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On Rhetoric

Politics is a sophisticated art form. That is to say it is an art form perfected by Sophists. The Sophists of Ancient Greece, were a group of scholars and thinkers, despised by the Philosophs of the time, for they preached in the vacant art of rhetoric. Today, rhetoric and shameless sycophany play into the large role of our political machines. Politicians very rarely flat-out lie as many would suggest, instead they form answers which are brilliant in their ability to say absolutely nothing. On political topics, this practice extends beyond politicians to other representatives of “fact” in the media. For example, a round-table discussion on the war, featuring generals, strategists and the like, will often go on for an hour or more, without approaching anything remotely conclusive or productive. Going beyond this, in the current economy, it has become rhetorical to comment on the state of any one sector as gas prices seem to trickle down to every level. Statistics are little more than scientific rhetoric, as they very rarely prove anything conclusively, and are often applied in ways which are unfair and inaccurate. Depending on the nature of the statistic, there is a fluctuating scale of how close or distant the figure need be from fifty percent to just as effectively show the opposite is true. But perhaps politicians saying nothing and often doing even less, is not such a bad thing. For from a philosophical viewpoint the question put forth by politics is “What is the best possible form of government?” Unfortunately, actively trying to answer this question leads to the dangerous realm of utopianism. Utopiate idealists have been responsible for some of the worst atrocities in human existence, trying to implement their glorious vision of the new world order. Is it not possible then that the corruptions of politics are not a strategy of keeping us safe from a greater evil; the politicians themselves?Written by Andrew