For the past 10 years I’ve been participating in and posting to political forums on the internet under the name of Adagio.Over that time I’ve found myself continually frustrated with the way debates are conducted. It seems clear that things like facts and logic are the last things considered and emotionalism and Ad Hominem attacks are the weapons of choice for those that live according to a Theory of Rationality. It also seems that the person that can yell the loudest or has the most vicious personal attack strategy rules the day. This seems to be a method used by radio talk show hosts, and some TV personalities. It’s almost as if each one tries to outdo the next in how outrageous they can be because they know that controversy sells. The more outrageous they are, the more attention is focused on them and of course, the more advertising they can pick up. There’s a lot of money to be made in being outrageous. That same approach is then adopted by others on political forums as the sure fire method of “winning” an argument on the internet, in public debates, and even in our own congress. They see bullying as a successful tactic used by people who are never debating anybody since they are sitting in a studio shooting their mouths off with nobody to question them, and employ those same tactics on a forum except that they are actually encountering people that will question them. They go on an all out offensive of accusation and name calling, and hope they are never put on the defensive because they have no answers for the questions that are put to them. When the questions are put to them and they are forced to defend their claims, they hurl more insults and assume they’ve won something. What may work on talk radio, doesn’t translate into a winning strategy on a political forum.
Those who hold theories of rationality are following a prescribed dogma that cannot be justified rationally. They are the talking points used to make a case. They are the policies and “positions” that can’t be compromised. They are belief systems that appeal to some authority which cannot be demonstrated as being true. What is the basis for the authority that justifies the position? And what then justifies that basis? This is the dilemma of infinite regress vs dogma. The more the person clings to his dogmatic position the more he must find a way to justify that position which he will never be able to do.
To attempt doing so will result in one of two things:
1.The dilemma of infinite regress vs. one’s own dogma, or.
2.Circular reasoning which is a logical fallacy and can easily be exposed as such.
This is a guide to bringing you the reader into a more logically sound position to argue from. Conservatism presents itself as a theory of rationality. It’s a system with its own canon’s which are followed dogmatically as most religions are. They can be found in Russell Kirks 1953 book, "The Conservative Mind". It was the guide to Ronald Reagans thinking as it was to Barry Goldwaters. More recently this doctrine can be found in talk show host Mark Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny: a Conservative Manifesto. A manifesto is by definition: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer. It is a doctrine to be followed. Religions are theories of rationality also but that’s another book. It can easily be criticized and dismantled and shown as incapable of demonstrating itself as true. A religion cannot use itself to prove itself. Neither can a political ideology. That is circular reasoning. You can’t prove the truth of your belief. You can however prove that you’re irrational.
Never make the mistake that conservatives make by defining them as they define liberals. They do it constantly. Liberals are this. Liberals are that, assuming that Liberals are monolithic and they all think the same. That is merely the conservatives frame of reference. However there is no such "liberal doctrine, or canon". There is no dogma to follow. You're comparing apples and oranges. Liberalism and conservatism are as different as night and day. One is a closed system of thought. The other, open ended. So the same set of rules to their thinking don't apply to each other. Never define them. They will simply deny your definition is accurate. Instead, let them define themselves and then analyze and critique their definition of themselves. They can’t do it. Each thing they use to define themselves rests on something else, which in turn needs definition. When one tries to explain the meaning of an expression, one uses out of necessity, other expressions which require definition, leading to more expressions requiring definition, leading to a vicious cycle of endless justification. I’m drawing from the conservatives own definitions. They will have to justify their definitions which will require more definitions which will require more justification. It’s up to them to defend those positions, and bear in mind that the positions that they take on any issue are all based on the conservative ideology which cannot demonstrate itself as true. Truth should be your goal always, no matter how uncomfortable that might be at times. Conservatives claim to have principles and stand for something. They will claim that the liberal stands for nothing and sneer at their lack of values. Let them know that you do stand for something. You stand for truth. Everything else is garbage, which includes the conservative position.
More by this Author
If we're looking for "change", then what kind of change are we talking about? What is the Status Quo that we seem so anxious to get rid of?
It was David Hume that brought forth the Problem of Induction in the 1700’s. Philosophers have tried to solve it for centuries. The problem of induction is the philosophical question of whether inductive...
The very first sentence in Mark Levin’s book reads, “THERE IS SIMPLY NO scientific or mathematical formula that defines conservatism. This is probably true. If there were a scientific or mathematical formula...
No comments yet.