October 10, 2005

An Objectivism Debate: Or is it?

This technique of dissimilation is very familiar to me. It may not be to some of the audience here, but that is by no means of crippling status after all.

Look, I can describe it in not so many words. Although more words provide more clarity.

If a person wants to know, that's fine. A lot of people are ignorant, and knowledge can benefit people and allow them to make decisions based upon what is true and not what is false.

But I have to warn people not to get twisted in psychological attacks using the natural inclination of reasonable people to give knowledge and help to people. A propaganda technique is something that is a tool to accomplish a goal, and the most effective propaganda is about 9/10ths the truth.

My analysis of the situation is thus.

If you read Kheldar's words carefully and his intentions, you will see the thesis is that he only wants to understand Objectivism and why it "appears" to be inconsistent.

That, is the guise of reason, and therefore any person of moderate good will might feel a need to help a person acquire an understanding of a subject they are versed in.

But, somewhere and somehow along the line, while you are explaining the subject in question to a person, something goes wrong.

I will tell you why.

The reason why any attempts to explain Objectivism in this situation is, well, fated to fail is simply that it was only a pretext that the goal was to acquire knowledge about Objectivism.

The real reason was something else, it was to argue something, whatever a person wanted to.

The argument here, is thus.

[b]That this is so, and explain to me why you are right and I am wrong.[/b]

That is the form of a Debate, not a teacher-student relationship, or someone asking directions.

Therefore if someone is assuming the teacher-student posture and presenting the burden of proof on themselves, and stating some facts to a student. Then it works well, because the student understands the facts, realizes the truth, and comes to a conclusion that is knowledgeable about a subject.

However, if a student contradicts the teacher, and says the teacher is wrong on this subject. Is it the responsibility of the teacher to prove to the student that the student is wrong, or is it the responsibility of the student to prove the teacher is wrong?

I always knew there was some reason I prefered the socratic method. The Socratic Method does not fall prey to this kind of problem. The teacher asks questions, and the student answers. A situation where the student asks questions and the teacher has to answer... can become problematical.

[quote]Simply put. Please explain to me how Richard's actions are in line with Objectivism. How is his threat to invade "neutral" lands (not an empty threat) wash with the idea that no person has the right to demand the sacrifice of another? What is it about the situation that allows Richard to pre-emptively invade?

I understand the use of force against an aggressor. I "get" the concept of taking actions that are in your own best interest. I don't see how that "allows" one to become an aggressor against someone who is not a threat. [/quote]

This is just an exercise in abstract so to speak. There's two ways to respond to this paragraph.

1. Normal Method

Which is to answer by saying that the neutral lands are a danger, since they have no defense against the Order, and therefore it is in their best interests to join D'Hara.

I propose however, that this won't work. Because the move I predict will be, "Prove how the neutral lands are a danger". Analogous to what was said before, "prove why the Ambassadors should believe Richard about the Order and not the Order".

2. Socratic Method

Why would Richard be insane enough to sacrifice D'haran lives in the pursuit of nations that are no threat to the liberty of D'Haran, when there is a huge Imperial Order army to fight?

Some who are reading this, may have concluded that I am no longer arguing the original subject. Rather, I am arguing burden of proof (does the innocent prove they are innocent?), reasonable standards of debate, and of course, answers and questions.

I seek to prove why the method adopted in this debate is flawed and inadequate to its purpose. That does not mean Kheldar's original proposition, that Richard's Actions were inconsistent with Objectivism, is on its face the wrong question or an invalid one. In fact, it is a very relevant question, with a very relevant answer.

Philosophy is not for the weak of heart. It takes brain processing power, and a lot of confusion. I experienced it, and I assume everyone else experiences it in some degree or another.

The basic fundamentals of epistemology, the theory of knowledge, and the basic philosophical core principles of Objectivism, all are required knowledge in a debate.

I mean, come on, it's one thing for a student to be totally ignorant in class, but it is another thing for someone to try to debate a subject in which they don't have the necessary knowledge to do so adequately. It's like a student coming to class without pencil, paper, pen, or book.

It's just... not right, you know. Some standards must be followed. If people want to learn, or debate, or whatever, shouldn't they follow reasonable standards of conduct?

To Kheldar,

[quote]Look, consider this a landmark occassion. In all the time we've interacted at various boards, how many times have you seen me make a statement admitting complete ignorance and confusion. How many times have you seen me sincerely ask someone to explain something to me? [/quote]

[quote][b]No, it's not. [/b]However, it IS forcing a loaded gun at someone's head to tell them that if they don't assist you in a dangerous task you will attack them.

It seems that you're missing what I'm saying. Richard was fine in warning them about what the Imperial Order was like. He was fine in saying that there would be economic repercussions if they joined late. [b]He crossed the line when he threatened to invade them. [/b][/quote]

I hope someone, you, has gotten an idea of the understanding I an attempting to force across the rift of the cellular wall.

Okay Kheldar, one question, and it's not a debate question. Tell me again how this is a landmark occasion given the pieces I have bolded up above?

A simple question, requiring a useful answer.

[quote]You issued an ultimatum in your post[/quote]

This isn't a game, Kheldar. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. Much as Richard tends to do, or even Bush for that matter. When I state the consequence of an action, I am stating my intentions to do something given a particular situation. I do not try to correct your behavior, that is of course against the rules of this board, I only state what my actions will be given possible scenarios.

As such, there is no more debate, Kheldar. I will not answer your questions, simply because I have adequately proven that your questions are both flawed in execution and disengenous in design. Whether you intended it to be or not, matters little given the evidence of the situation as I have presented.

Let me remind you Kheldar, that you didn't state your lack of knowledge concerning Objectivism nor your desires to learn, in your posts addressed to me. Therefore to take offense at something, by placing motives to my words that are not there, is unfortunate in its sadness.

The assumption that someone you are attempting to debate with, has read everyword that you have written in this thread or others, is an incorrect assumption.

And I stand by the fact that I was stating what I believed to be true concerning your motivations and objectives, in comparison with what you had already accomplished (or not accomplished). I presume a person who is being rational at least, would want to help facillitate some understanding or discussion, rather than taking offense and acting on it.

The fact that you felt offended and thought I was trying to turn your stated ignorance back upon you... well that is just, rather, regretable and inappropriate in allowing one's emotions to dictate one's actions irregardless of the truth.

Now, is the time for the requisite recap. For those who get lost in long debates, as if reading a mathematical proof 10 pages long.

Anyone care to guess who said what?

[quote]In essence, this is what Richard threatened.

"I thereby pledge that I will not sacrifice anyone else's life solely for my own benefit, nor will I sacrifice my life for anyone else's sole benefit"

It's still a loaded gun pointed at their head. It's still forcing a decision under duress.

It's counter to my point.

It is not forcing a loaded gun at someone's head, to tell them that fire is hot, that radioactivity is dangerous, or that the sun shouldn't be looked at. It is also not morally ambiguous, irresponsible, or negative to tell someone the consequences of their actions.

You have not shown whatsoever that in the very specific situation under discussion, the Imperial Order was good for neutral or nations that would ally to the Order.

Second, you must prove how Richard is the one interjecting coercion and force into the equation of human interactions rather than the person responding with force to counter forceful aggression on the part of the Order.

Not only does Objectivism justify actions taken for the good of others and of yourself, it also justifies using force to respond to force.

No, you're just not listening to what I'm saying. Try reading it all again. Richard loaded the gun and held it to their heads when he threatened that his forces would invade them, regardless of whether or not they were helping the Imperial Order.

I'm arguing that what Richard did doesn't fit within the limits of Objectivism.

To begin, you must prove why the people of the Midlands should believe Richard's explanation of how events will unfold. Then you must prove why D'Hara is good for the Midlands.

If you can answer that clearly, then I'll bow out and admit "defeat". Mind you, I don't think what Richard did was wrong, I just don't see how it fits into the Objective philosophy. So, please, by all means, school me.


I have a craving to interject comments concerning the above next to each line, but I will refrain from doing so. This post is long enough, after all.

But, I have to recommend that the phrase "So, please, by all means, school me" is... uh.. inconsistent with the rest?

Kheldar:Okay, now explain.

Ymar:Huh? I thought you were doing the explaining...

Kheldar:I don't know much about Objectivism, and neither do you!!
(The militant agnosticism joke is always funny)

Okay, read and interpret what you will, our fair audience. I've done my best to communicate a set of ideas and truths. I take no credit for whatever amusements may result.


Blogger ChrisWoznitza said...

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10 October, 2005 16:35  

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