2012-03-21

End Phase One: Begin Phase Two

Today, I'd like to briefly summarize why I do not see any hope for society or politics, and why I think we are headed for a new Dark Ages. Then, I'd like to shift gears and explain how Stationary Waves is going to change in light of my new-found revelations.

The Intellectual Apocalypse
Stanley Fish says:
I know the objections to what I have said here. It amounts to an apology for identity politics. It elevates tribal obligations over the universal obligations we owe to each other as citizens. It licenses differential and discriminatory treatment on the basis of contested points of view. It substitutes for the rule “don’t do it to them if you don’t want it done to you” the rule “be sure to do it to them first and more effectively.” It implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that.
David Henderson says:
In other words, Fish is not saying that you should judge the various speakers by whether their particular statements at hand are good and true. Rather, you should judge the speakers by whether what they say more generally is good and true. In other words, Fish sees Limbaugh's use of the words "slut" and "prostitute" as excuses to bash Limbaugh when he, Fish, would have wanted to bash him anyway even if he hadn't said those things. But because Fish would have no general desire to bash Schultz or Maher, he shouldn't bash them for saying vile things. 
I see why Fish ended the article with the final paragraph that I quoted at the top of this post. Those are exactly the consequences of his argument. Professor Fish may be able to "live with" the idea that "might makes right." I would suggest to him, though, that throughout history the idea that might makes right has caused many people to die. 
Finally, a commenter at Henderson's blog going by the moniker "Tom West" makes the following statements (emphases mine - and editorial note, I have excerpted and rearranged Mr. West's statements to convey his message as I have interpreted it; therefore, for an absolutely accurate account of what he said, I encourage you to visit the relevant post at EconLog.):
I would like to point out that given the absolute certainty of finding the same bad behavior on "your" side as on the "other" side (both sides being inhabited by human beings), to stand by one's principles and denounce both sides is essentially to cripple your own preferred side (especially given that your opponent is not going to extend the same courtesy to you). [1]
I use to fairly harshly condemn my own side for not living up to the highest standards, after all, "we're the good guys". As I get older, it no longer becomes so obvious that this is the "right" thing to do. Perhaps the cost of demanding enforcement of those principles is that my agenda never gets enacted at all? [2]
In other words, are you willing to betray the greater good to satisfy your principles? [1]
And in the apocalyptic visions of today, where being out of power for 4-8 years leads to the inevitable destruction of the country, if not the world, every battle has become too important to cede for principle's sake. [3]
 I have to say, in Mr. West's defense, his point of view appears to me to be the prevailing opinion in the world. That is to say, I think West has assessed the situation accurately.

Unfortunately, I think this means that the dialogue is so poisoned that there is no hope of producing anything from it. If the dialogue consists of little more than lies, then the dialogue itself is a liar's game only.

I'm not a liar. I won't play the game. My principles matter.

Where Do We Go From Here?
When every discussion is little more than a game to see who can trick the broader public into believing a falsehood, when evidence is of no merit in an ideological discussion, when people are more interested in maintaining untenable beliefs than in living their lives in accordance with the truth, then life takes on a much different flavor.

I am assessing reality as I see it. Politics ends in war. Truth is a matter for ideologues to bandy over. The only thing that seems to matter is the lynch mob, and who they have in their sights.

Therefore, it strikes me as a little silly to write blog articles analyzing logic, evidence, and theory, uncovering truth, and presenting it to the public at large. In doing so, I would be setting myself up. In doing so, I would be presenting something that I know to be true, but which will only be interpreted as a political proposition.

In a word, in submitting my truth the political arena, I undermine it by making it look like a matter of opinion.

No thanks.

Life is about being the best you can be. That much is certain, no matter how cheesy it might sound. So, rather than using my blog to uncover new evidence and demonstrate universal truths, I think from now on I will invest more time in exploring how to preserve what little knowledge, truth, dignity, and morality we have left.

Given the climate of "debate" out there, I think it far more useful to explore how the truth can be preserved by those who still value its existence. There is a future for humanity, no matter how it looks. If society seems uninterested in becoming freer and more ethical, perhaps our children will be far less hostile to such things. In the meantime, we have to cling to the truth to avoid getting lost in the muck.

Stationary Waves, therefore, will henceforth be more of an exploration of how to live free in an unfree world; and less an exploration of freedom itself. Life is not perfect. From now on, I'd like to invest myself in determining how to make the most of it.