July 18, 2006

Arguing Ignorant

One of the great problems of today, it seems to me, is that we so often argue our points, right or wrong, from such a low level of knowledge that we can't help but make tremendous mistakes. How can you argue about whether a war is just if you don't understand either the politics that led up to the war or war itself? The answer is that you can't. That doesn't stop people from trying. Examining a few Catholic apologist sites leads me to believe that the great mass of english speaking catholics who go there are so fundamentally disconnected with war and war politics that they have lost the ability to say much of what is useful about Catholic Just War Doctrine (JWD).

You get misapplications of proportionality by mistaking what are the causes of war. You get plenty of magical thinking about what is possible in the avoidance of innocent civilian casualties. And you get all too often a refusal to examine whether the alternate choices available would have just made things worse.

The question is, how to fix it? If only there were some sort of basic knowledge exam that at least let you know what your basic state of knowledge was in the particular question under discussion so you knew how much you needed to know to discuss a question or theory intelligently or at least avoid the guarantee of error that near total ignorance brings.

Posted by TMLutas at July 18, 2006 08:29 AM