Friday, August 17, 2012

Bad Argument: "You are the 1%" accusation

When defenders of a suspect scheme ran out of arguments against critics of the suspect scheme, and prefer to continue to "vent their spleen", some resort to accusing the critics of being associated with some sort of "evil", the 1% (out to suppress the 99%).

For Americans, it could be as simple as "un-American".

As this sort of accusation is rather rare, I'll cite some ACTUAL examples:

Exhibit 1: Skepticism is "anti-American"
“Have you tried to sabotage as hard as you’ve been doing with (SCHEME NAME REDACTED) to those real ponzi that are running from offshore? I’ve found you’re an anti-american, a traitor and maybe a crook that takes advantage of the American legal system. It seems to me that you make a living by sabotaging American companies. Do you understand what a global economy is? People like you are the one who are giving away American jobs to undesirable countries and in the process benefit from it.”
For your information, this suspect scheme is believed to operate both as a Ponzi scheme AND a pyramid scheme hybrid, claims to have 1.2 million affiliates, and pays up to 1.5% DAILY ROI if you put in some money, but they insist they are NOT an investment.

Apparently, believing "if it's too good to be true, it probably is", is anti-American and traitorous, to people defending a suspect scheme.

Exhibit 2: People who don't like this get-rich-quick scheme must be against black people
Detractors of the scheme, who have expressed fears that it could be another Ponzi scheme – dubbed ibhanoyi in isiZulu, after the many pyramid schemes that eventually crashed – have been roundly condemned as “people against black people becoming wealthy”.
This excerpt from an article in South Africa reports that this suspect scheme's supporters basically played the race card: any one who denounced this scheme *must* be against black people becoming wealthy. Never mind that multiple newspapers denounced it as scam, multiple government agencies have investigated it, neighboring countries outlawed it, and so on and so forth. Since then, the scheme was outlawed in South Africa itself, a forensic accounting team brought in to trace the money (involving over 1 billion Rands), and several people arrested.

This is an obvious red herring, but it's an interesting combination of several different red herrings:

  • The "It paid me" argument
  • The "What's your problem" tactic
  • The "It could hurt a lot of good people" argument
  • The "appeal to pity" fallacy
  • The "appeal to conspiracy that cannot be proven" fallacy
And if you see someone trot this out, you know they are on the losing end of a debate, and you really shouldn't believe what they say. 

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