distressing thing I face.
It is not disagreement–I don’t mind that at all. A person who disagrees with me and argues with evidence is great. I have changed my mind because of such things. Argument can be very good. I really value it.
No, the enemy is lack of argument. On the Left it is all name-calling and virtually NO substance. And many on the Left won’t logically defend their positions. That is a very different, new approach to truth. It means that one’s position is never actually put at risk. It is rooted (as is most evil philosophies) in our Leftist universities.
How so? Because for a generation the universities have pushed a know-nothing post-modernism. And in doing so they have indoctrinated a generation. There ARE no “facts,” they say, only political axes to grind. There is no sure knowledge. There is no “Truth.” Everyone’s got an opinion, and there’s no reason to think that yours is better than mine…
It started with the arts, and my preference in music and such reigned supreme. Everyone has a preference, and it is mere preference… But it didn’t stop there. No, it didn’t. And it is insidious–even those who don’t even know who Stanley Fish even is and know nothing about post-modernism will use that line of argument.
It’s not as if there is no grain of truth to post-modern thought. There is. But once I start saying that ALL truth is only socially constructed, there in fact IS no real truth. That’s where it gets dangerous. You have to have a Truth-Teller in order to have reliable truth at all, and social constructionists/post-modernists say that is impossible and a primitive reliance on religion. Again, back to name-calling.
But let me get back to my main point: I may feel that there is no reason to cite evidence at all if there are no facts (and that is certainly easier). Ad Hominem is the only recourse, the only other option. So, for example, conservatives may convincingly show that state control of an economy doesn’t work by giving evidence. And that is undeniably accurate, but Leftists reject the idea that there IS truth at all and so you are just arguing to preserve your privilege. Therefore, your “evidence” does not represent truth-value at all, contrary to your benighted assumptions. It is irrelevant. Even logic itself is merely a promulgation of your privilege.
In other words, there is no room for argument in any shape or form. There is only an attempt to psychopathologize or otherwise discredit the other. The only truth is how I feel. I feel therefore I am (and what I feel is in an important way true). There IS no more fundamental truth.
So there is no reason to engage in argument at all. What I feel is correct because I feel it. I am the measure of all things. Me, me, me. There is no moral agency (the main casualty of all such philosophies since time immemorial), since ALL truth is socially determined and what you think is truth is merely a product of your social surroundings. Logic itself is an artifact of the patriarchy, so don’t even try. I feel therefore I am.
Of course, the logical flaw is that it doubles back on itself. YOUR assertions are mere social constructions and preferences determined by class and such social structures, while MINE are somehow “true.” A wise person will beat them about the head she shoulders by saying, “How do you know? Why is your opinion better than mine?” But then again, they may deny that logic is a path to truth at all. In that case, I would say (as Socrates reportedly did), “Why should I believe you over a dog-faced baboon or some stranger creature still?).
It’s a great question, and one that All college students or otherwise educated people should be familiar with. It is the very basis for epistemology.