One of the most difficult thing for me to teach my students when I am teaching them how to brief a case, or simply read a popular article, is how to parse opinion.
They struggle with questions that ask about whether or not two parties fully disagree, or reluctantly disagree, etc. What scale is the difference of opinion?
The better writers, like the best lawyers, always acknowledge the opposing opinion. Why? Two main reasons. You reduce the level of attentiveness of your opponents by doing so, and you disarm the best arguments against your position.
The natural inclination for anyone upon hearing you acknowledge the weaker parts of your argument is to feel that “well, they can’t be that bad if he is discussing them”.
What we saw from HRH Obama yesterday was exactly that. By talking about how anti abortionists and pro choice supporters ‘agree on so much’ he masks what he is really saying.
Now, I am un abashedly pro choice, so this is one of the rare places I agree with the king. But, here’s the point.
As he does with all of his policies, he had an audience unaware of his real message.
And his message was clear. “I am pro choice. I don’t care what you say.”
But because he says it with a smile, and the true sophistry of a Harvard trained attorney, no one notices.
Now, regardless of what you think about abortion, his policy is pro choice. And what he did, was take those opponents and, for that day at least, make them take down their guard.
Combined with the right policies, this can be wonderful. But when you are stealing a country from it’s people (us, folks) it is truly frightening.
Wake up folks. This is what he does every day. “I’m not running Chrysler, GM, AIG, The Banking system, the derivatives market”. “I don’t want a nuclear Iran” “I’m ending the Iraq conflict.” “No more torture, rendition, wire tapping, secrecy…”
These are all lies, masked in what is brilliant sophistry.