Re: Where we lost America

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 17:41:42 MST

"Alex F. Bokov" wrote:
> On Fri, 2 Nov 2001, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > Ah, the funniest statement I've seen all day. First she declares that
> > she is not a dogmatist, despite dogmatically clinging to silly beliefs
> > like that bin Laden and al Qaeda don't really want to kill us despite
> > their declarations that they do. Then she claims to not be a relativist,
> > despite repeated and unceasing declarations that we need to understand
> > those societies better, that they are a religion of peace, despite
> > muslims holding a near-monopoly on terrorism around the world, and that
> > we need to change our foreign policies to match what other countries and
> > societies want, that our society consumes too much, doesn't consider
> > other cultures enough, etc etc etc....
> Those might be views that a relativist would hold, but not inherently
> linked to relativism. Cultural relativism is the belief that no way of
> life, language, body of folk traditions, religion, cuisine, choice of
> fashion, etc. is inherently superior to any other. This, tempered by
> common sense (e.g. let's draw the line at cannibalism and slavery) is
> eminently compatible with Western democractic, libertarian culture.
> The opposite of relativism would be extreme chauvinism including the
> "America love it or leave it" variety as well as the "Death to
> infidels" variety.
> Unsurprisingly relativism is highly vulnerable to missense mutations
> like the one I'll call absolute relativism.
> Absolute relativism is the belief that not only is everybody free to
> believe what they want, not only that you are *potentially* as
> mistaken as everybody else, but that everybody else is *actually* as
> right as you are. Where a normal relativist says "I believe 'A' but I
> could be swayed toward 'B' if somebody can prove to me that 'B' is
> more consistant with my other memes than 'A'" an absolute relativist
> says "'A' and 'B' (and all other memes everywhere) have exactly the
> same truth value". This creates all kinds of interesting dilemmas,
> like mutually exclusive statements being equally right, or relativism
> itself being on an equal footing with absolutism.
> If absolute relativists (and their less sophisticated flag-burning
> cousins the leftilists) had paid more attention in philosophy class,
> they would realize that this is a solved problem. The answer is
> existentialism. If existentialism proves too convoluted (which it well
> may, since hardly anybody except me will ever give you a straight
> answer as to what the hell it even IS) I refer the world to the
> streamlined and enhanced Existentialism
> Pro.
> However, I don't believe that Samantha is an absolute relativist,
> because if she was, it would be impossible for her to disagree with
> you or anybody else. I also don't believe her assertion that she is
> not a relativist at all, since some degree of relativism is pretty
> much a prerequisite for being a rational, modern individual.

Which is why I called her a dogmatic relativist, not an absolute
relativist (an absolute dogmatic relativist being more like the former
than the latter). A dogmatic relativist is hostile to objective opinions
and to those proposing that there are even such things as objective
truths or opinions. Relativism denies that extropy is inherently better
than entropy, since entropic behavior is an inherently valid lifestyle
choice. As a result, relativism is itself entropic since it seeks not to
judge, to choose, between extropy and entropy. Doing nothing is the same
as being entropic since the natural trend of any system at rest is

Dying off from heat death, to relativists, is a perfectly valid
lifestyle choice, and extropy, being a philosophy that makes objective
judgements about entropy, is obviously a construct of
paternalistic/imperialistic northern european male capitalist domination

I'll bet that even at the Omega point there will be relativists
objecting to attempts to exist beyond the end of the universe or to
change its natural course of evolution.

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