I was discussing politics with an elderly relative in my life and they mentioned that a thing that was occurring in the modern day was socialism. Without getting into the specifics of the claim I asked this person to define socialism and the only definition they were willing to provide is that socialism is what Joe Biden wants.

Obviously this is not a proper definition of socialism; it could even be argued that it's an incorrect definition, but more pointedly it feels like appeal-to-authority but inverted.

I feel no inclination to debate this individual further, but it did get me thinking, is appeal-to-authority bidirectional? The obvious appeal to authority example is

I as a person look up to and says I should do , I believe I should do it because someone famous said I should.

Is the inversion of the form

I as a person dislike and wants says I should do , I believe I should avoid that thing at all costs because I dislike

Also an appeal to authority, or is that a different fallacy?

1 Answer 1


This is a combination of an Ad Hominem fallacy, and a self-imposed Strawman Fallacy.

This can cut one of two ways.

Either they dislike Joe Biden personally, then disagree with everything they say and believe what he says to be "socialism", or...

They dislike socialism, or what they believe socialism to be, and believe Joe Biden is a socialist, and so have issues with Joe Biden on account of this perceived incorrectness.

I'm not personally a socialist. But this doesn't seem like a particularly strong way of viewing the world. Politics, man.

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