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Its Election Day… Vote smart
Posted: 17 November 2006 01:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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James, I think we would all like to see more reason displayed in politics. One way we can start to get there (IMNSHO) is to have reasoned discussions about political views in forums like this one. I don’t think any of us believe that our blather here will make a difference in Washington, but every little bit of consciousness-raising counts.

And I do think it is a very good thing that we have political conservatives as well as liberals here. Ideas are only properly tested if they are tested against a broad variety of thinkers. Personally, I don’t want this forum to become an airtight groupthinking clique of yes-folks and backslappers. There is plenty of time for high-fiving, but in the end that doesn’t really accomplish much.

Barry is clearly very much on the political fringe. You (James) appear more of a center/right Republican, although given your distaste for the religious right, you might even be persuaded to vote Democrat in some cases. I have some friends with roughly your persuasion so I think I have a feel for what it’s like.

Barry, you are more than welcome to define humanism as you see fit. And I do expect that given your political views, and the fact that you are really motivated only by political interests, will make your version of humanism basically a form of radical politics. I think of humanism differently, more in line with CFI’s general approach. At any rate, I’m not particularly interested in cooking up artificial ‘necessary and sufficient conditions’ for being a member of our tribe.

And for all that I do think these discussions are useful and interesting. I hope they will continue. But please, let’s do be aware that there is more to this forum, and more to CFI’s project, than politics.

:wink:

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Posted: 17 November 2006 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Politics, schmoltics

James said: Barry, those are pretty bold statements you have made. I think it is fair to say that your views are nowhere near mainstream. More like on the fringes of political thought.

It is interesting how “mainstream” views get credit for being somehow more sane or thoughtful while other views which may or may not be more correct or palatable, but are heard less frequently - are debased more frequently. 

I suppose, in the U.S., atheism and philosophical determinism are fringe ideas - they are certainly not mainstream ideas - and yet I think both of us would argue that they are more correct and palatable than supernaturalistic ideas. 

“Fringe” is only fringe because the general consensus is otherwise.

Indeed, I think you’d argue that atheism and naturalism ought to be mainstream, and not fringe!

As for my having made “bold” statements, any statement which cuts across the mainstream grain would seem bold, I would think.

Barry Quote:
But if we abolish capitalism and the so-call free market, we will be much more able to be free.
James said: That is just your opinion, or your wish. Where has capitalism and the so-called free market ever been abolished in a technologically advanced nation of 300 million people? Nowhere, obviously. It won’t be done in our lifetimes (because people don’t want it to happen), so it is just an intellectual speculation.


Of course it’s my opinion (and my wish)!  That is clear.

Now, because capitalism and the so-called free market have not been ‘done away with’ yet (part of it was done away with under the USSR and China, but via an uber-hierarchal system which was not democratic), does not mean it CAN’T be done away with any more than supernaturalism can’t be done away with one day.  People “want” both supernaturalism and capitalism because they do not know of any other way which is both satisfying and healthier. 

Also, “intellectual speculation” is what brought us capitalism only a few hundred years ago, and it can help us replace it with a more humanistic system in the future.

Barry Quote:
...I am addressing your ideas… Which I find not only skewed, but absurd.
James: My ideas are absurd? Actually, no, my ideas are pretty conventional. Your ideas seem absurd to me.


You called my ideas skewed (and now absurd), which is your opinion as much as my retort was my opinion.  However, ‘conventual’ does not mean ‘right’, and what is absurd to a conventionalist may just be a better system.

Barry Quote:
But one’s philosophy, at its core, must be coherent and consistent on the main issues.

James: No, one’s philosophy does not need to be coherent and consistent. A philosophy can be anything you want it to be. All humans of normal intelligence have conflicting views on many issues.


This, now, is absurd :!: 

I am not talking about humans having conflicting views on issues.  That is why different humans have different personal philosophies!  But if you are saying that your (and my) particular philosophy should be or could be internally incoherent and inconsistent, then you are saying you HAVE no personal philosophy ... but instead, you have just a mix-mosh of ideas which mean nothing in any larger sense.  If this is the case with you, you ought not claim to be anything in general—not a conservative, or a Republican, or whatever.  Your arguments, if incoherent and inconsistent, become then just so much babel.

Barry Quote:
...your self-identifying as a humanism is most likely a mistake on your part

James: That is your opinion, not mine. I could self-identify as a socialist if I wanted to. You seem to be really hung-up on labels.


It’s not about labels per say, but about what those labels MEAN, because we are using labels here (in this forum) to name our coherent and consistent personal philosophies.  You can indeed call yourself a Socialist, but since almost everything you say to the matter of politics refutes that claim, that claim then becomes meaningless (or even a deceit). 

Calling yourself a humanist when you differ with core parts of humanism seems to me to be the same thing. 

James: This discussion is becoming tedious. I can see that you are solidly convinced of your position (kind of like a dedicated religious fanatic), and I am not really passionate enough about politics to try to convince you otherwise.

Of course you would now say this chat is becomming “tedious.”  :x  

It is always interesting to me that when I propose a coherent and internally consistent sociopolitical “position” to those who disagree with me on the postion itself, that I am somehow being dogmatic or am “kind of like a dedicated religious fanatic.”  It seems that for people like you, I need to somehow be confused, all over the place, flip-floppy… and have an incoherent or internally inconstant position…  lest I get called dogmatic or a fanatic! 

Any position argued well and passionately does not make that position (or it’s “owner”) dogmatic or fanatical.  If that were the case, most of the atheists on this forum would be considered dogmatic and fanatical!

James; I would like to see more reason exercised in politics. But that is probably just my own personal pipe dream.

I think I have exercised much reason in my sociopolitical arguments, thank you very much.

dougsmith: And I do think it is a very good thing that we have political conservatives as well as liberals here. Ideas are only properly tested if they are tested against a broad variety of thinkers. Personally, I don’t want this forum to become an airtight groupthinking clique of yes-folks and backslappers. There is plenty of time for high-fiving, but in the end that doesn’t really accomplish much.

I too have no problem with conservatives, liberals, libertarians, anarchists or even communists or Neo-cons sharing in these forums and exchanging ideas… Just so long as only humanists self-identify (and are identified) as such.  These forums are for skeptics and atheists and others - not just humanists - so that should not be a problem, heh?

Doug: Barry is clearly very much on the political fringe. You (James) appear more of a center/right Republican, although given your distaste for the religious right, you might even be persuaded to vote Democrat in some cases. I have some friends with roughly your persuasion so I think I have a feel for what it’s like.

Again, I am only “very much on the political fringe” because the political mainstream happens to be a certain way.. and very possibly, a “bad” and “wrong” way.

Doug: Barry, you are more than welcome to define humanism as you see fit. And I do expect that given your political views, and the fact that you are really motivated only by political interests, will make your version of humanism basically a form of radical politics.

I am motivated by what makes people and society better, healthier and more peaceful and happy.  That is my ultimate goal as a humanist.  I am an atheist, a naturalist, and have examined the hard and social sciences to discover more about what kind of creatures we are and in what kind of universe we live.  I have also looked to the history of humanism - including the humanist manifestos - for some guidance as to what humanism is (or is supposed to be once its tenets are all consistent and coherent). 

From all of this, I have found that many political ideologies do not match humanism/naturalism, and only a few do.  I argue for those which do. 

So you see, I am NOT motivated by politics, but rather, “radical politics” stem from my humanism.

Doug: But please, let’s do be aware that there is more to this forum, and more to CFI’s project, than politics.

Yes, and I have posts in many places besides this section…

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Barry F. Seidman
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