The beatings will continue

Speaking of those who don't get first principles, the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus approvingly cited Avicenna's riff on Aristotle: such people ought to be beaten or exposed to fire until such time that they admit that being beaten or burned are not the same as not being beaten or not being burned. 

Jonah Goldberg has something similar in mind for today's youth.  Only on his view, such a view wouldn't illustrate merely the ridiculousness of denying first principles, but would disabuse the youth other, less obvious, though in his mind equally wrong-headed ideas.*

GOLDBERG: Personally, I think the voting age should be much, higher, not lower. I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest….[I]t is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity than youth. We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young. And yet there’s this thing in this culture where, ‘Oh, young people are for it so it must be special.’ No, the reason young people are for it because they don’t know better. That’s why we call them young people. […]

The fact that young people think socialism is better than capitalism. That’s proof of what social scientists call their stupidity and their ignorance. And that’s something that conservatives have to beat out of them. Either literally or figuratively as far as I’m concerned.

Pathetic.  The ad baculum at work here basically functions the same way Godwin's law does: when you invoke violence of this type, you admit to not having any understanding of what an argument is.  I suppose the only way to solve that is to beat the concept of rational discourse into you.

via Crooks and Liars.

*edit for clarity.

2 thoughts on “The beatings will continue”

  1. Hey John, I'm on the fence about whether the Avicenna/Scotus line is really an ad baculum, but rather a form of reductio ad ridiculum — offer a philosopher the chance to live in the world he's created and laugh at the consequences.  But the point about "beating {a view} out of" someone is clearly ad baculum.  I do wonder, though, whether this is simply about about socialization.

  2. Scott–you're right, it's not an ad baculum, but the Jonah Goldberg line is.  I meant to make that clearer.

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