[EM] language/framing quibble

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Sat Jan 31 09:37:02 PST 2009

Good Morning, Juho

re: "People are not always good at reason based free discussions."

How could they be?  What, in our political systems, encourages "reason 
based" discussions?  The method I've outlined cultivates such discussion 
among the electorate.  Not the pseudo-discussion of campaign-based 
politics, but real discussion among real humans; the 'people' you malign.

The value of an open, discussion-based system that embraces the entire 
electorate can be seen in the political philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre 
of Notre Dame University, as cited in The Internet Encyclopedia of 
Philosophy by Dr. Edward Clayton of Central Michigan University.

(Available at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/p/p-macint.htm)

To convey a tiny hint of the significance of MacIntyre's work, here are 
a few passages from Clayton's essay:

    When everyone is allowed access to the political decision-
    making process, "The matters to be discussed and decided on
    will not be limited as they are now; they will extend to
    questions about what the good life is for the community and
    those who make it up."

   "The benefits of a practice would then flow to those who
    participated in politics -- in fact, certain important
    benefits could only be achieved by political participation
    -- and politics would make people more virtuous rather than
    less virtuous as it now does."

   "When we have made the changes MacIntyre wants to see, politics
    will no longer be civil war by other means: 'the politics of
    such communities is not a politics of competing interests in
    the way in which the politics of the modern state is'. It is
    instead a shared project, and one that is shared by all
    adults, rather than being limited to a few elites who have
    gained power through manipulation and use that power to gain
    the goods of effectiveness for themselves."

   "Politics will be understood and lived as a practice, and it
    will be about the pursuit of internal goods/goods of
    excellence rather than external goods/goods of effectiveness."

   "It is only because and when a certain range of moral
    commitments is shared, as it must be within a community
    structured by networks of giving and receiving, that not only
    shared deliberation, but shared critical enquiry concerning
    that deliberation and the way of life of which it is a part,
    becomes possible"

Would that I had the wit and wisdom to enthuse others to make our 
political infrastructures more democratic ... and more amenable to the 
dynamics MacIntyre describes.  We would all benefit.

re: "I think all political debates easily become confrontational,
      both free discussion based and fixed position (e.g. party)

That is certainly true of party-based discussions.  It need not be true 
of free discussion, though.  Free discussion can concern itself with 
problem-solving rather than ideological posturing, and, as MacIntyre 
suggests, will tend to do so, naturally.

re: "I don't think parties are necessary."

You could have fooled me.

re: "Few species kill each others as eagerly and as intentionally
      ... as we do."

As long as our political systems are based on ideological confrontation, 
such results are inevitable.

Fred Gohlke

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