[Bards] Debating tactic

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Mon Nov 6 12:48:05 PST 2006

There is a debating tactic that has become all too common in the modern 
world.  It's very tempting, and we all need to guard against it.  Most 
people do it accidentally, without even noticing it.  That is to argue 
against a point we disagree with, not by explaining why we think it is 
incorrect, but by making a guess as to the motivations behind it.  Usually 
the guess is insulting and ludicrously wrong, but the important problem is 
that it doesn't actually move the discussion forward.  It produces heat, but 
no light.

For instance, I believe that a group of bards should do their own work, 
rather than asking kingdom officers to do it for them.  Rather than 
explaining why the work we want done should be done by the officers in 
question rather than by us, somebody has accused me of this:  "In fact, I 
would go so far as to say that it sounds like you want to pretend that the 
entire infrastructure of the SCA does not exist as far as we're concerned, 
and that you advocate constructing a *completely* separate venue for the 
pursuit of the bardic arts -- oh, other than sharing their event and camping 

This does not serve the cause of determining the best thing for us to do.

It's just not true that the only possible positions are to agree that all 
our work should be done by kingdom officers or to pretend that the entire 
infrastructure of the SCA does not exist as far as we're concerned.

Let's get away from the ludicrously wrong guess about my motives and discuss 
the actual issue instead.  Please do me the favor of *not* trying to 
communicate with me about this accusation-- I'm going to try to move 

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin 

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