Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The "It's legal until they catch us" argument

A typical speed limit sign in the United State...
A typical speed limit sign in the United States showing a 50 mph restriction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When critics have exhaustively answered every fallacy, bad excuse, erroneous evidence, and other tricks the defenders tried to use (knowingly or not), some will pull out the final explanation:
"Until convicted in court, the business is legal."
Unfortunately, that's a fallacy too.

The problem here is what constitute "guilty", and what is its opposite, innocent, or in terms of business, illegal vs. legal. When they mean "legal", they actually mean "not convicted of a crime".

That is a fallacy of equivocation or strawman, depending on how you interpret the situation.

This can be best illustrated as a thought exercise.

Let's say I committed an infraction, like "speeding" (driving over the speed limit). There is no doubt I did violate the law. I was "guilty".  But the fact that no cop had caught me just means I was not punished... this time. It does NOT mean I was innocent.

Let's try the same scenario, but with a business.

Let's say the business is operating as a Ponzi scheme. So they are violating the law. The fact that they have not been brought to trail is besides the point. They are NOT innocent, it's only that they have not been convicted of a crime.

But to MLMers desperate to hold onto their dream, only a government declaration that it's a scam (and sometimes, not even that, as some Ponzi schemers have proven), proves that it's a scam. ONLY THEN will they consider they were mistaken

In other words, "it's legal until they catch us."

That's just bogus.

What's worse, many of them go on to claim "everybody else did it wrong", "the government is anti-MLM", and basically blame everybody else except themselves.

And many of them stay in the MLM game, and just move onto another "opportunity", often with the same downlines they manage to keep despite the setback. It's a basic cult of personality.

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