And that was bad because ...?
Posted by aogFriday, 13 February 2004 at 16:44 TrackBack Ping URL

As some have noted, communication doesn’t always mean understanding. Some times I run across comments that imply a world view that is simply incomprehensible to me. Not one I disgree with, but one I can’t even imagine how it is constructed.

I ran in to one today over at Harry’s Place where a commentor stated, as evidence against the Left siding with the USA against the Caliphascists in Iraq:

There is a real danger that the pro-war left will repeat the mistakes of a section of the intellectual left in the fifties, which lined up behind the US in the Cold War on the indisputable premise that liberal democracy is preferable to Stalinism. We’ve already seen where that trajectory led.

Uh, to freedom and better lives for hundreds of millions of people? Countries that didn’t suffer South Vietnam’s or Cambodia’s fate? A trend to toward economic freedom in formerly repressed states? Overall, it seems like a big win, even though there were a number of shameful episodes, although most of them involved not siding with the USA against the Stalinsts. Or maybe he means that those intellectuals ended up as neo-cons. At least he’s admitting that liberal democracy is better than Stalinism, so there’s a bit of common ground.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
pj Sunday, 15 February 2004 at 13:06

It is hard to come up with even a wrong-headed worldview that would make sense of his assertion. He acknowledges that liberal democracy is preferable to Stalinism, so he couldn’t have wanted Stalinism to win; yet he says that fighting Stalinism was a mistake, apparently because the defeat of Stalinism left us with a liberal democracy in which conservative views are politically competitive, and he doesn’t like that outcome. This verges on a contradiction.

As for my own view, I think that infinite communication would ultimately lead to understanding, if only of the other’s confusion. My point in the prior comment was that there’s no reason to think that infinite communication would lead to agreement.

End of Discussion