March 24, 2016

Donald Trump's Dangerous Use of Language

No human being is perfect. Donald Trump deserves praise, and criticism.

Richard Malcolm Weaver, Jr (March 3, 1910 – April 1, 1963) was an American scholar who taught English at the University of Chicago. He is primarily known as an intellectual historian, political philosopher and a mid-20th century conservative and as an authority on modern rhetoric.
Weaver condemned modern media and modern journalism as tools for exploiting the passive viewer. Convinced that ideas, not machines, compelled humanity towards a better future, he gave words precedence over technology. Influenced by the Agrarians' emphasis of poetry, he began writing poetry. In a civilized society, poetry allowed one to express personal beliefs that science and technology could not overrule. In Weaver's words, "We can will our world". That is, human beings – not mechanical or social forces – can make positive decisions through language that will change their existence.
In his The Ethics of Rhetoric, Weaver coined the phrases "god terms" and "devil terms." "God terms" are words particular to a certain age and are vague, but have "inherent potency" in their meanings. Such words include progress and freedom – words that seem impenetrable and automatically give a phrase positive meaning. In contrast, "devil terms" are the mirror image, and include words such as Communist and Un-American. Rhetoric, Weaver argued, must employ such terminology only with care. Employing ethical rhetoric is the first step towards rejecting vague terminology with propagandistic value.Upon hearing a "god" or "devil" term, Weaver suggested that a listener should "hold a dialectic with himself" to consider the intention behind such persuasive words. He concluded that "a society's health or declension was mirrored in how it used language". If a language is pure, so too will be those who employ it.
Title: How Donald Trump Answers A Question. Source: Nerdwriter1. Date Published: December 30, 2015.

Title: Donald Trump Speaks At A 4th Grade Level. Source: Secular Talk. Date Published: October 22, 2015.

Title: Richard Weaver's Theory of Truth and Rhetoric. Source: Amanda K. Date Published: December 13, 2015.