Saturday, December 26, 2009

Comment on the Belmont Club
"Speeches without words"


We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing.
He claimed that the secret of his success was that at Harrow School he was not considered bright enough for the Classics course and was placed in the English track. He knew the English language and the English people. Churchill was perfect in the moment and the British people displayed their virtues with him. With the cynicism of a true romantic he was unencumbered by illusions about Democracy.

At the first chance they had they threw Churchill out and swallowed the National Health Service.

There was good in the old craft of political oration. A politician was expected to have command of the facts and then to thoroughly and at length explain his position to his constituents. It was not all bombast and waving a bloody shirt. Large crowds of common people would gather and listen for hours as a candidate went over an issue and described and justified a proposed policy in detail. Any errors in logic or omissions in fact would be exposed by the press.

The argument is often made that television and the sound bite have replaced true argument, a series of logical steps based on facts and leading to a conclusion, with emotional messages. I can not think of any other time in history in which serious politicians would have even thought of bring a bill before the Congress that has not been read by most of the members and which can not be explained and defended in detail before the public.

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