What is sophistry? In short, it’s a theory that’s plausible but fallacious. In ancient times, there was actually a school of thinkers called the Sophists. Great thinkers have warned us about sophistry, urging us to avoid the trap.

What’s a modern example of a Sophist? Well, we have so many. For starters, the conspiracy fanatic is a sophist – he’s married to ideas that are partially true, but wholly incorrect.

So proceed with caution, my friends. Life is short and your time is valuable. Therefore, you should implement a strategy:

Do not continually engage with a sophist.

He’s not interested in exchanging ideas. He doesn’t care about intellectual  inquiry, historical observation, or philosophical analysis. He’s using the conversation as a front, covering up his true aim.

In short, the sophist is looking to weaken you as a man. By undercutting your knowledge, he can bring you down to his broken level. He’s a half-man,  incapable of scaling the ladders of greatness. So he tries to push over your ladder.

Stay on guard, my fellow Majors. Your time is valuable…your bank of knowledge must be protected with armed guards. The sophist would like to rob your mental bank account and leave you on the side of the road: a destitute man without a dollar of wisdom.

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Are you ready to leave the sophistry behind?

You’ve studied the work of ancient minds. You’ve read about the achievements of GREAT MEN. Now hold fast….don’t let the charlatans of sophistry deter you.

You have a destiny with greatness.

See Related Article: Be Deeply Dyed and Drenched in Righteousness

25 thoughts on “On the Dangers of Sophistry

  1. I suppose Hilary is a Sophist in a loose sense. Recent examples include her stating that everyone in the UK who voted to leave the EU were “deplorables” because our thinking and action was deplorable….. all 17.4 million of us. Then she visited the UK a few days back to receive an honorary doctorate in law (!) and used her acceptance speech to state that British children were now disadvantaged because we voted to leave the EU! You couldn’t make this up, the woman is a sophist and also delusional.

    1. “You couldn’t make this up, the woman is a sophist and also delusional.”

      Much of the “women as perpetual victims” argument is sophistry, meant to divert attention. This is particularly true in wealthy Western nations, where women enjoy rights and financial perks that are unheard of throughout the world.

  2. The truth is that just about every ideology heavily pushed by the media (and on the Internet) today are examples, to some degree, of sophistry.

    Life is beautifully complex yet profoundly simple, black and white yet with shades of gray. All the time.

    Note: I said Life. Not Truth. There are no versions of the truth.

    When you see anyone speaking the language of absolutes concerning people, or who dogmatically insist that unless you see everything their way (regardless of whether your knowledge or experience leads you to a different conclusion), sophistry is at work.

    This was good food for thought. Thanks, Major.

      1. In my weaker moments, I find that conspiracy theories have some merit. In my more rational moments, I can’t help but see where -throughout history- human natures follow the same predictable pattern. So much so, that it makes me laugh that someone, somewhere might be in a dark, smoky room collaborating to do something *new*, which is not new at all.

        I think there are a few select people who can see the destructive end of their greed and grabs for power, but don’t care. Many of them think that humanity is evolving and that this time we’ll do it “better” and Utopia will out. Most people though, even at some of the higher echelons of power, are useful idiots blissfully unaware that their unrealistic ideals are nothing new, and that they have been tricked.

        For example, I don’t believe the liberals who run politics, academia, and the media sincerely desire to see the fabric of American civilization torn apart. I think the media wants ratings, the politicians want to stay in office, and the academics are truly dumbwits (yeah I made that word up) who think they are doing their god’s work.

        Very few of them see the end result of all this and when the fruit ripens, some of them will find their necks on the literal chopping black when they stand up in protest of the very things they helped usher in.That was long and windy, but I hope it made sense.

        It may have been easier just to say, “Nah. I don’t really believe in conspiracy theories. You want to know what motivates these people? Jut follow the money.”

      2. “Many of them think that humanity is evolving and that this time we’ll do it “better” and Utopia will out.”

        This almost always stems from an ahistorical analysis of history. One that is oblivious to the sorted affairs of the human past.

      3. “For example, I don’t believe the liberals who run politics, academia, and the media sincerely desire to see the fabric of American civilization torn apart.”

        That’s fairly obvious, no? Quite a few of the conservatives are no prize, mind you. But at least they stand for something.

      4. “I don’t really believe in conspiracy theories.”

        I know several people that were at the Las Vegas shooting. However, a conspiracy theorist I know contended that there was no shooter and, in fact, the Las Vegas police were the ones who did the killings, firing on the crowd. That is what inspired my post, actually.

        I think behind much of the conspiracy talk is the motive to undermine others, to limit their knowledge base to nothing.

    1. “The truth is that just about every ideology heavily pushed by the media (and on the Internet) today are examples, to some degree, of sophistry.”

      Edward Bernays echoed that point in his book, Propaganda. That propaganda is, essentially, is necessary evil in an era where the issues are too complex for a busy public. So sophistry becomes rampant.

      1. This almost always stems from an ahistorical analysis of history. One that is oblivious to the sorted affairs of the human past.

        Partly, yes. Particularly in the case of the un-read masses. Of those at the top tiers, however, it’s more a case of just making sure we “do it better, more right”. This time. We’re smarter now and can mitigate against the horrors of the past.

        I suspect this is closer to the truth than any ignorance of history. For many of these people. It’s hubris.

  3. Fuck exchanging ideas. I am interested in winning and the truth is a piss poor weapon

    As for conspiracies… they occur every day. Look at how the Waco biker deal is falling a part, how most eye witness reports do not match what the law says, how the ballistic reports don’t match what the cops say. Same for Ruby Ridge. Now larger conspiracies say like the 9/11 as an inside job don’t make sense becuase of the logistics required but we know Johnson egged shit on with Vietnam via the Tokin Gulf incident, we know the media covered up a lot of nasty stuff about Kennedy and well the list can go on for some time.

    Most things can be explained by world view. Yes the dumbwits in college do want to destroy the historic foundations of the West, they ain’t shy about saying so, but I doubt they sit down at a big table to work out a master plan. They all have a similar set of world views ie the White and Christian West is evil, so they all act in a way that rips up the fabric of what they see as evil.

    1. “Fuck exchanging ideas. I am interested in winning and the truth is a piss poor weapon.”

      I think you are right, SFC. Arguing with fools only proves that there are two fools. And I like your point about winning…it’s crucial.

      1. LOL whatsbthe quote? Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing? And folks aren’t rational beings. Even men are more emotional then rational. Given that winning over an audience requires emotional triggers….. displays of strength etc win over crowds

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