Analyzing Ozone: Rhetoric and Strategy

Anthropomorphic Coyote trickster, from North A...

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There are  several modes of public discourse, but I believe the most common is to “make a case” by arguing for a particular action, policy, or outcome. This model is very similar to what lawyers do in court and is fundamentally adversarial. The problem with this is that many rhetorical tricks are commonly used: cherry picking data, omitting important facts, and (especially) ignoring the arguments being advanced by a different point of view. Newspapers, magazines, and blogs are full of this kind of argument and trickery across the political spectrum.

So, it’s refreshing to read a piece that attempts to address an issue without resorting to this trickery. I direct you to this nice article about changes in laws regulating ozone.

The article advises, in the environmental area, addressing the issues where we have the highest payoff and greatest confidence. This reminds of me of the Powell Doctrine in military matters: don’t engage unless you have an overwhelming advantage. I happen to think that’s good advice in many areas of life – play to your strengths and not your weaknesses.


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