It has been quite a while since I have troubled you with my contrarian views. Sorry to not have stirred things up for a while. I feel it is good to be challenged. But perhaps that is me.
I got into a bit of a tussle here a while back referencing Christopher Hitchens, who I rather like, despite the fact that I don’t agree with him entirely on the question of the Civil War in Islam. Actually, when I put it like that, I do rather agree with him.
Actually, I have a list of contradictions and outright lies authored by Hitchens, but I am not going to do the work of his critics for them…..
But never mind that for now. And especially never mind silly childish attacks (called ad hominen in logical debate) about what a drunk he was before he fell mortally sick. And to call an attack that is childish childish is to criticize the attack, not the author, no mater what the children at Free Range Talk will tell you. Oooops. There goes my kitty. She is a nice kitty……
I write today on the subject of debate and opinion, as it happens. Over at Huff I have been having rather a bash about the question of the value of opinion. I am developing a rather obnoxious (!) view that opinions deserve no respect. Which often brings a gasp of intaken breath. Here in America there is a silly idea that all opinion deserves respect. I can and will disabuse you of that casual reflex shortly.
But my point is that, aside from the opinion of the internist that diagnosed my abdominal pains as appendicitis, or likewise expertise that I respect (Quark can lecture me all day long on health insurance and health care delivery), I need some Show Me.
I do not know just when it became a social norm that we all needed to sit quietly and allow our fellow fellows to gas off at leisure like some ignorant cretins that must be tolerated. I recall about 2002 being confronted with a vendor at a business at which I was a mere flunky using the expression “rag heads” and his obvious glee at the idea of brown people getting dead in mass numbers. I am not ashamed to say that I called him out on it and took the chance of censure from my employer.
I was putting this point in a rather heated argument with a woman recently. I told her that I have no respect for opinion. What I respect is facts, logic and argument.
She was at first appalled at my statement. She tried to tell me that all opini0ns deserved respect. I wish all debate were this easy…..
I offered her: Blacks are lazy, Latinos are dirty, Jews are cheap and avaricious. Are those opinions that you respect? Because those are relatively commonly held “opinions” in America. Not to say that any other culture is superior, not for half a second. Mankind loves nothing better than making itself superior by making the rest of itself inferior. Perfectly timresome.
Anyway, just a few thoughts.
Here is a very interesting clip of Hitchens addressing some questions put to him. I draw your attention in particular to about 25 minutes in, when he discusses how he was trained to think and debate. I am certain that America suffers from a lack of similar intellectual training and rigor. Just look at Congress, for the love of christ.
Hey, I am currently employed getting somebody elected, I may not have much time to chat with you on this. Hope that some of you contribute to the discussion of the utility of logic and reason. Opinions are easy, even dull. How you got there is the interesting conversation. For me, at least.