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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Doesn't anyone know how to play this game?

Steve Sailer busts the Other Vox:
From Vox, an article about factchecking that starts with an un-factchecked falsehood:

Trump supporters know Trump lies. They just don’t care.
A new study explains the psychological power — and hard limits — of fact-checking journalism.
   
During the campaign — and into his presidency — Donald Trump repeatedly exaggerated and distorted crime statistics. “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed,” he asserted in his dark speech at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. But the data here is unambiguous: FBI statistics show crime has been going down for decades. 

Uh, the liberal Brennan Center estimated back in April 2017 that the homicide rate (the most reliable crime rate) was nationally 19% higher in 2016 than in 2014 and up 29% in the 30 biggest cities.
Media "fact-checking" is a perfect example of pseudo-dialectic. It's framed in the style of dialectic, and pretends to be an objective appeal to the truth, but it is actually nothing more than disguised rhetoric meant to manipulate the emotions of the reader. Which, of course, is why it is almost entirely ineffective. The "hard limits" are the result of their "facts" being incongruous with observable reality and the truth as the target perceives it.

The problem most people have in understanding the difference between rhetoric and dialectic, let alone grasping the concept of pseudo-dialectic, is that they are philosophically monolingual. Consider, for example, Jagi Lamplighter's typically dialectic disdain for rhetoric.
The problem with Rhetoric is...it cannot stand up against reality. It is only useful for persuading sheep. Worse, when a person is persuaded by rhetoric, he will change his mind as soon as someone comes along with snazzier rhetoric.

The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded.

Vox is a bright and brave man with brilliant ideas. He is so smart that much of what he understands, most people cannot follow—and that is a harsh and lonely way to live.

But that doesn’t mean that he can’t use his brilliance to learn how to present real arguments in a simple and concise manner that the masses can grasp.

This rhetoric nonsense is beneath him.
But one might as reasonably claim that this Chinese nonsense is beneath the English speaker, even when speaking to a Chinese-speaking audience. Jagi's faith in my ability to not only leap the IQ communications gap, but successfully reason with emotion-driven non-thinkers, is probably more flattering than she knows, but I can assure her, neither I nor anyone else in the course of human history has ever been sufficiently brilliant for that.

Remember, dialectic is a form of rhetoric. That sweet reason dialectic speakers value so highly is merely a subset of the art of persuasion, and moreover, it is not the only legitimate form. Rhetoric is not about truth and falsehood per se, but rather emotional content that can point towards the truth with falsehood as readily as it points towards falsehood with the truth. And, as I noted above, the more rhetoric points towards the recognized truth, the more effective it tends to be.

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111 Comments:

Anonymous Looking Glass July 11, 2017 4:39 AM  

They're propaganda agents, nothing else. Or we need to consistently mock their intelligence. "You've gotta be THIS tall for the ride".

#MediaIsKill

One of the hardest parts of entire situation is that we've been told all of our lives that people value "truth". The entire media complex is a House of Lies. May the jihad on the Media continue. :)

Blogger Phillip George July 11, 2017 4:55 AM  

What if police are collecting the data?
Truth goes completely out the window. Notice Britain hasn't had one Female Genital Mutilation prosecution. That makes it officially a non existent Crime. How many polygamy prosecutions? With statistics this could police could get work with CNN.

Anonymous The Original Arrogant Penguins Fan July 11, 2017 5:19 AM  

How to Win Friends and Influence People.

One book that every single person on the planet should read.

Anonymous Looking Glass July 11, 2017 5:24 AM  

While I share Mrs. Wright's cultural instinct against "Rhetoric", it really is the Enlightenment's "god of Reason" coming to the front. This is one of the main avenues that West has been attacked with, as it sets the Observer apart from their humanity. The Lord calls us "sheep"... a lot. David calls himself a sheep. It is not just a classic biblical allusion, but a notable reality of the human existence.

It's not easy to change this, but one has to understand the failures within their own cultural assumptions. The "god of Reason" is a big one for anyone from a Western culture. It's used to attack & destroy you daily.

Blogger SteelPalm July 11, 2017 5:39 AM  

but it is actually nothing more than dialectic meant to manipulate the emotions of the reader.

Did you mean to write "nothing more than rhetoric meant to manipulate" in the clause above?

But yeah, leftist "fact-checkers" are as much a part of Fake News as everything else they put us.

I don't think any staunch right-winger is fooled, but plenty of moderates believe in the "fact-checking" fraud.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable July 11, 2017 5:47 AM  

The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded.

This assumes all men and women can be persuaded by dialectic provided it is "simply" and "concisely" framed. A lifetime of experience puts me with Vox on this one: they simply can't.

Anonymous SciVo de Plorable July 11, 2017 5:54 AM  

SteelPalm wrote:but it is actually nothing more than dialectic meant to manipulate the emotions of the reader.

Did you mean to write "nothing more than rhetoric meant to manipulate" in the clause above?


No, pseudo-dialectic is my native tongue, and he made perfect sense to me. Like how there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey July 11, 2017 5:59 AM  

"The problem with Rhetoric is...it cannot stand up against reality. It is only useful for persuading sheep. Worse, when a person is persuaded by rhetoric, he will change his mind as soon as someone comes along with snazzier rhetoric."

The problem with this view is that everyone overestimates their own rationality. Man is, to a large extent, a rationalizing animal, not a rational one. Greater intelligence is often employed, not to more effectively seek truth, but to construct more complex, plausible-seeming justifications for emotionally-based beliefs. Yes, rhetoric works on you, too.

"I don't think any staunch right-winger is fooled, but plenty of moderates believe in the "fact-checking" fraud."

It's not really effective rhetoric in terms of persuasion, but it's often rather triggering to leftists to start a response to one of their assertions with "Fact check: false." Always try for the meme hijack.

Blogger VD July 11, 2017 6:03 AM  

Did you mean to write "nothing more than rhetoric meant to manipulate" in the clause above?

Yes, corrected, thank you.

Blogger FrankNorman July 11, 2017 6:16 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger FrankNorman July 11, 2017 6:18 AM  

Worse, when a person is persuaded by rhetoric, he will change his mind as soon as someone comes along with snazzier rhetoric.

So we might as well not bother then? Is that what he means?
Let the people with the "snazzier" rhetoric lead all those people away, and not try to pull them in a better direction because... "we're better than that" or something?
Bleh.

This reminds me of the preachers who refuse to talk about Hell or damnation from the pulpit, because they "don't want people to come to God from unworthy motives".

In other words, they don't really care that much whether people come to salvation or not.

Anonymous Philipp July 11, 2017 6:23 AM  

As a dialectic speaker, I can confirm that it is impossible to convince rhetoric speakers. I have tried many times to convince them by using reason and arguments. I forwarded them articles by Pat Buchanan or Steve Sailer but to no avail.

Since I read about dialectic and rhetoric here on VP and also in Vox's book SJW Always Lie, I am aware why I have failed. I know that "emotion-driven non-thinkers" (to use Vox's description of rhetoric speakers) are simply not able to understand.

Anonymous Damian Michael July 11, 2017 6:28 AM  

For the Christian, it is also useful to keep in mind that even the Apostle Paul, in Romans 1, alludes to the fact that, when it comes to God, some people will ignore evidence that is plain and obvious, and that they do so for moral, psychological, and emotional reasons. Hence, before reason even has a chance to work, rhetoric is needed to break down the emotional or moral or psychological barriers which are preventing reason from getting in. And in a contest between reason and emotion/morality/psychological factors, the latter almost always trump the former. That is why Jonathan Haidt states that "morality binds us" to a worldview that we like and then "blinds" us to evidence and reason that is against that worldview. Thus, as stated, rhetoric is needed to blow a hole in a person's psychological and emotional defenses, thus allowing a space for reason to potentially enter. But without the rhetoric first, reason will almost always fail. In fact, Haidt estimates that reason, when used alone, will only convince about 5 people in 100. Those are not good odds.

Anonymous Scandinavian Anon July 11, 2017 6:33 AM  

https://www.edge.org/conversation/hugo_mercier-the-argumentative-theory

Dialectic is really meta-rhetoric, the ability to externalize your own bias and take it into account as an independent variable. Thus going from "argumentative" to "argumentative++" (arguing against reality rather than someone else's emotional CPU).

This meta-blindness can be said to be a strong dividing line in society, and also why >120 people get more and more dysfunctional the higher they go (speculation, but makes sense).

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) July 11, 2017 6:39 AM  

Some of the more intelligent liberals have realized that the spread of fact checking is a media own goal:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-fact-check-trump-meryl-streep-2017-1

But the key issue here isn't Meryl Streep. It's "fact-checking."

Checking facts is a key part of journalism. If politicians are making incorrect factual claims, journalists should correct them in the ordinary course of reporting stories.

The problem with the "fact-check" operations set up by various news outlets is that they invariably seem to mission-creep beyond looking at facts, into evaluations of analyses and predictions and opinions.

Some predictions are solid and some are foolish. Some analyses are better than others. I definitely think that some opinions are stupid. But these are not matters for the fact-checker.

When fact-checkers get into these questions, they reinforce the idea that media outlets are putting their thumbs on the scale, and trying to brand certain ideas as "false" when they aren't really true or false at all.

Blogger Harambe July 11, 2017 6:40 AM  

I suck at rhetoric. Unfortunately I also suck at dialectic. I speak fluent meme though.

Blogger ZhukovG July 11, 2017 6:40 AM  

Ideas and philosophies to which one has emotional attachment will be defended more passionately, sometimes unto death, than things one believes by reason alone.

Many Civic Nationalists hold to their belief, not because it is logically defensible, but because of personal circumstances.

Anonymous Scandinavian Anon July 11, 2017 6:43 AM  

Conjecture: the smarter you get, the higher the bar for true dialectic gets. Ie I can engage in argumentation with people that to me is pseudo-dialectic (because I'm assuming certain premises/worldviews/associations, etc, that I'm not 100% clearly stating) but in the context of their usual mud-wrestling is pure-as-snow Truth. It's very hard for me to do pure dialectic, that lives up to my own standard, because I realize that fundamentally EVERYTHING is contingent and based on what set of premises you choose for the argument. And beyond that, what System 1 intuitive neurological "world-lens" you give favor to. Even if every axiom is clearly stated, there are still implicit weightings in your neurology that cause you to "chunk reality" slightly subjectively.

But still, my pseudo-dialectic is rock-solid truth in most settings, so I'm not that critical :)

Hope that made sense - trying to make some kind of argument about rhetoric and dialectic being a somewhat fluid continuum, not entirely discrete steps.

Blogger VD July 11, 2017 6:51 AM  

Many Civic Nationalists hold to their belief, not because it is logically defensible, but because of personal circumstances.

That is only one of many possible examples. How many of us are going to turn on our Chinese spouse, our adopted black son, or our friendly Jewish neighbors and reject them simply because the cold logic is impeccable? Only a sociopath could do so.

Emotions matter. Feelings are relevant. They don't dictate reality, but they do play a major role in our actions.

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) July 11, 2017 6:57 AM  

Facts don't matter for at least 90% of people for a long list of reasons: mpai, man is rationalizing, not rational, confirmation bias. People's feelings about facts matter much more.

One example is that people consistently overestimate the number of blacks ands gays in the USA.

Blogger Vikki Wilson July 11, 2017 7:00 AM  

"this rhetoric nonsense" ???

Devastating takedown of Aristotle and all the thinkers since who have considered the arts of persuasion.

I too found out quite late that politics is not a Philosophy Wine and Cheese Night.

Blogger Vikki Wilson July 11, 2017 7:04 AM  

'You cannot reason a person out of a belief that they were not reasoned into'?

Blogger SouthRon July 11, 2017 7:09 AM  

How any Christian can read Scripture and cleave only to dialectic is behind me.

Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! Whites sepulchres...

Anonymous basementhomebrewer July 11, 2017 7:12 AM  

The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded.

This is where she makes her biggest error. This is not true at all for the 90% of the population that actually experiences emotions. Further, there are dialectic speakers on the left. There are not a great many of them but they do exist. The reason they exist is that they are still susceptible to pseudo-dialectic. Some part of their emotions are persuading them to believe that they are being swayed by dialectic.

Heck, some of them are just too lazy to research the "facts" that are being presented and since they fit their world view they run with them. In those instances the logic might be air-tight but it is all built upon false data. The dialectic speaker might get smacked in the head later with the truth but it is simple for the left to make up new lies to undermine the truth and at this point ego comes into play for a vast majority of people.

Blogger tuberman July 11, 2017 7:13 AM  

Simple, the MSM just lies, with "fact checking," statistics, or a thousand methods. They know they are lying, and are proud of their lies. When caught they just lie again the next time. The erosion of their hard-core believers is s-l-o-w.

The above IS poor persuasion though, and the memes will be especially effective with the young, including Generation Z.

Blogger Durandel Almiras July 11, 2017 7:14 AM  

What I find odd about people like the Wrights, is why, after you, Vox, have dialectically explained and logically argued for why rhetoric and rhteorical attacks are the only way to win this war, do they refuse to dialectically engage with your points and instead make rhetorical appeals for you and others to just stick to dialectic?

It seems to be an odd blind spot for the supposed dialectical.

Anonymous Looking Glass July 11, 2017 7:14 AM  

@25 SouthRon

Centuries of propaganda at the fingers of the Devil. He is a lot smarter than everyone else.

Anonymous Looking Glass July 11, 2017 7:16 AM  

@28 Durandel Almiras

It's hard to slay a lie that's a deep part of your cultural assumptions. They're getting there, as has been noticeable with John lately, but it'll take time. They come from & exist in a world that's rapidly disappearing.

Anonymous Feelz July 11, 2017 7:18 AM  

"This rhetoric nonsense is beneath him."

Translation: We don't like real-talk about race, Jews, etc. So we will try to emotionally manipulate Vox to shut up on these topics.

Blogger VD July 11, 2017 7:22 AM  

they refuse to dialectically engage with your points and instead make rhetorical appeals for you and others to just stick to dialectic?

Two reasons. One of which I will get into in more detail, as it relates to a conversation I had with Nick Cole about conservatives last night. The second is that few people have ever read either Rhetoric or SJWAL and they don't really grasp what Aristotelian rhetoric and dialectic are.

This isn't their fault, because both terms have transformed over 2500 years, and there is little in common between Aristotelian dialectic, Hegelian dialectic, and Marxian dialectic. So, a considerable amount of confusion is to be expected.

Blogger Reuben July 11, 2017 7:23 AM  

They hear but do not understand...speak to the sheep in parables

Blogger Durandel Almiras July 11, 2017 7:26 AM  

I wonder if personal self-selection of friends and colleages plays into why certain logical types refuse to understand Vox's argumentative case. I've heard in behavior psych classes that people tend to clump into IQ groups, that naturally, 120's will not hang out with 90's as a general rule. We tend to, even unknowingly, select to spend time with those we can regularly engage in good conversation with, so if you value dialect and intellect, you'll naturally shun the opposites from being in your main circle of those you spend your time with.

Blogger mgh July 11, 2017 7:27 AM  

#23 "is behind me." Quite an appropriate error. Well done, if on purpose.

Blogger Vikki Wilson July 11, 2017 7:28 AM  

It can be shocking and revelatory to change your mind on big principles.

But as events unfold, more and more pacified hearts and minds will start believing their own lyin' eyes and become susceptible to persuasion.

Blogger Durandel Almiras July 11, 2017 7:29 AM  

@30 - Thanks Vox, I look forward to the Darkstream later

Anonymous 0018 July 11, 2017 7:31 AM  

Harambe wrote:I suck at rhetoric. Unfortunately I also suck at dialectic. I speak fluent meme though.

Dicks out

Anonymous Rocklea July 11, 2017 7:48 AM  

"How to Win Friends and Influence People.

One book that every single person on the planet should read."

A good book to be sure, however, better, shorter and more digestible, is Les Giblin's, Skill With People. You can read it in a few minutes. Read it. Read every day until you know it in your bones.

Exert:
"Understanding people and human nature simply involves recognizing people for what they are -- not what you think they are nor what you want them to be.

What are they?

PEOPLE ARE PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN THEMSELVES, NOT IN YOU!

Putting this same thought another way -- the other person is TEN THOUSAND TIMES more interested in himself than he is in you."

You can pick it up on Amazon. Everyone is susceptible to rhetoric, and just as "All Your Bases Are Belong To Us", people invariably want to tell you how they can be convinced. There is always a hot button issue. Doesn't mean you will convince them, in sales 5 out of 100 IS good odds. Besides, how many does it take, has it ever taken, to change the world?

Blogger Aeoli Pera July 11, 2017 7:50 AM  

Remember, dialectic is a form of rhetoric.

I agree intuitively, in the same way that I know deduction is a form of induction, but I think it would help a lot of people to have a dialectic argument for this. If I think of one I'll post it.

Blogger Cassandros the Elder July 11, 2017 7:59 AM  

This rhetoric nonsense is beneath him.

Isn't shaming a form of Rhetoric?

Anonymous LurkingPuppy July 11, 2017 8:02 AM  

Aeoli Pera wrote:Remember, dialectic is a form of rhetoric.
I agree intuitively, in the same way that I know deduction is a form of induction, but I think it would help a lot of people to have a dialectic argument for this. If I think of one I'll post it.

Rhetoric is defined as the art of persuasion. Dialectic is the art of logical argument. Logical argument can be used as a tool of persuasion. Therefore, dialectic is a subset of rhetoric.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan July 11, 2017 8:08 AM  

Don't worry all those brave tough sounding conservative intellectuals will always stoop to rhetoric, never fails. They will always punch right with rhetoric if their little rice bowls of "Respectability" are threatened.

ALWAYS

Blogger Orville July 11, 2017 8:40 AM  

I'll add in that the "influence stack" listed by Cialdini, Adams and others is also a play on emotion rather than logic.

- Reciprocation
- Commitment and Consistency
- Social Proof
- Liking
- Authority
- Scarcity

Several of these are present in Ms. Lamplighter's appeal to Vox. Her logical appeal was dipped in the honey of emotion, yet she doesn't seem to realize it.

Anonymous Andy Fix July 11, 2017 8:46 AM  

You can't really blame a woman for mixing up rhetoric vs. logic.

Note the statement above is dialectic (or is it).

Blogger Ingot9455 July 11, 2017 9:06 AM  

"Come with me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Anonymous CarpeOro July 11, 2017 9:19 AM  

First rule of communication - you have to communicate in a way that your target audience can comprehend. Never expect that you can change your audience so they can understand you. Why? Because inertia rules in nature and in people "a body at rest tends to remain at rest". You can only hope to communicate in a way they understand. Beyond killing them, any meaningful change has to come from them or God - not you. Since most people communicate at the level of feelings, not rational thought, you have to fit your message to them.

Anonymous I'm Not a Fascist. But My Sons Are. July 11, 2017 9:20 AM  

A good rhetor lies more innocently than most.

Anonymous bbgkb July 11, 2017 9:25 AM  

Many Civic Nationalists hold to their belief, not because it is logically defensible, but because of personal circumstances.

Who knew it was not MUH Constitution but MUH MUDSHARKING daughter.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker July 11, 2017 9:41 AM  

Question: The subject matter of rhetoric is emotional truth?

Anonymous Aeoli Pera July 11, 2017 9:41 AM  

Thanks LurkingPuppy, that was very quick!

Blogger Mr.MantraMan July 11, 2017 9:44 AM  

Most of what constitutes rhetoric is just the stating of the obvious, women just hem and haw and blather on and on and on about drivel and that is what passes as dialectic to them.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr July 11, 2017 9:44 AM  

It seems to me that any professional writer (or semi-pro) MUST use rhetoric. Perhaps at a subconscious level, but use it all the same.

Blogger Sam July 11, 2017 9:48 AM  

The reason rhetoric is socially necessary is because (claims by rationalists to the contrary) humans are to a substantial degree Bayesians optimized to deal with other humans. So communicating emotional content is needed because it gives people 'this is important'. People take stock of the signals they are receiving from others and this (normally) gives them a view of 'these are things society needs done'.

It isn't a perfect system (and we are watching liberals play the utility monster) but I'm not aware of any social order that covers more than the Dunbar number that can be fully understood by a single person, much less a substantial chunk of the population.

Anonymous Rocklea July 11, 2017 9:53 AM  

Boy, that excerpt was really hard, had to exert myself. But really, Skill With People.

"Many Civic Nationalists hold to their belief, not because it is logically defensible, but because of personal circumstances."

Civic Nationalist, every POC should marry one.

Anonymous Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! July 11, 2017 10:22 AM  

Remember, dialectic is a form of rhetoric. That sweet reason dialectic speakers value so highly is merely a subset of the art of persuasion, and moreover, it is not the only legitimate form. Rhetoric is not about truth and falsehood per se, but rather emotional content that can point towards the truth with falsehood as readily as it points towards falsehood with the truth. And, as I noted above, the more rhetoric points towards the recognized truth, the more effective it tends to be.

We have a word for this, "advertising."

Anonymous andon July 11, 2017 10:24 AM  

Trump supporters know Trump lies. They just don’t care.

sounds like demorats the last 8 years. talk about liars

Anonymous andon July 11, 2017 10:27 AM  

During the campaign — and into his presidency — Donald Trump repeatedly exaggerated and distorted crime statistics

if you want to see distorted crime statistics go to a state's 10 Most Wanted criminals and notice how many Gomez, Gonzalez, Ramirez etc are listed as "white"

Blogger Cail Corishev July 11, 2017 10:31 AM  

It seems to be an odd blind spot for the supposed dialectical.

The first mistake many make, even here, is in thinking some people are rhetorical and some are dialectical. We're all rhetorically-driven, rationalizing creatures, but some of us are capable of dialectic to varying degrees, while many aren't. If you're capable of it, then with training and practice, you can use it to rein in your rhetorically-driven impulses to some extent, to use logic to test whether what feels right is actually correct. But that doesn't mean you're a "dialectical" who can safely sneer at rhetoric. (If you do, what that probably makes you is "the mark.")

I'm considered so unemotional in real life that multiple people (usually soon-to-be-ex girlfriends) have accused me of being a robot or having a computer for a brain. And yet, when I look back at times in my life when I changed my mind about something, I have to admit it wasn't triggered by being presented with solid reasons. Frequently, the reasons had been staring me in the face for a while and I had rejected them, until something hit me with rhetorical impact and invalidated my previous viewpoint, and then I began using reason to form and support a new viewpoint. That's just how it works, except that the person incapable of dialectic never gets to that conscious reasoning stage, but lurches from one rationalized emotional state to the next.

Anonymous c matt July 11, 2017 10:45 AM  

If I recall correctly (because this came up in a debate with a work colleague at the time) the "crime rate" debate was a slight of hand. From the transcripts of statements I could find, Trump asserted that violent crime had risen, and the "fact-checkers" claimed crime was its lowest in decades (I think NYC was the locus used). The stats I could find showed that violent crime (defined as murder, assault, rape - and robbery by some) had increased, but non-violent crime had decreased to such an extent that overall crime rates had dropped. To the extent the fact-checkers claimed crime overall had dropped, they were correct, but to the extent they claimed Trump "lied" or was wrong, the fact-checkers were the ones who were lying (or incorrect). As per usual, the true facts mattered not to my colleague.

Anonymous waynecolvin July 11, 2017 10:48 AM  

Sometimes those women's words are clarifying something for understanding(?), disregard the other side, and then declare victory. Sometimes the recite whatever they heard somewhere and won't be interrupted by alternative view. Sometimes... Oh screw it you're right.

Anonymous Ezras July 11, 2017 10:51 AM  

"He is so smart that much of what he understands, most people cannot follow—and that is a harsh and lonely way to live."

Don't worry scro'! There are plenty of 'llectuals out there living really kick ass lives.

Is she not employing rhetoric in that statement?

Anonymous BBGKB July 11, 2017 10:55 AM  

All this talk about crime rates ignores that people are paid to make NAM crimes disappear
https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150512/downtown/7-ways-hide-murder-other-ways-chicago-police-keep-crimes-quiet

Lets not forget that if Trayvon Martin's school police department was not instructed to lower the black crime rate, he would have been alive in juvie for stealing women's jewelry the night he attacked GZ

Blogger Cail Corishev July 11, 2017 10:59 AM  

Is she not employing rhetoric in that statement?

It's all rhetoric, including the bits of it that are also dialectic.

Dialectically-inclined thinkers aren't incapable of using or being influenced by rhetoric. We're just bad at identifying, understanding, and appreciating it.

Blogger Jon D. July 11, 2017 11:03 AM  

What I see people miss is that dialectic can lead to conclusions that are false just as easily as rhetoric can. Many scientists who religiously cling to their climate change and evolution are great examples of those working in dialectic and yet are completely off base due to faulty assumptions

Anonymous Pathetic Peripatetic July 11, 2017 11:19 AM  

Can't help but wonder if (((concerned))) individuals like Jagi Lamplighter have ever read Cicero? Or even knows who he was, for that matter.

If she had read Cicero, or any other rhetorician past/present, she might have realized that her own appeal was a rhetorical one, not dialectical.

Ugh, what fatuous drivel. Vox isn't kidding about that IQ gap.

Blogger Pseudotsuga July 11, 2017 11:22 AM  

Yeah, the term "fact-check" is a sweet appeal to ethos (the "character" of the writer), appeal to topos (using language or themes that the audience is familiar with) and appeal to logos (reason and logic).
It's difficult for some to accept that all this is good rhetoric rather than merely dialectic.
I mean, who wouldn't want facts? What "liberal" would want to think that those on the left side of the debate don't often deal with facts honestly?

Anonymous Peanut Gallery Conservative July 11, 2017 11:23 AM  

Jagi Lamplighter's point is that rhetoric is what the Left does. Trump and the alt-right have sunk to the SJW level and it makes me sick. Conservatives are about reason and logic, not name-calling and racism! You can be a reasoned gentlemen and still persuade people. Look at William F. Buckley and Charles Krauthammer!

Anonymous VFM #6306 July 11, 2017 11:24 AM  

Dialectic is awful at persuasion, great at demonstration. Because effective rhetoric is difficult to many who are emotionally attached to dialectic, many "dialectic thinkers" use the wrong tool to persuade others because of their own emotionality.

Dialectic NEVER persuades except maybe by happenstance. It helps you to justify and demonstrate a rationale for why you were persuaded.

I think it is really funny that Jagi thinks that Aristotle is beneath Vox.

Blogger Stephen Ward July 11, 2017 11:25 AM  

@39 Cassandros

"Isn't shaming a form of Rhetoric?"

Yes, the entire quoted piece is rhetoric.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 11, 2017 11:25 AM  

The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded.

This is of course nonsense. Years ago, I was persuaded by reason that Free Trade was a good idea. Perhaps some of you were as well. But in the intervening years, I discovered new facts and now am pursuaded by reason that unrestricted Free Trade is a bad thing.

And like Cail mentions, I'm pretty sure I was noticing but ignoring those new facts for a while before emotional inputs (factories closing, Chinese crap proliferating, swarms of foreigners clogging up the streets) forced me to stop ignoring them.

Blogger Orville July 11, 2017 11:30 AM  

@66 Bull. Buckley and wheelchair Jew's arguments have not made a dent, not even a scratch in the direction of this country. If what you said was true then we'd be living in the Reagan millenia of endless rational conservatism.

Anonymous Humpty Dumpty Parumpty July 11, 2017 11:34 AM  

Confucius himself gave up on arguing with the common people, calling them "tall grass in the wind".

Anonymous Jack Amok July 11, 2017 11:38 AM  

Josh,

Some of the more intelligent liberals have realized that the spread of fact checking is a media own goal:

True, but the next level of realization - probably too painful for them - is that almost anything the media does now is going to be an own goal. The people in the media are simply too invested in their self-image as "opinion-makers", too dumb to be self-aware, and have been #FakeNewsing for too long for people not to see through the BS.

They can't help themselves. Whether they're fact-checking or reporting on a baseball game, their driven to their ignorant lunacy.

Anonymous FP July 11, 2017 11:47 AM  

"The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded."

Heh, yeah, sure, you betcha. The last 8-9 years of debate over healthcare have sure proven that. Or vaccines as in the other new post on this blog notes. Take the cholesterol debate, that has been going on since at least the 1950s. I actually had a doctor the other day admit medical science had been wrong on saturated fats. For him it apparently was a study done of patients using feeding tubes that convinced him. Never mind the mountains of data available (anecdotal or otherwise) debunking the theories out there, those weren't "scientific".

In the obamacare debtates, it would take me mentioning my own cancer story to make the point of increased costs and that still would not counter the feels factor of "equal/free" healthcare dream. I had a doctor three weeks ago get upset at me mentioning obamacare induced cost increases with a shot back that "trumpcare won't fix things". Well, duh but its not even a law yet Doc. Right now I'm breaking the law by not obeying state healthcare insurance requirements and next year my insurance company is leaving the individual market entirely. That same doc wants to charge me $1200 for a machine that costs $400 or less on the internet. Who knows what he would charge the insurance company for the same machine if I went through them.

Blogger The Morrigan July 11, 2017 11:53 AM  

I used to educate activists about the Delphi Technique. The reaction from controlled opposition was similar: autistic screeching at being busted.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Communists murdered +100 Million trying to genocide the Bourgeois. suffering a Marxist to live is a Crime Against Humanity ) July 11, 2017 12:01 PM  

39. Cassandros the Elder July 11, 2017 7:59 AM
Isn't shaming a form of Rhetoric?



it's a woman speaking. even when attempting Dialectic, they have an extremely hard time not falling back on Assuming Frame ... which is entirely Rhetorical and based in Feminine Imperative and not based in Dialectic in any way.




66. Peanut Gallery Conservative July 11, 2017 11:23 AM
Jagi Lamplighter's point is that rhetoric is what the Left does.



to the extent she makes this argument, she's been infected by John's tendency to accuse fellow Rightists of "Leftism".

but the accusation is wholly ridiculous. the majority of people on ALL sides are primarily Rhetorical. is Rhetoric of the Left?

SO WHAT.

it's also of the Right and the Middle and the Up and Down and Forward and Back.

it's not sufficient to be intelligent to communicate in Dialectic, one must *also* have a bit of Wisdom. there is many a genius who acts like a functional retard and who is always letting their emotions run away with them.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 11, 2017 12:12 PM  

"The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded."

This is a weakness of the more intelligent.

Once they are convinced of something their pride and confidence in superior intelligence hinders their ability to be reflective and self critically re-consider original observations, let alone accept the possibility they could have been wrong, or at least unaware of new information that would give them pause to revisit the matter.

Blogger VD July 11, 2017 12:16 PM  

The subject matter of rhetoric is emotional truth?

No, the subject matter of rhetoric is emotional persuasion. And the truer it is, the more effective, on average.

Anonymous Drumph Destroys Democracy July 11, 2017 12:39 PM  

Forget fake news — alt-right memes could do more damage to democracy
http://www.salon.com/2017/07/08/forget-fake-news-alt-right-memes-could-do-more-damage-to-democracy/

"What is interesting is the way that rants and memes and other alt-right tirades have major success in shaping public opinion. And while there is a through line between these outbursts and fake news, it is important to point out that the rants are likely far more influential than fake news in shaping political perception.

This means that the real lesson for CNN and other mainstream news outlets is not that the president is immature enough to share a stupid meme attacking the news but rather that their focus on fake news has distracted them from the real story: the rise of emotional, aggressive, inflammatory, bigoted communication on social media and the power these posts have had in shaping the ideas of the Trump-supporting alt-right.

Well beyond the problem of fake news, which at least tried to pose as news, these posts are pure opinion, outburst and excess. There is nothing about these posts that even remotely compares to news reporting — and that’s why they are popular. At a moment in U.S. history where trust in the news is at a record low, we are seeing the growing power of individuals outside of traditional media circuits who have built a following by suggesting that their voices are more authentic and more accurate than those of the so-called liberal, elitist, majority-silencing news."

Anonymous Gen. Kong July 11, 2017 12:41 PM  

There are two facts one needs to keep in mind when arguing from DOJ crime statistics (truth being important to effective rhetoric): they are deliberately skewed to present whites as more prone to violent crime than they actually are:

1. Starting in the conservative Nixon administration, "hispanics" were split out as a separate category for victims but lumped together with whites when reckoning perpetrators of violent crime. That's how (((fake news))) was able to name a Peruvian octaroon as a "white hispanic" after the ascension of St. Trayvon of Skittles.

2. Starting in the 1990s, a software package was sold to big-city police departments which allows re-classification of violent crimes. Obvious murders become accidents, etc. Big cities then feed the messaged data to DOJ.

As with global warming and other assorted SJW lies, this all started very incrementally. Thus it wasn't able to completely obscure the spike in homicides when the DOJ reports were compiled. Give them time, and the data will be messaged to reflect SJW notions of 'reality'.

Blogger Cail Corishev July 11, 2017 12:58 PM  

I think the rhetorically-challenged person hears "truth" and thinks, "literal truth in correspondence with the facts." In that regard, he sees a picture of Donald Trump riding a war horse over a corpse labeled CNN while a cartoon frog-pope waves, and sees no truth at all. Literally, nothing in that picture is true, so that's bad, maybe even Leftist.

But rhetorically, that picture is completely true, and a better, more persuasive representation of the truth of that situation than you could convey in any amount of dialectic.

Anonymous Gen. Kong July 11, 2017 1:14 PM  

BBGKB wrote:

All this talk about crime rates ignores that people are paid to make NAM crimes disappear

7 Ways to Hide Murders and Other Ways Chicago Police Keep Crimes Quiet

Lets not forget that if Trayvon Martin's school police department was not instructed to lower the black crime rate, he would have been alive in juvie for stealing women's jewelry the night he attacked GZ


Quite damning. The software is known as compstat. Really tells you all you ever need to know about the reliability of the badge-gang and the oafcuckers. If they are willing to obey orders from diabolical narcissists like ((Rahm Emmanuel))) to cover up murders, why would any rational person believe they'll refuse orders to fire on unarmed civilians, confiscate legally-owned firearms, commit murder, etc.? The answer is that they won't refuse orders, because at the end of the day they are themselves no more than criminals operating under the color of law.

Blogger Student in Blue July 11, 2017 1:56 PM  

No, the subject matter of rhetoric is emotional persuasion. And the truer it is, the more effective, on average.

While there is a vector to consider of how inherently tempting something is when you persuade them to do or not do something (easier to tempt someone into mudwrestling with hot 18 year olds than it is mudwrestling with grandmas), also remember that the devil did his best persuading by using half-truths, not by saying blatantly untrue things.

Of course they were persuasions to sin, but that's an example of rhetoric being emotional persuasion, not emotional truth.

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 2:11 PM  

@77-"No, the subject matter of rhetoric is emotional persuasion"

The point of rhetoric is persuasion period. Successful rhetoric so happens to be emotionally manipulative about 10 times out of 10 because people are run by their feelz.

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 2:16 PM  

@82-In the special case that you are the devil, the truer your argument the less persuasive it is, I suppose. Because if you're completely honest, you have to admit that following your advice would lead to eternal damnation.

Anonymous Anonymous July 11, 2017 2:16 PM  

It took me a long time to understand this: dialectic and logical argument (much less "the actual facts") are not very effective in debates or appeals to the average person. I'm as "emotional" as the next person, and I understand worldviews and political opinions are entangled with personal identity. It always seemed obvious to me that rhetoric was necessary in any form of debate or persuasive dialogue-- you can't just kick down the wall of the conversation with both dialectical guns blazing...

Yet it took me a loooong time to realize that Reality/the truth of the matter was perhaps the most insignificant factor to most people. They simply don't give a shit. You have to enter the debate as one of them. I have to enter on their terms, and then you have to offer them an argument within the framework which they understand.

So when entering a debate never begin by referencing the actual logical framework of "Feminism(tm)", because honestly most of these people don't have a complete or cohesive understanding of their own proclaimed "views." Instead ask yourself "WHY is this person before me a feminist? What is it that really motivates them?" and then construct your appeal in those terms.

I agree with those above--Never start with dialectical argument. Their motivation is never "the Truth" so "fact checking" or "legitimate argumentation" means nothing to them. The normies will leave the conversation, and the smarter one's will just revert to infinite regress. These people virtue signal, and claim to be celebrate "all perspectives" as a rule of thumb and for a reason. I always try to construct an appeal that forces them to "put themselves in the other shoes" in a way that reveals their current/leftist position to be ethically shittier and more destructive to more people. Once you take that away, they can't rely on actual argumentation to get their way out, mostly because reality is contrary to their 'views'-- which they have never really even tried to articulate anyway...

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey July 11, 2017 2:34 PM  

@BBGKB

"All this talk about crime rates ignores that people are paid to make NAM crimes disappear"

Some of this is politically motivated, but some of it at the lower levels is simply due to the perverse incentives created by programs like CompStat. Nicholas Stix had some good pieces about "disappearing" crime in Vdare a few years back.

From your link--I thought this was pretty blatant:

"For years (and for as long as anyone in our newsroom can remember), reporters went to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office at 5 a.m. to get a list of the people who died in Cook County overnight. It allowed reporters to look into the circumstances of the deaths right away. But after shakeups at the office, things changed.

Now, the office sends out a list of names, but often homicide victims are left off the list entirely. And reporters are no longer allowed at the morgue."

Chicago Magazine has had some decent articles on this kind of thing, for a legacy media publication. They had a decent series on the connections between Chicago gangs and pols back in 2012. Nothing about the Pritzkers, though, for some reason.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing July 11, 2017 2:45 PM  

I'm working on an email.

Blogger Feather Blade July 11, 2017 2:47 PM  

If I remember my Aristotle properly, Rhetoric is the art of making one's arguments in a winsome and convincing manner.

The arguments one makes must also be correctly-reasoned and well-supported, or it turns one's Rhetoric into Sophistry - which is winsome and persuasive, but ultimately false.

The illustration given for that concept is that "Rhetoric" is to "Sophistry" as "exercising to gain a good physique" is to "dressing in such a manner that it appears that one has a good physique".

Anonymous Bird on a Wing July 11, 2017 4:22 PM  

The problem most people have in understanding the difference between rhetoric and dialectic, let alone grasping the concept of pseudo-dialectic, is that they are philosophically monolingual.

I think the real issue most dialectically-trained people have with rhetoric is the intrinsic value judgement that the traditional Western dialectic training is steeped within. Dialectic is morally superior to rhetoric. That is what Aristotle and Christianity say, not in so many words, but that is the underlying connotation. The reason being that rhetorical techniques, when followed to their ultimate maximal expression, end in cult brainwashing techniques.

(My email keeps getting longer.)

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 4:24 PM  

@88-Rhetoric broadly speaking is the art of communication, or "discourse" if you're an academic. The way Vox used the term, it's specifically the art of persuasion or debate. While there are rhetorical qualities to persuasion and argumentation quite beyond the bare fact of winning the argument or persuading your audience, Vox is interested primarily and almost exclusively in bare naked winning. Whatever is the minimum required amount of Logos to persuade; that's what he goes with. Any more is wasted effort, I guess.

In any case, there's no distinction between let's say True Rhetoric and Seeming-Rhetoric as you have it. If your case persuades your audience or wins an argument, it is good rhetoric. Even if it could be better, more beautiful, and so on. It's not something else dressed up as rhetoric. Because it's doing what rhetoric does.

As for sophistry, I don't know exactly how Aristotle used the term, but the way we use it, it means false argumentation, usually involving deliberate deception. That doesn't make sophistry unrhetorical, because you may use fallacies to persuade people.

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 4:33 PM  

@89-The moral aspect is part of it. See the above post @88, wherein arguments not correctly reasoned or well-supported become not just bad rhetoric but outright sophistry, which implies deliberate falsehood. We don't even stop off at a mix of lies and truth, but go directly to untruth.

You'd think that if Christianity could come up with Just War Theory it could come up with Just Rhetoric Theory. Indeed, it has its own version of sophistry, at least in common parlance, known as casuistry, though that term is usually reserved for reasoning as opposed to argumentation or persuasion.

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 4:48 PM  

"The advantage of dialectic is that when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded"

Leaving aside the question of whether anyone is ever persuaded by reason (maybe when I was persuaded of the truth of a mathematical proof, but even then, who knows?), this is ridiculous. It's not so, first of all, and I don't even know why anyone would pretend it is. I see no evidence for it.

More importantly, it betrays a particularly stupid for of Enlightenment fundamentalism. Who has such faith in "reason," vaguely defined. As if all we need to do is buckle down and collectively decide to reason our way in and out of things, and that way we'll all know and stick by the truth. As if they unfamiliar with the centuries of history since the West, at least, went in for reason, and haven't noticed how much more often men change their minds. And change their minds in every which direction, not just towards truth.

There's a reason the term "rationalize" has a connotation of tricking yourself and others into thinking certain things. Because reason is pliable. Much like math, it's "garbage in, garbage out." Even if you do it correctly, it's just a process.

My guess is that people make these sorts of arguments because they think a free-for-all would be to their disadvantage. And to be fair mms maybe they think it would disadvantage the truth, as well. If they can fall back on "the rules," in this case reason, they still win even when they lose. Because the other side cheated, you see.

Anonymous bobdobbs July 11, 2017 5:07 PM  

The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded.

Nice little bit of rhetoric there.

Blogger Tom K. July 11, 2017 5:57 PM  

The most effective form of rhetoric is rhetoric in the service of truth.

One reason is the rhetorical use of HUMOR.

Why?

Because "Only the Truth is Funny"!

Blogger VD July 11, 2017 6:19 PM  

If I remember my Aristotle properly, Rhetoric is the art of making one's arguments in a winsome and convincing manner. The arguments one makes must also be correctly-reasoned and well-supported, or it turns one's Rhetoric into Sophistry - which is winsome and persuasive, but ultimately false.

You don't remember it properly.

Vox is interested primarily and almost exclusively in bare naked winning. Whatever is the minimum required amount of Logos to persuade; that's what he goes with. Any more is wasted effort, I guess.

You've clearly never read any of my books. Don't make the mistake of thinking you know me well by what you read in the context of a political blog. It is merely one aspect of the individual.

I am more interested in most in knowing the truth. But I also reject both the Marxian and Hegelian dialectics, and I know truth is not going to be found in arguing with people whose IQs are lower and susceptibility to rhetoric are higher than mine.

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 6:47 PM  

@95-Probably I should have said "*In this context* Vox is interested primarily..." The context being a thread about persuasive gamesmanship titled: "Doesn't anyone know how to play this game?" I didn't put that across the best way.

"You've clearly never read any of my books"

I read SJWs Always Lie and the Irrational Atheist

"Don't make the mistake of thinking you know me well by what you read in the context of a political blog"

I don't. I wasn't thinking about the totality of your personhood, but rather this specific topic.

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd July 11, 2017 6:54 PM  

bobdobbs wrote:The advantage of dialectic is when someone is persuaded by reason, they stay persuaded.

Nice little bit of rhetoric there.


If it were really nice rhetoric, it would have convinced us.

Blogger tublecane July 11, 2017 6:57 PM  

@96-Oh, and it was an exaggeration, as well. For effect and a bit of humor.

Blogger VD July 11, 2017 7:07 PM  

I wasn't thinking about the totality of your personhood, but rather this specific topic.

Fair enough. I do think people tend to forget that. But even Scalzi finds it necessary to warn people that he is not "your snarky liberal buddy who's fun to be with" in real life.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Communists murdered +100 Million trying to genocide the Bourgeois. suffering a Marxist to live is a Crime Against Humanity ) July 11, 2017 7:22 PM  

i really need to get off my ass and make that post about Biblical examples of Rhetoric.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable July 11, 2017 7:22 PM  

even Scalzi finds it necessary to warn people that he is not "your snarky liberal buddy who's fun to be with" in real life.

And I'm betting he isn't ...

Blogger Thucydides July 11, 2017 9:07 PM  

I think Jagi Lamplighter's mistake is not seeing how Rhetoric and Dialectic are linked. Many people know the various problems and issues faced by the United States leading into the 2016 elections (especially the 16 Republican candidates in the Primaries), but only Donald Trump could express these ideas in the Rhetorical formulations which were quickly and easily grasped by the voters. (He also used this skill to brand his opponents; who can forget "Low Energy Jeb" or "Crooked Hillary")

However I disagree with her on the idea that "snazzier Rhetoric" will turn people, since it has to be connected to or with something the audience identifies with or understand at some level. Free floating rhetoric by itself will convince no one (or the person who it does convince is pretty far on the left edge of the bell curve.....)

Ancient Greek Demagogues understood this (read the The History of the Peloponnesian War if you don't believe me), and other great works of literature are informed by this as well. Even the Bible is a wonderful repository, consider:

Hebrews 11:1King James Version (KJV)

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Blogger Hrodgar July 11, 2017 10:29 PM  

Considering she's part of the Superversive movement, perhaps she could turn to the coiner of the term for an explanation of the usefulness of rhetoric. Tom Simon touched on it in his essay Style is the Rocket. If you like it, he's got a couple of essay collections for sale, one of which shares the title.

At any rate, while the essay is mostly a critique of authors and critics who focus exclusively on style to the detriment of telling a good story. But implicit is the assumption that even if the payload is worthwhile, you still need a way to get it to the target. Tom Simon calls it style, Vox and Aristotle call it rhetoric, but they're all talking about the same thing.

Blogger Michael July 11, 2017 11:07 PM  

I was wondering if VOX would care to discuss the role of the Trivium with regards to the topic of Rhetoric? I would also like to know a little more of VOX's thoughts on IQ in general. I sometimes feel 'trapped' in a society of unthinking individuals, and I work at University (where, incidentally, I thought I would be buffered from idiocracy, um, no - without a price-mechanism, it's even worse).

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 11, 2017 11:45 PM  

Michael wrote:I sometimes feel 'trapped' in a society of unthinking individuals,
That is, largely speaking, why people hang out here.

and I work at University (where, incidentally, I thought I would be buffered from idiocracy, um, no - without a price-mechanism, it's even worse).
Well, that was a bad assumption.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Communists murdered +100 Million trying to genocide the Bourgeois. suffering a Marxist to live is a Crime Against Humanity ) July 12, 2017 12:52 AM  

105. Snidely Whiplash July 11, 2017 11:45 PM
Well, that was a bad assumption.


indeed.

i refused to go to college because i had experience of almost every one of my teachers up through high school having had college degrees.

and i didn't want any of what they were having.

Anonymous Bird on a Wing July 12, 2017 2:44 AM  

You'd think that if Christianity could come up with Just War Theory it could come up with Just Rhetoric Theory.

That’s exactly why Aristotle wrote Rhetoric. All us Christians were persuaded to agree with him.

Last week The Internet decided to start writing the first draft of the 4th Generation Rhetoric Handbook. Gamergate was the research and development phase.

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2017 6:26 AM  

> That is, largely speaking, why people hang out here.

Yep. I learn things here.

Blogger bosscauser July 12, 2017 10:49 AM  

It's all rhetoric until she takes off her clothes...

Gab.ai/GaryCauser

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit July 13, 2017 2:00 AM  

"The problem with Rhetoric is...it cannot stand up against reality

The error presented in this snippet (which may not accurately represent all of Jagi Lamplighter's thought) is that rhetoric is necessarily incongruent with truth. A reasonable error in which to fall, because it has been so well used in the service of lies and sedition by the Left.

Using this tool in the service of the truth, the service of Western civilisation, in the service of justice, is admirable. Vox Day has a real knack for torquing people's shorts, often well-deserved. I sometimes sympathize, but think them fools not to make use of the free classes in rhetoric he offered herein.

Indeed, I am most likely to roll my eyes and mutter, "there he goes again," when he fails at his own art, as now. Using allies, even reluctant ones, who are unwavering in their battle against the foe, to make a point is bad enough. But picking the fair and virtuous Mrs. Wright, when you know what the VFM are like is, well... asinine.

Blogger Jan Minář July 13, 2017 2:25 AM  

The distinction of rhetoric = lies vs dialectic = truth is doubly specious. My personal understanding of the limits of reason benefited from reading "Proofs and Refutations" by the esteemed mathematician Imre Lakatos. In a gist: because ultimately all proofs, even mathematical proofs that are pure logic, are weighed on their merits by humans, all dialectic is persuasion. People of course would very much like to believe that there is some authority, human or otherwise, some oracle that would tell them instantly and infalliably, what is true and what is not. Who is good and who is evil. What to believe. Hence fact-checkers, hence "The NYT writes…", hence the labelling people "racist sexist homophobe".

But not only good rhetoric is based in truth, and points back to truth. Good rhetoric doesn't deal in falsehoods anywhere in the middle. Trump is a great example. Whenever he says something that seems outrageously false, it turns out that he was either being outright prophetic, using hyperbole or sarcasm or some other transparent rhetorical device, or trolling. The litmus test is whether the audience is deceived, or is in on it. (This requires some good-faith effort on the part of the listener, but Trump makes it easy with his "3rd-grade-level vocabulary.) The hacks are of course not the audience, they're the patsy. To them, it must all seem like all lies, all the time. The audience, that is the rest of us, would do well to accept that we know more than they do, and enjoy the show.

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