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  •  I agree with so much of this, but... (2+ / 0-)
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    Wee Mama, Bob Love

    Here is the other thing that I think somehow needs to be taken account of.

    I think there is such a thing as intellectual responsibility, so you can be morally culpable for letting yourself get away with sloppy thinking, failing to check obviously relevant facts, not questioning conclusions because they suit you, using bad judgment when you could have done better if you bothered, etc. I think often (though far from always) when people use these terms of abuse, what they are after is the moral criticism.

    Sometimes people fail to think clearly because they can't (at that moment, or in general) but sometimes they do it because they choose not to because they don't care or they don't want to challenge an idea it is convenient to them to hold onto. And that's not just a matter of having a bad idea. It is worthy of being called some kind of name.

    By exactly the same token, it is really irresponsible and mean to use terms of moral abuse to attack people who have a disability. A friend of mine (quite some time ago, now) told a professor that he was dyslexic, so his spelling in in-class quizzes would be unavoidably imperfect. The prof sent him to the college psychologist, who said "There is no such thing as dyslexia; you're just intellectually lazy." My friend quit college and never did go back.

    So it's tricky. But there is a difference all the same between people who are doing their best and people who are not. And one of the ways people sometimes let themselves off the hook is to think it's fine to draw conclusions on important matters when you don't know anything about them, because it just feels right. When I want to call someone an ignoramus, it's not because of what they don't know, it's because of what they think they are entitled to say anyway (or because of what they have turned away from learning - not all ignorance is innocent either, some of it is hard-won at the cost of a lot of assiduous failings-to-notice and blind-eye-turnings).

    Don't know where this is going, exactly, but I think I want to reserve the right sometimes to blame the person not just the idea!

    Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

    by sfinx on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 04:40:47 PM PST

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