Wednesday, January 25, 2012

School of Rhetoric

So, I'd really like to start a school of rhetoric. Now my friends will tell you that I never stop wanting to do things, so I'll probably leave this project to them, since I am confident that they will get it done.

Turns out, I'm not the only one who wants to see a return of the great art of rhetoric. Good Old Elizabeth Scalia from Patheos talks about the absence of good old American oratory.

We're talking not only Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Our tradition of oratory goes back to our founding and beyond. Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, the names go on. But more importantly these men are connected to a longer tradition, that of Cicero and the Roman school. It just so happens that one of my favorite men in the whole history of the human race was a part of this Roman tradition: St. Augustine.

Rhetoric, along with Logic and Grammar make up the Trivium (My father will tell you that I hated studying the Trivium in high school). These three with the Quadrivium make up the seven Conservat--er, Liberal Arts. While I'm sure that the Liberal Arts schools focus quite a bit on grammar and logic and certainly some written rhetoric, but what of spoken rhetoric?

After looking at a lot of my writing, I find that a lot of it was written as if I were speaking it. A lot of academic writing seems to be written with the opposite intention. Neither is better, per se, but if we are trying to revive the practice of great oratory, we must be able to write great speeches.

So, for your edification, I am going to post a speech that I wrote....as soon as I write it.

Prepare yourself.

2 comments:

Ink said...

Pfft, yeah, like you'll be able to write it. With all your free time in between architecture school and your precious slumber (and I'll be honest, I pick on you about that 'cause I'm SO jealous).

N.W. Thomas said...

Hey, I already have 300 something words. And sometimes rhetoric is more important than sleep.

Speaking of which, I should be getting that info on the oxidization of reinforced concrete pretty soon. Stay tuned.