Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An excursion into the rhetorical

This Twitter exchange sheds further light on the difference between the dialectically and the rhetorically minded, particularly with regards to the dialectically challenged among the latter.  Below is an excerpt, the whole exchange is posted on Vox Popoli.  For the purposes of this discussion, ignore the subject matter and focus solely on the various dialectical and rhetorical devices utilized by the two primary parties in the discussion.
voxday: Don't be stupid. You can't compare absolute numbers between nations of vastly different sizes. Look at per capita....

mushadamama: The numbers I've given ARE per 100k population. Perhaps the stupid one is one who doesn't read fine print....

voxday: No, you stupid, stupid woman, they are not. The USA is #4 in absolute terms, #27 per capita....

mushadamama: Yes, my chart is total gun murders @ 9369. Does not count accidents or suicides. US ranks 4th! My crime rate chart was per 100k.

mushadamama: Your chart, however, uses some kind of fuzzy math to come up with that ridiculous #. I can only assume it is more of a probability.
For the record, the mysterious "fuzzy math" used to produce "more of a probability" was the following equation: 9,369 divided by 311,591,917, multiplied by 100,000.  Now, if you're a woman, think about how often you dig yourself into similar positions and how many women of your acquaintance you can confirm to be capable of producing a similarly remarkable argument.  Then perhaps you might understand why men tend to regard many, if not most, women as being fundamentally irrational creatures, incapable of logic and ineducable by reason, math, or even the most basic facts.  It should also underline the supreme importance of not behaving in this manner on those occasions when you feels tempted to do so.

Keep in mind that saying "well, I was really upset" justifies these occasional lapses into complete unreason about as effectively as a man saying "well, I was really horny" would mitigate his occasional rapes of the babysitter.  It may explain them, to a certain extent, but it is unlikely to change his fundamental opinion of your character and capabilities.

Men, keep this exchange in mind when you are attempting to convince a woman of something.  Once you have successfully established that she is not, for whatever reason, capable of rationally discussing a specific matter in the circumstances, understand that there is literally nothing within the realm of the dialectic that you can do to convince her to change her position.  However, this does not mean she cannot be convinced, only that she will have to be convinced in a rhetorical manner, using a rhetorical device.

What are the rhetorical devices?  As always, the instruments that can be used most successfully on another individual are those preferred by the individual himself.  We all give away our weaknesses by our attempts to exploit the weaknesses of others.  The scientist who goes right to academic credentials can be easily trumped by an appeal to superior credentials.  The woman who quickly resorts to name-calling is susceptible to being called names.  The statistician can be won over with statistics.  It is the Bill Belichick strategy: attack the strength of the defense.

The discussion begins with a feint, a false statistical appeal.  But the seeds of its rhetorical nature are already there in the first woman's use of sarcasm, which in this particular example is a passive-aggressive device.  By the second post by the second woman, it is already clear that this is going to be a rhetorical discourse due to the  irrelevant questions aimed to discredit the other side.  Note especially her attempt to shut down the debate by the use of declarative statements; she shows her sensitivity to the suggestion of her stupidity by referring to it and ineptly attempting to turn the suggestion around.

Notice too that after being repeatedly hammered on that point, both overtly and implicitly, she begins her retreat into her tortoise shell, but not before revealing that she is entirely impervious to the very facts to which she falsely appealed in the first place.  Now, some less sophisticated observers will argue that it is a mistake to come down hard on the rhetorical, that if the reasoned argument is disguised in a sweet manner it will be more likely to prove persuasive.  But this is simply not the case, the whole problem is that the dialectically challenged are fundamentally incapable of following reason, either because their cognitive capacities are insufficient or because their emotional attachment to their position is too strong.

As I've pointed out in the past, dialectic is always preferable to rhetoric because it is more objective and tends to be more honest.  But unless the dialectically capable are going to treat those limited to rhetoric as mindless animals and place no more significance on the noises they make than we do upon the barking of dogs, we have no ethical option except to speak to them in their rhetorical language.  This may at times appear cruel, it may even be cruel.  But it is necessary, if we are to grant them any intellectual value as human beings.

Those limited to the rhetorical level of discourse are the Rabbit People.  They cannot be reasoned with any more successfully than one can cure a rabid dog of rabies through discussion.  All one can reasonably do is mitigate the damage they do to those around them by putting them down as soon as they show themselves to be a carrier.


Shimshon said...

I got into this with an old friend on FB the other day. She posted some adulatory comment on teachers protecting their students, and I wrote a simple reply: an armed teacher would do a better job. Then she replied back with an unlikely irrelevancy, not so, the Giffords shooter was taken down by an unarmed man, therefore there's no need for guns. Her friend piped in with a news show segment proving the astonishing fact that, even when carrying, someone with no training (or paintball experience only) often panics (in a simulation) and can't shoot at all, or straight (if they get a shot off), if they're even lucky enough to get the gun out of their holster. The two of them (female) were utterly invested in the "guns are evil" meme and couldn't process a single rational argument on the subject. One had even gotten shooting with her "Republican" friends. I have to admit, I did get quite a rush (:-). I didn't call them stupid though. Maybe next time...

Badger said...

Liberalism seems to have these loyalties to bizarre ideals above rational thought in the moment, and the ideas are held strictly for the purpose of rhetorically enshrining some kind of "don't make them (or me) feel bad/scared/uncomfortable" emotive thought process.

These ideas are prioritized in discussion ahead of actually thinking about what's going on. I just was reading Slate's spread of bachelorette party photos, and any comment by a guy saying this behavior was unbecoming of a soon-to-be-wife was met with predictable rejoinders about slut-shaming or some variant thereof ("men do it too!" "what's wrong with an occasional wild night?") Classic example of clinging to a seemingly-rational ideal (against "slut shaming") which really serves as a thin dialectic wrapper on top of a rhetorical value.

Where did the term Rabbit People come from? Reading a lot of Watership Down to the kids lately?

Kickass said...

Vox, I saw those taking you to task over this but I disagree with them. Had you been "kind" she would have simply retreated either into "we shall agree to disagree" or your a jerk land.

You kept it right on topic. Calling her stupid, I suspose, was just fun for you.

I wonder, do you do this in your real life at all or is than outlet for you wanting to?

Kickass said...

Quick question, what are the gun laws in Italy?

Why so invested in America if you are long gone? Serious, not snark.

I just notice you don't start a lot of shit in Italy.

Anonymous said...

Then male white knights, male manginas and female feminists wonder why Heartiste has said in the past that it was a bad mistake allowing women the right to vote. I'm trying not go that far. However, Stupid people should not vote.


Martel said...

Handling this type of mindset is my specialty, but I can only do it well in person. I've converted many a young, naive, female.

First, I neutralize the "I care/you don't" frame, proactively if possible. I emphasize that I know she "cares", and that I respect it. By implication, this means I also care. If she accuses me of not caring, I become indignant and call her out for insulting me. "We liberals care and the right wing hates children" is nonsense, but incredibly effective rhetorically.

Once this is accomplished, with nearly every point I make, I refer it back to her. I make the actions of gun owners and/or criminals "understandable" to her by comparing how they think with how she would think if in a similar situation.

There's obviously a lot more, but the key is to neutralize the "I care/you don't" part of it. A well-meaning idiot will do far worse that a cold-hearted bastard who understands human nature, but this is too complicated a point to start out with. Instead, I simply remove "caring" from consideration by respecting the moral high ground she so values. After that, she's putty.

VD said...

Where did the term Rabbit People come from?

r/K selection.

I wonder, do you do this in your real life at all or is than outlet for you wanting to?

Not very often. I don't seek it out and most people aren't bold enough to provoke me to my face. On the Internet, I'm just words on a page. In person, you have to look me in the eyes.

Loki of Asgard said...

Gun control is designed to appeal to the feminine need to "do something", as opposed to "doing nothing". Attend:

Recycling paper reduces the number of trees farmed specifically for that purpose. Yet this means fewer trees are planted, and trees process more carbon dioxide into oxygen during their early growth than they do fully grown. Still, sorting one's paper refuse into those charming blue bins is "doing something", which is better than "doing nothing".

Large charities that direct money to smaller, subsidiary charities always take a very large portion of the donations for their own use. It would be better to donate directly to the smaller charity. But to take part in the "United Cross" drives at the office or what have you is "doing something", which is better than "doing nothing".

So too with gun control. Never mind that taking away guns returns you to a time when main strength was the deciding factor in whether you would be a victim. They have "done something", which is better than "doing nothing."

If you wish to win over a woman or womanish man (of which there are many), you must present your case as "doing something". It will always be better than "doing nothing".

Martel said...

Loki: I agree that presenting your case as "doing something" is often the best route, but not always, and it's not a "must".

If one disarms the "caring" frame per my original comment, then as long as one effectively maintains the "I care" frame, one can convince a female to accept that sometimes nothing can be done.

To do this, you must make it obvious to her that it genuinely pains you that nothing can be done, but after much anguish you've determined that it's the best course. You therefore match her emotions and then lead them to the correct conclusion.

Of course, this isn't easy, so for anyone who can't pull it off, I advice they follow your advice.

Daniel said...

Gun control is designed to appeal to the feminine need to "do something", as opposed to "doing nothing".

Direct hit. It has been remarkable how easily I've turned every single conversation on that topic to arming selected teachers and training them year-round during in-services in the name of "doing something."

"Yes, we've got to do something, and this time, it has to be way more than the useless ban that was in effect during the Columbine massacre and shootout. We've got to do something that takes those weapons out of the hands of killers instantly and effectively. It has to be something that both protects and utilizes the woefully underrated skills and values of our beloved teachers. We've got to do the one thing that maximizes the courage and sacrifice inherent in all teachers. We've got to do something that has been proven to be effective, even though it faces political resistance from powerful Republicans and has been overlooked by the NRA in their quest to create a police state:

We've got to arm the teachers."

tz said...

It is futile to attempt to add anything to a mind that is already full of something else.

If they are a crack pot, a rhetorical hammer that cracks and empties the pot at least then gives the potential for refilling it with something more rational.

Men, too, can often go irrational when they cherish their opinion or belief more than the truth. But they are usually forced by other men who are not afraid to hammer at their idiocy and foolishness. Behind most foolish gammas is a foolish woman.

The need to "do something" is equally masculine - but the men usually stop to think about how to solve the root problem and if whatever means will be effective instead of superficial. Men just get out and change the tire. Women call a tow truck, are outraged at the fee, and form Women Against Potholes, and lobby to pass a law for "free tire repair" by dialing 911. If you doubt it, consider the wake of destruction caused by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

For violence, men are evaluating alternate strategies - including not doing anything if the risk does not really warrant a change, but the changes they suggest tend to be aimed at directly fixing the problem.

I have problems with PUBLIC school teachers being armed - aren't our kids abused enough already? Or more taxes to pay for (public union) armed guards? But it makes for useful rhetorical argument - if instead of shielding her students with her body, she could have blown the guy's head off and there would be fewer dead children.

Chivalry is not a virtue when it will not stop the women from destroying everything of value in a culture and society.

Stickwick said...

For the record, the mysterious "fuzzy math" used to produce "more of a probability" was the following equation: 9,369 divided by 311,591,917, multiplied by 100,000.

Quoth the great sage, Malibu Stacy, on the topic of girls and math: "Math is hard, hee hee! Let's go shopping!"

papabear said...

"Gun control is designed to appeal to the feminine need to "do something", as opposed to "doing nothing"."

Or, the feminine need for someone else to do something about it.

Master Dogen said...

On politics or other serious affairs, simply never listen to women. Just ignore them; they are largely incapable of rationality and therefore have nothing to add. (The few exceptions just prove the rule, and they are VERY few.) The biggest mistake modern men make is caring at all about the opinions of mental children.

In personal affairs, where its impossible or unwise to completely ignore a woman's opinion, follow Badger's advice: abandon all logic and just go for rhetoric. Even better, use body language, facial expression, tone of voice, and physicality (touching, holding, etc) to change the situation. Change a woman's emotional state and she will naturally change her underlying "logic" to fit her new emotional state. Therefore, completely ignore her "logic" and just focus on inducing a new emotional state.

It's shocking, then depressing, then very amusing to see how easily this works. Women are such lovely creatures when you treat them as they truly are. Treat them as men and they become unbearable.

Philalethes said...

@ "Master Dogen":

When I was in a Zen monastery in California in the 70s, I read some commentary about women by Master Dogen (Eihei Dogen Zenji, 1200-53), in one of the earliest (incomplete) translations of his work. It was not at all complimentary, as I recall; in fact, quite politically incorrect. Which may be why I've been unable to find the essay since, though there've been several much more comprehensive compilations of his writings in English in recent decades.

What women don't want to be heard, won't be said...

Interesting how the women have just about taken over Zen in this country. The Buddha saw it coming, 2500 years ago. Japan is the farthest Buddhist country from India, and has strayed the farthest from the original Vinaya (rules for monastics).

Brian said...

The reason why the talking heads have such an easy time convincing women of illogical positions and we cannot get them back is that the elites that run the media and government are taught, nay, hammered with logic and rhetoric in their private educations and we the sheeple at public school get none. In fact, most public school caters to a female's whims and emotions. It produces the intellectual equivalent of bringing a SuperSoaker to an atom bomb fight. If society is to be won back, logic and rhetoric must be thoroughly studied, tried and used because it's sure being used against us.

Martel said...

Part of the issue is that women are more likely to want the government to be the beta provider. Free-market positions are the opposite of that (which is how it should be).

However, the left as beta providers campaign as alphas (full-blown aggressive tactics), whereas Republicans are always supplicating.

This frames the Dems as the reliable beta who will fight to protect them and Repubs as the "wrong kind of asshole." Serious re-framing is needed.

Kickass said...

Not very often. I don't seek it out and most people aren't bold enough to provoke me to my face. On the Internet, I'm just words on a page. In person, you have to look me in the eyes.

Ah, so only the occasional lesbian, white knight or courgar starts shit with you in person. I would say that the flaming sword, the mohawk and the goth makeup across your forhead makes you a bit unapproachable, yet sexy as hell to the ladies who threaten not to sleep with you.

All is well then, start all your trouble here so we can pass the popcorn.

Kickass said...

Good grief, cougar. Freakin public school typing skills.

tz said...

Women are quite capable of rationality, but it often requires them to be bitch-slapped into (common) senses. It may not be the natural [default] state. Consider, "Eat fruit, be damned" was easily subverted and cancelled by a snake. It would have been better as a lamprey (invertebrate).

I suppose Government is a substitute alpha. Yet it cannot deliver on its promises. Were every check to be presented, most would bounce (does this mean debt is elastic?).

Man was not only cursed with having to eek a living out of the intransigent earth, he also had to take care of "Woman". The irrational, psychotic, [feel free to add], creature.

The argument for the truth of Roman Catholicism again is bolstered by priestly celibacy.

Eve fell, but pulled Adam with her.

The greatest insight Larry Niven has given via sci-fi is the Kzinti who had non-sentient females (I will argue against the allegations against humans, but not on the basis of rationality).

Yet our Lord and savior, Jesus had compassion on women frequently in the Gospels (yet not one disciple lacked a Y chromosome). The world must be very fallen to require husbands be scourged [Passion of the Christ scene] as a direct result of marrying their wives.

tz said...

The media program the sheeple via the females. It's all about ewe.

You can't control the whether.

Daniel said...

That's just punishing, tz. Still, I laughed.

Professor Ashur said...

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and occasionally his dick.

The way to a woman's brain is through her self-confidence. You must put severe cracks in it before the knowledge can be absorbed into the mind.

For a woman, emotion and empiricism are tightly intertwined.

Illogical as it may seem, one way to get a point across to an obstinate woman would be to say something like:

"I thought chubby girls like you were supposed to be the smart ones. Usually only the hot ones are total airheads."

Now it may seem that the chunkiness of her posterior would not have much correlation to the topic under discussion, but that is because you're a man.

There are precious few women who are not deeply concerned about their weight and appearance.

This absolutely brutal blow to her ego is just what the doctor ordered; It will cut deep furrows into the soil of her pride, allowing the seed of knowledge to enter and be watered with humility.

"Haha, you're FAT!" is LETHAL to a woman's self-esteem. It is to a woman what a book of facts would be to an argument made against a man.

RC said...

There are precious few women who are not deeply concerned about their weight and appearance." - Ashur

So, rather than attempting logic, Mr. Pratt should have told Piers Morgan that he had a fat ass? Makes sense.

Brian said...

RC, he could have also played to the herd mentality by simply saying 'nobody agrees with you.' Doesn't matter if it's true or not.

Cryan Ryan said...

"I thought chubby girls like you were supposed to be the smart ones. Usually only the hot ones are total airheads."


This is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I have all kinds of trouble when trying to convince women of something using logic and reason. I can usually get through to them, by refusing to be sidetracked from my point, and repeating it until I can get them to see the sense of it.

However, an approach using rhetoric would be much more effective. Does this literally just mean shouting them down as a "stupid, stupid woman"? Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to doing this, but I find it hard to believe it would actually work!

Martel said...

Women respond to reason when it's put into an emotional frame.

ABC said...

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Shimshon said...

I thought it was time that Tom Woods learned about Game (:-). I linked to this post from here:

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