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Sophistry (pronounced as SAH-fiss-tree) is a style of argumentation that has superficial appeal but is actually defective. Sophistry as a noun is a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.[1]

Examples of Sophistry

Below are some examples of sophistry:

  • "impose gun control to reduce crime"; in fact, guns prevent more crimes than they cause
  • "give the mother automatic custody of children in divorce to reduce divorce"; in fact, that leads to more divorce as it reduces incentives to maintain a marriage
  • "raise taxes to increase revenues"; in fact, creating disincentives to earn not only directly decreases revenues by decreasing the amount of taxable income but also stifles economic growth
  • "give children contraceptives to reduce teen pregnancy and disease"; in fact, abstinence education does both better
  • "support so-called 'civil rights' organizations and leaders to oppose racism"; in fact, they are the primary promoters of racism today
  • "listen to the experts"; in fact, the Best of the Public may have insights that far surpass those of the experts


To describe what the Mainstream media and the Obama administration considers "smart," Rush Limbaugh once said the following:

This administration, I was talking a moment ago about how they think they're the smartest and their media buddies think they're the smartest. Well, what the media considers "smart" is what the ancient Greeks used to call 'sophistry'. The "sophists" were just teachers of rhetoric, like George Lakoff (rhymes with) is a sophist. All they do is teach rhetoric [...] Is there ever anything that [Obama] does that experience has taught us works in terms of job creation? Zilch, zero, nada. In fact, he has used a recession to strike one blow after another against the country and he accomplishes nothing. Another case is immigration. Obama could not wait to jump on Arizona. He could not wait to jump on the governor. He couldn't wait to jump on the legislators out there. He couldn't wait to jump on the people of Arizona to lie about their law, to race bait. This is what he does. That does not require any skill or knowledge. That is sophistry: A person of pure rhetoric. He has failed to address the border problem in any effective way and he's incapable of it.[2]


  1. "sophistry." Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 29 Aug. 2010.
  2. Rush Limbaugh.Obama's Breathtaking Sophistry,, May 5, 2010.

See also