Logical Fallacies: Guilt By Association

Guilt By Association: How To Respond To A Fallacy

Here are two historical examples of the logical fallacy, guilt by association.

One. During Barack Obama’s  presidential campaign,  he was attacked because of his alleged contacts with Bill Ayers, a radical Viet Nam protester of the 1960s who co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that engaged in violent resistance.

Two. The enemies of MLK claimed he was a Communist (he wasn’t) because he had acquaintances who were Communists (some of them were).

Here’s why these claims are fallacies.  Just because you are friends with someone doesn’t mean that you believe everything he/she believes.

If anyone tries this tactic on you, one way to respond is to ask the following question:  “Do you have any friends who hold religious or political views that are different from yours?”

In order to drive the point home, you can illustrate from your own experience:  “I have a dear friend who disagrees with me about everything political, but he is still my friend.  Just because we are friends says nothing at all about our respective political views.”

Just because two birds flock together doesn’t necessarily mean they are of the same feather.

The Words Lincoln Lived By

“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives

A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.

You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.

Don’t leave yet. You’ve found a goldmine. Check out additional power phrases and unusual quotations.


Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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