Makes us special and sets us apart from the folks in

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makes us special and sets us apart from the folks inthe rest of America.Arrangement tends to get short shrift among rhetoricians, but it’s espe-cially important today. Most of our arguments—even personal ones—takeplace at disconnected times, in various places, over more than one medium.When do you focus on your character? When on logic or passion? You cansee that some of the principles of arrangement work even when you’re notgiving a speech. Remember thatethos, logos,andpathoswork best in thatorder. Begin with your strengths—whether your facts or your logic. Andput your strongest resources both at the beginning and at the end.StyleHaving invented and arranged my thoughts, now is the time to decide whatsort of words I want to express them with—the style I want to use. Rhetor-ical style has to do with the way we speak or write, much like our modernliterary style. But where we moderns celebrate self-expression, rhetoricstresses theaudience’sexpression. Like Shakespeare’s Prospero, a persuad-er’s style “endows thy purposes with words that make them known.” In themodern sense of style, we want to stand out from the crowd; in the rhetor-ical sense, we want to fit in. The ancients came up with a set of virtues and
253GIVE A PERSUASIVE TALKvices for style, and they’ll work well for me at the townMeaningsmeeting.The word“style” comesVirtue number one isproper language—words thatfrom the Latinsuit the occasion and my audience. In my case, that meansstilus,the sharpstick Romansno foreign words or any other language that shows off.used for writing.The word didn’tI want to follow the principle of eighteenth-century rheto-enter our lexi-rician Christoph Martin Wieland: “To be not as eloquentcon until thewould be more eloquent.” Aristotle said that uneducatedRenaissance,when rhetoricpeople speak more simply, “which makes the uneducatedbecame in partmore effective than the educated when addressing popu-an effete art oflar audiences.”letter writing.wrong:There are those among us who prefer the roar of theinternal combustion engine and the echo of their soundwaves upon the surrounding hills. Then there are thosewho seek the quiet spaces to renew our spirit, much asOdysseus did when he set out upon the silent vastness ofthe sea.right:Some of us like to use our land for ATVs and snow-mobiles, and others like to do more quiet things.The second virtue,clarity,should be obvious. Alan Greenspan soundedlike the Oracle of Delphi when he was chairman of the Federal Reserve,and that worked for him. It would not work for me.wrong:The quasi-constitutional argument by my opponentcontains an internal contradiction that comes to lightwhen you apply the principle ofstare decisis.

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