My new article for Quillette…
Naïve liberals speak of the “marketplace of ideas,” suggesting that free and open public discourse allows people to judge theories before arriving at the truth. Yet are customers good judges of products? Often no. Salespeoples’ patter has convinced a lot of us to buy t-shirts that wear-out in days, fake watches and disgusting food. We are swayed, often foolishly, by presentation and appearances, and that is as true of ideas as it is of products.
If one is to enter the “marketplace of ideas”, then, one cannot be naive enough to think arguments sell themselves. One must make them appealing. One must use rhetoric: humour, irony, satire, flattery, bombast, eloquence, emotion and, yes, in the 21st Century, even memes.
Read the rest here.