Antagonistic and Non-antagonistic
There is an basic difference between antagonistic and
The goals of antagonistic argumentation are
promoting, increasing, and taking advantage of
disunity among opponents and their allies,
seeking verbal and material dominance, pushing
opponents out of the way,
bringing about psychological, verbal and physical
confusion and demobilization of opponent forces,
causing the disruption, neutralization and
ultimate elimination and disbanding of opponent forces,
creating favorable conditions for ultimate total
material victory of rhetor and allies.
Antagonism may start out as rhetorical but often
ends up very material: In antagonistic argumentation, the rhetor tries
to accuse, discredit, indict, convict, defeat, eliminate or sometimes
even kill the opponent.
Antagonistic rhetoric is like a firearm: Never point it at someone
unless you intend to destroy her or him.
Non-antagonistic differences are sometimes
material, but are always most appropriately settled by discursive
- seeking unity,
- practicing respect and mutual support,
- understanding, consciousness-raising and
- seeking peace and reconciliation,
- free and open discussion and
finding ways of working
together toward the common goal.
The rhetor's task is to correctly determine
when each form of rhetoric is appropriate, and when it is not.
For educational purposes only.
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