Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Speech Misheard Round the World

This is a followup to the MDS post One take on the Inaugural Address. Cori Dauber posts a sharp critique at Ranting Profs. Dauber is a specialist in the analysis of rhetoric - she takes apart the Orlando Patterson oped paragraph by paragraph, an excellent rebuttal I thought - see what you think:

An oped in the Times today by a Harvard sociologist who is quite unimpressed with the inaugural. He sees it as the natural culmination of an argument trajectory that is deeply flawed.

His argument:

The stratagem began immediately after 9/11 with the president's claims that the terrorist attacks were a deliberate assault on America's freedom. The next stage of the argument came after no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, thus eliminating the reason for the war, and it took the form of a bogus syllogism: all terrorists are tyrants who hate freedom. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who hates freedom. Therefore Saddam Hussein is a terrorist whose downfall was a victory in the war against terrorism.

Wow. That is a bad syllogism. It's also such a complete caricature of anything the adminstration actually argued it's hard to know where to begin.

Posted by Steve