Definition of Bandwagon fallacy

The bandwagon fallacy is one of the main fallacies times of populism. It falsely claims that the voice of the people is always right (vox populi in Latin). Argumentum ad populum is another commonly used term. A more current name or this type of reasoning is appeal to the mob.

It is all about peer pressure and credibility. It argues that a belief, idea or trend should be accepted or rejected, because of everyone else accepts it or rejects it. It is used to convince people that an argument is true, simply because it is a widely held opinion.

It is a type of logical fallacy, meaning such an argument is based on unsound reasoning. The reasoning is unsound because the fact that a belief or idea is widely held doesn’t make it true. It does render to more credible. After all, if so many people say it, it is less likely to be a falsity. Yet, in this time of deliberate disinformation, this is far from being a certainty.

IN CONTEXTAn appeal to the mobfalsely claims it is up to the masses to determine the validityof a proposition ______________ “IF SO MANY PEOPLE ARE SAYING IT, IT MUST BE TRUE”. Well, it isn’t. This is a logical fallacy.

Main issues

KEY CONCERN: Bandwagon fallacy & violence

The bandwagon fallacy can give people in a mob the false idea that violence is justified, as their cause is obviously justified and legitimate (“I am not alone in my believes. Look at the numbers of people here! We have the truth on our side.”).

In instable times, this is a very dangerous type of reasoning – especially when the mob fortifies its position by adding weapons to the equation.

Example: Bandwagon fallacy & violence

The obvious example is of the argumentum ad populum of course the recent attack in Washington DC. Many people in the crowd that stormed the Capital will have felt justified to violently that building enter. After all, everybody around them held the same believes that the election was stolen. That is why they cheerfully placed images of their participation online. Many probably truly believe that their actions represent law and order.

Bandwagon fallacy & conspiracy theories


Many conspiracy theorists lean on this type of reasoning, often referring to pseudo-scientistic proof. A conspiracy theorist may refer to a wide range pseudo-scientists, and use their combined pseudo-proof to convince people that it can’t be false information, because so many experts are saying the same thing. While in fact, these experts are not really experts, and many pseudo-scientific falsities do not make a right.

See also: Appeal to force: fear and intimidation.