Something must be done

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Yes Minister

The "Politician's Syllogism" is a logical fallacy of the form:

  1. We must do something
  2. 'This' is something
  3. Therefore we must do 'this'

Aptly demonstrated in this episode of Yes Minister:


Sir Arnold: It’s the old logical fallacy: All cats have four legs. My dog has four legs…..

Sir Humphrey: ...Therefore my dog is a cat.

Sir Arnold: He’s suffering from politician’s logic.

Sir Humphrey: Something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it.

Sir Arnold: But doing the wrong thing is worse than doing nothing.

Sir Humphrey: Doing anything is worse than doing nothing

Real Life

UK Government - Exercise - 29 Aug 2012

Conservatives' health spokesman Darren Millar said more must be done to "coax people to do more and get off their sofa".

"If they [the Welsh government] are flogging a dead horse it has to change," he said.[1]

As one wag put it, "Well, yes, obviously; stop flogging it...[2]