Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Liberal Definitions Backfire

Democratic Underground

Be careful how you define your terms...it may bite you in the end. Case in point, Ken Sanders article in the Democratic Underground entitled "Wall Street Journal: Purveyor of Moral Relativism?" is going to help us understand that conservatives are just as guilty of moral relativism as they are. My reaction: Oh GOODY! Mr. Sanders must think moral relativism is bad. He's going to blame conservatives for doing it too. Which means that hypocrisy is bad too! By Jove! Moral absolutism may win the day yet! Let's take a peek at some key clips of his priceless wisdom:

"Last week, Amnesty International released its annual report on the state of human rights across the globe. In the foreword of the report, AI's Secretary General, Irene Khan, declared, "The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times."

"First, it (Wall Street Journal article) is so laughably literal. The Journal notes from the outset that the term "gulag" was made famous by Alexander Solzhenitsyn and referred to the network of Soviet slave labor camps where millions died under Stalin's rule. True enough. However, as noted by the Oxford English Dictionary, the term "gulag" has come to figuratively mean a prison camp, especially one for political prisoners."

Breaking in, Hey, that's not so bad, huh? Just a prison camp! And I thought it was like a prison camp too. But it's a "gulag" prison camp. Which means it's a prison camp... for political prisoners. I thought they were prisoners of war. Silly me. I guess war is political. And, these men are just little, dark- skinned Solzhenitsyns. I hang my head in shame. America sucks. Back to the DU sage.

"Similarly, Bush and his Christian soldiers oppose embryonic stem-cell research because they claim it destroys life to save life. Thus, for Bush & Co., destroying life to save life is immoral. Nonetheless, Bush and his apologists defend torturing detainees if it leads to intelligence which saves American lives. For them, therefore, the morality of destroying life to save life is a relative question."

Some "relative" comments:

1. Mr. Sanders upbraids the WSJ for being so "literal" in insinuating that AI calling Gitmo a "gulag" grossly misses the mark if the meaning of gulag is as popularized by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. No, no, the cheeky Sanders uses the ever authoritative Oxford dictionary to define "gulag" as a prison camp for political prisoners. If that be the case, Mr. Sanders, what is so earth shattering about Amnesty International's report that Gitmo is just a prison camp? Hmmm? Did we American idiots think it was the Copa Cabana for disenfranchised Taliban? Oh, no!! The world is going to find out that GITMO IS A PRISON CAMP!! GASP!! Don't be a dunce, Sanders. Of course Irene Kahn meant gulag to mean something REALLY REALLY BAD. Otherwise, your neutered definition of "gulag" would pull the teeth out of AI's report. Fallacy of Equivocation; strike one.

2. As to torturing prisoners, just what the hell does that mean, really? Are we doing to our "political prisoners" what Saddaam did to his prisoners? Are we lopping off fingers and toes? Are we filleting them, skinning them alive, feeding them to hungry Rottweilers, dumping them in vats of acid? Hmmm? What are the "gulag-esque" atrocites that we are committing? UNDERWEAR OVER A MAN'S FACE? I bet Saddaam wished he would've thought of that one! Despicable! I'm going to puke. Don't say that...I'll have nightmares! Irresponsible dolt! Don't describe the torture, just say we torture prisoners. Let the masses fill in the blanks! Ambiguous definition; strike two.

3. He equivocates on the terms "destroy" and "life." We suck pre-born infants through a Quisinart Vacuum Blender and turn it into 'baby puree." That's destroy! We take the stemcells from these aborted humans and conduct very important scientific research. Oooooo. We sell the little pre-born pieces of meat to other laboratories so they can conduct very important scientific research too. Now I don't recall that we destroy prisoners this way; we don't destroy prisoners at all, do we? We destroy their personal plans to kill Americans, we destroy their sexual afterlife plans (which may be heaven to them, but an eternal hell for the virgins), we humiliate them, we irritate them by blaring the music of David Lee Roth (or was it Slim Whitman?) in their prison cells. Destroy? Nah! As to life...an innocent helpless baby compared to a hatefilled seething, murderous Islamo-facsist? Fallacy of Equivocation; strike three--you're out.

You can get away with such sloppy argumentation with your back-slapping liberal sycophants, Sanders, but in real life, your slippery definitions undermine your argument, which then falls to the ground like a scared little girly-man terrorist.

The Connection between Logic and Language

Stanley Fish, Dean Emeritus at the University of Illinois, has a great op-ed in the New York Slimes. He shows the direct and inseparable connection between form (grammar) and logic. You can read the entire article at you leisure. I've included the first two paragraphs for your edification:

"WE are at that time of year when millions of American college and high school students will stride across the stage, take diploma in hand and set out to the wider world, most of them utterly unable to write a clear and coherent English sentence. How is this possible? The answer is simple and even obvious: Students can't write clean English sentences because they are not being taught what sentences are."

"Most composition courses that American students take today emphasize content rather than form, on the theory that if you chew over big ideas long enough, the ability to write about them will (mysteriously) follow. The theory is wrong. Content is a lure and a delusion, and it should be banished from the classroom. Form is the way."


Monday, May 30, 2005

Meet the Common Master!

I understand completely why people have a lack of knowledge when it comes to logic. THEY WERE NEVER TAUGHT!!! And, I include myself in with the whole batch. The only logic I learned was the extremely BORING symbolic logic that was required for High School geometry. It made no sense! It was difficult to apply to everyday life. In addition, I never took the chance to study Aristotelian logic, or term logic, which is indispensible for daily life. The well was already poisoned; I didn't want to study what I thought was completely irrelevant to me. Unfortunately, the fallacies I learned became entirely relevant to me to where I suffered depressive symptoms for years. Learn from the mistakes of the UL.

So here's the deal: save yourself precious time from blustering through blogs and learn the way of the common master. START BY STARTING! SEE THE VALUE OF IT RISE IN YOUR SOUL (We'll talk about soul down the road.). Use the links provided here. The Logic School is a great start, or purchase Peter Kreeft's "Socratic Logic." You will be glad you did. You'll soon break free from the need to try to get people to agree with you for you to feel right. Phooey on that! Gain some self-confidence and some real self-respect. Shed that exoskeleton of ignorance and fly in the wisdom of logic. You'll be glad you did. Now if you think you can pull a fast one, avoid my advice and try to a little fantasy logic on me, I'll bounce you on your bisquits!

Another problem is the reliance upon "FEELINGS." People often use "feel" in place of the word "think," e.g. listen to Katie Couric. Gag! Now, feeling strongly about something doesn't make anyone right, including the UL. Take it from me, I operated with that boneheaded belief for a long time; its blind stupidity. I can speak from experience simply because I am a very stupid person. Everything that I possess that is of any value came from somewhere or someone else. Nothing original in this guy! The same goes for you!

So, don't delay. Get to know the common master. The clouds of your confusion will part, and the light of truth will begin to shed light on you. And if you find your feelings are resisting, remember these words from the UL...DAMN IT, DO IT! And if I find that you don't care to learn logic since you're such a gifted writer with great sensitivities, I will only write it louder so you understand...DAMN IT, DO IT!
Now...GO! And don't waste your time and mine if you have no intention to learn from the Common Master. You'll run into a wall of refutation; and, that does not FEEL very good.

Cementary: A Place To Clear Your Head

I went with my family to the local cementary in our city, where there is a sizeable section devoted to veterans. My wife, my son and I just walked past the markers, admiring them, looking at their ages, discovering what war they fought in, saying thank you to them and drinking in the prevailing silence.

I am usually deeply moved in a cementary. It's a great place to clear my mind. It gives me a sufficient witness that I am mortal; that all of us are mortal and that life is precious. What am I to accomplish? How am I to live? How will I know what that is? Max Lucado says that all major decisions in our life should be made in a cementary. Not bad advice.

So, I number my days so I may apply it to wisdom. If I live to age 70, I have 8,395 breakfasts with my wife left.

Have a great Memorial Day, folks. And hey, visit a cementary...you'll sense a difference.

Suffering Patrioticus Interruptus?

Last night, on PBS, I watched the 2005 Memorial Day Celebration at the D.C. Mall in Washington D.C. For the most part, I was very moved as the concelebrants gave patriotic tribute to the fallen of our nation's military with artful mix of song, speeches and video. Particularly moving were the reading of the letters between a soldier who lost his life in Iraq, and his wife who remained home to raise their three children. It brought home by this very personal example, the extreme measure of devotion that all of our military personnel have for our nation, including their spouses and families. And to cap off this tender tribute, the entire gathering were asked to participate in the song Lee Greenwood made famous, "God Bless the USA." I was moved to tears and felt deep pride for our nation. And then, with patriotic juices flowing, and with great anticipation, the final song of the evening was sung to bring this wonderful celebration to a climax: "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me..." Every patriotic muscle went limp. I had just experienced "patrioticus interruptus!"

There is no red, white and blue pill that was going to help me "get it up" patriotically after that. This last piece about peace really got me "pieced!" How dare they! Why not end it with "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on."

Hell no, Sam! You can't have that! That would mean all this patriotic stuff, men and women dying, paying the ultimate sacrifice has an ultimate meaning and purpose. That would mean assuming God is involved with our nation's purpose and that might offend someone. Nah, let's get global. Let's end it with the liberal limp-wristed fight song for idiots, "All I am saying... is give peace a chance!" Yeah! For that's what we are; a nation of idiots!

Oh yeah?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Welcome to my Yurt!

I’d like to get the ball rolling, fellow mortals. I'm a 47 year old man who has had enough of the stupidity that has captured the minds of millions. Our schools and universities suffer with it; government institutions, our media, even western culture is reeling with fallacious thinking. Having suffered myself at the lack of logical thinking within, and the super-abundance of sophistry without, I have made up my mind ten years ago to pursuit the truth at all costs.

You may feel the effects of my passion for the truth in how I treat both subjects and people. I will always listen to people unless they are intentionally stupid, but I refuse to be open-minded with falsehood. So if I sound curt or unwilling to agree, it is NOT out of disrespect to you. I follow our common master, logic. I owe no favors to falsehood; neither should you.

On the positive side, I pursuit the truth that I need to live, grow, love, and influence others because I have a right to it as a human being. It is only the truth that sets us free; not slick or charismatic sophistry. And this freedom is not so that we can act like brutes or imbeciles, but to become fully mature human beings. We are here on earth to do what we ought that will accomplish the greatest good in our lives.

Here are the ground rules. I don't claim to know all there is about truth so I am constantly learning. I welcome anything that helps me in my pursuit of wisdom. However, don't take me to be naive. So if you wish to comment, be my guest; but be a good guest. I will be an honest and respectful host. I repeat, we follow the rules of our common master, logic. If you think I am wrong, or am guilty of a fallacy, tell me. I will not be hurt. If you wish to deliberately insult me, I will not waste my time with you.

We all have on average, 70 years to commit to the greatest good in our lives. My question to you is, how will you know it in order to live it? Life is too short and eternity too long, my mortal friends, for us to waste time on meaningless endeavors. Let's conduct ourselves to the greatest enterprise known to man, to know the truth.

I want to thank you for giving me your most precious and irretrievable moments.