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Axiom of Choice

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  1. The video clip of Chomsky is worth the time, for any interested in this general subject. Thanks for sharing. He also comments on what I think is evident to those who spend a lot of time abroad - that even though racism is a significant problem in the US, the US is a very diverse, multi ethnic society and at least acknowledges and attempts to deal with the related challenges, and as a result it is a much less racist place than most other regions in the world, including Europe. Regarding his views on the canon, I agree with his views to expand it. Though I disagree on the strength of the opposition movement that wants to remove it altogether: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a professor of English at Duke: The teaching of literature [has become] the teaching of an aesthetic and political order, in which no women and people of color were ever able to discover the reflection or representation of their images, or hear the resonance of their cultural voices. The return of "the" canon, the high canon of Western masterpieces, represents the return of an order in which my people were the subjugated, the voiceless, the invisible, the unrepresented, and the unrepresentable. Who would return us to that medieval never-never land? From John Searle in the above linked article: I said earlier that it was difficult to find a succinct statement of the objections to the educational tradition made by the so-called cultural left, but this is largely because the objections are taken for granted. If you read enough material of the sort I have quoted, and, more importantly, if you attend enough of these conferences, it is easy to extract the central objection. It runs something like this: the history of "Western Civilization" is in large part a history of oppression. Internally, Western civilization oppressed women, various slave and serf populations, and ethnic and cultural minorities generally. In foreign affairs, the history of Western civilization is one of imperialism and colonialism. The so-called canon of Western civilization consists in the official publications of this system of oppression, and it is no accident that the authors in the "canon" are almost exclusively Western white males, because the civilization itself is ruled by a caste consisting almost entirely of Western white males. So you cannot reform education by admitting new members to the club, by opening up the canon; the whole idea of "the canon" has to be abolished. It has to be abolished in favor of something that is "multicultural" and "nonhierarchical."
  2. I did not make any claims on reconciling your stance with theirs and do not think you are under any obligation to do so. What I'm suggesting is that we just not demonize each other. The intensity of the disdain for various groups by their opposition seems to be ratcheting up throughout society (e.g. the liberals/the leftists/the evangelicals are evil and modern society can no longer tolerate them) while we simultaneously give more and more lip service on how stereotyping is bad. I don't agree with leftist goals and they are diametrically opposed to my own, but I don't think they are evil or rapists or anything crazy like that. They are just people who see the world differently than me. The ones I have gotten to know are pretty much people just like me and everyone else on the planet.
  3. Every group that seeks to demonize some other group always has reasons they claim as justification for doing so. It was claimed about the Jews that they did not want to peacefully coexist at an equal level. If we are going to hold as an ideal that it is wrong to stereotype and attempt to dehumanize massive groups of people (e.g. call them evil soulless fucks like child rapists deserving bullets) and instead judge people as individuals, then we need to attempt to follow that even when that group has some ideology that works against our political goals. If it will just be applied arbitrarily then we will repeat the problems of the 20th and preceding centuries.
  4. I think that is Charles V you are referencing. Agreed that is was about power to a large extent and that some rulers played a key role in the development (including Charles V, as you mentioned), but the reformation was the result of many things, some of which were in the works over centuries. I think by that time the schisms were almost inevitable. Are these your words or did you quote them from somewhere? I ask because they show up as a quote in your post but I don't see the source. Interesting thoughts : The Western Canon is ever-evolving. Hell - look at what Quentin Tarantino has introduced into the history of Western thought with his work. That is now part of our shared history until it isn't - because it loses relevance. Intersections of competing thoughts should be a strength for Western thought. Those are the chances to learn from other humans. Assimilating new ideas, concepts, and perspectives enriches Western Thought. As much as many want a return to a status quo, I think most know everything is different than it was in the past. We move forward because there really is no choice to do anything else. The Western Literary Canon (whatever source) provides a roadmap for understanding how Western Thought evolved over time. It is a living document - constantly evolving as humankind evolves. We are relatively sure future generations will be fascinated by this period of time. So much changing of the guard. Big issues, but not unusual issues. HAL 9000 is just getting warmed up. American creativity needs to be put to the test. Or it face replacement and obscurity by machines.
  5. Christian is to Muslim as clown is to saint. You've convinced me with this reasonable analogy. Same to you.
  6. I apologize for taking your reasonable positions out of context and distorting them, and also for taking paragraphs you wrote and swapping one word representing a religious group for another and dishonestly making it look like typical nazi rhetoric against the Jews. That was some high level trolling slight of hand. Since we are setting the record straight, I am neither an evangelical nor a Trump supporter. I think he is a clown.
  7. A group of people who on average do not vote the way you like (though many are not political and do not vote, and some do vote how you would like them to) are whores and child rapists to a degree, we are just splitting hairs here on how much whoring and child raping they do. I think that is pretty fair. This makes no sense. I've posted on average less than once a day during my time on Texas football boards and yet I often get lots of strong reactions (including yours), often from posters I do not know and who I do not even engage directly. Yet somehow I am both a troll and unsuccessful at it. Of course I am obviously not a troll if we go by its original meaning. Although it is a word that means many different things now and has become vague to the point of being just about useless, much like the term evangelical.
  8. So I guess not a waste? You are merely doubling down on your crazy stereotyping and comparing evangelicals to rapists and "kiddie diddlers." Again, I could give your arguments back to you and say "what's wrong with generalizing Muslims and characterizing them as soulless evil fucks? Is it merely because there are many of them? Is it ok if I generalize rapists and kiddie diddlers?" You do not seem to realize that you are reflexively equating millions of ordinary Americans (like bolverks mom, for example) with child rapists. Why is it ok to do this with evangelicals and not with Jews or Muslims?
  9. This is true. But it is really a crazy thing to say about any large religious or ethnic group. I think some folks look at previous times and other cultures and wonder how people could stereotype and categorize entire groups of people as inferior and evil. How it happens is that they surround themselves with others who do not like some group and they encourage each other when hateful statements are made. They get their views reinforced and encouraged by those around them and so they develop a blind spot to it.
  10. What do you think that is a good thing? Why would it be better or worse to apply it to Jews or Muslims? Evangelical is not synonymous with extreme fundamentalists. They are a religious group that make up around 25% of the country. Ok, it's not hate speech because it's hyperbole. That makes perfect sense and is not merely something someone could say as a weak defense after being questioned. "All my ranting about the Jews and how they are soulless evil fucks and like pederasts deserving a bullet was just a bunch of hyperbole." Pretty solid. See if you can put your thoughts into words and explain the difference between these two statements: Actually, I think it’s more basic than that. It’s about identifying a large swath of Americans that are just soup-to-nuts pieces of fucking shit. Like showing up and declaring a pederast someone deserving of a bullet. Sure, it’s not always the pederasts fault, they could have been damaged or diddled or broken when they were too young to do anything about it. But most folks never stop to give a fuck about that, and honestly, I’m ok with that. Just like I’m ok labeling Muslims soulless evil fucks who are a huge, mindless problem with America and advancing humanity as a whole. Fuck them. Actually, I think it’s more basic than that. It’s about identifying a large swath of Americans that are just soup-to-nuts pieces of fucking shit. Like showing up and declaring a pederast someone deserving of a bullet. Sure, it’s not always the pederasts fault, they could have been damaged or diddled or broken when they were too young to do anything about it. But most folks never stop to give a fuck about that, and honestly, I’m ok with that. Just like I’m ok labeling evangelical Christians soulless evil fucks who are a huge, mindless problem with America and advancing humanity as a whole. Fuck them.
  11. Let's do a game with this amazing bit of unhinged ranting and swap out "evangelical Christians" with any other group with can think of and see how well it goes over. Just copy and paste any one of these below and see how well it is received and if you get banned from basically any forum on the internet for posting it. Actually, I think it’s more basic than that. It’s about identifying a large swath of Americans that are just soup-to-nuts pieces of fucking shit. Like showing up and declaring a pederast someone deserving of a bullet. Sure, it’s not always the pederasts fault, they could have been damaged or diddled or broken when they were too young to do anything about it. But most folks never stop to give a fuck about that, and honestly, I’m ok with that. Just like I’m ok labeling Muslims soulless evil fucks who are a huge, mindless problem with America and advancing humanity as a whole. Fuck them. Actually, I think it’s more basic than that. It’s about identifying a large swath of Americans that are just soup-to-nuts pieces of fucking shit. Like showing up and declaring a pederast someone deserving of a bullet. Sure, it’s not always the pederasts fault, they could have been damaged or diddled or broken when they were too young to do anything about it. But most folks never stop to give a fuck about that, and honestly, I’m ok with that. Just like I’m ok labeling Jews soulless evil fucks who are a huge, mindless problem with America and advancing humanity as a whole. Fuck them. Actually, I think it’s more basic than that. It’s about identifying a large swath of Americans that are just soup-to-nuts pieces of fucking shit. Like showing up and declaring a pederast someone deserving of a bullet. Sure, it’s not always the pederasts fault, they could have been damaged or diddled or broken when they were too young to do anything about it. But most folks never stop to give a fuck about that, and honestly, I’m ok with that. Just like I’m ok labeling liberals soulless evil fucks who are a huge, mindless problem with America and advancing humanity as a whole. Fuck them. Actually, I think it’s more basic than that. It’s about identifying a large swath of Americans that are just soup-to-nuts pieces of fucking shit. Like showing up and declaring a pederast someone deserving of a bullet. Sure, it’s not always the pederasts fault, they could have been damaged or diddled or broken when they were too young to do anything about it. But most folks never stop to give a fuck about that, and honestly, I’m ok with that. Just like I’m ok labeling homosexuals soulless evil fucks who are a huge, mindless problem with America and advancing humanity as a whole. Fuck them. I mean it's a very reasonable take when you post it, but somehow it gets transformed into sounding like genocide supportive hate speech when applied to any other group of people.
  12. I believe we are in the midst of a movement with very strong parallels to the reformation movement. In the reformation there was the eventual break away from the catholic church by a large percentage of society. The analog to the catholic church in this modern movement is western culture and ideology. The reformation movement was motivated and characterized by the following: • Loss of trust in existing establishment, commonly accepted practices, and authoritative institutions due to significant failures (e.g. failure to prevent the black death and other plagues) • Extensive development and advancement of long known ideas challenging longstanding beliefs and practices. • New medium for the dissemination of ideas (e.g. printing press) • Acceptance of ideas by sufficiently significant percentage of population. • Iconoclasm - removal of icons of established culture and ideology (e.g. removal of saint icons and ending of the veneration of saints) In the modern movement there are strong parallels: • Loss of trust in existing establishment, commonly accepted practices, and authoritative institutions due to significant failures (e.g. failure to include all peoples and segments in society) • Extensive development and advancement of long known ideas challenging longstanding beliefs and practices. • New medium for the dissemination of ideas (e.g. internet) • Acceptance of ideas by sufficiently significant percentage of population. • Iconoclasm - removal of icons of established culture and ideology (e.g. removal of statues of icons of western society, renaming of buildings and institutions) I believe that many of these changes we are currently witnessing are both good and inevitable. The equality and inclusion of all people in society is a fundamental ethical ideal that has been known and discussed for centuries, but we have done a poor job of achieving it and many enshrined institutions have been structured to actively prevent it. These structures and practices have been and will continue to be challenged and will fall. However, I would like to save some things from what is sometimes lumped under the broad umbrella term of “western,” as I think some of the things things that are being challenged should not be conflated with the mentioned failures. Some of what I am referring to is discussed by Harold Bloom in his interview with Charlie Rose in 1994: I do not believe that languages, customs, fashions, or rituals are inherently better than others and I am not concerned about preserving any of these in particular. If our descendants look different, talk different, dress different, eat different foods, &c, this is simply the inevitable natural development of peoples and culture and this should be embraced. But there are certain ideals, beliefs, and works that I believe should remain enshrined. Anything that might possibly be categorized as western should not be tossed out. In particular, this is being done to what is known as the so-called western canon. I say the so-called western canon because it has numerous contributions from people from a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds. Really, I think it should be referred to as the global canon and should be studied and added to by future generations of every type of person under the sun. As arts and cultures flourish in various regions of the world, they can add a significant number of their own contributions and even act as its primary custodians. This was the practice for a few thousand years and only in the last few centuries was it primarily in the domain on northern European descendants. In short, the works in the global canon should remain and be included purely by their aesthetic value and by their significance in the time they were produced. The ethnicity, gender, religion, &c, of the developer should have no bearing whatsoever. Whatever evil thing we think the contributor has done should have no impact. Also, works within the canon can have ideas that contradict, so even if any older work has some idea we no longer hold to be true, we simply teach it within context of the time. I fully believe there will continue to be more female and non-western contributors and that in the long run the contributors will balance out as expected. This should be viewed as the natural continuance and not as replacement. But as it is, there is opposition to certain works and even to studying the canon on the whole. Here is an excerpt from the 1990 article The Storm Over the University from John Searle: Searle goes on in the article to give a good summary of the two sides of the modern reformation subject of this post: “With few exceptions, those who defend the traditional conception of a liberal education with a core curriculum think that Western civilization in general, and the United States in particular, have on the whole been the source of valuable institutions that should be preserved and of traditions that should be transmitted, emphatically including the intellectual tradition of skeptical critical analysis. Those who think that the traditional canon should be abandoned believe that Western civilization in general, and the United States in particular, are in large part oppressive, imperialist, patriarchal, hegemonic, and in need of replacement, or at least of transformation.” Another point that would be beneficial to reinstate from traditional western curriculum is the centrality of the subjects of the trivium in education: logic, grammar, and rhetoric. These were taught as the primary subjects on which all others were built for centuries, but in recent times logic and rhetoric are not taught as part of basic education and are only taught as electives in higher typically in higher education. Grammar is still taught, but not to the level it should in my opinion. They have largely been replaced with other humanities and task based math and science skills. But in modern times with the modern means to proliferate information and disinformation & propaganda, proficiency in the fundamentals of logic and rhetoric in particular would be our best defense. Ultimately, we should judge works and ideas by their aesthetics and merits and not by the cultures and backgrounds of the those who produced them. Not studying some work because is was produced by “dead white males” is no different than the Germans dismissing relativity as “Jewish science.” The west had good ideas and bad ideas, good writings and works of literate and art and not so good ones. Let’s keep the good and lets open it up for anyone of any background to add in the tradition. Merely being categorized as western makes something neither good nor bad. The same goes for other cultural practices, values, and beliefs that were considered central to western society.
  13. Sorry to hear. Hope you have a quick recovery. I've only had a few minor back issues from old sports injuries, but even those were terrible.
  14. @sidis and others, came across these parody videos on utilitarianism and deontolgical ethics and thought they were pretty funny:
  15. I don't think this board is very liberal. I would say on the whole it is moderately liberal on social issues and fiscally somewhere in the middle. I do think that internet forums in general have become more dogmatic, meaning that they typically develop some implicit consensus on certain topics and they have very little tolerance for deviation on these issues. This is why the accusation of trolling gets used so much and why there is the label of "unintentional troll" now when troll by definition used to be someone acting intentionally. But this forum has some good posters and if one feels like spending the effort to have one, then good discussions can still be had.
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