Thursday, August 17, 2006

Persuasion

One of the central questions of politics is whether a political system can ever exist that supports open and reasoned debate based on the principles of informal persuasive logic. A further question is whether informal persuasive logic does what it is intended to do, which is persuade.

Many people, spanning the whole political spectrum from left to right, give a resounding no to both questions, or qualify the ideal state to such an extent that the state could never exist in any practical sense.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to argue with their answer. People tend not to give a shit about political events in any meaningful way unless they have a vested interest in those events. A lot of times you must threaten a person's life or pocketbook to get their attention when it comes to politics. And even then they mistake their vested interests.

Both questions seem rather arid and vacuous. The problem is that they are the central questions of our time in the era of mass destruction.

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