Monday, August 9, 2010

No, Mr. Beck, That Wasn't 'Some Professor' - That Was Me

More from Chris Rodda, here.

15 comments:

Pinky said...

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I can't believe that either Beck or Barton are so stupid that they do not know what they are doing. Which makes what they are doing reprehensible according to my values. But, it looks like they operate from a totally different set of values. Maybe they think they are serving the interests of a better society?
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I wonder about their values.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

This is the same minor point about Jefferson and "In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ." again.

Barton's stupid for insisting on it, and Chris Rodda is right. But this is much doo doo about nothing.

Pinky said...

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I'm not being a literalist here.
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Instead, I'm wondering about the motivations of these two "teachers". It looks to me as though they are buttressing the idea that even a man like Thomas Jefferson who is discredited as a Deist was really a deeply involved true believer. If that is true, then the case for America being founded as a Christian nation seems built up.
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But, if Barton and Beck are both purposeful liars, then what's going on?
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Can eitther of them be so stupid as not to know that they are lying?
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I'm skeptical of Barton and of Beck. I don't think either one is that stupid.
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The question is, "Are they that unscrupulous?"
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Tom Van Dyke said...

I dunno. I've seen Beck make explicitly clear that Franklin wasn't an orthodox believer. Dunno what he says about Jefferson.

But like the Texas Schoolbook Massacre, the story, pro and con, is being told by partisans, so it's only half-told. I have no idea of the whole truth of the matter except Barton is wrong on this point and Rodda is right. But there are thousands upon thousands of factoids about religion and the Founding, and this one doesn't make much difference either way.

Pinky said...

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Right, it doesn't make much difference.
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Except.
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Except for those who want to believe the lies.
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Think exoteric.
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Maybe it's a result of my just having finished Strauss's essay on exotericism?
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Could that be?
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Except for those who want to believe the lies.

I think the confirmation bias goes both ways. Many will be happy to believe this error is enough to ignore the other thousands of factoids. This is about the 4th time the dispute on this factoid has made our mainpage this year, and it really doesn't rate such a level of note.
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The esotericism thing is intereting. Remember, it's not only to keep the philosopher safe from society, but vice-versa. Socrates was adjudged, probably correctly, as a threat to Athenian society.

Pinky said...

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Not esotericism; but, exotericism.
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Not the philosophers; but, the common classes.
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Not safe; but, naive.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, I see it in Locke, where he seems to be praising the "judicious" Richard Hooker, then goes on to disagree with him.

My question has always been whether clever guys like James Wilson decided to ignore Locke's esotericism, and lump him right in with Hooker, for Wilson's own purposes.

The double whammy. ;-)

Pinky said...

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I guess you'd have to explain that for me.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

You'd have to explain your understanding of exoteric/esoteric first.

Are you calling the common folk naive? How Straussian. How Anointed.

Pinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pinky said...

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By the way, I am not imposing my views on what is and is not good or bad about exoteric in any way.
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As far as being annointed, beknighted, or tragic is concerned, it's all about political philosophy as far as I can see.
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Can the masses handle the truth?
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That's the question, right?
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My answer is that if they can't handle the truth today, they'd best walk the hot coals of truth so they can be responsible. tomorrow.
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Pinky said...

This might be an over simplified explanation of exoteric teaching.
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The way Strauss explains exotericism has to do with the truth being too strong for the common masses. So, they are given myths in order to keep society running smoothly. Otherwise, if the masses were given the truth, disorder would result--every man would be an authority unto himself and chaos would result.
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It's the noble lie at work.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

The exoteric is not a lie.

Further, Strauss simply reports the phenomenon in ancient writings. It's far from clear he employed the technique himself.

Pinky said...

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To tell the noble lie is an example of the exoteric in action.
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Perhaps our misunderstanding here is what makes the teaching so hard to grasp?
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