From Washington Examiner:

Politics is broken, change my mind

James Wallner for the R Street Institute: In a free society, obedience can only be legitimately compelled by persuasion. At bottom, political rule requires rhetoric (i.e., the act of persuasion) to convince citizens to abide by the decisions government makes. And equal legislators in government need rhetoric to persuade their colleagues that their proposed course of action is the correct one.

In that way, persuading citizens and legislators via speech and debate is the sine qua non of politics. Citizens affirm their individuality by taking part in such activity. And in the process, they contribute to a greater awareness of what is needed to create and maintain a just community. When obedience is secured by persuasion alone, every citizen is a ruler and every citizen is ruled. That is the essence of republican politics.

But this is not compatible with our understanding at present because persuasion engages opinion (i.e., political activity) and not truth (i.e., philosophical or scientific activity). The way we think about politics implies the inferiority of the former to the latter. This leads us to devalue the role that persuasion plays in making a free society possible. It also makes us less tolerant of the conflict republican politics generates.

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