Wednesday, September 04, 2002

It pisses me off how many idiots there are who make arguments based on perfect logic that really has no application to the problem they're dealing with. And then they defend themselves by trying to prove how logical they're being.
What was and remains valuable, indeed wonderful, about the brilliant system builders of the 19th century was that to a man, or woman, they loved and understood the art of communication. However much they wanted to organize their thoughts according to an impersonal logic, they couldn't help wanting to write well, realizing that logic itself would not be enough to convince their audience; that they still needed rhetorical style and skill. And such skill has often been enough to keep even mistaken suppositions or ideas from the dustbin of history. And just as importantly, such tricks of the writing trade made it possible for even the most argumentative to admit that what they were in it for was precisely the fight, the struggle as Marx put it, between ideas. But it also gave them wiggle room, to slide around with what they really meant, to save face, to bullshit and defend.
In the 20th century the fight was irrelevant. Victory was all that mattered. If someone could say he was absolutely right he could toss all the faux-scientific rhetoric he wanted around the room and it could be believed. It was science. Regardless of how little useful information was actually dropped into the computing machine, everything was logical. And logic was truth. But it wasn't science it was Kitsch.

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