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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Conspiracy of dunces, part X

Slip-slidin' into my point. Just hold on...

I ran across the following statement in the comments section of another blog. I'm excerpting it here and removing it from the context of the discussion there for illustrative purposes only.
"Conservative blogs may counter the liberal MSM propaganda machine with facts and reason, but all you’re doing is preaching to the quire [sic]."
Now, this is more than just irritating; it's an example of a lack of literacy. That's "choir" not "quire". quire: "24 uniform sheets of paper; a section of printed leaves in proper sequence after folding; gathering." "Preaching to the choir" is the equivalent of attempting to convert those who are among the most faithful, the choir, in a church.
It could help "counter the liberal MSM propaganda machine" if the facts and reason presented are literate. Of course, in a society where reading is mostly limited to a different "echo chamber" filled with semi- and sub-literates produced by prisons for kids (AKA "public schools"), a characterization that sometimes fits the blogosphere as easily as it does the "MSM," literate argumentation may well not be enough.
Now, is the material presented in what the writer above calls the MSM any more literate? No. The self-appointed media elite are almost uniformly subliterate manufactured morons who are unmoored from the history, literature and culture of 2,000+ years of Western Civilization. I say "manufactured morons," because most of them have some basic native intelligence but are crippled by stupid schooling and a dishonest viewpoint that refuses to address its own preconceptual biases.
Here's a simple set of filters to apply to any argument:
1.) Is it linguistically sub-literate?
2.) Does it rely on fallacies of reasoning?
3.) Does it ignore or twist history?
4.) Does it ignore or twist contemporary facts?
If any of the above applies, simply pass on by. There is simply too much informed and reasonable argumentation available to waste time arguing with people who refuse to reason. And people who refuse to spend the time and effort to learn how to argue honestly will waste your time daily if you let them.
(Interestingly, "quire" was once also spelled "choir" but "choir"—"a company of singers, esp. an organized group employed in church service"— in the sense of the phrase where "quire" is misused above has never been spelled "quire".)
Nitpicking? Perhaps, but it illustrates a common problem: people with seriously hampered cultural referents and no desire to reason or argue their case from fact using fair and sensible rhetoric.*
Jeff Goldstein, speaking about the Cindy Sheehan circus, makes much the same point:
"...I long ago realized that these folks have traded in honest evaluation for an ends-justifies-the-means political worldview—one in which emotional talismans like Cindy Sheehan are used (in this case, voluntarily and actively) in lieu of argument to ward off the evils of Bush’s America."
When scoundrels use dishonest means to affect those whose crippled mental and moral capacities are unable to see through—or seeing through, unable or unwilling to reject—their dishonesty to achieve their ends, what does this say of their ends? (Yes, I am speaking of politicians darned near universally, Mass Media Podpeople, Loony Left Moonbats and their cohorts in crime among such as the ACLU.)
*rhetoric: here used as "the art of making persuasive speeches; oratory; the art of influencing the thought and conduct of an audience." It's sad that the art of well-reasoned persuasive speech and writing is no longer thought of as rhetoric, since so many have come to use it to refer to the opposite, instead: overly-emotional bombast. *sigh* Indeed, that now seems to be the preferred definitions in some dictionaries, unlike the two-volume set I grew up with (and still have), in which persuasive, reasoned discourse was the preferred definition. Pejoration of terminology has, in this case at least, followed a pejoration of thought and practice.
(pejoration: depreciation; a lessening in worth, quality; semantic change in a word to a lower, less approved, or less respectable meaning)