ad captandum vulgus

Ad captandum

In rhetoric an argument ad captandum, "for capturing" the gullibility of the naïve among the listeners or readers, is an unsound, specious argument, a kind of seductive casuistry. The longer form of the term is ad captandum vulgus (Latin, 'to win over the crowd'). The ad captandum argument may be painfully vivid in sound bites from politicians on TV news programs. Like most perceptions of logical transgressions, the ad captandum assessment may not be neutral and at the same time may be quite accurate.

No right-thinking person could disagree with that.
-- Rev. Ian Paisley, House of Commons, London, 2 January 2004, referring to a statement by Lord Hutton about the undesirability of lying

The police are totally opposed to it, as are all right-thinking people.
-- David Maclean, House of Commons, London, 9 February 1995 (referring to legalisation of cannabis)

I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired... I'm certainly not! But I'm sick and tired of being told that I am.
-- parody of ad captandum statement, from Monty Python

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