fighting ideology

Miles Jackson cqmv at
Sun Apr 11 10:00:09 PDT 1999

On Sat, 10 Apr 1999, William S. Lear wrote:

> The strength of our case must lie in the truth. Refusing to recognize
> that very often the truth can coincide with the most depraved of lies
> is to, I think, yield to a temptation to see our case as thereby
> weakened --- that somehow since the truth does not exist solely on our
> side, our side must have somehow lost this conserved quantity to the
> bad guys, which it has not.
> In fact, let me go further: *unless* we recognize the elements of
> truth in "ideological regimes", we cannot adequately fight them. We
> must recognize that we are battling with human beings --- who can be
> very adept at mixing truth with falsehood --- not comic-book
> incarnations of pure evil.

But here is the sticky point: how are we able to tell if a statement is an "element of truth" or specific group's definition of reality? The debate about what is true is far more contentious than you seem to assume (e.g., the Kosovo debate). It is not a question of demonizing the enemy; it is a question of not allowing your enemies to frame the issues in a way that requires you to play their rhetorical games. Example: social security reform. We've lost the whole debate if we accept the definition of the social security as an investment plan rather than as a form of public economic support for the elderly and handicapped.

Miles Jackson cqmv at

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