Steve Finley (Finley@TTDCE1.COED.TTU.EDU)
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 09:42:14 +0000

>From Michael Hamende:

"Jesse believes what he believes because the Bible tells him so."

Despite your admirable restraint ("jesse-baby"), there are a couple
of rhetorical things going on here that you're ignoring. In the
first place, even if what you're saying here is unreservedly true,
the people to whom Jesse appeals will respond to an appeal that "the
Bible says so" because that is one of the avenues to persuading them;
from a traditional rhetorical perspective, it's the appeal from
authority, which is every bit as effective in some cases and with
some audiences as an appeal from a linear-logical argument or
anything else. This appeal does not work, of course, with people
like yourself and those in much of academia, where
agnosticism--at least--appears to be the middle position; what you've
said in this particular argument, for instance, assumes that your
audience will join you in piling on Jesse, unquestioningly--sort of
the "we all know it's cool to hate Jesse" approach. Now, before you
get into an ad hominem deal with me, I'll tell you that, from what I
know of him (which is probably as little as almost anyone knows of
him who bashes him regularly), he seems pretty damn narrowminded to
me, too, and his brand of politics--again, from what I know of
it--doesn't look that great to me, either. But the fact is, Jesse is
an idiot (in relation to his positions and his reasoning for those
positions) only to someone who wouldn't recognize effective rhetoric if
it reached up and bit him on the ass.