Locke and Demosthenes anyone?


So, I can’t help but find myself constantly irked by what I hear and read, regarding our political strata. And it suddenly hit me: fine-point details aside, the whole of the “blog-sphere” is pretty much the same as the network described in Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. And frankly, this kind of scares me. Not because I see the potential for the same social maneuvering Card also portrayed in Ender’s Game, but because I have yet to see a coherent effort to do just that.

Now don’t get me wrong, that idea is also rather scary to me. But I have to admit, that the apparent lack of such a thing, worries me just as much. Now maybe I haven’t been looking in the right places, or digging hard enough. But with the constant sense I get, that most people in the USA are unhappy in some way or another with our government, I can’t help but wonder why this isn’t going on in a more coherent way. Sure, I see lots of sociopolitical blogging, but most of it strikes me as hot air from one side or another. I don’t get a very strong sense of anything “solid” behind the views. And I believe that for a person to have a “worthy” opinion, they should be fully capable of defending their stance. To me that includes being able to explain the history behind it, what logic/rationality a person uses to support the opinion, and most importantly; the ability to realize that no matter how loud the voice, how wild the waving-of-arms, how big the sign, “volume” does nothing to actually support a belief.

I admit that if no one can hear or see the message, it doesn’t much matter. But to me the person who can walk up to the opposition and genuinely shake their hands, and yet still “hold their sign,” is far more likely to get my attention than a person who just shouts a protest-chant and carries a sign. Is it so hard to challenge someone else’s beliefs in a way that leaves a person’s own beliefs exposed to challenge?

I remember one time in downtown Asheville, on Lexington Ave. (Ah, how I miss Vincent’s Ear), I met a woman handing out chick tracts on homosexuality. When she approached me and asked if I would like to hear about how gays are sinners, I asked her “according to whom?” She responded by saying that gays went against God’s word. “And what is God’s word,” I asked. Her response was “Why the Bible, of course.” “Well, then I’m sure you can tell me where it is in the Bible that God says homosexuality is a sin,” was my next response. She stood there for a moment, looking at me with what I considered to be a rather confused look on her face. Then she said “But everyone knows that God hates gays.”

Now, I’ll grant the fact that it is a commonly accepted concept that God wrote the Bible. But I can recall no specific scripture, no specific passage, that says anything to the effect of “I am God, and to be gay, is to go against my word.” I do recall plenty of people written about, in the Bible, saying it is wrong. But not a whole lot of “direct from God” stuff. And if God is real, in the way that christians believe God to be real (I have my own views on this, most of which would probably earn me a few “blasphemer!” calls), I really don’t think any of this would even be an issue.

In both documented (non-religious) history and in Biblical history, God is a rather wrathful, vengeful, and generally worthy-of-fear. But nowhere in either version (including where both histories agree), do I recall the people that offended God, going unpunished themselves. Now some of those examples are rather strange, like the soldier who tried to protect the Ten Commandments, and was struck down for touching them. I know if I were God, and some pieces of stone with letters and symbols carved into them were that important to me, I’d probably reward the person who tried to protect them. But that’s me. And yes, there were usually “collateral” smiting of those who were either actually connected to, or just unlucky enough to be standing too close to the source of God’s wrath. Though if I recall correctly, all “offenders” of God’s will were struck down pretty quickly and obviously.

Which comes back around to the whole idea of being able to support a belief or opinion with more than hot air. And by proxy, the reasons behind this post. If anyone out there chooses to start writing with the intent of fostering change in our society, please do the best possible to be sure the opinions and conclusions can stand under scrutiny. No, that doesn’t mean “invincible.” But I do think it gives people more of a reason to at least listen to something they might not agree with, thereby giving the opinion or idea more than just passing thought.

So, if anyone cares to use the stage, the stage is set. And if anyone who reads this, cares to correct me on any point, I welcome the challenge. Or if anyone knows where I should look for such a group, I would appreciate being “in the know.” Why? Because I both enjoy taking part in civil debates, and I feel that there is merit in simply opening oneself to ideas and thoughts from other people. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything that “everyone else” thinks, but I at least like to know why.

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~ by Xandalis on 3 May, 2010.

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