Don't like it, don't do it

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If you don't like it, don't do it is a form of argument used with the goal of dissuading people from trying to controlling their autonomy. It is employed for a wide variety of behaviors, and, although it can be useful, it is frequently used inconsistently and rarely has the desired effect.

Impact On Others

The merit of this argument seems to be based on how much impact the behavior in question has on other people. If the behavior has a minimal impact on others, the argument is rational, but, if the impact on others is severe, the argument is irrational. For example, if a fashion critic says people shouldn't be allowed to wear clogs, the argument, "if you don't like clogs, don't wear clogs," is rational because a person's footwear has practically no impact on others. The fashion critic is requesting a ban on autonomy not because it helps society, but simply because of their personal preference. However, "if you don't like nuclear bombs, don't make nuclear bombs," is a poor argument against nuclear proliferation. One nation's refusal to produce nuclear bombs will not prevent other nation's from producing them, and nuclear bombs have a severe impact on the lives of a vast number of people.

Measured Impact

The impact a particular behavior has on others is often very difficult to measure. When governments push more environmentally friendly products, the argument "if you don't like incandescent light bulbs, don't buy them," could go either way. LED bulbs use less energy, allowing power plants to use less fuel, which generates less pollution, and pollution has a negative impact on many people's lives. However, this is an indirect impact that is difficult to gauge.

Comparatively, most people are fine with the idea of not letting people in their neighborhood burn a huge pile of tires in their backyard, and would not accept, "if you don't like burning tires, don't do it," as a persuasive argument.

In both cases, the argument focuses on pollution, but the one where black smoke is filling your living room is much easier to measure.

Perceived Impact

For some behaviors, regardless of whether the impact is easily measured, people perceive the impact differently. The people who make the argument, "if you don't like abortion, don't have one," have a much different perceived impact than a person who wants to ban abortion. Someone who is pro-choice perceives a developing fetus as part of their own body, and, therefore, subject to their own bodily autonomy. To them, the decision to have an abortion is similar to the decision to have their appendix removed, and most people would not acknowledge someone else's authority over their own appendix.

However, someone who is against abortion perceives a fetus as an independent human being who has the same right to life as any other person. To them, an abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, and, therefore, murder. It is the ultimate impact a person can have on another person.