Is there a common phrase for arguments that override debate or consideration?

At work, some people use “it’s a safety hazard” when they want you to do something without asking questions (and aren’t in a position to just give orders). In US culture, “terrorism” is currently used for the same effect.

Is there a term or phrase for statements/arguments/threats like this which are used to instantly suppress debate (as opposed to derailing, abusing or simply stifling it as other bad arguments do)?

The irony of this will not be lost on anyone.

A trump.*

For example, OH&S trumps operational considerations.

*Obviously derived from its use in card games, especially Bridge.

Third rail.

To be precise, a “trump card.”

“For the children”

Perhaps “Thought-terminating cliché”.


“Because I said so.” <-- used by parents a lot.

If it’s a position you agree with, the term could be “no-brainer.”

Excellent. Also its sniper-like derivative: “Because.”

ETA: Used in Hebrew: “Lamah? Kacha.” Interesting that the Hebrew uses “behold, it is” (roughly) while English uses a different cause,in the Aristotelian sense,which I would cite in scholastic Latin – the terms are bread and butter in the field – if I could remember them.

Would “Dogma” fit?

I’d have thought both those examples are intended to derail or stifle discussion in just the same way.

Perhaps quietus, as in Hamlet’s “When he himself might his quietus make/With a bare bodkin”? I think you can use it of an argument.

From the point of view of the person issuing it, you might think in terms of res ipsa loquitur, even if whatever it is doesn’t necessarily…

“Ipse dixit” is you want to sound fancy. I believe in its original meaning it meant that a person was doing something by declaring it with the authority of an office he held. For example, if a monarch declares you’re a knight, then you are indeed a knight - the monarch has the power to make you a knight by saying you are. Or if five members of the Supreme Court declare a law is unconstitutional, then it is - because they made it unconstitutional by saying it was.

But in more common usage (to the degree that ipse dixit has any common usage) it means a person is trying to win an argument by simply saying something and then telling people they’re not allowed to argue with what he said.

I’ve heard that some people use the argument of, “That is a non-normative issue” which I have taken to mean that the whole discussion is based on a hypothetical set of circumstances, so any discussion is a waste of time.

For example, “Abortion is a non-normative issue.” with the idea that we can never know 100% when life begins, so any debate on the issue is a waste of time.

Or if we have souls, or what would you do with a million dollars or if you had one super power, what would it be…

“Why because?”

For a more up-to-date line, UK and Irish readers will be familiar with “That would be an ecumenical matter”.

" It is known" said by Dany’s Dothraki hand maidens.

IRL, " that’s the exception that proves the rule" is incorrectly used to wave away an example that would disprove the speaker.

In some contexts, a “handwave”, the most obvious articulated expression of which is the airy dismissal of questions with “Because reasons.”

“Axiomatic” is another term used. Sometimes to shut down discussion, sometimes as an acknowledgement that discussion is irrelevant because they aren’t trying to pretend there’s an objective justification in the first place.