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discourse & theory / or, how do we debate as though created equal?

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  • louise
    [Mary] Most philosophies and revolutions tend towards absolute theories that place them alongside religious fanaticism. Political dialectic should* be based
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1, 2006
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      [Mary]
      Most philosophies and revolutions tend towards absolute theories
      that place them alongside religious fanaticism. Political dialectic
      should* be based upon untidiness, just as much as our individual
      inter-personal struggles for resolution.

      Louise
      I think there may be an inherent contradiction here. To insist on
      untidiness as a base for political dialectic can easily tend toward
      the fanaticism of absolute theory. In the end, any theory is tested
      by its results. Human nature is fairly invariable, hence the
      importance of free expression and vigorous debate in discovering our
      national histories, and learning from them.

      [Mary]
      But we all know that as certainly as peace-makers find small
      victories, all around them are those who justify violence against
      their neighbors, near or far. The terrorist obviously has given up
      hope for peace; s/he has succumbed to madness.

      Louise
      This is simplistic. Existing living conditions and political
      edicts, not to mention state brutalities, whether reported in media
      outlets or not, constitute a form of violence also. I do not
      justify the original violence or that perpetrated by those who are
      called 'terrorists'. This phrase, 'we all know', is itself redolent
      of 'the fanaticism of absolute theory'. At least, from my
      perspective, which is still evolving, and open to question. Taking
      specific examples, do you believe the Irgun, or the Stern Gang, or
      the ANC fighters, or Robert Mugabe's guerrilla forces, were all
      terrorists, succumbing to madness? If so, what about those who feel
      opppressed under the new national dispensations arguably made
      possible by such resort to arms, including the planting of bombs and
      violent intimidation of dissenters? It is a massive subject, not
      one I feel comfortable with, especially on account of historic
      grievance felt by the Irish against the British, with a thirty-year
      background of bombings, negotiations, agreements, broken promises,
      shattered lives. That is the latest chapter in centuries of
      history. I think it is ignorance of, and insensitivity to,
      histories, of all peoples involved, that produces the conditions for
      carnage. Philosophy may help argue the case for changes in law,
      education, and political practice.
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