Whoever Introduces the Word "Treason" Into An Argument Automatically Loses

Here is Coyote's 37th (or so) rule for public discourse:  He who introduces the word "treason" into an argument automatically loses.  For two reasons:

  1. In real life, it's never treason.  Trust me.  It may be disrespectful.  It may be counter-productive.  It may reveal things the government would rather not revealed.  It may be insufficiently committed to values many other Americans hold.  It may be inflammatory. It may be offensive.  It's not treason.  Whatever it is.
  2. Accusing someone of treason means one has run out of good arguments.  Accusations of treason are a substitute for a good argument, not a good argument in and of themselves.

A few other words come close to having this rule applied -- "racist" comes to mind.  But though the racism accusation is way overused, and frequently is used as a substitute for making good arguments, unlike treason racism actually does exist and is sometimes an accurate description.


  1. morganovich:

    the other problem is that, of course, actual treason is a purely ex post facto definition. if you run a successful coup/junta/whatever and take power, suddenly, it's not treason anymore. it's "glorious revolution/a win for the people/down with tyrants/etc".

    but that same act if it fails, well now THAT is treason. off with your head.

    history is written by the winners.

  2. The_Big_W:

    I'm not so sure. I think it depends. Making the word "treason" off limits kinda hampers the ways one could describe what Adam Schiff is doing....

  3. kidmugsy:

    Treason is particularly narrowly defined in the US because the Founding Fathers were all traitors. In many other countries shouting "traitor" may be perfectly accurate.

  4. Matthew Slyfield:

    Treason never prospers, for if it does none dare call it treason.

  5. The_Big_W:

    To finish this though off. In a world where one political party has denied for a year the results of a Presidential election, and has fabricated a Narrative to enable removing him from office. How. the. hell. is that not treason?

  6. Bistro:

    Aldritch Ames and Robert Hanssen are traitors. Pure and simple. John Walker, his son and his friend are traitors. I guess you just never dealt with matters touching on espionage and treason. Top Secret is the classification level applied to information whose unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security. Selling it or releasing it without authorization amounts to treason.

    I think you're wrong to dismiss any and all claims of treason put forward in an argument.

  7. morganovich:


  8. Heresiarch:

    If they can use "racism" or other terms of opprobrium fluidly, with definitions that ebb and flow depending on the emotions of the moment, any term can be redefined fluidly, treason included.

  9. marque2:

    President joking with a constituent, and half the leftists and libertarians are clutching their pearls. Contrary to the fake news CNN reporting, if you actually watched what happened you would realize the President was joking.

    Other great presidental jokes that caused pearl clutching:

    "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." -Ronald Reagan

  10. John Moore:

    John Kerry conspired with the North Vietnamese, with whom we were at war. That matches the constitutional definition of adhering to and giving aid to the enemy. John Kerry, in fact, bragged about it.

  11. me:

    If the other political party is convinced it's not a fabricated narrative but the ground truth and you have a manchurian candidate in office, it's not.

    I am pretty convinced that there's nothing there, except a gleeful Russian intelligence service doing it's utmost to divide America, but - due process for this kind of belief and accusation is taking place, and the party that spent five years and several articles of impeachment on an all American blowjob is trying it's hardest to obstruct aforementioned due process, which is the actual scandal as far as I am concerned.

  12. me:

    Jokes that suggest murdering ones opponents are usually seen as pretty low class.

    If you require a lesson on the etiquette of jokes in modern America, feel free to joke about bombs in your baggage at the TSA checkpoint.

  13. The_Big_W:

    I don't think Russian Intelligence was even trying to divide America. I think they're likely flabbergasted at the story the Dems cooked up.

    Nice tell on the Clinton thing. Personally I thought he got just enough punishment going through impeachment but not being convicted in the Senate. But you know, if you're honest with yourself, that a Republican President getting serviced by an intern in the oval office would have been relentlessly hounded out of office for sexual harassment.

    This game isn't fair, and it's never been fair since Teddy walked away from manslaughter.

  14. ToddF:

    Sedition might be a better word.

  15. ToddF:

    Why do you feel the need to dumb down what Clinton did?

    Lie in a court of law, where he was being sued because he dropped his pants and played with himself in front of a stranger.

    Do you really think people here are as stupid as a typical network news viewer, which you seem to be one of? You just painted yourself as a fraud, which is why you're now trying to overturn the results of a free and fair election, by ginning up an obstruction charge.

  16. MSO:

    You certainly wouldn't approve of the jokes told by those in combat; the etiquette is atrocious.

  17. marque2:

    Seems pretty one sided. Democrats non-jokingly call Republicans treasonous all the time. And - no noone talked about killing opponents. Quite a stretch on your part.

  18. expat:

    I think treason is just one of the shapes this comes in - I did notice that there is a tendency in American political debate to suggest that if two parties disagree, one ought to just kill all of the people how disagree to bring the argument to a conclusion ("second amendment folks" joke and "not clapping is treason" from Trump, conservative base on McCain).
    I'd say that's the point at which any actual argument has been conceded.