If everybody is eating it and liking it, then there must be something to it? It is not possible that millions of flies are wrong. Let us take a closer look at the demagoguery device, whose Latin name is argumentum ad populum.
This demagoguery device has been translated into Estonian as an argument of the man of the people, in English it is called „bandwagon“.
The English name was rumored to have been introduced at a time when politicians, along with musical bands were riding horse drawn carriages around their constituencies and shouting their election promises while standing on the carts. Everyone who supported the candidate was invited to join the parade and jump on the carriage to express their support.
It is a technique that says something is true because most people support it.
In addition to politicians, this demagogy is very popular with advertising agencies. „ European dentists recommend…“, „ millions of housewives prefer…“, enjoy our sports drink just as it is used by all professional athletes“ and so on. Particularly commendable are all kinds of public opinion surveys that convincingly prove that the desired product, idea or statement is the most popular among the people. It gives the impression that anyone with half a mind prefers the product being advertised. If someone prefers something else, they are stupid and nobody wants to be stupid.
People are social beings and they are very interested with what others do and think. We all need to belong. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need for affiliation ranks third after physiological and security needs. Advertisers and politicians are happy to use the man of the people argument because it works. We want to be included with the winners.
So why do we call the appeal of majority opinion, demagogy or deliberately misleading arguments? Because the popularity of ideas or claims has nothing to do with the truth. If there were a connection between popular claims and truthfulness, the earth would have been flat just a few hundred years ago.
However, it must always be kept in mind that even if any argument is proved by demagogy, that does not in itself mean that the idea behind the argument is certainly wrong – it is simply presented through faulty logic. Sometimes flies may be right.
Examples of Estonian media in recent weeks:
On the other hand, according to Kallemets, the attitude of Estonian people could be guided by the existence of successful nuclear power plants in Finland and Sweden. „In addition, the people of Estonia are rational and technologically savvy,“ he added. Fermi Energia recently conducted a survey, which found that 55 percent of people in Estonia think that the construction of a small nuclear power plant could be considered.
COMMENTARY: Nuclear power is good because more than half of the Estonian population thinks that the construction of a nuclear power plant could be considered. Not to mention Finland and Sweden. In this article, in addition to the man of the people’s argument, the diligent searcher will find other demagoguery techniques.
The author writes in an opinion article „ A May survey of the population revealed that 77% of people think that pharmacists should be independent and not be influenced by the business interests of pharmaceutical wholesalers. 96% of those polled said that the pharmacist should primarily be patient-oriented. Patients do not want their family doctor’s company belonging to a foreign owner, why should we want it in a pharmacy?“
COMMENTARY: In essence, the author says that since 96% of people estimate that a pharmacist must first be patient-oriented, pharmacies must be owned by pharmacists, not businesspersons.
According to Kristina Mering, the organizer of the picket, several Estonian retail chains have already announced that they will cease selling caged hen eggs by 2025. The same decision is expected from Selver. Mering referred to a survey last year according to which 70 percent of the Estonian population would like a ban on keeping caged hens.
COMMENTARY: As 70% of Estonians want a ban on keeping cages and several retail chains have already announced that they will cease selling cage eggs, the sale of cage eggs is then bad and Selver has to also give it up.
Photo: Screenshot of a Youtube video