Its very doubtful that Uebersax’s analysis of the poor thinking and policy decision in terms of Plato’s “Divided Line Analogy” does anything to illuminate how people go wrong in their beliefs and actions. Intellectual integrity and honesty about what we do know and what we do not know can be gotten on the basis of a common-sense philosophy emphasizing critical reason, a respect for scientific methods, and judicious use of the evidence available to us.
The high optimism and expectations of a number of Enlightenment writers, philosophers, and scientists proved to be too high. Much more needs to be done, besides merely removing supernaturalism and superstition from governance, before we can eradicate the barbarism and inhumanity that plague humanity. Admittedly the twentieth century showed that much. But nothing here shows that we would achieve a better society and better government by reverting to religious tradition and ecclesiastical authority in any form. None of this shows that we would be wise in any respect to jettison science, reason, logic and technology in an attempt to establish workable societies and humane value schemes.
The just-war theory should play a central role (sometimes controversial role) in discussions and debates relating to our government’s war policy, given that our citizens and Congress have not become so lazy and complacent that they won’t even consider the question of the morality of their government’s war policy.
A scientist exposes and refutes several falsehoods that we often hear concerning the landmark court decision on abortion: Roe vs. Wade.
But, of course, all of this deception by the Bush administration is history now; and we should move on to current challenges and problems instead of dredging up the past. GW Bush is gone. Forget about him! Right?
Vincent Bugliosi does not agree. He reminded me of these shameful acts (call them fallacies if you like) by the GW Bush administration, and reminded me also about the shameful capitulation by Congress, the news media, and citizens in general. He reminded me of the extent to which we became “sheep-like” in our readiness to be misled by propaganda and lies generated by Bush, Cheney, Rice and the rest of that gang.
There probably is no guarantee that we can completely avoid the abuse of language in politics and ideological debate or the sophistry of certain philosophical styles. But, we can heed Mr. Orwell’s advice and hopefully not fall too often into those ‘muddy, stagnant waters,’ which can choke off any meaningful dialogue.