argumentum ad crumenam

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argumentum ad crumenam (plural argumenta ad crumenam)

  1. (rhetoric) A logical fallacy of concluding that a proposition is correct because the one advancing it is rich.
    • 1759, Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:
      That it be known and distinguished by the name and title of the Argumentum Fistulatorium, and no other;—and that it rank here∣after with the Argumentum Baculinum, and the Argumentum ad Crumenam, and for ever hereafter be treated of in the same chapter.
    • 1908 December 19, “An Unsavoury Bait”, in The British Medical Journal, volume 2, number 2503, JSTOR 25280236, page 1832:
      The argumentum ad crumenam, however, is understood wherever there are pockets to appeal to, and even where there are none.
    • 1991 April 12, Philip Howard, “Rhetoric and All That Rot”, in The Times, London:
      An electioneering budget is an argumentum ad crumenam, and most elections in democracies have a strong element of this old argument.
    • 2005 January 19, Jason Long, Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians, Lincoln, IN: iUniverse, ISBN 0595341829, OL 7556591M, page 25:
      Because this rich individual obviously made many correct choices in life, his belief in Jesus, according to the apologist, only makes sense. We call such a ridiculous proposal argumentum ad crumenam, an argument based on wealth.


Usage notes[edit]

This fallacy is notably prevalent in art, movie, video game, or music criticism in the form "you can try to criticize product x, but it makes millions, so it must have some merit." Examples:

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?
I think Mary is a good role model. She’s pretty rich so she must be doing something right.
This new law is a good idea. Most of the people against it are riff-raff who make less than $20,000 a year.