Is this a valid argument? If not, what is the fallacy committed?
(1) A hypocritical agent is one that says one thing, but does another.
(2) The government kills people. (Through wars, the death penalty, etc.)
(3) The government tells us not to kill. (By making it a law to not murder. Murder is a form of killing, thus making it a law to not murder is a form of making it a law to not kill.)
Therefore, (4) The government is hypocritical.
I think your argument is logically valid--that is, IF the premises were true, then the conclusion would be true. And I don't think it commits any formal or informal fallacies (except perhaps equivocation in the sense I'll explain shortly). The problem is that it is unsound , because it has at least one false premise; hence the conclusion is not "made true" by the premises. Premise 3 is false. The government does not tell us not to kill no matter what . As you point out, it tells us not to break specific laws against specific types of killing. Typically, citizens are not breaking the law (and are morally justified) in killing in self-defense or to protect others from an immediate and deadly threat. And (legal) killing in war and use of the death penalty (where it is legal) are also not forms of killing the government tells us not to commit. Now, we may have reasons to think that some or even all killing in war is morally problematic and even more reasons to think the death penalty is...