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Dr. Jennifer Mercieca @jenmercieca
, 8 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
Someone asked me today if I thought that our democracy is compromised by Trump's dishonest rhetoric. This was my answer:
According to Aristotle rhetoric is a method of decision making in the absence of absolute philosophical truth, so it is always vulnerable to lies and bad faith distortions of truth.
Aristotle thought that justice required giving your neighbor what was owed to them & what was good for them. For an ethics of rhetoric we could argue that a just rhetoric requires us to demonstrate good will by abiding by previously made decisions & honestly conveying information
Trump doesn't do those things.

It's complicated of course (because presidents have always bent the truth), but what we've seen from Trump is unlike any previous president. I don't think that it's fair to compare him to previous presidents, in fact.
I think that it is more fair to compare him to demagogues and dictators. He uses the rhetorical tactics of an unaccountable leader. Meaning, he simply refuses to be held accountable to anything or anyone.
He cannot be held accountable to the truth or be held accountable by his party or established traditions or institutions. He has developed a set of rhetorical tactics that he uses to avoid responsibility & accountability & he is aided by a compliant media echo chamber.
The good news is that the president is just one person in a democratic government. While the president occupies a central place in our political discourse, if our institutions hold, then he should ultimately be held accountable. That's a big "if" & folks are rightfully concerned.
Our democratic deliberations may be compromised, but so far our democratic institutions have held.
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