Seventeen Suggestions for World-changing Rhetoric:
1. Avoid all extraterrestrial arguments and solutions. Never presume that some kind of
a miracle or divine intervention will occur to solve our
2. Avoid all depressing, negative arguments that define yourself or people in general as "stupid," "wicked,"
"lost," "alone in the world," "hopeless," or "evil by nature."
3. Avoid any exaggeration of human powers, individual or collective, and all
attribution of superhuman powers to any natural or artificial object (e.g.,
country, flag, science, computers, cars, politics, medicine, capitalism, rock
'n' roll, rhetoric, etc.).
4. Avoid any tendency to put yourself down (e.g., "I'm not sure; I may be right
or I may be wrong, but who am I to say?")
5. Avoid starting unnecessary polemics or flame-wars. Always make sure your tongue or
typing fingers are firmly connected to your brain and heart before expressing
6. Be sure that your argument opens doors for your audience rather than closing
7. Be aware that your argument will never be perfect, that it can always be
improved, and for that reason it almost always comes out better when you are working
together with others.
8. Know that arguing is not the same as fighting.
9. Keep in mind that arguing is not the same as taking
action on a problem.
10. Always argue to organize people in your favor, not disorganize them; thus, avoid any
argument that provokes or divides people who would otherwise agree with you.
11. Be sure that your argument does not brush aside, hide, ignore, deny or
marginalize the facts. The world is the way it is whether we like it or not,
and in order to change the world we always have to start from where it is now.
12. Be sure that your argument does not brush aside, hide, ignore, deny the
existence of, or
marginalize others' thoughts and opinions. The idea is usually to improve their ideas, not to silence
13. Be sure to distinguish between enemies on the one hand, and people who
simply disagree with you, on the other.
14. Always avoid arguing just to vent or to "throw the finger" at opponents.
Either argue to win or
15. Remember that the purpose of arguing is to change the world, not just to
explain it, discuss it, complain about it, or pretty it up.
16. Remember that your argument is not your private property. If someone else
borrows it or says it more persuasively, all the better!
17. Always argue with a sense of humor.
O.W. rev 11/10