In 1995, a talk show host, by the name of Rush Limbaugh was quoted while responding to a newspaper article written about a study completed by the NCEA (National Center for Economic Alternatives). According to this newspaper article, the study done by the NCEA claimed that American farmers use chemical fertilizers, and that due to our large economy, small businesses, and families, America is a waste generating country. Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to analyze the logic of Rush Limbaugh’s speech, given to argue against this study.
In the first segment of Rush’s speech he refers to the NCEA as “environmentalist wackos” which is a common fallacy made throughout his statement. This is referred to as a tu quoque fallacy, which shows that just because you are connected with a certain group of people does not mean you apply to commonly used stereotypes. The NCEA may have done a study relating to the environment but that doesn’t mean they are environmentalists. When Rush refers to the NCEA as “wackos”, this is attacking personal character that is not directly relevant to the issue at hand, this fallacy is know as ad hominem.
Rush argues with the study, by first defending American farmers and exploiting the fact that farmers “never” receive praise for feeding the world. We can conclude two fallacies from this accusation, one being over-generalizing( using such words as never can easily be proven wrong) and ignoratio elenchi, which is an irrelevant response. Feeding the world and using chemical fertilizers are two different topics that cannot be compared logically. If you consider the statement closely you will also know that farmers do receive praise, their paycheck is the reward.
When the NCEA concluded their study, they stated that America was waste generating. Rush attacked the NCEA for not considering our “economy a beckon of hope”. He argued that people from all around the world want to come to America. This is again a ignoratio fallacy because it is simply irrelevant information. Rush is also attempting to appeal to a certain popular prejudice, he stated “American families have worked generations for a high standard of living, no they’re not held up for praise. No! Instead they’re all trashed”. This statement is an ad populum fallacy, because he is appealing to a certain group without any connection to America being a waste generating society.
He continues on during his speech to sarcastically suggest that the NCEA would rather us give up our technology and “live more like the Soviets”. This is an ad poplum statement appealing to people that fear communism. Rush is attacking the personal character of Soviets, which is ad hominem and he is committing a tu quoque, which is stating that just because someone is a Soviet does not make them primitive. This statement can be simply concluded as a ignoratio statement and a slippery slope(just because one event takes place does not place any connection to another event) because it is completely irrelevant to America and its waste.
In Rush’s conclusion he tells the “environmentalist wackos” to shut up and stop speaking their opinion. Rush is familiar of the rights of every American, their freedom of speech, and is violating other peoples views and is being unconstitutional. Rush thinks that by shutting up the environmentalists and asking them to turn to more constructive work like himself, he will eliminate the problem. This is a straw-man fallacy, because he is twisting the issue around.
After learning about fallacies and there use in proving someone to be illogical, I have determined that Rush Limbaugh has a very biest view point and does not always use the correct solutions for a problem. He comes across like a very strong assertive person with a convincing argument but does not use logic to strengthen his beliefs.
Courtney from Study Moose
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