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Sunday, May 20, 2012

To put it in simpler terms

William Vallicella: Asserting and Arguing: Analysis of an Example and Response to Novak-- "... To put it aphoristically, the mind's discursivity needs for its nourishment intuitive inputs that must be affirmed but cannot be discursively justified"

Or, to put it in simpler terms: "All rational argumnent, and all rational knowledge, ultimately stands on a non-rational base of intuitive knowledge."

As C S Lewis put it: "All explanations come to an end." We can explain/argue that 'Alpha' is true because 'Beta' is true. When someone denies 'Beta', we can explain/argue that 'Beta' is true because 'Gamma' is true. But, ultimately, no matter what the subject, we get to 'Omega', which we believe (or deny) to be self-evidently true.

Those persons who claim that capital-R Reason is their great motivation, and who generally assert the howler that capital-R Reason disallows the reality of God - that is, those who make an idol of ‘Reason!’ (so long as it can be made to appear to support their God-denial) -- tend not to admit the foregoing. For, to admit it cuts the idol off at the knees.

William Vallicella:
All I am maintaining -- and to some this may sound trivial -- is that every real-life argument that does dialectical work must have one or more asserted premises. And so while argument is in general superior to bare assertion, argument does not free us of the need to make assertions. I insist on this so that we do not make the mistake of overvaluing argumentation.
While possibly a trivial point to maintain, it is also something that many persons, perhaps most, do not understand, and many refuse to understand. Thus, it is important to make the point.

Logical reasoning is all but incapable of discovering a new truth that is not already implicit in the truth we already know; not entirely incapable, but very close to that. Rather, the great strength of logical reasoning is to identify error -- to show us that what we thought was true (or want to believe is true) is not actually true.

In his essay, in explaining his point and purpose, Vallicella writes:
Suppose a person asserts that abortion is morally wrong. Insofar forth, a bare assertion which is likely to elicit the bare counter-assertion, 'Abortion is not morally wrong.' What can be gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied without breach of logical propriety, a maxim long enshrined in the Latin tag Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. So one reasonably demands arguments from those who make assertions. Here is one:

Infanticide is morally wrong
There is no morally relevant difference between abortion and infanticide
Abortion is morally wrong.

Someone who forwards this argument in a concrete dialectical situation in which he is attempting to persuade himself or another asserts the premises and in so doing provides reasons for accepting the conclusion. This goes some distance toward removing the gratuitousness of the conclusion. But what about the premises? If they are mere assertions, then the conclusion, though proximately non-gratuitous (because supported by reasons), is not ultimately non-gratuitous (because no support has been provided for the premises).
My purpose here is not to deny the above, but to use it to make an important tangential point.

The above argument against abortion is logically sound - as any honest man will admit - and so, those who profit from abortion, in order to maintain their assertion that abortion is not wicked, is not a grave moral evil, must deny one of the two premises. Historically, the pro-abortionists have denied the second premise, in this manner: “Well, sure, *everyone* knows that infanticide is morally wrong. But, it isn’t true that abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide.

And, since far too many Americans wanted to believe the lies of the so-called Sexual Revolution, that mere denial of the moral equivalency of the two acts was enough to get a critical mass of the public on board the abortion train.

And so, here we are, 50 million murdered American children later, and now the immoral vipers of “liberalism” (as we currently use the term) are beginning to agrue:
Abortion is not morally wrong
There is no morally relevant difference between abortion and infanticide
Infanticide is not morally wrong.
My purpose here is not to rant about the intellectually dishonesty of leftists and “liberals”, important though it is for everyone to understand that truth.

Rather, my purpose it to come back to a perennial point -- the “liberals”, the puppets of the leftists, keep kicking (so-called) conservative/traditionalist ass in the ‘Culture Wars’ because most of the people who think themselves conservative are really “liberals” under the hood - most people who think themselves conservative already accept certain key leftist assumptions undergirding “liberalism” or “progressivism”.

There are 50 million legally-murdered American children - for which on-going sin, 'legal' though it may be, God is even now judging the American nation - because the people who have thought themselves to be opposing abortion for the past 45-50 years have consciously and deliberately declined to forcefully assert and argue that “There is no morally relevant difference between abortion and infanticide”. And, the reason they declined to make that case is because to do so logically and inescapably leads to the conclusion that “There is no morally relevant difference between the woman who hires a man to murder her toddler and the one who hires a man to murder her unborn child”.

This constant refusal to judge, this refusal to forthrightly maintain that sin is sin, even when committed by women, this constant refusal to hold women accountable for their sin -- this making of women protected idols which may never be criticized nor condemned -- is exactly the same "liberal" impulse that directed so-called conservatives to join the “liberals” in freaking-out when Rush Limbaugh implied that a certain self-identified slut just might be a slut.

The people who have imagined for the past 45-50 that they were opposing abortion reasoned thusly: "It would not be tactically advantageous to argue that 'There is no morally relevant difference between abortion and infanticide' because that would 'alienate' too many people (especially women) in its 'judgmentalism'." In other words, better that many millions of innocent human lives be cruelly snuffed out than that one woman, precious snowflake that she is, admit to herself, "I am a sinner (just like men are) ... and I have murdered my baby."

'Truth is One' -- and trimming on the truth here must always lead to trimming on the truth there.

Now, there is a second major root of this refusal to judge women, and that is in the corruption of the natural masculine impulse to protect women. In prior generations, men would acknowledge that a slut was a slut -- yet, contrary to feminist mythology and propaganda, in "the bad old days" it was more the women, than the men, who organized and then applied and maintained the judging and condemning of specific/individual sluts (*) -- because they rightly understood that in doing so they were helping to protect their own daughters (and sisters and mothers) from the temptations of some son-on-a-bitch Lothario.

But, we're all "liberals" now, we almost all of us implicitly accept or explicitly assert the leftist lie that is is immoral to make moral judgments. And, we're all "feminists" now, we almost all of us implicitly accept or explicitly assert the leftist lie that men and women are exactly equal. And, we're all libertines now, we almost all of us implicitly accept or explicitly assert the leftist-and-libertine lie that men are "naturally promiscuous", and the second lie that "in the bad old days" it was the men who winked at the sexual incontenance of other men while reacting in murderous rage to any woman who "made a little mistake".

Taken together, acceptance of these lies leads to the false beliefs that:
1) it is natural for human beings to be sexually promiscuous and incontenant;
2) to prove their "equality" with men, women must be as sexually incontenant as men (supposedly) are;
3) it is a grave moral flaw and error to condemn sexual incontenance, epecially of "liberated" women;

Yet, the natural masculine impulse to protect women has not gone away. Rather, the leftists have intentionally turned it on its head, even as they publically deny its validity, such that we now see well-meaning, and utterly misguided, men "defending" women by defending the moral-rightness of their freedom to destroy themselves while simultaneously poisoning the lives of all around them.

(*) Men tend to the abstract, women to the concrete. In the "bad old days", men tended more to condemn sluttery-in-the-abstract than actual individual sluts, whom they tended to see as "women who made a mistake and got caught" -- which, even then, tended to fire up their masculine need/drive to protect women. On the other hand, women tended more to condemn actual individual sluts -- whom they saw as potential competitors for masculine protectiveness.