In his treatise, Rhetoric, Aristotle (335–322 BCE) held that rhetoric is the use of all the available means of persuasion. Aristotle’s omniscience led to the development of rhetorical theory, an academic progenitor to the field of communication. Since the Obama years we have seen neo-Marxist causes engaged in a full tilt boogie to persuade Americans and societies around the world that their cause is just and worth supporting. It is becoming a socio-economic version of Joseph Schumpeter’s principle of creative destruction.
Joe Biden increasingly uses sophistry rather than legitimate rhetorical arguments to make his case for the presidency. The mainstream media fawn over his ineloquence and are oblivious to his failings. The original Sophists were ancient Greek teachers of rhetoric and philosophy in the 5th century B.C. Philosophers like Plato described them as liars, out for personal reward and willing to say anything to win. Little has changed.
In Biden’s meeting with Black community leaders in Kenosha, Wis., he lied for personal gain, saying, "People fear that which is different. We've got to, for example, why in God's name don't we teach history in history classes? A Black man invented the light bulb [presumably Lewis Howard Latimer], not a white guy named Edison." The easily researched truth is Thomas Edison was indeed the first inventor of the light bulb and secured patents in 1879 and 1880. Latimer developed an improved version of Edison’s invention two years later in 1881. This inconvenient truth wouldn’t have allowed Biden to curry the audience’s favor, so he lied
The two most prominent neo-Marxist organizations in America today are Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa [Anti-fascists]. Through the clever naming of their organizations, they have demonstrated great skill at sophistry. Who except the most craven, would not believe that black lives matter? Who among us would be against an anti-fascist group? But their Marxist underpinning is real, if under appreciated by the mainstream media and most Democrats. Pascal Buckner wrote in CitiJournal that in addition to BLM and Antifa, “The neo-Marxists saw Covid-19 as confirmation of their theories about the end of capitalism.” BLM was founded by three skilled Marxist black community organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tomato. They formed the movement on July 13. 2013, following the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
The Gatestone Institute reveals strong evidence showing Antifa as a highly networked, well-funded global presence with a flat organizational structure and possibly hundreds of local groups, like the one that has cowered Portland for 13 years. Antifa's aims in America and abroad, to establish a communist world order, ironically through fascism, despite its moniker. Antifa's immediate purpose in America is terminating the Trump administration, presumably for having the political cojones to stand up against them. Their favored tactic is to employ extreme violence and destruction of public and private property to goad police into reacting, and "proving" Antifa's claim that the government is "fascist." This is a fascinating and effective sophistic strategy that our leftist MSM and the Democrat party swallow. As the riots across America have shown, Antifa’s rhetorical strategies work expertly, especially among America’s Gen Z-ers who have gone stir-crazy andjust plain crazy, after months in the Covid lockdown.
Black Lives Matter
BLM gained world-wide notice in August 2014, when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown and the incident became front page headlines in every newspaper in America. After the incident President Obama offered what BLM took as a limp-wristed response, denouncing the violence. Frequent White House guest Reverend Al Sharpton, visited Ferguson and gave the BLM movement instant notoriety and credibility, stirring the embers of racial hatred. This exhibition was followed by San Francisco quarterback, Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem supporting racial justice and BLM. As Anne Wortham explains in Individualism Versus Racism, no rational, self-responsible individual relies upon the claim of racism for sinecure. “He does not beg for patronage, sympathy, and smiles. Instead of asking that others grant him a living, he knows he has been born with an inalienable right to whatever life he is capable of earning, according to his own purpose, his own virtues, which others cannot give to him and cannot take away”—news to Kaepernick’s and Nike’s rationality and self-responsibility.
Social media have played a leading role in BLM’s growth. “Twitter, Facebook and social media platforms are really ground zero for focusing attention [on BLM],” said Charlton McIlwain, a New York University professor and co-author of the study “Beyond the Hashtags: #Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter and the Online Struggle for Offline Justice,” Twitter alone registered 21.6 million tweets about BLM after Ferguson. As Terrence Corcoran writes about these sophistic movements in The Financial Times, “Individualism is dead. In its place is a new political environment in which all people are supposedly driven by and classified according to their membership in one of dozens of collective categories that determine each person’s world view and behavior that is controlled by ingrained collective bias and beliefs.” BLM and Antifa are just such instrumental identity groups.
Heather Mac Donald recounts in her book, Diversity Delusion, an incident she faced at Claremont McKenna College, when asked to present a lecture about her book, The War on Cops. BLM had received word of her lecture and took to social media to gin up protesters to shut down her lecture, referring to her as a “notorious white supremacist fascist.” Her real crime to the Marxists was presenting compelling data that police: 1) Don’t victimize law-abiding black people; 2) The biggest victimizers of black people are themselves. She concludes, “While Black Lives Matter protesters have ignored such mayhem, the people who have concerned themselves are the police.”
In once peaceful Rochester and other cities around the nation, BLM is harassing diners in restaurants, accosting passersby on the street, receiving millions of dollars from corporations hoping to stay in BLM’s good graces. By early June, 2020, corporate America had donated an astonishing $1.68 billion dollars to BLM and this number continues to increase as I have pointed out elsewhere. The corporate largess comes with typical apologist rhetoric like the statement by Levi Strauss’ V.P. of Sales and Executive Sponsor of Levis’ Black Employee Resource Group: “Levi Strauss is in mourning. We mourn how the Black community has suffered a disproportionate number of deaths related to Covid-19. And we mourn the heartbreaking perpetual violence against Black Americans simply for being black. It’s time for us to be seen and heard.” This amounts to rhetorical welfare for the Black community and as black scholars like Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams Shelby Steele and John McWhorter have pointed out, simply giving away free things only makes recipients dependent on others and not self-sustaining. Sophistry and largess is far less helpful than changing social values and mores honestly as I have argued elsewhere.