Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Restoring Rationality To Argument

As I've been rereading CS Lewis' The Abolition of Man, I began to recognize how our Conditioners have removed rational thought from so much in our lives.

I wasn't thinking of that when media, having played down the size of the 8/28 Rally, spurred to build the scaling tool last Saturday afternoon to shine a light on their lies.

But since then I thought about what I had done, and it dawned on me I had something even more important to share. I had worked to introduce rationality to my argument, and its something that is woefully missing from so much we see in media.

Comparing quantitative sizes of objects to aid argument is literally rational. And because what I did can be duplicated, everybody who does knows I'm telling the truth. It's real value to my efforts to increase honest discourse and reduce the dishonest is in its duplicability.

And we know that the media has the tools to do exactly what I did, but they didn't. Why? Because then they couldn't lie about the size of the crowd. Oh they could try; but then others would come along and try to duplicate it, and thus their lie would be exposed. That would make their lie explicit. This way, their lie is only implicit -- but still a lie with which they've been trying to wiggle out of with really stupid density figures.

More than just math.

But rational argument is more than just math. When we compare attitudes or agendas, and gauge where their leaning or heading, we are engaging in rational thought. CS Lewis, in the first of his lectures in The Abolition of Man, the chapter titled Men Without Chests, he told of the new direction in methods that had been taught the next generation of teachers. Most striking was how the next generation of students would deliberately be taught to throw out the hard earned lessons of the past, and to think of each old problem entirely anew. They would be denied learning of the history of the past so that they could no longer compare the results of what worked and what did not work.

In that course of events were buried deliberate efforts to destroy access to knowledge that allows us to be fully rational.

What are you going to do about trying to remedy that horrible scheme?

Well, I'll tell you what I have done. The last three days are the beginning of a series in which I've striven to point out where rational argument can be reintroduced. One of these was in the line wherein I strongly recommend restoring balance to our judgment. We often hear about the loss of our American meritocracy. Well duh! We can bring it back by giving credit where it is due and pointing out where the shortcomings are, and stop worrying about hurt feelings. Better hurt feeling than someone die because no one dared caution them that they were headed off a cliff. It's not a hard concept to grasp.

And by all means, if you see someone misleading another, and it's not to teach the lesson that a mild misdirection will provide, then speak up and warn the misled subject even if you forgo berating the misleader.

"What I'm talking about today is our need to think twice before will succumb to our earnest desire to project our decency on they who are not (do unto others as thou would have done to thee) so as to better balance that with our need to reward and withhold reward based on merit. For where we are too lax in assuring there is balance, we should not be surprised to find ourselves up to our eyeballs in a muck that is the consequences of demerit after demerit overlooked."

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