"And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word..."
- Appeal to Antiquity.
- "We've Always Done It This Way."
The polar opposite of Appeal to Novelty
, where the older
position is right. See They Changed It, Now It Sucks
, Nostalgia Filter
, Older Is Better
, Ludd Was Right
and Good Old Ways
. This tends to be rolled out regarding consumer products and morality; in the former case, they don't make 'em like they used to, and in the latter, it was better in the good ol' days. Old ways do tend to be workable, or they don't become old ways in the first place; what makes this a fallacy is the unstated assumption that no better way is possible. See also Culture Justifies Anything
- A commercial for the allergy medicine Claritin bragged that "while other brands have recently changed their formulas, Claritin chose not to change", leaving out that, when many companies change formulas, it's usually for a pretty good reason (e.g. dangerous ingredients). Well, when it's not just to keep their patents going, anyway. It's not as if multinationals spend millions to overhaul their production protocols and practices for fun.
- Blue Bell claims to 'taste just like the good old days'. Its commercials also include a lot of old timey things.
- In The Seventies and The Eighties, all three American car manufacturers at various times used this to sell outdated models.
- In "The Lottery", this is how the townsfolk justify the eponymous event. They're appalled that nearby towns have given up the grand old tradition of stoning a randomly selected person to death, because it's what they've always done.
- In the Discworld novels, used to justify pretty much everything the Unseen University does. In The Science of Discworld, when Ponder Stibbons has a radical new idea, he has to claim he got it from a book a few hundred years old for the faculty to take him seriously.
- There's a similar situation in another Discworld book, Pyramids; the pharaoh's time is spent carrying out rituals, and the whole country is being held in a sort of stasis because the pyramids are recycling the same bit of time over and over.
- In the Gormenghast books, so many traditions have grown up around the castle and its ruler that the Earl must spend virtually his entire life carrying out one pointless ritual after another, leaving only an occasional hour before bed in which to do something because he wants to. Many of the castle's servants are born into their professions, and trapped in a similar bind. The court even includes a "Master of Ritual", a sort of Grand Vizier whose entire job is to keep track of all these traditions.
- Gunther attempts to do this with his sister in Unique to dissuade her from dating a non-werewolf. Not only is Emma not having any of it, but their father and pack leader is equally opposed to traditions that largely consist of behaving badly and then claiming it's just acting like wolves, when real wolves would never stoop to such behavior.
- In Rivers of London DCI Nightingale's defence of The Masquerade pretty much comes down to we've always done it this way. To say Peter is not impressed would be an understatement.
- Weird Al's song "Weasel Stomping Day" is about a Fictional Holiday where people spread mayonnaise on their lawns, then put on viking helmets and hiking boots in order to crush weasels to death. Complete with tongue-in-cheek lyrics such as "It's tradition, that makes it okay" in order to mock the idea that an abhorrent act is acceptable if it is 'traditional'.
- The "Tradition" song from Fiddler on the Roof
- Hinted at in the 1969 Doors song "The Soft Parade", which, given the constant religious/mythological imagery in the lyrics, is probably meant to be a critique of religious traditions: "All our lives we sweat and save / Building for a shallow grave / Must be something else we say / Somehow to defend this place / Ev'rything must be this way."
- Deconstructed in Final Fantasy X, as the people of Spira rely solely on the tradition of the Grand Summoner and their pilgrimages in order to defeat Sin and bring about The Calm (the period in which the populace can live without fear of their villages being randomly destroyed by an evil whale-thingy). However, this only lasts for a few months at most, so Sin would return again, and perpetuate the 'spiral of death' that the land is caught in. In addition, the machina-using Al Bhed, the only ones who challenge the ritual because of what happens to the summoner in the process, are ostracized by the rest of society, as they believe that Sin was born because of the use of machines. And it turns out it was actually the traditional Summoner's sword that was allowing Sin to come back, among other factors.
- Often used in political debates, especially about social issues. And we'll leave it at that.
- A German pamphletist sympathizing with the French Revolution mocked appeals to traditions saying: "our forefathers wet their pants, therefore we too have to wet our pants."
- Which is interesting because Germany often mocks its own stickling to tradition with the Three Laws:
- The British general Sir Charles Napier, during his deployment in India in the 1840s, attended the funeral pyre of a local dignitary, when he, to his horror, saw the wife of the deceased being led onto the pyre. Napier ordered his men to intervene and hang the offenders. When an outraged local priest asked by what right he had killed men for following their people's tradition of burning widows alongside their dead husbands, Napier answered: "My people have a tradition of hanging men who attempt to murder women".
- A bit of dry observational humor at Texas A&M University (a school often obsessed with tradition to the point of self-parody) is that the college (or more specifically, the Corps of Cadets) has been going down the drain since 1876.note
- A related bit of humor is that anything that happens five years in a row has always happened that way and is sacred unbreakable tradition (until it is inevitably changed to suit the needs or preferences of the current university students and administration.)
- Claiming paper books are better than ebooks because they're older is this trope. Preferring the feel of real paper, freedom from needing electricity, preferring to study away from the many distractions offered by most ebook readers, frequently jotting notes in the margin, and enjoying buying a physical object are personal behaviors and preferences.
Looks like this fallacy but is not:
If a novelty is logically inconsistent with what the reformer is ostensibly setting out to do. If a would-be religious reformer attempts to change doctrines on which the entire religion rests, then his opponents are right to point out that he does not seek reform, but rather the complete destruction of that religion.