Re: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism

From: Matt the Enraged Endorphin (
Date: Sat Feb 08 2003 - 21:39:26 GMT

  • Next message: Matt the Enraged Endorphin: "Re: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism"


    I think when you, John, and Rudy first started posting at around the same
    time and started asking about what we can do outside of this discussion
    group, I was pretty quick to answer with a position pretty much like
    Scott's. Ironically, it's for reasons that Scott has disagreed to in the past.

    It's obvious you really want to do something, to gather support and affect
    change. And like Scott, all I can say is, "More power to you." Pirsig has
    affected us all in a multitude of varying ways. That's why we are here.
    And to urge us to look at our actions and how they match up with what
    Pirsig says is also a wonderful suggestion, one we should all take. But to
    take the next step and suggest that we should come together and form a
    lobbyist group, I think that that is the step too far. People are wary of
    such a move and/or just not up to it.

    I happen to be both wary and not up to it. The wariness stems from the
    public/private split that was thrown on the table (which is what Scott
    disagrees with). What this practical split suggests is that we keep our
    private searches for self-perfection out of our discussions of public
    policy. This means no God when discussing welfare and no Quality when
    discussing education. Because if you bring up God or Quality in your
    defense of why we need more/less money for welfare or education and your
    conversation partner doesn't know what you mean by them, then the
    conversation is cut short. That's something we don't want when trying to
    move good policy forward. Now, even after we adhere to this split, we
    could still form a group of MoQers who lobbied for certain public reforms,
    even while leaving Quality out of the public discussions. Quality might be
    the impetus behind our reforms, but it doesn't have to enter the debate.
    My wariness stems from the example set by the Christian Coalition, another
    group of people gathered under the banner of a private route towards
    self-perfection to affect social change. Their fundamentalism and attempts
    to bring God back into public discussions is what I fear. Atheists like
    myself and Kevin don't know what to say when Pro-lifers defend their
    position with an invocation of God. We don't think that's a valid argument
    because we don't share a crucial premise: belief in the existence of God.
    When they reply that the fact that we don't share the crucial premise
    doesn't disprove its truth, we can only shrug our shoulders and say, "But
    it's still not a valid argument."

    DMB and I might be able to come to agreement on a lot of public policy
    issues. From what I understand, DMB is a bit of a leftist. But we aren't
    discussing public policy, we are discussing philosophy. That's Scott and
    my point. If people would like to discuss public policy, then they can.
    But I don't think we should expect everyone to jump on board, just because
    they've read Pirsig. So when you say, "if David and Matt for instance quit
    looking for good 'arguments' and points to make and disagree about/on and
    instead looked to focus on what good could come from 'agreement' ... i
    think 'Great Stuff' could take on a whole new look." Maybe if DMB and I
    did focus on a "practical goal" we'd be able do "great stuff" (though I
    don't know who that agreement would happen without argumentation). But I
    doubt that if Platt and I put our heads together we'd get the same output.
    From what I understand, Platt is a bit of a rightist.

    So, like Scott, I wish you luck. But I'm sorry, no amount of cajoling is
    going to shame me into discussing public policy here ;-)


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