Or there’s an alternative at least as bad.
A few times philosophy actually makes things simpler.
Here are the reasons for the conclusion above. Taken together, they establish that it is true, IF they are true AND Limbaugh believes what he says. Hence, they do allow two alternatives and both are arguably as bad as Limbaugh’s believing the Obama is the Messiah: Limbaugh does not know what he is talking about OR he is lying in an attempt to turn the country against the president.
First Part of the Argument:
- “Ought” implies “can” (and “ought to have” implies “could have”).
- Rush Limbaugh asserts Obama ought to have straightened out the economy in his 6 weeks as president, at least to the extent of stopping February’s job losses in the States.
- Knowing #1, Limbaugh believes Obama could have done it.
- Only a person who is a miracle working with divine powers (i.e., the Messiah) could clear up the economy in six week.
- Limbaugh believes #4.
Therefore, Limbaugh believes Obama is a miracle worker with divine powers.
Of course, it is possible that Limbaugh does not know or believe #1 or #4 or both. If this is the case, then one of the leading voices of the Republican Party lacks a grasp of basic features of moral thought or economic reality. In a very profound way, he does not know what he is talking about.
And there’s another alternative. The argument moves from what Limbaugh asserts to what he believes. But perhaps Limbaugh does not believe what he asserts. He may misrepresent what he thinks is true in order to turn the country against Obama.
No wonder the Democrats are thrilled to think Limbaugh is now the voice of the Republican Party. In fact, we might have another fallacy. It is the fallacy of muddling the problem by ignoring the implications of what one has said and simply emphasizing the emotion impact of the initial statement. “Is this what you voted for?” Limbaugh kept asking on Friday as the job figures became clear, as though having voted we are now entitled to make the guy in the job the target of our woes.