Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rhetorical solutions for normative arguments

In an article on the usefulness to politicians of demonstrating (and evoking) anger, Megan McArdle makes this point.
We want simple narratives, ones with clear villains and heroes and an obvious moral. We want clear solutions that can be described in no more than one minute, just right for a sound bite on the evening news. We want someone to hate, along with the reassurance that once those people are removed or controlled, all will be right with the world. And we happily pull the lever in the ballot box for the people who will deliver these things.
Close, but I would change it just a bit.

When making a normative argument then you have to focus on:

Simple Narratives

Evil villains to hate

Obvious applications of common knowledge

Easy solutions

No trade-offs or downsides

Concrete benefits

No hint of risk

No nuance or uncertainty

Obvious morals
Forget empirical evidence, causal explanations or the horrible experience of having to make trade-off decisions. Use the above techniques to rile your audience and motivate them to solve the problem you give them the way you want it solved. Consent of the governed, critical thinking, reasoned discourse, and subtle intelligence are unnecessary baggage to this type of politician.

No comments:

Post a Comment