Friday, July 25, 2008

Intellectual Warfare

This I am sure, will be an controversial blog post. Here I hope to prove that most traditional forms of protest are ineffective in doing their purpose, which is to make change. By traditional, I mean picketing and chanting like at the 1989 Seattle protests. I also hope to propose a much more effective alternative to protest

Traditional protest usually lacks the Three Forms of Persuasion. Which are pathos, ethos and logos. Pathos can be defined as the use of emotional appeal to persuade. Take for example, distributing photographs of skinned puppies to get people to boycott fur coats. Ethos can be defined as flaunting one's authority to scare someone into believing something. Such as the Surgeon General's warning printed on cigarette boxes. Logos is the use of logic and argument to persuade someone.

Returning to my dead puppies example, while pathos will be effective in gathering people to join your cause, it will fail to get unethical corporations to change their ways on the matter. Also, appealing to people's emotions will not always work. People may not feel affected by pathos and will continue to do unethical things. In away, appealing to people's emotions has much in common with McDonald's commercials. The ads feed off people's desire to be "healthy" and "organic and natural" to get people to do things that are bad for them. In the same way, distributing pamphlets feeds off people's hope to be "ethical" and "fair" to get people to do something that might be good.

Ethos is the use of authority to get someone to do something. Earlier I made my example with the Surgeon General's warning on cigarette boxes, which can also be used in traditional protest. While people of authority are usually seen at protests, rarely do they use that authority to persuade their opponents to change.

Logos, the "one shot, one kill" method of persuasion, is not seen in traditional protest. For the most part, picket signs and chants just give information to opponents that tell them that there are people that don't like them. Also, the statements are not supported by fact; thus, they are not arguments (which should form the basis of any persuasive attack). A much more effective alternative to traditional protest is what I call "Intellectual Warfare", which makes liberal use of all three methods of persuasion.

Pathos and ethos, while largely ineffective in causing the opponent to change, is very efficient when it comes to recruiting others to join your cause. The dead doggy pictures can be given to others to get them to support you. Important and authoritative people can write articles and editorials to express their views using Logos. However, using logic and argument will be the only way to confront your opponent and try to get them to change. Arguments must be arranged with your opponent so leaders of movements can spar to finally persuade someone to change their view on using puppies in fur coats or to stop the Iraq War. Take for example, leaders who spearhead the Anti-Iraq-War movement should call up the Bush administration and confront them to get them to end the Iraq War.

As traditional protest is ineffective in initiating change, only with intellectual warfare can people accomplish what protest fails to do. No more offensive or disrupting rants, just effective persuasion.

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