Passing Bull 256 –Unexpressed assumptions

Sometimes you see an argument or comment that is based on an assumption that is not express – what is elsewhere called an ‘inarticulate premise.’  In the press the other day, the following appeared:

The orthodoxy that Joe Biden’s executive team will make Australia comfortable is spectacularly wrong in one respect: the appointment of former secretary of state and presidential nominee John Kerry as special envoy for climate.

There is one certainty.  Kerry will create problems for Australia and the Morrison government as a consequence of his brief from the incoming president…..

It will be Kerry’s rhetoric, his symbolism and his close ties with Europe on climate change that will put inevitable pressures on the Morrison government.

The writer says that Kerry will create problems not just for the Morrison government but for Australia.  It follows that for this purpose at least, the writer sees the interests of the Morrison government being identical to those of the nation of Australia.  Kerry is far more in favour of real action on climate change than the Morrison government. The unexpressed assumption is that this will be bad for Australia because of the pressure Kerry will put on its government – in of course the name of the United States.  But what if you think that our governments of all colours have done badly on climate change and should do a lot more?  If you hold that view, the appointment of Kerry does more than give comfort – it is cause for celebration.  And recent events in New South Wales suggest that a real majority of Australians have that view.  The report merely records the prejudice of the writer and the paper.


‘I have spoken often about doing business responsibly, including about these failings, since earlier this year. I am determined we have a leadership position and hold ourselves accountable in this regard,’ he said.

ABC NEWS 26 November, 2020, Andy Penn, CEO Telstra.


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