Talk:Horseshoe theory

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This Politics related article has been assessed as SIGNIFICANTLY PROBLEMATIC in one or more ways. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

This article requires attention for the following reason(s):
  • So much of it is unsourced and it's just a huge fucking mess. Tagged since November 2022

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Fish Hook[edit]

The Fish Hook theory doesn't even appear as its own article on Wikipedia. It's mostly a fringe group of extremists whining that they are being compared to their allegedly sworn enemy, or people who use "centrist" as a pejorative. Can we agree on how to fix that part of our article? CorruptUser 07:06, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

It's just as accurate as horseshoe theory. Your whining does nothing to change the fact that, historically speaking at least, centrists have almost always bent the knee to fascism when push comes to shove. Fishhook theory is mostly tongue in cheek as it is. Besides, why do you use the term "allegedly?" It's a well known fact that almost immediately upon entering office the first thing the Nazis did was to purge Germany of its leftist element. Oxyaena Harass 12:49, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
The very existence of "fish hook theory" is proof that elements of the Far-Left views normal, everyday people as their enemy. The phrase "silence is violence" is outright declaring that anyone who doesn't immediately ally with your ideas is "violent", and thus any violence committed against the centrists is "justified" as "self defence". CorruptUser 17:36, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
The very existence of a binary worldview tends to exclude other viewpoints so if someone opposes you, then they assume that you are allied with their "official" opponents. This doesn't just apply to extremists, but also hard two party systems like the USA, where some people struggle to see beyond the DemRep axis. People who see the world as conservative/liberal, capitalist/socialist or whatever fall into that trap. I see it frequently with post-structuralist types too, even on here.-Albannach (talk) 21:34, 28 July 2021 (UTC)
The Nazis didn't just purge Communists, they recruited some, and found it easier to gain converts from the militaristic far-left than the moderate left. (The Nazis may have opposed Communism, but they weren't above stealing some of its ideas and models.) The Soviets also made the famous Molotov-Ribbentropp pact which favoured both parties... But not the Poles.
Arthur Koestler said that the Communists in the Weimar Republic spent as much time attacking the Social Democrats and calling them Social Fascists, as they did on the Nazis. George Orwell also discussed how Stalinists kept attacking and purging non-Stalinist Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. In both cases, the far left paid dearly (although the Soviet Union eventually gained some satellite states.)
Most extreme groups view "normies" as conformists or sheeple. I'm afraid there appears to be some merit in this, as a lot of people follow whoever's in charge... Even when they're awful.-Albannach (talk) 21:28, 28 July 2021 (UTC)
Dumbass A somebody. (talk) 18:01, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

Could the sarcastic asshat please fuck off?[edit]

Thank you for fucking off. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 13:00, 7 June 2022 (UTC)

Genuinely would love to hear why the stuff I just removed deserves to stay on here[edit]

Or why my uncited opinion is less deserving than the myriad unsupported opinions that make up most of this article. Please, let's hear it. (talk) 21:41, 7 September 2022 (UTC)

Revert is all we can do with such a vague argument. Which centrists believe that modern leftists are mass murderers? I am pretty sure most centrists believe that Bernie Sanders, despite all his flaws, is stil better than Donald Trump.
If you want to make an edit, please, make intelligent claims, and use sources. And no, the fact that there are unsourced claims on the page doesn't mean you can also make unsourced claims. GeeJayK (talk) 21:56, 7 September 2022 (UTC)
Why not though? What makes those unsourced claims any better? They're quire a bit more inflammatory, and just as broadly generalized. Don't try to tell me that bringing up fucking Breivik in this context is intelligent. Or do I guess, but you'd be wrong. Why is it important for that existing garbage text to stay in the article? (talk) 22:03, 7 September 2022 (UTC)
My point being that the article is better without my addition OR the Breivik comparison, and if my edit should be reverted, so should the other. (talk) 22:06, 7 September 2022 (UTC)
Please, see Two wrongs make a right. GeeJayK (talk) 22:07, 7 September 2022 (UTC)
Please don't strawman. My point is that the correct action is to not include either "wrong". No wrongs makes no wrongs. (talk) 22:12, 7 September 2022 (UTC)
Also just realized you didn't revert the Breivik stuff when I removed it earlier, so you might be missing that context. Apologies if that's the case. (talk) 22:15, 7 September 2022 (UTC)

So, no credible defense of the unsourced reactionary content that keeps getting reverted, and no reason for why it is more deserving of inclusion than my admittedly snarky but equally valid and now reverted additions. This article is tagged for having tons of unsourced statements. The suggested solution in this site's policy on that issue is to remove the unsourced content, and when someone follows those guidelines, the answer is to revert the edit. They try to make some additions? Why, let's revert THOSE edits while invoking the same guidelines. Better yet, let's question their intelligence, mischaracterize their arguments as logical fallacies, declare an edit-war, and lock the page. Solid work here, totally not an weird little ideological ec(h)osphere of centrists blowing the ashes of their own intellectual consistency up each others' assholes.2003:E8:1F26:FD01:81B6:905E:EE64:55D2 (talk) 01:14, 8 September 2022 (UTC)

Just noticed my IP address changed, so I want to be clear that my phone died and my prior vpn IP is now blocked, so I turned it off. Not trying to make it seem like I'm a different person jumping into this exchange. 2003:E8:1F26:FD01:81B6:905E:EE64:55D2 (talk) 01:22, 8 Septemberh 2022 (UTC)
Also not saying blowing stuff up assholes is an inherently bad thing. Just not a great way to manage a "rational" wiki. (talk) 01:30, 8 September 2022 (UTC)
Apparently my wifi is unstable as well. Still the same dude.2003:E8:1F26:FD01:81B6:905E:EE64:55D2 (talk) 01:40, 8 September 2022 (UTC)
  • This article is tagged for having tons of unsourced statements. This article is rated silver, and there is currently no sources needed template at the top of the page. It does have seven "fact" tags, but these do not appear to be what you were dealing with.
  • this site's policy on that issue is to remove the unsourced content. This site's policy is "Any fact should be referenced. This doesn't mean "delete all unreferenced statements", it means to at least be prepared to do some homework and back up our assertions"; "If you think someone put in an untrue fact that is unsourced, or a fact that is true and unsourced but could be sourced, add the template {{fact}}. This will automatically create the following notation, with a link to this page: [citation needed]. It also puts it into the category of articles with unsourced statements. The original author should then "put up or shut up". Otherwise other diligent editors will then hopefully look for ways to justify whatever the article claims."
  • I don't know who originally made the claims you want to remove, but it'd be easy to find out by looking at the article history.
  • no reason for why it is more deserving of inclusion than my admittedly snarky but equally valid and now reverted additions. If what you removed is in fact invalid, then your addition's being equally valid is good reason to remove it.
That a claim is unsourced does not make it false, and does not mean that it should be immediately removed. It may be that it is true, and backed up by reliable sources, which simply haven't been added as they should have been. The paged is locked, but you can still post here, and what would be productive would be to make a case here, preferably backed up by sources, that the article is in fact inaccurate and that your revisions would improve it. What is unproductive is to insult other editors and misrepresent site policies about unsourced statements. It is also unproductive to presume that anybody here is prepared, at a moment's notice, to bring forward a full defence of some particular unsourced claim in an article; nobody is memorizing every point and justification on the site. The claims were likely made by an editor in good standing, and have been in the article for a while, which is sufficient for them to get the benefit of the doubt against an editor of uncertain reliability removing large chunks of text and adding additional unsourced claims. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 02:16, 8 September 2022 (UTC)
This just seems like a whole lot of dissembling words that dance around the fact that the statements I removed are inherently not able to be sourced. They're just lazy and insulting opinions. My edit of the last paragraph hews closer to the source for the preceding text. Why assume good faith editing for text that makes arguments in bad faith? Why is the length of time the edits have stood at all relevant to their quality, when counter-edits are swiftly removed by other editors with clear statements of their own bias towards centrism and capitalism on their user page? Judging by the edit history and talk page, this article seems to be zealously guarded against attempts to make it more objective. As for the policy, it clearly advises users to remove unsourced statements. Disagreeing with your interpretation doesn't equal misrepresentation, but go off. And your point about my point about validity (which only applies to the snarky stuff) is just my point about validity, except my edits are consistent with that point. So what's your point? (talk) 19:59, 8 September 2022 (UTC)
  • Why assume good faith editing for text that makes arguments in bad faith? You assume good faith always; on closer examination, you might conclude that the text is in bad faith. Obviously, the bad-faithedness of what you removed is under dispute, or else you likely wouldn't be here.
  • Why is the length of time the edits have stood at all relevant to their quality, when counter-edits are swiftly removed. Wrong claims tend to be disputed; going a long time without being disputed, or surviving dispute, speaks in a claim's favor. More importantly, commenting on the talk page before making major changes is expected anyway. From the manual of style: "If you feel the need to remove more than a sentence or two, please copy it to the talk page to discuss your reasons and let other people chime in. Give them a day or two, at least. Silence is not assent."
  • clearly advises users to remove unsourced statements. It explicitly does not advise this as a first course of action, both where it advises against deleting all unsourced statements and advises adding the fact template to claims you think are inaccurate (in fairness, I will admit that if you did this to every unsourced statement in an article, your reception would almost certainly be cold). Granted, it also calls for the original author to "put up or shut up", but it is unreasonable to expect them to do this if they haven't been alerted to the dispute.
  • my edits are consistent with that point. I see what your point is in saying this. But, what you did was remove material you claimed was unjustified, then, when reverted, add material you claimed was of equal quality. The point you were trying to make about double standards is obvious; I'm merely suggesting that the way you're going about it is, let's say, suboptimal, and doing it in a slightly snarky way.
  • My edit of the last paragraph hews closer to the source for the preceding text. Can you clarify which edit you're referring to, and which source? (From a pragmatic standpoint, I'd advise being very explicit stating where you hew very close to the source, just to save others some effort. This has nothing to do with being right, per se, but it will probably help you out for rhetorical reasons).
  • the statements I removed are inherently not able to be sourced. Great! But you've missed an important piece of my advice, which is my fault, since I didn't take care to highlight it. Somebody put those statements there, and might be interested in defending them, if only they knew what was going on:
@CorruptUser At least part of what's under dispute here is yours. Specifically, the text highlighted here. Any comment? 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 21:20, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
IIRC, the fishhook theory was originally something that She Who Shall Not Be Named had been trying to push elsewhere, claiming that we were all "Centrists", ergo evil or something, which is why it was added in. I have to wonder in BoN is her again. CorruptUser 01:24, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
As for that text in specific, while I stand by it, if you want to remove it then we can remove it. CorruptUser 01:25, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
Dope. She gone. 2003:E8:1F26:FD01:8022:386A:425A:81E5 (talk) 00:43, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
By "you", I meant Serene. Or someone else who's not just a BoN. CorruptUser 16:21, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
By “dope”, I meant cool. By “gone”, I meant excised. By “she”, I meant a poorly written comparison between leftists making fun of dumb centrist concepts, and a far-right mass-murderer of children at a socialist summer school. (talk) 11:30, 18 September 2022 (UTC)

Pretty sure nationalism is anathema to communists[edit]

@Arcadium Trancefer Given that Milosevic was a nationalist dictator, I think the BON's edits are correct. Vee (talk) 20:12, 24 December 2022 (UTC)

This article desperately needs re-written or nuked[edit]

Horseshoe theory is a confused semi-illiterate reading of politics that should not be entertained as it is here. Most of the article is badly sourced self-described "anecdata" that, if anything, demonstrate the tenous logic that horseshoe theory relies on.. I mean **really**? both authoritarian left and right wing extremists court populism by claiming to cut tax? There's a lot of things that can explain the rise socialism in the 20th century but I doubt "promising low tax rates" is one of them! Fish-hook theory becomes interesting as an alternative because although it is in a sense a childish "no U!" retort it tends to use the same spurious logic to come to a similarly farcical conclusion. Centrists support the military "just like fascists", centrists hate socialists "just like fascists", centrists elect 'tough on crime' politicians "just like fascists"... ergo centrism is the entry point to fascism.

We should have an article on horseshoe theory but it really should be about the fallacious appeal of said argument because it is popular for a reason, primarily because it simplifies politics with mind-numbing cliches and presents a worldview that is very flattering to your average wonk-liberal. Despite horseshoe theorists arging that both the hard left and right subscribe to a simiplified dichotomy... horseshoe theory does exactly that - i.e. it turns the messy world of global politics into one where sensible obviously good mild mannered centrists face off against the blind, irrational and obviously evil idealogues of extremism. And the only way this worldview works is if you play incredibly hard and fast with the truth while completely running rough-shod over any attempts to understand or explain politics from outside of a centrist perspective. Tikitime2 (talk) 22:01, 28 January 2024 (UTC)

Tl;dr horseshoe theory acts like the political spectrum doesn't exist and reduces messy politics to a cartoonish dichotomy. Carthage (talk) 22:03, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
I think it could at least be a snark mechanism like Haggard's Law even if we don't literally believe in it. Or some kind of way to segue into comparing similarities between far left and far right. But we might also offer Fish Hook Theory its day in court. I think it's correct to say neither Fish Hook or Horseshoe reliably predict reality though. It's just these could be perhaps useful as tools to open a conversation, or else to make funnies (failing that). Chillpilled (talk) 22:09, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
There will be people who read our articles who think we are being literal. Not everyone is competent at reading between the lines. Carthage (talk) 22:12, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
I think Haggard's law is quite a bit more plausible than horseshoe theory. Haggard's law at least has a coherent logic to it regarding self-hatred and projection. Horsehoe theory really is more a peculiar product of blinkered centrism and its probably more meaningfully analysed with that lens in mind. Tikitime2 (talk) 20:58, 4 February 2024 (UTC)

New Proposed Structure[edit]

  1. Intro (largely can remain as it is)
  2. The tenuous links of horseshoe theory
  3. fishhook theory and its similar failings
  4. Why fishhook and horseshoe theories may seem plausible at first glance
  5. Where does fish-hook/horseshoe theory come from? Lack of political empathy? Propagandistic desire to compare enemies to nazis? etc

The majority of the more confused sections where we try and take horseshoe theory seriously and "evidence" it badly with anecdata can be scrapped. Tikitime2 (talk) 21:13, 4 February 2024 (UTC)