The Word 'Rant'

I was deeply offended by the reference to the carefully reasoned and factually supported criticism of Rep. Tom Marino by former representative Chris Carney as a "rant" in The Daily Item. A rant implies that Carney was quarrelling vehemently with Marino as opposed to raising an logical argument supported by real evidence.

"Quarrel" implies an unreasoned dispute; "argument" implies a reasoned one. We lose sight of the distinction sometimes. Quarreling involves coming to the dispute with an unshakable opinion and digging your heels in. A quarrel never convinces anyone; a quarrel is won by the person shouting the loudest and longest.

An argument is won by the most rational side that has the most evidence supporting it. Mr. Carney showed his decisions are based on argument when he at first voted against the Affordable Health Care Act, but was persuaded by the evidence to, in the end, vote for it.

Many Americans support the Affordable Health Care Act, and we have seen the first benefits of it, he has been proven correct in his final decision and, indeed, prescient in doing so.

Mr. Marino, on the other hand, has voted to repeal this law, even though the Supreme Court has declared it legal. There is no possibility of the repeal passing the Senate or getting a presidential signature.

I assume this paper stands on the side of reason, though the misuse of the word "rant" leaves room for doubt.

(Sunbury Daily Item, March 14, 2013)
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