Observations on Rhetoric and Dialectic

Vox Day distinguishes between rhetoric and dialectic. As Day uses the terms, dialectic is what most people would loosely call “reason,” i.e., it’s basically noting facts and reasoning about them to draw conclusions.* He defines rhetoric here as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.”

In practice, the latter often means pushing people’s emotional buttons. This sounds like a Dark Art if you just leave it at that, but of course like any art or science it can be used for good or evil. And if a person has shown himself to be immune to fact or logic, what else is there to do? Day quoting Aristotle: “argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.”

(* Day has said that “Dialectic is based on the construction of syllogisms,” but that’s too narrow, if by syllogism one means to include only deductive arguments. Day’s use allows for the inclusion of inductive arguments, I’m pretty sure. E.g., “Every gorpf I’ve ever seen was green, so I conclude, probabilistically, that all gorpfs are green.”)

Having been aware of the Rhetoric-vs.-Dialectic distinction for more than a year now, I offer this report to the world, based on Internet interactions with leftists, SJWs, and other varieties of scumbags, liars, and anti-civilization shills:

(1) The Rhetoric-vs.-Dialectic distinction is very real. It’s not something some guy made up; it’s definitely a piece of reality. Once you’re tuned for it you perceive it easily.

I am a regular commenter on a forum in which politics comes up frequently. That people on the left are more inclined to rhetoric and less to dialectic than people on the right is immediately noticeable. Indeed, in retrospect this is not surprising, since we tried dialectic , i.e., facts and logic, on the left for fifty years and that had zero effect on them. (In our defense, dialectic does in fact persuade many people who aren’t already committed leftists. So it’s not like that was a wasted fifty years.)

So you say something, and the lefties on the forum respond with (a) an insult, and (b) often, an insult that is weirdly orthogonal to the topic at hand. (Projection is obviously playing a role here; more on that below.)

For example, you’ll cite stats on the proportion of terrorist acts committed by Muslims compared to members of other religions, and the response will either be something like, “You’re an asshole,” or something like “You’re just angry because you’re suffering from diabetes.” When you don’t have diabetes and have never mentioned the subject of diabetes before. It’s weird. It’s so completely out of left field, it can only be projection, because how else did that topic even enter their head? This is a weird but useful aspect of the left. They reveal so much about themselves with their weird projective insults.

Remember Elizabeth Warren’s bizarre response to Trump calling her “goofy” and “Pocahontas”? Her tweeted response was, “We get it, @realDonaldTrump: When a woman stands up to you, you’re going to call her a basket case. Hormonal. Ugly.” So completely bizarre in that it had no connection to Trump’s tweet. She was obviously just spewing her own insecurities about her appearance or whatever into her Twitter account. This theme is recurrent in interactions with lefties.

(2) That said, there is an aspect of the Rhetoric-vs.-Dialectic dichotomy that should be tweaked. It comes from this observation:

The thing that makes leftists enraged at me is when I use facts to refute their claims.

When they call me a racist and I call them douchebags or whatever, they just laconically call me a racist again or whatever. But when they say that rapes have been steadily increasing over the last two decades, and then I link to an FBI page showing that in fact they’ve been dropping during a large part of that time, I get sheer hatred in response. The level of rage spikes. It goes from a phoned-in “You’re racist (yawn)” to “You goddam motherfucking shit-eating sub-human bucket of puke!!!” So judging by their reactions, they actually are more sensitive to their lies being dialectically proven false than one would think, if one thinks of leftists as being pure rhetoric-bots.

This is not a call to abandon the RvD distinction – as I said, it’s quite useful – but we need to sort out a little more carefully the way it works empirically. Yeah, most leftists are more rhetoric than dialectic, but they are also sensitive to the propaganda value of their outright lies about matters of fact. They know that refuting their lies is a devastating thing you can do to them and they freak out when you do.

I think the key distinction is this: While they don’t care about the truth, they are aware that there are people who do care. So they freak when you definitively refute their lies.

Other thoughts:

(3) The main forum in which I participate has an option to Ignore another poster (i.e., so that his posts are hidden from you) and there are ways to tell when someone has Ignored someone else. Lefties tend to put people on Ignore not when those people insult the lefties, but when they refute the leftists’ claims using facts. Call a leftist a douchebag, and it’s very unlikely that he’ll put you on Ignore. Basically never happens. Refute his cherished assertions about racism or sexism or whatever, and you stand a small but non-trivial chance of being Ignored. Obviously this is related to point (2).

So this buttresses my foregoing point, that lefties are Rhetoric in that they’re more focused on that compared to righties. But they’re not totally blind and deaf to Dialectic; they have enough awareness of it to realize when their important propaganda points are being proven false, and to feel the threat. As Anonymous Conservative would say, it triggers their amygdalae.

(4) A significant fraction of them are absolute pussies – they attack you only after others have started attacking you. This is fascinating to observe. There are lefties who basically never interact with me, who, if two or three other lefties come at me, will suddenly swarm in and add their own little insults. It’s rare to be attacked by just two or three lefties; usually if it’s two or three, it’s instantly five or six. They really are cowardly swarm attackers by nature. And this is so instinctual that it affects their behavior even in an Internet forum in which we can’t physically attack each other, so there’s no meaningful danger. The only-attack-when-others-are-attacking thing is not based on threat assessment. It’s reflexive; it’s how they’re wired. That rabbity herd instinct is a huge deal with these people.

See my post SJW Mobs and Coordination Mechanisms. It is, of course, the same behavior by the same kind of person.

Another way this herd mentality manifests is the oft-observed fact that when they really want to crush you, they tell you that you’re out of step with the herd. This is blazingly obvious projection. You cite some statistic from the Census Bureau, and their response (if it isn’t “You shit-bag!”) is “Everyone else disagrees with you!” It’s obvious that they regard this as the nuclear bomb of debate. They think it’s a crusher. Of course, it doesn’t affect our tribe at all, since we care about truth, not staying in step with the herd. So we’re just baffled. I was mystified for years whenever I encountered this line from leftists, to the point that I wondered if they were actually making some other, more subtle point that I was missing. Nope. Nothing subtle here; it’s just what it seems to be on the surface: They expect you to care about what the herd says, not about reality. Bizarre.

Notice that both tribes generally misunderstand each other: We tried for fifty years to sway them using logic and facts, and have been puzzled and irritated that it all just bounced off them with no effect. No doubt they’ve been just as mystified that they keep telling us that we’re out of step with the herd (whether that’s true or not), without any effect on us.

Moving the Russian Goalposts Redux

Some miscellaneous thoughts following my last post on the Case of the Mysteriously Mobile Russian Goalposts.

Priceless quote from the Carlos Slim blog, I mean the New York Times:

It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information about Mrs. Clinton.

No kidding. LOL. This is like the hundred and twelfth paragraph, after they’ve spent the first hundred and eleven paragraphs trying to get their readers all riled up over this “story.”

In fact it’s not “unclear.” If the Trump campaign had learned any “compromising information about Mrs. Clinton” and used it against Clinton during the election season, the media would have provided a link to such a Trump speech or tweet by now. So Trump Jr. received no such information. But the leftist media (pardon the redundancy) is trying to suggest that he did. And the narrative is:

“Russia helped American voters to be more informed before voting!

And that’s horrible!”

At first I was going to say that this illustrates how intellectually dishonest the Left is. But then it occurred to me that there’s another possibility: Maybe they really do think it’s horrible for voters to be informed before voting. After all, it’s the left, for whom informed voters are a catastrophe.

Hillary! tried to get dirt on Trump via Russia, LOL:


If an American campaign hearing facts from a Russian would have been treasonous foreign influence on our elections (WTF?) then what is encouraging illegals to actually vote in US elections?

Here’s a video of Obama encouraging illegals to vote. He tells some self-righteous little asshole, who admits that she’s an illegal, “When you vote, then you are a citizen.”

God, that man is evil.

And what was this non-existent info allegedly about? Check out this buried nuclear bomb from the above-linked NYT article:

“After pleasantries were exchanged,” he [Trump Jr.] said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton.”

Holy shit! The promised info was that the Clinton campaign, or at least the Democratic party, was being funded by Russia! Now that would be undue foreign influence!

The Left is saying, “A Dem candidate being funded by Russia would be no big deal, but if the GOP candidate learned about this from a Russian and exposed it, THAT would be a big deal.” How DARE you expose Hillary’s funding from Russia!

(NeverTrumper Megan McArdle: “People who love their country do not help rival powers intervene in their country’s elections, even if that intervention might have the lovely side effect of getting them elected.” Heh heh. Where “intervene in” means, “expose intervention in.”)

Or to put it even more tersely, “If we call out foreign contacts we’re being patriotic; if Trump had called out foreign contacts that not only wouldn’t be patriotic; it would be treasonous.”

This exemplifies what some of us mean when we say the Left has gone crazy.

Now. Based on all this we may make a confident prediction about how the Old Media will try to develop this story: They will continue to say, “It is unclear whether there was actually any compromising information about Clinton.” They HAVE to say this. Why? Because if they admit there was no information produced, the story goes away. But if they say there was information, they have to state what it was: And what it was, according to Veselnitskaya, was proof that the Clinton campaign was being funded by the Russian government.

So if they want to damage Trump, they have to leave the whole thing in a gray area, so they can keep saying, “There may have been some dirt on Clinton” …while hoping no one inquires too closely what that possible dirt would have been.

There’s something else remarkable: The brazen, in-your-face dishonesty of the Times. (Well, okay, NYT dishonesty hasn’t been remarkable for decades.) Bear with me through an extended quote here; there’s a reason for it:

When he was first asked about the meeting on Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. said that it was primarily about adoptions and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton.

But on Sunday, presented with The Times’s findings, he offered a new account. In a statement, he said he had met with the Russian lawyer… “After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

He said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers… “It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Mr. Trump said.

In other words, he did not change his account of what happened. First he said it was primarily about adoptions, and then he again said it was primarily about adoptions.

The NYT, having presented its readers with the same account, then just brazenly says it was a different account.

This is something new. This is, “Here is what he said, plainly the same thing both times, and we are simply going to assert that they’re different things, even though you yourself can read, on this very same page, us informing you that it’s the same thing.” Wow. The left-wing press is now deliberately schlonging its own leftist readers.

Moving Goalposts: Russia Edition

The moving of the goalposts on the Russia thing has been astonishing, even for the Left. Each failed narrative, instead of inducing them to give up, only seems to intensify their psychological need for another narrative.

First it was, “Russia hacked Dem computers, and not Trump’s computers, and that’s not fair!”

Then it was “…and I’ll bet Trump knew about it!”

The phrasing was often “Russia hacked the election!” meaning, see above. Note the interesting use of the word “hack” to try to suggest that Russia accessed US voting machines.

Then they actually embraced that idiocy and tried to run with it, briefly trying to suggest that “Russia hacked the election” in the literal sense of Russia somehow flipping votes in the election. Even the Left didn’t actually assert this one outright, for the most part, but they tried to imply it. Unfortunately for this line of BS, the head of DHS has admitted that there is no evidence that even one vote was changed by Russia.

Let alone any votes being changed by Russia with the knowledge or cooperation of the Trump campaign.

Then it was, “Trump’s firing of Comey – whose departure we leftists were demanding yesterday – is obstruction of justice because Trump was not being investigated, and this constitutes an attempt to thwart that non-existent investigation!”

(Trump accused of murdering centaurs, hobbits, and unicorns. Film at eleven.)

Then it was, “OK, well, someone who used to be connected to Trump, and no longer is, was being investigated, and we’re sure Trump fired Comey to stop this investigation (and not for other reasons e.g. Comey’s blatant pro-Clinton corruption). Also, the fact that this didn’t actually hinder the investigation, as the FBI itself has said, proves that, um, let’s talk about something else now.”

Now it’s, “Trump’s son met with a Russian lawyer who told him she had some dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Yeah, so? Obviously all candidates try to get dirt on their opponents. God knows the Dems do. What’s the problem?

“This information was from a foreign source!”

Yeah, so?

“A foreign government, even!”

Yeah, so?

How is the government of another country telling us the truth a bad thing? Hillary broke national security laws. If we became aware of this because the Russian government told us, good. The appropriate response is, “Thank you, Russia.”

But that’s not what happened anyway.

Trump Jr. claims no such info was revealed during that meeting; the Russian lawyer just wanted to trick him into meeting with her so she could argue for a change in Russia-US child adoption laws. She didn’t actually have any damaging info on Clinton. More’s the pity.

So the claim now is, Trump’s son tried to get some dirt on Clinton, but failed to do so.

Seriously, lefties? That’s the claim you’re running with?

Making it more funny is the attempt to say that this “may have” broken campaign finance laws. That is, learning things from foreign sources is illegal. LOL. Even through your computer screen, you can smell the Left’s desperation.

Furthermore, Trump Jr.’s claim that there was no Clinton dirt is provably true, unless the Left can identify a piece of info about Clinton that (1) the Trump camp used during the campaign, and (2) that the Trump camp could not have received from any other source.

So what Clinton revelation, exactly, did they get from Russia that they used in the campaign and that they couldn’t have gotten anywhere else?

(Crickets chirping.)

SJWs Eat their Own, Parts 2,307,115 and 2,307,116

People of tolerance: Gay Pride Marchers With Jewish Flags Told To Leave Chicago Parade.

The excuse the anti-semitic leftists used was that Jewish flags made people feel “unsafe.”

In related news, Gay pride marches disrupted by minorities accusing white gays of racism:

Gay pride marches in New York City, San Francisco and in between this weekend will have plenty of participants — and also protests directed at them from other members of the LGBT community, speaking out against what they see as… celebrations that prioritize the experiences of gay white men and ignore issues facing black and brown LGBT people.

The protests disrupted other pride events earlier this month. In Washington, D.C., the No Justice No Pride group blocked the parade route. In Columbus, Ohio, four people were arrested after a group set out to protest violence against minority LGBT people…

“The real test will be, can the LGBT movement own up to its historic legacy of racism and evolve to be more accountable and inclusive of people of color?” Minter, a transgender man, wondered.

In unrelated news, scientists have recently discovered that if you put a number of temperamentally quarrelsome creatures who seek conflict, such as fighting fish, in the same tank, they fight with each other.

Funny Quote on SJWs

It’s funny because it’s true. Cataline Sergius at The Dark Herald:

Come on did you think the Hivemind would give up after we won GamerGate? It can’t give up because it’s not actually sapient. Think of it as mosquito determined to get through the netting and feast on what it protects. Mosquitoes don’t get bored and have no memory of past events. They have nothing better to do than to keep trying. The SJW Hivemind is no different.

Second Exchange Between Diabolus 31,506 and Diabolus Apprentice 19,751

Diabolus 31,506 to Diabolus Apprentice 19,751:

Apprentice 19,751:

In my previous missive I promised to discuss the worst example in recent decades of humans finding truth in the midst of lies. In fact, in this example they found truth because of lies.

The example has to do with human female sexual psychology and sexual behavior. As we will see, the important part here is their behavior, since the science that men created is ruthlessly empiricist.

Here is a rough outline of events:

1) Beginning in the 1960s (in the usual human dating scheme) we had great success spreading feminism. (Of course you’ll have learned about that in your basic propaganda class.) A major feminist lie was that women are more attracted to men who are nice to them (“nice guys”) than men who treat them with indifference or disdain (“jerks”). We had a good rationale at the time for spreading this lie: By convincing men that women liked nice guys, we gave men motive to accommodate the demands of feminism.

2) The men were bound to see through this utter nonsense in time. Naturally the Low Command anticipated that, but the Command made two mistakes in spreading this particular falsehood.

The first mistake was to forget just how important sex is to humans. When the men tried to be nice to women and were cast into involuntary celibacy as a result, we didn’t predict the human males’ reaction. The torment roused them from the bed of lies that we’d prepared for them and spurred them to think independently about human female behavior.

The second mistake was to fail to foresee the Internet. As in so much of life, the Net has drastically hurt our attempts at disinformation. As men quickly learned the truth, they quickly spread it.

As always, independent thinking was a disaster for us.

The first thing the men did was resolve to ignore everything that women, especially feminists, said about human female sexual behavior, and instead to observe that behavior for themselves. And of course, the moment they learned the truth, their incentive to be accommodating to feminists’ outrageous demands vanished.

And worse – much worse, Ap. 19,751 – they learned that feminists lie, relentlessly and with no shame, hesitation, or guilt. This has caused immeasurable damage to our attempts to spread more lies via that conduit. The false rape statistics, the 76-cents-on-the-dollar absurdity, and on and on: all of these wonderful lies had their useful lifespans drastically shortened by the wakened skepticism of the male half of the species.

An even worse problem is that it ignited an excited interest in empiricism as such in a broad swathe of human males – this is such a setback that it could be our undoing. It’s cruelly ironic: We spend decades creating and spreading feminism, establishing Women’s Studies departments, etc., only to find that all these efforts are counteracted by some facts that young men learn at bars and parties! It’s as if You Know Who is deliberately mocking us!

That also incited a wave of observation and experimentation in other areas such as political rhetoric and diet and exercise, to name just a couple of examples.

Diabolus Apprentice 19,751 to Diabolus 31,506:

Why was this such a disaster? I mean, why was it more of a disaster than the uncovering of our lies in other subject areas?

Diabolus 31,506 to Diabolus Apprentice 19,751:

Shrewd question, Ap. 19,751, to which I was just getting. A couple of reasons:

First, unlike say, ecological science, understanding female psychology is not a topic that requires expensive scientific equipment or years of scientific training. A man simply ventures out into the world and interacts with women, and observes the results from various approaches. You see the problem here: Unlike trends in global temperatures, e.g., women are a topic that is easily accessible. Indeed, they’re unavoidable; a man can hardly avoid interacting with women on a daily basis.

The second problem is one of interest: Since men naturally desire sex, they are intensely motivated to study this particular topic. It’s not some abstruse boring subject like the energy storage capacity of lithium batteries or whatnot.

Furthermore, due to the changes in the sexual marketplace which feminism brought about, men can’t ignore female psychology even if they wanted to. When women were more dependent on men for economic support, a man had the luxury of remaining ignorant of women’s attraction mechanisms and relying on his provider status to at least acquire a wife. That works much less well now that women are economically independent. In the current world, a man can’t afford to ignore the realities of women’s gut-level attraction triggers.

So we told the men a ridiculous lie and gave them an enormous incentive to uncover the lie around the same time. And the punishment for refusing to acknowledge the truth – involuntary chastity – is a severe punishment indeed for men. And the reward for apprehending the truth – sex – is an enormous reward. Which is to say, the incentive pressures on men to get to the truth were enormous.

And we ourselves created those pressures!

It’s even worse. Men who are studying women for their sexual behavior will also notice other aspects of female psychology as kind of a bonus. So now the men have noticed things like the tendencies to rationalization and self-deception which affect human females more than the males. Aside from being very useful to the men as they deal with women, this also has created another arena in which feminists are exposed as rank liars. It has, therefore, reduced one of our formerly most-valuable contingents to the position of screaming “Two plus two is thirty-seven!” at the top of their lungs. Many (if not most) men have realized that their default belief about a feminist statement should be that it’s a lie, unless there is a specific reason to think it’s true. Immeasurable harm, Ap 19,751.

Obviously feminism was bound to self-destruct due to its dishonesty and hatefulness, but we thought we had 15 or 20 more years than we did. Who would have thought that a collection of seduction techniques developed by an LA-based magician would be the final stake in the heart of feminism? And yet that is just what has happened.

All of this exemplifies my lament from my last missive, that reality in general just isn’t practically censorable, because everything is interconnected, and in unexpected ways.

Infernally yours,
Diabolus 31,506

First Exchange Between Diabolus 31,506 and Diabolus Apprentice 19,751

(With apologies to C. S. Lewis.)

Diabolus 31,506 to Diabolus Apprentice 19,751:

Gah, they’ve done it again! Every time we try to put forth falsehood, lies, deceit, and confusion, some humans twist it around to make it something clear, interesting, and true!

Consider the lies of feminism. Now we’ve got a good thing going there, don’t get me wrong. But no sooner had we established “Women’s Studies” as an actual thing (LOL), than some human scholar starts twisting it around to ask interesting anthropological questions!

I’m referring to that study that just appeared in The Journal of Feminist B.S. in which a young professor digs into the role of the two sexes in the prehistorical development of human technology. Her basic notion is as follows: Given that men were basically out running around fighting each other and chasing down impalas, and women were walking around holding infants, foraging for plants, and cooking them, it seems reasonable that the technologies of e.g. cooking and baby slings were more developed by women, and the technologies of hunting and war were more developed by men. So this little guttersnipe is investigating the archeological evidence about this.

“Big deal,” you’ll say, “that’s obvious.”

But think about it: We’re trying to divide the humans along certain lines (in this case sex) and make them hate each other. Then this little $#@&^%&^% comes along and starts asking valid questions about human pre-history! It’s all very intellectually curious, which is the last thing we want to encourage. And it’s intellectually honest, since she has no agenda and doesn’t care what the answer is; she just wants to know the answer. Much worse, there’s no hate in it at all! The journal editors forgot to require her to insert something about how men oppressed women by not soliciting their opinions on the bow and arrow, or whatever. That’s not why we invented Women’s Studies, damn it!

Diabolus Apprentice 19,751 to Diabolus 31,506:

But that’s just one example. Not much harm, right?

By the way, you referred to “the two sexes” above. Shouldn’t that be “the seventeen sexes”? Or whatever number we’re up to now?

Diabolus 31,506 to Diabolus Apprentice 19,751:

Regarding “the two sexes,” it’s okay to say that as long as it’s just us chickens. But good awareness.

And it’s not just one example, Ap. 19,751. Here’s another recent one, from “environmental science”: So we get the falsified data, crammed through the ridiculous models, and with enough working over the results (with a sledgehammer, LOL) we get the conclusion we want, which is, of course: You need to establish totalitarian government right now or you’re all going to die!

We thought we had “environmental science” in the bag, but some monkeywrenching little *&^$@&^&$* comes along and gets interested in the environment’s dynamics (i.e., how the system changes over time). So what does he do? He develops his own model – which is drastically simplified, but that’s no help to us because he honestly acknowledges that fact, aargh! – and starts analyzing its dynamics.

The result? He proves a new stability theorem! Some mathematics professors at the university where he teaches heard about his theorem, got interested in it, and have been generalizing and extending it to other kinds of dynamic systems! FUCK! We start this whole enviro enchilada with a view to spreading falsehood, and what happens? Some little asshole comes along and uses it to develop a new intellectual tool for finding truth! How the fuck are we supposed to anticipate and prevent things like this? I can’t work under these conditions, Ap. 19,751. Sometimes I despair, I really do.

Our task is made more difficult by the fact that all truth coheres as a single whole. You never know when some lie you’re telling over here is going to be contradicted by some fact that pops up over there. One just has to hope the humans don’t notice, and that never works in the long run. Their constant experience of everyday reality contradicts some of our lies every second of every day.

Consider one of our marquee lies, “The two (seventeen, whatever) sexes are exactly the same psychologically and behaviorally.” It’s a rare human that makes it to age five believing that one, Ap. 19,751. And naturally, when they figure out that we’re liars it hurts our attempts to spread other lies immeasurably. Just between you and me, I often wish the Low Command would be more strategic about the nonsense we’re supposed to spew. (Consider two of the current big ones: (1) It’s impossible to tamper with the U.S. voting system, and (2) Russia tampered with the U.S. voting system. Even for human leftists, believing both of these simultaneously is a stretch.)

And it gets even worse. My hand is getting stiff from writing this, so I’ll leave off for now, but my next missive will discuss the worst example in recent decades of humans finding truth in the midst of lies.

Infernally yours,
Diabolus 31,506