Thank You for Arguing

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Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Three Rivers Press edition of Thank You for Arguing published in 2013.
Chapter 1 Quotes

To see just how pervasive argument is, I recently attempted a whole day without persuasion—free of advertising, politics, family squabbles, or any psychological manipulation whatsoever. No one would persuade me, and I would avoid persuading them. Heck, I wouldn't even let myself persuade myself. Nobody, not even I, would tell me what to do.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter One, Heinrichs tries an experiment: going one full day without rhetoric or arguing of any kind. Naturally, the experiment fails; as soon as Heinrichs wakes up, he’s confronted with ads that use rhetorical techniques to persuade him, people who use rhetorical figures of speech to make their points, and even animals who could be said to use rhetorical techniques. Heinrichs’ experiment could be considered an example of the logical technique known as reductio absurdum—proving a point by showing the absurdity of its opposite. Heinrichs effectively shows that rhetoric is an inescapable fact of life—and, therefore, people might as well learn about it.

The passage is useful in that it establishes the importance of rhetoric; furthermore, it responds to a potential objection to Heinrichs’s project—namely, that it’s devious and manipulative to engage in rhetorical displays. Heinrichs’ answer to such a criticism, it would appear, is that whether we like it or not, rhetoric is here to stay—therefore, people should learn about it and learn how to use it to their advantage.


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Chapter 3 Quotes

Suppose your Uncle Randy decides to divorce your aunt on their thirtieth anniversary so he can marry a surfing instructor he met at Club Med. You have two issues here, one moral and the other practical. The moral issue is inarguable by our definition. Your uncle is either wrong or right. You could remind him that he is breaking a wonderful woman's heart, but you would be sermonizing, not arguing.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Heinrichs demonstrates the difference between demonstrative and deliberative rhetoric. The purpose of demonstrative rhetoric is to reach a conclusion about values, especially moral values. For example, one could use demonstrative rhetoric to convince an uncle that he’s wrong to divorce his wife and marry a younger woman. The problem with such an approach, however, is that demonstrative rhetoric doesn’t always work: it requires too much time, and usually leads to a fundamental, unresolvable clash between beliefs. A productive approach would be using deliberative rhetoric, the arguing of future-tense decisions and actions. As Heinrichs shows, deliberative rhetoric takes place in a real, pragmatic world, meaning that it requires people to sacrifice some of their values and adjust their behaviors to practical considerations. Deliberative rhetoric, it’s strongly implied, will move the debate forward in a way that demonstrative rhetoric often won't.

Chapter 5 Quotes

One of the greatest decorum scenes in movie history graces the climax of 8 Mile, Eminem's semiautobiography. He gets talked into a competition at a dance club in downtown Detroit where hip hop artists (orators, if you will) take turns insulting each other. The audience chooses the winner by applause. Eventually, the contest comes down to two people: Eminem and a sullen-looking black guy. (Well, not as sullen as Eminem. Nobody can be that sullen.) Eminem wears proper attire: stupid skullcap, clothes a few sizes too big, and as much bling as he can afford. If he showed up dressed like Cary Grant, he would look terrific—to you and me. But the dance club crowd would find him wildly indecorous.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), Eminem
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

Heinrichs is fond of using humorous and unorthodox examples to illustrate lofty points about the ancient art of rhetoric, and here, he cites the movie 8 Mile to explain the concept of decorum. People have strong misconceptions about what decorum means—most people would probably say that it’s all about manners, genteel politeness, etc. But as Heinrichs shows with this example (albeit rather condescendingly, assuming that his audience finds a “Cary Grant” look “terrific”), decorum isn’t necessarily anything of the kind—the word simply means fitting in with an audience. Eminem needs to fit in with an audience of hip hop fans, so he wears clothing similar to that of his audience members, and calls out his opponent for going to a private school (when this goes against the usual hip-hop ethos). Decorum, then, can be a powerful tool for building the audience’s loyalty and, ultimately, winning the argument (or, in this case, the hip hop battle).

Chapter 6 Quotes

Lincoln made his audience well disposed toward him; emancipation was easier to accept coming from a racist than from one of those insufferable abolitionists up in liberal Massachusetts. If he had sermonized about racial equality the way they did, he never would have become president.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), Abraham Lincoln
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Heinrichs talks about Abraham Lincoln, probably one of the greatest rhetoricians in history. Lincoln was an effective politician, Heinrichs suggests, because he was willing to build connections between himself and his audiences—even if doing so required him to sacrifice some of his values. Lincoln would tell offensive jokes and even use the “n-word”—however, Heinrichs argues that in doing so, he was able to work with (some of) the opposition and build a coalition, which eventually proceeded to abolish slavery in America. (Heinrichs doesn’t seem to consider the possibility that Lincoln might not have been “sacrificing” his values at all, but that he could have been racist and still opposed slavery as an institution—these are not mutually exclusive worldviews.) In general, though, Heinrichs uses Lincoln’s life to illustrate one of his most important points: through the power of rhetoric, people can overcome their differences, move past their fundamental values, and make progress.

Chapter 9 Quotes

Everyone lusts after something. If you can suss out the desire, exploit the lust, dangle the carrot, then you can bridge the gap.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Heinrichs articulates some of the aims and tactics of the advertising industry—arguably the contemporary institution that makes use of rhetoric most successful and frequently. Ad agencies know how to appeal to people’s desires; indeed, they spend billions of dollars every year determining what, precisely, people want. Then they find ways to associate their products with people’s desires.

Notice that Heinrichs isn’t judging the process by which advertisers sell their products. However, it wouldn’t be hard to conclude that advertising is an unethical industry—in effect, it manipulates people into buying things that they don’t really need, to satisfy desires that have nothing, fundamentally, to do with the product itself. In his book, Heinrichs shows readers how to see through the cheap trickery of the advertising industry, but also how to participate in this kind of trickery, using the tools of rhetoric to persuade and even manipulate other people.

Chapter 10 Quotes

Early in my publishing career, I worked for a small magazine that had no fact checkers. When Mount St. Helens erupted for the first time, I wrote a short news piece in which I cluelessly placed the volcano in Oregon. I didn't realize my mistake until after the magazine was published and a reader pointed it out to me. I walked into the editor's office and closed the door.
Me: (looking stricken): I've got bad news, Bill. Really bad news.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Heinrichs discusses one unconventional method of persuasion, using his own career as an example. In an article he wrote, Heinrichs placed Mount Saint Helens in the wrong state, resulting in a slightly embarrassing error in his magazine. But instead of waiting for his boss to find out about the mistake and yell at him, Heinrichs preempts his own punishment and tells his boss about the mistake upfront, claiming that his mistake was “really bad.” The tactic works well, and Heinrichs’ boss tells Heinrichs not to be so hard on himself.

Heinrichs’ style of apology is a particularly clever form of concession, a rhetorical maneuver that involves agreeing with an opponent’s point. Heinrichs manages to avoid any serious punishment for his mistake by agreeing with any potential criticism he might have faced from his boss—instead of waiting for his boss to tell him he did a bad job, he says so himself. In so doing, Heinrichs takes control over the exchange with his boss and steers clear of any punishment—a great example of how rhetoric can improve one’s career.

Chapter 11 Quotes

Different groups (such as dieters and healthy eaters) have different commonplaces. In fact, people identify with their groups through the groups’ commonplaces. These attitudes, beliefs, and values also determine a person’s self-identity—the assumptions and outlook on the world that define an individual. We will delve into identity later; right now, let's look at the commonplace as the starting point of rhetorical logic.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Heinrichs introduces an important concept: the commonplace. He defines a commonplace as a commonly-accepted, well-known rule or formulation that helps express the attitudes of a group of people. There are many different kinds of commonplaces—visual, verbal, even musical. However, the purpose of a commonplace is always the same: to simplify a complex set of ideas into a simple, easily digestible form. The importance of commonplaces in rhetoric is enormous: if a speaker can master the audience’s commonplaces, then the speaker is already halfway toward persuading them.

Commonplaces also represent what is potentially unethical and duplicitous about rhetoric: a talented rhetorician can used commonplaces to manipulate an audience into acting against its own interests by making people believe that the speaker is more in touch with their values and beliefs than they actually are. (For example, as Heinrichs later shows, George W. Bush was able to evoke the commonplaces of the Christian right simply by using the phrase “I believe.”) However, commonplaces are a two-way street: rhetoricians can use them to manipulate their audiences, but commonplaces also push rhetoricians to remain loyal to their audiences’ interests.

Chapter 12 Quotes

In the 1980s, conservatives called up the image of the “welfare cheat” who claims nonexistent children and lives high on the government dole. The political right repeated this message in speeches and ads until it was difficult for many Americans to see welfare as anything but a rip-off.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Heinrichs discusses the importance of framing a debate. At times, inventing certain key phrases and concepts can be more important than making prolonged, rational arguments for or against a point. For example, in the case of the longstanding debate over welfare in the United States, Republican advocates developed the image of the “welfare cheat,” thereby reframing the debate over welfare and forcing Democrats to go on the defensive (i.e., argue that welfare was not, in fact, a way for lazy people to steal from the government).

Heinrichs’ discussion of the welfare debate emphasizes one of his most important points: argumentation and rhetoric are logical, but they’re not only logic-based. A savvy debater knows how to use appeals to emotion, appeals to authority, and—as we see in this passage—powerful images and phrases in order to sway an audience. Whether or not one accepts that the idea of welfare cheats is valid, one should recognize how successful politicians have been in using such an idea to frame the welfare debate.

Suddenly, an intractable, emotional, values-laden issue like abortion begins to look politically arguable. Making abortions rare is to the nation's advantage, as Aristotle would say. Now, what are the most effective (and politically popular) ways to make abortions rare? The answers might give the extremes of both sides a lot to swallow; on the left, pro-choicers would have to agree that abortion is a repugnant form of contraception. On the right, pro-lifers would have to allow some abortions.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), Aristotle
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

Heinrichs continues his discussion of the importance of different forms of rhetoric by discussing the history of the abortion debate in American politics. The problem with this debate, at least as it usually plays out in the 21st century, is that it becomes an argument between two competing sets of values: Judeo-Christian values and secular, freedom-centered values. Within the finite space and time of a political debate, this argument is effective unwinnable, hence the endless quagmire of the controversy over abortion.

Heinrichs suggests that the debate over abortion could become more productive if it shifted from an argument over values to an argument over choices—i.e., what to do in the future tense. The great advantage of a future tense, deliberative debate is that it forces both sides to make compromises. As Heinrichs says here, it’s much harder to remain stubborn about what to do than it is to remain stubborn about what to believe; therefore, pro-lifers and pro-choicers might have to compromise on some of their values in order to move forward. Deliberative rhetoric, the rhetoric of choices and future-tense decisions, isn’t perfect, but it could create a more productive, mutually beneficial political landscape.

Chapter 14 Quotes

CANDIDATE: I'm a successful businessman. Elect me mayor and I'll run a successful city.
So the guy made a lot of money in business. The problem is that City Hall is not a business. Many entrepreneurs have successful political careers, but at least as many do not.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Heinrichs discusses the dangers of logical fallacies, and lists many different examples of such fallacies. Having sketched out the basics of deductive and inductive logic in the previous chapters, Heinrichs shows how various fallacies violate the rules of logic and push the debate in an unfair, illogical direction. For example, many politicians use the false analogy fallacy when they run for elected office—a politician who used to be a businessman might claim that he’ll be a great mayor because he ran a successful company. The problem with such a claim is that it draws an inappropriate comparison between the skills needed to run a business and those needed to run a city.

Recognizing logical fallacies is important, because it helps rhetoricians win debates and because it could help audiences see through faulty reasoning. By studying rhetoric, Heinrichs is simultaneously training his readers to become effective arguers and training them to see “behind the scenes” and rise above cheap tools of persuasion like the false analogy.

Chapter 15 Quotes

Pure logic works like organized kids’ soccer: it follows strict rules, and no one gets hurt. Argument allows tackling. You wouldn't want to put yourself in a game where the opposing team gets to tackle while your team plays hands-off. That’s what happens when you stick to logic in day-to-day argument; you play by the rules, and your opponents get to tackle you. While it is important to know how to spot and answer a logical fallacy, if you limit yourself to simply pointing them out, your opponents will clobber you. Rhetoric allows logical fallacies, unless they distract a debate or turn it into a fight.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

Having described some of the more common logical fallacies in the previous chapter, Heinrichs proceeds to talk about how to exploit logical fallacies in an argument. Heinrichs’ fundamental point is that it’s rarely a good idea to call out an opponent for using a logical fallacy, at least explicitly. Heinrichs compares the “game” of rhetoric to a game of soccer in which there are few rules, other than the importance of scoring a goal. Put another way, rhetoric is no fun when a rhetorician calls out his opponents for using logical fallacies in an explicit, heavy-handed way; it’s far more productive, and more enjoyable, when rhetoricians spot logical fallacies and use them against their opponents, moving the debate forward instead of calling for a time-out. In making this argument, Heinrichs reminds his readers that rhetoric, despite often being based in logic, is not a strictly logical practice—it involves emotion, authority, and various other non-rational tactics.

Chapter 16 Quotes

Here’s a secret that applies to all kinds of rhetorical defense: look for the disconnects.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter Sixteen, Heinrichs writes about the tactics of the typical American salesman: in particular, the practice of building an unspoken connection with a client, based on disinterest (i.e., the salesman supposedly acting out of selfless concern for the client, rather than a selfish desire to turn a profit). From the client’s perspective, it’s important to understand these tactics in order to avoid being manipulated by them. As Heinrichs puts it, the audience should try to recognize the disconnects in an argument—in other words, the steps in an argument that remain unstated, or, to return to the salesman and the client, the gap between what the salesman wants and what the client wants. In recognizing the disconnects, a good audience member can understand more clearly how rhetorical manipulation works.

The passage emphasizes that Heinrichs is writing both for rhetoricians and for audience members: by learning about rhetoric, his readers can become better persuaders themselves while also building up an immunity to persuasive tactics.

The old expression “There’s virtue in moderation” comes straight from Aristotle. Virtue is a state of character, concerned with choice, lying in a mean. When moderates face scorn from the faithful of both parties, what does that make our country? You can do your bit for democracy, and your own sanity, with this prefab reply:
I know reasonable people who hold that opinion. So who’s the extremist?

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), Aristotle
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

Toward the end of the chapter, Heinrichs discusses the importance of moderation in arguing. Since ancient times, rhetoricians have understood the importance of framing a decision as the “mean” between two extremes. Such a method arose from the philosophy of Aristotle, who argued that the good is always the mean of two extreme options. In modern times, Aristotle’s ideas can seem unusual, especially since American politics (an important site of rhetoric) has become increasingly polarized in the last twenty years or so. Nevertheless, Heinrichs suggests, most people intuitively favor what they perceive to be moderation.

The passage is important because it brings up one of Heinrichs’ key ideas: rhetoric can be a moral force. One of Heinrichs’ most frequent targets in the book is the polarization of American politics, and the political quagmire that results from it. Perhaps by using the art of rhetoric to resolve differences and move the conversation forward, people can pursue a moderate course of action and fight extremism in all its forms.

Chapter 18 Quotes

But here’s a secret to make a cliché practically reinvent itself: take it literally.

OPPONENT: Let's not put the cart before the horse.
YOU: No. We might try something faster.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 18, Heinrichs discusses the art of wit in rhetoric. Wit has to be one of the most difficult things to teach, and Heinrichs wisely doesn’t try to teach his readers how to be humorous. However, he gives some general formulas for how to appear witty in a pinch. One time-honored technique for wittiness is to take a cliché or a commonplace literally. People intuitively find this rhetorical maneuver inventive and clever. Taking a cliché literally has many useful applications—it can make people seem more likable, help them score points at work, etc. Heinrichs has already covered the basics of rhetoric; here, he shows people how to add rhetorical flourishes to their arguments once they’ve laid the groundwork.

Chapter 19 Quotes

America’s forty-third president, George W. Bush, deserves a special place in the rhetorical pantheon owing to his particular talent for code grooming. The candidates who followed him have been more articulate than Bush, but they still have a lot to learn from the man. Pundits loved to talk about his Christian code, but religion formed only a part of his grooming lingo. He also had his male code, his female code, and his military code.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), George W. Bush
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:

In this semi-facetious, semi-serious passage, Heinrichs talks about the rhetorical arts of George W. Bush, a president who was notorious for being a clumsy public speaker. Bush was mocked for his nonsensical, ungrammatical sentences, and his weak, repetitive rhetoric. However, Heinrichs points out that Bush’s rhetoric was more effective than his critics would think: by repeating certain key words, Bush proved himself a master of code grooming—i.e., wrapping himself in the favorite phrases of an audience in order to cater to that audience’s preferences.

Heinrichs isn’t an admirer of Bush by any stretch of the imagination, but by choosing Bush for his example, rather than some more polished speaker, he makes an important point: although people love to make fun of repetitive speakers, people aren’t as swayed by polished, rational oratory as they might like to believe. In other words, even if people pretend that they respond to great, creative rhetoric, Bush’s crude code-grooming might be the more effective tactic of persuasion. Bush got to be president for eight years, after all—if anything, the joke’s on America, not Bush.

Chapter 20 Quotes

“Love” and “support” are superb code words that test well among women voters, sexist as that may sound; it's a bit risky to use it on the man’s wife, though, especially if she earns the steady income. But by evoking her mother, he creates a forgiving environment that brings the couple closer together in love, harmony, and shameless manipulation.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Heinrichs talks about a hypothetical couple: the husband is trying to convince the wife to stay home for Thanksgiving, instead of flying to visit her parents. Heinrichs shows how the husband can use important code words like “love” and “support” to pressure and guilt his wife into staying home, while also tricking her into thinking that doing so would actually be the best thing for all concerned.

The passage is a good example of the manipulative, morally unsavory aspects of rhetoric. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion by any means necessary—there’s no requirement that a good rhetorician argue fairly or honestly. Heinrichs occasionally admits that rhetoric can be unethical or manipulative (here, for example, he seems to acknowledge that the hypothetical husband is disrespecting or condescending to his hypothetical wife by pressuring her into agreement). However, he argues that, overall, rhetoric can be a “force for good” because it forces people to reach productive, mutually beneficial compromises.

Chapter 22 Quotes

I found a little plastic volcano and mailed it with a nice note thanking the governor for letting us borrow it. Some days later, I received a photograph signed by the governor. It showed her smilingly holding up the volcano along with a copy of the offending magazine. We published the picture with our correction in the next issue. My boss was so happy with the result that when the volcano exploded some months later he sent me out to do a cover story.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Heinrichs continues with an earlier example, showing that he used a little plastic volcano to make an effective apology to the governor of Washington after mistakenly placing Mount Saint Helens in Oregon (the wrong state). Heinrichs was able to use the plastic volcano to turn his mistake into a joke; furthermore, by building connections with the governor of Washington, he was able to advance his own career—an excellent example of how rhetoricians can use concessions and verbal maneuvering to turn defeats into victories. It would be easy to imagine Heinrichs’ mistake setting back his career. However, with the help of rhetoric, Heinrichs finesses his mistake and uses it as a launchpad for future success.

The problem with an apology is that it belittles you without enlarging your audience. Belittling yourself fails to un-belittle the victim. That’s why apologies often don’t work. They rarely seem sincere enough or extreme enough.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 252
Explanation and Analysis:

Heinrichs makes the somewhat counterintuitive argument that apologizing is often a bad idea. By making an apology, one admits a mistake; however, admitting a mistake is often not enough to pacify or satisfy the victim of the mistake. The victim continues to feel belittled and ignored—thus, the apology doesn’t always solve the problem. A more effective strategy for dealing with a mistake is to offer an immediate solution to the problem and—more subtly—frame one’s admission of a mistake in terms that strategically make one seem skillful. For example, one might apologize for a mistake at work by saying, “I’m a perfectionist, and I want to do this again.” In doing so, one emphasizes one’s virtues (“perfectionist”) and changes the discussion from the present tense to the future tense (“I want to do this again”). Morality tells us that apologizing is the “right” thing to do; however, Heinrichs counters by showing that apologizing isn’t always the most productive, mutually satisfactory thing to do.

Chapter 25 Quotes

Cicero says I should be prepared to argue both sides of the case, starting with my opponent’s pitch. This means spending some time imagining what he will say. I’m guessing he will talk about values a lot—the rights and freedoms that a noise ordinance will trample upon.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), Marcus Tullius Cicero
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 25, Heinrichs talks about a hypothetical speech he might make at a town hall meeting, in which he argues that local townspeople shouldn’t use leaf blowers, since the noise is distracting. Throughout the chapter, Heinrichs talks about the classical structure of a speech, as articulated by Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman politican and rhetorician. Here, Heinrichs honors one of Cicero’s rules by planning to anticipate his opponent’s argument during his own speech. Heinrichs will preempt his opponent’s discussion of rights and freedoms by arguing that leaf blowers interfere with homeowners’ freedoms to enjoy their own property. In doing so, he’ll take the wind out of his unfortunate opponent’s sails and gain a major advantage in the debate.

Chapter 26 Quotes

[Obama] tells the story of parents—a goatherd who went on to study in America, a woman born “on the other side of the world, in Kenya” and ends with a moral that links his character with the American way: “l stand here knowing that my story is a part of the larger American story,” he says. “This is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people.”

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker), Barack Obama (speaker)
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 26, Heinrichs talks about a modern master of rhetoric, Barack Obama. Obama’s political career was full of memorable speeches, so it’s worthwhile to consider what rhetorical devices Obama used. Here, Heinrichs talks about the speech that first put Obama on a national stage, the speech he delivered at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In the speech, Obama began by talking about his own heritage as the son of an immigrant father, and connects his own life with commonplace American values. In doing so, Heinrichs shows, Obama follows the format of a Ciceronian oration, and also connects with his audience, building trust and respect for himself. By using President Obama as an example of rhetorical talent, Heinrichs emphasizes the point that rhetoric, even if it’s not particularly popular or commonly taught in America, is still a valuable skill.

Chapter 27 Quotes

First, though, think how you want to present that memo. Should it be printed and bound with a clear plastic binder? Or emailed as an attachment? If the boss is no reader, would he let you give a PowerPoint presentation? Or email one to him? That’s kairos again—timing plus medium.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 308
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 27, Heinrichs discusses more practical applications of the art of rhetoric. Heinrichs writes for a primarily business-focused audience (which explains why so many of his examples revolve around the workplace). An employee who’s trying to impress a boss should use the art of rhetoric to craft a persuasive memo, which exploits the “right time,” or kairos, and conveys the proper blend of logos, pathos, and ethos. One of Heinrichs’ major points in Thank You for Arguing is that different forms of communication favor different rhetorical appeals; for example, a phone call often favors a rational, logical appeal, while Skyping would favor a more ethos-oriented appeal. Understanding the underlying forms of persuasion can help people gain a major advantage in their lives, particularly at work.

There are plenty more answers where that came from, and maybe some alternatives would test better with focus groups. But any concession that changes the tense from the past (accusation) and present (tribalism) to the future (the advantageous) will win the attention of your audience.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the chapter, Heinrichs discusses a hypothetical politician who has to defend himself from accusations of having smoked marijuana as a younger person. The politician could try to deny the accusations or shift the blame to someone else—however, the problem with such strategies is that they situate the debate in the past or present tenses, resulting in an unproductive conversation. The best strategy, Heinrichs argues, would be to focus on the future tense, using deliberative rhetoric—in other words, the politician should scold his accusers for dwelling on the past instead of working together to solve problems in the future. Heinrichs acknowledges that such a strategy might not work with all people; however, as a rule of thumb, it’s better for everyone to situate a debate in the future than in the present.

Chapter 28 Quotes

The founders weren’t starry-eyed about their republic. [They] believed that the symptoms could be ameliorated by the combination of checks and balances and the “cool, candid” arbitration of the liberally educated professional class.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 323
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final chapter of Thank You for Arguing, Heinrichs makes his most eloquent and ambitious argument for the continued relevance of rhetoric. Situating rhetoric in a lengthy American tradition of democracy and freedom, Heinrichs suggests that the Founding Fathers believed that rhetoric would be a crucial component of the United States of America, and even suggested that politicians and leaders needed rhetoric to work together. In other words, the system of checks and balances that’s essential to American government can only function smoothly when politicians use the arts of logos, ethos, and pathos to convince people to cooperate with them and reach compromises. One could say that deliberative rhetoric is the art of reaching a compromise in order to move things forward, and the Founding Fathers supported the use of strong deliberative rhetoric. In the 21st century, when the different branches of government and political parties refuse to work together much of the time, people would do well to remember the importance of rhetoric in American history.

It is no coincidence that red and blue America split apart just when moral issues began to dominate campaigns—not because one side has morals and the other lacks them, but because values cannot be the sole subject of deliberative argument. Of course, demonstrative language—code grooming and values talk—works to bring an audience together and make it identify with you and your point of view. But eventually a deliberative argument has to get—well, deliberative.

Related Characters: Jay Heinrichs (speaker)
Page Number: 325
Explanation and Analysis:

Heinrichs continues to argue for the importance of rhetoric in general and deliberative rhetoric in particular in American politics. Too often, politicians fight with one another over basic moral values. While moral values are obviously important, Heinrichs suggests that a more productive form of argument would revolve around choices and actions, situated in the future tense. Politicians made a huge tactical error when they framed global warming in primarily moral terms; in doing so, they forced their opponents to frame their own opposition in conflicting moral terms, leading to a stalemate on the issue of global warming. By embracing deliberative rhetoric, politicians could reach compromises and undo the stereotype that politics is a dull, tedious business where nothing ever gets done—just one of the many useful applications of rhetoric that Heinrichs talks about in his book.

No matches.