Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Present a Persuasive Argument

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to:
  • Do a music video. Nothing says sincerity like a lyric

  • Present your ideas as rap lyrics, especially if you are all Australians. Using the rap genre shows your deep "cultural (inner city) roots"

  • Use a lot of profanities to show you are "serious"

  • Recruit a lot of grad students and put them in white lab coats. Nothing like a lab coat to spell out "scientist" for the ignorant public

  • Present your ideas in as much of an "in your face" hostile manner as possible to underline your earnestness

This video is a hare-core urban rap version of another video that shows how to sell an idea. It reminds me of that wonderful soft-sell scene in the film Cabaret where a sweetly soprano voice of a young boy starts a song at a German pub that ends with all the people joining in with all those proud Hitler youth in uniform making sure that everybody knows the love their Germany. Propaganda is always so lovely. It doesn't bother with rational argument. It goes for emotions and prejudices.

Of course Hitler ran the country into the ground, killed 5.3 million German soldiers, killed 940,000 German civilians, led to the death of between half a million and two million Germans displaced after WWII, and the death of something over 10 million non-German civilians killed by Germans as part of their ethnic "cleansing".

But you really have to love the use of propaganda rather than rational argument. It gets such wonderful results...


thomas said...


I watched the global warming video a few days ago and couldn't watch the cabaret video at that time.. I went around with that global warming song in my head for a while, so it must be effective or maybe, infectious. I always think of the old Mark Twain story about the jingle: Punch Brothers (how does that story go? I remember the jingle but not the story..) I sing a line to a song while working and a lot of times it will annoy someone because they end up with it in their head running loops.

The videos were interesting (I liked the first one for some reason though the message itself is out of wack and I tend to lean toward believing in global warming just because the wrong groups and people are denying it), but I see the way an ideologue can take something like a simple sentiment and turn it into a way to lead people down the wrong path.. Tomorrow does not belong to anyone, but those who are alive in that moment and that moment does not really exist except in our imaginations. So, there are millions of tomorrows that theoretically exist at the same time. You could call these "tomorrows" alternate universes.. Or the Twilight Zone or... The point is that even the people who read and supposedly follow the Bible should Know that tomorrow is guaranteed to no man. In another sense tomorrow could belong to another generation, but even that is false. Only this moment is what exists and everyone's moment is different. So, what harm in a general statement like "tomorrow belongs to me"? It leads people to do crazy things like follow a mad man into hell. Or, make it impossible for developing nations and the poor to make a living in the now by requiring impossible standards in carbon emissions... There are correct approaches and then there are the profiteers and politicians approaches that will destroy the economy for some while making others rich and all the while rich nations like the US will do what ever they want. No one with a brain really believes that the oil interests will fall in line to save the world, do they? They won't even be fazed, but the poor will have to follow the rules and they will be destroyed and to the victor go the spoils. And, in our imaginations those living will continue to eek out their existence and the rich will take all they can.

RYviewpoint said...


I accept that temperatures have been rising over the last two centuries, but they fell from the Middle Ages warming period until the early 19th century. My fight isn't over "warming" or even "global" warming. It is over the idea of "anthropomorphic" (human-caused) warming.

Climate history is full of warming and cooling periods. The question is whether we are living in a uniquely human-caused global warming period. Maybe, but it isn't clear to me. I don't trust the climate models. They can't even post-dict previous climate, so how the heck can you trust them to pre-dict the future climate? Also, from what I can tell there is a heck of a lot that the climate scientists don't know about what causes warming or cooling, so getting everybody in a tizzy and predicting civilization-ending catastrophes is simply irresponsible. These are people with an agenda. They are selling doom. First because doom has a unique attraction for certain pessimistic people. Second, selling doom gets you lots of research money.

I guess I also reject the "global warming" scare because I don't like people trying to panic and herd people to some particular viewpoint. I have nothing against individuals having lots of different viewpoints. That diversity is valuable because it keeps us alert to alternatives we need to consider. But when somebody tells me that "the science is settled" and they try to shut off debate, I go ballistic. That isn't science. That is propaganda. That's why I posted the two videos. They give you a taste of how successful you can be with propaganda.

thomas said...


I want to make it clear that I am not settled on the causes of global warming or even the statistics of how much the earth has warmed.. Mostly, I agree with your position on all of it and I am glad to read your posts on the subject because of those posts I see a danger in how people will react to the issues of this theory. I guess it could be referred to as doomsday reaction or overreaction... anyway, I enjoyed the videos and your reply too.