Category Archives: Civic Rhetoric

Think of the Children, Avoid the Issue

People who run afoul of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause say the strangest things in defense of their violations. Instead of admitting their error, they try to rationalize it, often painting defenders of the Constitution as the real wrongdoers. I know … Continue reading

Posted in Civic Rhetoric, State-Church Separation | Tagged , , ,

The Courage of Pseudonymous Conviction

Anonymous speech poses a challenge to defining responsible civic discourse. The New Rhetoric provides one model of responsibility in noting that “since rhetorical proof is never a completely necessary proof, … thinking [people] who give [their] adherence to the conclusions … Continue reading

Posted in Civic Rhetoric, Interaction, State-Church Separation | Tagged , , ,

Begging Off The Question By Changing It

It seems at times that people will do anything they can to avoid engaging in an extended back-and-forth conversation. Obviously we all would like to frame our positions in the most favorable light, but when we go beyond framing to … Continue reading

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The Uses and Abuses of Dyslogistic Phrasing

Laura Sneddon at comicbookGRRRL offers a moving condemnation of DC Comics’ decision to hire Orson Scott Card to write a Superman story. I couldn’t agree more with her conclusion: When the greatest hero of all is written by someone like … Continue reading

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Lighting A Lamp And Cursing The Darkness

Religion Professor Stephen Prothero’s essay on the place of religion in politics exemplifies the muddled terminology that often accompanies state-church separation discussions that I consider in my research. Prothero’s argument also interests me for another reason. In advocating for the … Continue reading

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Terrorism is in the Eye of the Property Holder

Some members of the Texas legislature object to a curriculum program asks students to think about the Boston Tea Party as a terrorist act.  According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman by Ben Kamisar, “The lesson asked the teacher … Continue reading

Posted in Antilogy, Civic Rhetoric | Tagged , , ,

Stasis in the State of the State

Texas Governor Perry gave his State of the State address yesterday. Our local NPR affiliate KUT included a couple quotes in its report that caught my attention, highlighting the difficulty people have converging on the same question in political rhetoric. … Continue reading

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School Choice & the Irresponsibility of Choiceless Rhetoric

“Since rhetorical proof is never a completely necessary proof, the thinking man who gives his adherence to the conclusions of an argumentation does so by an act that commits him and for which he is responsible.” The New Rhetoric, 62 … Continue reading

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Inclusion and Exclusion in State-Church Separation

Bradlee Dean’s guest prayer (video here) before the Minnesota House of Representatives on 20 May has caused something of a stir—both for the prayer’s content and Dean’s homophobic ethos. In his prayer, made at the behest of House Speaker Kurt Zellers … Continue reading

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The proliferation of stases and the loss of complexity

The outcry over the Cordoba House project is an appalling example of the depths to which US public deliberations can sink, yet it is hardly surprising given the history of US public debate. As with all public policy issues discussed on this … Continue reading

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