Re: MD The Carousel of Faux Philosophy

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Mon May 23 2005 - 18:53:08 BST

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    On 23 May 2005 at 9:39, Platt Holden wrote:

    MSH writes:

    > Another variation of the Shift is to repeatedly ridicule the ideas of
    > another and then, when asked for evidence, say "This is a forum dedicated
    > to the work of Robert Pirsig. What does this have to do with Pirsig?" For
    > example:
    > "Howard Zinn is a Marxist and I don't believe anything he says."
    > "What evidence do you have that Zinn is a Marxist?"
    > "This forum is about Robert Pirsig, not Howard Zinn."
    > OR
    > "I don't believe any reports issued by anti-American organizations
    > like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch."
    > "What makes you think they are anti-American?
    > "What does this have to do with the Metaphysics of Quality?"
    Speaking of evidence, please specify the source, including the context,
    for these exact quotes. Not that I deny them. I'd also ask of this whole
    thread "What does this have to do with Pirsig or the MOQ?"

    msh May 23, 2005:
    Since TFP has so far failed to apologize or account for the slander
    previously documented in this thread, I'm not eager to waste my time
    producing still further evidence. Nevertheless...

    The quotes above were from memory, but they do not differ much from
    TFP's actual words, referenced below:

    Sadly, if the number of lives lost is the measure, crimes of similar
    and even greater magnitude have occurred and continue to occur
    throughout the world. For example, even conservative estimates place the
    number of Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion of that all-
    but-defenseless country, at more than 10,000.

    I wouldn't believe for a minute any estimate of casualties by anti-
    war groups like Amnesty International.

    [msh notes, May 23, 2005: We now know that civilian deaths in Iraq
    are more than 100,000. But the question to TFP is: On what grounds
    does he reject the reports of Amnesty International?]

    It's not surprising to me that leftists like you and DMB praise Zinn
    because his narrative thread is straight from the first line of the
    Communist Manifesto, "The history all hitherto existing societies is the
    history of class struggle." To Zinn, greed and profit were the motivating
    factors behind every U.S. war, the result of base motives of the "ruling
    class." Zinn even goes so far as to blame America, not Japan, for the
    attack on Pearl Harbor. In other words, the devil made them do it.

    msh responds:

    msh May 23,2005:
    Please provide evidence of Zinn's Marxism. Please provide textual
    support for your claim that Zinn blames America for Japan's attack on
    Pearl Harbor (which, BTW, at the time, was an American colonial
    military outpost in the middle of the Pacific, taken by force).

    msh May 23, 2005:
    And here's more ridicule without supporting evidence and argument:

    Bill Moyers is a prime example of the leftist view of moral
    eqivalency, putting the American flag, symbol of constitutional
    protection of intellectual values, on the same moral level as the
    symbol of Chinese communism, purveyor of mass executions in the name
    of a social value. The clip is level-headed alright, if your view is
    that all acts are morally the same.

    msh says:
    This bit of misguided and unfounded slander was refuted, here, with
    no retraction, apology, or argument from TFP:

    msh says:
    Yes, and how strange that the #!*#! conservatives see in this
    beautiful speech an equation of conservatism with communism. Their
    paranoia makes them impervious to the truth in Moyers' elegant

    Moyers is not claiming some bizarre "moral equivalency" between Mao
    and Bush, whatever that's supposed to mean. The paragraph that
    begins "When I see flags sprouting..." draws a parallel between the
    unthinking ideologues who worshipped Mao and the unthinking
    ideologues who worship GWB and blind uncritical patriotism: the
    little red book everywhere but unread; the flag pins everywhere, but
    the notion of patriotism completely distorted and misunderstood.

    [msh notes, May 23,2005: These comments as well as Moyers' actual
    words are available at the link, below.]

    Pirsig agrees that science provides only a limited understanding of
    reality and argues convincingly for that conviction. As I said,
    Chomsky should read and try to absorb ZMM and Lila. One of the
    greatest thinkers of the 20th century might learn something.

    Again a snide pejorative. He may well have read those books.
    At any rate, Pirsig and Chomsky are in agreement about the
    limitations of science. So?

    chomsky via msh:
    My own feeling is that it's not wise to hold irrational beliefs.

    No belief is more irrational than Chomsky's that there's moral
    equivalence between the terrorists who attacked on 9-11 and the U.S.

    Next you'll be telling us that Chomsky supported Pol Pot, and denies
    the holocaust. All the predictable and easily refutable cannards
    that are trotted out like clockwork, wherever Chomsky is reviled but
    not read.

    Of course Chomsky makes no mention of such moral equivalence. I
    doubt if he's ever even used the term, except in deconstructing it.
    Again, read 9-11. There, he clearly states that the 9-11 attacks
    were horrendous crimes, perhaps the greatest nearly instantaneous
    murder of innocent civilians ever, outside of war. (He doesn't say
    it, but I will: since the WWII firebombing of Dresden and the
    nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) He then suggests that if
    the US government is really interested in eliminating terrorism, it
    should first stop engaging in it. Third, it might be a good idea to
    find out the real reasons for the attacks, and address any
    legitimate grievances. (Read Blowback and Sorrows of Empire by
    Chalmers Johnson.) This is just common sense.

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)
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