Arguments wear clothing

A couple of weeks ago Bryan Garsten came to give a convocation speech here. The speech consisted primarily of a tale of several conversations in which his cast of semi-fictional characters hashed out what they thought college was for. But before he began that tale, he started with a beautiful little metaphor.

Arguments wear clothes, he said. When you bring an argument out into the world, it should be clothed for the appropriate occasion. There do exist argument nudist colonies, but in the end these remain on the margines. Appropriately clothed arguments, on the other hand, have power and sway in all areas of society.