Stratagem 32

One of the simpler rhetorical tricks is guilt by association (or the Odious Category in Arthur Schopenhauer’s analysis of the art of controversy, see We observe this well in politics, where any specific proposal, no matter how reasoned or modest, can be annihilated by a cry of “But that’s XYZ-ism!” It having been made previously axiomatic that XYZ-ism is wicked and sinful and not to be contemplated, there is no more to be said. Everyone agrees not to notice that if this modest and sensible proposal is XYZ-ism, and that modest and sensible proposal is XYZ-ism, then perhaps XYZ-ism is actually composed of modest and sensible proposals after all.

Posted on November 26, 2010 at 10:59 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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