General discussion


Principle vs. Politics -and- Reality vs. Rhetoric

By maxwell edison ·
Definitions (From American Heritage):

Rhetoric: Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric.

Reality: That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality.

Principle: The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: His is a decision based on principle rather than expediency.

Politics: Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power: Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government. Office politics are often debilitating and counterproductive.

All too many people either don't know the difference and/or substitute (knowingly or otherwise) one for the other.

An argument based on principle is usually (but not always) followed by an application of, or as applicable to, reality. While an argument based on politics is usually (but not always) followed by rhetoric.

Personally, I always try to apply both principle and reality to my arguments. I try to avoid the usual political rhetoric.

Examples of political rhetoric:

The rich are getting richer on the backs of the poor.

Bush is in the pockets of "big oil".

Examples of principled reality:

The individual owes it to both himself and society to accept full and total self responsibility.

Oil is a vital factor in both the American economy and the world economy.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know. I chose examples based on my "principled reality", or my "bias". Feel free to share your own.

Another disclaimer: "Bias", when based on "principled reality", is not a bad thing, especially if clearly admitted and supported. For example, my "bias" is towards less government involvement in social issues, not more. (Will anyone admit to having a "bias" espousing MORE government involvement in social issues? If so, admit it, rest on YOUR principles, and have a go at it WITHOUT relying on rhetoric.)

In my experience, the political left relies almost entirely on political rhetoric. (And the only ones who will probably disagree are the left-leaning among us.) However, how can the argument "yes, it is right and proper to take the property from the person who earned it, so government can give it to a person who did not earn it", stand on its own merit? Personally, I've never even seen anyone try (except, of course, in cases of Mao's little red book or Marx's The Communist Manifesto) without relying, either in whole or in part, on political rhetoric.

And in regards to my previous example, The individual owes it to both himself and society to accept full and total self responsibility, how can the opposite possibly be argued with any semblance of merit without relying on the usual, tired and old political rhetoric?

Political rhetoric is intended to sway and convince by appealing to the emotional heartstrings of the listener. Political rhetoric is usually intended, to some degree, to deceive, because, in my opinion, the argument being presented can't stand on its own merits.

The man-caused global warming argument is dripping with political rhetoric, since it is neither conclusively proven nor universally accepted.

The war on terrorism (or, as I like to call it, the war with Islamo-Fascism) is dripping with political rhetoric.

The "lied about weapons of mass destruction" argument is dripping with political rhetoric.

(The same disclaimers apply.)

Principled reality is intended to sway and convince by using facts based on reason and logic. Principled reality can usually stand on its own merits; and whether you agree or disagree with the premise of the argument, the worst case is that two people might simply agree to disagree. On the other hand, it's much more difficult, and in some cases impossible, to simply agree to disagree when presented with an argument based on political rhetoric, because it's usually based on a flawed premise, and the opposing argument gets side-tracked dispelling and/or pointing out that flawed premise.

Many people around here will take exception to this comment, but there way too few who can present a clear and concise argument based on principled reality, and way too many who rely, either entirely or in part, on political rhetoric.

People should present an argument like they might write a computer program. When you see two people going at it, going "round and round", never resolving an issue and/or not even agreeing to disagree, it's tantamount to an endless loop because of a flawed or poorly written computer program. One side -- or both -- relies more on rhetoric and less on principle. And that, my friends, will only result in the debating equivalent of the dreaded blue screen of death. It just won't compute.

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Just because you say it

by mjwx In reply to Have I told you lately. . ...

Doesnt make it so. When confronted with logic and reason you respond with an insult. I GOOD SIR will not stoop to your level.

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global warming wasn?t (caused) the dolphins

by maxwell edison In reply to Rhetoric and Fear-Mongeri ...

You said, "Man caused global warming, well it sure as **** wasn?t the dolphins. We are at the top of the food chain, responsibility goes up. Man must take responsibility."

If global warming is happening, you need to go a little further up to find the cause -- about 93 million miles up -- TO THE SUN!

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As in nature (the food chain) is the same as in the corperate enviroment

by mjwx In reply to global warming wasn?t (ca ...

Crap goes down the ladder whilst blame goes up. Simple as that. Take some damn responsability the buck cant be passed any more.

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It's the SUN - YOU IDIOT

by maxwell edison In reply to As in nature (the food ch ...

To suggest that one person "take responsibility" for the forces of nature is the epitome of stupidity, arrogance and ignorance.

P.S. I changed my mind. In YOUR case, my favorite word is IDIOT

Julian, THIS IS YOUR COUNTRYMAN! I hope you're proud of him.

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Geological time

by mjwx In reply to It's the SUN - YOU IDIOT

The amount of heat produced by the sun is increasing in Geological time not by human (perceived) time. Geological time is on a scale of millions of years.

It is a well known and accepted scientific premise that you can not live somewhere and not affect it.

I work in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and I have 10 Environmental scientists in the building that tell me MAN is the key factor in global warming. All I have against is one ignorant American. You are up against 10 bachelors (of science) and 1 PHD.

Head in Sand, but even there you should notice that your arse is getting warmer?

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by neilb@uk In reply to Geological time

"Head in Sand, but even there you should notice that your arse is getting warmer?"

I reserve the right to plagiarise this fine comment and shamelessly pass it off as my own.

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I'm a member of the SACIAA

by mjwx In reply to Head...arse...

Smart Arse Comment Industry Association of Australia.

Feel free to plagiarise as long as I get 10% like any other artist :)

I'll give you the UK distribution rights.

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I am pleased that "my countryman"

by jardinier In reply to It's the SUN - YOU IDIOT

is exercising the right of free speech -- which is practised in Australia without the need for a special amendment to our Constitution.

And if he gets up your nose, well I don't mind that either. It takes some of the heat off me. B-)

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Your countryman. . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to I am pleased that "my cou ...

....seems far removed from reality. It's no wonder, really, since he admitted forming his opinions based on movies, such as Apocalypse Now. That's really sad if you think about it.

And no, he doesn't "get up my nose". (That's a new one on me!)

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On "free speech"

by maxwell edison In reply to I am pleased that "my cou ...

That sure is a tired old comeback. Talk about belaboring the obvious. Why do people always have a compulsion to cry [f]free speech whenever that free speech is rebutted by another exercizing the same right. Of course your countryman can exercise his [f]free speech, just as I can by calling what he says foolish.

Your comment, by the way, about the need for such an amendment in our constitution only shows your lack of understanding about it. But you have no need to understand it, since it doesn't apply to you guys in the land down under.

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