Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to talk about two of the absolutely stupidest things I hear people saying and why they are so absolutely stupid. These are popular catch phrases which are tricks of rhetoric. They sound good but are absolutely wrong and totally idiotic.

The first is "Excess in defense of liberty is no fault". Actually, the real phrase originates with Barry Goldwater, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-grossman/extremism-in-the-defense-_b_26889.html

Now, excess is always a fault and a vice and a problem. This is true by definition. To exceed what is wise is to be foolish.

Let us put this quote in context with a few others. Plato, "The Republic", "The excesses of liberty always lead to the excesses of slavery".

Plato and Aristotle wrote after the 'Age of Tyrants' in Greece and based their observations on watching how tyrants rose to power and overthrew democracies and republics around the Mediterranean.

Excess liberty, on the part of the wealthy, including selling fellow citizens into slavery for debt, led to the poor and middle class raising up tyrants to protect them.

Excess liberty on the part of the people made the people afraid of one another so they raised up tyrants to protect themselves from each other.

Aristotle writing in the "Nichomachean Ethics" deduced the fundamental law that 'virtue lies always somewhere in the middle' from what amounted to a study of the structure of language and how humans described behaviors. He compiled the 'constitutions' i.e. legal histories, of 158 different city states around the Mediterranean before writing his 'Ethics' and 'Politics'.

Thomas Hobbes, who grew up during a revolution in England observed in 'The Leviathan', 'It is be deliberation (de-liberation) that we free ourselves from acting on our passions.' If you stop and think about things instead of acting on your feelings you will not act in excess.

In 'The Federalist Papers' one of the main streams of argument justifying the strength of the Federal Government was that if it was too weak, emergencies would arise, in times of emergency the people would give the government excessive power, and it would become tyrannical. So the right design for a government was to give it enough power to handle emergencies, before they arose, so that it would not have an excuse to grab excessive power when they arose. Making the government too weak would be 'excess in defense of Liberty' and would lead inevitably to the 'excesses of slavery'.

So, that phrase is one of my pet peeves. It is dangerous because it excites passions and leads men to agree with it, and once they agree they support excessive measures which lead to tyranny.

The second pet peeve is the same kind of thing linguistically, but in a completely different area of human activity.

"Extraordinary Claims require extraordinary proofs" is about the silliest, stupidest, most moronic catchphrase ever embraced by the American public.

Consider, if the ordinariness of a claim determines it's truth, then ghosts, demons and angels all exist. Most ordinary people believe in them and claim they exist, ergo, it is a very ordinary claim, and thus is automaticallly true.

So, logically, this exercise in rhetorical illusion actually proves the truth of everything it is usuallly used to prove is false. The fact that it is widely embraced and frequently repeated is some sort of indication of the critical faculty or lack thereof of persons repeating it.

Second, in science the most extraordinary claims are regulary made and proven with the smallest most insignificant evidence imaginable. Microscopic measurements of the light around stars allows scientists to say that there are planets there. Microscopic measurements of the positions of stars around the sun before and after an eclipse allow scientists to prove Einstein's theory of relativity and that gravity bends light.

All new discoveries are extraordinary by definition. If they were ordinary they would not be new. They do not require extraordinary proofs, the proofs have always been there, they are quite ordinary, it is just that no one looked, or no one had instruments to measure them before.

So those are a couple of my pet peeves.
 

·
Lemming herder!
Joined
·
1,189 Posts
New Zealand department of Inland revenue.

Initial motto/slogan;

"It's our job to be fair."

Later slogan after rebranding;

"We're here to help."

....... both blatant lies but what do you expect from government.
 

·
Destroyer of Ignorance
Joined
·
2,988 Posts
So, are you saying you disagree with what Goldwater actually said or just with the mis-quoted version? Personally, I 100% support Goldwaters actual quote and find it quite the opposite of "stupid".
 

·
May the Lord be with us
Joined
·
5,784 Posts
Mr. Goldwater was actually quite a brilliant man. Here is the correctly written quote being referred to and one additional bit of wisdom from Mr. Goldwater.

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
Barry Goldwater


Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.
Barry Goldwater


These words are words of timeless wisdom. They have never been more relevant than they are today.
 

·
Spunky Curmudgeon
Joined
·
1,310 Posts
I think Plato and Goldwater were discussing two different liberties. One of the type of liberty you might take when you force yourself on a woman. The excess of yours takes away hers.

The other is a warning that going to the limit to protect oneself against the tyranny of governments is not a vice at all. It is a virtue that will not only keep oneself free, but all citizens.

Those are totally different concepts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Liberty

I think Plato and Goldwater were discussing two different liberties. One of the type of liberty you might take when you force yourself on a woman. The excess of yours takes away hers.

The other is a warning that going to the limit to protect oneself against the tyranny of governments is not a vice at all. It is a virtue that will not only keep oneself free, but all citizens.

Those are totally different concepts.
Well, the problem is that excess of liberty is the kind you exercise when you violate the liberty of others. So, it is always a vice, whether done to protect liberty or not. Never give the state a power over others which you do not wish it to exercise over you.

Going to the limit, means stopping at the limit, i.e. not going to excess in defense of liberty but only to the limits. Implicitly if you go to the limit, but do not exceed the limits, you are not acting in excess.

I am not an expert on Goldwater and have no opinion of him or his politics at all. The motto, however, is unwise to the point of being dangerous to real liberty.
 

·
Pantomime Villain
Joined
·
3,969 Posts
Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime.

Education, Education, Education.

Things can only get better.

A future fair for all.

All of the above were slogans for the now deposed Labour party.

Needless to say we received the exact opposite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,742 Posts
+1 on Goldwater's motto not being stupid.

Actually, Obama's mottos are true (even if they are stupid). We got change (just not the change that many idiots who voted for him expected) and yes, he was able to destroy the world's greatest healthcare system - so he "can do it."

But anyway as far as stupid mottos go, how about:

"We're from the guvmint and we're heah to hep you."
 

·
Knocked Down But Up Again
Joined
·
5,579 Posts
By far, the stupidest yet: CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN

Yeah right.
Noooo, that makes perfect sense if you believe that the "change" is going to rake you over the coals. :D:
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top