Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ewe Reinhardt was on NPR yesterday. He told a story of his mother, still in Germany, having to wait 2 weeks for a doctor's appointment. When he offered to speed up the process she shamed him for wanting to help her jump the line.

The "value free" study of our base mediocrity reinforces mediocrity. The overlaying of quantitative language on issues previously considered qualitative treats the former as the latter.

Technocratic intellectuals' insistence on expert opinion misses the point, and misidentifies or misconstrues the relationship of law and of themselves to language and society. When we argue we are not engaging primarily in the search for the truth but in a collective act of self-definition. The search for external eternal truth has always been largely a McGuffin. Very few people actually believe in God, they believe in systems and stability. 

To obsessively study the opinions of others is often a way to avoid acknowledging that you have opinions of your own. manifested in the pretense that you are only interested in objective truth. Ignoring your opinions' status as opinions or values makes you prone to bizarre misreadings of yourself and others.

Brian Leiter imagines judges' opinions as ideological but is unable to see that they spend most of their time trying to further their cause, to convince others to agree with them. Judges are members of society and the public debate itself is more important than courtroom decisions: the stops along the road are not the road. Public debate changes people, some of whom end up judges in the future.

Wishes oppose preference as hopes oppose facts. If one marks what we want people to think of us, the other marks what we are.

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