That’s what English professor Joe Kirby says. One of the great disappointments of my education is that my English degree taught me how to read academically, but it did a rather poor job of teaching me how to write or persuade.
But the discipline rhetoric, as Kirby notes, has more or less fallen out of favor. I suspect we have the scientific method to thank for that. We’ve replaced rhetoric with rational and logical argument, only to find out no one is persuaded by facts.
I think loss of rhetoric is a significant contributing factor in our current polarized political climate. We’ve lost the ability to persuade except through fear, uncertainty, and doubt. And we so expect rational argument to be persuasive that, when it isn’t, we think other people are being deliberately obtuse and we start calling them names.
New Years Resolution: Learn more about rhetoric.
Photo Source: An agora in Izmir, Turkey by F Mira, Creative Commons.
Image Credits: F Mira