kirisutogomen: (lifeboat)
Accusations of racism are very serious. The gravity of the accusation requires a stricter standard of evidence. If I'm accusing someone of disliking okra, I don't need a logically airtight argument bolstered by multiple independent factual sources. If I'm accusing someone of racism, though, I have an obligation to be damn sure I'm right before saying anything. Serious allegations require far more than just bald assertion without warrant.

Imagining ourselves capable of seeing inside someone's mind and perceiving racism for which there is no objective evidence is incredibly arrogant.
kirisutogomen: (Cat's Eye Nebula)
If outrage is focused on how well the most fortunate people in society are doing, that's not a concern for justice, that's just envy. Someone motivated by compassion would be focused on the plight of the least fortunate among us.

hee

Aug. 20th, 2010 04:30 am
kirisutogomen: (Default)
[O]rdinary Americans, culture-blind by background, are specially vulnerable to the ideas of culture and hermeneutics, to the intoxicating notion that systems of meaning differ profoundly, are justified by their own distinct standards, and are separated from each other by profound gulfs, the crossing of which is an arduous and perhaps even perilous performance. The idea that the world is not simply what it is, but that its general nature is an optional artefact, culturally induced, culturally bound, is exciting and disturbing, notably to a person who has had some difficulty in overcoming an initial resistance and incomprehension. It is liable to turn such a person's head.

Now, I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am not, repeat not, advocating a Prohibition of hermeneutics. I wish to make this absolutely clear. If anyone accuses me of having recommended such a course of action, I shall consult my lawyers with a view to possible prosecution. I do not recommend any legislative action against hermeneutics. I am a liberal person opposed to all unnecessary state limitation of individual liberties. Hermeneutics between consenting adults should not, in my view, be the object of any statutory restrictions. I know, only too well, what it would entail. Hermeneutic speakeasies would spring up all over the place, smuggled Thick Descriptions would be brought in by the lorry-load from Canada by the Mafia, blood and thick meaning would clot in the gutter as rival gangs of semiotic bootleggers slugged it out in a series of bloody shoot-outs and ambushes. Addicts would be subject to blackmail. Consumption of deep meanings and its attendant psychic consequences would in no way diminish, but the criminal world would benefit, and the whole fabric of civil society would be put under severe strain. Never!

No. Hermeneutic Prohibition must be avoided at all costs. But voluntary restraint is quite another matter. It would not encourage criminality, and would in any case be more likely to be effective in the long run. What I am willing and indeed eager to propose is the foundation of a Hermeneutics Anonymous, whose members would provide each other with moral and other support in their struggle with temptation and intoxication. Medical supervision would be available for the limited and controlled use of hermeneutics for legitimate scholarly and research purposes. I have no difficulty thinking of the name of a most distinguished academic whose acceptance of a life presidency of the association would confer great prestige and authority on it.

Ernest Gellner, Anthropology and politics: revolutions in the sacred grove

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