Were they smarter than us?

I’ve been reading the Federalists Papers and one thing that has stuck out with me is the expansive vocabulary and richness of argument these men had. I’ve noticed this reading Gibbon, Locke, and much earlier literature. What strikes me is that while we may have more knowledge, as the result of time and technology, we know less how to think, and even less how to reason. I’ve encountered this often in argument. It amazes me how few people are capable of making a logical argument for even the basic tenets of their world view.

It is claimed that the current occupant of the White House is a great orator, and certainly he is far more eloquent than the previous occupant. But when it comes to making an argument or defending his world view what we get a cacophony of logical fallacy. I have a contrarian friend who loves to do this on face book. The technique works like this, present the view of the other side as some lurid extreme, and then your own view some how appears moderate. The problem is no one of any consequence is proposing the lurid extreme as policy, and certainly not the people he’s arguing with. It’s called a straw man. What is it about our higher education that will graduate people who are incapable of making a coherent argument ? I suspect there are an awful lot of people with student loan debt out there who should be demanding a refund.

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