Commenter JA recently alluded to “arguments” made by the pro-life movement in which he allued to the pro-life movement arguing that a fundamental argument against contraception is as a “tool” punish those having pre-marital sex with babies. One might also note some similar allusions, that people oppose equal wage legislation because they “hate women” (or that that “hatred” of women is the basis of pro-life arguments). Another example is to point that the GOP in general don’t care for the plight of the poor.

Look, I could argue that the real reason atheists deny God is because they are afraid of what God’s existence implies for their moral choices and especially their rejection of repentance in general. I too could argue that the Progressives/Democrats don’t care for the poor, for the policies (such as their ecological movement) they push so often are directly harmful to the poor (for example, carbon reduction policies will cost money … especially impacting rising energy costs. Who will be impacted more, Mr Gore and his cronies … or the poor).

The point is, none of the actual arguments used by either party devolve to the argument used by those parties. Atheists do not claim that the reason they deny God is the implications for their eschatological future if He did exist. Catholics (for example) never use in their arguments for contraception that they oppose contraception for utilitarian reasons related to reducing pre-marital sexual activity.

As I noted once before, I had an extended discussion with a gentleman (email exchange) about SSM. I broke it off when he admitted that it was his view that the “only argument ever used against SSM was based on bigotry.” That is, any argument presented was just protective coloration and dishonest dialog to conceal one’s ingrained prejudices against gays. This is both essentially in itself bigotry of a different sort and a dishonest (uncharitable) violation of the unwritten agreement one enters into when one begins discussion.

I think in general people address or try to attribute motives behind arguments which may or may not exist. Unless you have the powers attributed to the Shadow (who “knows” bwahahahaha) then you don’t know what the motives behind the argument used by those whom you are addressing. You should (being charitable) allow your interlocutor the benefit of the doubt and assume he is honest. That is, that the arguments he gives for his policies are in point of fact, the actual reasons for holding the said position.

Honest dialog insists that you take as honestly believed the arguments your interlocutor presents.

It would be interesting if the “fairness doctrine” in media instead of “giving equal time” to opposing points of view in media instead was aimed instead at making sure our dialog was honest.

Filed under: Mark O.PoliticsYou Cry Out

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