Monday, August 10, 2009

XN is a Poor Demonstrator

I got an email from Clean Water Action about a demonstration going on today from noon to 2:00 PM. I figured I'm downtown anyway so I might as well show up for it.

It wasn't a rowdy demonstration, no bricks or tear gas. It was a group of maybe 20 individuals standing in front of Amy Klobuchar's office, to remind her (before she goes on Senator Summer Vacation) about citizens' concern with global warming. People were encouraged to show up with canoes, fishing poles, and other outdoorsy equipment to make a visual statement. I biked up from work, so I implied my mountain bike could count as outdoor gear.

A couple people gave short speeches, one of whom was Paul Townsend (in picture, middle), founder of Cool Planet. Also, Sen. Klobuchar's outdoor and ecological liaison (in picture, right), whose name I don't recall because I'm terrible at names, spoke a bit and thanked the group for the poster of photos (in picture), which was a collage of images sent by people expressing their concern with global warming, Minnesota wildlife, and their own experiences with getting out and enjoying it all.

Ultimately? It was people talking to people who already agreed with them, presenting no new information. I really dislike vague statements like, "as a result, the devastation will be something nobody can predict." That phrase covers every outcome from zero measurable effect to total world destruction. Yet it gets applause because the audience wants it to represent a variable somewhere between bad to awful. I think I shouldn't go to protests and demonstrations because I get distracted from the core issue by focusing on the logical fallacies and poor word choices.


Cinamingrl said...

Yeah, their words sound like sweeping generalizations don't they? Or maybe that was the Slippery Slope fallacy they were using.

I think that everyone should be required to enroll in, and complete a Critical Thinking & Writing course, and complete it with at least a C grade. That is, everyone who wants to demonstrate, picket, hold rallies, or just speak in public.

I too hear fallacies everywhere and get stuck in thinking "now which fallacy is that?"

Christian said...

The thing is, there are facts and studies to support what they're trying to say. I don't know if they're lazy or don't know how to look it up, but it's infuriating to listen to a bunch of vague insinuations and hyperbole.

I would also love to see more emphasis placed on writing and logic in school. I listen to the extemporaneous speeches of politicians from 60 years ago and I'm astonished by their eloquence. Currently, no politician sounds half as nice in a prepared speech, written by someone else well in advance.