I feel like there is a logical fallacy or bad faith argument for a claim that something is pointless, worthless, or has no effect:

"Contact your congresspeople!"

"There's no point. It doesn't do anything."

I'm having trouble locating the actual term, though.

  • 1
    – HBruijn
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:05
  • @HBruijn Yeah, that's probably the best term for what I'm looking for. Feel free to submit it as an answer and I'll accept it.
    – ND Geek
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:24
  • cynical? fatalistic? non-constructive? Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:26
  • There is no argument in that exchange of dialogue (there is simply an assertion), so there can't be a fallacy. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 1:26

4 Answers 4



[Merriam Webster]

  • an attitude of accepting, expecting, or being resigned to defeat

Or somewhat related fatalism

[Merriam Webster]

  • (belief in) a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them

Negativism seems like a good fit.

  • "The practice or habit of being skeptical, critical, or pessimistic, especially toward the views or suggestions of others." TFD

  • "An attitude of mind marked by skepticism especially about nearly everything affirmed by others" MW

  • negativist (noun)

  • negativistic (adj) e.g. a negativistic behaviour


"To contact our congress people' is fallacious!"

fallacious TFD adj

  1. delusive or disappointing; unsoundly or defectively reasoned or argued: a fallacious hope.

empty suggestions

I would suggest using the word "empty" - I do not think there is any idiomatic phrase.

An "empty" proposal would have a different ring than "futile" - suggesting more "bad faith"

empty https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/empty ADJECTIVE

1Containing nothing; not filled or occupied. ‘she put down her empty cup’ ‘the room was empty of furniture’

2) (of words or a gesture) lacking meaning or sincerity.

‘their promises were empty words’

3) Having no value or purpose.

so perhaps:

"empty proposals" might be another choice

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