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An exercise in rhetoric

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From the paper:

As Henry W. Johnstone, Jr., puts it,our duty to openness coexists with a duty to resoluteness—“a duty to myself not to capitulate willy-nilly to the rhetorical demands of others”

To treat all subjects as endlessly open makes such a capitulation capricious. Once a matter is decided by the final arbiter, as is referenced two pages later in the article, what is the purpose of further rhetoric?

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I emphasize rhetorical closure -that is, the closing off of rhetoric by suggesting that argument and other forms of communication are unwanted. I also emphasize that this closure is rhetorical - that is, efforts to stop communication inevitably do rhetorical work, such as communicating messages and constituting identities. In other words, it is presumed, if not stated, that one should not “go there.” And it is presumed, if not stated, that attempting to go there reveals the dissenter’s incivility, incompetence, lack of patriotism, and so on.

A timely article given recent discussions. Regarding the appeal of rhetorical closure, I think the truth of the statements is an important factor. If it's true that you would be evil for doing something, then it's not necessarily an attempt to stop communication by pointing that out. It could merely be an attempt to point to reality.

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