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Q U I C K   L I N K S

To learn more about the engraver of the 17th-century head-piece pictured to the left, see the IN BRIEF biography for Wenceslaus Hollar.’s LIBRARY page includes a brief commentary on “the old model of the respublica literaria (Republic of Letters), wherein diverse voices discussed a range of interesting issues ... with all ‘the heat and abstracted passion of intellectual inquiry.’”’s detailed study of California’s flawed “Good Neighbor Fence Act of 2013” (California Assembly Bill 1404) includes my clarion call for a new kind of democratic governance rooted in a revival of “passionate public deliberation and persuasion” (reasoned argument).
   I believe that a classical agonistic politics of persuasion — not the data-driven demagoguery which controls policy-making today — best serves the type of pluralist democratic society to which many of us aspire.

Jay Heinrichs (aka Figaro), author of Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion (2007), also writes about the demise of passionate public deliberation in the U.S.: specifically, “Why Americans Can’t Argue” about public affairs, and why a democracy needs “educated citizens who accept the uses of debate, who want to be persuaded, and who have the sophistication to avoid being manipulated.” (n. pag.)
   To speed our education along, Heinrichs practices witty rhetorical analysis at his Figures of Speech Served Fresh blog.
   And his essay critiquing the neglect of rhetorical education, “Why Harvard Destroyed Rhetoric” (2005), offers an interesting explanation for the sorry state of much contemporary political rhetoric, which privileges the epideictic (the discourse of praise/blame) over the deliberative (the discourse of truth & justice).

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First Published:  August 2012
Revised (substantive):  14 September 2018

Under Construction

S O R R Y,  but this page is still under construction.

17th-century head-piece showing six boys with farm tools, by Wenceslaus Hollar

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go up a level:’s IN BRIEF page