Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Defintion breaks the day

I have written on how definitions can be used in an International Relations context to create rhetorical situations. In these days we see a chilling example of how definitions are also active in the domestic debate, where it shapes the pretext for action, civil and official alike.

The minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has criticised the mayor of the town Aarhus of speaking "like an imam" - refering to the Mohammed-cartoon crisis where the Danish imams were accused of talking with two tongues, saying one thing at home and another thing away.

Let's look at Lars Løkke Rasmussens statement in Toulmin's simple argumentation model:

Claim: (Mayor) Nikolaj Wammen speaks like an Imam.
Data: He says different things different places (lies)
Warrant: Those who says different things in different places (lies) talks like an Imam

...meaning that all Imams are liars.

Simple, but that is what he said, obviously.

Luckily a lot of people protested over the definition that fuels this argument. And knowing that Løkke Rasmussen isn't stupid, it can only be seen as a (populistic? Oh, alas!) jab at a group of people we shouldn't necessarily try to ostracise but rather have a (democratic) dialogue with.

Goddammit Løkke! Shape up! We don't need definition wash-outs that are so low-brow.


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