On Mon, 5 Aug 1996, Steve Finley wrote:
> >From Phyllis M. Ryder:
> > "But, at the same time, it seems to me that we can reduce most, if
> not all arguments, down to an assumption that cannot be disproved or
> proved. I am a democrat because I believe that we have a responsibilty
> to aid our fellow humans. Much of the rhetoric of the democratic party
> appeals to me because it relies on this fundamental assumption. But is
> it a matter of "blind faith" that I believe that we have this
> responsbility? In some ways, I think it is." >
This suggests that all is relative, that we're all entitled to our own
opinons, that it's impossible to decide, etc., etc. Bull. If this were
really the case, then we wouldn't be able to do anything, make any
decision, and we certainly wouldn't be able to persuade anyone.
Obviously, some claims are worth more than others. This isn't to say
that claims are "universally" and "eternally" true, which explains why
appeals to the bible were more effective before (for example) the
scientific revolution and why appeals to the teachings of Buddha (for
another example) are more effective in some cultures than others.
The word I'm looking for the "everything is faith" argument but that
I am sure I am misspelling is "specious," a term I was reminded of from
watching the Simpsons last night. Lisa and Homer were talking about the
effectiveness of the bear patrol in keeping bears out of Springfield
(even though only one bear had ever come in to Springfield.) Homer
claims that this is evidence that the bear patrol is very effective.
Lisa replies "that's a specious argument. Why, I claim that this rock
has the power to keep away tigers."
"How do you know?" Homer asks.
"We've never had tigers before. And I think it's because of this rock,"
Homer says, "Lisa, I'd like to buy that rock from you."
Well, you get the idea.
On a slightly different point, Steve says:
Most Republicans I know would say that
> their policies help people in less obvious, more substantial ways, and
> over the long haul, than Democrats' hand-out-the-candy, damn-the-cost,
> short-run solutions. (Don't get yer back up here--I'm just saying what
> they'd say.) So there has to be an assumption even deeper than this.
> But I agree totally with your basic point--that, going back far enough, you
> eventually reach a point where all is assumption and presupposition.
Actually, I tend to read the differences between the major parties as the
democrats think that the government ought to be a tool to help people and
the republicans believe the government ought to stay out of the way. The
democrats think that the best way to help the poor is to get the
government involved; the republicans believe that the poor ought to help
themselves by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps whether they're
wearing shoes or not. And if they can't, well, it ain't "my fault," it's
their "own fault."
Of course, I can say these things because I'm a
lefty/pinko/anarchist/techno-socialist whose politics are much more
radical than either of the major parties ;).
Steve Krause * Department of English * Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH * 43403 * (419) 372-8934 *firstname.lastname@example.org
*Soon to be at Southern Oregon State College in Ashland, OR*