Divergent Views

One of the best things about blogging is that you have to test your mettle (no, not metal TB, down boy!) Back in the old days if you thought you were smart or that you were upon Right Knowledge you could either just sit back and stew in your own brilliance or you had to actually leave the house to find someone with whom you could intellectually spar. Well no more! Now all you have to do is make the occasional post and people will jump on your blog and call you out!

I say this because The War Professor answered my Dostoevsky question in the negative. I said I wasn’t sure if the Russian author had meant “Crime and Punishment” as a critique of socialism and The War Professor hit back with a resounding no which is probably right because Dostoevsky was actually persecuted as a socialist. It’s also possible that he might have become disillusioned with the movement based on some of the remarks made by his characters in “The Possessed” (alternately titled “Demons”) but I admit I’m only speculating. It would help if I had actually studied literature.

This brings me to my point which is I won’t shrink from a battle but I acknowledge that The War Professor is more educated than I am so I’m liable to slip. I feel like a street brawler matched up against an Olympic boxer. For example the War Professor says:

About your ethical riddle: it makes me cringe when professors pose questions like that, because it implies that an answer is impossible. It’s not–what answer you come up with depends on what ethical philosophy you espouse. 

If you’re a utilitarian like Bentham, your philosophy is “the greatest good for the greatest number,” so you MIGHT agree to kill her.

See, I was gonna hit back and say that wasn’t Bentham, that was Spock who said that. But then I remembered the Vulcan’s words were actually “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” It’s similar, but not quite the same. I barely avoid embarassing myself there.

I like divergent views because they force me to see The Other Side. A good debate should be like a good boxing match, you throw punches and take shots until the final bell is run and then you bump gloves at the end with each side retaining respect and even mutual admiration the other. The debates I don’t like are the hissy fitters and cusser-outers which I would liken to dirty fighters who rabbit punch and jab thumbs in the eye. War Professor is a class act so these things are not going to be an issue.

My point is debate-wise there is no better way to learn your weak spots than to find your position attacked. If I sustain an attack and survive I learn better how to defend myself next time. If I am attacked and lose I have to regroup and think about what I’ve done wrong. If I lose and find that there never was a way for me to win in the first place I will be obliged to alter my point of view. In any case I am better off afterwards than I was before. I think that’s what Malcolm X meant when he said he got his Masters Degree on the streets of Harlem. Oh hell, here I got speculating on historical figures again. I think I’m inviting attack.

17 Responses to “Divergent Views”

  1. guy in the UNLV jacket says:

    My favorite debate tatics are as follows

    1. Name calling: Stupid head always works good on liberals
    2. Out loud my opponent: I just yell louder than they do
    3. Question their intelligence: this can be easilly setup by 2 or 3 “Stupid head” remarks
    4. If the other 3 fail to win my argument and I bigger than my opponent, I love to use inappropriate comments about family members: My favorites always begin with “Your momma is so ______”

  2. Mexigogue says:

    Ooh! ooh! What was that one we had last year? Yo momma’s so exothermic. . . damn! I forgot!

  3. Nice Rack says:

    The team kicked ass last night. We won 12 out of 15 games. I took 2 out of 3 and my average went up one whole point! We only took three rounds though, cuz we spotted them 13 balls a round, so they managed to win one. Next week, we get spotted 19 points a round, 6 to me. They are monsters. The tournament’s tomorrow night, I’ll be a Pockets tonight for a while if you want to join me after work.

  4. Mexigogue says:

    Congrats but I remind you that you beat a mere human whereas the guy I beat was half man half machine, an evil bionic man, if you will (and if you won’t then fie on you). I can’t go to Pockets because I have to go to war but I would have certainly gone with you if I didn’t have to keep the world safe from bad guys. I am with you in spirit.

  5. Nice Rack says:

    Whatever dude, I hope you get shot

  6. Mexigogue says:

    Remember the last time I started hanging out with you regularly I started having recurring dreams about you. I stopped counting at about twelve. I’m just gotten back to normal. You wouldn’t want to mess that up would you?

  7. Phelps says:

    Your momma is so exothermic she violates the second law of thermodynamics. That one was mine.

    And that was Marx, dude, not Spock. Spock said, “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”

    I thought of another one, too. Your momma is so latitudinarian that she thinks that Nietzsche’s Übermensch is analagous to the post-Lutheran Christ!

  8. Mexigogue says:

    I always get Karl Marx and Spock mixed up. In fact I had noticed the mistake this morning and thought I fixed it but evidently I didn’t hit save. I changed it now.

  9. R says:

    That was Kirk, dude. Kirk yelled “KAAAAAHN!!!”

  10. Nice Rack says:

    I don’t really hope you get shot, and of course I want you to remain normal(whatever your idea of that means), I just really need the practice since states are tomorrow and Friday. Have fun killing people

  11. Mexigogue says:

    I don’t really hope you get shot

    That is the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me! Nice Rack is A-#1!

  12. Nice Rack says:

    I’ve said nice things, I just don’t remember what they are! Oh wait, when we were playing pool the other day, I was nice to you even though I couldn’t beat you. You impressed me.

  13. Mexigogue says:

    You are the nicest, rackiest person I have ever met! 🙂 We should go pocketing again this weekend if you want. I know states will be over but we still have pool league and last week really helped me so I need to keep it up.

  14. Nice Rack says:

    I’ll call you Friday night and let you know how we did, and what day might be good for me to play. Have a great night

  15. TB says:

    So fucken Mettel! yes!

    I totally see where you’re coming from. In my new profession i come across this daily. I love the challenge though.

    so far you’re pretty solid though mexifresh..

  16. Interesting.

    I read that book a quarter of a century ago and don’t remember much of it. I read TheWarProfessor’s comment. I re-read your blog entry. I checked TheWarProfessor’s blog.

    TheWarProfessor, AKA: TheEnglishProfessor, in his comment, says:

    “I am not saying that there is no Universal Truth, so one answer is as good as another one. What I am saying is that the question should not just be thrown out there willy-nilly–there are very disciplined ways to think about it, and to answer it.”

    I submit that there are only TWO ways to look at it. Either one derives one’s evaluation from existence itself, or one concocts things in one’s imagination. Referring to the first sentence in the quote from TheWarProfessor’s comment above, it is obvious that TheEnglishProfessor…er…uh…TheWarProfessor cannot tell the difference. All of TheWarProfessor’s interpretations (read his comment carefully) come from the latter.

    If you can’t run with the big dogs, then stay on the porch.

    What, exactly, does this person profess?

  17. The "D" says:

    I must say that this has been one of the most entertaining blogs in a longtime. Another saying that I love is “If your not the lead dawg you are always looking up assholes”

    Just think of that because it is so true! Let that marinate awhile.