Annoyingly Illogical Arguments – welcome to college!

A commenter at Eternity Road looks for answers:

“First and foremost, if you can get the time, watch this Harvard professor’s video series – aired on many PBS stations – which has to do with, “Justice – What’s the right thing to do?” Yes, it *is* “social justice.”

http://www.justiceharvard.org/

[btw – don’t go there – you’ll hate yourself AND be bored beyond Death…. ~ tehMom]

But PLEASE watch it.  Over the course of several half-hours, he traces Locke, Mill, Kant, Jefferson, etc., and engages his students in queries.  In his last two classes he makes a compelling argument for social justice and, though you can see that some students disagree with his conclusions, they cannot refute him.

This is a fundamental problem:  Although you and Peepers and Victor Davis Hanson and others can SEE that “social justice” doesn’t work as an a priori system of governance, this Harvard professor can trace honest thinkers and their writings and bring a class of 800 or more to leave his semester with more than half of them thinking it SHOULD work.

THIS is the problem.  Those students will leave college not necessarily brainwashed about socialism.  But they will be left with a history of thoughts from Kant onward, thinking that “social justice” is a valid end.  And they will believe that the Declaration of Independence is 200 years out of date and doesn’t really go “far enough” to declare the “real truth.”

That “real truth” is that a single man can’t really be free with what he makes or earns because he carries with him a debt to a shrinking “commons” (as per Locke, etc.) and he can never be free of his debt to the “providence” of his being born without disease, disfigurement, etc.  Thus, he OWES some of his personal gains to those less fortunate – and a fair state would ensure he pays it.

I agree with your postulate that many will vote for statism or the current democratic party out of self-interest, to the detriment of this country as a whole.  But I think there are many – 10%?  20? – who think “social justice” IS a relevant argument.  And they see Capitalism and Conservatives as a voice saying, “Hey, we make most people get richer over the long term, but to heck with ideals.”

We need an answer to that “social justice” argument.  Rachel Maddow, Olberman and “the left” have this supposed moral high-ground that they can reconcile their motives – whatever they might really be – with the fact that “the poor are always with us.” No matter how rich or better capitalism, free-markets and personal liberties make us, they can say, “You earned that on the back of some person who didn’t have your smarts, wasn’t born to your parents, or has been misbegotten.  You must give back to them some or most of what you’ve earned to be fair.”

I’d bet there is more than 20% of America that would believe the Declaration should be re-written to include this idea.  And they vote this way.

Posted by furball on 10/28/2010 at 04:41 AM

[Okay, yes…. I DID see that the commenter’s posted handle was “furball”. That’s why I spell Princess’s nickname with TWO r’s. Same with “Furrlein”. Now, to business:]

This professor takes HOURS upon hours to lead his little charges around by the nose, making them focus on only what he deems is useful to his conclusion, and we’re surprised that they can’t find words to argue against him by the end? So, we simply see the weakness of his argument if he has to rely on techniques that mimic brainwashing.

“… he traces Locke, Mill, Kant, Jefferson, etc., and engages his students in queries...” which is intended to reassure us that he’s using reliable Western philosophy sources, and looking deeply into their philosophical stances. Yet when understood through the professor’s sparkly glasses, we again see the careful cherrypicking of useful quotes, from honorable sources which are designed to remove the ability to contradict from his students. These quotes are then insistently translated by the professor’s particular rosetta stone, to mean, again, whatever supports his conclusions the most. Lastly, the false “…and engages his students in queries...” is intended to make both the listener and his students feel as if they have contributed to the professor’s eventual conclusion out of their own understanding. (A process known as the Delphi Technique – read it if you have the time…. very enlightening!)

On to the professor’s arguments. Most liars use arguments that are carefully controlled. Listener input is strictly regulated, even when seeming to be open-ended. Clever people who have a command of the subject matter can do this easily. (Try telling a fib to your Mom when she’s only asking you because she already knows the answer!) This professor’s argument rests on a host of assumptions that are not disclosed, and are out of line with reality. But he can make them seem right.

“… That “real truth” is that a single man can’t really be free with what he makes or earns because he carries with him a debt to a shrinking “commons” (as per Locke, etc.) and he can never be free of his debt to the “providence” of his being born without disease, disfigurement, etc.  Thus, he OWES…”

Whoa, there, Nelly! The “commons” provided him with that upbring and societal support structure…. AS A GIFT. A gift is much different than a debt, but this professor will ALWAYS argue that they are the same. Because he needs them to be, to make his beloved Conclusion.

This is also true for the unnamed “providence” of being healthy. That “providence” of which he speaks is actually “Providence” – that which is provided by God.  Of course, nitwit Professor will NEVER admit that, either. He wants to create a structure that will exist without God, because he can’t, for the purposes of his argument, rely on God (else, he could decide that God will just step in and FIX “everything” – thereby proving he has No Clue about God, which is why he prefers to discuss without Him. Cleverly smart-ass professors will also make the oh-so-witty observation that “now you’re talking about Theology, not Philosophy!”)

So, (getting back to the Prof.’s argument) nothing is owed. A moral person will attempt to give back to society good things for the good which he has received, but a MORE moral person will give to society because giving is the moral thing to do. But – there are no debts, no owing, no restructuring society to make (make = FORCE) people to do this “giving back”. That force is NOT moral.

And I LOVE this:

We need an answer to that “social justice” argument.  Rachel Maddow, Olberman and “the left” have this supposed moral high-ground that they can reconcile their motives – whatever they might really be – with the fact that “the poor are always with us.” No matter how rich or better capitalism, free-markets and personal liberties make us, they can say, “You earned that on the back of some person who didn’t have your smarts, wasn’t born to your parents, or has been misbegotten.  You must give back to them some or most of what you’ve earned to be fair.”

So, are we saying that Madcow, et al., are using the “Poor you will always have with you” argument as a REASON to force people to give most of what they have to society? ?But, (*sputter!*), but…. that is the argument for why social justice does not work! Social justice posits that all this enforced giving will help the poverty-stricken, making their lives better in countless ways, as a justification for forcing people to give up what they have worked hard to get for themselves. But Jesus said that there will ALWAYS be poor people! So, social justice will NEVER reach its proposed end-point.

It is nice to read this, though. If I’d always known the Left’s arguments, even from its Harvard professors, were so specious, I would have started a blog a LONG time ago!

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One Response to Annoyingly Illogical Arguments – welcome to college!

  1. Sm@rt@$$ says:

    They can try to force all they want, but if I decide not to “donate”, there is not a whole hell-of-a-lot they can do about it.

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