I couldn't agree more. I don't think, though, the idea that we all
start from certain assumptions means that everything is necessarily
relative, though certainly all sets of assertions seem to end up
being circular, possibly as a result of the inability of language to
really get outside itself--e.g., the old idea that the
everything-is-relative assertion is itself an absolute. And I
absolutely, positively cannot stand the idea that "it's all just a
matter of opinion"; I was having this exact discussion with someone
just the other day, and I was protesting the Oprah-esque notion
(espoused by her studio audience, and others) of "who's to say?", as
in, "Who are you to say that being a transvestite Satanist
skinhead who molests animals is bad? I mean, as long as they're not
pets or anything?" (Man, I hope I didn't just offend somebody ELSE
on this list, now. I've got enough of that trouble already).
Anyway, I agree with you completely, vehemently, totally
on this point. But it seems to me a matter of fact that if you peel
away enough layers, you always get down to assumptions in an
argument. (I'd say that some ASSUMPTIONS are better than
others--maybe that resolves the problem.)
And since I've been accused of being everything but an anticonformist
Bohemian to a Bolshevik to a Republican (ack! I'm no Republican!), I
feel completely qualified to say that my point about this is still
the same: Repubs think that the way people will get better is to get
unaddicted to government candy, or at least the intelligent ones I know
(yes, there is such a thing) seem to be saying something like that.
So, somewhere down the line, I still think these guys share at least
one assumption (though they differ on others).
And, of course, you know by now that you spelled "specious"
perfectly. Pretty good for an anarkist.