Rush Limbaugh’s article, “Condoms: The New Diploma,” berates the common practice of distributing condoms to school children. The iconic conservative talk show host, who is blessed with “talent on loan from God,” uses forceful, colloquial arguments and analogies to warn against the messages and possible dire consequences that public school condom distribution can impart on America’s children. He confidently and stridently argues that condom distribution in the schools is a dangerous, immoral policy that tends to minimize or ignore the many possible negative effects of sex. Whether a school-age child wears a condom or not, Limbaugh states that the child is potentially exposing himself and his partner to AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Rush’s arguments are sound and persuasive but some of his analogies are far-fetched and extreme, and his righteous tone and attitude may be annoying to those who disagree with him.
Limbaugh passionately states his arguments using simple words, messages and analogies. His central premise, that “abstinence works every time it is tried,” is an irrefutable fact. That is, when a person engages in sexual abstinence she is certain to avoid the negative possible consequences of sex which include pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including the deadly AIDS virus. On the other hand, Limbaugh minimizes the fact that many school children are going to engage in sexual activities regardless of what they are taught and regardless of whether they have easy access to condoms. Limbaugh attacks what he sees as the absurd policy of using public tax dollars to purchase and distribute condoms in public schools. To demonstrate that absurdity, he uses some extreme analogies that are far-fetched and absurd themselves.
These plain-spoken, simplistic analogies include providing “safe, untainted drugs every morning in home room,” and “packs of low-tar cigarettes to the students for their after-sex smoke.” He goes farther to the extreme as he advocates that public schools should “convert study halls to Safe Sex Centers,” and that these schools should also “put disease-free hookers” in these centers. These suggestions are obviously facetious, but Mr. Limbaugh employs them to harshly illuminate and expose what he sees as the wrong-headed, immoral, dangerous policy of condom distribution within schools. He thinks that condom distribution serves to condone and legitimize sexual activity among minors just as providing free illicit drugs to children would legitimize that dangerous, immoral activity.
Limbaugh hammers home his point simply and starkly when he asks, “Would you knowingly have sex with anyone who has AIDS with only a condom to protect you from getting the disease?” He believes the policy of public school condom distribution, funded by taxpayers like him, promotes and legitimizes that possibly deadly scenario for young, careless children who do not care about or comprehend the long-term consequences of their casual sexual activity. But, he fails to point out that these same careless children will be more at risk of contracting AIDS or getting pregnant if they do not use a condom during sexual intercourse. His absolute views and arguments are persuasive, but his presentation is unbalanced and he might be seen by some readers as pompous and arrogant.
Whether you love him or hate him, Rush Limbaugh confidently and unapologetically conveys his conservative, moral opinions on the dangers of public school condom distribution programs. He believes that this policy is “symptomatic of the larger moral decline in our societal values,” and that “free condom distribution in public schools can be a matter of life and death.” Despite some of his extreme and ridiculous analogies, Rush persuasively and emotionally advocates that sexual abstinence is the right policy for school children and that condom distribution is simply wrong and immoral.