Rush Limbaugh is the master of the logical fallacy. It is unfortunate that his entire radio broadcasts cannot be interleaved with warnings for the various logical fallacies that he uses each day.

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In the current excerpt, the first fallacy is that, “Feminism was established so that unattractive women could have easier access to the mainstream of society”. Here, he uses authority over evidence; he never explains how he knows this, just states that it is true. This is also a hasty generalization; the assumption that feminists are unattractive is easily rebuttable since Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson are famous feminists, among others. He then uses a red herring to quickly change the subject.

So moving on to male behavior, he says, “The people who define modern feminism are saying that normal male deportment is harassment, near rape, abuse, and disrespect”. This is a straw person argument. Everything from disrespect to “near” rape is not normal male deportment; how warped. Women simply want their space and body integrity respected; they are not running around crying harassment or abuse or “near” rape every time a man interacts with them.

A third fallacy, one that may be more damaging because he is questioning the testimony of an individual, is his characterization of the complaints of Monique Long against actors from “The Wonder Years” for harassing her. He concludes by asking, “Is our society so confused now about relations between men and women that a mature adult doesn’t know how to deal with a flirtatious sixteen-year-old?” This is gross oversimplification; probably she told both of them to stop repeatedly, but as entitled actors, they ignored her and kept pressing themselves on her. This is not flirting. Furthermore, he suggests that she slap them or tell their parents; but she may have done the latter, or told their bosses, to no effect; and she may have been afraid to try the former, having little power in the hierarchy.

There are many more logical fallacies in just these two pages excerpted from Limbaugh’s book. However, they are beyond the scope of this paper.

Reference

  • Limbaugh, R. (1993). The latest from the feminist “front.” In See I Told You So. New York, NY: Atria.