Monday, October 19, 2009

THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR STIRRING YET EMPTY RHETORIC : AN APPEAL FOR ACTION AND UNITY


By : Mr. Burgess E. Gottlieb, Jr., Ph.D., Chief Logician and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (1995-present); Simon F. Bamberg IV Emeritus (Deceased 1890) Professor of Logic, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (1960-present); The National Review, Theater Critic (1967-present); Senior Fellow, New York Illusionists' League (emphasis on disappearing acts) (1981-1990).

We can solve any problem. A Nation of laws trusts its principles. And trust in principles solves problems. Thus, when we trust in our principles, we can solve anything. Logic favors our cause. Logic, too, can solve any problem. We believe in logic. That is why we are on the road to success.

There are those who say that our Nation will never recover from economic turmoil. We disagree. A well-argued speech can put all doubts to rest, no matter how severe. As Horace said many centuries ago: "Despite the darkening sky, our resolution shall brighten the horizon." With strong language and compelling logical transitions between paragraphs, we are not just confident of victory. We are certain of it.

Our opponents claim that this is no time for college essays. They even say that papers that might have earned an "A" from the most vindictive, anally-retentive graduate student can do nothing to solve intractable problems that now plague our society. In sum, our opponents claim that rhetoric merely distracts attention from hard reality.

We have a simple response for these naysayers: "Not on our watch." As a National Alliance committed to Empty Yet Stirring Rhetoric, we trust in the power of pleasant, conventional language. We believe that properly moving from verbal premise to conclusion--all the while employing traditional devices such as allusion, metaphor and contrast--can overcome any practical difficulty on earth. No tax quandary, budget deficit or even health crisis can resist a moving speech that draws parallels to sunrises, sunsets, tides or other natural phenomena.

True, practical problems demand practical solutions. But rhetoric is an exception to that rule. Just as every doctrine must yield to a caveat, so too must every practical problem yield to rhetoric. We believe in language, not complexity. We believe that people respond better to conventional linguistic displays than gloomy hopelessness. We believe that people feel better when they hear traditional speech techniques, even if the speech signifies nothing at all. Assurance goes a long way. As rhetorical masters, we understand that.

Solutions are irrelevant compared to comfort. No matter how fiercely the storm may rage outside, a great speech will always give hope. A great speech can lift even the most broken heart. Let the defeatists talk about bankruptcy and disorder. As believers in rhetoric, we speak a different language. We speak the language of hope, inspiration and grandeur. Even if our words have no basis at all in reality, they can still move hearts. And that's all that really matters. Who needs reality when you have great rhetoric?

We stand on a precipice. We stand against the wind. Today we stand. Tomorrow we rise. On the third day, we shall prevail. There is no day but what we make. These are our days. We are what we say. We are the People because we are free. Let freedom ring. We refuse to go quietly. We shall never surrender.

No issue can withstand a well-placed cliché. No problem can frustrate an inspiring, empty phrase. We are the People. We are unafraid. We are not afraid to believe in empty words. They make us feel good. We expect to hear them. We like to hear what we expect.

We believe in logic, too. Like rhetoric, logic assures us. Men named George all live to be older than 50. If a man is named George, he will not die at 36. This man is named not named George. Therefore, he might die at 36. Who can resist logic?

What difference does it make in the end whether we actually solve problems? As long as we speak fluently and make logical sense, we have succeeded. We understand that people do not really want solutions; they just want to hear what they expect. Logic and rhetoric sound nice. One idea flows from the next. People deserve to hear what they expect. That is why we believe in logic and rhetoric. Convention is more important than reality.

What is reality but what we believe? Rhetoric makes us believe. Thus, rhetoric can shape reality. Our opponents say that we do nothing but talk. But talking creates reality as much as action does. And when enough people listen to us, we truly change the world. That is why our rhetoric is not as empty as our critics think. We even use similes to help our listeners grasp our points: "Like a sturdy oak, our roots run deep."

We do not need to explain. It just sounds good. And people believe in things that sound good.

Now is now. Right now means right now, not yesterday. Yesterday means yesterday, not last Friday. It is time to seize the moment. Put your faith in appealing language. What do you care about reality? Let language become your reality. Isn't it about time that you believed in something? Do not put your faith in fickle facts and figures. Put your faith in inspiring phrases, hackneyed slogans and memorable one-line syllogisms. Life is complicated enough as it is. Give your mind a break. You must simply decide to believe. You must simply accept the rhetoric. Then you will be free.

You know you want to. You want to suspend your disbelief. You want to say: "I am the People" without guilt or embarrassment. You can do it. Answer the call. Be part of the solution, not the problem. All you need to do is listen. All you need to do is be free.

Let us all unite for a simpler world. Let us all unite for language we can all anticipate and admire. This is not a time for division. This is a time for healing and love. Healing and love are better than discord and strife. Belief in rhetoric leads to healing and love. Healing and love lead to unity, not division. Therefore, you must believe in rhetoric if you wish to unite. It is not just the most comforting choice; it is also the logical one.

You see? Rhetoric does not exclude logic. In fact, good rhetoric makes logical sense. In that way, it marries emotion with reason. It offers the best of both worlds. Great rhetoric lets us feel at the same time it prompts us to think. Just as the blacksmith smelts ore and charcoal to make steel, so too does the great speaker marry reason and emotion to create rhetoric.

But enough of that. It is time to believe. It is time to trust. Give in to rhetoric; you can do it. Haven't you endured enough uncertainty in your life? Well, it's time to move on. It's time to let yourself be swept away in grand rhetorical fantasies. There is no reality but what we make. Today is yours. You can believe.

Today is a moment in time. Grasp your moment. Time is yours. There is no time but today. And it is time. Together is better than apart. Together, we can do anything. Let's get together. Because together is better. It is time to get together.

1 comment:

Timoteo said...

There once was a politician named Frederick
Whose life revolved around rhetoric
He said to the querulous
"Just don't take me serious...
I don't know my head from my dick."