Writing a good screed, U.S. edition
In honor of Independence Day, I'd like to offer some suggestions for writing a good political screed:
- Reference one or more of the founding fathers
- Describe a false dilemma, register everything in black or white.
- Invoke the Constitution without being specific
- Refer to the Articles of Confederation, Federalist Papers, or the private writings of the founders.
- Misrepresent 18th & 19th C. thinking. Opportunities exist in misunderstanding Natural Rights, Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, the Enlightenment, Objective Idealism, Romanticism. Get creative here.
- Make a inappropriate reference to the Separation of Powers.
- Make an appeal to Anti-Federalism, ex. States Rights
- Claim an immediate threat to a politically powerful but diffuse group: small business, seniors, the wealthy, etc.
- Warn of an existential threat to the nation:
- external threats might include Europeans, China, brown-skinned people, trade imbalances, or Communism
- popular internal threats are debt, minorities, Socialism, Liberalism, and moral hazard
- Engage in one or both of Naturalistic and Moralistic fallacies.
- Include numbers without scale, history, or comparison taken from unnamed sources.
- Reach a false conclusion (or none at all).
Following these hints will all but guarantee that your posts to your favorite social media sites will grab attention. Have a good time!