Rush to Fallacy
Rush"Jail All Drug Users But Me" Limbaugh did it again the other day. His Blowhardedness, ever striving to be George II's No. 1 brownnoser, condemned the Democratic critics of the NSA's mass collection of our telephone records and showed he is either a demagogue or is actually unable to tell a sound argument from a fallacy. (I guess he could be both.) Here's his standard pitch: The Democrats oppose something George II's men are doing even though they have done or approved of the same thing in the past. Therefore their criticism is baseless.
Wrong. Hypocrisy doesn't invalidate a criticism; it just undermines the standing of the person making it. If Democrats condemn something the Bush administration does that they praised when Clinton did it, that's hypocrisy. But it doesn't mean the Bush administration is right to do it. It may mean Clinton was wrong to do it. What about princpled critics who condemn both administrations for their misconduct? Doesn't Limbaugh have to concede that criticism from a principled person is valid? That sounds like relativism to me: For Limbaugh, an argument is valid or invalid depending on who makes it.
Limbaugh has used this bogus line of attack many times. He once introduced something of a twist to the argument. When he got caught using more painkillers than the state's attorney thought he should be using, Drug Warrior Limbaugh said he wasn't a hypocrite because his prohibitionist stance is still valid. If you spend too much time trying to make sense of that, you'll give yourself a headache.
What should we expect? Intelligent discourse? The Doctor of Democracy heads the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies for gosh sakes. (Remember when conservatives said,"This is a republic not a democracy?")
In his contortions to defend the NSA, he said that to be consistent, critics should demand that the agency get a warrant before looking in the telephone book, which contains all our phone numbers. Yep, that sounds like advanced conservative thinking to me.
Cross-posted at Free Association.
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Lisa Casanova - 5/15/2006
Limbaugh knows which side his painkillers are buttered on. Imagine that he did all the things he's accused of doing to obtain drugs, but instead of being Rush Limbaugh, millionaire owner of a conservative radio talk empire and shill for the Republican Party, he were John Q. Public, typical dude with a typical job. Raise your hand if you don't think the ordinary guy would be doing jail time by now.