RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Mon Feb 10 2003 - 22:40:22 GMT

  • Next message: Kevin: "RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism"


    > Platt quotes various sources:
    > RORTY:
    > "The best rebuttal to this suggestion is Oscar Wilde's "The soul of man
    > under socialism". The message of that essay parallels those of Mill's On
    > Liberty and of Rawls' A Theory of Justice. It is that the only point of
    > getting rid of the priests and the kings, of setting up democratic
    > governments, of taking from each according to her abilities and giving to
    > each according to her needs, and of thereby creating the Good Global
    > Society, is to make it possible for people to lead the sort of lives they
    > prefer, as long as their doing so does not diminish the opportunities of
    > other humans to do the same thing." (The Decline of Redemptive Truth
    > and the Rise of Literary Culture)
    > "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
    > "Socialism, Communism, or whatever one chooses to call it, by
    > converting private property into public wealth, and substituting co-
    > operation for competition, will restore society to its proper condition of
    > a thoroughly healthy organism, and insure the material well being of each
    > member of the community. (the soul of man under socialism)
    > "In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your
    > property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend."
    > Platt concludes:
    > Will leftist intellectuals like Rorty ever learn? If not from Pirsig, at
    > least from the millions of slaughtered dissidents rotting in unmarked
    > graves in Eastern Europe, Russia, Cambodia, Cuba, China, Vietnam and North
    > Korea?
    > Kevin:
    > You seem to have completely misread the Rorty quote. Not only drawn it out
    > of context, but completely ignored it's content as well.

    Oh? Rorty says the BEST rebuttal is Oscar Wilde's "The soul of man under
    socialism." Have you bothered to read Wilde's essay? If not, you have
    misread Rorty.

    > As to context, Rorty is speaking to the claim that his idea of a
    > Literary Culture would be inherently decadent and "a culture of languid and
    > self-involved aesthetes". He points out several authors who would
    > demonstrate that it is not necessary for society to be based on uniform
    > ideas of Foundational Morality in order to achieve a utopia. Namely, Wilde,
    > Mill, and Rawls. Now reread the quotation from Rorty and you see that he is
    > saying that the point of each of these positions comes to a similar
    > conclusion. Namely, the point of each approach (Wilde, Mill or Rawls) is
    > the same goal--The Good Global Society.

    Right, but Wilde, who Rorty claims is the BEST rebuttal to the claim,
    would confiscate your property in the name of The Good Society. Is that
    what you're looking forward to?

    > So the true goal of our effort towards a Good Global Society is "to make it
    > possible for people to lead the sort of lives they prefer, as long as their
    > doing so does not diminish the opportunities of other humans to do the same
    > thing" and a common agreement on Metaphysics isn't necessary to achieve
    > this.

    > Insidious isn't it? All that Liberty and Individualism....

    Liberty? How do you propose to make it possible for people to lead the
    sort of lives they prefer without infringing on someone else's life that he
    prefers? I breathlessly await your answer.
    > I suspect that Platt suffers from apoplectic rage whenever he notices
    > certain words within a conversation (socialism, communism, Marx, etc)
    > and simply refuses to see how these terms are being used to illustrate a
    > larger point. Even when they are in the same sentence that praises "setting
    > up democratic governments".

    You bet I go into apoplectic rage whenever someone suggests
    communism as a path to Utopia when it has already slaughtered
    countless millions in the effort.

    > Will yellow-dog Right Wingers ever learn? If not from Rorty or Pirsig, at
    > least from the millions living in peace and prosperity in Canada, France,
    > Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland, etc...

    These are your ideal societies? And what did we learn from Pirsig? That
    the free enterprise system is superior to socialism. (Read Chap. 17 of

    > At any rate, I hope anyone curious will read the Rorty essay in
    > question. It's a wonderful argument for not waiting for the Ultimate
    > Answer before we begin to build a better society for ourselves. In
    > short, it's a call to "practicality" and "action" rather than debate,
    > much like Mari and others have been making.
    Yes, and the action ultimately required by do-gooders is to send trouble
    makers like me to one of their many gulags. "What the Metaphysics of
    Quality indicates is that the twentieth-century faith in man's basic
    goodness as spontaneous and natural is disastrously naive. The ideal of
    a harmonious society in which everyone without coercion cooperates
    happily with everyone else for the mutual good of all is a devastating
    fiction." -- Robert M. Pirsig.


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