Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Aziz has posted a little missive I wrote in response to his announcement that use of the new coinage "transnational progressivism" (as defined in
this article by John Fonte) is henceforth to render one's arguments devoid of value. Perhaps Fonte's enumerated principles are caricatures. But I've only heard conclusory assertions that this is the case. I think it would really advance the ball if someone who thinks so would go through the principles one by one and state exactly how each distorts or exaggerates, and what qualifications you'd have to make for it to be a fair description of views actually held. I don't think it's true, as has been suggested, that TP is simply equivalent to "the left." I know people, for example, whose views I'd characterize as "progressive" but not "transnational". So if TP is a badly formed concept, a straw man, a "package deal" as Rand would say, fine--explain how. Is it a null set--i.e., no-one actually holds all those views? Or is it simply that you hold some of the principles but not others, and don't want to be associated with those you do not hold? If you regard TP as a pejorative caricature, this would seem to imply that you regard some of the principles as articulated by Fonte to be obviously untenable. If so, it would help to say which ones. As I see it, the goal of all this is to clarify the terms of debate so that we can talk to each other constructively. This is what I perceived Den Beste to be attempting to do by embracing the terminology.

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