A perfectionism straw-man is any argument of the general form "we can never do X perfectly, therefore there is no point in trying to do X at all", i.e. replacing a possibly-realistic goal with a straw-man goal of perfection. It can also be seen as a form of moving the goalposts, where the goalposts are moved infinitely far away, and as an example of all-or-nothing thinking.
This argument is generally used to maintain the status quo by discussing change in terms suggesting that anything short of perfection would be unsatisfactory.
- The Nirvana fallacy is any instance "of comparing actual things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives", which would therefore be a superset of the perfectionism straw-man.
- The perfect solution fallacy assumes "that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented".
- The problem posed by the perfectionism straw-man is often expressed as "perfect is the enemy of good".
A reasonable goal of reducing evil, or reducing the harm done by evil, or reducing evil in a certain specified context, is dismissed as being equivalent to the impossible goal of eliminating all evil.
This term was first proposed on Google+ on 2013-05-22.