Simple Speech – simple statements
that do not apply to more complex situations.
The fallacy of simple speech occurs when a
writer misapplies statements that are true in simple cases onto more complex
cases, but without qualifying these statements. Simple speech is
a type of overgeneralization that occurs when the words used by a speaker
simplify the argument beyond the author’s wishes. Offenders who use
simple speech usually lack the vocabulary necessary to argue persuasive
issues effectively. Their simple statements often do not genuinely
express how they really feel about the subject. Speakers who overgeneralize
often apply their logic too generally (however, their biggest problem is
their lack of understanding more so than a lack of vocabulary).
A health advocate says: “Jogging is great exercise. Americans would be healthier if they jogged.”
To say “Jogging is good
for people; we should all jog every day” is sound advice most of the time.
If we maintain our health, we will give ourselves a better chance of living
longer. Since jogging is one of many great ways to keep fit, this
advice, in general, is good. The fallacy occurs when the writer does
not account for exceptions to this adage: what about people with asthma,
heart conditions, or paralysis who should not be jogging, especially in
smoggy summer air? Should we jog every single day? Can I eat
junk food while jogging? This advice needs clarification in order
to be fully validated. No doctor would blindly suggest that every
patient take up jogging – each case is different.
A flag-waving American might say: “America is the greatest country in the world.”
This sounds reasonable
enough because this is what we have always been told, but to boil this
complex nation down to a simple statement unfairly misrepresents the complex
truths about our country. Of course, America provides its citizens
immense opportunities, but other countries have better education and health
care systems, for example. The truth is more complicated than the
ideas promoted by simple speech.