Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to Know if You're Indoctrinated

If you hold a view which you believe cannot be thoughtfully argued against even by those you know to be reasonable, that's a sure sign your view is the product of mass hysteria (or some other form of indoctrination).

Update: see clarifying comment, below


Jim Leff said...

A reader writes (via email):

How about "It's a bad idea to drop air conditioners out of ninth story windows onto busy sidewalks"?

My point wasn't that there's no such thing as an irrefutable view. I have five fingers. The Earth circles the Sun. Olive Garden is an instrument of the Devil. Duh.

I'm not talking about certainty, I'm explaining why certain kinds of certainty will not tolerate thoughtful discussion.

If you and I were chatting, and the air conditioner issue came up, and you remarked "Wait, there's another way of looking at that....", I wouldn't immediately shout you down and call you a murderous monster for daring to even raise a contrary view (at least, not if I know you're intelligent and reasonable). I'd hear what you had to say, even if I assumed it'd be silly. Or maybe I'd heatedly rebuff you. But in no case would I shout you down before you'd made your point for daring to so much as suggest that there could possibly be any other viewpoint.

That's a move that only arises from the virus of mass hysteria.

PSU John said...

Interesting. I'll have to think on it. I certainly hold views which I don't believe a reasonable person could argue against. Because if a person who I thought to be reasonable argued against them I'd change my opinion that the person were reasonable.

I don't imagine shouting down in response but rather ignoring much as I'd treat the incoherent ramblings of those I consider unreasonable.

Jim Leff said...


Idunno, my favorite arguments are ones which strike me as counterintuitive, or which offer a fresh perspective on a subject that I hadn't imagined could accommodate other perspectives. I not only don't dismiss such arguments unaired, I eagerly solicit them.

If you're intelligent and reasonable, I"m interested in what you have to say about anything. And I won't revoke your reasonableness credentials just because you disagree with me on something, even if it's something I'm certain about.

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