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Abdallah Karout
Professor Peter Blair
Uwrt 1101
20 October 2014
Protecting Youth
Throughout time politicians have always relied on fallacies, verbal trickery, and
double speak to help convince people of their point of view. As technology has
advanced so too has our ability to distract and misconstrue. It has become a daily
occurrence for Americans to filter through the propaganda spewed by elected officials to
dissect the few morsels of truth. In Rush Limbaughs essay Condoms:The New Diploma
he uses such fallacies as Slippery Slope, False Figurative Analogies, and Ad Hominem
to persuade the reader that the regular distribution of condoms is harmful.
When the topic of sex is brought up by politicians, a common fallacy is the
Slippery Slope argument, from discussions of homosexuality and the inevitable
comparison to bestiality, pedophilia or other such taboo sex practices, to the war on
terror and ramping up fear over Weapons of Mass Destruction. Rush is no exception, he
uses Slippery Slope which Nancy Wood categorizes as a scare tactic (Wood 4), Why
limit the application of that brilliant logic to sexual activity? Lets just admit that kids are
going to do drugs and distribute safe, untainted drugs every morning in
homeroom.(Limbaugh 130). Rush compares sex education to drug education and uses
the concept of Slippery Slope to imply that giving condoms away in sex education
classes is in the same realm as giving drugs to kids. Additionally hes misguided, the
distribution of condoms has greatly benefited teens, The majority (86%) of the decline

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in the teen pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002 was the result of dramatic
improvements in contraceptive use (Guttmacher.org). Rush continues in the same
paragraph with Lets convert study hall to Safe Sex Centers where students can go to
actually have sex on nice double beds with clean sheets under the watchful and
approving eye of the school nurse. Once again, he uses a purposely absurd Slippery
Slope example to convey his point, this time suggesting the next step in sex education
is to literally provide sex to kids. Rushs attempt to discredit the argument posed by
many sex educators that kids are going to have sex, that try as we might we cant stop
them. Therefore they need protection(Limbaugh 130), falls short as Rush simply
applies the slippery slope several times over rather than providing any evidence. He
asserts, The schools may just as well endorse and promote these backseat affairs. The
kids are going to do it anyways.(Limbaugh 130).
Another favorite fallacy of those preaching abstinence only education is the False
Figurative Analogy such as why buy the cow, when the milk is free? Limbaugh uses
these several times to illustrate his claim. The condom failure rate can be as high as
twenty percent. Would you get on a plane --or put your kids on a plane-- if one in five
passengers would be killed on the flight (Limbaugh 134). Limbaugh uses the
comparison of dying on a plane to the pregnancy rate with condom use. Comparing
pregnancy rates to dying on a plane does not prove anything. However, he is correct
the failure rate with condoms is eighteen percent (Cdc.org) which is close to one in five.
On the next page Rush uses analogies once more. I very carefully stretch one out and
put it on the golden EIB microphone,.. Ladies and gentleman you are now are fully
protected,... If I utter anything offensive, you will be not be offended because the

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condom will screen it out (Limbaugh 135) with this analogy Rush seems to be
comparing putting a condom on a microphone and people not feeling offended, that
being somehow similar to putting a condom on for protection against an STD; the
underlying point being a condom used on someones genitals does not help any more
than a condom on a microphone. Unfortunately, this not true otherwise many people
would simply use condoms to protect against offensive language, instead correctly for
protection against sexual transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
Throughout the essay Limbaugh uses Ad Hominem or what McClintock
describes as name calling (McClintock 305) to argue his point and at times he just
cant seem to help himself. Like many conservatives, Limbaugh is not overly fond of
Planned Parenthood, Its Planned Parenthood and this band of hedonists who try to tell
kids that a condom will protect them from any consequences of sex. (Limbaugh 133)
Rush makes no effort to cover his disdain for Planned Parenthood and their alternative
method of sex education. In the next paragraph, Rush uses Ad hominem to insult the
idea of safe sex. There are many people who go through life guilt-free and engage in
behavior they know to be wrong and morally vacantPromiscuous and self-gratifying,
of-the-moment sex is but one of these chosen lifestyles(Limbaugh 134). With this quote
he tries to persuade the reader that abstinence only education must be true because
safe sex is morally vacant and wrong. Later in the essay while discussing
Outercourse, an idea to teach masturbation as an alternative to sex in a sex education
course, Rush says, We will know the graduates of Outercourse 101 in about forty
years. They will be the people walking with seeing-eye dogs.(Limbaugh 134). He
seems to imply that those who masturbate will go blind. This, of course, is an old wives-

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tale which Rush sarcastically references to discredit the differing view on sex education.
Rush throughout the essay uses sarcasm as a specialized form of Ad Hominem; in a
quote previously referenced Limbaugh uses the phrase brilliant logic to refer to some
of the ideas put forth by organizations on sexual education. Rush does not actually
believe they have brilliantly solved the issue, but is mocking them with sarcasm with the
intention of making his argument seem stronger.
By the end of the essay Rush feels confident that he has persuaded the reader to
his view on condoms, unfortunately I believe most people reading this essay more likely
already agree with Limbaugh. His constant use of Ad Hominem distracts the reader
while also weakening his argument, he then continues with Slippery Slope and
Figurative Analogies further clouding his claim. Even if I didnt disagree with Limbaugh I
dont believe his essay would convince me of his claim. Rush uses very little actual
evidence, most of his evidence are distractions and fallacies. If I were to write an
essay on this topic I would focus more on statistics and scientific studies, but often
times this is what bores people, they would rather read or listen to something meant to
appeal to their emotions.

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Work Cited

Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods. Cdc.org. U.S. Department of Health and


Human Services, 2011. Web. 16 October 2014
Facts on American Teens Sources of Information About Sex. Guttmacher.org.
Guttmacher Instutite, Febuary 2012. Web. 16 October 2014
Limbaugh, Rush. Condoms:The New Diploma. The Way Thjings Ought to Be. New
York: New York, 1992. 127-136. Print.
Wood, Nancy. Essentials of Argument. Upper Saddle River: Pearson / Prentice Hall,
2006.Print.
McClintok, Ann. Propaganda Techniques in Todays Advertising. The Longman
Reader. Ed.
Judith Nadell. New York: Longman, 2003. 304-311. Print.