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December 19, 2018 

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FALLACY OF MASS APPEAL:

The logical fallacy of arguing that something is "correct" or "true" because a majority of the population thinks so. This is commonly used by both advertisers and politicians. Just because something is popular, does not mean it is "right." In fact, a cynic might argue that being popular probably makes it "wrong."
The fallacy of mass appeal relies on the power of popular opinion to sway an argument one way or the other. In a society adhering to the principles of democratic government, the weight of mass opinion is truly important. Policies or programs favored by a majority of the population are the ones that tend to be enacted. And this is usually appropriate.

However, being popular does not mean logically correct. The majority of the population does not necessarily understand the complexities of the macroeconomy, genetic research, or environmental quality. Majority votes on policies designed to stabilize business cycles, reduce unemployment, or control inflation might produce popular, but ineffective or even counter productive results. While it might seem somewhat elitist, in some cases experts really do know best.

Here are some examples of the fallacy of mass appeal:

  • A commercial touts the OmniMotors XL GT 9000 sports utility vehicle as the best sports utility vehicle on the market because 9 million have been sold.

  • Another commercial promotes that blockbuster movie, "Brace Brickhead, Medical Spy," as the best movie to see this weekend because it was the top revenue grossing movie last weekend.

  • A Congressional representative argues that the United States should invade Canada because recent polls show that no one really likes hockey or Canadians.

Hopefully the mass-appeal fallacies contained in each example is easily seen. The best sports utility vehicle or movie, especially the best one for a particular person, is not necessarily the one everyone else likes, buys, or thinks is best. And while a majority of Americans might not like or understand hockey, this alone does not justify an invasion of Canada.

The founding fathers of the U. S. Constitution evidently had a firm grasp on problems that might arise due to the fallacy of mass appeal. Although most government actions are based on democratic "rule of the majority," the Bill of Rights was included specifically to protect against they tyranny of the majority (and the fallacy of mass appeal), to protect the few from the actions of the many. They were clearly aware of the propensity of government leaders to act upon the wishes of the majority, even though it might mean committing the fallacy of mass appeal.

<= FALLACY OF FALSE CAUSEFALLACY OF PERSONAL ATTACK =>


Recommended Citation:

FALLACY OF MASS APPEAL, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: December 19, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | fallacies | fallacy of false authority | fallacy of false cause | fallacy of personal attack | fallacy of division | fallacy of composition |


Or For A Little Background...

     | normative economics | economic thinking | second rule of subjectivity |


And For Further Study...

     | seven economic rules | four estates | sixth rule of ignorance | economic science |


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