In a fragmented world, what we get is not persuasion, but posturing, pronouncements, and political ultimatums. In other words, we get just the sort of public discourse we deserve: emotive appeals that shame our opponents, coupled with sabre-rattling denouncements that rally our troops. What's important is that we preach loud enough to be sure everyone in our choir hears us.
Well, we're not willing to play by these rules. So this issue of Comment is devoted to recovering a lost art, revaluing persuasion as a discipline for the common good. We believe in persuasion because we believe in the common good. Indeed, the work of persuasion is bound up with the very mission of Cardus, which is devoted to encouraging the renewal of North America's social architecture. We know this doesn't happen by merely issuing pronouncements. If Christians are going to actually propose policy and change the public conversation, we need to undertake the hard work of changing people's minds. No amount of grandstanding or public shouting is going to transform our shared, public institutions.