Thursday, October 19, 2006
The Lancet Study
The Lancet article is an example of the 'idolatry of the question' which characterizes Liberalism. The basic syllogism in symbolic Logic is 'If A ] B,'if A then B.' Liberalism seeks to gain a desired ground, B, by finding a single proposition A which drives the conclusion B. Naturally such arguments often come in moral terms as they must drive an entire proposition in one hit. The Lancet article derives from the proposition excess death (A) means immoral activity. It claims that it has found this proposition A; therefore the conclusion B that the Iraq War is an immoral activity is established. At best the opponents of the argument are left to define for those making the proposition what level of A would qualify for a truth quotient. No syncretism involving other propositions is allowed. Having asked the 'tough question' ennobles the asker and makes any syncretism or finding of methodological flaws pusilanimous. In the current discussion here, this single question is accepted as normative. The American effort is to be judged entirely by one stipulated outcome among a range of effects. One might turn this method of argument onto the other topic brought up by the poster, the impact of the slave trade. By the same method of argument just employed for Iraq, one could say that the slave trade was a glorious success. The economic and intellectual status of blacks in this country is gloriously better than of those in Africa. Somehow, that 'if A ] B' was not employed. Overall I prefer my liberals to be more like the communist Chou-en-Lai, who, when asked if the French Revolution was a success, said 'it was too early to tell.'