Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Disingenuous or just Incompetent? O'Donnell defender Bruce Griffin

It's been a long time since I've posted here, and especially in the Rhetoric of Now series, but I think this election season seems like a good time to return. The specific occasion for this post is the recent online activity of one
I required the papers to be written in disputatio format. This format demands that you furnish the three best reasons against your case before you are allowed to set forth your reasons for your case. So, for example, if you wanted to argue for communism, you needed to give the three best reasons in defense of capitalism before you could make your case for the merits of Marxism. If, on the contrary, you wanted to argue in favor of free markets, you needed to set forth the best three arguments you could find in favor of Marxism before you put forth your case for capitalism.

The purpose of the disputatio format was to enforce intellectual honesty, to enhance critical thinking skills in the writing of papers. The students had to think seriously about the other point of view before setting forth their own. Then and now, I self-identified philosophically as a Thomist and politically as a neoconservative. But as a teacher, I didn't do indoctrination. The point of the tutorials was to help the students learn to think.
Here Bruce Griffin, extensively, proudly, -- and rightly! -- defends "intellectual honesty," "critical thinking skills," and "think[ing] seriously about the other point of view." In subsequent posts I will discuss the merits of the Phoenix Institute course and disputatio as a rhetorical form, but I do think the values of critical thinking and responsible debate are worth holding?

But does Bruce Griffin hold them? The same Bruce Griffin who touts the value of critical dialogue has not only disabled comments from his blog but has deleted all the previous comments, including mine. In one of these comments I speculated that his repeated deletions of previous comments, mentioned in comments and which Griffin apologetically acknowledged, could be attributed to his technical incompetence. Can we defend his mass deletion the same way?

Meanwhile, Griffin has shown no other activity on his blog since the comment deletion.

The Comment-Czar Vanishes.


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