Bad logic wastes time, and it ruins our health and our budgets. Children use it to torture their parents. (“All the other kids get to.”) Parents respond with bad logic. (“If your friends told you to go jump in a lake…”) Doctors kill patients with it. (“There’s nothing wrong with you; the tests came back negative.”) It can make you fat. (“Eat all of it — children are starving in Africa.”) Candidates base their campaigns on it (John Kerry: “Every American family has to live within their means. Their government should, too.”) We even wage wars over bad logic. (“If we pull out now, our soldiers will have died in vain.”) Push polls — fake surveys with loaded questions — are bad logic. (“Do you support government-financed abortions and a woman’s right to choose?”) These are no mere logical punctilios. We’re talking credit lines and waistlines, life and death, the future of human existence!
Jay Heinrichs, in his book Thank You for Arguing.
Figure of Speech: hyperbole (hy-PER-bo-le), the figure of exaggeration.
Hyperbole (“exaggeration”) is an incredibly useful figure (to coin a hyperbole); to make it easier to swallow, start small and work your way up—budget and diet, life and death, and the future of humanity. One Ivy League slogan—“God, man and Yale”—got it backwards. But perhaps they thought otherwise.
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Snappy Answer: “Isn’t hyperbole a kind of fallacy?”