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(47,992 posts)
Mon Apr 15, 2013, 02:39 PM Apr 2013

Regarding other people's "principles", including those of BO:

Just because I/you don't perceive something (e.g. a "principle", whatever that is*), that does not mean that it isn't there.

That means either it isn't there or I/you lack the perceptual faculties to identify it (which include, amongst other things, data), or I/you are making a mistake, or lying, about it, or some combination of the these; in any case it's a null set, indeterminate.

Honesty compels me to admit this is the truth about me/you and, because it is true, I, personally, am also compelled to hypothesize about those who do claim the ability to read my mind, and/or those of others, including BO's, so well as to characterize what is there in judgemental terms, that is, so well as to go as far as telling others what is or isn't in someone's mind in absolutist and, most often, negative terms. Beware of those who tell you what other people think, I don't like that experience, no matter whom is the object of that kind of gossip; that's a reaction I acquired as a born and bred Tweener and from teaching. Such persons either:

1. have data-->information that they are not sharing for agendas that they are also not sharing;
2. don't know and/or don't know and/or care that they don't know;
3. are biased in what they do claim to "know";
4. are something that would meet some people's definition of "God".

Not that I expect it to really matter to anyone but me, but all I need to deal with 1-4 above is the honest recognition that these are the probabilities that inher in y/our situation.

TO ME, refusal to recognize those probabilities sets off ALL of the alarms for ALL that those who call themselves "the Left" claim to be struggling against and abusive language, directed at ANYONE, only makes those alarms, and one or the other of their associated probabilities sketched in 1-4 above, STRONGER, especially in the face of doctrinaire authority of ANY kind that tries to tell me things are simpler than I know, in factual experience, that they are.

Perhaps you recognize this reaction to what amounts to de facto coercion? or, at least at minimum, what could be hypocrisy?

Just as I do not answer questions when I feel bias will not result in an honest hearing of what I am trying to say, I do not expect you to answer my questions either, so, by all means, ignore this post if you FREELY choose to do so. If I/you are not free, that is my motive in writing this. Freedom is too precious to make blind assumptions about it, especially around ANY kind of "authority", so . . .

I do think it is a valuable thing to at least get the questions out there, for anyone who is trying to discover some truth of their own, not just whatever we are handed by others, because this particular dynamic and all that is associated with it, such as, *self-fulfilling prophecy and correspondence bias (a.k.a. fundamental attribution error), to name just a couple of relatively valid and reliable dimensions of social psychology, IS part of what oppresses us ALL **, so if I/you don't recognize my/our own slavery, we're only going to repeat the SAME OLD MISTAKES until it's too late, if it isn't already.

** for philosophical (i.e. principles that are the result of the love of wisdom) background on this statement, please refer to Paolo Freire, especially his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, wherein he cautions ALL of us about how the way we live has caused each of us to internalize the oppressor. Anyone who refuses to recognize that probability is either mistaken, or something else is going on. This is why authentic revolution, begins and ends for everyone with what Freire calls the "praxis" of honest self-critique. I am willing to go there. Are you? That's YOUR choice, but, whatever YOU (not someone else) decide, do not expect me to not do what I honestly think I need to do to free myself and, hence, possibly, others.


FOUR fingers!!!!

Regarding other people's "principles", including those of BO: (Original Post) patrice Apr 2013 OP
Principles don't matter. OnyxCollie Apr 2013 #1


(9,958 posts)
1. Principles don't matter.
Mon Apr 15, 2013, 02:51 PM
Apr 2013
We assume that statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as
power, and the evidence of history bears that assumption out.
That assumption
allows us to retrace and anticipate, as it were, the steps a statesman-
past, present, or future-has taken or will take on the political scene.
We look over his shoulder when he writes his dispatches; we listen in on
his conversation with other statesmen; we read and anticipate his very
thoughts. Thinking in terms of interest defined as power, we think as he
does, and as disinterested observers we understand his thoughts and actions
perhaps better than he, the actor on the political scene, does himself.

The concept of interest defined as power imposes intellectual discipline
upon the observer, infuses rational order into the subject matter of politics,
and thus makes the theoretical understanding of politics possible. On the
side of the actor, it provides for rational discipline in action and creates that
astounding continuity in foreign policy which makes American, British, or
Russian foreign policy appear as an intelligible, rational continuum, by and
large consistent within itself, regardless of the different motives, preferences,
and intellectual and moral qualities of successive statesmen. A realist theory
of international politics, then, will guard against two popular fallacies:
the concern with motives and the concern with ideological preferences.


Yet even if we had access to the real motives of statesmen, that knowledge
would help us little in understanding foreign policies, and might well
lead us astray. It is true that the knowledge of the statesman's motives may
give us one among many clues as to what the direction of his foreign policy
might be. It cannot give us, however, the one clue by which to predict his
foreign policies. History shows no exact and necessary correlation between
the quallty of motives and the quality of foreign policy. This is true in both
moral and political terms.

We cannot conclude from the good intentions of a statesman that his
foreign policies will be either morally praiseworthy or politically successful.
Judging his motives, we can say that he will not intentionally pursue
policies that are morally wrong, but we can say nothing about the probability
of their success. If we want to know the moral and political qualities
of his actions, we must know them, not his motives. How often have
statesmen been motivated by the desire to improve the world, and ended
by making it worse? And how often have they sought one goal, and ended
by achieving something they neither expected nor desired?

Morgenthau, H. (1948). Politics among nations: The struggle for power and peace (pp. 5, 6). New York: Knopf
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