Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Political Function of Strawpersons

"One of the ways in which societies avoid the reality of dissidence and revolt is by encouraging imitations of rebellion. The licensed rebel is encouraged to huff and puff a great deal, both satisfying himself and annoying the less discerning defenders of the status quo. But the more intelligent conservatives know very well that the provision of straw men to be attacked is a useful device to divert attention from the more important social targets." -A. MacIntyre, from "The Straw Man of the Age" (1959)

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