Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rhetoric Without Logic

A great example of sophistry, my friends, is what comes out of New York Senator Charles Rangel's mouth regarding the war in Iraq:

"It's the biggest fraud ever committed on the people of this country," Rangel told WWRL Radio's Steve Malzberg and Karen Hunter. "This is just as bad as six million Jews being killed. The whole world knew it and they were quiet about it, because it wasn't their ox that was being gored.

Newsmax.com: Rangle's Interview

Moving, isn't it? Of course, that is what rhetoric artfully done is supposed to do: move the passions. Senator Rangel is a world class sophist and he has successfully planted an idea into our minds: Hitler's cover-up of the Haulocaust and the German people's passivity. To those who are not familiar with fallacies and valid arguments, Rangel's rhetoric is very persuasive, and deadly. To those who understand what Rangel is doing, laugh and "keep their powder dry."

However, is the Iraq vs. Haulocaust a logical comparison? Those who have a tight grip on their rhetoric think so. In the Machiavellian world of maintaining power, you never reverse your previous statements or you'll lose the ability to move people. If you are consistent, people will view that as a plus toward your credibility. Senator Charlie has been consistent throughout the Iraq campaign in poisoning the well. Does this false comparison give him credibility? Nope...unless you do the same.

These kind of discussions are NOT about the truth though the sophists of our age, with "tears in their eyes" will tell you different. Perhaps a better comparison can be made between Saddam Hussein's Haulocaust and the Haulocaust of Stalin:

Saddam's Haulocaust

Catch some of the highlights? This article gives us facts, giving us more to consider than Sen. Rangel's enthymeme of "listener fill in the blanks." Real numbers from various congressional and human rights organizations figures: "One million Iraqiis died, 17,000 went "missing", 40 of Saddam's relatives were murdered..."

The Rangel sophistry reminds us that the viciousness of man has not changed; the rhetoric of the sophists and their aversion to the truth in Socrates day is alive and well today. The greatest enemy to these sophisticates is the truth, conveyed by those who are philsophical Realists who think with simple logic. This is just a reminder that all of are in a deadly battle against deception; it is vital that we know how to conduct ourselves against this continuous onslaught against our minds.

4 Comments:

At 10:03 AM, Blogger the Logic Monkey said...

And now Dick Durbin is equating the U.S. troops with Nazis. They just love to rob words of their power, don't they? When everyone is a Nazi, no one is a Nazi.

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

The trouble is, rhetoric works! When trying to manipulate, an uneducated citizenry really works in favor of the sophists' quest for power.

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger Mark Spurrier and Barbara Anne Patch said...

for once, i agree with you, although it is a case of the left using the rights tricks against them. I don't like inflamed retoric from my side of the political spectrum any more than i like it from the other side.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

This is the first time you agree with me? Aww, I thought it was more!

As to inflammatory rhetoric, any side that does it is disservice to the citizenry of this country. The temptation to do it comes from the fact that it feels so good to hammer the opponent with falsehoods. It's easy, there's no research required, and the gullible are convinced! Walla! You're a politician!

 

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