Ethics Alarms was happily bumping along at record-setting pace this year for traffic and comments, and suddenly hit a wall about mid-April. Visitors have been down 10% or more ever since. Ironically, this occurred just as the registers followers of the blog took a large leap forward after being in a rut for almost six months. 2016 is still well ahead of EA’s previous best year, but an unexplained crater like this is troubling. Usually May is the blog’s best month.
At least one heavy contributor has gone AWOL due to Trump/Clinton depression, which I share. I would not be surprised if EA lost a significant number of Never Hillary readers because of the official position here, which will not change, that voting for one of the most untrustworthy candidates in U.S. history is the only rational, patriotic and ethical response to the existential danger to the nation posed by the candidacy of Donald Trump. (See: A Nation of Assholes; this, 7 months later, from George Will, and about 8 months later, this, from Robert Kagan.)
Sorry that the truth hurts, but there it is. I know a lot of readers don’t like the predominance of political topics this year, but it’s an election year of unusual ethics volatility. Believe it or not, I don’t post on many political issues I probably should, in order to keep this a pan-ethics forum and not just another public affairs site.
All I can do, I guess, is to continue to make my best judgments about the ethics topics that will enlighten, engage and provoke reasoned discourse, do the best job I can at explicating them objectively, and trying to make Ethics Alarms the best ethics commentary and analysis resource available. Ideas and criticism–respectful, constructive criticism—are always welcome, and Fred and others continue to do a wonderful job flagging issues and stories that I may have missed. I have been getting a lot of abusive comments lately—they tend to get trashed or spammed— and that is never fun: combined with the unexplained drop in clicks, the insults erode my delicate ego and psyche, leading to crippling self-doubts and anxiety.
Well, that overstates it just a bit, but you know me. I’m fragile.
I know this isn’t a race or a competition. Ethics Alarms is sui generis. It doesn’t run ads, so a drop in activity doesn’t have tangible effects, only emotional ones. I just want to do a good job, because this is important.
156 thoughts on “A Brief Message From The Ethics Bunker”
I didn’t realize traffic was down until I read this, but it makes sense to me now that I think about it. One of the complaints I have had over the years is that this blog is right of center, and truthfully I believe that’s where most of your positions rest as well Jack (although you fiercely claim to be a moderate). Because of this, when left of center readers comment, we have to be prepared for a swift and sometimes abusive avalanche of response because most of your readers are also right of center. It’s exhausting and depressing — not that people disagree with my opinion, but that I know there may only be a couple of readers out there (e.g., Patrice, Deery) who might be able to provide some back-up. So, now that you have endorsed Clinton as the only rational choice (a la P.J. O’Rourke), I imagine that a large number of your readers feel betrayed. Well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe you will start attracting a more moderate or left of center audience. I would love to see positions here debated by people on both sides of the aisle. Increased civil discourse is never a bad thing.
I think there may be some validity to this theory, except that I doubt most true Trump supporters have any interest or belief in ethics, and I doubt that they would follow this blog. The only pro-Trump comments I have received were so abusive or idiotic that I trashed them.
Obviously the more balanced the readership, the better. Both Steve-O and Tex are, I hope just temporarily, MIA. Defenders of Hillary are still not going to be treated with kid gloves here.
“I think there may be some validity to this theory, except that I doubt most true Trump supporters have any interest or belief in ethics, and I doubt that they would follow this blog. The only pro-Trump comments I have received were so abusive or idiotic that I trashed them.
Obviously the more balanced the readership, the better. Both Steve-O and Tex are, I hope just temporarily, MIA. Defenders of Hillary are still not going to be treated with kid gloves here.”
The juxtaposition of this with Beth’s comments, along with this: “I would not be surprised if EA lost a significant number of Never Hillary readers because of the official position here, which will not change, that voting for one of the most untrustworthy candidates in U.S. history is the only rational, patriotic and ethical response to the existential danger to the nation posed by the candidacy of Donald Trump.” should be clarified immensely.
My absence has nothing to do with the official stance taken by you that “Hillary is the Best Option*, therefore she’s the only option** to vote for”.
I don’t run from disagreement (like many did due to the discussions about the ACA debacle and race-relations debacle) and I don’t appreciate the subtle nod that direction.
Tex, I don’t see how you could, even combining those comments, feel that I was accusing you of running from disagreement. I certainly think no such thing, and the means is available to clarify any misunderstanding you believe is extant.
Beth put forth a theory that comports withe events and statistics. I noted that two, among others, heavy contributors vanished around the same time. No innuendo was intended.
But since you mention it, in a binary system, pretending that a non-realistic third option is anything but abdication is a rationalization. It’s like pacifism. Not fighting the threat is assisting the threat, and pretending that it has moral purity is just self-delusion.
“But since you mention it, in a binary system, pretending that a non-realistic third option is anything but abdication is a rationalization. It’s like pacifism. Not fighting the threat is assisting the threat, and pretending that it has moral purity is just self-delusion.”
That has yet to be demonstrated.
Much like this argument:
Not voting is like voting for Trump.
Abjectly irrational statement.
I’ve heard the never-Hillarites state: “Not voting is like voting for Hillary”
Those assertions are LOGICALLY equal, yet, in the context of this election they CANNOT both be valid, if one is invalid, and they are both logically equal, then BOTH are invalid.
So the argument that “Not voting is like voting for Trump” ought never be used again. It is silliness.
The problem with our binary system is that from here on out, each election will be a progressively WORSE prisoner’s dilemma so long as we continue to play the game of “no 3rd party will EVER have a chance”.
While that may be true this election, or the next election, or even the next election, over time, GOOD people standing OBSTINATELY in opposition to BAD people (read as Hillary and Trump) WILL eventually grow from a spark to a forest fire.
Good people shrugging their shoulders and SURRENDERING to one of the two CRAP options* will only perpetuate the dilemma. This rejection of the status quo MUST occur on all levels: Local, State and National. And it must occur with the foreknowledge that alot of elections WILL NOT BE WON anytime soon.
Sorry, but you are the one engaged in rationalization here (ethics surrender to be exact). Voting to be killed in 1 hour as opposed to being killed in 55 minutes on the argument that HEY, that additional 5 minutes may be enough for a real savior to show up and bail me out is not really a better choice. Not if you are ignoring the option of self-defense whether or not that self-defense is a long shot.
Somewhere someone analogized this choice being one like voting for King George or not voting for King George…I would assume that means the choice between a King George option and an American patriot option. I think the analogy would make much more sense saying this dilemma is more like the colonists being forced to vote for King George or to vote for Parliament. Well, we know what the colonists did. They made the right choice.
*and both represent severe existential threats to our country and its values – one more manifestly and proven to be so, the other merely conjectural, though extremely convincingly. It has yet to be demonstrated independently of any meme derived cant which one is WORSE than the other.
I agree with this.
Do you really think that’s possible in today’s political climate? I think there are very few people who straddle American ideologies like I do: For Marijuana. Against abortion. For gay marriage (a position that evolved, in no small part to discussing the issue here.), Against corporate welfare. Fiscally conservative, except that a safety net of some size is beneficial. socially liberal, except that those things growing in pregnant women are actually children. Atheist. Canadian. And maybe that’s given me a different perspective than the average onlooker.
I can’t count the number of left leaning friends I’ve lost this last election cycle. I find that people who identify ideologically as progressives, especially but not uniquely, are by and large intolerant. And unforgiving. And prone to get angry when confused by facts. Freedom of speech, which used to be a cornerstone of liberalism, is now treated like physical violence. This is the first time I can think in history where the grassroots of any party are looking to retard the rights of everyday citizens…. But that’s exactly what’s happening.
Now how does any of this effect this blog specifically? Well, first off: Whether the blog is centrist or not, the blog is perhaps accidentally counter-culture. Whoever is in power is more able to give Jack ammunition. For the longest time it could appear that Jack was picking on the democrats, because they were supplying him with the most actionable material, they were in power, they did things that effected larger audiences. Sure, there might have been some selection bias, and sure, there might have been some lensing going on… But that just makes the switch that’s happened more profound. Over the last two years, there have been more republicans to talk about, because republicans had gained more power two years ago when the senate swapped. Even then: Hillary was front and centre, because she’s presumably the next president of the United States. Now we’re talking about Trump, oh yes, Hillary’s still there, on a back burner, oh yeah Paul Ryan’s still there, somewhere in a shadow, maybe playing poker with Sanders, Warren and Obama. But forget them, we’re talking about Trump, and why? Because he’s more important than we really want to give him credit for. And that’s perhaps frightening.
Second, as the blog moves centre, you might see some of the elements on the right peel off. They might come back after a cool off, and especially if Hillary wins, and starts pumping out actionable material like it’s the 80’s all over again. Ideally, what that would mean is that more centrist readers would jump on board. But this isn’t ideal. This is 2016, and left of centre, there are fewer and fewer moderates. I think the average moderate liberal is probably 40 years old or better, Wow. WOW. The point I was going to make is that the left is less forgiving, and suffers from a homogenization of conformity of though, and that in order to get liberal readers, you’d have to censor your comments and stop posting negatively about Hillary, except I was going to make it about three more paragraphs.
But then I wrote “I think the average moderate liberal is probably 40 years old or better” and whenever I write “liberal” or “left” I try to picture the mirror of it, what does the right look like, what are conservatives doing? I bet the average moderate conservative is over 40 too.
Oh sure, that might be the prime demographic for religious fundamentalism, but they aren’t quite as eager to agitate for change. The status quo worked for them, and they’re generally in a pretty good place.
You look at the Bernie and Trump voters: They’re young. They’re ignorant, they were unengaged, but they’re angry, and so they’re agitating.
Maybe we have to stop thinking of the paradigm as left vs. right. Maybe the paradigm is Authoritarian vs. Liberal. Or even young vs. old.
When it’s one person, he’s a jerk, when it’s two people, they’re coincidentally jerks together, but when it’s an entire fucking generation, maybe we need to look at how we got here.
Young people don’t have the opportunities their parents did. You basically need a BA to stack cans in a grocery store, and that’s about all a BA is good for. There are so many more ways for them to fail, and fewer ways for them to recover. Welfare is a trap. Education is hostile. Economics are not their friend. And yeah: They seem entitled. They like their gadgets and toys, they want the newest and greatest, while never really taking care of the things that matter. But they’ve been taught that, and they learned from the best.
Maybe it explains the safe space culture, and what’s happening on campuses….. The world is scary. The most frightening question to a lot of these kids will be something like “What are you going to be when you grow up?” And they realize that “Shitposter on Reddit” isn’t a viable career. And so there’s an attempt to mould the world around them into something more… comfortable. I’m thinking back to that screaming girl who yelled at the husband of a professor who said something disparaging about cultural-appropriation: “This isn’t a place of learning, this is our home!”
And so their vehicle to make the world… safer… for them is to agitate for laws that infringe the rights of others, to take money that is unearned, because they don’t see a vehicle to earn it… They become authoritarian.
I think I need to think about this for a while. This might be just as paradoxical as the black reparations that weren’t reparations scenario Jack made a couple months back.
Great comments HT! In my opinion; the two should be a candidate as a single comment of the day.
I agree! Just thinking about how to do that.
Let me ponder this for awhile.
Beth said, “So, now that you have endorsed Clinton as the only rational choice…”
With all due respect, in regards to Jack’s opinion of Clinton being the “only rational choice”, that does not equate to an endorsement of Clinton. An analogy might be; if I were given the choice to have either my leg cut off or my head cut off, I’d choose my leg so; therefore, you might want to say that Zoltar wants his leg cut off when in fact I do not want that at all. It’s choosing the lesser of two evils.
Which teacher would you endorse to teach your children at school, a teacher with an IQ of 10 or a teacher with an IQ of 69? Those are your only two choices.
An endorsement in short is declaring one’s public approval or support of something, to my knowledge (been out of country for a couple of weeks) Jack has not done that; he’s choosing to cut off his leg instead of his head. I think I’ll write in Jack Marshall for President.
Thanks for catching that, ZS. I am certainly not endorsing Hillary in any way, shape or form, any more than I am endorsing this wad of paper in my hand when I say, in all seriousness, that I would prefer voting for it than Donald Trump.
Yes, but that’s just semantics. He’s still pulling the lever for Clinton on election day. As am I – because I don’t have a better choice.
Beth said, “Yes, but that’s just semantics.”
I get that kind of cop out nonsense on other sites, I don’t need it here too; you’re more intelligent than that.
I thought you were a lawyer?? You should know that semantics can make a difference, sometimes a BIG difference, in how our words/arguments are perceived; but of course we shouldn’t comment on such things if it’s related to your comments; poke, poke, jab, jab. Seriously Beth; semantics is a really lame excuse for an educated person such as yourself to be using, if “that’s just semantics” is all you’ve got, it’s not worth replying.
So Beth you didn’t answer this question; “which teacher would you endorse to teach your children at school, a teacher with an IQ of 10 or a teacher with an IQ of 69” or is my use of the word endorse just semantics there too? They’re both literally lacking core common sense much like Trump and Clinton?
Beth said, “when left of center readers comment, we have to be prepared for a swift and sometimes abusive avalanche of response because most of your readers are also right of center.”
It’s not necessarily because you’re left of center and others are right, it’s because of what you and others left of center choose to say. Excuses will get you nowhere in this world.
“It’s not necessarily because you’re left of center and others are right, it’s because of what you and others left of center choose to say. Excuses will get you nowhere in this world.”
Ack! Did you read your own words before you hit submit? Doesn’t that just prove what Beth and I are saying?
I mean, seriously. Of COURSE it’s because of what those left of center are saying. Kind of obvious that there is just disagreement. But those right of center always seem to get snotty about the disagreement.
Patrice said, “Did you read your own words before you hit submit?”
Patrice said, “Doesn’t that just prove what Beth and I are saying?”
Sweet Jesus. Fine — let me know if this is better. “I do not endorse Hillary Clinton. She is a liar. However, she is a more rational choice than Donald Trump. So citizens, I urge you to make the rational choice on election day. Mine you, I am not endorsing Hillary Clinton, that is important, even though you must vote for her.”
I can tell you’re not a lawyer Zoltar (and that is not an insult). Judges hate semantic arguments with a blazing hot passion. Juries even more so.
As for the teacher hypothetical, I refuse to consider it. That it why my husband and I are going broke paying for private school. We are buying our way out of that problem — I went to crappy schools and I refuse to send my children to schools which appear even worse than the ones I attended. Unfortunately, we can’t buy our way out of this election cycle. My hope is that Humble has a spare bedroom that we can use while we shop for property. Bonus — I’m from Michigan so I’ve already got the accent down pat.
Beth said, “As for the teacher hypothetical, I refuse to consider it. That it why my husband and I are going broke paying for private school. We are buying our way out of that problem — I went to crappy schools and I refuse to send my children to schools which appear even worse than the ones I attended.”
Honestly Beth, I think you are simply refuse to acknowledge the validity of the points I made or they have blown completely over your head. Either way, never mind.
Beth said, “I can tell you’re not a lawyer Zoltar (and that is not an insult).”
I wouldn’t take being told that I’m not a lawyer, doctor, physicist, plumber or any other occupation as an insult, why would I, it’s truth; I’m an overly educated Engineer with 12 years of previous experience and education in the school of hard knocks and common sense and I’m also a Computer Programmer? You and I actually think differently.
This is the same sort of lousy communication that got us into this mess. I expected better from the lot of you.
Does endorsement refer to a positive judgment of a person in general, or does it mean recommending a person as an option that is part of a specific context of other options? Jack means the latter but not the former. We all know this.
I declare a rationalist taboo on “endorse” and its derivatives: they can no longer be used in this argument. Now there is no more argument.
Well, you can argue about what “endorse” really means, but that’s irrelevant to the functional description of Jack’s opinion.
Here are some tools you can use to improve your communication skills, so you don’t have to be so adversarial with people you disagree with. It is necessary in order to resolve more or less all ideological conflicts or disagreements, no matter how major or minor, and to slice up propaganda like a cartoon samurai.
That link you provided was an interesting read; thanks for providing it.
No problem. Less Wrong has some very useful articles on rationality.
Misapplication. If your job is to choose the least horrible choice among two options, “It’s not the worst thong” isn’t a rationalization.
False dichotomy ALL day long – and will continue to be the false dichotomy until our nation dies in about 30 years as long as we perpetuate it.
There’s still time, though not much.
Now, if you try to explicate that theory rather than just asserting it, there may be a Comment of the Day in it for you. I can’t imagine how you can make the case that when only two competitors have a chance at winning it is responsible to avoid making sure the worst doesn’t win, but I have faith in you. Go for it.
Except the better analogy is “would you like your head cut off at the bottom of your neck or would you like your head cut off at the top of your neck?”
texagg04 said, “Except the better analogy is “would you like your head cut off at the bottom of your neck or would you like your head cut off at the top of your neck?”
Good observation; I think your analogy reflects my opinion better.
Emotion, not fact. In that situation, It is certain that either will be fatal. That is NOT the situation at all. In this choice, it is not certain that either will be fatal, but one choice poses a far greater likelihood of fatality than the other. A better version: do you want to end up maimed, crippled, brain-damaged and in constant pain, or dead. Well, where there is life, there is hope. Easy call.
Some days I feel like I should make myself a cardboard sign, let my hair and beard grow out and wander the street in Madison with dirty cloths; of course the sign would say…
WE’RE ALL DOOMED!!!
I’ll know you if I see the next time I’m downtown, then. Before you do that, though, you might want to consider joining my project.
Like any honest adults we disagree from to time to time, but I think you’re doing a fabulous job with your topic choices and sharing your opinions on the topics based primarily on ethics or the lack thereof. It is important to openly and honestly discuss ethics.
After being gone for a couple of weeks I’m enthusiastic about catching up around here.
Jack: ” I would not be surprised if EA lost a significant number of Never Hillary readers because of the official position here, which will not change, that voting for one of the most untrustworthy candidates in U.S. history is the only rational, patriotic and ethical response to the existential danger to the nation posed by the candidacy of Donald Trump.”
Well, maybe you have made up your mind, but perhaps some of your readers still have an open mind on this topic. So, I will throw in my two cents. Coming from the land that elected Jesse Ventura and Al Franken, I consider myself somewhat of a keen observer of Clown Candidates.
I despise Hillary. I do not want to see her elected Her presidency would likely be disastrous for the country. I hate that the “conservative” option (he’s not conservative!) is Trump. Trump is the most unqualified person running at this point (and probably has been since Carson dropped out).
Unfortunately, Sanders appears to be the most qualified candidate. As I pondered that, I realized that the saving grace of a Sanders presidency is that he would be largely ineffective. He would rant and rave, and he would have a lot of progressives supporting him, but he would not likely do much damage because he could not get sufficient support for his positions.
Then, I looked at Hillary and Trump.
Hillary would be extremely effective. Obama was an incompetent politician, but he got a lot of stuff done because he had a House and Senate that would pass almost anything he wanted. With Hillary in the White House (and Bill helping to make policy), she might enjoy enough popular support to accomplish her goals.
I am not convinced that Trump has the same clout. Whatever his accomplishments as a CEO (and I do think running a business can provide valuable insights about governing beyond the crony capitalist lessons Trump has learned), we have a system of divided government. A Narcissist like Trump is likely to be unable to cope with the division of powers. And, unlike FDR, the closest example of a dictator we have had in the U.S., Trump is not likely to have a legislature complicit in the power grabs FDR made. The Democrats will not support Trump. And, I do not see Paul Ryan caving in to him. I would expect Ryan to assert himself as the leader of one-half of a coequal branch of government. Any suggestion of “co-equals” would likely make Trumps hair stand on end (it’s real by the way, and it’s the best hair there is). So, as ineffective as Sanders may be, Trump may be more so. And, Obama stood no chance of being Impeached (even without the threat of Biden as the President); Hillary, likewise, would be unimpeachable; Trump, however, would enjoy no such luxury (and, a competent vice-president may make impeachment desirable for everyone). Trump will either learn to play nice with others (Obama has not learned that in 8 years), or his ability to damage the country will be severely limited.
So, you may call him an existential threat, and he very well may be. Our government was designed to move slowly, for there to be gridlock, and for power to be limited and divided. Bill Clinton accomplished many bi-partisan things (and some good things) because of gridlock (and the threat thereof). Reagan, as well. Bush 43 accomplished a number of bad things because he had little opposition (and 9/11 served to justify some big government initiatives that likely would not have been supported by small government people otherwise). As I suggested before, FDR was extremely effective (and very dangerous to the Republic) because the Congress was complicit in his bullying of the Court.
Do Americans really believe that any more? Do they believe the states have any separate role to play? Do they believe in Federalism? Do they believe in limited government? I think a Trump presidency will prove that they do; a Clinton presidency would likely prove otherwise. While there is a lot of hand-wringing about nascent fascism in Trump’s appeal, I do put more trust in the American people than I do in Germans in the 1930’s. But, the existential threat posed by the Trump campaign is that, if he is elected and be effective without cooperating with the Congress, a Trump presidency will simply reveal that the Republic is already lost.
Between the Pathological Liar and the Megalomaniacal Narcissist (and, to be fair, the Democratic Socialist), it appears to me that the Megalomaniacal Narcissist may do the least amount of damage. And, for me, if I am going to be ruled by a dictator, give me an ineffective one. An ineffective dictator gives me the greatest chance to remain free.
I just hope that that Trump’s candidacy represented a “Jesse Ventura” style hangover that we get out of our system and move on from.
On the other hand, Al Franken is in the Senate. So, maybe we are doomed.
Jut — interesting analysis. But you are focused on domestic policy. Don’t forget the military and foreign policy. Trump could do considerable damage there.
I am not sure he would be worse than Clinton.
Clinton’s foreign policy is difficult to evaluate. It was Obama’s policy, but, to the extent she claims it in her favor, it is fair to judge her by it.
Of course, Libya fell apart, as did much of the Middle East (except Iran). Hillary hit the “reset” button on Russia, and Putin reset the Ukraine to 1991.
Would Trump be worse? He would certainly be different. Like Reagan, he may make the Russians and Iranians worried about his intentions and capabilities. However, Reagan also had a sense of humor about himself, and likely gave him some genuine humility about his relationship to his office. The comparisons can only go so far.
So, yes, Trump would certainly have a different foreign policy from Clinton. I do not know if it would be worse.
Good Lord. You’re speculating about policy? That’s unbelievable, when the issue is temperament, stability, ethics, character and stability. The man’s a vulgar, badly educated, intellectually lazy, insecure narcissist. That’s all you need to know; there isn’t any more. Why is this so difficult to accept?
Nations led by vulgar, badly educated, intellectually lazy, insecure narcissists fly off the tracks, and whether the leaders are right or wrong on specific issues makes no difference in the long run. A nation taht designates that kind of a personality as “the top” is committing cultural suicide.
I don’t see how many more ways I can explain it.
As far as culture is concerned, it doesn’t make that much difference whether he’s actually elected or not. The fact that he and Hillary (and Bernie) are the prospective finalists is already a damning indictment of American wisdom. The actual moment of election is inconsequential compared to everything that leads up to it.
It’s actually quite practical to worry about policy, since we’ll need to attend to changing the culture no matter what happens, but policy determines how much time we have to do it before something bad happens that’s much harder to reverse.
Oh, worry about policy all you want to, but with Trump, there is no way to guess what will crawl out of a Trump White House. Policy is the easy part of leadership. Decision-making—you know, what Obama can’t do—is the hard part. That’s the part that takes experience, wisdom, courage, integrity and judgment, none of which Trump has, and unlike other badly prepared leaders, he doesn’t appoint competent people either. He’ll make decisions, quick and decisively. I don’t doubt that at all. But if he makes a good one, it will be puree moral luck. I don’t even want to think about foreign relations under Trump.
Didn’t a prominent leader once say something to the effect that you can’t hold a candidate to the policy promises they made during their candidacy, those are just things you say to get elected.
Furthermore; since any policy a President proposes through the normal process has to make it through two houses of congress to be come law, in my humble opinion, a candidates perceived policies are certainly of significant value in a candidacy but they are secondary to the perceived moral character of the candidate.
The moral character of a leader directly affects how that leader will choose to make decisions that effect every person in this country and quite possibly the world; therefore in my opinion, the moral character (or lack thereof) of a candidate FAR out weighs the perceived policies of any given candidate. Trump has shown us over and over again that he is a morally bankrupt narcissist and I don’t want him in the office of the President of the United States under any circumstances.
Obama has skirted the normal processes of law making by issuing Executive Actions in many forms essentially bypassing Congress, what exactly do you think a morally bankrupt narcissist like Trump will do wielding the same Presidential tools? I choose not to put a loaded firearm in the hands of a morally bankrupt narcissist that is completely devoid of wisdom and integrity.
Based on the points people have made, I think I’d have to lean in favor of Hillary, assuming the choice is between her and Trump.
Both are incredibly unethical, and both will attempt to make people stupider, in their own ways (Hillary pushes them down; Trump pulls them down). Offhand, I predict that Hillary will probably not screw up foreign policy too badly, but will attempt to warp the country in a negative manner. Trump will make a huge mess of foreign policy, but I don’t think he’d interfere as much with the country itself. Ultimately, I think it’s better to have a decent foreign policy at the moment. I say this, but I wouldn’t count on anything being in working order after a presidency from either of them.
As far as being an ethical role model, Hillary is obligated to at least try to seem like she has good character, so that makes her marginally better than Trump, who doesn’t even pretend. She has to pay attention to what people think, which means that if she can’t manipulate them, she has to go along with them. Trump doesn’t seem to be controllable at all. Better elect a manipulator who is a slave to appearances, rather than a loose cannon, I suppose?
Jack, why are the issues temperament, stability, ethics … And stability (again). Because you say so? No. We are a nation of laws, not men. We are at a point where we can only continue if we (the nation if laws) can survive a horrendous leader. I think Trump will be easier to survive.
You claim to be studied in the Presidency. We have had unstable presidents. Tyler? Temperament? Jackson? What about Arthur’s, whom you seem to admire. May Trump not measure up?
And, what if he does not? You talk about nations led by vulgar, etc. people. Henry V, Richard II, Henry VIII, Edward II, Henry VI? I say: that is irrelevant. We are a Nation of Laws. We are NOT like other nations.
Why is this so difficult to accept?
Actually, I find it comforting. We can survive a Trump presidency; we can survive Sanders; a Clinton presidency is another matter. I will trust our system of laws to neutralize Trump. Clinton is far too capable to underestimate.
I would bet that we can “survive” a Trump Presidency, but the culture will be permanently scarred and reduced, and the office’s standards will be diminished, with the legacies of Washington and Lincoln permanently erased.
Not because I say so, but because I know what I’m talking about. American is uniquely influenced by the character of its leader, much more so than any modern democracy. I don’t know why you think Tyler was especially unstable, but Jackson was a genius–like Teddy, an unstable genius, but still a genius. Other unstable Presidents had many other excellent and outstanding qualities that made them outstanding leaders. Trump has none. Your argument is like defending a drunk, lazy, defiant and unskilled baseball player by arguing that Babe Ruth and Grover Cleveland Alexander were drunks too. Trump has no qualities of Presidential leadership, but many that infamous autocrats have had in other nations.
We desperately need a President who will restore the system to one of laws after an 8 year, cynical rejection of that concept by Barack Obama and the Democrats. Trump is not that President. He has advocated torture. He has advocated constitutional abominations. He could not do anywhere near as much harm had Obama not so seriously eroded the Rule of Law, but then without Obama’s reducing the Office to a celebrity turn, there would be no Donald Trump.
Not Tyler. I was thinking of Pierce.
That makes more sense. But prior to being driven to grief and alcohol by seeing his son crushed to death before his eyes and having his wife suffer a complete breakdown as a result, Pierce has exhibited consistently admirable character. The tragedy that destroyed him happened after he was already elected; there is no question that had it occurred before, he would not have run.
Trump has no equivalent excuse.
As you and I have argued before Jack, many people (myself included) vote policy over person. Leaders always disappoint, and I refuse to put my faith in any person who can emerge from the cesspool we call the political process claiming to smell like a rose.
What I don’t understand about Trump supporters though is that Trump lacks character AS WELL AS any definable policy position — other than “Vote for me. I will make America great again.” So, why are they voting for him?
And the answer is they have no answer: they are angry, of they hate Hillary, or they like his upsetting the politically correct, all of which equally supports voting for a 6th grade, obscenity-spouting bully.
Had it been Obama and Trump in 2008, you would have voted for Obama.
Is that right?
Of course! I would have voted for every major party candidate for the Presidency from the beginning of popular elections to the present over Trump. John C. Calhoun. George McClellan. Warren G. Harding. Barry Goldwater. Nixon. Dole. Kerry. Gore. Carter. Dead or alive. Easy call.
And in 2008, I had no idea how flat-out awful Obama would be. I remember telling someone in 2008 that it was one of the few times in my lifetime when I could honestly say that both parties had presented admirable, ethical, trustworthy candidates.
Okay, and just so you know, Hillary will probably do for the War on Women what Obama did for race relations.
And, the progressive agenda will march forward, as it has done for the last 100 years.
Because she is an ideologue.
Trump is no ideologue. He can be neutralized and the damage he does to the country can be minimized. Maybe he is the worst candidate for the office, but he is not the most dangerous for the country.
Hillary’s deficits are irrelevant to the conclusion that Trump is dangerous, untrustworthy and unfit in every way. You could make the same argument you just did if Hillary were running against a chimp.
And I think you’re wrong anyway. Trump and his bimbo-trophy wife are likely to set gender relations back decades. Whatever you can say about Hillary, she no misogynist.
No misogynist, just an enabler for a rapist. She will do literally anything for power.
Fixed that for you.
What about Teddy’s party in 1912? You left him out. Because he was not part of a major party? That is worth an explanation. He was obviously qualified. Is party more important than the person (or were you just mentioning well-known races?)?
I was mentioning bad candidates in other contests that would be preferable to Trump. Obviously TR was not a bad candidate.
I always pay attention to the twitter and FB postings about what’s going on. I tend to flock to “quizzes” because they take a little mental acumen to start thinking of the situation in detail and what if this or what if that. The political stuff tends to fall into mainstream reporting and only adds to the echo chamber that’s already out there.,..but it’s your site, the only way to stay prolific is to write about things that provide you with interest and intrigue! Carry on, the world will fix itself and you’ll have your page views soon.
And, if you are worried about lagging hits to your site, consider changing the wallpaper. Clinton is bad enough, but the Cryptkeeper’s daughters is enough to scare anyone away.
May I suggest you update it with a Naked Teacher Principle theme?
That would make EA the Daily Caller.
It’s time to take down Hillary, I agree. But the email stuff keeps dripping out…
“Let Him In” Will almost certainly raise eyebrows if anyone happens to sit at my desk before I can minimize it. But que sera sera.
“I didn’t realize traffic was down until I read this, but it makes sense to me now that I think about it. One of the complaints I have had over the years is that this blog is right of center, and truthfully I believe that’s where most of your positions rest as well Jack (although you fiercely claim to be a moderate). Because of this, when left of center readers comment, we have to be prepared for a swift and sometimes abusive avalanche of response because most of your readers are also right of center. It’s exhausting and depressing — not that people disagree with my opinion, but that I know there may only be a couple of readers out there (e.g., Patrice, Deery) who might be able to provide some back-up. So, now that you have endorsed Clinton as the only rational choice (a la P.J. O’Rourke), I imagine that a large number of your readers feel betrayed. Well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe you will start attracting a more moderate or left of center audience. I would love to see positions here debated by people on both sides of the aisle. Increased civil discourse is never a bad thing.”
The above comment is by Beth.
This Blog has been helpful to me for a few reasons. One is that I came to it originally through a search for a forum dedicated to ethics and morality. I have mixed feelings about Ethical Alarms, and by this I mean essentially Jack’s philosophical position within ‘ethics’ as a discipline, not because he does not have a position – he certainly does – but because I cannot understand the ground of it in the most specific senses. I have thought at times that it is the ethics of the ‘propositional nation’ of Lincoln. Or a certain form of common-sense ethics, or perhaps ‘American Ethics’. In any case, it seems to me that it lacks in some important sense a declared and established base.
I am sure that one has to (I have to) get to the bottom of what exactly informs people who locate themselves on the left side of the political spectrum. I have had to examine why, once upon a time, I was most attracted to that pole. The more I look into it though, the more that I notice that it is ‘infected’ with Anarcho-Sydicalist/Marxist and New Left intentionality (how should one label it? I am not sure), and I have become convinced that overall and in the long run it is these intellectual and philosophical platforms which are directly undermining the Europe and the America – and what I mean is the Europe constructed by Europeans and white Europeans – that is the only entity that I know how to value and that I want to be a part of.
The Left is undermining Western civilization even as it believes – sincerely – that it represents a cure for the Western malady. The Western Malady seems to me to be a psychological assessment of the European soul after the disasters of the two major European wars. An assault has been launched against the possibility of European Identity which is partly a directed effort and a form of suicide, or self-hatred, of self-undermining. What are the ethics, I ask, involved in bringing this to light? What is the role of defined morality toward this? And *this* is what is not ever named and talked about, as I have seen, on this Blog nor on any political blog that I am aware of unless it is well on the fringe.
Along this line I do not see Jack or any other centrist or rightist who writes on this blog as being anything else but coopted into this brand of liberalism. I don’t mean original liberalism that developed in England (which is much more conservative by the standards of the present) but the hyper-liberalism of our present. Again, I see it as an infection of ideas that requires to be purged. But how can it be purged if one does not fully understand what is required to resist it? That is my dilemna in brief. To seek the ‘antidote’ for this corrupting left-leaning ‘progressive’ social justice warrior’s milquetoast slop requires a hard turn to the Right, but part of that is coming to understand the whole pole of the conservative right as a philosophical platform, and this is where things get dangerous.
The Present, how does one define it? The Present is essentially a vast seduction in operation. The seduction functions on all levels of the political body and the individual body is infected with corruption. If Ethics and Morals does not have to do with locating and understanding corruption on the political and social body, what exactly does one mean when one broaches the topic of ethics?
The last specific interaction I had from Jack was a comment from him that some of my positions (more ideas than actual positions) would lead to conflict, civil conflict, and even to disassociation. My position is one of Eurocentrism. That means white people in white countries pursuing European-defined goals and aspirations: the very stuff that has made Europe what it is and which has, also, transformed the world in extremely positive ways (the very measure of what ‘positive’ can mean). I am both a Latina (a Jew of Sephardic descent) and a Jew who has opted to take my stand with white culture and white identity, and to opt-out of Jewish identity and a whole pattern of activity in the present in which America is a central player (you are indeed hearing what you think you are hearing). These are radical postures. They mean things. They have implications. Say things like this and you get put on the SPLCs watch list. Where is my platform for political conversation? It is not allowed to exist.
The ‘Europe’ I define and comprehend is being undermined and destroyed consciously and also subconsciously. Because I resolve to live my life, as well as to develop my intellectual life, toward the service of preservation of ‘Europe’, it means taking a stand that is understood, rightfully so, as radical in our confused present, and against mental conditions and positions that seem to me to be deeply confused. But the confused who seem to feel they know the truth and can reveal it. That is ‘the Left’ in a nutshell.
Right or wrong, agree or disagree, up or down, left or right, inside or outside; that’s the most complete description of you that I have read to date.
Friendly suggestion, take it or leave it; you might want/need to find the answers to your questions instead of perpetually asking the questions without truly spending the time to seek out the answers. Pick a question – focus on it – and find the answer that make sense to you, and then pick another, etc. If you sincerely cannot find an answer to a question, an answer may not exist at that time, accept that, let it go, and move on. A life with only questions and no real answers is a bit chaotic. Asking the right question is also helpful; asking questions like a conspiracy theorist might, e.g. questions that are not answerable, only leads to a deepening of the mental chaos.
I appreciate the sentiment of your advice. The issue is infinitely more complex though. A large portion of the ethics issues that have come up here to be explored have to do with race issues. This is an example of an intensely knotty issue.
In your sense I applied myself to the question, I spent over a year looking into it, I read a good deal, and I attempted to force the issue to a conclusion, and the conclusion is that: Neither here, nor anywhere on the planet, will two distinct races, with very different destinies, and very different aptitudes and desires and visions, ever have success ‘living together’. A polity that presumes such a thing is doomed to fail at the project. It is not just that the races conflict naturally, it is that *here* in America a false-notion functions that the white and the black races are *supposed* to exist together, and that it can be successfully pulled off, and that it is a platonic ‘Good’ that this occur.
These ideas, starting from the very base, are false. They have led and they will continue to lead to conflict, enmity, and finally to some level of confrontation. The symptoms of this have been visible over the last 8 years or so especially, and as everyone knows with two eyes to see out of their head, a reaction is brewing. But note: What people *really think* is not at all what they actually vocalize. You are not allowed to state an honest opinion, and you know that were you to do so you would be destroyed, and so your sentiment goes underground, and yet it is still there, simmering. Those that forward this race-mixing plan are all of them way on the Left of the spectrum. In fact (according to my researches) the origin of the idea likely has its origin in communistic or Marxian theory. Even Lincoln who was opposed to the slavery by one man of another with all the force of his being, was an open, abject and total race-realist and desired to export the then relatively small population. That fact alone is rather astounding when you note how Lincoln is enshrined in the American Civil Pantheon.
The purpose and intention of present policies and the structure of ideas that supports the policy is to dilute and to destroy white identity, European identity, in favor of some sort of internationalist perspective, a rainbow vision dreamed up by some stoned Trotskyite. The damage is being done. The social body is turned into a social experiment with, essentially, the fate of the nation in the balance. I defy you and anyone to attempt to ‘look behind the curtain’ to see what interests are pulling these strings. Start with ‘the univerity educated’. Examine the professors. Note the links in idea back to Critical Theory. Note the ‘turn against the self’ that has been a reaction to the second of the two devastating European civil wars. Note that America as giant Walmart is the designer’s End in View. It does not matter which biological cogs you import into the polity, since they are seen as all being equal, interchangable. So, put some energy looking into this you say? Determine if those that constructed a given civilization are merely interchangable with some others with no inate relationship with it? Look into that question you say? And where shall one do that? In what forum, in what University, in what political context? You obviously do not have any idea what you are talking about. You have not yet grasped that self-editing and self-imposed Political Correctness cannot allow the thoughts to be thunk.
Three Forbidden Volumes I recommend: Lothrop Stoddard’s ‘The Revolt Against Civilization’ (1922), Alexis Carrel’s ‘Man The Unknown’ (1935), and Houston Chamberlain’s ‘The Foundations of the Twentieth Century’ (1910). In my view, you have to go back to just before and after the Great War to get to ideas that are relatively untainted. The books I mention, the ideas contained in them (they all touch on the intense relevance of genetics and physical and biological structure as the foundation of civilization), along with dozens and dozens of other such books, deal in ideas which are unthinkable in our present. Effectively illegal. Unmentionable. In a realm of ‘unthinkable thought’.
My intuition tells me, Zoltar old bean, that you yourself have not the slightest idea what ‘free thinking’ is and could be. I have read nearly all of your posts here and you have not, not in any one of them, even begun to scratch the surface. Your ideas are located in a totally superficial zone. You can be polemic within that limited zone, yet you are a well-trained American, completely indoctrinated in and constrained by very clear (and identifiable) parameteres of thought which you self-patrol. You are literally terrified into keeping your opinions squeaky-clean by the structures which establish the limits of thinkable thought.
What I wish to bring to your attention is that there is an intellectuall-based movement within America and in Europe which is pushing down these false-frontiers that establish ‘respectable limits of thought’. They rip the lid off and expose the guts of what we really need to look at and understand and they propose ways to begin that enterprise. It HAS a philosophical base: Platonic, Aristotelian, Cartesian and Indo-European. It is really actually very exciting, if also dangerous and confrontational.
I am glad though that you are in support of this sort of demanding intellectual endeavor. It’s nice to know that I have an ally!
Alizia said, “Neither here, nor anywhere on the planet, will two distinct races, with very different destinies, and very different aptitudes and desires and visions, ever have success ‘living together’.”
That is the opinion of a defeatist and everything in my soul disagrees with that opinion. That specific opinion can be interrupted as blatant racism regardless of intent.
There are no chasm walls created so distant by ideologies that are not bridged by the solid foundation of underlying human commonalities that support those ideologies.
Sure, that is why I said:
“My intuition tells me, Zoltar old bean, that you yourself have not the slightest idea what ‘free thinking’ is and could be. I have read nearly all of your posts here and you have not, not in any one of them, even begun to scratch the surface. Your ideas are located in a totally superficial zone. You can be polemic within that limited zone, yet you are a well-trained American, completely indoctrinated in and constrained by very clear (and identifiable) parameteres of thought which you self-patrol. You are literally terrified into keeping your opinions squeaky-clean by the structures which establish the limits of thinkable thought.”
Some posts above you offered to me a generous if paternalistic, suggestion about how to conduct my intellectual life. I suggest that 1) you consider that your ‘ideas’ may not be freely arrived at, 2) that race and culture need, by you, to be more closely studied, and 3) that what you have done, in essence, is to have shunted away the core issue (if one is speaking about race: the hot-topic of 2015-2016) into the no-go zone of unthinkable thought. ‘Racism’ is the term by which the conversation, and any level of conversation/investigation, is brought to a stonecold halt. The term is designed to function in that way. (I prefer to provide my own labels for myself: race-realist, eurocentric race protectionist, identarian, Euro-nationalist, etc. These are all distinctions that could be discussed, rationally, and yet which are not allowed to be defined as rational terms of discourse).
Exactly this is what one has to confront: the closed mental shop Not only does it function in issues that touch on race, but in ALL AREAS. This points in the direction of renovation of thinking; reestablishment of the base on which thinking occurs. This, Dear Zoltar, is what I dedicate myself to.
Additional note: I am 100% cognizant that nearly all of the ideas that I have identified as important and the most important CANNOT be openly discussed on this Blog or any other forum, anywhere.
Do you understand the implications of that?
Your comment about ‘chasm walls’ is, I suggest, a terribly imprecise, false-idealistical construct that must be looked into, if only to understand the origin of the ideas. That in itself is a demanding endeavor.
Summation: I recognize that I must cease to post here on this Blog. I am headstrong but not, I hope, stupid. It is moreover ‘impolite’ to importune.
Alizia said, “I am headstrong but not, I hope, stupid.”
You’re a racist and the sooner you accept that fact the sooner you can learn to deal with it on a human level and not justify it with your faux intellectual bull shit.
Alizia said, “I recognize that I must cease to post here on this Blog.”
Good riddance, racist.
OK, makes sense. But by way of a somewhat funny final statement: Stephanie Song was essentially ethical in her approach. She presented her case honestly and openly. She did not lie or misrepresent herself. But you said she was a ‘blithering idiot’. Your statement and the animus expressed in it is unethical.
I know my thoughts and ideas are profoundly unpopular but I too have never concealed what I was thinking, or what informed my thought, nor what my *process* has been.
What I have learned here, overall, is that if one choose to express oneself in no uncertain terms, one’s idea will be dismissed without consideration. Despite what you might think I understand this. It is not the best-case scenario and yet it is, in its way, necessary.
Still, I assert that I am not outside of either Ethics or Morality as a topic of study. In fact, I rather think I am well within it. But to develop that case takes time and a great deal of effort. And the willingness to stand up to the fire of opposition.
Calling people racists never solved anything, true or not. I thought we had learned that. There is no downside to discussing whatever Alizia’s ideas are, because we are rational people and are more likely to arrive at the right conclusion the more thought we give them. We could dismiss them out of hand, but there are two downsides to that.
First, dismissing an idea out of hand for what seems to be a perfectly reasonable justification frequently results in failing to consider an important possibility, especially if that possibility is related to but not the same as the original idea.
Second, dismissing an idea that someone actually sincerely believes will prevent either of you from learning whether or not you are right. It is arrogant of you to assume that you are right, even if you have thought it through very carefully, because they have thought through their own experiences and have come to an equivalent conclusion.
I don’t call myself Extradimensional Cephalopod for a lark. I will alter my entire consciousness, forsake any belief, if it means being closer to the truth, because all consideration indicates that we’re all better off the closer we all are to the truth, and you can’t get to the truth unless you’re willing to entertain the possibility that politically incorrect things are true. If you examine them and find them false, your refutation is stronger than it would have been had you not done so. If you examine them and find them true, you can create a better and more respectful world for everyone because you have a more accurate picture of the world.
The reason facts or ideas are deemed politically incorrect is because idiots use them as an excuse to be disrespectful. There is no “fact” that means you should harass or do violence to anyone, and if we simply stop letting people get away with that, we won’t put quite so much effort into preventing ideas from being duly considered. But we come full circle when we are disrespectful to people with politically incorrect ideas. Outside of an emergency, there is no disqualifying factor for respect. You’re not a freethinker if you shut someone out.
Informing someone that they are racists or bigots is sometimes a shock to the system, and a rational individual will realize that something is out of whack. To do so as an insult is pointless and counter-productive, but to say it is never productive is like saying one should never tell someone the have BO.
I have, more than once, pointed out to a proud progressive that his or her attitudes toward the religious, conservatives, Republicans, Southerners, men, the aged and whites was bigotry by definition…and they realized I was right.
It seems more likely that a person will listen if you apply the label to their ideas, and not to the actual person.
Except that this is sophistry. A person who expresses bigoted ideas and uses bigoted logic is a bigot. Sometimes the sin defines the sinner. You are advocating spin, essentially. Dishonesty is not going to encourage ethics.
The point of applying the semantics my way is that it makes it easier for people to realize that people can change, and it is less likely to scare bigots away from the conversation, because if that happens they won’t learn anything.
Apply your drama skills to the idea of a rational argument. What is the best way to get people to stick around and actually listen to your point of view? I’d say it’s making sure they don’t feel threatened. It’s hard to not feel threatened when people are calling you a bigot.
Your analysis won’t change the world until you start having it work together with your empathy as equals. That doesn’t mean that analysis will be wrong in how to judge people unethical, but it will often be wrong in how to deal with the people so judged in order to get them to stop being unethical.
Extradimensional Cephalopod said, “The point of applying the semantics my way is that it makes it easier for people to realize that people can change, and it is less likely to scare bigots away from the conversation, because if that happens they won’t learn anything.”
I boldfaced the part I’m replying to. This it the root of where you and I disagree on this, I believe what you said is actually false.
I firmly believe that individuals learn best when they know where acceptable behavior boundaries end and unacceptable behavior begins. As clearly as we can define those acceptable boundaries the easier it is for individuals to know, ahead of time, when they are about to cross acceptable boundaries. To cross those boundaries, after they are known, is an individual choice.
With all due respect; being “politically correct” about acceptable behavior boundaries, especially when it comes to hot topics like bigotry and racism, makes the acceptable boundaries an extremely fuzzy gray line that always wanders in favor of unacceptable behavior/attitudes.
I don’t understand this at all. We do not debate whether or not the world is round anymore or whether the earth revolves around the sun. Debating the moral, physical, or intellectual ability of one race over another is over. There is no such superiority. Alizia is living in the 19th century in her attempt to approach this scientifically. She is a racist — but she’s trying to distinguish herself from the Chimpania crowd by using big words. That does not change the fact that she is a racist. Now, if she wants to find friends who think like her, there certainly are plenty of them in Europe right now. I don’t think they want an intellectual debate though.
Where Alizia struggles is interchanging the concepts of race and culture although she uses both words repeatedly. I would argue that there is superiority of one culture over another. American culture is superior to those stone age tribes that still exist in some parts of the world and eat each other in religious rituals. No question. American culture is superior to those with a defined caste system. American culture is superior to those where there is no separation of church and state. But American culture does not equal “white” culture.
I’ve said repeatedly on this site that she talks like an AI. And, like all cinematic AIs, she is classifying humans into groups. Next step is total annihilation. She needs new programming, and I mean that sincerely. I don’t like to engage with Alizia on this site because she is a racist, I don’t engage with her because she is bat-shit crazy. If you go back and read her comments (assuming they are true), she is in immediate need of mental health services. I acknowledge that it is cruel to put this comment in a blog, but I have no way of reaching her. Alizia, please go talk to a doctor. Please.
Beth said, “I don’t engage with her because she is bat-shit crazy. If you go back and read her comments (assuming they are true), she is in immediate need of mental health services. I acknowledge that it is cruel to put this comment in a blog, but I have no way of reaching her. Alizia, please go talk to a doctor.”
Although we agree that Alizia is a racist, you are not a psychiatrist. This is where I would draw the line, it’s not a grey line, it’s not a fuzzy line, what you wrote is vindictive and intentionally insulting and I think you crossed the line. Personally I think you owe Alizia an apology.
Nope, I’m not a doctor. That’s why I encouraged her to see one.
So, Zoltar, you’re not a freethinker, then? Freethinkers have no boundaries to considering ideas, only the pursuit of truth. No matter what the truth is, knowing it (enough of it, because fragments of it can be deceiving) will help us make people’s lives better, so there’s nothing to fear. What are you afraid will happen if you don’t establish a clear boundary? You think people will interpret that as uncertainty in your own position? In my experience, that only makes them more comfortable and willing to listen, or if they’re arrogant, it gets them to let down their guard and gives shrewd people (who know the reasons for their beliefs and can see flaws in icy clarity) an opening.
Are you afraid you will become a racist if you listen to racists justify themselves? It sounds like you might need to devote some thought to why racism is bad, since not being able to explain your beliefs makes you vulnerable to acting on them in destructive ways, even if the beliefs themselves are right.
How would you react if someone who you knew was wrong behaved the same way you do? You have to keep in mind that from your perspective, you’re right and they’re wrong, and their perspective mirrors yours perfectly. You can therefore use your own reactions to predict theirs with appreciable accuracy. If people condemn your eminently rational positions as being sophistry, or cold-hearted, or unwholesome, and present you with all sorts of arguments you don’t buy into instead of listening to what you have to say, do you think you’d get any closer to believing them? Any idiot can shun people. If you have reason to believe it makes them change, that’s good to know! I’ll go around berating people who are doing things that are “obviously” wrong. My peer-pressure power will single-handedly change the world.
Seriously, though, this aggressive labeling and refusal to listen is what got us into this mess, and as Einstein said, you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.
Here’s a useful article from Intentional Insights on how to go about enticing people to learn whether they’re wrong: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/x5/collaborative_truthseeking/. Full disclosure: I helped edit it.
Extradimensional Cephalopod said, “So, Zoltar, you’re not a freethinker, then? …”
I never claimed to be, or not to be, a “freethinker”; however, I’m a whole lot more of a free thinker than any of the thought limiting racists trying to use false science to say, imply, or prove that race, as a singular human trait, limits cognitive or intellectual traits of human beings; therefore, making one race superior to another. These, so called, free thinking racists have a real problem understanding that correlation does not imply causation.
I’ve gained a lot of respect for you EC over the few months I’ve been around here; but I’m sorry, I’m simply not going to bite at the rest of your bait and dive into your deflections any more than I just did.
Please respect the fact that I have voiced my opinion on racism and racists and I’m now done with this conversation.
Well, I’ll respect that you won’t reply to this, but my opinion of your character went down. I’m very disappointed that you, like so many others, have a clear perception of truth but lack the strength of character to do what is necessary to show that truth to the world in a way it can understand and accept. The way you interact with people you disagree with, you might as well be screaming inarticulately. Maybe that makes you feel better, but you’ll have to work harder if you have any real desire to solve the problem.
People who merely perceive the truth are rare but ineffective; they’re not going to do anything on their own except form echo chambers. It’s musical to some, but to anyone else it’s just noise. I’m slowly learning that just because other people can see the same things I do, it doesn’t automatically make them any more useful as forces for good than regular ignorant schmoes. Do check out that article on collaborative truth-seeking, though. It will come in handy when you are frustrated by people who are wrong.
I suppose I’ll never know why you consider it a bad idea to listen to a racist in exchange for greatly increasing the chance that they’ll change their mind. Maybe I can find someone to ask who’s like you, but with more courage and humility.
Your idea of respect, courage and humility and mine are clearly not the same. You just peeled away multiple layers of previously earned respect with that smear filled comment.
What. How can this be. I have it on good authority that smearing people and making it clear I disapprove of their point of view will get them to seriously rethink their position and realize their mistake. Furthermore, my source never let anyone attempt to redefine the labels that he applied to people. Where did I go wrong.
In any case, I’m using the mainstream definitions of respect (willingness to indulge someone within reason), courage (making an effort even though the outcome is uncertain and intimidating), and humility (not believing or giving the impression you believe you cannot be wrong). Your respect seems to disappear as soon as you consider someone wrong enough, which is depressingly normal for humans.
To be perfectly honest, I’m probably irrationally irritated at you because you’re an angry perception user, and I thought that meant you could become something like me. Realistically, though, anger is not the same as wrath (the desire for new possibilities of control), and perception users are hard to teach action. Like I said, I’m slowly realizing that just because people see clearly, it doesn’t make them useful forces for good.
However, as a deconstruction user, I will not let you maintain the delusion that what you do is useful. It’s people like you that make the schisms in society worse. Refusal to communicate is the problem, not the solution. It’s why Black Lives Matter Exists, and why Trump has so much support, and you are not going to fix it with thoughtcrime persecution.
Perhaps you don’t believe me, and so you’ll dismiss all respect for me because you “know” you’re right. Perhaps you’re afraid I’m right, and will dismiss all respect for me so that you can safely disregard my words and maintain your self-image of a righteous crusader for truth. Perhaps you will learn something. I’d appreciate it if people here turned their cognitive powers towards constructive purposes, but I can always look elsewhere. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
First use of “old bean” on Ethics Alarms. For that alone, I am grateful.
I’ve been watching Hitchcock films and it is repeated often in Suspicion!
You’ve been quite tolerant. Perhaps I’ll fly by again sometime when I’m all grown up …
Ablative takes that honor
Wow, I missed a lot while I was at work.
If you want the opinion of a freethinker, here’s mine: Everyone should be on the same page as far as ethics is concerned, but they should get there in an intellectually honest manner. Everything else is a matter of style, and accommodating the styles of others to some reasonable degree. If those principles are followed, then there’s no problem with anyone living next to anyone else.
Culture is made up, so we’re free to make up something better. I don’t respect any culture, but I do respect all people.
And yes, it should be possible to express any sincere idea and be treated with respect. I can understand and agree with some of what you have written about consciousness, but as far as I can tell much of your philosophy involves ascribing archaic patterns to reality that are overcomplicated and don’t fit. I don’t think you’re a bigot, but I think you’re empirically wrong about the significance of race to humanity.
It is admirable that you are speaking the truth as you know it, regardless of people attempting to stifle the discussion simply because they consider it resolved already. It just so happens that, as far as I can tell, you’re incorrect, and if you slow down a bit with the convoluted intellectual constructs, I’d be happy to discuss it with you.
Note for Zoltar: How can you steal the world from the clutches of ideological zealots if you yourself drive away people who disagree with you? That’s not going to help anyone learn anything.
Extradimensional Cephalopod said, “Note for Zoltar: How can you steal the world from the clutches of ideological zealots if you yourself drive away people who disagree with you? That’s not going to help anyone learn anything.”
You’re a pretty level headed person and I understand the perspective your coming from; but, I will not be “politically correct” when it comes to bigotry and racism – it’s just not going to happen. On that note; I will also not choose to label someone a bigot or racist when it is not crystal clear to me that it exists. The labels are earned and I don’t take any pleasure whatsoever in using them.
If someone is lying, be honest and responsible and tell them so; if someone is clearly exhibiting bigotry and racism (which makes them a bigot and a racist) be honest and responsible and tell them so; in my opinion not to do so condones the attitude – I will not do that. Sometimes being very direct and confrontational is the right thing to do.
EC wrote: “Culture is made up, so we’re free to make up something better. I don’t respect any culture, but I do respect all people.”
It will seem disingenuous that I speak of an intention to ‘be on my way’ but then come back, attracted to the juicy morsel as it were, to write more. I have this thing though: I both desire to provoke and challenge and then I also suffer from guilt-pangs. It is the guilt of ‘transgression’, of turning against the tide and current of ideas. That in itself (I have noted) is a complex group of sentiments and ideas.
I think I understand your statement: Culture is made up. I will suggest that in numerous senses it is an incorrect statement. It seems to me that it also holds some truth. And fine-tuning the statements that are both true and false, balancing the equation as it were, is a delicate intellectual undertaking. Too brusque, and one loses the truth-aspect; not forceful enough, and one allows misguiding statement to stand.
I declare myself to be a ‘race-realist’ and a cultural ethnocentrist. This is, according to me, very different indeed from being a ‘racist’. I watched ‘Mississippi Burning’ 4 months or so ago. I watched ’12 Years a Slave’ within the last month. I watched a most appalling Living Lie called ‘Lincoln’ relatively recently (twice I watched it).I understand what the word ‘racist’ means. Especially do I understand how a word is associated with profound sentiments and is then flung at another person. It is a mortal word designed to maim and to kill. It is a ‘magic word’ (Mao is said to have identified ‘magic words’ against which no one can stand once it is applied). OK, you get my point. Note that the term ‘racist’ is only used by one side. Those who are Identarians, Eurocentrists, even Supremists (a valid and cogent position BTW) do not refer to themselves as ‘racists’.
Am I a racist? To explain what I am involves two levels of effort: One, to intellectually counter an entire set of idea-constructs that inform the thinking of most people in our present. To turn against an emotional current which, as for example can be clearly noted with Zoltar, flows with great force, great ‘moral certainty’. It condemns in the same way as Luther condemns the Devil. It is Absolute Condemnation and there is no absolution availed it. To explain what I ‘am’ and what I see thus involves an agonizing, a time-consuming, a fraught endeavor to counter and to correct modes of thinking which have been set in motion in the post-war era. Additionally, and this is important, to define an aspect of my position, I have to both have turned against self-condemnation and self-contempt in myself, and as well in the auditor (reader) of my ideas. The ‘European grammar of self-intolerance’ (Jonathan Bowden cobbled this phrase together) is a profound turning-against-self. It is a veritible current of self-destructiveness that flows against one’s own identity, self-affirmation, and ‘right’, and it is tied to ideas which over-validate others as compensaion. I find this a terribly interesting topic of conversation, and if I had to include a by-line with a link to a toner sales blog I might just do it, just to be able to talk about this. (And I ask: What are the Ethics and the Morals of self-hatred and self-contempt? Interesting question, n’est-ce pas?)
So, that explains the first aspect of the endeavor. It is the ‘reconstruct a self that values itself’. It has to do with purging self-directed hatred, intolerance and contempt: very real things from a psycho-cultural point of view. I would make statements: ‘Europe is destroying itself through its self-inflicted knife wounds’. ‘Europeans are consciously destroying their capacity to see and understand themselves because self-directed hatred has become a predominant aspect of their self-expression’. And so on and so forth. These are ‘consciousness raising statements’.
The second aspect of the endeavor is to define a very different way of seeing and understanding race and culture. Here, I would take issue with your fallacious, and your destructive, statement. The tribesman of New Guinea (as an example from a culture of primitive man but there are many other examples possible) is not ‘inventing his culture’ in the sense that you mean. He is living in his self-manifestation. He is precisely that and no more. He is doing thevery best that he can (so to speak) with what he has. To imply that he ‘invents himself’ is really a very peculiar and idea-packed (actually ideology-packed) statement. It has to be taken down into pieces to be able to understand it. Because it is not just an ‘observation’, it is an organization of principles.
Indo-European culture, and the sort that produces Platos and Aristotles and Descartes (the etc. is important here because it constructed and reconstructed A World) and gets to the very *seeds* of what is possible to know, grasp and channel in this strange swirling world of matter & energy in which we find ourselves manifest, is not a ‘choice’ and is not ‘adventitious’ as Descartes might have said. You don’t ‘choose’ this as if selecting a certain color of bow-tie. It is something radically else. To define what *it* is, I suggest, is to have gained Self Knowledge. Not to know, is to live inauthentically in nescience. Though I cannot say I understand where you are coming from (only you can do that with further and continued definitions, offered and formulated and managed by you), I will suggest that with it you are failing to understand something of vital importance about ‘ourselves’. My desire is to give energy to and thus to revivify Identity. I suggest that this is not ‘racism’ and therefor I call it ‘race-realism’. Race Realism has to be explained. Explanations are laborious. They are not simple, especially when they must always be front-loaded with defensiveness. (Zoltar for example shuts down all receptive instrumentation, loads the Big Guns, and lets fly: No discussion possible! One does not negotiate with Satan! To battlestations!).
OK, so here is the hard part: and this idea turns against a vast Construct which is borne of ‘the Chaos of Peoples’: a great percentage of what we are, and thus who we are, and also what we can be, and then what we will be, is bound up in our physical structure. That is, it is genetic. You could say ‘psycho-physical’. You could say all manner of different things. But who we are is actually the end point (if the present is our point of reference) of long chains of activity, struggle, refinement, choice, valuation, restriction. We surge forward with our very ‘self’ through through our biological self into the next and the continued manifestation of ourselves within this plane of manifestation. OK. There you have the essence. Or ‘an essence’.
Now, I can and indeed one must go forward from that point to further definitions. Definitions are affirmations of understandings. I suppose (in your sense) one would call them ‘choices’. I have filled at, briefly but I hope clearly, an alternative to the (strange) idea you submitted, as well as indicated, allusively, where these my ideas further go.
Where do they go? Or where do they desire to go? That is a super-interesting question! Read Rene Guenon, Julius Evola, Lothrop Stoddard, Jonathan Bowden and people like this. I say that the Ideas turn against Decadence as an infection of the body, the social body and the idea body. This is radical and demanding material. It means things. It implies things. It literally, I suggest, turns against the current of the present and demands the establishment, in oneself, of a different platform of relationship to life and to the present.
You are clearly a forward-thinking person with a unique spiritual perspective and so it is possible to exchange ideas with you. And that is all that I have done.
EC wrote: “It is admirable that you are speaking the truth as you know it, regardless of people attempting to stifle the discussion simply because they consider it resolved already. It just so happens that, as far as I can tell, you’re incorrect, and if you slow down a bit with the convoluted intellectual constructs, I’d be happy to discuss it with you.”
‘Respect of persons’ is in many ways one of the core ideas in race-realism. The position that I have, just in part, defined here cannot IMO be said to involve ‘disrespect’. Thus by implying lack of respect you have indicated whu defensive postures and exposition become necessary as part of the first order of explanation.
I desire to understand and to respect myself, and thus to ‘know what I am’ and to know what I am capable of being and doing, and to see that (realistically) in distinction. That is, to see clearly that other peoples, though very capable in their own unique ways, are NOT capable in the same way as I am. When I say ‘me’ I mean ‘we’ and I am speaking, obviously, to the European person. That too requires all manner of different definitions and clarifications. Indo-European, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Jutlander, Western European, Indo-Aryan. These are all references to specific physical and psycho-biological manifestations of Self. True, to define what I mean by this is fraught and complex, given the self-intolerance borne outo fo self-hatred resulting from the last 2 European wars (the Second obviously is more notable). But this is the greatest challenge we face as a people.
Finally, I am a semi-European Sephardic ex-Jew. Portugues, Dutch, some Moroccan, transfered to South America (Venezuela) and then (more or less) pushed out of that zone of intense madness. I grew up in California mostly. But you see my position is strange – unique. I choose to ally myself quite specifically with European culture (my BF is Finnish and we may marry and I may choose residency and nationality there). But I would have a hard time gaining acceptance from the Nazis. What do I serve and why? I serve the Light that manifest itself in Europe at a certain point in time. A light of astounding brilliance. I can claim is to some degree biologically, but mostly it is an ideaological idea-based claim. The implications are really wide-ranging.
There you have some explanation. What is the relationship to Ethics and Morals? I must find it.
Thank heavens this blog post is somewhat dated and buried Maybe only a couple or three people are reading here now. Lucky for the rest!
I’m reading. Not sure I am lucky, but I am curious, so I keep reading.
Revelations from the science of genetics have de-bunked tenets of race-realism. You’ve mentioned consuming much material from ancient philosophers (thoughts that were held centuries before the human genome was mapped), but I have not seen mention of anything based on modern science – perhaps I missed that. Do you reject science?
It has been eye opening to read your thoughts about areas you label “unthinkable.” I’ve seen similar thoughts as yours before, but only when reading the manifesto of mad men – men who have sought to destroy and succeeded in destroying human lives in the process of realizing their truths. What is it you hope to accomplish with your enlightenment? As you said, the Nazis would reject you. You mentioned moving to Finland. Are there cultures or social/community groups there where people who think like you fit in?
I saw you used the word guilt. Indeed, possessing guilt can be the birthplace of ethical thinking (Brene Brown). I’m somewhat curious as to what use you have for participating in discourse on an American ethics alarm blog. When I read your thoughts I have many alarms going off, not just ethical ones. I am also curious how much thinking you lend to studying emotion. You have said you have no emotional response to what others say – you do not take it personally, that you have learned to respond (in writing) in kind – to match tone, insults, etc. Indeed, reading your responses does seem as if you are being emotional (using all caps, name calling) but then you discount any emotion when pressed – as if the emotion your words demonstrate is artificially concocted to match the emotions of the one you are responding to. So this brings me to my last question. Do you have any use for developing your social/emotional intelligence?
And just now, after my comment posted I see Alizia mention genetics! So never mind that question, Alizia, for I see you apply targeted genetic findings to support your philosophy.
Honestly at this point, almost any comment Alizia posts on this topic is just her opening her mouth to change socks.
‘Untinkable thought’ is a term I picked up from the Arch-Demon Noam Chomsky: the ‘anarcho-syndicalist’. I use the term with a bit of irony since, as it happens, each polemical side tends to define some area of thought its opponent won’t think.
Your comments about ‘the manifestos of mad men’, etc., is (I assume you know this) rhetorically laden. In order to understand better what you mean, you’d have to spell it out. I think getting to the bottom of what actually happened in Germany and in Europe generally at that time is very very difficult. I would suggest that THAT is an area of study in itself.
Note that when one starts to locate ‘madmen’ and such, one is likely also locating whole idea-areas that one considers so dangerous and so problematical that one refuses, in essence, to do critical thinking of one’s suppositions about them. And note too that Dear Beth, just here, feels she is quite capable and legitimated in assigning mad-status to me, the 105 LB Californian psychotic. (Do all lunatics have as good a sense of humor as I? I am not sure, please inform).
If I have a project, it is that I wish to ‘better understand’ the present. I desire to see through veils of mystery and obfuscation to be able to see ‘the truth’ of things. To know what is true, to be able to orient myself in this world on a truthful and clear-seeing platform. I have gained a sense that this is NOT a recipe for ‘happiness’. It might indeed be better for a person to believe lies than to know the truth. What is the link between ‘desire to know and describe the truth’ and morals and ethics? Hmmm. That is a good question and I am glad I asked it. What if seeing the truth led to utter skepticism? Inability to participate in the present? Complete cynicism? (Just thinking out loud). What if one determined ‘there is no hope?’
I am a partisan of the view that Europe is being chopped up and ‘sold’ so to speak. I include the USA when I say ‘Europe’. This means a managerial group that is managing the destiny of the US and Europe. I subscribe to the theory that these interests are interested in doing away with white culture, that is, the culture that created the Europe that we know, and in constructing a global system in which Europe is a mere cog. That’s it in a nutshell. All I have are questions. Is this true? The Al-Right people speak of ‘white genocide’? Is this true? If so, what is happening and why? Are they all ‘madmen’? Paranoid loons (as you might say). All I have are questions. (And some pistas of answers).
Who shall I trust, in an age of Lies and Deceptions, to reveal to me, clearly and plainly, the ‘truth’ of things. You? Are you qualified? Our present is an Interpretive Project. It requires hermeneutical skill to get to the bottom of any contentious question. Do you blame me for having doubt? For enquiring?
As to my participation on an Ethics blog: It happened. I wound up here. I have been tolerated. My ideas are strange, no doubt. But my interest is, shall we say, meta-ethics. Along with meta-politics and meta-philosophy. Certainly metaphysics. I have let Jack know by email (3-4 times) that if my presence is bothersome or unwelcome I just need to be given the word and I will buzz off. I believe that I am exploring ethics. It is just that I am doing it in a different way.
I did not mean to imply that I do not feel, and the only reason I use CAPITALS is that the formatting commands are way too time-consuming. Capitals are just EMPHASIS, like underlining.
I certainly have an emotional life and an emotional self but in polemics I try not to take things seriously. I have noticed that in contentious conversations some people play emotionally. They toss emotional bombs. They want to get you at an emotional level. I desire to keep things at a level of sober conversation. More is achieved there. But I do not deny the emotive element.
(If I name-call it is more with a humorous intent. Bat-shit crazy people such as myself are in their own way a riot).
Or to quote McMurphy in OFOTCN: ‘Bull-goose loony’.
You’re right; just because culture is made up doesn’t mean people did it on purpose. If we were in the habit of doing it on purpose, it would have gotten better by now. That’s part of my job: designing a meta-culture (itself subject to beneficial evolution and resistant to irrationality and unethicality) in order to allow culture to be deliberately shaped into more healthy and ethical forms.
I’m not sure what difference it makes whether you believe that different “races” have different inherent cognitive potentials. Different people have different cognitive potentials along various dimensions, and we already have principles for treating them ethically and respectfully. Does it make a difference if we can distinguish them on sight, or whether they group together in cultures? Cultures need to be on the same page ethically, and to interact constructively and respectfully no matter whether or not they correlate with different abilities or limitations.
If/when we discover extraterrestrial life, the question will be forced even if racism between humans is utterly refuted and goes extinct, because the space aliens will almost certainly have a different distribution of cognitive abilities. Since the question is so simple, I see no reason not to answer it just because we haven’t seen any aliens. For an elaboration on my answer, see my post on Jack’s Zootopia article. https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/04/11/zootopia-is-unethical-but-funny/
Alizia: Just so you know, it’s rather arrogant to call yourself any kind of realist, just as it’s arrogant of others to attempt to shut you down without addressing the reasons behind your perspective. The label “realist” implies that everyone else is either unable to perceive reality or unwilling to accept it. Tangent: I especially hate political realism, which holds that all these groups of people that call themselves countries are, on the global scale, paranoid sociopaths (I don’t disagree), and that it’s completely inevitable and we just have to deal with it by looking out for our own (I vehemently disagree). Identity politics makes infinitely more sense and opens up the potential for actually having positive relationships between all groups of people, if we can get all the identities to be healthy ones.
It might be that you don’t realize it just because you don’t have much grasp of communication mindset (like most humans, and even most humans on this blog), but it is possible (and necessary) for all groups of people to learn to understand and respect each other, and even shift into different paradigms when prompted. You might get some benefit from reading the article I linked Zoltar to. Most people won’t meet you halfway, so you might have to convince them to help you explore why you might be wrong. If you’re really a freethinker, that is, and if you put enough stock in my perception to think that I might have some important points.
I’m inclined to second Beth’s recommendation that you get yourself mentally checked out, if only so you can learn about how your thought patterns differ from other humans and how you might communicate with them better. I had to learn communication very deliberately, having started out as a rogue perception user similar to yourself (but with different beliefs and my own brand of philosobabble). As a result, I have less trouble communicating with you than others do (though it’s still an effort to interpret the jargon–where on Earth did you get it?) Unlike most people, I have almost literally no one I can speak with for any significant length of time without having to put some effort into understanding them (or maybe I just consider conversations where I don’t have to do that boring and pointless), so where most people hit a wall in discourse and give up, I’ve already tunneling deep under the surface and don’t even notice the wall.
More importantly, I have no off-limits concepts (though Ethics Alarms itself might). It’s one of the not-as-numerous-as-I’d-like advantages of being a Cosmic Horror from Beyond the Stars.
I like what you write generally and I always read your posts. In these last two though I don’t think I understand you very well. But I think that happens because each one – among those of us who have, or desire to have a ‘project’ (and you seem to have a clear sense of your own) – each one is engrossed in the project that renders value to them.
I admit to being amused (what other reaction should I have? Alarm?) with the psychological analysis over the Internet. Obviously, this happens all the time and I know that. I will certainly get myself ‘checked out’ and when I have the report back I will be sure to scan it and post it here.
You wrote: “I’m not sure what difference it makes whether you believe that different “races” have different inherent cognitive potentials. Different people have different cognitive potentials along various dimensions, and we already have principles for treating them ethically and respectfully. Does it make a difference if we can distinguish them on sight, or whether they group together in cultures? Cultures need to be on the same page ethically, and to interact constructively and respectfully no matter whether or not they correlate with different abilities or limitations.”
I notice that when certain topics come up – race could be one, gender is another, and there are a number of hot topics – that people read in to something said almost what they want to. I have explained that as it pertains to race and culture that I am a ‘race-realist’. There is not a great deal more that I said. Part of my ‘race-realism’ is to notice that on this wide and complex earth, different people with different aptitudes have come up, and they are not all the same, despite our (apparent) need to make them conform to our idealism of preconception.
If I have concerns about Europe and European people, and if I see that their sense of identity is afflicted, these are things that I am gaining skill and understanding enough that I can talk about it. I said below that I see my project as ‘Cartesian realism’. That only means being able to see and describe things ‘as they are’ and not though an ideological lens or, as I say sometimes, an ‘imposition’. This Blog does not have the structure of a forum and there is no way for me to fill you in on all the dimensions of my thinking.
Not exactly sure what you mean by ‘jargon’, and there is no place BUT Earth where I could have gotten it. 😉 So that I can better understand what you react again, could you include a clip of what you see as a jargon-rich sentence?
I do appreciate that you took the time to respond, so thanks.
I wouldn’t post medical or psychological information publicly so hastily. You can just tell us about it, or simply use it to inform your interactions.
I think the problem with your communication is mostly the use of metaphors without elaboration on their literal meaning (e.g. “suicide of the European soul”), but here’s a decent sample of actual jargon, bolded.
“So it seems that one requires a Method in order to live in the strange world of mixed opinion. Opinion according to Plato has multifold implication insofar as it means ‘contingency’ and as well the unstable world of becoming in which we have our being. Everyone desires solidity, and it is the tension between our insecure circumstances (Rene Descartes could not even be sure that he existed in fact and had to prove this to himself!) and our sense that Solidities should/must exist that propels our quest for knowledge. Even were we to atttempt to go in he other direction and to assert that no such Solidities are real or possible for us, we would still be performing the same task: to define what is from what is not.”
Only after bolding the jargon do I realize that you’re saying that people need to have some sense of order (knowledge, limitations, as opposed to chaos, which is possibilities and the unknown), some mental model of the world that they can use to predict or bound future events. Yes, people do need a “Method”, but most people call them paradigms nowadays. The way to continuously update one’s paradigm to be more and more superior in accuracy, and therefore utility, is to use perception mindset (the one you use, and the first one I mastered and which gives me the qualities that factor into my alias). It is the ability to explore both limitations and possibilities based on one’s experiences and use them to evolve one’s paradigm. (I’ve got my own jargon, but it’s very well-documented.)
Beyond the power of perception that can evolve one’s paradigms, there are other mindsets that are necessary to put the accuracy of one’s paradigm to good use. Without those, I really am just a barely comprehensible, indestructible anathema to the world people are used to. With them, I can succeed in the human world, and by combining them with perception, I can do things that most humans can’t do, such as nurture the evolution of other people’s paradigms.
I appreciate at the very least that you have read some of my posts. I understand better what you mean about ‘jargon’ and also comprehensibility vs incomprehenibility. I also recognize that among persons who are attempting to develop a philosophical and existential position, and one that is challenging to the present ‘paradigm’ as you say – that is how I’d describe my effort – that to understand them is to understand the metaphors they use, and that means also to understand ‘what informs them’, what they read, etc. Yet if the metaphors one uses have no or little meaning for others what is the use of writing?
I think I understand at least superficially what your endeavor is. It seems to me to be a form of psychological practice. A practice or perhaps relationship to your own self. Out of what sounds like rather intense processes your notions of the possibilities of communication and understanding between people have come into focus. That is respectable.
I fully admit to great imperfection in my *project*. I imagine that some of what I write is intelligible and I also can understand why a good deal of it is non-intelligible. The essence of what I am attempting, though, is to seek some solidities that are not mere ‘opinion’ and are not merely ‘contingent’.
Richard Weaver (an American philosopher whose ideas have intellectually informed many who identify themselves as conservative or traditionalist) notes that people who ‘argue from circumstance’ (as opposed to people who ‘argue from principle’), argue from a position within the shifting and changing world, both *the world* as a shifting, mutating phenomena, and the world of idea and perception situated in ever-shifting views of fleeting reality. It is a very interersting idea with, I think, profound implications. In the paragraph you selected that is essentially what I am getting at. Obviously, I struggle in explaining this.
It seems to me (it was like this for me) that to enter into the idea one has to have a desire to do so. When I read Weaver, and when I read Plato (for example Plato’s Seventh Epistle) I had to make a commitment to understand what they are getting at. I have noticed that few on this blog desire to ‘get what I am getting at’ and so it is dismissed out-of-hand as literally a form of madness. I find that really interesting given that, in our modernity, both Russia and China established mental health models based on how climatized one was to ‘continegent opinion’, that is, the Opinion of the present, and if you did not ‘think right’ they might send you to a medical prison where doctors and psychologists would go to work on you, to reengineer your ideas and opinions into an acceptable form.
This is the ULTIMATE ad hominem! Very certainly you are no longer arguing to or against ideas but your attack is directed to the very platform of being of the individual. The very ground of ‘self’ on which a person exists and has their being. You may say: ‘Oh, you are exaggerating here! You are taking the ball of the idea and running out of the court with it’. Well, that must be so in some sense, but I do not at all think I am mistaken to notice this trend. I don’t know how much you read but in writing the above I was reminded of a short story by the Russian writer Korolenko: ‘Yashka’. A very simple story (an account) of a peasant locked in a Russian prison (not yet the USSR) who simply would not give in and resisted constantly.
(In our present there is a whole generation that sees itself as ‘being in the right’ and ‘being correctly situated in ideas’ and being capable of ‘instructing the whole world’. And they are tightening their grip on ‘ideas’ generally.)
Now, my great desire, my ideal, is to ‘argue from principle’ and not ‘from circumstance’. Opinion shifts from week to week. From decade to decade. From generation to generation. That is ‘becoming’ (and that is what ‘circumstance’ is: becoming, mutation, shift, transformation). To propose that there is a base that one can recur to that is located ‘in principle’ means that one feels there are Principles that one can recur to. And should recur to. That is platonism in a nutshell. It is also metaphysics.
The essence of platonism will not, I believe and I suggest, result in a ‘progressive’ attitude or philosophy or outlook, but will rather carry one back to ‘first principles’ and to conservatism as it should be defined.
I will suggest, a little wearily I admit it, that ‘our present’ and our present mode of understanding reality and ourself in reality, to the degree that it is given over to the modes of the present, is nearly totally dedicated to ‘circumstance’ and to ‘contingency’. Our present trains us to be creatures of circumstance, contingency and ‘opinion’. In this sense it is in this that the mental health model is established. If you deviate from agreement you will be seen as moving into the mentally-ill camp.
I have sketched a ‘paradigm’ out for you, a way of seeing a problem. Maybe it will make sense, maybe it won’t. But it seems to me one of crucial importance. Not in an abstract way but in a direct and immediate way. And I mean to the political and social situation. And certainly to ethics and morals.
I assume from what I understand of your perspective, a unique and very personalized one, that you would be unable to make the connection that I make between principle, conservatism, hierarchy, and then to culture and race. For you, apparently, even to mention race (it must be put in quotes since, for you, it is unreal) is regressive and retrograde. As Beth said it is not permitted to think in those terms anymore, that is ‘flat earth theory’. Doing so, is to be mentally ill. But to think of race and also of culture (they operate together despite what is said, contingently and circumstantially, in our present) means to back-track over a great deal of contentious and mediated intellectual ground. And to do that is to take a stand within and in some sense against a current that flows in our present. To become ‘counter-cultural’. The current is ‘progressivism’ and it is a group and a nexus of ideas that has a root. And the root can be explored, defined, understood and described. I find this endlessly interesting, but numerous here find it incomprehensible and boring. Or retrograde. And even sick.
Now, it is quite likely that NONE of this is of interest to you. Simply none. Yet I have taken it as an opportunity to clarify, if only to myself, what it is that is important to me. I don’t think this is harmful (to this blog) otherwise I really would disappear. I am not a troll. I think it shows that I take things seriously, that I take ideas seriously.
I desire to take ethics seriously as well, or better put I desire to orient all that I do and think into terms that can be expressed ethically.
I thought I made this clear, but I will try to say it again with fewer words. I do not think you are mentally ill because you are a racist. There are plenty of racists who are of sound mind. I believe that you may suffer from some sort of mental impairment because of everything else you say on this blog. I realize that this is a mean thing to tell you in a public forum, but this is the only place I know you. I hope you have close friends and family who can help you.
Alizia said, “My intuition tells me, Zoltar old bean, that you… (followed by a bunch of crap)”
Your intuition is quite clouded by your twisted and very limited perception of the world; it’s outright opinion bigotry. You want to see what “indoctrinated” looks like, look in the mirror.
Alizia said, “What I wish to bring to your attention is that there is an intellectuall-based movement within America and in Europe which is pushing down these false-frontiers that establish ‘respectable limits of thought’.”
Intellectuall-based movement; now that’s a hoot! Alizia, that which you speak of is literally a limiting of thoughts not freeing thoughts and about as nonintellectual as it can be. You might as well join the KKK or the neo-Nazi Party right now (if your not already an active member of both) because that’s exactly where the thought limiting crap you’re spewing belongs.
Alizia said, “I am glad though that you are in support of this sort of demanding intellectual endeavor. It’s nice to know that I have an ally!”
I do not support bigotry or racism in any way.
Sure, I understand all of that, and I understand where it all comes from, and why it must be expressed in those terms. But each assertion is not really idea-development (and I recognize that cannot occur on this Blog because of its very structure: exchanges attenuate until they cannot be continued), but a shutting-down of the possibility of conversation. This is an emotional reaction overall. It also works quite well. To get through it, one has to pass through a sort of emotional meteor-field. All of this proves the point I wish to make although I cannot, obviously, present to you the intellectual processes I went through to arrive at my ideas. The point has to do with ‘the parameters of thinkable thought’; what is allowed as a term of discourse; if people shall have or shall not have the right to think freely of aprioristic contraint, and if they will or will not be allowed to develop their thinking. It also has to do with National Policies and a sort of National Uni-Think and the issue of how these Policies are part-and-parcel of a Civil Religion so powerful and prevalent that it succeeds in limiting and controlling thought’s parameters. This, and quite obviously (but not to you!) is what occurs – what is occurring – in our present left-dominated culture of Political Correctness which everyone complains about, but which in fact many are terrified to confront. I made the point, above, that this Blog generally is in little sense one of the conservative right, but one essentially given over to the tenets of the political and social left. I stand by my opinion. This ‘structure of idea’ becomes hegemonic and to think outside of its parameters, impossible. The implications of this are worthy of consideration.
Remember that above you gave me recommendations about how to conduct my thinking. What I hope I have at least suggested, if I have not demonstrated it, is that YOU are the subject that needs to do the work that you recommend. But I recommend that you reconsider the value of the Question. The Question is the place to start, and when in doubt one must return to the question in an open-minded way and cease assuming one has the answer.
Notice about I said that one of the characteristics of the left is that 1) they assume they have all the answers and 2) they can make recommendations and *correct* everyone else?
False! When one turns back to structured thinking, and when one starts from a cogent philosophical base, one sees that race-realism and cultural hierarchy is eminently Aristotelian, Platonic and Cartesian. Such ideas are part of the structure of European and Indo-European civilization. This to merely suggest that such ideas (as mine) are more than ‘intuitions’ born of hatred, but solid and structured ideas born out of responsibility to logic and fact, as well as to culture and civilization.
Since I joined in conversations on this blog I’ve wondered just where the heck Alizia’s comments were rooted, I’ve had my suspicions based on some people I’ve known in my past, but now it’s become crystal clear that Alizia’s comments are derived from the mind of a racist with a faux facade of a free thinking intellectual; sobeit.
Alizia has talked repetitively about leaving this website, I think now’s the time for her to fulfill that destiny.
Alizia, don’t go away mad, just go away.
So how is Gary Johnson worse than Hillary Clinton?
He can’t win, that’s all. He got 1% last time he ran. If he were running by himself against Hillary, I’d vote for him. If he were running alone against Trump, I’d vote for him. He’s like Harold Stassen.
(If Harold were running against Hillary or Trump, I’d vote for him. And he’s been dead for decades…)
So there is no harm in voting for Gary Johnson.
Of course there is. That is the equivalent of not voting, screaming in your closet, or throwing darts at Donald and Hillary’s pictures on a dart board. It’s an abdication of duty.
Would you agree, though, Jack, that even if one makes the best vote possible, our duty right now entails a lot more than merely voting, if we’re to change the future of the country?
Yes…in fact, that’s what I’ve been saying, and why voting for Gary Johnson is no better than not voting at all.
In that case, while we’re planning who to vote for in order to mitigate the damage of whatever populist sociopath we elect, we should also be planning on reversing the damage and constructing something better. It’ll take more work than voting, but it will also have a much larger effect than our individual votes.
Donald Trump’s loyal supporters agree with you on this.
Joshua Black does not.
Whom should I believe.
False dichotomy. And Trump supporters can’t be wrong about everything.
How is it a false dichotomy?
The slowing traffic trend you are noticing here is a trend I’ve noticed on other sites that I frequent. A down-turn in online discussions seems to have plateaued at a lower volume across the board, at least on the sites I visit even ones where I intentionally do not comment so it’s obviously not due to my participation. 🙂
The big question is, why the down-turn? Are they getting bored with it? Are they otherwise occupied with life? Are they paying more attention to politics right now? Who knows.
I found this interesting clarification of the word ‘bigot’. I had heard the word but did not quite understand what it meant. This is an interesting anecdote about it:
“[French, excessively religious person, religiously intolerant person, from Old French, Norman person, excessively religious person, of unknown origin.]
Word History: The ultimate origin of the word bigot is unknown. When bigot first appears in Old French, it is as an insulting term for a Norman. A colorful story is often told about the origin of the term with Rollo, the pagan Viking conqueror who received Normandy as a fief from Charles III of France in 911. Rollo converted to Christianity for the occasion, but it is said that he refused to complete his oath of fealty to the king by kissing the king’s feet and said Ne se bi got, “Never, by God!” in a mishmash of Old French and a Germanic language. This bi got then became a term of abuse for the Normans. This story is certainly false, but some scholars have proposed that Old French bigot did indeed originate as a reference to be Gode!—the Old and early Middle English equivalent of Modern English by God!, perhaps as a phrase that some Normans picked up in their English possessions in England and then used back in France. Later, in the 1400s, the French word bigot appears as a term of abuse for a person who is excessively religious. It is not clear, however, that this word bigot, “excessively religious person,” is in fact the direct descendant of the Old French slur that was applied to the Normans. Rather, this bigot may come directly from Middle English bi God, “by God,” or an equivalent phrase in one of the Germanic relatives of English such as German bei Gott or Dutch bij God. But even this is uncertain. In any case, English borrowed bigot from French with the sense “religious hypocrite” in the early 17th century. In English, the term also came to be applied to persons who hold stubbornly to any system of beliefs, and by extension, persons who are intolerant of those that differ from them in any way.”
In your conversation with EC, above, I sense that you use the term ‘bigot’ in lieu of the word ‘racist’ which Zoltar seeks to apply to me.
I do not see myself as a ‘bigot’. Nor as a ‘racist’. I feel that I can explain, quite rationally, and also logically, how I have come to form the ideas I have. I certainly admit though that all such definitions are problematic and dangerous, for obvious reasons.
Must ‘race-realist’ be seen as a bigoted position? Must Identarian Eurocentrist be?
I rather think that these definitions, these ways of seeing and being, could be seen as defensive postures in a sea of ‘bigotry’ properly-defined.
Beth, a Dialectician of Penetrating Skill (but not a bigot!) wrote: “I don’t understand this at all. We do not debate whether or not the world is round anymore or whether the earth revolves around the sun. Debating the moral, physical, or intellectual ability of one race over another is over. There is no such superiority. Alizia is living in the 19th century in her attempt to approach this scientifically. She is a racist — but she’s trying to distinguish herself from the Chimpania crowd by using big words. That does not change the fact that she is a racist. Now, if she wants to find friends who think like her, there certainly are plenty of them in Europe right now. I don’t think they want an intellectual debate though.”
The only other interchange, of sorts, you and I had revolved around the same issue. Here we go again. How hard it is to think clearly and organize one’s thoughts logically. But keep plugging at it!
I note the declaration about what is ‘over’. This is to assume one now controls the intellectual space at 100% and sets the parameters. All my studies have indicated this is a faulty position to have and establish as a base. Bigots tend to be attracted to it. They will tend to get stuck in positions like this.
The ‘moral, physical and intellectual ability’ of ourselves is precisely what we must focus on. I suggest there is a moral imperative there. Therefor, and in fact, you have clearly indicated THAT this area is vitally important, though you are saying, along with a hegemonic cultural contingent (of the self-righteous and otherwise anointed), that we should not apply our analysis in a scientific way, and thus in a rational way, to the world of culture surrounding us. You imply closing one’s eyes. Not seeing what is there to be seen (if indeed it is there to be seen, and that must be deomonstrated, argued).
I suggest that in no sense at all is the issue closed or decided, and in fact there is a wealth of scientific and genetic studies that have come to light in the last 20 years which, in any case, indicate there are important questions here that cannot be dismissed. To remain open to the implications of the science here – the study of facts within this reality – is exactly what is being talked about and what must be talked about. You cannot simply wish it away, or will it away, out of a sense that it is wrong.
My concern is, in a very real sense, and directly and with no apologietics, to place emphasis on understanding what has made the unique European accomplishments what they are. It is moreover a series of questions I would ask. It is less conclusive than you imagine. That is, it is less aprioristic than you assume. But I am very certainly Eurocentric in this precise sense. Therefor, I will accept that notions of ‘superiority’ must be defined; that they are real and considerable despite the pain it may be to face both what we are and what we are not. Because it also follows that if I can define ‘superiority’ in any category, I may have to face that I am not superior and perhaps am merely mediocre. You see, ‘it follows’.
I suggest that the one who can succeed in having this conversation, that is in undertaking this analysis, and carrying it out fairly, is a more rational and more balanced person than one who, through ideological pressure, must lie and distort. My argument is that the Left is generally speaking informed by lies and distortions. All this can be explained though, yes, it is laborious.
To define in the areas I feel it needed to define in, means, as I explain, going to battle against a whole Construct of which, for various reasons, people who are informed by ideas such as Beth, assert and defend.
It is exhausting work.
Beth further writes: “Where Alizia struggles is interchanging the concepts of race and culture although she uses both words repeatedly. I would argue that there is superiority of one culture over another. American culture is superior to those stone age tribes that still exist in some parts of the world and eat each other in religious rituals. No question. American culture is superior to those with a defined caste system. American culture is superior to those where there is no separation of church and state. But American culture does not equal “white” culture.
If you admit cultural superiority there, you have essentially argued my point. But where you and I likely differ is that I see see that unique American Constitutionalism as a unique creation of Europe and of course specifically the English. ‘America’ is this sense is a prime example of the sort of achievement that I would focus in to – not so much ‘prove’ my points – but to indicate that there we begin to discover certain guiding ideas. These ideas need to be better understood. The American Indian did not and would not ever have created American Constitutionalism. Nor the African. Nor the Incan. Nor anyone but those who created it. And they are the ones who are most likely to hold to it, that is if they are not seduced away from the project. Note: seduction: an important term in my lexicon.
This is the psycho-biological ‘person’, if you will, that must be better understood. Though this is a fraught and thorny area, there definitions can be fairly thought-through.
To label this endeavor as obscurantist (flat-earth theory) is bad argumentation. Actually it is wretched and even underhanded. Overtly unethical. Byt God’s own children are often exempted, are they not. The ends justify the means?
The more clearly that the issue is seen, and the more clearly and fairly it is enunciated, the better and more ‘real’ are the ideas we entertain about ‘our reality’. I desire to define platonic, aristotelean and cartesian methods for approaching any conversation, this one in particular. I am more supported by this structure of ideas than by, say, Troskyist or Critical Theory notions such as, I reckon, inform your fine self.
Discerning thorugh all this is what I recommend. (Now I sound like Zoltar).
In a stunning gambit Beth punches rhetorical engine to 8000 RPM: “I’ve said repeatedly on this site that she talks like an AI. And, like all cinematic AIs, she is classifying humans into groups. Next step is total annihilation. She needs new programming, and I mean that sincerely. I don’t like to engage with Alizia on this site because she is a racist, I don’t engage with her because she is bat-shit crazy. If you go back and read her comments (assuming they are true), she is in immediate need of mental health services. I acknowledge that it is cruel to put this comment in a blog, but I have no way of reaching her. Alizia, please go talk to a doctor. Please.”
Right. Back to the ‘you are mentally ill and require medication and treatment’ argument. In fact, this level of argumentation is similar to Zoltar’s. It is a form of absolutism-in-operation. It defines, very precisely, ‘bigotry’ as an intense and amplified certainty about the moral superiority of one’s position, and yet it requires no argument at all! It is somewhat glorious for this reason.
It is not impossible to imagine that the judges before whom you argue cases are susceptible to these fallacious constructs! *Sigh* That is the age we live in.
An AI is an artificial or a programmed intelligence. But not a human one. The implication is that I am non-human. Not humanist. But it also means non-Christian insofar as it is Christianity which, in our cultures, has literally defined the human.
Beth, you oppose ‘classification’ but yet must be aware that classification is one of the most central epistemological bases for science. Your own argument is based in classification-applied. In one way or another, in one area and another, you and I and all of us have to classify. To see, to distinguish. It is required that you ‘classify’ to be able to see your America as a superior civic entity. Moral and ethical decisions require classifications.
The programmer’s reference is telling. In your view, I assume, one human is programmable into the next one. In fact, for you, the human IS a program. You take the biological blank and then infuse the ‘program’ down into it. I suggest that your ideas will resolve into predicates like this. Thus, for you and for your left-brethren, man is scrpt that you write, and that you specifically oversee. This is largely what we see taking shape in our present. I read the NYTs …
While I do not discern that I am ‘bat-shit crazy’ I do find the use of the term in political debate and in ‘the culture wars’ to be interesting and considerable in itself. I take it not so much as an exaggerated insult, but rather as a direct result of a certain organization of ideas that allows one to essentially judge the whole world. It is serious business and it is not a joke. On the basis of these classifications what, I ask, might you yourself annihilate? (The answer: your own self). It is a unique stance borne of the perception and understanding that ‘I am right and correct’ and all others are ‘wrong and in error’.
It’s becoming obvious that you don’t know when to shut up; so, keep digging, eventually you’ll reach a point of no return. It’s your choice.
I choose right now to stop feeding trolls.
Who’s with me?
Certainly not PETA in any case …
From ‘Discourse on the Method’ by Rene Descartes (Book Three):
“In fine, to conclude this code of Morals, I thought of reviewing the different occupations of men in this life, with the view of making choice of the best. And, without wishing to offer any remarks on the employments of others, I may state that it was my conviction that I could not do better than continue in that in which I was engaged, viz., in devoting my whole life to the culture of my Reason, and in making the greatest progress I was able in the knowledge of truth, on the principles of the Method which I had prescribed to myself. This Method, from the time I had begun to apply it, had been to me the source of satisfaction so intense as to lead me to believe that more perfect or more innocent could not be enjoyed in this life; and as by its means I daily discovered truths that appeared to me of some importance, and of which other men were generally ignorant, the gratification thence arising so occupied my mind that I was wholly indifferent to every other object. Besides, the three preceding maxims were founded singly on the design of continuing the work of self-instruction. For since God has endowed each of us with some Light of Reason by which to distinguish truth from error, I could not have believed that I ought for a single moment to rest satisfied with the opinions of another, unless I had resolved to exercise my own judgment in examining these whenever I should be duly qualified for the task. Nor could I have proceeded on such opinions without scruple, had I supposed that I should thereby forfeit any advantage for attaining still more accurate, should such exist. And, in fine, I could not have restrained my desires, nor remained satisfied, had I not followed a path in which I thought myself certain of attaining all the knowledge to the acquisition of which I was competent, as well as the largest amount of what is truly good which I could ever hope to secure. Inasmuch as we neither seek nor shun any object except in so far as our understanding represents it as good or bad, all that is necessary to right action is right judgment, and to the best action the most judgment,—that is, to the acquisition of all the virtues with all else that is truly valuable and within our reach; and the assurance of such an acquisition cannot fail to render us contented.”
I have looked into my own motives and I have concluded that I have no desire to hurt, insult, or otherwise to cause discomfort to other people. That is not my motive. My motive and desire is to gain clarity about this world. You see, I rapidly learned that everywhere one turns nowadays one hears ‘opinion’, and that no opinion conincided with other opinions. Further, that the Noise that surrounds us, and the ‘professional noisemakers’ (TV, News, media, Fora, Advertising, etc.) are all invested in misinformation and the Art of Misinforming. Misinformation is a curious thing: it is not wrong information, that is, not a lie; but it is not full and correct information either. Rather it is a blending of elements of truth with elements of falsity. When I realized this I recoiled away from the entire world. I felt I could not gain accurate analysis anywhere and I became intensely suspicious.
So it seems that one requires a Method in order to live in the strange world of mixed opinion. Opinion according to Plato has multifold implication insofar as it means ‘contingency’ and as well the unstable world of becoming in which we have our being. Everyone desires solidity, and it is the tension between our insecure circumstances (Rene Descartes could not even be sure that he existed in fact and had to prove this to himself!) and our sense that Solidities should/must exist that propels our quest for knowledge. Even were we to atttempt to go in he other direction and to assert that no such Solidities are real or possible for us, we would still be performing the same task: to define what is from what is not.
What I have found – what gets shoved into my face time and time again – is that most people I come in contact with do not seem to be able to reason very well. That sounds arrogant coming from someone as inexperienced as I, yet it is pretty easy to note this even in these last exchanged on this thread. You see, I really said nothing at all offensive except that among us, and within us, we can clearly distinquish superior and inferior, and that as a result of this understanding that we must (moral imperative) choose the superior and shun the inferior. We have to do this on all levels. That is what ‘purification’ means and it is tied to ‘resisting decadence’ and ‘turning the tide of seduction’. I locate these motives within ethical imperatives. If I am to define Ethics I require a platform on which to construct my system. For this reason, I assert, nothing I have written on this blog has been contrary to such a method. Now, some will say that I am ‘unethical’ for what I think and say. I must disagree strenuously. It is in fact unethical to make such an assertion but not to take the time to back it up with structured argument. Beth’s irresponsible opinion (a slander) as well as Zoltar’s are (I suggest) extremely unethical. If I am seeing straight – and I think I am – this is clear and obvious and visible.
My understabding is that The Present is a vast and interconnected system of distortions and misinformation. Thus The Present is in itself a problem, a problem that requires serious analysis. And if such a thing as Ethics Studies exists, it is the application of reasoned thought and analysis to the problem of The Present. So, for good or for evil I start at that point: It is the assumption that, most likely, when I hear Opinion, it is misinformation. It won’t be 100% Lie because it would obviously have no relationship at all to common sense understanding; yet neither is it 100% True. What occurs in Opinion then that tends it toward misinformation and distortion? Really, this is a complex philosophical question and problem. But I will suggest that it is Seduction that must be paid attention to. ‘Seduction’ in my lexicon is complex. There are numerous ways to consider it. You could have recourse to Olde Metaphysic and understand that the further enmeshed in lower-level matter one is, the most that matter distorts toward lies. Conversely then, to appeal to the Angelical realm is to attempt to forge connections with clarifying Intellect (intellectus: the stuff of higher intelligence and thus of God).
What is Rene Descartes’ method? Sitting down and reasoning things through. To reject all ‘received ideas’ as an initial act and then only to allow, one by one like Noah boarding the creatures of the Ark, only those ideas and axioms which have been tested. Will I have to sit in my lonely hovel for ten long years in order to carry out this analytical purification rite? Sometimes it seems that it will take that long – longer even.
But one thing I notice, and it is troubling: The more that I gain, at least in some areas, some clarity, and even if it is only asking Clarifying Questions, or suggesting that a Question needs to be posed (say about culture, or constitution, or aptitude, or genetics, or high and low, superior and inferior), one encounters a massive wall of Opinion that falls toward you: shrill, deadly, forceful, poised to attack and to kill. Anti-intellectual. Driven by emotion and opinion. Intensely sure of itself as if there are no other options conceivable! And like terrible gate-keepers they come at you immediately, and with furious force, and keep you from advancing on a path of reasoned consideration (of all the tenets and idées reçues in which, at least acording to my initial analysis, and if I am right, we swim. I say that this is unethical. I say further that it is something that begins to have the scent of evil (I mean this more in an Ayn Randian sort of way).
There is no assertion that I have made which I cannot defend and explain rationally and carefully. My desire to assert is always qualified with: I am exploring. I do not know what to ultimately conclude. I do not know what ‘truth’ is nor even what it is supposed to be. Do you?
Thus everything is put on the table as a Question. The Question is the best and most efficient starting point (as I expressed to you Zoltar). I see nothing unethical at all in my approach.
Beth writes: “I thought I made this clear, but I will try to say it again with fewer words. I do not think you are mentally ill because you are a racist. There are plenty of racists who are of sound mind. I believe that you may suffer from some sort of mental impairment because of everything else you say on this blog. I realize that this is a mean thing to tell you in a public forum, but this is the only place I know you. I hope you have close friends and family who can help you.”
It is not so much ‘mean’ really as meaningless. Almost a waste of breath. It is also, I’d suggest, the projection of your own content outward. Projection is always a danger in these blind fora where what we ‘see’ is what appears in our own imagination. I do not mean to say that my idea-content is not my own, of course it is. Yet your projection is entirely your own and has nothing to do with me. (Yet I would not give advice to you or to anyone of the sort you feel free to give. In my book it is simply something that is not done.)
You offer the sort of assessment that cannot in fact be made over the Internet, on the basis of impressions. It is thus, at a base level, an unethical assertion. ‘I believe that you may’ is slightly different though from an open declaration of being bat-shit crazy. But I think that what you really mean is the latter and not the former.
As to family and friends and such, well, I live with my sister and husband and we have a wide circle of friends, and no one of them (at least directly to me) has even indicated that I am unwell or need help.
You could of course take the time to indicate just what in any of my writing you feel is insane, but I don’t think you will take that course. The main reason is because you’d like your assertion to stick and it is most sticky when it cannot be defended against. You’ve taken the ad hominem fallacy to its farthers boundary. The second reason is that on a field where ideas have to be defended with good argument, you’d find yourself very quickly in a bit of a fix: You are basically devoid of ideas. You have plenty of sentiments though, and ‘suspicions’ and ‘impressions’ that you use in place of sound argument. It is common these days, and among (what I think is) your set.
In any case when I am slandered I will take a minute or two to defend myself. I feel well overall, physically and psychologically, and I am happy also with the content of my ideas (though I am wroking on their better expression).
Jack, while I can see the relative merits of some of the offshoot discussions on your blog posts, I really get turned off when a commenter — commenting on an on-topic post — goes off the rails and off-topic, turning the discussion into one more boring insult rant at the politics of the opposing side. No content that’s on-topic in the comment. Just a spew of political insults directed to the “other” side. Maybe some might think that these political ravings further the discussion. I do not. Frankly, it sometimes seems to smack of furthering confirmation bias. I get to the point where I avoid reading certain commenters altogether. One of the reasons I am often AWOL is that I get pretty sick and tired of reading such drivel. Can’t something be done to keep the discussions more on-topic, with only relevant (or funny) offshoot discussions?
I just have to do a better job moderating. The half thoughtful substance, half partisan rant pieces are just hard…I lean toward letting them go. Maybe I shouldn’t. Some commenters abuse the privilege. Point to some examples, if you can. It would help.