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The President also knows that we have to stop blaming victims for these crimes. No one ever asks the person who got robbed at gunpoint in the street -- why were you there, what were you doing, what were you wearing? What did you say? Did you offend someone? We encourage people to come forward. We don't have to explain why someone took our money.

Source

I think the "No one ever [...]" claim is literally false, and actually obviously so. So, I understand it to mean:

The President also knows that we have to stop blaming victims for these crimes. No one in their right mind ever asks the person who got robbed at gunpoint in the street -- why were you there, what were you doing, what were you wearing? What did you say? Did you offend someone? We encourage people to come forward. We don't have to explain why someone took our money.

Supposing that I am right, what is this kind of rhetoric called?

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  • Do you mean hyperbole? Jan 25, 2014 at 20:40
  • @MichaelOwenSartin Perhaps. Does it qualify as such?
    – Řídící
    Jan 25, 2014 at 20:42
  • saying no one in their right mind rather than no one, i would normally call it hedging, because you are foreseeing a possible objection to your reasoning and dismissing it. e.g., if you said no one... then someone might say "well my friend Thomas thinks this way...*; using no one in their right mind... you foreclose this objection, because if Thomas thinks so, he is not in his right mind, and we are presumably restricting consideration to people of sound minds.
    – user31341
    Jan 25, 2014 at 21:12
  • @jlovegren Sure. Bit he said "no one", not "no one in their right mind". What's the kind of rhetoric called that "allows" him to do that? (These speeches must be vetted, so there is a way out, presumably.) Also, in this case, I imagine "in their right mind" to be relative/subjective to the (intended) audience.
    – Řídící
    Jan 25, 2014 at 21:18
  • i don't know that it would be considered a rhetorical device to not include a hedge. when addressing an audience that is willing to accommodate normal assumptions, you don't have to specify that when you refer to "someone", you mean "someone of sound mind." take the line from the movie Rear Window uttered by Grace Kelley: "a murderer would never parade his crime in front of an open window"; we are expected to infer that she is only talking about murderers who don't wish to get caught. i say it's not rhetoric to say things relying on unspoken (but uncontroversial) assumptions.
    – user31341
    Jan 26, 2014 at 3:56

1 Answer 1

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This is an example of generalisation.

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  • Agreed. And maybe a slight exaggeration.
    – Jim
    Jan 25, 2014 at 22:39

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