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Monday, June 22, 2020

They'll be coming for Aristotle soon

A reader discovers why rhetoric is no longer taught in schools and universities:
Thanks to your writings on the topic, I've started to understand much more about the role of rhetoric and dialectic in communication.  I'm currently reading The Ethics of Rhetoric by Richard Weaver and came across this brilliant passage about practitioners of "base rhetoric," which he defines as "speech which influences us in the direction of what is evil."

Examples of this kind of contrivance occur on every hand in the impassioned language of journalism and political pleading.  In the world of affairs which these seek to influence, the many are kept in a state of pupillage so that they will be most docile to their "lovers."  The techniques of the base lover, especially as exemplified in modern journalism, would make a long catalogue, but in general it is accurate to say that he seeks to keep the understanding in a passive state by never permitting an honest examination of the alternatives.  Nothing is more feared by him than a true dialectic, for this not only endangers his favored alternative, but also gives the "beloved"...some training in intellectual independence.

What he does therefore is dress up one alternative in all the cheap finery of immediate hopes and fears, knowing that if he can thus prevent a masculine exercise of imagination and will he can have his way.  By discussing only one side of an issue, by mentioning cause without consequence or consequence without cause, acts without agents or agents without agency, he often successfully blocks definition and cause-and-effect reasoning.  In this way his choices are arrayed in such meretricious images that one can quickly infer the juvenile mind which they would attract.  Of course the base rhetorician today, with his vastly augmented power of propagation, has means of deluding which no ancient rhetor in forum or marketplace could have imagined.

It's amazing how even a basic understanding of this subject allows one a much more precise and clear view of the world; frauds, charlatans, and wizards are readily identifiable.  I suppose that's why it isn't taught in public schools.
Actually, I tend to disagree with the assertion that the true dialectician is the base rhetorician's greatest fear. Understanding and utilizing dialectic is good. But understanding and utilizing both dialectic and rhetoric is better, because while the dialectician has the ability to see through the base rhetoric, the true rhetorician has the ability to understand, confront, and publicly defeat it.

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55 Comments:

Blogger Dan in Georgia June 22, 2020 11:43 AM  

Ricardo?
Retardo!

Blogger Revelation Means Hope June 22, 2020 11:52 AM  

For those of you homeschooling, I'm on the lookout for a book for teens that builds the rhetorical skills along with dialectic.

And by teens, I mean early not college age.

I have one at home but here at work I can't recall the title.

Blogger Skyler the Weird June 22, 2020 11:52 AM  

They're coming for everything after 1964. Anything before LBJ is Racist.

Blogger Jeroth June 22, 2020 11:57 AM  

They've been saying that logic, objective truth, and even mathematics, is white supremacy for years.

Blogger [Redacted] June 22, 2020 11:59 AM  

"To Catch A Wizard" Season One.

Exclusively on Unauthorized.TV with bonus commentary by DeepFake Jordan Peterson.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan June 22, 2020 12:08 PM  

They will be coming for Sam Harris of all people soon enough. Recently he wrote a lengthy essay I skimmed and it included a reasonable section on policing blacks and other things counter today's narrative.

Blogger xevious2030 June 22, 2020 12:14 PM  

“with the assertion that the true dialectician is the base rhetorician's greatest fear”

It did stand out, as one attempting to impress the “not his lover” lover on his pedestal, with the presentation of information.

Blogger TheGhostlyOne June 22, 2020 12:28 PM  

This is a much needed reminder about the power of rhetoric.
So many are falling for the demoralization, and are inhaling black pills right now, due to not understanding rhetoric.
They have to be snapped out of it. Many of them are alt-retards, but some are good people who have become black-pilled. They have this idea that “Accelerationism” and “President Stacy Abrams” are needed to force a reaction.

Time to come up with some rhetorical attacks to set things straight.

Blogger Doom June 22, 2020 12:31 PM  

Sparing the world from sinning twice against philosophy isn't a once and done thing, I suppose. The Church may have sanctified him, if I digress from that... faith. So I don't care. When of and on the planet of the apes, so it goes.

Blogger Hammerli 280 June 22, 2020 12:45 PM  

@2: Try reading "Lord of the Rings" aloud. Anything by Kipling, aloud. Shakespeare. Rhetoric has its roots in poetry...and I tend to think that LCOL Cooper was on the right track when he claimed that a man should write poetry once a week. Not because he wants to be a great poet, but because it teaches meter and rhyme.

Blogger Dole June 22, 2020 12:46 PM  

@1
Richard?
Reichtard.

In defeating enemies:
2A > Rhetoric > Dialectic.

They want to destroy all of them.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan June 22, 2020 1:03 PM  

Off topic but since China was mentioned upthread and this site on occasion links to Neonrevolt's work maybe some would find last night's post to Gab about the Chinese dam being a victim of Chinese ethics and potentially becoming a disaster. somewhat interesting.

Blogger Jeroth June 22, 2020 1:08 PM  

@8 They're becoming black pilled because the Trump campaign is a mess. I believe Trump will eventually correct this, but right now the current state of the campaign is a joke. Whoever thought it's a good idea to focus on Biden being tough on crime in the middle of a crime and murder spree needs to be fired. "In 1994 Biden was racist and put black murderers in prison! Vote for Trump!" This is establishment GOP levels of stupidity. If the rumors of Karl Rove being on board are true, it isn't surprising. The minute Trump goes back to relying on instinct instead of advisors, morale will go through the roof.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia June 22, 2020 1:18 PM  

VD wrote:

"...while the dialectician has the ability to see through the base rhetoric, the true rhetorician has the ability to understand, confront, and publicly defeat it."

All this is indeed true, but the vanquishing of the base rhetorician will only redound to the body politics' benefit, if the body politic recognizes the defeat.

And to get the final level of victory, the base rhetorician has to truly admit defeat as well.

Had a conversation the other day with a good friend, who was bemoaning, as some normies are wont to do, about the "division" in the zeitgeist, and how if we just could find some way to "bring us all together" we'd be so much better off.

I explained that his argument was starting from a flawed premise -- that divisions, sui generis, could somehow disappear, or be resolved, or somehow be muted.

Maybe, I told him, they can't.

Blogger crescent wrench June 22, 2020 1:31 PM  

"By discussing only one side of an issue, by mentioning cause without consequence or consequence without cause, acts without agents or agents without agency, he often successfully blocks definition and cause-and-effect reasoning."

I assert any adult presented with news of real life that reads like a children's novel with "evil x does y to blameless z" and does not ask for the rest of the story doesn't qualify as a sentient being.

This is not to dismiss the culpability of the mendacious in taking advantage of such individuals: On the contrary, it's to underscore why freedom of speech is not advisable.

Blogger JD Curtis June 22, 2020 1:31 PM  

Completely OT
A. Go to Google
B. Type in any 3 digit number between 100-999 and the words new cases
C. Hit Search

I've done it 10X and got an exact match every time.
Go gigure

Blogger Doktor Jeep June 22, 2020 1:35 PM  

Perhaps they want to turn rhetoric into some dark art so the proles become even more incapable of getting uppity.

Blogger The World War II Fanatic June 22, 2020 1:47 PM  

They'll come for the Kurds too, because other muzzies dont like em
https://twitter.com/QForce2014/status/1273697600626208769

Blogger Ominous Cowherd June 22, 2020 2:12 PM  

Jeroth wrote:Whoever thought it's a good idea to focus on Biden being tough on crime in the middle of a crime and murder spree needs to be fired. "In 1994 Biden was racist and put black murderers in prison! Vote for Trump!"
Are you going to vote for Biden because he once said something mean about criminals? Is anyone who might, maybe, vote for Trump going to change his mind because of that? Probably not. People who want a tough-on-crime president aren't going to vote Alzheimer's, nor Democrat.

``Dat Biden rayciss'' is going to hurt him with the black voters. It won't get a single vote for Trump, but it will depress black and SJW turn out.

Blogger Avalanche June 22, 2020 2:25 PM  

@13 "Biden was racist and put black murderers in prison! Vote for Trump!"

For some stupid stupid stupid reason -- the Right STILL thinks "if only" they can win more black votes... And they IGNORE the numbers from 2016; and any/every OTHER election ever. There may indeed be black guys at Trump rallies wearing Trumpslide tee's -- but once they get into the booth, it seems, they ALWAYS vote by race!

2016:
Black men: 91% Clinton
Black women: 98% Clinton
Hispanic men: 65% Clinton
Hispanic women: 67% Clinton

So, all the pandering and fawning and special set-asides do absolutely nothing except dismay the WHITE voters:
White men 62% Trump
White women: 47% Trump
Pew data)

Blogger Beau June 22, 2020 2:32 PM  

Part of the problem is Christ's followers have for years been trained to speak only when the liturgical reading indicates All: Otherwise, the only people who speak when gathered together are the priest/pastor, the choirmaster/worship leader, and the person making the weekly announcements/collecting the offering. Everyone else is mute by design. But this is not how the church started, Saint Pete's first sermon was in the open air. Jesus's sermons where in the open air. Over the past decade I've seen darkness rolled back by regular people who determined that acknowledging Jesus before men was more important than their own discomfort of public speaking. You really do begin winning the moment you open your mouth for Jesus.

Blogger Beardy Bear June 22, 2020 2:34 PM  

Aristotle was clearly racist. When he said some people can't understand dialectic, we know what people he really meant.

Blogger Akulkis June 22, 2020 2:38 PM  

>> They're coming for everything after 1964. Anything before LBJ is Racist.

LBJ isn't popular either.

"Hey, Hey, LBJ
How many kids did you kill today?"

Blogger Jeroth June 22, 2020 2:55 PM  

@20 I don't think it's actually about blacks. I think the advisor-think is that talking about blacks gets the suburban woman vote. This might seem plausible if you use data from female focus groups, which is what these advisors do. The problem is that this data is extremely tainted by social pressure. Persuading white women to be afraid is the far stronger motivator than appealing to their sense of propriety. But career advisors, especially Republican ones, will never tell you this. (Someone like James Carville might, but he is a very rare bird.)

Blogger One Deplorable DT June 22, 2020 3:15 PM  

@4 - They've been saying that logic, objective truth, and even mathematics, is white supremacy for years.

Mastery of logic and mathematics, and the discernment of objective truth, are certainly huge factors in the success of white civilizations. But rather than recognize this and learn from it, they want to curse it and drag the world back to the primitive.

I can't tell if they're too stupid to practice these things at a useful level, or too evil to try. Maybe it's the combination.

Blogger The World War II Fanatic June 22, 2020 3:25 PM  

Soon they'll be after us too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HBAw3bB2ck

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 June 22, 2020 3:35 PM  

Of course they'll come for Aristotle. They went after comedy for the same reasons.

Blogger Newscaper312 June 22, 2020 3:41 PM  

Anybody recommend a good non-"for Dummies" modern intro to rhetoric? Perhaps one more focused on more recognizing it and defending against it, than becoming more persuasive ones self?
Or just suck it up and read Aristotle in English?

Blogger map June 22, 2020 3:49 PM  

Avalanche wrote:So, all the pandering and fawning and special set-asides do absolutely nothing except dismay the WHITE voters:

All of the Left's assumption about demographic dominance assumes that the split in the White vote is stable. They assume always that 38% of White men will always vote Democrat and 53% of White women will always vote Democrat.

This is a dangerous assumption on their part. The White vote is massive, and small changes in these percentages can quickly swamp the Left and lead to a huge loss.

Tell me: what percentage of Democrat White male votes do Republicans need to bleed off ti win an election? 2 points? 3 points? 7 points? How many of these will decide not to be cucks in the ballot box?

Blogger Joe Smith June 22, 2020 3:53 PM  

And to get the final level of victory, the base rhetorician has to truly admit defeat as well.

This is absolutely not true. Your condition for victory cannot be contingent on enemy forces voluntarily accepting your premises, or else it is impossible to win. And I say voluntarily because a true admission has to be voluntary.

Also, why do you write "but" in your first sentence?

Blogger gunner451 June 22, 2020 4:13 PM  

Dialectic only works if you are capable of rational thought and looking at the idiots I see on the news it is a rare thing in the younger generations. Rhetoric is the name of the game for them as it is all just bouncing from one emotional fix to the next all fueled by social media and fake news. Truly a feminized herd raging at made up offenses and out for blood. Can't even start to use dialectic in this situation.

Blogger Damelon Brinn June 22, 2020 4:17 PM  

LBJ isn't popular either.

Of course not, he's white. Eventually they'll get to someone like Jimmy Carter. Sure, he's been beloved of liberals, but he's a white guy from Georgia. They'll find something he said or did as an excuse to hate him.

Don't overthink it. This is Jews, blacks, and self-hating whites attacking white, Christian civilization. It may be the Christian civilization that many of them hate the most, but they hate all whites in general for creating it.

Blogger eclecticmn June 22, 2020 4:41 PM  

I am not sure where this fits in.
There is something to be said for learning how to program. Steve Jobs said that programming teaches you how to think. I disagree but it does teach you one way to think.

Programming forces your mind to think rationally and logically. The computer does what you told it to do, not what you wanted it to do.

Blogger crescent wrench June 22, 2020 4:44 PM  

map wrote:Avalanche wrote:So, all the pandering and fawning and special set-asides do absolutely nothing except dismay the WHITE voters:

All of the Left's assumption about demographic dominance assumes that the split in the White vote is stable. They assume always that 38% of White men will always vote Democrat and 53% of White women will always vote Democrat.

This is a dangerous assumption on their part. The White vote is massive, and small changes in these percentages can quickly swamp the Left and lead to a huge loss.

Tell me: what percentage of Democrat White male votes do Republicans need to bleed off ti win an election? 2 points? 3 points? 7 points? How many of these will decide not to be cucks in the ballot box?


A twitter personality named helloitsthao has done poll analysis showing the same is true of the hispanic vote and the left. They've been zooming to the right: the only problem is the Baizuo have been rocketing leftward at a faster rate since 2016 causing the house massacre.

Blogger Stocky Anglo June 22, 2020 5:27 PM  

The new trend I see a lot is a sort of sudo-dialectic. As a sales guy that sells technologies it is the commonplace language of marketing and pitches etc...that gets utilized now. We are seeing it in the public spheres a lot more now where they use the 'data' to license the use of rhetoric with scientific pretensions. Vox did the best job I have ever read in The Irrational Atheist at out witting that type of rhetorical weaponry. In fact I think the tone and humor paired with fact used in that book may be a kind of formula worth duplicating.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella June 22, 2020 5:54 PM  

Every public school person, no matter how bright, is absolutely knee-capped by a crummy education. Even the top end of public education is aggressively designed to keep top end kids from touching the real levers of power, or knowing history, or knowing how to do anything if they do get any power at all. The private school graduates, even ones who are pro- American, are very open about this. It's on purpose. The entire enstupidation of everyone is on purpose.

Blogger tweell June 22, 2020 5:58 PM  

The charter school my younger children went to (7-12) had a year of Aristotle. The first semester was Logic (Organon) and the second semester was Philosophy (Nicomachean Ethics).
Yes, there are still teachers that want to teach truth.

Blogger Asta June 22, 2020 6:34 PM  

@28: Arthur Schopenhauer: The Art of being right

Blogger RedJack June 22, 2020 6:34 PM  

Looks like they Went for Jesus first. Shaun King has demanded Christ images be removed.

Blogger JovianStorm June 22, 2020 7:06 PM  

I believe that rhetoric can be subdivided into types based on intended effect. You can see this clearly in Twitter posts that look like rapid/hasty tweets from a protest in the manner of breaking news reports. They're designed to dump adrenaline into the bloodstream and turn off the frontal lobe. This is addictive and the Left loves that tingle. It's their bread and butter.

The other type is "brick to the face" in which there's no argument or words , just a brick to the face. This is designed to condition "conservatives" to reflexively fear and capitulate to the Left.

Blogger Mast Abeam June 22, 2020 7:11 PM  

Hi Vox,
My wife, these past years, was forced by PPACA to up her RN to a BSN. So off she went with flying colors through her on-line nursing courses.
But she was then confronted with another year of (what she called BS for a BS) course work. Here I helped with some of the first year and second year course work for her degree.

Frankly, I am impressed with the basic freshmen English course that these professors have created for on-line instructors to lead. It required close examination of a CDC website using the language and tools of logos, ethos, and pathos to analyze the effective plea. We considered it all — what, the force of language.

It was an effective exercise for both a 19-year old first year and a 25-year veteran.

I remain hopeful.

Blogger JamesB.BKK June 22, 2020 7:50 PM  

@Jeroth there is the lingering problem that someone - Trunk - thinks bragging about job opportunities will direct non-cheating and unreliable paid for votes his way. It requires a premise that the people that's directed to wanted to show up for work.

Blogger JamesB.BKK June 22, 2020 7:52 PM  

@JD Curtis why not credit the source on this?

Blogger JamesB.BKK June 22, 2020 8:06 PM  

@Avalanche why pay attention to any national polls that are not county level results? Just one big city skews a state and a few big cities skews the country.

Blogger Newscaper312 June 22, 2020 9:08 PM  

@38 thanks
Just surprised a german philosopher could be clear or concise. Will check it out.

Blogger Doktor Jeep June 22, 2020 10:16 PM  

Looks like they failed at an attempt for Jackson in DC.
Too close for Jared's comfort I guess.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia June 22, 2020 11:28 PM  

Joe Smith wrote:And to get the final level of victory, the base rhetorician has to truly admit defeat as well.

This is absolutely not true. Your condition for victory cannot be contingent on enemy forces voluntarily accepting your premises, or else it is impossible to win. And I say voluntarily because a true admission has to be voluntary.

Also, why do you write "but" in your first sentence?


They have to accept your premises, whether by logic, or being crushed. If they don't accept the logic, they have to be crushed.

But rhetoric alone may not crush them.

Either way, they have to "voluntarily" accept that they have lost. Otherwise it's just talk.

Blogger Akulkis June 22, 2020 11:59 PM  

>> Or just suck it up and read Aristotle in English?

What's wrong with reading an English translation of Aristotle?

Blogger Akulkis June 23, 2020 12:40 AM  

>> There is something to be said for learning how to program. Steve Jobs said that programming teaches you how to think. I disagree but it does teach you one way to think.

I'm an engineer. A computer engineer.

For a westerner, the course of studies required for an engineering degree will teach you how to think.

A couple of programming courses will teach you how to think, in less time.

I can't say that these same courses teach non-westerners how to think, when I see the results of Chinese and the results of Indians.

On the other hand the Korea and Japan can and do produce solid engineers. So being a westerner isn't a mandatory requirement. And Russia has done some great engineering, too, although they're considered part of the East more than they're considered to be part of the West.

Blogger map June 23, 2020 1:33 AM  

crescent wrench wrote:A twitter personality named helloitsthao has done poll analysis showing the same is true of the hispanic vote and the left. They've been zooming to the right: the only problem is the Baizuo have been rocketing leftward at a faster rate since 2016 causing the house massacre.

I wouldn't read to much into the House massacre. First, 40 incumbent Republicans just upped and decided not to run, losing the advantage of incumbency. Second, the House got punished for Paul Ryan's continual attack on ObamaCare, something relatively important to the suburbanites and working class that made up Trump's base and emptied the House. The wealthy suburbanites want the catastrophic care and will pay the high premiums. The working class want the benefits and don't have to worry about premiums. The continual attacks on ObamaCare and the history it racked up walked right into Pelosi's old healthcare playbook, which she dusted off and used against Paul Ryan.

Pelosi has made the same mistake that Paul Ryan made.

Blogger papabear June 23, 2020 3:01 AM  

A review of a college-level book that may be a handy reference.

https://kirkcenter.org/reviews/hey-buddy-can-you-spare-an-enthymeme/

Blogger Azure Amaranthine June 23, 2020 5:09 AM  

"Either way, they have to "voluntarily" accept"

No they don't. They just have to stop existing if they don't.

Blogger Tars Tarkas June 23, 2020 9:57 AM  

nothing is more feared by him than a true dialectic, for this not only endangers his favored alternative, but also gives the "beloved"...some training in intellectual independence.

His bow tie is shaking. Our fellows can understand nothing but pathos. They will not be persuaded by dialectic.

Our public dialogue consists entirely of rhetoric mixed with appeals to emotion. They have softened the minds of the people to the point that they cannot think of anything without drenching it in emotional appeals.

Blogger Miguel June 23, 2020 4:32 PM  

"acts without agents"

As in:

"Truck Kills inocent civilians in another terrotist atack" 🤔

Blogger Storm Rhode June 23, 2020 9:20 PM  

I suspect the rhetorician's greatest fear is action taken against them. So far there's been decades of talking by conservatives and moderates while the left has systematically taken consistent action pursuant to their goals. I was thinking about the statues being torn down and I realized the people those statues represent would probably not want to be associated with our society which is wicked and evil relative to the societies in which they lived.

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