I know, some of you feel as though your head is going to explode. It is OK. I know it seems a bit overwhelming with all of these big, fancified words. It feels as though much of this stuff is going right over your head. I am here tonight doing nothing but settling it all down. No new content. Nothing new to try and wrap our heads around. No big words, and no new ideas. Just a bit of an explanation as to why this nasty topic is important and some thoughts that will hopefully help everyone to focus on the important take away material while merely reading and gaining a minimal understanding of the rest.
Believe me when I tell you that I understand how you are feeling. And you are thinking that this website just got a whole lot more complicated than you really wanted to get. But I submit that you are half right and half wrong with that statement. The site didn’t really get more complicated. We are going through a bit of tough material, but Thursday night will be a regular topic and Friday will be right back to guest commentary. We will then pick this subject up again on Sunday night. Once we have these basic concepts down, the material will actually get easier, as the focus will shift more towards politics and issues. However, it is getting a little harder in terms of political discussion, which is what you want. Let me explain.
We all want to make the country a better place. And we are all here to discuss ways that we can make that happen. The founders were great, but not infallible. There were mistakes they made too. And the politicians since those guys have really made some doozy mistakes. We want to eliminate as many inconsistencies and mistakes from our path forward as we can. I think we all agree on that. In order to do so we need to think on a higher level about our basic core principles and values. This series will set us up to do that.
I sense frustration in that people are not understanding where this is going or how this leads us to a better place. To that I say a few things. First, just trust me and follow along on this little journey for a bit. It is only 7 or so articles. And it will make more sense in the end than it does now. Second, remember way back when I started? One of the things that I said we wanted to accomplish was education and waking up of our friends, neighbors, families, accomplices, etc.. Everyone talked about how the people that they talked to had their head in the sand or were unwilling to listen to logic. The key to breaking that wall down is understanding why they think the way that they do and how the arguments they believe are flawed. It is not enough to say “you are wrong” to these folks. You have to be able to explain why they are wrong, where the inconsistency is in their argument.
This series, at its conclusion, will give you tools in a way that will allow you to be better armed to explain why their argument is flawed (whether they are liberal or conservative is irrelevant). It will further give you the tools to understand how to refine your positions in a way that eliminates contradiction in your position. Every single one of us is passionate about politics. That is why we are here. So it is important that the things that we are passionate about, we make sure that are right about. Look at it like a sport. If you were passionate about baseball (and I am), you wouldn’t be good at it without the practice. And those hours and hours of practice hurt. We push our bodies through tremendous pain in order to be better prepared for when the time comes to perform. Think of this as wind sprints in preparation for political battle. Sure it hurts. Sometimes you run so hard you throw up. But in the end you are better prepared to win that political battle than your foes.
Look at it another way. Many of you have tangled with BlackFlag in debating an issue. It is maddening because he is prepared. You want to beat him at his own game? Here he is teaching you how to do so. Embrace that. Seize that moment, and figure out how to argue the way that he does, by eliminating as much inconsistency as possible from your argument. The scary thing is you may find some of your positions are flawed, and no one likes to find they have been defending something that is “wrong”. It may hurt to find you are wrong, but it will feel awful nice when you have drilled your positions down to unbreachable truths.
Don’t get too wrapped up in trying to understand any one person’s philosophy, such as Ayn Rand or anyone else. She does a great job of explaining the importance of philosophy and the reasoning and base behind it. Nothing more and nothing less. At the end of this you won’t be Rand disciples. Her purpose here was to underscore the importance of this topic and to help explain some of the basics. Don’t let the big words get in the way of the concepts. Don’t get intimidated by them. Today is an extra day to do nothing but review the first two articles and clarify with JAC, BF, and myself any concepts that you are struggling with. I urge you to do so. I beg you to do so. I see so many intelligent commenters on this site from the right and the left. I want everyone to get this. Because then we will be able to have some principled and valuable discussions of the way forward with everyone eliminating inconsistency and flaws. That is the point where we are ready to find the proper path forward.
To this I want to add the thoughts that Just A Citizen posted at the end of yesterdays comment thread, so that you can see his thoughts as well. He posted the following:
OK Everyone. It is past dinnner time, even out here. Some have expressed confusion and others frustration. Others have helped and even others, unheard before have stepped in with some very profound stuff.
BUTS LET’S FOCUS!!
You are two parts through a three part series designed to give you a basic understanding of philosophy by providing you with:
2) The hierarchy of philosophy
3) How to use reduction to think in terms of fundamentals. How to find which level of the hierarchy you are dealing with and to make sure the foundation supports the parts above it.
4) How to identify general principles in catch phrases or other rhetoric.
5) How to use reduction and identify principles that affect your emotions.
6) How to evaluate various types of rationalizations.
Now, here is what I hoped you would all get out of the first three parts.
1) A recognition that philosophy is important because it is what drives the world, especially the politics.
2) There is a hierarchy that consists of the following:
Note that esthetics and politics are separate branches of ethics. Politics, our primary concern here, rests upon Ethics which rests upon Epistemology which rests upon Metaphysics.
1) Definitions so you will know what others are talking about when you try to defend your belief in individual liberty. And so you have a basic language skill to communicate with other detectives.
2) Basic detection skills, the art of reduction. An understanding that you must reduce all pirnciples and concepts to find the essential or foundation. The principle or concept that can not be recuded.
3) An introduction to two of the major camps which are fighting for control of your mind. Realists (Aristotle, Locke, Smith, Rand, etc) and those who think reality is a state of mind (Kant, Hegel, Marx, etc). A third is mysticism (Aquinas, the Catholic Church, etc).
4) How to use reduction to identify fundamental, or essential, components hidden in catch phrases. A tool that I hope you can use on other positions and statements.
Part III: Coming Soon
1) How to identify how philosophical principles affect your feelings.
2) Understand why people rationalize things and use reduction to find the hidden philosophical principles.
Future Parts: One or more parts to include a dialogue between BF and I and others designed to show you how to dig for your essentials and hopefully help you reaffirm them or dump them for new ones. I am sure we will get into examples here.
One part with the title How our Founders Went Wrong. Figured that will generate alot of discussion. But we need our basic skills first. It will also provide the lead in for the conclusion.
The Wrap Up: We will start to construct a philosophical system that will support the resurrecton of America. The politics will come to play in a big way here.
YOU CAN NOT CHEAT AND SKIP TO THE END AND HOPE TO SUCCEED. YOU MUST MAKE THE JOURNEY WITH US FROM START TO FINISH. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL AGREE WITH THE CONCLUSION. BUT YOU WILL KNOW WHY YOU DON’T AND HOW YOUR CONCLUSIONS WILL AFFECT YOUR GOALS, THE COUNTRY YOU WANT. AND YOU WILL KNOW WHY SOME OF US HAVE CHOSEN A DIFFERENT PATH.
Don’t let all the fancy terms intimidate you. Their meanings are pretty straight forward. You don’t have to use them just know what they mean. If you do you will be amazed at how you start to reclassify the world.
You will know that much of what we talk about here is either Politics or Ethics. You will know that Politics must be consistent with the Ethics. As contradictions mean one or both are false. You will know that ethics and morality are essentially the same. You will know that logic is a problem solving method or way of thinking that eliminates contradictions. Reason without logic is an oxymoron, in my opinion.
You will know that when someone tells you that freedom is critical in our democracy and it is only logical that we tax the rich to help the poor that they have created a contradiction in ethics and therefore, by definition they are not logical.
The goal of the first three articles is to give you just enough information to be dangerous, to those who will attack your desire to restore our constitution and resurrect our country. We can not send you into battle without at least a few of the weapons needed to fight this foe.
Last thoughts to keep you sane:
DON’T LET OTHERS COMMENTS OR THOUGHTS GET YOU OFF TRACK. SOME OF US HERE WILL CHASE SOME VERY BIG FUZZY RABBITS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO ALONG. STAY FOCUSED ON THE BASIC OBJECTIVES I JUST OUTLINED ABOVE AND YOU WILL BE FINE.
ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. DID YOU ALL NOTICE BF IS TRYING TO BE VERY HELPFUL SO PLEASE TAKE HIM UP ON IT. IT’S GOING TO GET UGLY WHEN WE GET TO POLITICS SO ENJOY HIM WHILE YOU CAN!!!!!!
Now a little humor for those who feel overwhelmed. It wasn’t all that long ago that I thought epistemelogy was something you got penicillun shots for in order to get rid of it.
Funny I thought Epistemology was what they did to a woman during the birthing process. Don’t sweat folks. Just read again and let the important points jump out to you. Discuss for another day and then we will be ready to continue.