Union organizers don't have arguments with workers, they have "structured organizing conversations" -- conversations in which the organizer asks someone to think about what change they want to see, what the obstacles to that change are, and then asks them to think about whether that change will come about unless they form a union.
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The American right -- always prone to conspiratorial thinking -- has tumbled off the cliff in this century, supercharged by the Trump years, with a series of outlandish conspiracies about Ukrainian election-meddling and climate change that make birtherism and trutherism look positively hinged by comparison.
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Change My View (previously) is a wonderful subreddit founded by a Scottish highschooler named Kal Turnbull as a forum where people can conduct honest inquiry and debate, where the house-rules ensure that there is an open-minded willingness to have your views changed, and where those changes are marked with a Δ (delta) symbol.
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In /r/changemyview/, thousands of redditors gather to carry on an explicitly, rigorously civil discourse about the subjects that matter most to them: a submitter puts forward views on subjects ranging from the correct interpretation of old movies to the suitability of Donald Trump for president, and then invites the forum to present arguments to change their mind, awarding a Δ (delta) symbol to people whose arguments cause a shift in their beliefs.
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The US is the only developed country in the world without universal healthcare. Americans pay more for their healthcare than anyone else, and get significantly worse outcomes than people in every other developed nation. The majority of Americans support universal healthcare. And yet, we are told that universal healthcare is impossible in America. Read the rest
Whether you think you might win over the crowd who're watching from the sidelines or change a denialist's mind, John Timmer's flowchart presents tried-and-true tactics for using science, reason, and facts to overcome ignorance and fear. Read the rest
In memory of Mario Cuomo's remarkable legacy, listen to his inspirational speech. American Rhetoric ranks it as one of the 100 greatest speeches in American history. Some background: Read the rest
From 2011, Skeptical Science's excellent Debunking Handbook, a short guide for having discussions about climate change denial that tries to signpost the common errors that advocates of the reality of anthropogenic global warming make when talking to people who disbelieve. Read the rest
Whenever the feminist games-critic and survivor of countless outraged misogynist stalkers Anita Sarkeesian's name is invoked, there follows a flood of men who want to explain that she brought it on herself, that she isn't a gamer, that she isn't a good critic, and assorted related rubbish. Read the rest
This excerpt from neurologist-philosopher Daniel Dennett's new book Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking lays out a set of rhetorical habits that I immediately aspired to attain:
How to compose a successful critical commentary:
1. Attempt to re-express your target's position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: "Thanks, I wish I'd thought of putting it that way."
2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
And if that wasn't enough: "whenever you see a rhetorical question, try – silently, to yourself – to give it an unobvious answer. If you find a good one, surprise your interlocutor by answering the question." And then, "A good moral to draw from this observation is that when you want to criticise a field, a genre, a discipline, an art form …don't waste your time and ours hooting at the crap! Go after the good stuff or leave it alone."
Daniel Dennett's seven tools for thinking
(via O'Reilly Radar) Read the rest