Thursday, July 19, 2018

Reality as an Argument

Our story starts there, the latest iteration of POTUS calling the press (guaranteed freedom of expression in the First Amendment) the "enemy of the people."  That didn't sit well even with a FoxNews reporter:

Which didn't sit well with some FoxNews viewers; at least some who use Twitter:
 Interesting in itself only mildly, I realized this is the same stone-wall reasoning you run into when people demand "proof" of the "existence" of God.  "Proof" in that demand means something you can't show, because your "proof" is "fake!"  Go ahead, convince any of those people that "fake news" is a fake term.  Or a Russian term, for that matter.  Terry Gross interviewed British journalist Carole Caldwell this morning, and Caldwell pointed out how many times that term has been used by the Russian government in social media and Twitter postings.  But go ahead, convince those people that you have "proof" their news is "fake news," and your news is real.

I'll wait over here.

Kierkegaard pointed out you can't convince someone of something they already assume can't be proven.*  Some things just aren't worth arguing about, and assuming everyone will "see reason" and agree with you will lead you to despair and probably disillusion; but that can be a pathway to wisdom.

*But what is this unknown against which the understanding in its paradoxical passion collides and which even disturbs man [sic] and his self-knowledge? It is the unknown. But it is not a human being, insofar as he knows man, or anything else that he knows. Therefore, let us call this unknown the god. It is only a name we give to it. It hardly occurs to the understanding to want to demonstrate that this unknown (the god) exists. If, namely the god does not exist, then of course it is impossible to demonstrate it. But if he does exist, then of course it is foolishness to want to demonstrate it, since I, in the very moment the demonstration commences, would presuppose it not as doubtful--which a presupposition cannot be, inasmuch as it is a presupposition--but as decided, because otherwise I would not begin, easily perceiving that the whole thing would be impossible if he did not exist. If, however, I interpret the expression "to demonstrate the existence of the god" to mean that I want to demonstrate that the unknown, which exists, is the god, than I do not express myself very felicitously, for then I demonstrate nothing, least of all an existence, but I develop the definiteness of a concept.
Adding:  and the truth is, such people have always been with us.  So long as they were politically (or culturally, either one) marginalized, nobody cared.  Now that they have an avatar in the White House, suddenly everybody is afraid for the future.  Which is still just a matter of whose ox is being gored; return to that SNL sketch after Trump won the election:  the white people were portrayed as shocked by the results; Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, standing in for African-Americans en masse, were more sanguine.  Now, are they really in charge?  Well, until November, anyway.  Beyond that?  I really doubt it.

But they've always been there; and they always will be.

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