Part 2: Use irony, the twist we can’t resist
What with President’s day and the general failure of Obama to be the rhetorically inspiring leader that climate hawks had hoped for on global warming, I’m going to repost my multi-part series on Lincoln.
This is material that comes from my unpublished book on rhetoric and politics — which I am still hoping to get published (soon). Also, I’m at Stetson University this week as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, discussing with the students How they can be most employable in a world of global warming and peak oil and food insecurity. So you will notice a higher than normal amount of reposting and guest posting.
I think science has mostly told us what it can about the urgent need to act swiftly and strongly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid destroying the planet’s livability for the next several hundred years (see A stunning year in climate science reveals that human civilization is on the precipice).
Yes, more observations and more analysis are valuable “” and I will keep reporting on the ever-worsening climate outlook “” but right now we need much more persuasiveness (see Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1). As James Hansen says, we are still waiting for our climate Churchill.
One of Churchill’s defining characteristics was his mastery of rhetoric. Indeed, at the age of 22 he wrote a brilliant, unpublished essay, “The Scaffolding of Rhetoric so.” But this is the day we remember Lincoln, so I’m going to rerun my series on Lincoln’s mastery of rhetoric, the 25-century-old art of influencing both the hearts and minds of listeners with the figures of speech. If you have any doubt about the importance of the figures to Lincoln, consider this: