Friday, October 12, 2012

Debates. Truth-Control. Biblical Swears.

When does debate become mere salesmanship.
When telling a whole truth is not required: just a plausible, selected sound-bite from any source.
Bring on Genesis! Genesis 47:29, et al.
Put your hand under my thigh.  What?? 
Malicious persuasion is technique over content.  What can counter it?  

Teach the techniques so you will not be distracted.

1.  Believers, turn to the Bible to solve all problems. Our political-sales pitch system, that puts mind-bending tactics ahead of content and merit, is one of them.

One Biblical method of ensuring truth-telling, the sincerity of oaths, was for the one swearing whatever to put his hand under the swearee's thigh. Under the proverbial thigh is where everything lives, to patriarchs at least, then and now.  Tell the truth, or you will ...  what?  Follow the thought.

How would a grip there guarantee anything?  Nonetheless, it was the method du jour. See

 Literalism and the Bible.  Fertile fields for application to modern times.

2.  Accordingly, the next debate shall be held with each debater with his hand under the other's thigh. And it stays there. Watch the tone even out.  Watch the vociferations then if we change the rules so that the gripper can grip whenever the other is stretching the truth, failing to give full context, etc.  The mutual oath to tell the truth shall be administered by the moderator, but this does present a difficulty in a patriarchal society when the swearer is female.  Skip that for now.

3.  Why needed?

The swear. Do we insist on the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or are we salesmen only. Are candidates only products to be marketed, or do their statements stand for human time-tested values, like truth and merit.

4l  If debaters do not have to swear to tell the truth in debates or elsewhere, as a part of unfettered political speech spoken by persons and non-persons, how to signal to voters that what is being said is, indeed, malarkey.

4.1  Interrupt.

4.2  If it is not possible to interrupt because there are so many falsehoods, then distract. Distract.  Smile.  Look indulgent. Admire one's manicure. Bidin' one's time.

The distraction technique is familiar to any trial lawyer:  if the witness for the other side is about to lie and you know it, or you do not like the testimony, create a distraction.  Biden, well done.  A time-honored trial tactic, needed at the time, and effective.  Who remembers what the poor opponent was saying?  It was malarkey anyway! Win for Biden. And, on fact checks, Biden was right in the effort:  no jury should hear those statements unchallenged.  Carry on and think:

  • My husband is not a lawyer.  I am.  I recall with delight how, when my witness was saying something particularly damaging to the other's case, and the opposing lawyer might leap up with a great rustle of papers and tripping over a briefcase set conveniently at the out-space  (a substantial man, with nice barrel-chest), then put his hands behind his back and stride loudly in his big shoes to the window and gaze outside, east and west, up and down, twiddling his fingers.  The only way to get attention back was to ask the judge to please request opposing counsel to return to the courtroom with the rest of us.  That would get a chuckle from the bench, as the tactic was well known.  And my witness could continue with a greater focus that he or she had had before the histrionics. 

4.3  Declare a time out, move the chairs closer, and apply the thighs.

5.  The trouble with debates.

The trouble with political debates is that they purport to discuss truths, but there is no judge. No enforceability before the jury hears the bad false stuff.  It becomes repetition of talking points, ads.  Debates are the time to challenge those.

There is instead unfettered access to the jury and the jury is woefully ill informed in the tactics of  malicious persuasion. I move to strike, your Honor!  No chance for that on TV in an entertainment coliseum-style fdebate.  Say it, it is heard, and the damage is done. Biden had to do what he did.  Well done.

There is no-one to whom to appeal when unduly prejudicial or perhaps statements offered in mini when there was an entire sentence involved, or otherwise subject to credibility challenge.  Those alleged studies, your honor, are not in evidence and are not even identified by the witness so that we can check!

So, stroll about Biden. Just Bidin' your time.  Effective and needed intervention when there is jury abuse afoot.