Monday, August 7, 2017

MLM and Appeal to Authority Fallacy

Today's blog post is similar to the post about checking sources, but is going to go over a couple of other authorities and how they are not reputable. Too often people are misled by people posing as authority figures, and with the proliferation of information on the internet, it is easier than ever to fall for an authority website that is actually propaganda. Whether you are trying to find the best make-up on the market, or looking to find details about particular cars, there are going to be misleading websites that will pose as objective, but are really just shills for a particular brand or company.

Appeal to Authority Fallacy: Using an authority as evidence in your argument when the authority is not really an authority on the facts relevant to the argument.  As the audience, allowing an irrelevant authority to add credibility to the claim being made.
A couple of examples of the appeal to authority fallacy from simple to more advanced:

1. A stock broker giving advice on real-estate. Even though the stock broker may be very good at investing money and understanding the market as a whole, that does not qualify them to give advice on real-estate. You wouldn't go to a hedge fund manager and ask about property values.

2. A commercial real-estate agent giving advice on residential real-estate. This one is a bit trickier, because the person is in real-estate, even though they aren't specialized in the type of real-estate you are asking about. They may even have a general idea, but they will often be very vague when it comes to investing. These two types of investments are very different and should be treated as such.

3. A residential real-estate investor in New York giving advice about real-estate in Kansas. Real-estate markets can vary largely depending on the location, and it would be wrong to assume that someone who does well in New York could have the same success in Kansas.

4. A television house-flipper giving advice about house flipping. This is possibly one of the hardest, because they are allegedly very successful at the very thing they are claiming to be experts at, but many of these successes are fictitious. It is important to separate fantasy from reality, especially when investing, and get a good understanding of what could go wrong. Nobody wants to see the house-flippers fail, except me because I'm a pessimist, and that is why you never see any bad deals on these television shows. Trust me, it isn't even close to as easy as they make it look, and these people are more so television personalities than house-flipping experts. They will also commonly sell their brand or identity to other groups that will use their likeness to run seminars.

Recently a MLM apologist was debating about the legality of MLM and why, "some are better than others", or why "MLM is legal, but there are a few bad apples". These typical blanket statements that are designed to be convincing don't actually hold any weight unless a person can make a specific example. It is as impactful as someone saying, "If you work really hard, then you could become a millionaire". While this is true, and technically more accurate than the previous blanket statements, it is just as possible to work really hard and never become a millionaire, and it doesn't tell you how working hard will make you a millionaire or if working hard is the same for everyone. Therefore, any authority used to verify an inherently weak statement, such as the three above, is probably going to be flawed.

This particular MLM apologist attempted to use a website named, "", which sounds extremely relevant to the topic of proving whether MLM is legal or not. The website uses a lot of mechanisms to prove authority, such as, a generic color scheme, a font that looks like something a court document would use, a bunch of legalese language, and a reference to themselves at the bottom as actual lawyers. Unfortunately, calling yourself "", and having law degrees, does not make you an expert on MLM and the FTC's rules. This is proven as they leave out key parts of running a legal MLM according to the FTC vs. Amway case of 1979 which specifically states that every MLM must have 70% of sales to retail customers and each distributor must have at least 10 retail customers. Both of these rules were conveniently left off the website, and the website attempted to use the famous method of obfuscating retail customers and distributors with the term "end consumer" which can also be referred to as a "end user". By creating this new term, it becomes impossible to verify whether sales are going to customers or distributors, and this completely violates the previous rules installed by the result of the Amway case in 1979. They also have pictures at the bottom showing they are members of the "Direct Sellers Association" (DSA), another propaganda group designed to lobby on behalf of MLMs and act as an authority while deregulating industries in which MLM products are sold, such as health supplements.

It isn't entirely the MLMer's fault, as these websites, and even law groups, can look like reputable places to gather information and claim a position on the topic. In fact, because the "industry" keeps growing, and more money is available because of the vast number of copycat schemes, the interest in becoming an authority becomes greater. There will be more authorities claiming to be "experts" on MLM, even though they haven't actually participated in one or have failed miserably (Kiyosaki, Maxwell, Dent et. al). They are leeching onto MLM because there is money to be made, and they will be anything you want them to be as long as you have money.





  1. The source of the problem you describe is the collapse of any serious attempt at education in our corrupted school systems, apart from a minuscule scattering of good private schools and colleges.

    The result is a largely uneducated public, and uneducated people are always hungry for "authorities" who can tell them what to eat, what to wear, what to buy, what to say, what to think, and even what to feel. Without some august voice giving them guidance, these people are at a loss in almost every aspect of living.

    The thieves who run MLMs are past masters at appearing to be authoritative in their business, and in fact in many other things in which they have no expertise at all. They know that the vast majority of those who sign up in MLM schemes are not especially bright, and require "guidance" in almost everything. Such people are natural victims of MLMs run by slick fakers in business suits.

    Any appeal at all to authority in an argument is illogical, since it makes the assumption that the person whom you are debating shares your high opinion of the authority in question. If you are arguing with a Protestant, what sense is it to quote from a Papal encyclical? And this is true in every kind of debate, since there isn't a supreme "authority" to whom everyone pays homage.

    1. Anonymous,

      I'm not sure if you have heard of this guy before, but he goes by the alias "LionelNation" on YouTube and he is terrific! He recently talked about the way the government has deliberately destroyed the education system to dumb people down and generate unquestionable obedience. It was a scary thought, but he referenced the literacy level of coal miners in the late 1800's and their involvement in politics compared with today, and you would think it would've been today's people being more literate than coal miners. Very scary stuff.

      The public has a need to suckle on the tits of the establishment and their news platforms. They don't question their agendas, just like they wouldn't question their mothers. It is nearly impossible to reason with these people, and it continues to get worse, because these people are literally latched onto these authorities.

      Interesting point in the last paragraph! You would think there would be some kind of authority to reference on every subject, but it would appear that isn't the case. The MLM apologist I was debating has even acted like the FTC isn't an authority on the subject of MLM, but rather a pro MLM law group knows best. It is completely bizarre and extremely frustrating.

  2. Dear Dr. Doe --

    Yes, you are quite correct. I didn't want to bring the subject up, because you can easily be dismissed as a "conspiracy theorist" if you do.

    The government today is deliberately "dumbing-down" the population. People who can think for themselves, independently, and who read widely and intensely, are a threat to bureaucratic control. Stupid people are not, because they have no intellectual resources to answer back against government bureaucrats.

    The teachers' unions are complicit in this... they just want to collect their fat paychecks as easily as possible, without any great exertion of energy. That is why most schooling today is merely an expensive form of babysitting. These unions were the driving force behind the creation of our spectacularly useless cabinet-level "Department of Education," which functions basically to make teacher salaries huge, while insuring that curriculum in the schools is as empty of any real learning as possible.

    Working-class persons in the past may have been poor, but they could read, write, understand logic and mathematics, and were able to comprehend the economics and politics of their day. Now they are being anesthetized with mindless mass-media garbage. All of this is being deliberately done to facilitate governmental control -- total control -- over their lives.

    Anyone reading this is free to call me an alarmist or a conspiracy theorist. But I ask them to look at their own kids, and explain why those kids can't do math without a calculator, can't understand serious English prose, can't read an analog clock, can't tell you why there was an American Revolution, and can't locate China on a map.

    Whose fault is that?

    1. Anonymous --

      Great comment!

      I find the term "conspiracy theorist" to be as stupid as, "Hate speech", "Islamophobia", "Culturally diverse", and whatever other ridiculous leftist phrase utilized to make people afraid to be critical. These ridiculous terms and phrases are designed to create a new false divide between "crazy" and "sane", but somehow the people that are supposed to be "sane" are the ones coming out with the "crazy" rules and words. This has become so out of control and I look to the Berkeley riots and Evergreen college as modern day references.

      I would be inclined to say, anyone that thinks you are an "alarmist" or a "conspiracy theorist" is actually a brainwashed wacko looking to create divisive labels before generating an objective understanding of what you have to say.

      I have people at my work that don't know multiplication, I have a "warehouse manager" that can't write English, and I don't think 90% of the people working here could find China. It is pathetic.

    2. Anonymous --

      Check out this article about a University of Georgia professor and his thoughts on grading. He believes students should be allowed to write to him and ask for better grades if they are under stress.

  3. Some putz on SpewTube posted a video of Rick Gutman (MonaVie Black Diamond -> ViSalus -> Vayaso Founder) blathering about how all businesses are pyramids, yada yada...

    This putz used the standard Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Robert Kyosaki, David Ramsey, Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton etc. Appeal to Authority fallacy.

    I pointed out that none of them had ever actually participated in product-based pyramids, they are just paid promoters, so they have absolutely no authority on the subject.

    All those "authorities" are actually MLM ectoparasites.

    It didn't matter, he just regurgitated it again.

    1. pinkvictim --

      I'm not trying to be a pain, but Kiyosaki did participate in Amway, and he ended up failing miserably.

      As far as Branson, Buffet, and Trump are concerned, they were either owners or paid spokespersons. As far as I know, none of them were actually "distributing" the products or services, therefore you are correct. They would not be reliable resources for suggesting MLM "distributorships" are viable.

      Ramsey is a complete moron. I have no idea why he kept the video of him egregiously admitting that MLM is all about recruitment. He basically described it as an illegal pyramid, right up to the line of outright admitting it, but then backed away. It made him look very bad.

      I've never understood the allure around Tony Robbins, but his enigmatic personality seems to be the only thing he has to offer. The guy is a professional cheerleader and has never had anything to say. I was at a party once and a girl brought him up in conversation. When I told her his seminars are a scam, she looked at me as though I had just threatened her favorite kitten with a knife. He seems to be a very powerful cult-celebrity.

      I'm going to reserve my comments about Bill Clinton. He is not someone to be referenced when it comes to anything related legal businesses.

      These MLM apologists provide little value if any when they promote their ideologies in the YouTube comment sections. There is a term for their repetitive comments called "Tape speak", and after a few months, you will start to see that 99% of them don't have any critical thought.

    2. I'm not trying to be a pain, but Kiyosaki did participate in Amway, and he ended up failing miserably.

      I rest my case on Kiyosaki's "Authority".


      PS: The Clinton comment... heh heh

  4. Being forced to have actual retail customers is the doom of most MLMs. I've seen plenty of discussion over the years about how to get around certain rules, especially in Amway.

    But if anyone is following the fortunes of Herbalife, they had an 18% reduction of sales year over year this past quarter (in the US) when the FTC required them to prove sales to retail customers.

    In November, we will be a better picture of their sales as this past quarter was only a partial quarter as the FTC injunctions fully kicked in about 1/3 into the sales quarter.

    1. Joe,

      I think Bill Ackman is finally going to start winning on his bet. Herbalife has been such a bizarre story, and to end up with two heavy weights going head to head (Ackman and Icahn), I'm sure there will be more fireworks to come.

      I hope that Ackman wasn't doing this to line his pockets and will continue to pursue other monster MLMs, but I fear that he is only willing to go after Herbalife because it is publicly traded.

  5. Unfortunately the majority of MLM companies require the distributors to buy a product and also to then encourage their friends to do the same. The average person is not good at sales and doesn't really want to hassle family and friends and so they end up losing money in the MLM. But what if there was a way to make money in a Social Media platform that operates the same way as the one virtually everyone belongs to called Face####. This program pays the user to post like share comment etc and is free to join. Want to know more - then message me

    1. Wilson --

      Advertising your "Lead Generating" program isn't going to go far here. This is not the website for that, and the readers of this blog are savvy enough to understand that people don't get paid regardless of whether they get results.

      You are just another huckster selling a ridiculous "tool" to "help" people with their MLM scam. Those programs don't work, and you people are a dime a dozen on FaceBOOK (not sure why you censored yourself).

      Thanks for the comment. You have done yourself an invaluable disservice.

  6. Good God -- is everybody out there running some kind of sleazy racket? Is everything in the USA based on hucksterism?

    Anyone who would come to this somewhat rarefied and intellectual anti-MLM blog to flog some kind of "lead-generating" scheme on social media has to be utterly shameless.

  7. Great post! Robert Kiyosaki could announce at a wealth convention that he can walk on water and quantum teleport himself to any location in the world, and most of the MLM-zombies in the audience would believe him. Maybe 90% of them. The critical thinking skills of the average MLM-zombie are really that terrible, in my experience.

    I wouldn't be surprised if one of these days an especially psychotic MLM patriarch, whose scheme has just imploded, turns his scam into a suicide cult. He convinces a few hundred of his followers to join him in the "Next World", where they will be all incredibly rich like never before. Sounds far-fetched? You need to watch some more MLM videos, and read about Jonestown; although Jonestown wasn't MLM, MLM is as much a cult as Jim Jones' Church.

    P.S - There's an awful lot of people out there who are "still with HER".

    1. Anonymous --

      Hilarious comment!

      Indeed the MLM adherents resemble zombie-like figures, and they have been properly groomed to believe anything Christ-like "Prosperity Messiah's", such as Kiyosaki, say and do. I believe it resembles a resounding failure, as another anonymous and I have pointed to, in our education system. People are dumber and more helpless than ever, and they are looking at life as one random, chaotic, and impossible situation. The real shame is many of these zombie-like MLMers actually want to help themselves, but they are too dumb to understand they aren't being helped and are causing a lot of damage.

      Have you heard of the "Empower Network"? The leader, David Wood, is the exact definition of psychotic, and even though the "Empower Network" has recently failed, he is still roaming the streets and will probably start another MLM.

      I highly suggest you watch this video:

      Oh, and the people that are with "HER" (assuming you are talking about Clinton), don't deserve the right to publicly participate in society. I'm sure I will get some flack for saying that, but if you are that ill-informed about the atrocities of the Clinton's, then your involvement in public affairs will be a complete and utter burden on society.

    2. I like this blog a lot, but I would like to try to dispel this notion that people who are victimized by these high control organizations are "dumb".

      The fact is ANYONE can become ensnared by the deception, fraud and extreme social influence.

      Dr. Doe, I saw you make reference to "Merchants of Deception" on the Married to an Ambot blog... Do you think Eric Scheibeler was dumb? My wife is an attorney, graduated near the top of her class in law school, passed the bar exam in a state that is considered to have one of the hardest bar exams... is she dumb? Steven Hassan was a Moonie for 2-1/2 years, now he's a clinical psychologist and probably the world's foremost expert in High Demand Organizations and Extreme Social Influence... is he dumb?

      Again, ANYONE can fall victim to the fraud and deception when the conditions are such that their vulnerability intersects with the manipulations of a trained recruiter.

      With all due respect, may I suggest some further sources:

      Again, this is one of the few sites that's taking a more intellectual approach to the MLM scourge, so it is my hope to further the understanding of how and why people fall victim to these, and all sorts of, destructive organizations.

    3. Not from me will you get any flak. Hillary Clinton is one of the most dangerous malignant narcissists to ever enter politics. She is a soulless, self-absorbed, and power-mad sociopath. It's not just the thoroughly documented trail of high-level corruption and dead bodies that she and her husband leave everywhere they go -- just look at the woman's face when she is taking to a crowd. It is a mask of repulsive elitism and contempt for others.

    4. pinkvictim --

      Thank you for your comment, and I certainly didn't mean any disrespect to you or your wife.

      The main point I was trying to make by my comment, "People are dumber and more helpless than ever, and they are looking at life as one random, chaotic, and impossible situation.", is people are being let down by the system. That isn't to say that highly functional adults can't fall for cults and MLM as well. Heck, there was a doctor sitting a few seats away from me that helped save a person that fainted at a FED (Freedom Enterprise Days) seminar for WWDB/Amway.

      It wasn't too long ago, the Bush administration decided to attack the education system by passing the, "No Child Left Behind Act", and with the new "Common-Core" system, the children of the future will be even further behind. These acts are a direct attack on the citizens that elect these officials and are designed to make people more dependent on the information they receive from the "authorities" on television.

      If you look at history, and education systems across the globe, it becomes glaringly obvious that there is an intentional domestic attack on information and education. Coal miners from the late 1800's had higher levels of education and participated more in politics than the average high school graduate. Politics didn't use to be some taboo or divisive subject that made everyone want to grab their pitchforks and torches. Politics also wasn't a convoluted shit storm designed to make people feel as though it requires a PhD to being to make sense of it. This is all an elaborate plan to make people subordinate and they use the same cult-like tactics of misinformation, false authority, and fear mongering.

      I would never try to insinuate that only the dumbest people fall for MLM, but rather, people are only getting more disarmed by our systems. They don't have basic access to real, relevant information that will help them be able to protect themselves from predatory organizations.

    5. Anonymous --

      I'm not sure where you get your information on Clinton, but if you want the real dirty scoop on every horrible thing attached to the Clinton Foundation, then I suggest you check out Charles Ortel. He sometimes pops up in videos with "LionelNation" on YouTube, and he is the leading researcher on the subject. The amount of time and effort he has spent on getting the information to the public is staggering, and we need many more people like him.

    6. Dear Dr. Doe --

      Your comment on Bush's "No Child Left Behind" and the "Common Core" fraud is right on target.

      The actual consequence of these bureaucratic boondoggles was to gut whatever remained of real education in the United States, and turn the entire enterprise into one big feelgood kindergarten.

      Whenever I bring up the rotten state of American education, there's always some jerk who screams "But we are the place where everyone else on the planet comes to get a degree! Why would there be so many foreigners coming here to get into our schools?"

      It never occurs to such people that the answer is quite simple: foreigners come here not for education, but for CREDENTIALS, and it is very easy to get meaningless credentials in dumbed-down American schools. Just show up, attend class, take a stupid multiple-choice exam, and get your diploma. Then you can go back to Rangoon or Timbucktoo and pretend that you're a bigshot with an American degree. By the way, there's a greed motive attached to this: American colleges are very happy to collect tuition fees from foreign students, and they encourage teachers to "give these foreign students a break," which means don't grade their work too harshly. As a result, foreigners know that all they need is a rudimentary grasp of English to succeed in our schools.

      But that's just simple avarice. The much more evil thing going on is the deliberate dumbing-down of the resident American population, for the purpose of social control and easy manipulation. This is closely connected with the long-established practice in American business of "de-skilling" the work staff -- that is, hiring only limited-skill workers to do repetitive and highly-supervised work, and getting rid of workers who have long experience and many skills. This way your employees are totally at your mercy... they have no marketable skills and can't go anywhere else.

      Dumb-down and de-skill. You know why no one is talking about it? Because with the collapse of educational standards, fewer and fewer persons actually have the linguistic articulation to put together a coherent sentence anymore.

      In other parts of the world, schooling is highly competitive, and not many persons get to go to university. So naturally it makes sense to come here for a degree if you are a loser.

  8. Dr Doe,

    Robert Kiyosaki and his ilk are the dog poop of social media. It's always around somewhere, you try to step around it, it always stinks. Not to mention they both spread disease. It's bizarre how many people act like he's a great sage, even people who don't do MLM.

    That thing I said about an MLM leader turning his scheme into a suicide cult was in fact loosely inspired by David Wood and his now defunct Empower Network. His name escaped me for a second. What a train-wreck that person is! I can't get over those videos, and I agree with you, he will attract new victims in whatever his latest blood-sucking venture is, and continue to drag along some of the loyal zombies who have been with him forever.

    Yes, I was talking about Hillary and her drooling fans. Maybe they could turn the Clinton foundation into an MLM scheme, though come to think of it, that would be an improvement in terms of ethics.

    Love what you're doing here, keep it up!

    1. Anonymous --

      I also get the Kiyosaki advertisements on Facebook regularly. It is interesting to see how many shills are commenting on the advertisements and mentioning their glorious life since the Kiyosaki "teachings". The fact that Facebook is taking money and allowing idiots like Kiyosaki to self-promote, but are censoring important topics like, pedogate, Seth Rich, the Project Veritas reporting on CNN "Fake News", and many others shows the platform is completely corrupted.

      If the Clinton Foundation turned into a MLM scheme, I may actually be grateful. I agree that it would be an improvement in their ethics, and at least children would stop disappearing and Haitians would stop dying, assuming their MLM wouldn't be designed to profit from people recruiting others to kidnap and murder.

      Thank you for the comments! Feel free to e-mail me or let me know if there are any important topics you would like to see!