Vox Popoli and Alpha Game Plan are two of my favorite blogs, because they are penned by a writer named Vox Day, an atheist-thwarting, SJW-humiliating, feminist-bashing editor and video game designer who consistently churns out posts which are entertaining and abundant with wisdom. Some of Day’s favorite writing topics include:
- Socially autistic atheists
- Delusional gamma males
- Quality books
- Myopic feminists
- Game Theory
- Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature
Vox Day has been writing on the net for a long time, so he has touched on just about everything. Personally, Day’s posts concerning the best ways to win over rhetorical audiences hold some of his most valuable and easily applicable advice.
With Aristotle as his guide, Day contends that for a rhetorical audience (feminists, gamma males or just plain slow people) logic can serve no purpose. The only way to convince a rhetorically-minded person of damn near anything is by appealing to emotion and authority. Reality is irrelevant. Facts fall on deaf ears. Nothing matters except how you make them feel.
Here’s an example of a rhetorical argument:
“Newton’s theory of gravitation is false. Think about it. The guy died a virgin at the age of 84. All that time and the dude couldn’t score a single piece of ass. What a retard. Newton wasn’t smart enough to get a girl naked, but somehow he magically had perfect understanding of planetary motion? Sure thing. Most modern-day gravity supporters probably have trouble finding dates too.”
Notice how the argument does not deny the facts but attacks the source of the facts (Newton). Taking the example further, a rhetorical socialist may argue that capitalism is inefficient because every capitalist he knows has poor hygiene. Sound ridiculous? Doesn’t matter, for it is the modus operandi of rhetorical people.
My family is one big rhetorical audience. For years and years I used logic, math and common sense in a futile attempt to bring them closer to reality. Making dialectic arguments in the Ray home is like showing up to a beach valley ball tournament wearing shoulder pads and a football helmet. Strictly speaking, dialectic communication is meet with derision.
This is no longer an issue for me. I have learned through trial and error, along with research and the experiences of wise men, that my family is encased in dialectic-deflecting Teflon. It doesn’t matter what topic is being discussing. It could an important issue like gun control or something trivial like which local restaurant has the best pasta. Either way, my logic bullets do not put the slightest dent in their rhetorical armor. The simple acknowledgement of this fact makes my life much easier.
For example, let’s pretend that my dad buys a six pack of Miller Lite every Friday night. I want to convince him to buy cases, because he is throwing money away.
Here is an example of a logical argument and, thus, what I wouldn’t do:
“Dad, your wasting money with those six packs. You are currently spending $259.48 a year on booze. However, if you start buying beer by the case, you will only be spending $191.88. Think about it. You will save $67.60 and be able to drink the exact same amount of beer.”
This approach would never work. Dad would dismiss my argument by claiming I have a bad attitude or sarcastically saying “Well, aren’t you just a mathematical genius” or something like that. Actually, he would probably attack my character the way Newton’s character was attack in the hypothetical example from before. In other words, he would cite an example of a time when I made foolish purchases in the past, thus disqualifying me as an authority on frugal living.
If I’m going to get through to him, I must go rhetorical. I must imply that only “weirdos” and “losers” buy six packs. I must mock and ridicule him and I must convince my mom and my sister to do the say, thus, out-grouping him. The three of us must point and laugh each time he walks through the front door brandishing a six pack and eventually he will cave. Later, he will claim that he stopped by six packs because “it is a waste of money”, not because he folded under the pressure of our mockery.
Pretend my mom is unhappy because I bought a motorcycle. She claims it is too dangerous. What I would never do is cite some study contending the relative safety of motorbikes. This would not sway her one iota. I must say something like “Prominent Citizen Number 1 owns a motorcycle. So does Popular Neighbor Number 2 and Wealthy Church Member Number 3.” I must ignore her supposed concern, that is, the safety aspect of riding a motorcycle and focus her attention to all of the high status people who ride motorcycles, making motorcycles seem desirable by association.
It’s easy to feel contempt for people who force you to emotionally tickle them into agreeing with you but such is life. There is no alternative.
I’ll leave you with this ubiquitously quoted and, nevertheless, true Sun Tzu quote from The Art of War:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy or yourself, you will succumb in every battle.