November 6th, 2009


Will we ever learn?

I doubt it.

Guy "Guido" Fawkes, an Englishman who converted to Catholicism as a teenager in the time when Catholicism was no longer the state religion but a proscribed and persecuted one, and then went to fight on the side of the empire that had tried quite hard to invade and conquer England when he was eighteen, came back with explosives training and joined an attempt by a radicalized member of an old ruling dynasty (whose father had been arrested and tried for harboring Catholic clerics due to fears that Catholics were supporting and aiding said foreign invasion) to destroy the British government in protest against the Penal Laws that to their disappointment had not been ended by a new administration as expected.

The plot only failed because someone among of the plotters had qualms and in effect whistleblew upon themselves to warn away a sympathizer in the government before the event, followed by the discovery of the planted explosives and the sapper himself in the course of searching the unsecured building on November 5th, 1605.

Re-authorization of judicial torture by executive fiat, which had been banned in the interrim since the Armada, didn't didn't actually work to yield any of the other conspirators, although prototypical police work - and a possible double-agent - did. That is to say, Fawkes didn't reveal anyone who might have another bomb ticking away in another undetected rented storage unit somewhere near government center, until after it would have been too late.

It did however eventually provide more suspects to torture and execute and validation of all the fears of the majority Protestant population and leadership regarding Catholics being dangerous traitors, leading to more repression justified as a reaction to the Gunpowder Plot.

The people calling today for more torture of suspects and persecution of Muslims in America as a result of the horrible but not unprecedented fragging at Ft. Hood, TX, on November 5th, 2009, ought to see the parallels, have little-to-no excuse not to, but almost certainly won't if they haven't yet.

Either/Or: It's (Relatively) Simple --

Logic is one of the most valuable self-defense arts out there, because what it does (one thing, at least) is create wiring diagrams of conversation, so that you can see what connects up and what doesn't, what verbal switch or combination of switches work to make something else work, and what breaks the circuit or is completely irrelevant.

What it doesn't do is give you hard-'n'-fast answers to anything: it doesn't provide proof that a verbal machine actually does what it's supposed to do (to push the analogy about as far as it can be pushed) when you turn it on, but it does help you see if a chain of if-thens actually leads where it's supposed to go, or if there's some results-fixing going on to make it "work" or avoid the problems inherent in the circuitry. It helps you sort out, using shorthand, where the bits and pieces are when you're diagnosing fallacies and figuring out what arguments actually consist of.

IOW, it's a really great bullshit-detecting device, and since bullshit is primarily a tool of social dominance, it's a really great mental shielding device if you use it in combat rhetoric scenarios, as well as helping to avoid making mistakes, yourself.

One of the critical tools in the FL kit is the separation of the word "or" into its two not-identical uses: and/or, aka "inclusive or" which describes states which may coexist, and either/or, aka "exclusive or", which describes states which rule each other out. If A is the case, then not-A cannot also be the case. (But is A the case? Depends on what A is. So it doesn't get you very far - but sometimes setting out what A and not-A are is a very big deal. Frex:

* Either A, or not-A;

* Either having been abused is excuse for abusing, or it is not;

* Either having the power to do harm justifies doing harm, or it does not;

* Either doing something good is a free pass for doing something wrong , or it isn't;Collapse )