Archive for the ‘Postmodernism’ Tag

Objective Reality   Leave a comment

I live in a polarized, postmodern society in which many people want to have not only their opinions but their own facts, also.  This is shameful.  As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, people are entitled to their opinions, not their own facts.  I, as a student of history, rely upon a body of objective evidence.  History, strictly speaking, is the interpretation of that evidence.  Interpretations vary, but the evidence remains.  To quote John Adams,

Facts are stubborn things.

Consider a recent news story from Boca Raton, Florida, O reader.

William Latson, the Principal of Spanish River Community High School, had an exchange with a parent in April 2018.  The topic of the exchange was the state mandate (dating to 1994) to teach about the Holocaust in Tenth Grade world history classes.  Latson told her that, at his high school, that one-day lesson was optional because some parents did not want their offspring to participate.  The anonymous mother replied,

The Holocaust is a factual, historical event.  It is not a right or a belief.

Latson answered her,

Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently.  I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee.

Latson has apologized and visited Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Holocaust was real.  The Third Reich documented it thoroughly.  Survivors told their stories.  Soldiers who liberated death camps saw the evidence.

The Holocaust should fill every human being with moral revulsion.

The unwillingness to admit something documented so thoroughly speaks ill of those who either deny or minimize the Holocaust.

One of the main ideas in the study of history is that we do not have to respect every opinion.  We have no obligation to respect any opinion that depends on fallacies.  Whenever I can contradict someone’s opinion solely by reciting accurate, objective information, I encounter an opinion for which I properly have scorn.  Holocaust deniers and minimizers exist; the Internet amplifies their opinions, unfortunately.  I heap scorn upon them and their counterfactual and anti-Semitic opinions, as I should.

We cannot repeat the past, for time does not play on a loop.  We must, however, be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past in different circumstances.  The first step is learning the proper lessons from the past.  We cannot do that as long as we confuse the categories of the objective and the subjective.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Alleged Intellectual Deficiencies   Leave a comment

Above:  The Author, May 25, 2018

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disagreement, particularly in politics and/or religion, does not constitute evidence of stupidity.

I have long been sensitive to this matter because I have often been one of the allegedly stupid people.  The person who accused me of intellectual deficiency did so solely on the basis of disagreement.  I refrained from doing unto the other person as he or she had done unto me.  Someone had to break the cycle.

I have frequently questioned the judgment of many who have disagreed with me.  When I have perceived evidence that has led me to doubt one’s temperamental fitness, I have followed the evidence.  Almost always nobody has known what I was doing, for I have customarily done so entirely in my thoughts, without any written or vocal evidence. Readily have I acknowledged the intelligence of the person whose judgment I have doubted.

Politics and religion have long been tribal.  In my society (in the United States) they seem to have become more tribal recently, given increased polarization.   More often disagreements have not been over subjective interpretations of a body of objective facts.  No, postmodernism has run amok, with partisan realities and disagreements over what the facts are.  Of course I think I am correct in subjective matters, but I have decided not to contribute to the problem of dismissing those who disagree with me as a population of drooling idiots who can barely calculate the square root of nine.

This might not change society, but at least it constitutes taking a proper course of action.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 25, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BEDE OF JARROW, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND FATHER OF ENGLISH HISTORY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALDHELM OF SHERBORNE, POET, LITERARY SCHOLAR, ABBOT OF MALMESBURY, AND BISHOP OF SHERBORNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT MADELEINE-SOPHIE BARAT, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART; AND ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT MYKOLA TSEHELSKYI, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted May 25, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2018

Tagged with

“Alternative Facts”   1 comment

Look, alternative facts are not facts.  They’re falsehoods.

–Chuck Todd, January 22, 2017

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If I wanted alternative facts, I would use a ouija board.

–Joe Scarborough, January 23, 2017

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I respect objective reality.  In that sense I am a modernist in the Enlightenment sense of the term.  (I am also a modernist in the theological sense of the term, by the way.)  As John Adams famously argued,

Facts are stubborn things.

I cling to objective reality stubbornly.  As a teacher of history I cling to the objective reality of the past tenaciously.  Whenever I get a detail wrong  and realize it, I admit my error and strive never to repeat it.  I hold my students to the simple standard of being objectively accurate.  The penalty for inaccuracy is a grade lower than it would have been otherwise.

Facts are stubborn things.

With regard to certain current events I conclude that Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway are either postmodernists, easy liars, or people who have difficulty telling the difference between accurate and inaccurate statements.  I lack sufficient information to arrive at a definitive statement at this time.  I am certain, however, that, in the realm of mathematics, some numbers are of greater value than others. That is an accurate statement.

Facts are stubborn things.

I keep in mind the difference between a lie and an accidental falsehood.  A lie is an intentional deception; motivation marks the difference between a lie and a merely inaccurate statement.  Either way, an inaccurate statement, regardless of whether it is a lie or an accidental falsehood, is false.  And that is not an “alternative fact,” for there is no such thing as an “alternative fact.”

Facts are stubborn things.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2017 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

APPENDIX

In light of today’s development, in which Spicer expressed his willingness to “disagree with the facts” yet, oddly enough, not to lie (an oxymoron), I conclude that he is a liar.  As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the great empiricist noted, each person is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.

KRT

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++