Friday, December 31, 2004

Right War, Right Place, Right Time

Unjust, Unnecessary, and Unconstitutional. This is the mantra chanted by the anti-war crowd in their effort to de-legitimize Freedom’s current struggle in Iraq. These are accusations that must be dealt with head on if we the people are to give this conflict the support necessary to see it through. No people should support an unjust war; all people have a duty to fight for justice. When the U. S. sent off its billions and it aircraft carriers to save the suffering earthquake victims of South Asia, no one question the justice of that sacrifice. The world faced a far more devastating disaster in the person of the dictator of Iraq but America’s sacrifice to end that disaster is questioned by the many enemies of justice. Where is the consistency?

This morning three terrorist groups are threatening to kill poll workers in Iraq if they participate in the election. These groups have declared, "Democracy un-Islamic". When King George declared democracy to be against his will, our forefathers Declared their Independence. There were those then who said the fight for freedom wasn’t worth the sacrifice. In the bitter winter of Valley Forge the heros suffered and we will be in their debt forever.
Now in Iraq the fight for freedom goes on. There are those who say the people of that country do not want freedom - are not capable of Democracy. There was even such a speech given at the mid-year commencement at Weber State University this past week. A honoary doctoral recipient claiming that, "our form of government was not appropriate for everyone". That the only people to applaud this silliness were a few University Professors is telling.

That the Islamic Fanatics must use murder and terror to maintain their "system" puts them into the same category of liars as the Nazis and the Communists; and their cause is equally discredited and unjust. Liberty and Justice are unalienable human rights. They have nothing to do with being American or Western - all people want them by nature. As Cicero said, ""Nothing can be sweater than liberty." Cicero also pointed the way to the justice of removing tyrants form power. He explains in his On the Laws that, "As soon as a king begins to rule unjustly, that kind of government vanishes on the spot, for that same man has become a tyrant." It was also Cicero who explained that there is nothing more like than one man to another, and but for evil habits and deceits we (men and gods) would all be of the same mind.

I will put down some starting points for consideration. In future posts I will try to deal with most of these in detail. If there is anyone else in the Agora, please give comments to correct or clarify. I claim that the War in Iraq is Just, Necessary, and Constitutional. It is the Right War in the Right Place at the Right Time.

Just:

1. Oil for Food and the abuse of the United Nations. How many people died by Saddam’s diversion of needed monies from the feeding and medical care of the Iraqi people to build weapons, palaces, and torture chambers?

2. Weapons of Mass Destruction - Saddam was building, had used, and was preparing to build more weapons of mass destruction. As soon as he had bribed and bamboozled the U.N. into dropping inspections he would have build an A bomb and he was crazy enough to use it. He has killed millions in the past, why should he be trusted to behave differently once he was capable of greater atrocities? I still believe that there are hidden cashes of WMD in Iraq but weather they exist or not does not matter. If Saddam did not commit this crime he was in a conspiracy to do so. You lawyers tell me - doesn’t the law require us to act against conspiracy just as it does against murder?

3. Support of Terrorism - Saddam was proudly and openly giving money to Hamas and other terrorist groups to kill Israelis and Americans in murder bombings. There is mounting evidence that he was giving money to Al Qaeda. More on this to come.

4. Mass murder of the Iraqi people - at least four times the number were murdered by Saddam as have died in the Tidal Wave (Tsunami? - since when do the Japanese get to pick the words for the world?). If the U.S. could stop a Tidal Wave - or punish one for murder, wouldn’t it be our duty to do so.

5. Invasion of Kuwait. - Aggression, defeat, defiance of the treaties. You add it up!

6. Eight years of war with Iran (killing over one million people) in open aggression which demonstrated his intent to rule the world - a fantasy which he never gave up - and with U.N. support continued to pursue.
a) Saddam was spending millions to bribe the French (who would be so many oven roasted capons, - castrated chickens, - but for the U.S. willingness to spend its blood and treasure in a just cause).
b)Saddam was buying off the Russians (who have recently supported the totalitarian hopes of the Prim Minister of Ukraine and probably were involved in two attempts to murder the people’s choice to head that country). Need we look any further to judge Russian commitment to freedom?

Necessary:

1. War on Terror - Terror is the weapon of fanatic Islam to destroy and conquer the West. World domination and the destruction of the infidel are millennia old interpretations of the teaching of Mohamad. But for the courage and military might of past enemies of Islam the world would be under a system that finds Democracy an anathema.
Past efforts at world conquest were stopped by:
A. Charles Martel
B. Genghis Khan
C. El Sid
D. Spanish defeat of the Turkish Fleet
E. King of Sweden defeating invading Turks
F. Austrian Empire stops a second Turkish invasion who’s mission was the spread of Islam and the destruction of the West at the gates of Vienna.
G. The defeat of the Moslems by the armies of Polish Lithuania. This was a religious war.

2. Osama Bin Laden’s growing power - Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi. It is better is it to fight "them" there than here.

3. Establish a pro-Western democracy to support Afghanistan in surrounding and isolating Iran and to counter the terrorists in Syria and else were.

Constitutional:

The President sought permission and the advice and consent of Congress and was granted the same, not only in support of the Constitution but in obedience to some very unconstitutional laws pushed through Congress during the crisis of the Vietnam War. The Constitution was written to provide for the common defense.

If any can add to these arguments please do. If you disagree please let us know - only out of the clash of ideas can we find the truth.

32 comments:

Dan Simpson said...

Just a few thoughts. (not my own, but the words of, in my opinion, the greatest patriot ever.)

"The cause of America (Iraq) is in a great measure the cause of all mankind...The laying a country desolate with fire and sword,declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind,and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth is the concern of every man to whom nature has given the power of feeling"


"Let the names of Whig (Republican) and Tory (Democrat)be extinct, and let none other be heard among us than those of a good citizen, and open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the rights of mankind and of the free and independent states of America."


"Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offenses of Great Britain(Bin Laden)...bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that has carried fire and sword into your land?....if you say you still can pass the violations over, then I ask, has your house been burned? Has your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute...Have you lost a parent or child...If you have not, then you are not a judge of those who have. But if you have and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend, or lover; ...you have the heart of a coward and the spirit of a sycophant."

And My personal favorite.

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value."


For those who are unfamiliar with this great man, it is Thomas Paine, the Author of the American Revolution.

Lysis said...

Thank you Dannyboy - these are wonderful quotes! Everyone in the world should have a chance
to read and think about them. They demonstrate so clearly that there is nothing new under the sun. The challenges we face have been faced before - the questions about justice and right and wrong have all been answered. What hasn’t been answered is the question of how we will meet our challenge to further justice.

This morning we hear of more Iraqi guardsmen, heros for justice, murdered by terrorist determined to impose tyranny on the world. These Iraqi heros have answered the question of their commitment. Will we forget their “words”? Will terror blind our eyes to the wonder of their example? Will the agenda of relativism blur the testimonies written in their blood?

Dan Simpson said...

As you don't teach U.S. History it cannot be laid at your doorstep, but I believe that High schools should require students to read "Common Sense" and the "Crisis Pamphlets." They are as important to read and understand today as they were 230 years ago. I did my senior paper at Weber State about Thomas Paine and I think it is a real deficiency in our education system that his name is not known and recognized as easily as Washington, Jefferson, or Franklin.

Draricul said...

Lysis, I have you as a teacher for Great Books in, and I have had you already for World Civ. I just want to thank you for all of your opinions and insites. You are the person who actually got my brain to work. You taught me to question every thought to make sure that I come out with the correct solution. Even when I don't agree with your opinion, at least you make me question myself and my opinions. You've brought much knowledge and understanding to many subjects that I never fully understood. Thanks for teaching me how to think!
In this post, as well as every other, I totally agree with you. I don't understand how someone can really think that this war is a bad thing. Last time I checked, helping a country in need isn't exactly classified as wicked. Not to mention that if we never did to anything about all of the evil in this world, the evil would only come to us sooner or later and try to consume us as it did so many other. Close to everyone that I have talked to that is against the war sounds more like they are against freedom more than the war itself. Their arguments are based on opinions that they have come to believe, but never any facts. They all say that the people of Iraq don't want us in their country. Well of course the didn't at first. From the day they were born they have been taught to hate us, to fear us, to want us dead,they were taught that we are the wicked ones. They aren't to blame, if I was taught my whole life to hate something, chances are I would hate it more than anything. Eliminating evil and saving hundreds of thousands of people from lives full of fear and hatred, can not be wrong. Yes there is sacrifice, loss of life, but the men and women that go and risk and give their lives for this cause know why and what they are fighting for. I'd imagine that they see the reality that we do and understand that we should help them, and that the evil should be punished. These men and women are willing to give their lives for us, and for the people of Iraq, probably all of mankind, and yet people "Boo" them for going to Iraq.
People just need to see the reality of thing and what could very well happen if we just sit out of everything. This is the Right War, in the Right Place, and at the Right Time, and we need to be a part of it.

A_Shadow said...

"The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing."
--Edmund Burke

But let's not discount the fact that after the UN decided to back U.S. and British resolutions that had an "or else" clause we decided to act out. If you really want to get technical and to the letter of the law, this isn't a US invasion. This is the US making sure that international criminals are prosecuted. When the UN passes a resolution stating that if something doesn't happen (like a comprehensive list of WMD's and/or proof that they don't exist) then there is going to be consequences (like the US invading and finding out the easy way). If anything, had the UN backed the effort, it would have proven that we don't just bluff and blow smoke. I think that was a gamble that Saddam lost, which is pretty plain to see.

Aside from that merely the humanitarian issues were enough to go. It makes you wonder how many of those Iraqi insurgents, or the ones living there, are surviving off of US aid, meant to rebuild the country and assist the innocent there - before coming to launch rockets into the "Green Zone" or assassinating the Governor of Baghdad...

I'm not a Warhawk, that's going to need to be said here first, but I think Bush still has some places to go before I'll think that he really believes in what he's doing. If he truly believes in a "Global War on Terrorism" he still has work to do. And I hope that just because he's met some resistance, that he doesn't end up giving up.

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Anonymous said...

Mr. Lysis
A few questions of my own.
Are you a teacher or a preacher?
You use the term "relativist" as something that must be rejected as inherently objectionable -- what is more you paint very broadly with this term all those with whom you seem to disagree. Is it simply all those who disagree, or seem to disagree, with you that are relativists or is there some cabal of evil characteristics that such people share that makes them relativists? Democrats? Liberals?
Am I to understand nothing more than "relativist bad" "Absolutist good" out of these simplistic and undefined formulations?
Is your goal to empower me to think -- teacher, or to merely agree with what you think -- preacher? Propagandist?
I bet I can ask questions faster than you can answer them . . .
However, that really doesn't mean I win and you lose, does it?

Lysis said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for writing.

Some answers to share: You ask, “if I am a teacher or a preacher?” Like you, I am just a
questioner.

As for the term Relativist: In all discussion, common understanding of terms is necessary for
interaction. To me Relativism means accepting that truth is determined by opinions rather than
eternal, natural laws. I think relativism is objectionable because one cannot find justice if truth
is malleable according to convenience.

As for disagreeing with me: I encourage you to - but I ask you to show me how you are right or I
am wrong. Something that cannot be done if truth is relative.

As for evil cabals: Evil is determined by action or lack of it, by motive, and by outcome. Evil is
done when injustice is forced on anyone. Once again in a relativist world there can be no right
or wrong - no evil, no justice.

As for Democrats and Liberals: They should be judged by their “fruits”.

Rather than calling my “formulations” undefined and simplistic, do some thinking and show me
something better; then we could both be empowered. I have given many claims above; disprove
any of them and we will both have learned.

As for you asking questions faster than I can answer them . . . I’ll take that bet. Ask the right
ones and we will both be winners.

Beef Jerky said...

Dang I love this guy!!! As I said before, Lysis, you're one of my favorite mentors. Thank you for helping me to think, and keep on postin'.

A_Shadow said...

It occurs to me that if one is a "preacher" of truth, then you would also be a teacher, would you not? Isn't that something to consider with those accusations?

What would you call yourself, aside from "annonymous"? I believe someone trying to sway someone else from a way of thinking could also be a propagandist. It's dangerous to enter an intellectual forum looking for a fight and not meet some sort of resistance. I don't really see Lysis as using his definitions too broadly, after all he's talking about relativists in the definition of the word. It's not as though he's saying that a particular ethnic, social or economic group is relativist. He's saying all those that believe that the truth is opinion (and/or malleable as he put it) is a relativist. Like saying all people that believe in absolute truth is absolutist, or all people that believe in Marxism are Marxist.

But I would believe that he has issued a just challenge. If you could provide him with a template, a basis of comparison, a debate might be had. And indeed all would benefit greatly from it.

Anonymous said...

A few more questions.

If truth and justice are self-evident and are apprehended as "unmaleable" absolutes, do all absolutists define truth and justice the same?

If there are disagreements among absolutists as to how truth and justice are defined why is there so much relativism running amok amongst the ranks of the absolutists?

Why are there Western and Eastern absolutists, along with ablsolutists of every ilk, who purport the eminence of truth and justice, but whose "fruits" nurture all the recrimantion dissension and hostility we see in the world today?

"Nothing is true of false, but thinking makes it so."
Do truth and justice exist before thinking? If so, how are they apprehended?

With so many definitiions of truth and justice, who decides who the real absolutists are. . .do we need an absolutist fairy who grants and revoks the absolutist status? I certainly would not want to fall victim to an absolutist in the evil wolf's clothing of relativism!

Was Socrates an absolutist or a relativist? How should this question be decided . . . from Socrates point of view or from the point of view of the absolutist court that convicted him?

Mr. Lysis, to answer a question that wasn't asked is an unworthy Sophist trick. Are you a teacher or a preacher? Whether or not you are a "questioner" or a used car salesman for that matter, certainly does not engage the question that was asked. To dismiss a question is certainly not an answer to a question.

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous. I think you are missing the point. An absolutist believes that there are absolutes. A relativist doesn't. Case in point, in Anthropology there is a theory called "cultural relativism", this puts forth the idea that we cannot judge other cultures by our cultures standards. The idea, "I think that x is unethical behavior, but they may not and thats okay," is relativist. Absolutists believe that there is a right and wrong. A just and an unjust.

Where you are missing the point is that believing there is a right and a wrong does not mean that you are always right. This is the point of the discussion here. Those of us who believe in absolutes discuss our ideas. One of us may be shown to be wrong, and as absolutists we CAN be shown to be wrong, then are able to change our position. A relativist would stick by theirs when shown to be wrong and say, that works for you, but this works for me.

As far as your question, are you being literal or what. Literally, Lysis is a teacher, that is his occupation. Is your question more in purpose? Do you mean does he think he is preaching to us? Because if your question is on a larger scale, then he wasn't dodging it to give a third option as his answer. If I were to ask you, "are you a fish or a fungus?" You couldn't choose one of those, you would have to give me a third option that I had not put forth. Or I could ask, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" a question with no good answer.

Unless you were asking a direct literal question, then I would have to say, who is the sophist.

Lysis said...

Dear Anonymous - a little dialogue;

I will try to comment on your questions, you can take it as teaching or preaching or just a discussion with a friend. Excuse me for paraphrasing; the full questions are above.

1. Anonymous: “Do all Absolutists define truth and justice the same?

Lysis: Absolutists don’t define truth; they, like Relativists, only have opinions about it. Where
“Absolutists” differ form “Relativists” is that Absolutists admit that while truth exists they are
only searching for it; Relativists exalt their own opinions by branding these “truth to them”.
Thus to give your definition to truth is to be a Relativist.

To better understand the position of an Absolutist consider the masthead of this very Weblog -

“In a world were absolute truth exists but cannot be known, one must live by reason and faith."

2. Anonymous: “Why “they” running amok?”

Lysis: There are always disagreements among Absolutists; argument is the source of reason and
logical thinking. The Absolutist abandons opinions that fail the tests of logic; the Relativist defies logic and reason and clings to his opinion as being “true to him”. To the Relativist, all opinions are equal to truth. It is Relativists who run amok while an Absolutist revises wrong opinion with reason.

3. Anonymous: “Why do Absolutists nurture dissension?”

Lysis: It is bad habits and false beliefs not truth that lead to recrimination, dissension, and
hostility. Cicero answers better than I can when he explains in On the Laws:

“. . . we are born for Justice, and that right is based, not upon men’s opinions, but upon Nature.
This fact will immediately be plain if you once get a clear conception of man’s fellowship and union with his fellow-men. For no single thing is so like another, so exactly its counterpart, as all of us are to one another. Nay, if bad habits and false beliefs did not twist the weaker minds and turn them in whatever direction they are inclined, no one would be so like his own self as all men would be like all others.”

4.Anonymous: “When did truth and justice come into being? How are they apprehended?”

Lysis: You quote “Nothing is true or false but thinking makes it so.” I don’t think so!

Truth and Justice are co-eternal with nature, with that “devine mind” which has always existed.
Truth and Justice can no more be separated from right reason than matter from its mass.

Truth and Justice are apprehended by reason - and right reason is wisdom and the knowledge of truth.

5. Anonymous: “How do we decide who the Absolutists are?”

Lysis: It is not hard to define an Absolutist; it is definitional. If you accept that the truth is
absolute and eternal you are one. What is the truth? That is a more difficult question; answering it is our life long goal. By the way, I would call the “disguised wolves who deceive”, relativists,
no mater what they wear.

6.Anonymous: “What about Socrates?”

Lysis: Socrates was condemned by those who hated him for challenging their opinions, not for questioning the truth. Had he been a Relativist he could easily have saved his life by changing his position. Had the court used right reason, not emotion (the driving force of Relativists), they would have granted him the meals and the pension.

7. Anonymous: “Would you answer the question?”

Lysis: To answer a question “not asked” is not a Sophist trick it is a rather clever gift, but to
answer your question again: “Are you a teacher or a preacher?” The answer in neither (NO is also an answer). I don’t dismiss your question. I honor it by explaining that, that which we call teaching and learning can only be achieved by asking questions. This is what Absolutists do in their search for truth and what Relativists avoid by exulting their own opinions.

More questions?

Anonymous said...

DannyBoy2
Sophists are ". . . any of a class of ancient Greek TEACHERS." Their subject is rhetoric. Rhetoric is defined as the ART of GOOD writing and speaking.ie, discourse. Consult your dictionary for verification-- now go to my question to Lysis. Preaching -- "to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action" (Webster's) The "course of action" is not in question, it is absolute "truth" (my words). What is important for preaching is the urging of acceptance or the abandonment.ie, propaganda. No, I was not asking about his occupation, I was asking about his goals and methodolgy.

Anonymous said...

Lysis
You seem to have great faith in reason/logic as a methodology for apprehending truth.
Which logic?
Deductive or Inductive?
Realize inductive logic is the logic of observation and probabilties -- science -- and NEVER has anything to say about what is absolutely true.
Deductive logic on the other hand is ALWAYS reduceable to True and False statements, but can never offer an answer to questions about what a man should do.

"To the relativists, all opinions are equal to the truth." (Lysis words)

Are you allowing relativists some relationship with the truth ?. . . Are they kind of hybrid absolutists who are more in love with their opinions of truth than with the TRUTH? But absolutists are on an eternal quest for truth and are subject to "bad habits and bad logic" that create disension in the ranks and make it look like truth is ONLY thier own opinion, but it really isn't because they are on a noble quest and those relativists are too emotional to ever understand TRUE TRUTH?
What is little t Truth? Are we still being logical?
It seems that in both cases what we are left with is "The Truth is whatever I say it is." Of COURSE it is "hard to define". So. . . . absolutists? . . . relativists? Simply distinctions without differences.

Thank you for the stimulating conversation and allowing me to understand some of my own positions better.
Adios

Lysis said...

Dear Anonymous,

I hope you haven’t run out of questions. You “promised” to give me more than I could answer.

As to the ones you have just presented, let me give a try:

Q - Which Logic?

A - Both, deductive and inductive reasoning are of value in the search for truth. Both require an
open mind and the existence of truth.

Q - What is the role of Science in finding absolute truth?

A - Science cannot tell us what absolute truth is. It is based on senses observation and is therefore limited to the physical plane, but science can give us something to act on which will lead us to employ reason and faith.

Note: It seems to me that your opinions on inductive and deductive logic are rather absolute at any rate.

Q - What is the relationship between opinion and truth?

A - Right opinion is truth. This I still maintain; although how we came by an opinion seems to have some bearing on whether we know or not. Relativism allows for contradictory “truths” to coexist; so much for either inductive or deductive logic!

Q - Do Absolutists accept bad opinion as truth?

A - Not once the opinion has failed the test of right reason. To do so would make one a Relativist. Absolutists, like all philosophers, should love truth not opinions, not even their own opinions.

Q - Are there differences between Absolutists and Relativists?

A - There are differences between Absolutists and Relativists, but to accept the distinctions one
must accept that eternal truth does exist and comprehend the difference between truth and
opinion.

Thank you for joining our conversation here at the Agora. It was always our hope that we would find some understanding. Now, I think it would be important to discuss whether or not the war America is fighting is just, necessary, and constitutional. These are “truths” I would like to understand better.

support_trondheim_bomb said...

what is a teacher and what is a preacher? a teacher is one who shares. A preacher is one who helps people recognize doctrine. May we all be teachers, preachers, and questioners? may we all share, help, and question? And never one or the other assume position or even authority... a grand vision... Anyways, its time for me to be a questioner.

What do we americans claim to be freedom? Is it that our government is less powerful than others? (which is something that always makes a country more peaceful.) Is it that we have more liberty than others? if so then isnt there just a level of how much freedom a government allows or is there a line drawn between free and not free?
If there is a level of freedom rather than a line between free and not free, wouldnt the most favorable government as far as freedom goes be anarchy? i dont know... with anarchy there is no justice... but is that a bad thing? why assume the power to punish a fellow man when we are all created by the same god who will supply justice fairly and treat each man according to their actions reguardless of their earthly political power?

I was watching a music video recently by a group who are more to the side of discontent with the united states, and in the somewhere in the middle of the video was an animation of a gas pumper deal at a gas station wriggling around like a fire hose spraying blood everywhere. As the song went on there was an american bomber plane dropping bombs as the world spun below. Throughout the video were tons of people in their houses watching tv, hypnotic spirals of black and white spun in their eyes. At one point there were police officers with the hypnotic symbolism in their eyes, beating up and shooting criminals in alleys and public streets. The criminals were shown as being under the same hypnosis. In one verse of the song, there was a teacher in a classroom pointing to chalkboards with things like "AGRESSIVENESS IS GODLINESS" written thereupon. It greived me greatly to see such things in a music video, especially after seeing them countless times in real classrooms and real public streets and alleys, real places, like in the homes of america, in the living room, right there in front of the tv.

A lot of the stuff in that video i disagree with, example there were also sarcastic chantings in the chorus such as "say your prayers", that bothered me, because what isnt seen in this video is that true faith and trust in the lord is solution to countless problems. we are apparently "one nation under(above all but) god", a god that many americans only beleive in because they so dislike people who dont beleive in god, and the people who dont beleive in god choose to disbeleive it just because someone had a theory that makes more sense than what prophets have said. Those people need to get a clue, it doesnt matter if it makes more sense, its not what happened. Maybe if some people would acually read the bible...

My head is spinning. I'm wandring away from what im really trying to say. That the solution of many problems is to pinpoint the source. Like the way i see things, the solution to discrimination, for example, is to eliminate sensitivity to discrimination. Without sensitivity, discrimination is meaningless and is no longer a problem to the world. note that that was just an example.

One thing i cant help but feel about wars of a religeous matter is that it doesnt matter what side of the crusade your on. To think that "we're good" and "islamic terrorists are bad" isnt something i can say really makes sense to me. We're both doing what is contrary to the teachings of our faith and defending our wrong actions by doing it in the name of our religeon. Would jesus ever be the one to shoot osama bin laden? Many actions and ideas that go into this war are contrary to the teachings of our lord and the prophets. Many of what islamic terrorists are contrary to the teachings of their prophets, too. There's no difference.

Tex said...

My good friend Beef Jerky introduced me to this blog. I don't know who Lysis is, but some of the things he says I agree very much with. The reason I read this blog isn't to agree or disagree. It is because my mind starts taking a new route to the solution.
As far as support_trondheim_bomb's words, I agree very much. With just about all of it.
Here's the part I don't agree with.
"Maybe if some people would actually read the bible..."
Well sonny, how many people have been killed because of something done in the name of our god? It isn't about READING the Bible. Satan believes in Chris but that doesn't make him a Christian.
It isn't about reading the Word, it's about understanding it.
Just had to get that off my chest.

Lysis said...

Support_troudheim_bomb and Tex, welcome to the Agora.

It is good to have some new questioners join us. S_t_b, you ask, “What is freedom?” I think
there are many freedoms, but I believe that the Liberty that governments are instituted to protect
relate to the freedom to seek after the desirers of our hearts as long as they do not harm the rights
of others. Many of these freedoms are listed in the U.S. Bill of Rights: speech, assembly,
property, religion, press, and equal protection under the law. Cicero tells us that excessive
freedom always leads to slavery. Athena explains to the citizens of Athens in The Furies, “that
Anarchy and Tyranny must both be avoided.”

As for the nature of God, I believe that God - like all rulers must be just by definition. If we
would be “like him” we must also be just. Justice requires knowledge of truth. Any terrorist is
unjust no matter what books he reads or to whom he claims to pray. As for Jesus and Osam bin
Laden - Jesus will judge Osama, and Hitler, and Stalin, and Mother Teresa, and Joseph Smith,
and you and me. At least that is what I believe.

Anonymous said...

Lysis said...
"Socrates was condemned by those who hated him for challenging their opinions, not for questioning the truth."

The formal charge that cost Socrates his life-- "Socrates is guilty of not believing in the Gods the city believes in, and of intoducing other strange divinities, and he is guilty of corrupting the young"--

What we have here, I believe, are dueling absolutists. In fact, I think, the scenerio of dueling absolutists is one that very, very commonly works its way through history -- (the current situation in Iraq is an obvious example) there seems to be nothing so common as one absolutist willing to end the life of another absolutist who doesn't agree with his absolute. Relativists, or course, have seen this all before and become terrible cynical about dying for one absolutists's cause over another, ie. Galileo, after all, did recant to save HIS life.

Lysis says. . .
"Those of us who believe in absolutes discuss our ideas. One of us may be shown to be wrong, and as absolutists we CAN be shown to be wrong, then are able to change our position. A relativist would stick by theirs when shown to be wrong and say, that workds for you, but this works for me."

Changing positions when "shown to be wrong" is NEVER a characteristic of an absolutist. How could that ever happen? Absolutism is perfect first person point of view solipsism. How could anyone "show" a devout Christian or Moslem that he/she was wrong? However, the gravist threat to an absolutist is not a relativist, it is another absolutist --first discussion, then preaching, then prosteliting, then sanctions, then Jihad
then blood atonement, then God's army eliminating the ranks of the unfaithful.
For an absolutist to "change his position" is the greatest evil that can be contemplated -- what greater evil than infidel? No the discoursive position (historically speaking) of absolutists is, "Speak softly, but carry a big A bomb."
I could ask Lysis, "What conditions would have to occur for him to "change his position" on the justifiablility of the war in Iraq," and I don't think that he could conceive ANY scenerios that would justify him changing his opinion.
Final comment.
The statement was, and I quote, "I bet I can ask questions faster than you can answer them. . . .
However, that really doesn't mean I win and you lose, does it?"
Lysis response . . .
"I hope you haven't run out of questions. You promised to give me more than I could answer."

How did this ever become a contest? My comment was meant to devalue "fast" questions that produce nothing but "fast" answers -- You know, the old quality is better than quantity thing.
". . . . more than I could answer."
Lysis, you are the answer man. You have answers before questions. You are probably answering questions I haven't even asked yet.

Lysis said...

Good to hear from you Anonymous! It is obvious that you have read your Plato. Therefore you will remember that the charges against Socrates were lies; as he proved though logic and reason during his “Apology”. His accusers wanted someone to blame for the loss of the Peloponnesian War.

If Athens Lost - God must be mad at them! -

Why? - Because they had been corrupted. -

By whom? - By the man who asked them the questions that showed beliefs to be only wrong opinions.

As for Galileo, his recanting his “truths” did not move the Earth back to the center of the World (Universe)

My friend Anonymous, I have given my opinions on the war in Iraq in the original post above. I did this as an absolutist seeking truth! Neither you, nor anyone else, have challenged any of them. Show me where I am wrong and see if I change my position of not. Then you can judge my characteristics.

As for Christians or Muslims or any other religious fanatics in conflict; they can all be wrong but they cannot all be right. Their opinions have no more effect on absolute truth than Galileo’s “confession”!

I put down my position on Iraq in hopes that someone would show me a condition that would change my mind. No one has done that yet.

Anonymous, excuse me for misunderstanding you meaning when you wrote, “I bet I can ask questions faster than you can answer them...” Now I understand, I am delighted to chuck my erroneous opinion. But, that doesn’t make me a relativist!

Finally, my friend, I’m sure the answers to all our questions are out there if we just keep coming up with the right questions.

Dan Simpson said...

One of the things I learned long ago about having a productive discussion versus a useless argument is in the definitions. A group of people, in order to have a dialogue, must define the terms that they use. In this discussion Absolutist and Relativist have been defined. Quite clearly by lysis earlier.

Anonymous, you have such an interesting argument style. You merely change the definitions. If you were to take your time to point out why a person, or group of people are not absolutists then that would be a helpful addition, but to merely list a group or groups that do not fit in the definition put forth and capriciously label them "absolutists" and then stand back proudly and declare, "See, look at my list, you are wrong," is a fruitless course.

I find it interesting that Lysis has repeatedly invited you to make a point in opposition to any of his comments. You continue to take issue with his statements, but instead of putting forth reasons why, you change the focus of the argument, or merely change the perameters/definitions.

Lysis and I have argued countless times, for countless hours about countless subjects. Some times I change his mind, some times he changes mine, and there are some things about which we still disagree, (death penalty, bombing of Japan, to name but two,) but we both believe that there is a truth. There are not many acceptable answers, but one truth. Either of us may be wrong, that does not affect whether or not there is truth, only whether or not we have grasped it.

To admit to personal failings in opinions does not say there is no truth. One can be an absolutist (one who believes there is truth that cannot be circumvented), and still be searching for that truth.

support_trondheim_bomb said...

wow, when lysis was talking about socrates' or plato's "Apology", i noticed for the first time that "Apology" ends in "ology."
Tee hee, im sorry, but zoologogist, anthropologist, biologist, *apologist*... HA! HA! im cracking up. im sure i look rather stupid laughing at how i just noticed this, and then thinking about how funny it would be to take a step further with the word, which is something that probably happened years ago in all of your minds, in a much less embarassing and more intelligent way, but wow. apology. funny.

Publius said...

Sorry to bust your branches Mr. Christmas tree. Although they look like they come from the same suffix, the word apology and –ology as in biology are not the same. –ology is a suffix in Greek meaning the study of a branch of knowledge. In the word apology it is not a suffix but comes from the noun logos, meaning word or speech in Greek. Apology is therefore (apo- away, off, or apart) (-logia words or speech) So apology is the words that you take back if you are apologizing or the words that are standing apart to answer and argument as in Plato’s apology. It has nothing to do with the study of being away from anything. (Though some of us married folk may see irony in the fact that if the apology is not good enough we do get a lesson in sleeping apart on the couch) Just a nerdy word clarification to those who may care.

support_trondheim_bomb said...

thats all i needed was a nerdy clarification. I dont have any branches to bust, i just get a little retarded when i point something out that obviously makes me look stupid, especially when im using text.

Publius said...

I’m sorry for what must appear to be the tough tone of my earlier post. If you are stupid as you claim take comfort that, with my comments, I prove I am one with you. I forget that when speaking to those who do not know me I must be more careful with the words I choose. They say a man maybe measured by the company he keeps. In my opinion the fact that you are here learning and sharing speaks volumes to intelligence. You indeed have no branches to bust, thank you for humility and allowing me, by your words, to realize the need to prune my own.

A_Shadow said...

Wow, what a touching moment. I'd nearly be tempted to almost sing...

Lol, sorry, it was just a complete break from the hard drawn ideas and lines of the earlier posts.

But I think DannyBoy hit it on the nose. Lysis did identify and define absolutists and relativists and I think it would be good that Anonymous return to read those and understand them. Annonymous' idea of being an absolutist sounds much like declaring yourself God. You just up and decide that you know the truth and that anyone against your idea is going to pay for it... Not how it works. I have been proven wrong, plenty of times, I didn't strangle or murder my compatriot for it. I don't have any pride when it comes to that, but like Lysis, you must have an argument before I can consider your counter-statements. When you can structure them in a long list of reasons of why we are wrong, and you are right, you might have more credibility. And dodging a round the subject doesn't at all prove a strong attack.

Anonymous said...

Blowhard here...

I completely agree with you on this subject, Lysis. I am now finding out that John Kerry was a complete fraud in Vietnam and what a jerk he is now. The Democratic party has made many mistakes in electing him to be their candidate. I believe it was just so that they could get Howard Dean out of the spotlight and so that they could elect Hilary Clinton. What a looker she is, I can see why Bill would mess around.

Let's follow Bill's example and go to London and smoke some marijuana but not inhale it. Yeah, right.

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The world faced a far more devastating disaster in the person of the dictator of Iraq but America’s sacrifice to end that disaster is questioned by the many enemies of justice.