Posted by Bob on April 25, 2003
In Reply to: The Opposite of posted by Anders on April 24, 2003
: : What would you say is the opposite of "the benefit of the doubt"? "The detriment of the doubt"?
: : Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
: These are my suggestions:
: 'Jumping to conclusions'
: 'Trust is good, control is better'
: 'Being suspicious, over-critical, mistrustful, etc.'
: 'The detriment of the doubt', I must say, I have never heard. It has 2 hits on Google, though, cf. below. It seems to me to be a jocular expression. Unless you intend to make people smile, I don't think you should use it. It's too ironic, the irony being the fact that, to make any sense of it, one must hark back to the original expression ('the benefit of the doubt'). Thus, the opposite meaning is much too much present in the expression, which, therefore, may be said to lack autonomy, i.e. real meaning of its own.
I might suggest "I remain skeptical" as the opposite of granting someone the benefit of the doubt, a phrase that always seems to carry a weasel-y escape clause: I'll give you (which puts me in a position of superiority, and paints me as being generous, in a self-congratulatory way) the benefit of the doubt (I'm being soooooo generous, but I'm keeping the doubt in play) which ultimately turns into heads-I-win, tails-you-lose, because if you turn out to be right, I was generous and perceptive, and if you were wrong, I had my doubts and you disappointed me. Insidious, yes?