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Is Bristol Palin’s Argument for Abstinence Fallacious?

  • by Jodi Teti
  • Nov 19, 2010
  • Entertainment, LSAT

BPPjodi-lsat-blog-palin
Is Bristol Palin’s argument for abstinence fallacious? (And how is it possible that she hasn’t been voted off Dancing with the Stars)?

I hate that Bristol Palin is on Dancing with the Stars. I know; hate is a strong word, but I do. I loathe watching her unpointed toes, her awkward peg feet, and her mother gosh golly darning it up from the front row. The whole thing is a little taste of the torture that will be the 2012 election year.

But I find myself most put off by the apparent hypocrisy of a 17-year-old mother running around the country preaching teen abstinence. Then, in the midst of my angst, my LSAT-o-meter kicked in, and I began to wonder if her stance on teen sex constituted a fallacy and, if not, what kind of fallacy attends Bristol’s stint on DWTS, because there has to be one, somewhere.

The Argument for Abstinence

As far as I can glean from reputable media sources like The Insider, E! News, and Bristol’s PSA announcement, the argument runs something like this:
1. I got knocked up at seventeen.
2. That’s bad if you don’t have money, like I do from being the daughter of a famous politician.
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Therefore, don’t have sex as a teenager.

As an argument, there is one heck of an assumption going on here, namely the jump from getting knocked up to abstinence. One can, after all, have sex without getting pregnant. Condoms, dental dams, IUD’s, birth control pills, and the Pope-espoused rhythm method all come to mind.

Oh, the Hypocrisy

But something else bothers me about this teen activists’ message of abstinence. Yes, her argument is fallacious, but can we also add hypocrisy to the list of sins? Dictionary.com defines a hypocrite as “a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc. that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs”.

So, just because Bristol took off her Levi’s with Levi as a teenager doesn’t mean she’s necessarily a hypocrite to preach teenage abstinence, now. After all, a person can have a change of heart—a former drug addict can advise others to stay away from drugs without hypocrisy, it’s the guy with cocaine in his system preaching sobriety that’s the issue.

So Bristol’s hypocrisy on this teen abstinence hinges on whether she and Levi are having sex now. I’m guessing yes. First, there’s the history (I mean, you already got knocked up, what’s the point). Then there’s the fact that Levi posed for Playgirl. A hunk of man-meat like that isn’t going to want to wait.

Sorry, Bristol the Pistol. Your argument for abstinence is flawed and you’re a hypocrite. But hey, your mom did much more with far worse.

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