Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The War on the Poor: The Battle For Reason (Part 1)

Since moving to the Coffee Party USA Radio Network, I have been seeking conversation regarding what is generally referred to as "The War on the Poor".

In order to offer insight on that War, I have spent several three-show blocks investigating some of the particular battlefields of this ongoing war. On our most recent show, I began another three-week block on the fifth (of eight) battlefield: "The War For Reason". This can be a quite dangerous battlefield to investigate, so my purpose is to travel slowly through as much of it as time will allow. 

As with each of the previous (and future) battlefields in this particular war, the concluding weeks of this series will bring all battlefields into the overall focus of this ongoing war. So, in order to truly understand and comprehend the conversations, I urge you to listen to the previous conversations. The ending general conversation will be built from the conversations around each battlefield. 

I must warn you that these posts will not recount the information given during the live show. As my sainted grandmother used to say, "I don't chew my cabbage twice!" There is a simple reason for this. My listeners will already have questions and comments for this discussion. We move forward from the show to the next show. 

As a brief recap, however (and in order to have these posts make some sense) I did explain the title: "The War For Reason" on the show. "Reason" in this context is not merely used to infer "excuse", but more specifically the term describes the nature of argument, or "reasoned discourse". I explained that, one of the most important demands of reasoned discourse is the necessity to understand some of the tools used in reasoned discourse--in the honorable art of reason itself. 

Because of time limitations, we will most likely not be discussing marketing, framing of argument, or public relations using either. But, I did tell my listeners that only using a few simple rules of reasoning, one could quickly identify some of the tools (and pitfalls) of any argument. I urged my listeners to look at, and work to understand the terms and basic rules of rhetoric: the art of persuasive argument/communication.

You can find a list of some forty-five terms of rhetoric here. I urge you to bookmark the page, and learn these few terms by heart.  By mastering them, you will begin to see both truth and (logical) fallacy jumping out at you as you read, see, or hear rhetorical argument in political life. And, rest assured, political life is absolutely filled with rhetoric. 

It's not a bad thing when used correctly. However, there are several false arguments (logical fallacies) commonly used within rhetorical arguments which, when used effectively, cause you to believe something absolutely false to actually seem (or to be) true. Learning these fallacies can only assist you IF your intent is to have reasoned discourse; to create a superior, honest and convincing argument--about anything. 

These are not difficult to understand, or hard to learn. In fact, I would guess that as you come into contact with these fallacies, obvious examples of them will jump into your mind. You will find the basic fallacies here. I like this list, because it very simply defines the twenty-four most common logical fallacies in use today. 

This is by no means a complete list, but a more encompassing list is not usually required. Again, I urge you to bookmark this page, as well. You can do further research as you decide on each type of logical fallacy. I can only tell you that well over 95% of the logical fallacies used today will be found in this basic list. 

That's a lot of "stuff", isn't it.?  That's precisely the point

Most who would disrespect you by offering a logical fallacy, a false argument or who would use an otherwise normal rhetorical tool badly actually believe you will not discover their arrogant and casual abuse through communication. In fact, they spend many millions of dollars to guarantee this.

I believe you will learn, and master these basics to create logical, powerful and convincing arguments for those positions you hold to be of the greatest value to you. Communication, conversation, discourse all happen at the speed of light these days; especially here. 

After you have done a little work on the terms and logical fallacies, I would urge you to use them (or distance yourself from them) by using the following topic to create a short, three-point argument which clearly, concisely, and convincingly states your position on the following topic:


AP Photo|Eric Shelzig

The generally accepted form of a three-point argument:

A. State the issue to be argued simply, clearly, and distinctly.

B. State each of your three points of argument. 
    1. Present three compelling statements for each of your three points of argument supporting your position. 

    2. Use the most authoritative sources you possible can, and footnote them at the end of  your written argument. 

    3. Links are generally best practice.

C. State your conclusion. Use your argument (strongest to weakest points above) in your conclusion.

The primary argument in favor (Proposition) says that voting is a fundamental right of citizenship, and must not be infringed by any person, system or device. Some would go so far as to say this is required for any reason, including felony conviction. "Outrageous attacks on the right to vote are underway all across America!" (From today's email).

The primary argument against (Opposition) says that we must clamp down because of rampant voting fraud, and voting by non-citizens. They say we must have the capacity to insure "clean elections". (Same source as above). 

The easier position to argue may at first seem to be the one you agree with. Form that argument first. For extra credit, after you form the argument you agree with, form the same type of three-point reasoned argument holding the opposite view. 

If you want, feel free to email me your argument and tell me whether or not you would like it to be used on the show next week. (Not required) If so, you will be credited. If not, your argument will not be used on-air, or in our chat room. 

We'll make our air available to you on Sunday, May 4th, 2014's show to present (and defend) your arguments. Have your research and resources at the ready! We will. :)

Moving Forward Together,

Bud Fields

The Tennessee Progressive

PS: The purpose of "reason" as it is meant in this fifth battlefield sense is to convince you that one and only one argument is the correct one.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Every Opinion Matters

A lot of my life is spent soliciting opinions from others. For about 9 hours every week on internet radio, in my writing, and in my daily living. 

I am passionate in my desire to understand things of this world from the personal perspective--of others. My wish is to create a space where others can offer, discuss, present, or debate their personal opinions and professional representations of those opinions with others.  Sometimes my own opinions are affected, one way or the other, by the opinions of others, and especially those opinions of others I consider to be thought-leaders in one space or another.

This blog is specifically designed to be dedicated to my opinions. Many people ask me what I think, or what I am going to do about those things that I care so much about. My opinions are informed (as I would hope yours would be, too!) from many sources, and from many different perspectives. Here, I hope to see how my opinions remain, or change over time. 

The one (and only) thing which finally matters to me is my opinion--as citizen. I hope that mine will be a well-informed and reasonable presentation of what I believe to be true. I cannot help being born where I was, or where I now live, or my background in (primarily, but not always) Democratic Party ideology. It fits more closely with my world view. 

Having made that clarification, I am a Progressive. I am a writer at The Daily Kos, The Nation Magazine, and other outlets for my thoughts. I am a member and radio show host for The Coffee Party USA. I am actively engaged in the political process. I am a reasonably intelligent American Citizen. 

I broke with political dogma a very long time ago. It was, in large part, due to the times I was living in at the time. People want to know my opinions on things. Here's the most basic opinion I hold.
(See post below). 

I hope you will read, and interact with this blog. I ask that you observe my two, universal rules:

1. Play nice.

Remember that this is my space, not yours. It's the home for my thoughts, views and opinions. It's like being a visitor to my house. Be respectful, honest, and available for discussion. Don't drop a load on my living room floor. My ban hammer is always at the ready, and immediately used when I deem it necessary. It's not your beliefs or opinions that will ever feel the crushing blows, it is your demeanor. 

2. Come Prepared.

Your opinion will be respected here, so long as it is identified as such. If you wish to discuss, debate, refute or agree as fact one thing or another, be ready to defend it. I will be.

Welcome to my blog.

Imagine - The Beatles - John Lennon