View Single Post
Old 03-05-2010, 09:55 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Political ventriloquism

Originally Posted by kezboard View Post
Recently there's been a lot of complaints about heads who say "the American people want/don't want/believe/don't believe" and then proceed to share their own opinion.


I don't think this fallacy has a name. It isn't an argument from popularity, because the whole point is that you don't actually know whether the point you're trying to make is popular or not (and often it's impossible to know, as in Melissa's argument that the American People see health care reform as "just another big government program"). But it seems to me that when you're reduced to using the American People as your dummy, it's an indication that you actually can't back up your point.
I've been trying hard not to, but I have no choice but to bring back from the dark corners of the forbidden, the oh-so-overly-used term "meme". That's exactly how it works. Some idea, concept is made public, and then repeated endlessly. It's used as if it contained some basic uncontroversial truth behind. People start to accept it is true even when it has never proven to be such. It's become very popular in the media. I would say it's being used very widely by the right. It's sad.

So I propose a new internet law: any time you say "The people believe such-and-such", you must immediately back it up with data from a reputable pollster or else concede that you're projecting your own opinion onto 300 million people and pretending that justifies your argument. This law will be called Clouthier's Law.
No, don't glamorize the undeserving. She didn't invent it.

If you want to give it a name, call it Lambchop's law. Wasn't it Lambchop that would come up with the funniest, most outrageous ideas as if they were self evident?
Reply With Quote