Criticizing bumperstickers and their simplistic take on the world is akin to pointing out that it makes no sense that the professor can make a radio out of a coconut, but can not fix the damn boat. Bumperstickers are the equivalent of yelling something across a noisy room at someone, and then leaving: they are intrinsically one sided arguments.
But I have not come to bury bumperstickers, but to praise them. Because while a bumpersticker is often fallacious and stupid, it takes a special bumpersticker to fit several fallacies on to the narrow real estate provided for it. While someone else might be able to outdo it, I believe I have found a champion bumpersticker, with three logical fallacies on it:
Are you an environmentalist, or do you work for a living?
That is 11 words, with three logical fallacies, averaging one fallacy every four words. That is a pretty tightly made bad argument. Let me describe the fallacies:
- Ad hominem, (against the person): This bumpersticker accuses environmentalists of not working, and thus being lazy.
- False dichotomy: It suggests that it is impossible to be both an environmentalist, and have a job.
- Strawman: It sets up an argument, by allusion, that environmentalists want to drive people out of their jobs.
Each one of these arguments could be refuted. Refuting them could take more than 11 words, mostly likely. The point is not to refute them: that would be back in professor/coconut/boat territory, but rather to congratulate the anonymous author of this bumpersticker on being able to wind his false arguments so neatly.
And while (at least back when too many writeups was actually a problem), I know "response writeups" are discouraged on e2, I wouldn't mind hearing someone respond with a bumpersticker slogan that matches or surpasses this. Especially a liberal-leaning bumpersticker, since in the worlds of simply sloganeering, no political viewpoint has a monopoly on stupidity.