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June 04, 2008


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Frank Paynter

"Guilt by association" -- the unfortunate fact that others' attitudes and beliefs may be ascribed to you based on an ad hominem inductive fallacy. If I'm on those lists, well -- maybe you should be too! (Or vice versa, of course.)

My favorite list was the one that Senator Joe would shake for the cameras when he said, "I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department." It turned out that his list was actually a laundry list of items he had left for cleaning at the Norge Laundry and Dry Cleaning establishment in Alexandria, Virginia. Such is the power of suggestion that the implication that such a list existed was sufficient to create chaos throughout the halls of government.


Yes, and the more misinformation a list contains, and the more secret is it application, the more effective even the rumor is in quelling dissent.

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