others" does not just seem inconsistent, it is inconsistent. The statement itself is not practically reasonable because it assumes tolerance is an either-or attribute. The practically reasonable corollary to the statement would be "I am tolerant of all peoples except those who are less tolerant than X," where X is some arbitrary level of tolerance. YardsGreen (talk) 19:31, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Mitch Daniels[edit]

As was noted in the discussion above nearly two years ago, the Mitch Daniels example is hardly "historically significant." Based on that discussion, it is currently presented as a real-world use which is necessarily fallacious. However, Daniels' use is not necessarily fallacious. Without knowing the particulars of the bill (or Indiana politics), it is possible that Daniels' bill was in fact good for the future of Indiana. Someone who opposes a bill that is in fact good for the future of Indiana would in fact be "against [Indiana's] future" (through their mistaken belief that the bill would be bad for Indiana's future). If Daniels' bill was in fact good for the future of Indiana, then there truly was no third option. The fallacy here is in assuming that people who opposed the bill because they believed it was bad for the future of Indiana were necessarily correct, and therefore that Daniels was necessarily incorrect and there was a third option. Note that whether the bill actually was good for Indiana is irrelevant. My objection to this example is on logical grounds, not political grounds. YardsGreen (talk) 19:14, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Remove Sophocles[edit]

The Sophocles' reference does not fit on this page, because it does not have a "against us" part. (talk) 17:37, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Patriot Games[edit]

It is used in Patriot Games(the film). One of the IRA guys, I think the character's name was Kevin O'Donnell, says it to another one several hours before having him assassinated. This is somewhere near the beginning of the film. It might be appropriate for the popular culture section, but I don't think that I can describe it with enough specificity to add this example to the article. (talk) 08:50, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Just a thought[edit]

In at least two cases mentioned there is a distinct difference that should be noted. In the case of the Matrix, it is entirely true that someone who has not joined them is subject to being taken over and being against them in an instant. In the case of Jesus Christ, the only way to protect yourself from being controlled by Satan and his forces is to be saved and be "with Jesus". There truly is no other choice in the context of Christianity or the Matrix. The statement at the very beginning of the article suggests that saying "you're either with us or against us" is saying you will be deemed an enemy automatically if you don't join up, but in these two cases it is more true to say the nature of reality will cause you to become an enemy automatically if you don't acquire protection from that which will inexorably lead you to enmity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:29, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Jesus and Historical Quotations section[edit]

I noticed that after moving the Jesus-attibuted quotes from the Historical Quotations section to the Literature and Culture one, someone mirrored it so both sections now have it. It's slightly difficult to properly classify this one, it seems.

The other examples in the Historical section point to history which is more easily verifyable. We could however argue that Jesus has historical significance in that the Gospels influenced cultures. Perhaps that it's justified to keep it in both sections.

In my opinion, if it shouldn't be in both, the Literature and Culture seems more appropriate, because we're dealing with literary tradition in this case (the Synoptic Gospels, which likely originate from a common text, attributing those quotes to Jesus).

Moreover, it's likely that eventually, a reference about it from a reputed theology source should be used instead of the verses themselves (a primary source, so we should try to look for these). Such a source should ideally link those quotes to this informal fallacy type, or the equivalent. (talk) 08:21, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Removed. This is WP:OR. Besides, "Whoever is not against us is for us" has a different/opposite meaning. My very best wishes (talk) 04:09, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
The Jesus quote is a perfect example of the genre (and likely an influence on many of the other examples) and should definitely be included if we are to have this article at all. I do not understand the claim that is OR, it is simply citing what the source actually says. And "Whoever is not against us is for us" may well have well have a different ring to it, but logically it is equivalent. (As the article points out, it is the contrapositive.) MathHisSci (talk) 15:34, 20 February 2016 (UTC)