Substituting grandiosity for accuracy
Posted by aogSunday, 23 January 2005 at 22:34 TrackBack Ping URL

One similarity I noticed between my discussion partner and other members of the thin and decaying leadership of the Democratic Party is the use of rhetorical grandiosity in actual arguments. It’s one thing to make sweeping claims and generalizations in a speech, but quite different to do so in an argumentative framework.For instance, Senator Boxer, when questioning Condoleeza Rice during the confirmation hearings, didn’t just bring out the WMD trope but claimed that it was the only reason for the resolution. A moments check shows that, of course, it wasn’t. Why use such a weak and clumsy lie?

In my other discussion I was accused of not admitting mistakes and insisting that I was right. Of course, that’s not an accident. I do two things that I suspect my opponent doesn’t

  • I am careful with the specific claims that I make, making them either specific or negative (“it’s not always the case that …”)
  • Doing some research before posting to gather evidence. Sometimes my research indicates that my claim is wrong or overbroad and so I modify it before I post it. And if I turn out to be right or at least plausible, I’ve got links to back up my claims.

In contrast, what I noted was, as with Boxer vs. Rice, an apparently unresistable urge to make the starkest, most sweeping claims. I suspect yet another manifestation of Logo-Realism. If words are determinitive, then big sweeping claims are more “powerful”. If one is used to a cocooned world of people with a similar viewpoint and similiar opinions, it’s an effective technique. In a fact based argument, however, it’s a classic way to overextend yourself and get cut off at the knees. No wonder the Left hates facts.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
pj Tuesday, 25 January 2005 at 07:22

AOG - Links are broken, no permission to access /archives

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 25 January 2005 at 10:08

I see the problem. The archives are fine, it’s the links that are being generated incorrectly. Must be some artifact of the upgrade to MT3.1.

aog Tuesday, 25 January 2005 at 12:08

The links should be fixed now. I had to track down and fix a bug in Movable Type that is triggered by the Textile formatting package. Definitely a bug introduced in MT 3.X.

End of Discussion