Sunday, March 26, 2006

Clarification and various thoughts

I didn't take the time to look up collectivism, and instead chose to use my own definition. See the exchange here and here for background. Now that I have a well written definition, I must humbly bow out of those exchanges and move on to exploring my own ideas, and return to the goal of this blog. Thank you Leondias for taking the time to speak thoughtfully with me.

A brief note on my background and intentions. I have limited education, and have done minimal nonfiction reading (at least of a political/sociological nature). I have a lazy habit of not looking up words I don't know, and instead guess at the meaning in context, and have I suppose created my own argot, though it's not a secret vocabulary, and I'm the only one who uses it. My goal is to explore my own thoughts, dreams, and ideas, to compose a description of the world from my own perception, imagination, and viewpoint. I enjoy logically sound exchanges with other bloggers because it helps me improve my communication skills, makes me aware of my misperceptions, and it's fun, staves off loneliness (except when it makes it worse). I can't stand discussion riddled with fallacies. My contributions are constructs of my own mind built with borrowed and stolen ideas, but I'm fully committed to seeking to reveal truth. What does that mean? Well, I think I have a new goal for this post.

What is the truth, and how can we speak of it? How can I resist the parable of the blind men and the elephant:

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

We post on these blogs our responses to something we read or hear, or there's that crew that seem to only comment on another blogger's posts. Fred keeps his blog focused by expressing a libertartian view on local issues, and he's willing to concede a point, giving (at least the appearance) that he's interested in meaningful dialogue. We post, but what are we accomplishing? What do we reveal? I would like to perceive the truth, and discuss with others who share that goal.

From the Tao te Ching:

The tao that can be described
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be spoken
is not the eternal Name.

What is truth? I like the archaic definition: "sincerity in action, character, and utterance," but the truth I seek in blogging is: "the body of real things, events, and facts." That is difficult to achieve when we're discussing political policy such as campaign finance. Should local candidates be allowed to receive donations from nonlocal source? What are the pros and cons of the issue? I have a strong opinion, but it's not based on a researched understanding. I absolutely favor allowing "outside" donations into our local elections. My reasoning is, this is a poor county, and we could really use the money. I'm not too concerned with some rich out of town entity buying our local representatives because I think there's enough voters here that see it similiar to me. If somebody from out of town is spending a lot of money on one side of an issue, that's usually enough reason for me to vote the other way. Ah but I digress. What is the truth of campaign finance? The truth isn't necessarily in that issue. The truth lies in the reasons for the existence of government (I love that phrase, "the truth lies"). Before one can venture a meaningful opinion on whether the candidates for District Attorney should be allowed to accept donations from out of town sources, one must understand the need for the DA, and understand what kind of person is needed to maximize the quality of the office as it currently stands. By meaningful opinion, I mean one that rightfully addresses the truth of the situation. Is the office of the DA faithfully executing the duties of representing the people in prosecuting law breakers in a cost effective manner? What improvements could be made and who is most likely to implement those improvements? Does a candidate have sufficient ethical development to carry out the duties with integrity? The issue of campaign finance only plays a part if the voters base their decision on who spent the most money. It can also play a part if the cost of running prevents any but an elite few from having a chance at winning office, but I don't see that as the case in our local elections.

I've taken on to broad a subject and have wandered off this trail and that. To bring this post to a close, I refer back to the quote from the Tao te Ching. Although the eternal nature of truth prevents us from fully grasping it, there is still value in seeking reveal it in discussion. I wonder where my head will be next time I sit down to post. Now it is time to be a father.


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