Re: MD secular humanism and dynamic quality

Date: Sat Mar 27 2004 - 17:46:01 GMT

  • Next message: David MOREY: "Re: MD secular humanism and dynamic quality"


    I love it when we hold hands and travel this well-worn path, Platt. Really, we must do it more often. It's been so long since out last time.

    Platt said:
    Oh, I don't know about "remotely like." Many passages in Lila begin with "In fact" like . . .

    Hmm, this is a tough one, but I'm gonna' have to go with, "There's difference between saying 'unbiased acknowledgement of fact,' and using the locution 'In fact' to start a sentence."

    But, more to the point, I do think there is a big difference between thinking there are "unbiased facts" and using "fact" as a rhetorical tool, as you rightly say Pirsig does. Pirsig, along with pragmatists and post-moderns, do make the rhetorical turn. But when Pirsig says that it's values all the way down, it's the same thing as saying that it's bias all the way down.

    But whatever. If you don't want to pull down the cultural immune system that keeps you from seeing that defining facts as high quality intellectual patterns of _value_ is the same as saying that the notion of an "unbiased fact" is empty, that when Pirsig describes insanity in Lila as being predisposed to a certain kind of reality, as valuing one reality over another, that he's saying the same thing as I am when I say that it is because we are post-Stalin, Enlightenment liberals that we can say without reservation that Communism is a bad system of gov't, then I can't help you. I've tried, I really have, but at certain point, ya' know--

    You just give up hope.

    Platt said:
    That 'good liberals" are Marxists I have no doubt. Your pal Rorty implores us to cooperate to build Oscar Wilde's Marxist utopia which calls for eliminating private property, ending the institution of marriage and doing away with democracy.

    I don't really know what you're talking about. I guess, as usual, you pulled the ole' underhanded switcheroo, substituting your own personal definition of liberal-as-Commie' for the definition I've been using ever since I started on this list: liberal-as-Lockean.

    Personally I find defining the political Left as Maoists in disguise is as unhelpful for getting a handle on people as defining the political Right as Nazis. But I suppose it supplies a cheap thrill when your only intention is to throw mud, as opposed to, maybe, talk about things. I don't know. Just a thought.

    Oh, and for the record, Rorty has never suggested that we get rid of private property, marriage, or democracy. I think Kevin long ago said it best: "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.'" (If you want _that_ context, see the exchange between Platt and Kevin in the "NAZIs and pragmatism" thread from February 10th to 11th of 2003. You'll especially want it after I quote Kevin as saying to Platt that his "irrational spasms of partisan reflexology blind [him] to the point being made." 'Cuz without the context, it might seem as though I'm _just_ throwing mud.)

    But, again, for the record, the points on which I disagree with these Humanists, whoever they are, are 1) though I may think the "existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society" is endanger of losing it's soul, I don't think any "radical change in methods, controls and motives" being instituted would help in recovering our soul. 2) If "a socialized and cooperative economic order" means the type of central planning effectively lambasted by Friedrich Hayek, then count me out. If it means the usual welfare system that _all_ capitalist nations have found is impossible to function without (don't forget corporate welfare, righties), then count me in. 3) If a "free and universal society" and a "shared life in a shared world" mean something like what Marx meant it, count me out, but if it means something like the utopia Jesus sketched out, count me in.

    Blah, blah. Blah, blah.

    I think the meaning of my last two sentences will get through just as well as the entire last paragraph.

    But, ya' know what? In light of me telling David that he's too pessimistic about liberalism, and that too often turns into cynicism, maybe I should be more hopeful about Platt.

    Here's to hope,


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