Change of plans. I was going to write about Mr Yannaras next essay. But on reflection I ended my remarks on his essay prematurely last night. What were some of the points he made (discussion below the fold): Continue reading
So. In the next few essay’s I’m going to begin a small series commenting on my reading the book (of essays coincidentally enough) by Christos Yannaras titled “The Meaning of Reality: Essays on Existence and Communion, Eros and History”. My plan is to go through this book essay by essay. Some essay’s I’ll separate a precis post (summary) and follow that with one or more posts with remarks refering back to that post. What follows (below the fold) is the remarks on the first essay titled, “A Reference to Alyosha Karamazov”. This is short (3 1/2 pages) and I’ll perhaps to combine summary and remarks in one post. This opens with a quote from the Brothers’ Karamazov (from which, obviously, the character Alyosha is drawn).
- I understand it only too well: it’s the innards and the belly that long to love. You put it wonderfully, and I am terribly glad you have such an appetite for life,” Alyosha cried. “I have always thought that, before anything else, people should learn to love life in this world”
- “To love life more than the meaning of life?”
- “Yes that’s right. That’s the way it should be; love should come before logic, just as you said. Only then will man be able to understand the meaning of life.”
And so we begin (below the fold) Continue reading
So, if as noted last night, consistency in political stance was seen as valuable is this even possible. Consistency, or the lack thereof, is used often as a rhetorical weapon for example, “how can you support/oppose abortion saying life is valuable if you oppose/support the death penalty?” is an example. Here lack of consistency is seen as a failing. Yet every political plank is wrought through and through with inconsistencies. Is a global consistent stance on issues possible?
Looking the maths as a template, often in group theory a trivial example which satisfies your criteria serves as both a useful model and an existence proof. It so happens that with respect to consistency. So is there a (or set of) trivial consistent ideological stances one might take? Indeed. It seems apparent that the single issue (if simple enough) individual can take an internally consistent stance, if “oppose abortion”, “love pets”, or “taxes suck” is your only public position then you can consistently offer a position on all relevant issues and abstain on the rest consistently.
This is of course, not something anyone does. People have have a varied number (in which that number is greater than one) of positions they’d like to hold. Many times these issues are in conflict. How a particular resolves a conflict differ, but it also demonstrates the relative importance of those same issues. A Democrat driving/owning an SUV indicates that status symbol ownership is more important than climate.
So inconsistency is not exactly an indication of actual inconsistency, but one of the evaluation of multiple criteria and their weightings. Thus a SUV owning Democrat who claims global warming is an urgent priority is signaling that the “urgency” part of this statement is at best empty rhetoric (more likely an untruth). This ownership doesn’t signal an inconsistent belief, just that it signals the priority of which this particular belief holds in their panoply of positions.
In the US, Democrats (liberals) and the GOP (conservatives) are confused. Liberals fear jingoism, patriotism and enthusiasm for the country, yet prefer and support big government. Studies show Conservatives want to belong, are patriotic, and demonstrate enthusiasm for their country yet they are the anti-government party. The Democrats affirm support for the “little guy” against corporate and government abuse (not unrelated … this weekend Mr Obama held a 50k per plate dinner in which he spoke (apparently not ironically) against income inequality. Those conservatives that doubt Mr Obama’s oratorical skills should note that somehow that was delivered and received without a pause or for laughter (or an expectation of same)). Idiots of course abound on both sides of the aisle, partisan flacks somehow manage to only remark on those on their side. Mr Schraub, old time blog neighbor, for example manages to notice dumb statements regarding Ebola from the GOP, apparently missing almost identical stupidity from members of his party. Democrats claim to support those without defense, yet a party de facto requirement is that to be a Democrat one must support abortion. A fetus is without question one of the most vulnerable points of the human existence. Conservatives on the other hand, struggle to reconcile their “don’t tread on me” with desiring crack downs (by government) on illegal aliens and enforcing restrictions on marriage. Liberals drive their big SUVs to “green” global warming affairs and lay claim to be the “party of science” (on global warming) while at the same time speaking out against the “dangers” of vaccinations.
The point is that the neither side of the aisle is the least bit consistent in either their choice of ideals or their application of same. So, this consistency thing, is it of any value at all? Is expediency and power for its own sake the only priority? Sides have to be taken so the party leaders divvy up positions on a first come first served historical basis? Must the non players be always forced to choose party and pol by principles of which is the “least worst”. Is consistency of principles possible?
So what next? Well, the task (for tonight) seems to be as follows, first is an y consistent policy/ideological stance possible? This might follow several steps, first can one make a “toy” internally consistent stance (the analogous Maths thing would be a trivial solution or an existence proof). If not, then perhaps the only solution is to follow Eastern church’s solution to doctrine in contrast to the Western (western tends to go by Catechisms and statements of faith, the East in place of statements patterned after law points to a large body of poetry as to define their beliefs). If a toy solution is possible, then the next step would be to search for a realistic one. Then finally if realistic solutions are possible, we might try to find some realistic consistent ideals to which one might desire to hold for oneself.
One of the fundamental problems with “being consistent” and not contravening known features of governance is that there are tensions. Government is, currently, by definition “top down”, the government dictates to the governed. Yet, as Hayek pointed out asymmetry of information points to an essential flaw of the top down approach. In some sense, having any government at all runs against the informational asymmetry. But of course, having no government (as Hobbes pointedly assures us) leads to nasty, brutish, and short lives, which is not at all conducive to life, liberty, and the pursuit of eudaimonia (happiness).
(to be continued)
For the last two weeks, those few who follow this blog have noticed I’ve not posted. My posting of late has been irregular and I’ve some changes are in order. When I began this blog, I wrote an essay every night. I have since accomplished my primary goal. Which was to write much better. My sentences are now more structured, less frequently I resorted to double negatives, fewer non-sentences jammed in there, hopefully I get the correct preposition more often than not, and so on. Then time constraints occurred, plus I had less “new” to say and I resorted to my strengths, that is to say … I read very fast so collecting links was perceived as something I could do well. For I had begun my interest in blogs as a reader not a writer. I had, and still have, a large list of feeds which I keep up with and I read quickly. “Links” posting become a stop gap.
At present I see a few choices. I could stop. I could continue link blogging. I could try to start writing regular essays. I could try some combination of the above.
So …. after this two week period. What have I decided. Well, I’m going to try returning to essay blogging. I’ll use links occasionally to spur conversation, but I think the links only posting will fade away. I don’t know how regular I’ll manage to write. But … on this flight to Atlanta, I’m going to write. The results … you see in the next post.
Thanks for your patience as always.
Which is probably worthless as I know about as much about World Cup soccer as I do NCAA basketball. My picks for tomorrow and Wednesday would be Germany and Argentina … (although I’d like the Netherlands to beat Argentina I don’t think they will).
So. Lemont (the village in which I live) had some tornadoes play peekaboo through town. None touched down but winds were high and lots of trees didn’t stay upright or lost very very large branches. We’ve been without power for about 24 hours now (my office has power). Right now I’m here “charging” stuff, to take home, some tomorrow and some tonight after an hour or so. We have water and gas … and (ergo hot water) and can cook in the grill, which has one burner as well. So we’re doing pretty darn Ok. But no Internets at home.
Just curious. Does anyone out there actually know anyone who believes the IRS story that these emails were “lost”?
I suppose a list of those people might be something the Nigerian scammers would appreciate.