How to Persuade? Find out in Quebec, October 28-31!

Rhetoric has gotten a bad rap for too long a time. It’s time to change that. I’ve arranged the upcoming Cato University seminar (in astonishingly beautiful old Quebec City, which is worth the visit just for its own sake) to focus on helping libertarians to become better at persuading others to understand and embrace freedom. The theme of the seminar is “The Art of Persuasion: Skills for Everyone.” The “theory” part will be pretty minimal (mainly in my opening talk, “From Pericles to the Digital Age”) so that the program can focus on useful skills. We’ll have practical sessions on public speaking, on writing (there’s actually an art to writing a good letter-to-the-editor, and you’d be surprised how eager newspapers are for op-ed essays by local citizens), on how to construct and deploy arguments, and a lot more. I’ve assembled a team of people trained in law, sociology and public opinion research, cognitive science, economics, journalism, and economics. They’ve also spent a lot of time learning how to persuade. A special treat will be a presentation by Monte Solberg, a Canadian Member of Parliament, who will tell us how citizens can (and should) become active in the formation public policy. Law and public policy are much too important to be left to the self-appointed experts. That goes for persuasion, too.

One Response to “How to Persuade? Find out in Quebec, October 28-31!”

  1. Would love to see an intellegent response to
    The Destruction of Reason
    The Destruction of Language
    which shows the power of arguement without thinking.

    The famous memo from Newt Gingrich’s (then)
    organization GOPAC entitled “Language: A Key
    Mechanism of Control”. It advised Republican
    candidates to associate themselves with words like
    “building”, “dream”, “freedom”, “learn”, “light”,
    “preserve”, “success”, and “truth” while
    associating opponents with words like “bizarre”,
    “decay”, “ideological”, “lie”, “machine”,
    “pathetic”, and “traitors”. The issue here is not
    whether these words are used at all; of course
    there do exist individual liberals that could be
    described using any of these words. The issue,
    rather, is a kind of cognitive surgery:
    systematically creating and destroying mental
    associations with little regard for truth. Note,
    in fact, that “truth” is one of the words that
    Gingrich advised appropriating in this fashion.
    Someone who thinks this way cannot even
    conceptualize truth.