In the video I’ve pasted at the bottom of this post, Bret Stephens (15:43) discusses the dying art of disagreement in civil society. His central point is this: in order to refute someone’s idea (argue with it), you must first understand it.
When we are dealing with scientific facts, we have no problem accepting and understanding Stephens’ point: if you want to refute the gravity is a force argument, you first need to understand what is meant by gravity and force and you need to comprehend how those two things are thought to work in concert.
If Einstein’s argument that gravity is actually a function of space and time hinged on a willful and deliberate misunderstanding of gravity, what efficacy would that argument have?
And yet, willful and deliberate misunderstanding seems to be modus operandi for constructing arguments in the current political climate. The key concepts under discussion, whether that is feminism, immigration, abortion, gun rights, free speech – whatever have you – are deliberately and willfully misunderstood as a proxy for an actual argument.
When journalists engage in deliberate misunderstanding in lieu of actual argument, we call it ‘fake news’. Or CNN. They are essentially synonyms, now. Here is a perfect example of deliberate and willful misunderstanding:
It’s a gif, not a death threat, and it argues that Trump has defeated the powerful mainstream media, allied against him. Rather than address the argument that the mainstream media is taking an adversarial role in the politics of the US (and losing), most media just went into 12 year old mean girl hysterics.
Deliberate and willful misunderstanding.
Or maybe the meat puppets at CNN really are that stupid, incoherent and incapable of rational thought. It’s possible, I suppose. Always a risk when being a pretty meat puppet is the top qualification for ‘journalist’. That’s incredibly sad, because journalists have a vital, critical role to play in any democratic society. The role of journalists is to clarify the terms of the debate so that all sides can understand one another. The function of journalism is to prevent misunderstanding, not to manufacture it!
I have been speaking, lately, to some mainstream journalists about women’s suffrage. It seems that Richard Spencer and some other alt-right/alt-light politicians and activists whose names I do not recognize are advancing arguments against women voting. I’m perfectly fine with the argument, but I do want to know on what basis is that assertion made?
What is the actual argument?
I have three arguments, one of which I dismiss in it’s entirety, one of which I find mildly compelling and one of which I find absolutely compelling. I invite attacks on my argument. I want to see the holes. I want to detect the flaws. I think these are exciting times, and I am thrilled that the question of women’s suffrage appears poised to break open for new consideration. If the topic is ferried to the table by white nationalists and white supremacists, so be it. I’m also fine with that. I am a Western supremacist, but I have no objection to white supremacists waiting at my table.
Let’s keep them where we can see them.
In order to argue with me, however, you must first understand my argument. This video will explain what I mean, in more detail.
I will begin tomorrow, by explaining my understanding of white nationalism and white supremacism and why those arguments bring nothing to the table when it comes to suffrage, or any other topic, really. I invite refutations and attacks, provided there is no willful and deliberate misunderstanding of my arguments.
Just as I demand others understand me, so too must I understand others.
Lots of love,