Irrelevance of Relevance

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Mon Jan 17 21:12:37 PST 2000

John Halle wrote:

> OK, here's an idea. A debate's "relevance" is in direct relation to
> whether its outcome will have consequences for how individuals choose to
> direct their political energies. The test for relevance is whether one's
> more or less immediate decisions are in any way altered having come to a
> conculsion one way or another on the issue being debated.

The ongoing debate on the Democratic Party tends to dissolve your criterion. I agree with you on that debate, but nothing anyone has ever said on it (and it's been going on since I first joined the Spoons Marxism list some years ago) seems to have changed the minds of any of the participants in the debate.

I suspect that if there is some topic that would make a difference, it would be some topic that neither you nor I could guess in advance would have any relevance to the debate over the DP (or anything else). That's my basic complaint about judgments of relevance. They are usually misleading. Hence my charge of arrogance in an earlier post.

You will notice that most of the defenders of the DP on this list are among those who offered defenses of populism. Is that a relevant fact for either debate?


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list