Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Old Wisdom, Fresh Today

The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

I also thought about this, the greatest Roman orator, a man that believed that good and evil were always good or always evil. Unlike the Sophists of the past, who believed essentially that the truth is whatever the speaker can convince the audience is true, Cicero believed that the truth was constant, and rhetoric was to be used only to illuminate truth.

When you watch campaign events and the 'talking heads' representing both parties, do you get the feeling they are illuminating the truth? When I consider that question it is clear enough to me that our politics are closer to the sophist than to Cicero. The sophist routinely used ad hominem arguments, intent upon winning an argument by diminishing an opponent in the eyes of the jury or audience, rather than on the merits of the matter under consideration. Sound like any speakers we can think of today? To me, both donkeys and elephants make full-time use of the sophist approach. Attack the other guy, muddy the waters, make yourself look good by tearing the other person down. I honestly don't see how anyone watching the political campaigns today could disagree.

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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