Over the last several weeks, Vox Day has been writing on his blog about whether to engage SJWs with rhetorical (emotional) arguments or dialectic (logical); depending on which they can either understand, or maneuver around. He also talks about it in his book SJWs Always Lie. It’s a fair point, but–as I’ll get into in my review–I’m not convinced attacking SJWs is usually worth the effort. What I want to talk about is why Vox (or anyone) finds it so much more useful to take a rhetorical tack against others.
There is this philosophy of education called Trivium. Homeschoolers will probably be familiar as it is heavily (and rightly) emphasized in homeschool social circles. The Trivium supposes that there are three methods of transferring knowledge, and not just knowledge but thinking capabilities. It is sometimes represented as a three-spoked wheel, but for our purposes I will prefer a triangle with three strata.
The flat bottom of the triangle represents grammar; which is the rules and data and sheer brute learning; often by memorization. You can think of this as counting: You teach the child 1, 2, 3, etc.
The middle tier is logic. At this level the student learns to take rote rules and prove other rules. Often those proven rules have been memorized as well, but at this mid-level of knowledge and thinking they can figure out why the rules were made, and how they enforce each other. You can think of this as addition, multiplication, and simple algebra built upon counting. 5+4=9 because 5+one, two, three, four fingers is nine fingers. You get the idea.
The pointy top tier of the Trivium triangle is rhetoric, and if is concerned with using the knowledge and thinking of the grammar and logic tiers to build new arguments and alternative ideas to explain concepts to others, or to build new models of explanation to replace old ideas. It’s at this level where Pythagoras was operating when he came up with his famous theorem.
If there is anything of which we can say it is good that Jerusalem took it from Athens, the basic idea of the Trivium is one of those good things because it is essential, and, I believe, unavoidable for any learner.
The reason dialectic fails against SJWs (Honestly, it fails against more than they) is because the foundation of grammar has been obliterated from the liberal arts. This is almost always what is being talked about when we blame some nonsense on deconstructionists, or “Cultural Marxists”.
As an example: When considering homosexual marriage, the grammar is
- Homosexuality is unnatural
- Marriage is a commitment between a man and a woman which is centered on exclusive sex and procreation.
From there, one can calculate the logic that children aren’t produced by homosexual unions, homosexual unions are decidedly non-commital in practice, homosexuals are the emotional result of pederasty…there are a lot of logical arguments for the grammar against homosexual marriage.
But if, as Western society has done, we forbid the foundational layer of the pyramid that is grammar, and if, as we have also done, pervert the grammar to say that marriage is the death throes of lust, then our calculus at the rhetorical stage is all jacked up. We will make confused and irrational arguments, and we will believe them because thinking them through destroys what little foundation we have left; however perverted those foundations are. We will want to conserve them. It’s a fact of human nature that not even SJWs and other avowed liberals can elude.
What Vox is saying is to pile up the rhetoric; which inverts the pyramid. As it is already on an eroded and crumbly basis the inversion is too much strain for the untrained mind (and modern minds are almost all untrained) to bear. It has to either flee, or surrender it’s foundational teachings altogether.
This is why the liberal arts programs are so useless when–in truth–properly formed liberal arts are indispensable. In these times that means it is necessary to form them outside of state schools.
 Using Vox’s basic and easy-to-understand definitions.
 I bought it shortly after release, and I’ll write a review soon.
 Here I don’t wan’t to argue about whether or not those terms are accurate descriptors, but make clear the sort of knowledge that has been purposefully removed, and who is associated with those terms.