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The Inarticulate Society: Eloquence and…

The Inarticulate Society: Eloquence and Culture in America (1995)

by Tom Shachtman

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To some friends who were exemplars and champions of articulate behavior.
Bob Brown, 1928–1994
John Lord, 1924–1994
Nancy K. Robinson, 1942–1994
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In The Inarticulate Society, Thomas Shachtman persuasively argues that Americans have lost the ability to respond to other points of view - to argue - without coming swiftly to blows. His case is forcefully punctuated by the rising tide of political violence in America and the hateful and intolerant speech that appears to incite it. We are in danger of moving our political debates from the Senate chamber to the streets, in the process of losing the social stability needed for a working democracy.Shachtman pins the blame for this decline on the jargon-spouting "specialists" in the professions and academia, who use parochial vocabulary to erect linguistic barriers between themselves and "ordinary" citizens; on teachers who are barely articulate themselves; on the pervasiveness of popular entertainment geared to the lowest common denominator; on insipid advertising and marketing campaigns that deliberately bypass reason to appeal to emotions; and especially on our political leaders who find it easier to play the demagogue than to give substantive explanations of policy choices. Shachtman proposes a concrete, multifaceted program for rehabilitating eloquence through the constructive use of media together with political and educational reform.… (more)

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