Wednesday, October 11, 2017

MLM and Affirming a Disjunct Fallacy

Today's blog post is about a fallacy, which is very similar to the "Us vs. Them" mentality, called affirming a disjunct. The fallacy is predicated on the idea that there are two options to determine an outcome and as long as one of the options is true, then the other option must be false. The idea that an outcome can be determined by only two options, and that those options can't both be true or false, makes this logic inherently flawed for any complex situation. It would be similar to approaching every decision in life as a true or false examination.

Description: Making the false assumption that when presented with an either/or possibility, that if one of the options is true that the other one must be false.  This is when the “or” is not explicitly defined as being exclusive.

Here is a basic example of this fallacy:

Is it going to be sunny or rainy today? It rained between 7-9 am. Therefore it must not be sunny today.

This example illustrates the inability to determine the answer based on the two options given. The day could be rainy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon, or if you are in Hawaii, it could be sunny while it rains. These two options cannot clearly and concisely determine the outcome. While the example listed above is very basic, there are many complex situations in which we use this fallacy regularly to determine an outcome, and often it goes unnoticed, or worse, creates anger and violence.

A more prominent example would be, is abortion right or wrong?

The idea that abortion could be labeled as "right" or "wrong" is inherently flawed because the question involves subjectivity, where as "right" and "wrong" would involve objectivity. People commonly make this mistake when trying to define a moral argument, and often have difficulty accepting the outside influences which determine the answer. Abortion can be both "right" and "wrong", and usually is determined by a long list of variables such as, a person's religious beliefs, a particular society's beliefs, or a person's moral beliefs. This is why topics, such as abortion, are continuously discussed, and often mishandled, because people want to arbitrarily label them as "right" or "wrong" and pretend they aren't complex.

MLMs utilize this fallacy for their self-gain as well. They create false dichotomies to evoke an emotional, non-critical response, in their targets. These false dichotomies are designed to lead a prospective MLMer in a desired direction, and are also designed to shut down their cognitive faculties.

An example of MLMs using this fallacy is: There are only two ways to get through life, "Work a 9-5 J-O-B", or be an "entrepreneur" (this isn't really entrepreneurial) and join "MLM".

They will take it a step further and load the desired answer by suggesting working the "9-5 J-O-B" is going to take many years before retiring, will make someone else fabulously rich while you work for less, will require you to take minimum amounts of vacation, and many other fear mongering lines. After hearing all of this, they will basically make a prospect choose between MLM or doom.

The logic in this example is inherently flawed as there are many ways to make money aside from "MLM" and a "9-5 J-O-B", such as investing, or actually owning a business, or buying and renting real-estate. The idea that you have only these two options in life, and that MLM is going to be better than a "9-5 J-O-B" is false, and according to the MLM income disclosure statements 99% of people working "9-5 J-O-B's" actually make more money.

Another example of MLM using this fallacy is: If you want to be happy and make your dreams come true, then you must either join MLM or become a "traditional" entrepreneur.

They will then load the desired answer again by talking about all of the risks involved in the "traditional" method, as well as the barriers to entry. A MLMer will suggest "traditional" entrepreneurs must invest large sums of money, potentially be unprofitable for years, and have a huge risk of failure, and all of this is accurate. However, they leave out the part where MLM can also require large amounts of money, will be potentially unprofitable for years (and for over 95% never profitable), and has a huge risk of failure. They also leave out the fact that most of the people living the "happy" lives and have the "dreams" that came true are business owners, not MLMers.

The example leaves out the many options in which someone can be happy and make their dreams come true outside of MLM and entrepreneurship. Many skilled laborers such as, physicians, lawyers, engineers, software developers, and many others, make large sums of money and live very successful lives. Far more of these people with advanced degrees make large sums of money than MLMers and many of them make more money than entrepreneurs. Again, the idea that you have to be a MLMer or a "traditional" entrepreneur to live a happy life is far too general.

Always be wary of people suggesting there are only two options for any given choice, especially if one of the options is clearly flawed. Human beings are complex individuals and it is extremely rare that any decisions can only have two options. This is one of the best parts of being a person, we don't have to limit ourselves to a particular set of standards, and often what works for one person will not work for the next.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MLM and Affirming The Consequent Fallacy

Today's blog post is about a trickier fallacy to identify known as affirming the consequent. This fallacy is effective because it starts with a valid or true statement and then spins that into an erroneous one. Therefore, we have to identify the error in the bridge from the original statement to the conclusion, which is difficult because most people will focus on this part the least. It is also difficult because the abuser of the fallacy may skip the bridge entirely and simply start with a correct statement and then leap to the erred conclusion. If you are unprepared to identify why the conclusion is wrong, then you may be more easily convinced by other faulty logic.

Here is the definition of affirming the consequent fallacy: "It is categorical in nature and, essentially, means reversing an argument, or putting the cart before the horse, meaning reversing or confusing the general category with the specific/sub-category.  Note that in this fallacy the premises/reasons are actually correct or valid; the error is found between the premises and conclusion.  Usually, the error occurs because we incorrectly assume that the Premise was a sufficient condition, when in fact it was only a necessary condition (one of many conditions) necessary to prove the conclusion."

In case that was confusing, let's first understand the difference between a "sufficient condition" and a "necessary condition". A sufficient condition or conditions is made up of necessary conditions which are used to predict the outcome of an event. The necessary conditions, alone, cannot be utilized to predict the outcome of an event because there are other necessary conditions that can affect the outcome. In other words, a necessary condition is a piece of a pie, whereas a sufficient condition is the entire pie.

An example of a sufficient condition: If I score an average of 95% on all of my assessments, then I will receive an A in my class.

An example of a necessary condition: If I don't get a 95% on my final exam, then I won't receive an A in my class.

The main difference between the two examples is the way they are implicated. The first condition assumes every score will add up to 95%, whereas the second example ignores all previous necessary conditions which brought us to the need for a 95% on the final exam.

The difference between the two examples is significant because people will try to use a necessary condition to prove a conclusion, even though the conclusion is created by a much more complex set of conditions. To assume you didn't receive an A in a class because you didn't get a 95% on a final exam could be erroneous because there were other grades that also affected the outcome.

Here is another example of how a necessary condition can be used incorrectly:

My car requires gas to move, therefore any time my car isn't moving it is out of gas. Obviously this is flawed as there are many reasons for why a car stops moving.

MLMs utilize this fallacy as a means to transfer fault from the MLM to the user. An MLM will try to use a necessary condition, such as "hard-work" to indicate whether or not a MLMer is successful. Even though "hard-work" or "effort" may have some correlation to success in MLM, it is far from the only variable to determine the outcome. In fact, most people would argue it has very little do with success in MLM because the actual opportunity for success is extremely low (often less than 1%). The opportunity is also an important necessary condition, again arguably more important than "hard-work", and yet a MLMer may completely leave that out when casting judgment on people that have failed in MLM. To an untrained victim of this faulty logic it may be very persuasive.

A popular example of affirming the consequent used by MLMers is, "In 2-5 years, you can earn residual income", or "In 2-5 years, you can retire from your J-O-B". Unfortunately, much like the "hard-work" example, time is not a sufficient condition for determining success in MLM. Many people have been in MLM for decades and have not retired or earned residual income, and an overwhelming majority of MLMers do not succeed in 2-5 years. Yet, MLMers will continue to repeat this line as though it is an inevitability, an infallible truth, or even a commandment.

It is important to remember that MLMers have a financial bias when it comes to recruitment and will often utilize fallacies, such as affirming the consequent, to achieve their goals and earn an extra dollar. That should be a sufficient condition for understanding why a MLMer says things that you want to hear and can be designed to mislead you into making a poor decision for your financial future.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MLM and 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Pt. 3


Today's blog post is going to finish the classic propaganda techniques series. Again, these techniques can be utilized for a multitude of purposes and are designed for one person to take advantage of another. This does not have to strictly apply to MLM, and often doesn't, which is why it is even more necessary to fully understand their uses and effects. There will always be people trying to deceive and manipulate others, therefore it is our to prepare and arm ourselves against these antagonists. Without further ado, let's dig into the rest of the list.

7) "False Equivalence:  Attempting to equate vastly different situations to one’s advantage.
Narcissists use false equivalencies to justify their unreasonable views and grandiose needs as well as to avoid responsibility for their destructive behaviors.
Example:  Reaction from a narcissistic parent after raiding an adult child’s bank account:  "'Yes, I emptied your account. But don’t forget, you once stole a dollar from your younger brother when you were six.'"
Image result for False Equivalence
False equivalence is one of the most common MLM tactics currently used. In fact, most of my previous posts about common MLM rhetoric have something to do with false equivalence. In this instance I would like to focus on one of the most repeated lines by MLM proponents, "Corporate America is a pyramid scheme". MLMers focus on the shape of a corporate hierarchical structure, which is a pyramid, therefore everything else about it must qualify as a pyramid scheme. This premise is clearly flawed, and the main reason a pyramid scheme is illegal doesn't have to do with its shape, but rather with the way a good or service is distributed, in the case of MLM.

In general, product pyramids focus on sales of goods or services to their distributors rather than the public. This becomes problematic because there has to be an outside demand for the product or service and there has to be an external revenue source. If the revenue is only generated from members within the organization, then there cannot be any new revenue and the people that joined last will not make any money, because there isn't anyone below them to make them money. In other words, if you joined in last, you are going to lose money in this structure. This is known as a "closed-market swindle" (Brear).

The fact that product pyramids (MLMs) share the same shape as a corporate hierarchical structure, is an unfortunate coincidence and should be treated as such. Other than the shape, there is no reason for the two to have any relationship.

8) Gish Gallop:  A rapid-fire series of assertions, questions and accusations launched at another without giving a chance to respond.
Named after the 20th century creationist Duane Gish, this technique attempts to convince or overwhelm others by listing many shorthand arguments, any one of which could be easily refuted, but the collective weight of which seem convincing and would take time and effort to refute.
Narcissists love the feeling of power and dominance that comes from spitting out multiple statements that make others appear foolish or ignorant.
Example:  A narcissistic partner when criticized:  “How dare you question me? I’ve given you everything you have. Do you think you could have survived without my help? I’ve accomplished more in the last week than you have in a year. Who would you be without me? You think your friends would lift a finger if you really needed it? You’re often so wrong you don’t even realize it. I’m surprised you’ve managed to survive this long.”
Image result for Gish Gallop

This technique is utilized by veterans of MLM. MLMers that have mastered parroting all of the usual thought-stopping rhetoric and can repeat it upon command are great at this, because the faster they can rattle it off, the more knowledgeable they appear. In fact, they begin to develop a confidence behind their parroting which creates more of an illusion of expertise.

An example of this is when I attended my first Amway meeting. The presenter was Mike Carroll, an Amway diamond, and he was extremely good at repeating the same tired MLM lines about "building a business" correctly and went through all the bad comparisons with a "regular 9-5 job". By the time he was done talking about building "someone else's dreams", being a "slave to an hourly wage", "working for the man", never having "vertical opportunity", "losing time with family", "never getting to take longer vacations", and "investing in yourself rather than someone else", the ability to think critically was massively under attack. It was hard to stop, think, and analyze all of the nonsense he had rattled off, and it was almost automatic, to nod your head and become a believer. This use of "Gish Gallop" was so effective it got people out of their chairs and at one point had them screaming with joy.
9) "Lesser of Two Evils:  Giving someone only two undesirable options of which one is far more catastrophic.
Narcissists use this to justify or excuse control, abuse, or other excesses.
Example:  A narcissistic parent to an adult child:  'Yes, you were hit you as a child when you misbehaved. Would you rather have been sexually abused? Count your blessings.'"

Image result for lesser of two evils fallacy
MLMers love to use the lesser of two evils, and funny enough, they don't realize when they are doing it. MLMers have constantly used the line, "Are you going to work a 9-5, or become an entrepreneur", or some variant to the point they stopped thinking about the positive side to working an hourly job. There are a lot of blessings working for someone else, and being your own boss is not for everyone. The amount of responsibility alone could drive most people away from starting their own businesses, and most people don't have the desire to truly build something from the ground up. It takes a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money, which are all factors that create barrier to entry. Yet, MLMers act like it is the easiest and most desirable choice, and the only choice, to combat working a "9-5 job", or "working for a boss", or "making someone else's dreams true", or some other nonsense. The truth is, most people do work for someone else, and there are many people making very lucrative salaries without starting their own businesses. There are many other options other than, entrepreneur or de facto slave.
10) "Repetition / Ad Nauseam:  Repeating a word or phrase endlessly to sidetrack discussion.
The goal is that if something is said often enough, others may start to believe it. It also is a way of dismissing what another is saying my simply talking over them, repeating a stock phrase or being unresponsive to further discussion.
Example:  A narcissistic boss to employee:  "'I’ve made up my mind. That’s all there is to it. My mind is made up. When I make up my mind, my mind is made up. Period.'”
Image result for ad nauseam propaganda

The above is a picture of "Boxer" from George Orwell's, "Animal Farm"

MLMers use repetition a lot, and they do it because they know it works. In a previous post from this series, there was a propaganda technique known as "The big lie". "The big lie" gets exponentially more powerful when it is accompanied with repetition, and it showed during a Dateline expose involving an undercover reporter attending a major Amway function. People in the crowd were screaming "Flush that stinkin' job!", and were also screaming "Freedom!", and yet none of them realized they were never going to achieve either of those dreams. In reality, if they did Amway full-time, then they would actually be replacing that "stinkin' job" with a different one, and there never was the opportunity for "Freedom!", because nobody ever retires from Amway. The most successful members were still peddling the dream on stage, and according to the income disclosure statements, 95+% of those people in attendance would never make enough to live. Yet they continued to repeat the same thoughtless lies, screaming in glee, because the repetition had taken over and stopped them from thinking about what they were actually saying.
11) "Scapegoating:  Falsely blaming one individual for a group’s problems.
Scapegoating is one of narcissists’ favorite tactics because it can accomplish many things at once: making others feel inferior; getting other people to go along with the narcissist in ostracizing someone; gaining a feeling of power at orchestrating a group action; hiding or distracting from anything that would make the narcissist look bad; and evading the narcissist’s responsibility for creating part of the problem.
Example:  A meddling narcissistic relative:  'You’re the reason this entire family is a mess.'”
Image result for scapegoating
MLMers utilize scapegoating to try and discredit the horrifying statistics that describe all parts of MLM. Some of the statistics include, 95+% of MLMers don't make money, 50% of MLMers quit in the first year, 90% quit in 5 years, and 95% quit in 10 years (according to "The Balance", but I believe these percentages are low), and my personal favorite 100% of MLMers do not "retire" on "residual income". Their response to these statistics is to scapegoat the MLMers that didn't make it. MLMers may say, "they didn't follow the system", "they didn't try hard enough", "they didn't have the right mindset", or some other nonsense, but of course the sobering reality is all MLMs are a ruse. MLMs are responsible for these failure rates, and the creators of MLMs know the "business opportunity" is not viable. If someone can say something, in science, with 95% certainty, then that would be treated as fact until otherwise noted. To date, nobody has been able to disprove these tragic statistics.
12) Tu Quoque:  From the Latin for “You too,” answering a criticism by asserting the other person is guilty as well.
The implication is that a questioner or accuser is hypocritical. The goal is to have a stalemate and put others on the defensive while sidestepping the original complaint.
Example:  Response from a narcissist when told he is being selfish:  “How dare you accuse me of being selfish. You’re just trying to make yourself look good by making me look bad. It doesn’t get any more selfish than that.”
Image result for Tu Quoque
"Tu Quoque" is another one of the more underrated propaganda techniques MLMers use, and is more subtle than many of the other techniques. The reason being, the blame is being shifted to accuser and they usually don't realize it. This technique is commonly used when someone confronts an MLMer and the MLMer responds with, "What do you do that is so much better?", or "How much money do you make?", or "What do you know?". A lot of the time the accuser may also be unsuccessful, or rather, not be as successful as MLM claims you can be, therefore they cannot respond to these statements. This is how the technique works and it is why it is so effective. It doesn't matter if the accuser is successful or not, and it doesn't matter if the accuser has something better than MLM. The bottom line is, MLM is a broken "system", and it doesn't matter if the person has a better answer.

Another way of looking at this is, if you were to tell someone they were losing money because they are spending more money than they are making in MLM, and they respond with, "Yeah, well, what do you do to make money?", don't go down their rabbit hole. You don't have to defend yourself by dignifying that with an answer, but a good answer would be, what difference does it make, you are still losing money. 
These propaganda techniques are not critically thought out by design, but rather designed to stop critical thought. If someone says something that sounds ridiculous, made-up, or simply doesn't make sense, even if you don't know why, then it is important to take a moment and think about what the real meaning is. You will be surprised how often you catch people using propaganda techniques for persuasion, and you will also be surprised how often you find people are full of...



Thursday, September 14, 2017

MLM and "Adam Ruins Everything"

Today's blog post is about a show called, "Adam Ruins Everything", and in particular his episode titled, "Nutrition". I want to mainly focus on the beginning part of the episode as it pertains to vitamins and in particular "vitamin supplements". "Vitamin supplements" have been hawked for over 100 years as a cure-all for many different sicknesses, such as, various types of cancer, the common cold, various mental illnesses, and more. However, every clinical test, that has been conducted using proper scientific techniques, has proven these claims to be false. There are no cures for cancer or the common cold at this time, and if there were vitamins that could do it, then everyone would know about it. The two biggest problems with these "vitamin supplements" are, "experts" are regularly paid to say they work, and the media regularly uses bad scientific studies to advertise new products. Because the industry is consistently deregulated due to massive amounts of donations, hiring current and former FDA members to work for supplement companies, and getting senators, such as Orrin Hatch of Utah, to lobby on their behalf, there is no proper group to monitor and punish these fraudulent people.

Here is the episode:
Adam does a great job satirizing Dr. Oz while giving a healthy dose of entertainment and information. He also does a great job neutralizing an angry crowd and demonstrating that people can get very angry, and sometimes violent, when confronted with the truth. He understands he has a responsibility with his show, and he wants to make sure that people are informed rather than radicalized. This is one of the things I like most about his show, he gives very important and well-researched information and he tries to make sure people don't get "triggered".

This is something completely opposite from the current media and political landscape. Their goal is to be as divisive and provocative as possible, which is why we have groups like "Antifa". They have lost sight of their responsibility to the people, and they have gone out of their way to make people as hostile as possible because of wedge issues. The media wants to stir the pot and get people angry at each other, because it stops people from thinking about important topics and also keeps people from rallying together against the media and political figures.

MLMs utilize the same tactics and create an "us vs. them" mentality. By creating such a vicious division between themselves and everyone else, it makes MLM adherents isolate themselves from the outside world. This allows MLMs to have more control over their members and their information. By doing this, they can keep MLMers in their "businesses" longer and extract more cash.

MLMs purposely target the "vitamin supplement" market because of two very important benefits for their scheme. First, the "vitamin supplement" market is heavily deregulated, which allows them to put anything in a bottle and call it a miracle cure. This industry is perfect for creating a cheap and useless product while not having to answer to an agency or governing body. Which leads me to the second, and arguably biggest advantage, they have magically bottled hope. This is extremely powerful because most, if not all, long time MLMers, excluding the narcissistic sociopaths at the top, have very low self-esteem. This allows MLMs to provide the answers to their physical and mental issues and helps to ensnare their members for longer durations. By giving them a lotion, potion, or pill, and calling it an answer to everything, they are giving the MLMer what they truly desire, hope.

The FDA and the "vitamin supplement" industry need a serious overhaul. It is time for the government to step up to the plate and create meaningful laws against the "vitamin supplements", "nutritional shakes", "body wraps", "skin patches", and any other ridiculous product that has not gone through rigorous clinical trials with real scientific methods applied. The FDA is an organization founded on the principle of keeping consumers safe, and at this point, they are doing the exact opposite.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MLM and 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Pt. 2

Today's blog post is going to go through more of the propaganda techniques utilized by MLMers to condition their prospects and lower-ranking members. These techniques are not exclusive to MLM and should be treated as potential threats to our critical faculties. Some other common places in which these propaganda techniques can be regularly seen are, the news, advertisements, major sporting events (yesterday had a lot of football games focusing on the 9/11/2001 events), and especially the internet. It is up to each individual to be cognizant of these techniques and understand their effects, otherwise, they will not be able to identify what is fact and what is fiction.

Without further ado, we go back to our list and start with "exaggerating".

5. "Exaggerating:  Stretching the truth to extremes to get credit, eliminate doubt, or coerce someone.
Narcissists have grandiose personas. Exaggerating is second nature to them.
Example:  Reaction from a narcissist when a friend suggests theirs is a one-sided relationship:  'I’m the best and most generous friend you’ve ever had. I’ve done more for you than anybody in history has done for another.'"
Image result for Exaggeration brainy quotes

This propaganda technique can be a bit vague, therefore we need to put this in specific context. This isn't the same as "the big lie", and often "exaggerating" can be a combination of lying, "intentional vagueness", and "glittering generalities". In MLM, "exaggerating" is used at every level, therefore, I would like to focus on what the "exaggerating" will look like at each position. Again, some of this may look like "the big lie", and some of this may look like "glittering generalities", but it is based on an original truth that has been morphed into a lie.
Entry-level MLMers (equivalent to MLMers that have limited or no downline) "exaggerating" example: An entry level MLMer may say, "MLM doesn't require a lot of money to start". First of all, "A lot of money" can be subjective, which goes along the lines of "intentional vagueness", and second of all, some MLMs can cost thousands to start, which goes along the lines of "the big lie". The MLMer may try to combat this by saying, "but 'traditional' businesses cost hundreds of thousands or even millions", which is not necessarily true and is an exaggeration in itself, but that also doesn't mean that MLM is inexpensive. This type of "exaggerating" can be extremely misleading.
Mid-level MLMers (equivalent to members with substantial downlines, but not top ranking members) example: A mid level MLMer may say, "MLM has freed me from my job and I am now working the 'business' full time". Again, this has two exaggerations in this statement. First, it hasn't freed them from anything, but rather replaced one job with another. The idea of them being "freed" is a fallacy. Second, this inherently implies they are making a stable income through MLM, which according to the income disclosure charts, would suggest they are not. Only the top 1%, or less, are making any substantial monies from MLM, therefore, any money the mid level MLMers are making is not going to be adequate as a lone income stream.
Top-level MLMers (equivalent to "Amway" diamonds and crowns) example: A top-level MLMer utilizes exaggerations the most. One of their most frequent examples is the lifestyle videos. They will show videos of mansions, cars, boats, and vacations. These videos resemble the celebrity lifestyle and the idea that their money stream is infinite, but that is not accurate. Many top-level MLMers make a modest living, according to the income disclosures, and almost none make enough to have the lifestyles they portray. Instead, they rent fancy cars, fancy mansions, or even plunge themselves into huge amounts of debt to create the facade. A previous "triple diamond" from "Amway", Greg Duncan, bankrupted himself after claiming he paid for everything in cash. Also, at my first "Amway" meeting, Mike Carroll, an Amway diamond, claimed to pay for everything in cash but brought out an "Amway" credit card at the end of the meeting. These top-level MLMers utilize the "exaggeration" technique extremely effectively.

6. "Minimizing:  The opposite of exaggeration, minimizing denies or downplays anything that doesn’t fit with a propagandist’s goals.
Narcissists are desperately image conscious so they frequently minimize the negative consequences of their actions. They also discount others’ feelings and needs, which narcissists tend to see as nuisances.
Example:  A narcissistic parent’s response to adult child who wants to discuss the parent’s past neglect or abuse:  'What are you talking about, you had a great childhood. Yes I was strict but all parents were in those days. You have nothing to complain about.'" 
Image result for Minimization Propaganda quotes
"Minimizing" is one of the most underappreciated techniques used by a MLMer in my opinion. MLMers have the uncanny ability to completely minimize the nearly 100% failure rate while simultaneously exaggerate their income claims. They also regularly minimize the results of lawsuits and act as though settlements are victories. One of the most notable moments was when "Herbalife's" CEO, Michael Johnson, came out and said the FTC and "Herbalife" had finally reached an "agreement", and it "comes at a time when our business is growing bigger and better than ever before". That was his description of having to pay a $200 million dollar settlement and completely restructure in North America because, as Edith Ramirez stated, "We did not determine 'Herbalife' not to be a pyramid". This brazen disregard for the accuracy of the situation is not unique, and most major MLMs have had to go to court and settle, yet they act as though nothing ever happened or it isn't significant.

One of the other ways MLMers utilize "minimizing" is in the prospecting or recruiting process. They act as though it is an easy "duplication" process, but in actuality, the process is nearly impossible and extremely lengthy. In fact, when I was being propositioned for "Amway", I had to go to three "meetings", read a book, and attend an "FED" before they felt I was ready to join. Not only did that require a lot of my time and effort, but it required an immense amount of theirs as well as money for my tickets. The process in which I was subjected was anything but simple.

Even though these two techniques are technically opposite, their design has the same intention. They want to deceive the person into believing something other than the reality of the situation. They have cleverly designed their words and ideas to disguise their intentions while shutting down any room for rebuttal. They are instrumentally utilizing thought-stopping techniques to better themselves and take consumer's hard earned dollars.

Friday, September 8, 2017

MLM and 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Pt. 1

Today's blog post is inspired by an article on called, "12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Narcissists Use to Manipulate You". If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you probably realize why I chose this article, and for the sake of staying on topic, we will transpose narcissists with MLMers (one could argue they are the same thing anyways). I have written about issues with propaganda in the mainstream media, but I haven't specifically focused on techniques used by propagandists. Hopefully, after we go through these techniques, we will be better armed to defend ourselves against MLM proponents.

1. "Ad Hominem: From the Latin meaning “towards the man,” an attempt to shift the conversation by getting personal.
If you bring up a topic that threatens a narcissist’s ego, he may resort to name-calling, questioning your intelligence or attacking your character. This technique is designed to distract from the topic at hand and make you feel you have to defend yourself.
Example:  When you voice an opinion opposite of what a narcissist believes, the narcissist may say, 'You’re delusional. You’re clueless, as usual.'"

Image result for ad hominem brainy quotes

MLM adherents don't typically utilize ad hominem attacks in person, because they are taught it is important to remove negative from their lives. This means no negative thoughts, therefore no negative speech. However, the internet is an entirely different story and a breeding ground for pent-up anger. MLMers often go to anti-MLM blogs and anti-MLM YouTube videos to pour out their vitriolic rhetoric. They will attack an author's credentials, their intelligence, or their modus operandi, instead of focusing on the content. This type of distraction can be extremely effective at derailing the purpose of discussions and videos.

2. "
Glittering Generalities:  Using glowing words and statements to describe ones self, ideas, or behaviors without providing evidence.
Narcissists are in love with their words just as they are in love with everything about themselves. They think superlatives make them look good.
Example:  A narcissistic husband tells his spouse:  'I’m the most amazing husband ever. I’m super-thoughtful, smart and always available. I provide a world-class lifestyle for you.'"

Image result for Glittering Generalities quote

MLMers love to rant and rave about their success, and they try to utilize their success as well as their upline's success as proof that the "business opportunity" is viable. Both online and offline MLM prospects and members have been subjected to grandiloquent videos and rhetoric designed to appeal to a person's sense of desire. These "glittering generalities" do not directly correlate with the MLM "business opportunity", and are often half-truths or outright lies about their success. Anyone, especially MLMers, trying to suggest MLM is legitimate because someone, somewhere, has had some form of success should immediately be rejected as a form of evidence.
3.  "The Big Lie:  Spinning a lie so outrageous that others are at a loss where to even begin to refute it.
Narcissists are convinced that whatever they say in the moment is 100 percent true just because they are saying it. Lying often comes naturally. They know that the bigger the lie, the more it may overwhelm others’ critical faculties.
Example:  A narcissist when confronted with a credit-card bill evidence of an extra-marital affair:  'I’ve never been to that hotel in my life. That hotel is notorious for making up fake check-in records and then blackmailing innocent people like me. There was a big article online about that a while back. You probably saw it. I might even have an email from the hotel trying to blackmail me in my inbox right now. I will fight this slander all the way to the Supreme Court. They will be sorry they ever made up this lie about me.'"

Image result for The Big Lie brainy quotes

MLMers utilize this technique constantly! Some regularly used MLMisms are, "2-5 year plan", "10,000 hour rule", "10-15 hours a week", "residual income", and one of my personal favorites, "a fool-proof system". These lies are utilized constantly, and no MLMer has ever supplied any evidence to support any of these claims. These MLMisms are repeated tirelessly to shut down the prospect or MLM adherents cognitive faculties and lull them into a false sense of confidence in the "business opportunity".

4. "
Intentional Vagueness:  Saying something so vague as to be meaningless or open to multiple interpretations.
This can leave others stymied, trying to figure out what was meant. In so doing, the vagueness distracts attention from legitimate concerns or questions.
Example:  A narcissist when asked why he did something:  'I did what had to be done. I always do what needs to be done. It’s obvious.'"
Image result for Intentional vagueness
Everything around MLM is designed to be vague. Most MLMers won't reveal what the "business opportunity" is during the initial contact. Instead, MLMers will present an exciting, "part-time income opportunity", "side hustle", "extra revenue stream", or some other nonsense to lure unsuspecting prospects into a meeting or second contact. From there, they still may not give pertinent details about how money is earned, but rather will go back to "glittering generalities" or start parroting "the big lies". MLMers will also go out of their way to not explain how much work is required, how often you need to be involved in MLM related activities, and how much money a MLMer has to spend each month. The less information they have to give, the less likely someone will question the MLM and the MLM adherent's "opportunity".



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MLM and the No True Scotsman Fallacy

Today's blog post is about a particularly effective fallacy which runs rampant in MLM called the, "No true Scotsman" fallacy. This fallacy is extremely effective in MLM, because it, much like the other fallacies, does not require any actual evidence to support a claim. Instead, there is a form of closed-logic used to try and shut down any critical faculties in the denier. This type of closed-logic, or sometimes circular logic, is utilized by MLM leaders to neutralize their adherents and keep deniers out. These fallacies are also very easy to parrot, which enables the rhetoric to spread wider and faster, while also creating more cognitive dissonance as the new truth becomes reality.

The "No true Scotsman" fallacy is: "No true Scotsman is a kind of informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample. Rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule ("no true Scotsman would do such a thing"; i.e., those who perform that action are not part of our group and thus criticism of that action is not criticism of the group)."

Image result for No True Scotsman

In other words, you can explain away any unique example or criticism by simply saying it isn't a true representation of the group as a whole. MLMs love to explain away any issues they may have by suggesting the MLMer was not a representation of their organization because they, didn't try hard enough, they didn't follow the "system", they didn't explain the "business" correctly, or some other nonsense. This allows them to circumvent any negative statistics, disprove any bad experiences, or justify any losses. Instead of directly addressing the problems, they can simply say, that isn't a true or authentic version of the "business".

It is important to hold the person accountable when they try to use this line of logic. The person needs to provide evidence to assert the example or criticism is unique and is not representative of the group as a whole. Especially when it comes to statistics, it is important for them to provide statistics to refute the point. It is not acceptable for a MLMer to suggest 99% of MLMers failing in their "business" is somehow not important because they didn't follow a "system", or they didn't "try hard enough". That is not a reasonable excuse for the overwhelming failure rates.