Thursday, January 9, 2014

From the Commonplace Book: Ethics and Eloquence

"Ethics and eloquence were as inseparable in the nature of classical rhetoric as eloquence and learning were Isocrates and Cicero. And it was the profoundly ethical character of eloquence which at first secured its adoption by the Fathers and later assured its cultivation by the medieval Church." -Marshall McLuhan, Classical Trivium 

 It is important for classical, Christian educators to remember that the training we're giving students in speaking persuasively must never be used to manipulate the audience. To inform, persuade, sometimes even sway the emotions if the audience is not predisposed to listen to our arguments or for some valid reason needs to be moved at the emotional level, are all legitimate. But we should make great effort to ensure that our students understand that whatever eloquence or persuasive ability they may have must be used in defense of what is true, good, and beautiful, and never merely for personal or party gain.

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