Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"The Denialists' Deck of Cards"

From Gristmill and its laments about those who in this day and age still think "anyone do what you want whenever you want" is the answer to global warming, this catch of a great SSRN article on "An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts." Why is this relevant to corrections sentencing? Because many of the rhetorical devices are similar to those determine to obstruct meaningful efforts to bring max out public safety through the most cost-effective means to obtain it, all in the name of their ideologies, egos, and careers. From the SSRN abstract, here's the nut of it all:

. . . denialism is the use of rhetorical techniques and predictable tactics to erect barriers to debate and consideration of any type of reform, regardless of the facts. Giveupblog.com has identified five general tactics used by denialists: conspiracy, selectivity, the fake expert, impossible expectations, and metaphor.

The Denialists' Deck of Cards builds upon this description by providing specific examples of advocacy techniques. The point of listing denialists' arguments in this fashion is to show the rhetorical progression of groups that are not seeking a dialogue but rather an outcome. As such, this taxonomy is extremely cynical, but it is a reflection of and reaction to how poor the public policy debates in Washington have become.

The full article is entertaining, frustrating, and colorful (literally). Definitely need to read if you're interested in how to counter the denials and obstructions we're facing in giving the most public safety we can for the dollars we have.

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