It seems to me that there are a few topics that lend themselves to axiomatic victories. People who argue these aren’t really interested in demonstrating that they are true, they simply insist that they are and move on from there. They start with the conclusion that everything they believe is right and look for evidence, if they bother at all, that supports that foregone conclusion. By and large, these conclusions are entirely emotional.
So let’s take a look at a couple of these arguments. This is by no means a complete list, many emotionally-based positions take for granted their own correctness, whether they can actually demonstrate it or not.
Religion: The granddaddy of them all, religion asserts the existence of an unseen and undetectable god as the basis for everything they believe. How do they know? They just do. They can provide no evidence, they can concoct no rational argument, they just believe without the slightest shred of proof and expect everyone else to do the same.
Presuppositionalism: It deserves it’s own separate category. Not only does it suffer from all the weaknesses of religion, but it makes a huge unwarranted assumption on it’s own. It teaches that everyone knows God is real and that without a belief that God is real, no position can be argued for. Perhaps more than any other, this is a shining example of the stupidity of the axiomatic win.
Libertarianism: The central core of libertarian thought is the “natural right”. They’re absolutely certain that they exist, they just can’t reason their way to them. They cannot produce evidence for them. They’re just damn sure they’re real though. I did have one person, and this is where the title of this article comes from, declare that “natural rights” are a libertarian axiom, therefore he didn’t have to actually demonstrate them, they were simply defined to be true.
Antinatalism: This is the newcomer to the list but it’s just as nutty as the rest. It starts with the unjustified claim that all suffering is bad. Well, not all suffering, just human suffering. Why just human suffering? I don’t think they really know, it all comes off like a bunch of emotionally-stunted, hippie-spewing nonsense. If they were honest, they’d say all suffering was wrong and preach planet-wide Armageddon, but they don’t.
By definition, an axiom is a statement which is universally accepted as true and thus, not under debate. It can only be an axiom so long as everyone involved accepts it. If anyone disagrees, then it ceases to be an axiom and it must be defended like any other claim. These views are not acceptable to the emotionally axiomatic above. These people all approach their beliefs not only wearing their emotions on their sleeve but covered head-to-toe in them. There is no rational thought in any of these positions, they’ve entirely given up the intellectual high ground for arguments that are little better than “I’m right, so there!”
Anyone who resorts to axioms as a means to an automatic, immediate victory has lost before they begin. That’s not how the real world works and certainly not how science works. Could you imagine a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal starting off stating as an axiom that they were right and anyone who disagreed was a Nazi? That’s absurd, yet essentially the same thing that happens with these axiom-rich beliefs. Certainly these are not all of the ridiculous positions that use this tactic, they exist simply to highlight the absurdity of it all. You can’t start with an unproven and highly controversial statement and then base your entire argument and belief system off of that statement. It just doesn’t work that way.
But then again, if these groups were rational, they’d already know that, wouldn’t they?