In the after math of the AIDs scare of the late 80’s, school board officials sought to create a health class curriculum that would cover sex education. This was a hot topic in the 90’s and it brought about the questions of sex education and whether it is the schools responsibility or the parents to educate their children. In Rush Limbaugh’s “Condoms: The New Diploma”, from his 1992 book titled The Way Things Ought to Be, Limbaugh claims that condom distribution promotes sexual activities in teens. Though Limbaugh provides readers with compelling arguments, readers can easily refute him and discredit his evidence.
In Limbaugh’s exert, he attempts to refute the opposition argument that young people will inevitably have sex and need condoms. Limbaugh then provides readers with a rhetorical example with a boy who tries to sleep with a girl using a condom he got from the school. This is intended to demonstrate his belief that schools distribution of condoms will promote teenagers to have sex. He then provides his definition of gender sex roles. He explains that men are aggressors, while females are defenseless and need protection. Limbaugh then makes the claim that sex has negative consequences, using Magic Johnson to support his claim.
He also goes on to say that the fact that risky sex can lead to AIDs or other harmful diseases; it is these consequences that need to be taught to teens. Limbaugh continues his argument by claiming that people who oppose teaching abstinence are dishonest. As examples he uses two cases one from NYC and Jacksonville, Fl. Limbaugh goes on to express that there is a culture war and those who oppose him are dishonest and selfish in their pursuits of the culture war. He then starts the beginning of his closing statements by claiming condoms are not effective.
He attempts to show his opposition as being ridiculous as his opposer’s response to correlation between changing sex ed. and teen pregnancy. Readers will see that there are fallacies in Limbaugh’s arguments, and will be able to identify and refute them. The author comes out of the gates ready to take on any argument that the opposing side might throw out. He is strong at the beginning, but slowly starts losing momentum and credibility. Some readers will see this tactic as attention getting, but other might be turned off by the “in your face” aspect of the writing.
Limbaugh’s attention getting tactic is seen through his use of reductio ad absurdum in his second paragraph. He take on the opposing argument that “kids are going to do it anyway”, by giving ridiculous solutions to this theory. He states, “Why stop at condoms? Lets convert study halls in to Safe Sex Centers…” He believes nothing would be safer than kids having safe sex under the watch of the school nurse. He then goes on to suggest that the school should provide safe hookers as well. His beliefs, though meant to be radical, are not very effective. To the readers Limbaugh comes across as condescending and too extreme.
Limbaugh sees safe sex education as teaching kids to have sex is okay, when the point of sex education is to teach the consequences of sex and to sway kids away from committing the act. He continues on in his essay providing rhetorical examples of how sex education will do nothing but promote teen sex. Limbaugh brings to the reader’s attention of how not only high schools, but colleges put together policies to “protect the girls from the natural and instinctive aggressive pursuit of young men. ” His attempt to paint young men as sex deviants and women as the fragile beings is almost humorous to readers.
The creation of sex education was not a program put together to warn or protect just one side. The program was put together to educate and protect both. Teens are going through changes, and unfortunately sexual curiosity is among those changes. Sex education was put in to play due to the aftermath of sexual diseases that were contracted during the sexual revolution of the 70’s and the scare of AIDs in the 80’s. The job of sex education was not only to teach prevention methods from sexually transmitted diseases, but also unplanned pregnancy.
Through the teachings, student should find that if they are going to have sex, they should protect themselves with condoms or other contraceptives. Limbaugh’s view of how unsatisfied he is with the sex education program fails and how in his opinion it doesn’t protect students. He uses a statistic that claim that condom failure can be as high as 20 percent. This can easily be shot down, He gives not source from which this statistic came from and the words “can be” can be interpreted as “can be, but isn’t always true.
He then goes on to give a ridiculous analogy about whether or no would anyone feel safe putting their child on a flight, knowing that one in five of the passengers on the flight were going to die. He claims that this is a chance people take when using condoms. Limbaugh’s essay can be effective for those who are easily taken in by strong writing and scare tactics. His arguments make you think and do push you to look at the deeper issues at stake. His purpose for his essay was to get readers fired up and to take a good look at how schools are going about their curriculum for their sex education courses.
Though his approach is a bit extreme and his supporting evidence for his agreements are weak at time, readers can decided whether or not to buy into his mindset. It is clear to the readers how passionate his is about the topic, his passion tends to interfere and hurt most of his arguments. For example, he so convinced that he has readers on his side by the end of his essay, his credibility with good examples and evidence seems to disappear, and he inserts too much of his personal opinion. Limbaugh is successful as getting his point across, but unsuccessful at swaying the readers to his side.