Re: ideology bashing

Steve Finley (Finley@TTDCE1.COED.TTU.EDU)
Mon, 12 Aug 1996 14:49:50 +0000

>From M. Hamende, re the boiling down of rhetoric to unproven

"I think most things can be proven."

I don't think anybody's disagreeing with the word "most" here. But
are all unprovable assertions in the realm of faith? And are you
saying that there are no presuppositions, no unprovable but mutually
believed assertions of any kind in rhetorical discussions? Seems
incontrovertible that at least a few agreed-upon assumptions exist in
any discussion. But then, later in your post, you say that those
who "operate from assumptions" are from the Dark Side [from whence I
came]. If that's true, I guess I'm still unredeemed, because I'm
quite sure that much of what I say, no matter how much I strip it
purposefully of any specious assumptions, still rests on certain
agreed-upon ideas, whether you wanna call those assumptions or not.
I'd agree with your desire to rid yourself of all of them you can and
to get as much as you can from direct experience, though the point
could be made that even "experience" is filtered or even structured
by perceptions that often rest on what amounts to assumptions in that
realm, too. Anyway, I think you're right to want to cut down
assumptions back to the most basic level; I just think you'll find a
point beyond which you can't go.

And do you have any examples of Democrats who are bad boys and girls
rhetorically, or are such examples limited to vile Republicans? heh
heh. . .

" I do not believe Jesse Helms thinks critically about his

I tend to agree with you on the face of it, but I'm not willing to
make this--ahem--assumption or inference without first talking to the
man. Maybe he's just starting with a different set of ideas.

But REALLY, for goodness' sake:

"Or if you say that
because the Bible says it is wrong to kill we cannot allow abortion,
but you will turn around and approve of sending American citizens to
die in a war (be like Jesse!) I will dismiss you. Or you say you are
a Republican and Republicans believe in as little government as
possible, but then you turn around and want to pry into women's live's
and peoples' bedrooms with laws that affect those areas."

Talk about oversimplifying and the inability--or refusal--to make
distinctions (all killing in war is as bad as all killing in any
situation, any regulation of any activity proves that you believe in
all regulation of all activity, etc.)! I thought this kind of talk had gotten
worn out a long time ago.

And one more thing:

"I can respect the opposing point of view when its
basis is something that is good for the people who believe it.
. . .BUT I cannot ethically take that position if I have no
knowledge of or experience with your situation."

I have to be careful here, because I absolutely believe in making
good judgments about what is good and bad, right and wrong, etc. So
I'm not saying that all views are equally tenable, right, helpful,
etc. I argue vehemently for exactly the opposite. But don't you see
that possibly the reason you came to a different conclusion is that
you started from a different place, a place that isn't necessarily superior
to that of the people whose views you now feel justified in not respecting?
An example: Although I tend to vote pro-choice VERY reluctantly for
reasons having to do with the distinction between the legal and the moral
and the enforceable and what laws should do for society, etc., I happen
to believe that human life begins at conception. But, as harmful as
I believe the views of pro-choicers are, and as irrelevant as I think all their
arguments about it being the woman's own body, etc. are, I still respect
them and their position (though I'll admit it's easier to respect the ones
who aren't yelling at you and calling you a backward ignoramus) because,
for the most part, it looks to me like they arrived at those
positions honestly and intelligently. That is, I believe honest,
intelligent people CAN disagree and respect each other's views, even
if those views are potentially harmful. To justify a lack of respect
because you've decreed someone else's position harmful is the
beginning of the kind of attitude you see in some of these issues
like abortion, where the possibility of real dialogue is all but

s finley