The Foot soldiers of Illogic: The Racism of the Regressive Left

When did MTV abandon reason for madness?

This is the argument they present: IF we remove blacks from history, then history will be different. Therefore it must be celebrated.

Problem is, they conclude that this somehow challenges the notion of “white history” month. But my dears, you made an argument that can be used for any and all races: IF we remove whites (Asians, Jews, Indians, Arabs, ancient Egyptians etc.), then history will be different. Therefore all must be celebrated.

Sorry to break the news to you my nitwit pea-brain racist pathetic idiot friends at MTV, but the discoveries of these scientists had nothing to do with the color of their skins. Black, white, Jewish, Asian or otherwise, scientists were first and foremost exceptional human beings who made history because of their functioning brains.

And then MTV comes and pisses on their humanity, spreading a disgusting message of racism. Congratulations!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHDj4DH4mJw

 

Democratic Dictatorship: The Curious Case of the Town of Earthbridge

This is the newest essay on the final version of my recent book “In Pursuit of What is Right: The Progress of Moral Thinking (An Introduction)“. The book is available on Amazon.com, and hopefully is a help for students in college or high school who wish to know more about moral philosophy.

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The small town of Earthbridge was by no means a good place for living. It was a remote town, between the deserts of Sahra and the mountains of Kalimanjoor. The closest town to Earthbridge was at least seven days of hard riding through the desert, and people had to work hard for their livelihood. Even then most people had to live day by day with a small ration, through the hard years of labour.

Then one day, at the beginning of the harvest season, a man who called himself “The Wizard” came to town. He appeared suddenly from the desert, riding an old but still intact horse wagon. He set up shop on the main square, and claimed to have a solution for every problem that the good people of Earthbridge may have.

Curiosity made people gather around him, and each started shouting their desires and pains to the man. The Wizard raised his hands, and with the silence that followed he spoke: “Good people of Earthbridge! I can see now that you have many problems, and although I can make each go away, this may take a long time. Time which I do not have.” He paused and looked at the people around him, “Instead, I can make all your problems vanish with one sweeping motion of my wand. And in fact, not only that, but also I can make each of you much happier than you already are. I can make your crops grow each year without effort, and put you and your town on the path of becoming richer and richer every year.”

A smart man from the crowd shouted “But surely you will not do this for free! And you can see that we do not have much to give.”

 “Yes, I can see that” said the Wizard “But my price is not as high as you may think. I simply require a small sacrifice”. The crowd was suddenly silent. “A sacrifice from one of your own, one of your children”, continued the Wizard, “one child, no older than five years of age, must be put in the deepest well in town, and I will seal it with my magic. The child will not die, but he or she will suffer for each of the days she spends in that darkness. The magic will preserve her life, and as long as she suffers, you shall prosper.”

“Remember that in return for such a sacrifice, you will be rewarded with happiness and prosperity for yourselves and your town. You will be rich, healthy and happy.”

 Silence followed. Many people had no doubt that this stranger was the devil himself, disguised as a man of magic. Others who were more affected by the hardship of living in such state believed otherwise, and thought of the man as a saviour. After all, this sacrifice was only a small price to pay for a greater good and happiness for all.

Suddenly, everyone started talking at the same time. Heated arguments followed, and the crowd became an unrecognizable mass of people who moved and argued.

The man raised his hands one more time, and silence followed again. “My good people”, he said, “this will get us nowhere. The time that you may wish to spend arguing with each other is more than one lifetime.”

“But why not like any other civilized society put this motion to vote? You can easily decide what you can do this way, in a much shorter time. And before voting you may wish to have as much arguing as you wish.”

People of Earthbridge looked at each other. Surely, this was a wise suggestion, was it not?

The Value of Democracy: The conflict seems to be clearly between Utilitarianism (in particular act Utilitarianism) and rights based ethics. Many of the decisions we make in politics and policy making are not one-sidedly good for everyone, or make all people happy equally. Sometimes our decisions produce the overall best possible scenario, making “most” people happy, despite hurting or putting pressure on a minority.

Choosing what the majority wants seems to be a great way of finding out solutions to our problems. However, this immediately begs the question: “Can we decide for everything in the society by means of democracy?”

In the above example, most of us may think that torturing a child in such a way is unjustified, exactly because she has every right to not be tortured. Also, following the same rights based ethics type of reasoning, a voting on such a matter is simply irrelevant. Even if all people in Earthbridge agree that the child has to be sacrificed and tortured in such a way, still this would not make the action right, nor would it justify it in any way.

But on the other hand, we need to remind ourselves that people of Earthbridge are indeed under extreme pressure. What if the decision was about a special ration, or a new method of harvest, which despite making some people uncomfortable, would improve the town’s quality of life without taking someone else’s life?

Democracy is a good way of understanding what makes most of us happy. But it is not always in the right direction. We must tread very carefully when we argue a democratic voting justifies a specific notion. Sometimes the worst ideas have been chosen by people who did not realize the full force of their choices. For example the Russian revolution which ended in decades of suffering and loss of essential rights in the Soviet Union.

This is why the ability to make a distinction between our essential rights and “the good of all” becomes essential. We need to remember that we may not be able to make an absolute rule of this distinction, but knowing it, knowing the conflict between what we have as a “right” and what could be good for most of us while in expense of some others, can enable us understand the debates around political issues far better.

Relativist: A Pseudo Intellectual with the Tendency to Produce Horsecrap

Note: I am writing this post since after a long time I had an argument with a housemate of mine. He is a PhD student in sociology, and a relativist. The reason I am writing this is that I am hoping he reads this, since he has closed the means of conversation on the subject. In the spirit of being “the truthful heretic”, this post as always has a sting to it and I shall not hold back in attacking what I think is wrong and extremely damaging to human understanding and the quality of life.

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If I am asked who I dislike the most in the intellectual realm, surprisingly the first in my list will not be an apologist for a religion, but in fact a relativist. Pseudo intellectuals who can only add to the force of ignorance and stupidity in the world by sugar coated nonsense and not giving a damn to what is true, or other people’s pain and suffering.

I argued extensively in an essay in my new book on the subject of ethics, but in here I wish to talk about some of the usual claims that may be given as a defence. Let’s see:

“We construct our own truths, and this makes truth a subjective matter.” Really? Is this statement true or not? If it is as such that one constructs truth in one’s own mind, then the truth value of the claim “We construct our own truths” is also subjective. Therefore when I say “We do NOT construct our own truths”, I am as correct as the one that said above statement. Surely one may not take positions that refute themselves this pathetically. The only acceptable case here is the things that ONLY happen in one’s mind.

Besides, why relativists don’t construct anything that they wish in their heads? Relativist homework: Construct a pink elephant in your fridge. You should be able to do it only by thinking about it.

Of course, logically this does not make any sense. But the good relativist will immediately question logic: “Logic is also culturally relative! It is political, because it was used by the white westerns countries to colonize others!”.

Utter load of horsecrap. Logic is the foundation of our understanding, our science, our progress towards any relevant evaluation of the truth value of different claims. If racists in Nazi Germany did horrible experiments on other people, would that make science any less true? I beg to differ. Only a mind divorced of reality can make such a claim. The truth value of ethical issues here is irrelevant to the truth value of logical or scientific claim. We may condemn colonizers as much as we condemn the so called burning of witches that to this day happens in Africa, also true about AIDS denialism, genital mutilation of girls, murder of gay men and women etc. 

In fact, I shall now turn the tables on the relativists: Do they at all care about the murder of innocents? Pain and suffering caused by superstition and stupidity? 

The true meaning of delusional hypocrite happens in relativist’s, after all, is it not so that they construct their own truth in their heads? 

Workshop on Introductory Logic (Introduction to Fallacies)

This is a copy of a small workshop I did on introductory logic, mostly focusing on logical fallacies. I used some of the material I had done in my “introductory logic” series. This was a friendly and very simple workshop just to name some fallacies and have a small talk about some examples of them for some younger students.

I thought it may come in handy for some small workshop in highschools or college if I put it here for download: Introductory Logic

 

The Bankruptcy of Relativism

The idea of relativism, the idea that “The truth of statement X depends on one’s perception” seems very plausible to most people. Ironically, most people think that whoever uses the phrase more is a better intellectual. This may in fact be because of their tendency towards the middle ground fallacy, which states that having the middle ground in different arguments has more credibility.

But whatever the reason, relativism in its naive fundamentalist (“taken to its limits” as Blackburn (2001) puts) form has serious logical and consequential problems. This essay will first focus on these problems, and after rejecting the naive form of relativism, it will be focused on the question “Is there any relevant form relativism?”.

This is just the way we do it here: In other words, cultural relativism. The best way to discuss this is to first give a good description of what cultural relativism is. In book III of Herodotus’ “Histories” (Blackburn, 2001; Harris, Jr, 1997), he mentions an incident that happened during king Darius’s reign in Persia. The Persian empire at the time was the closest to a multi cultural society that we could find, and all the people had their own cultural behaviour and beliefs.

One day, Darius summoned two groups of people, some Greeks who were present for a conference, and an Indian tribe named “Callatiae”. Darius first asked the Greeks how much money would make them eat their own fathers instead of cremating them after they were dead? To which they replied no amount could make them do it. Then Darius turned to Callatiaens and asked how much money would make them cremate their fathers instead of eating them after they were dead (which was their custom)? To which they cried out loudly no amount of money could make them do it.

Herodotus then concludes that “I think Pindar was right to have said in his poem that custom is king of all.” What could be the problem with Herodotus’ conclusion? The simple fact that he does not argue based on any reason, why customs are the ultimate rules and should be obeyed. He does not ask the important question “Why is this the right thing to do?”, or “What are our reasons behind doing this?”.

Another example can easily illustrate this: Stephens (1967) trained some rhesus monkeys to avoid an object, then placed an untrained monkey in the cage. If the new monkey tried to touch the object, the others that were trained not to touch it acted with hostility towards him. After some time, the new monkey started increasingly avoiding the subject. When compared to a control group, these monkeys did not show interest in touching the object, even if they were alone.

If the monkeys were capable of reasoning, and had the free will provided by that, they could have argued if there is any good reason to touch the object or not. Cultural relativism reduces the ethics and values to an authoritative state dictated by the society. This would also mean that we have to consider some things, that we all see easily and intuitively heinous, to be plausible, good or at the very least none-condemnable. Things like child abuse, homophobia or sexism that happen to be very common all over the world, and particularly stirred into the cultures of African or Middle Eastern countries.

This brings us to another side of the relativity argument. Often, the fact that there are controversies in answering the question “What is the right thing to do?”, and that we have never found the way to discover the right thing to do, are regarded as evidence for cultural relativism. But as Harris, Jr (1997) argues, the argument is fallacious: The conclusion simply does not follow. If we don’t know what is the actual right thing to do, and/or even if we have not yet found any way of knowing that, it does not mean that relativism is true. It can only mean that we don’t know what is true.

Everything” depends on one’s perception: This is only taking cultural relativism to the extreme. As Blackburn (2001) puts it, this type of relativism is only subjectivism. Aside from the consequential problem that came above, which in this case goes to the extreme (i.e. now each person can justify any action based on their liking), there is a severe logical problem with being a total subjectivist. If the statement “Everything depends on one’s perception” was to be true, then the truth of that statement itself has to be subjected to one’s perception. And if X says that that statement is false, and Y says that it’s true, then it is both true and false at the same time, which is logically impossible. Moreover, if X says that the statement is false, does that mean that X is right?

Can relativism be relevant?: Like many other things, cultural relativism and subjectivism can in some stances be valid or relevant. But they are only relevant when the truth of a statement is only dependant on what it is relative to. This is an obviously trivial statement, in fact it can logically be considered a tautology. But it may not be so much of a useless statement.

Consider the case put forward by West (2009) about the convergence of corporate governance. As he puts it, there is not a one-way model of corporate governance, but there are many. For instance, what is called the Anglo-American model of governance is more or less based on Utilitarianism, while the European/Japanese corporate governance is closer to deontological morality.

This fact begs answering the following question: “Is convergence to one model justifiable?”. If the answer to this question differs based on the society that the company is working with, and if the success of the company is dependent on it matching with the underlying perception of the society, then it seems that at least from a Utilitarian point of view we have to reject the question. In this case it seems Utilitarianism ironically vote against itself in the societies that have more people with deontological views.

References:

Blackburn, S. 2001. Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford. US.

Harris, Jr, C. E. 1997. Applying Moral Theories. 3rd ed. Wadsworth. USA. CA.

Stephenson, G. R., Starek, D., Schneider, R., Kuhn, H. J. 1967. Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys. Progress in Primatology. Stuttgart. pp.279-288.

West, A. 2009. Corporate Governance Convergence and Moral Relativism. Corporate Governance: An International Review. 17(1): 107–119

With Great Power, Comes Great…

No, not “responsibility”. What comes with great power is great “authority”, and that does not create greater responsibility, not necessarily. It would only create great responsibility if the one with power is a moral being. Without morality, there would be no responsibility: If Spider Man was to be a psychopath, he would never have felt any reason to go out in a dark, cold night to fight with a thief in a dark alley.

This is the reason why we should care whom we elect, and where we do that. Giving authority to those who do not care, will never create the best possible outcome.

And more importantly: This is one good reason not to choose any religious person to a place of authority, especially when they are extremists: What they do not have is the mind of reason, which is the only possible guide to being “good”.