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Appeal to Common Folk

(also known as: appeal to the common man)

Description: In place of evidence, attempting to establish a connection to the audience based on being a “regular person” just like each of them.  Then suggesting that your proposition is something that all common folk believe or should accept.

Logical Forms:

X is just common folk wisdom.

Therefore, you should accept X.

 

Person 1 is a common man who proposes Y.

You are also a common man.

Therefore, you should accept Y.

Example #1:

My fellow Americans, I am just like you.  Sure, I have a few private jets and homes in twelve countries, but I put on my pants one leg at a time, just like you common people.  So believe me when I say, this increase in taxes for the common folk is just what we all need.

Explanation: There is no valid reason given for the increase in taxes.

Example #2:

You don't want a hot dog and beer?  Eating hot dogs and drinking beer at a baseball game is the American thing to do.

Explanation: Here the person making the argument is appealing to the tradition of the common folk.

Exception: If the “common folk” appeal is made in addition to valid reasons, then it is not a fallacy, although I would argue it is cheap pandering that many people can easily detect.

References:

McWhorter, K. T. (2001). Academic Reading. Addison Wesley Longman.



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