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Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History 
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Post Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
This thread is for discussing Chapter 12 -Conclusion: The Next Stage of History. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.

Chris O'Connor

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:37 am
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Post Re: Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
I was actually willing to accept this book as a decent work because, although there were obvious slights against the left throughout, it was not an all out or direct attack on the left. Until chapter 12 that is.

Any credibility I gave Harris as an honest thinker is gone with this chapter. He is just as partisan as Moore or any other. I expect more from those I offer any respect to. One thing Harris has on Moore, from me that is, is that I have read Harris and not Moore. I usually refuse partisan crapola, but since this was our book of choice, I read this.

I must say that I will not be sad to close the book on this, well...book. It was good in places, mostly the historical analysis, but I just do not agree with the conclusions.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain

HEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. P

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 9/5/04 3:23 pm



Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:46 am
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Post Re: Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
Well, we have FINALLY come to the end of this book. For those of you that have been reading my comments on the other chapters, you can guess what my opinion of the conclusion will be! :-)

First, some comments on the neo-sovereignty discussion at the top of p202. Harris claims that American has found some unique ways of solving the deep-seated conflicts that haunt and divide the rest of mankind--conflicts of race and religion. I find this claim remarkable on two fronts. First, a cursory look at US history will show that we have a tradition of racial strife, along with being the last civilized country to outlaw slavery. Second, we find ourselves in a time when many people are looking to revise our political covenant with religion and join the two more firmly.

Harris asks if this claim is arrogant. But then gives meaningless examples. He asks if we can travel faster by airplane or by camel. What kind of comparison is that? No one would claim that camels are faster than airplanes! But the issue of US arrogance is not as factual and therefore needs more scrutiny. He does the same thing on p214 with the hysterical example of your wife introducing you to her new boyfriend. Would it matter if it was Bush or Clinton?! His point is that the President of the US will have to shoulder a burden of being disliked because of what we are. Unfortunately, the facts don't bear this out. Clinton was and remains well liked internationally, and Bush does not. Why is this? Even if he was the 'almighty leader' he acted in a reasonable way. Underlings do not react well to an overbearing leader who tells them they are irrelevant. I am really surprised Harris does not pick up on this, because he calls it out on p 217
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the United States cannot permit itself to become the arrogant empire that its critics fear, or, indeed, an empire of whatever kind. It must be first, but first among equals.
Does calling the to the world that 'you are with us or against us' not sound arrogant? Clinton did not act this way and made sure that the international community felt one with the decision making process.




Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:00 am
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Post Re: Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
p203 Harris suggests that the US is uniquely positioned to act as the new sovereign because it is powerful and TOLERANT. Again, I find it amazing that the part he finds our strength is what those on the right want to dismiss: our tolerance.

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By failing to support the US in its effort to offer liberal values to the rest of the world
But this is not what we are doing instead we are IMPOSING. And we have a long history of doing this poorly. First example: Haiti.

p208. Who is Harris talking about with his fad jumpers? Quite honestly, they sound like people with personality disorders, not those in the mainstream.

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If all that matters is what you believe and now whether what you believe is true, then why shouldn't you believe whatever you like to believe
p209. Here Harris has a fantasy ideology about what the Left is about. Relativism has bounds. What Harris is denying is those boundaries. It is the 'what' that is being discussed that determines how much freedom there is in the relativism. For example, if you want to wear tribal dress and headgear to a board of directors meeting, I don't think most persons would stop you. They might not invite you back, but that is a different issue. However, a relativist would not say killing another is a good way to handle disputes, although it is perfectly acceptable in Haiti or parts of Pakistan. On p211, Harris does get into a good discussion about values and how they relate to relativism. Unfortunately, he misses the answer, which is what the international community decides. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives us a framework for deciding what can be acceptable and what can not.

Harris also discusses why others should adopt our values, and why they have not. He says that others are capable of the same processes as we, and if we expose them to our ideas they can be freely adopted. Of course, this is true, and we see this in many places in the world. But what Harris can't even consider is that some cultures see our values and then decide NOT to adopt them, which certainly does happen.




Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:02 am
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Post Re: Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
OK, along with Mr. P, I've had it with the intellectual bashing. I'm going to put my responses all in one place. First of all, what is an intellectual? According to Webster: of or relating to the intellect or its use b : developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : RATIONAL c : requiring use of the intellect
2 a : given to study, reflection, and speculation b : engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect
Sooooooo, instead of people who use their brain and think about things, we should pay attention to those who don't???? It seems to me that Harris is an intellectual. Should we not pay attention to him?????
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When the Left-wing intellectual seems to have contempt for everything that the average American holds dear p204
Oh, really??? What is it that the average American holds dear that the 'Left-wing' intellectual holds in contempt???? Tolerance? Diversity? Privacy?
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Will the intellectual not instinctively prefer any intellectual system that claims to give certainty about everything...
Well, there are two ways to answer this question 1) Wouldn't EVERYONE prefer certainty? Risk aversion is one of the core principals of corporate finance, but 2) No, I don't thing the intellectual would always prefer such a system, because the claims of certainty may be false. And one would have to intellectualize about it to determine if this was so.
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Much of Left-wing ideology is transparently self-serving of the intellectual class .... it is part of one's own way of imaging the world.
The same could be said for any ideology, from the right or left. Ideologies are a way of imagining the world, that is what makes them useful, to the extent that they are a model that accurately reflects the world. Harris then goes on to say that we have to step out of the ideological box in order to reflect reality. I think he has it backwards. Rational persons only get into such a box once they have decided that it accurately reflects the real world. At some point we can have a hight degree of confidence in an ideology and start to use it regularly. This is called the scientific process. When the facts fit the theory, the theory is accepted until it no longer explains the facts. But if all the know facts are explained (evolution), then the theory is accepted. What Harris is doing is confusing the explanatory and predictive benefits of a world view. If a theory works because it explains so much, it can be used as a world view and predict useful things. This is true until it no longer explains facts. Then it must be revised. This is the scientific method. It is NOT fitting the facts to the world view. Harris give an excellent analogy of this with his exploded boxes. The one thing the analogy does not explain well is that sometimes the box can merely be modified, not exploded.




Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:04 am
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Post Re: Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
I thought the conclusion kicked ass actually. I've got about 10 pages left and then I'll start jumping into these chapter discussions.

Chris

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Sat Sep 04, 2004 12:54 am
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Post Re: Ch. 12 - Conclusion: The Next Stage of History
Quote:
I thought the conclusion kicked ass actually.


If he did'nt specifically bash the left, I may have been ok with it. He is partisan, and thus I cannot give him any props. I do not listen to partisans, not Moore, not Franken, not Hannity, not Harris.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain

HEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. P




Sat Sep 04, 2004 7:13 am
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