June 27th, 2013
This episode takes us, for the second time, back to November 14th, 2012. After a discussion Jad and I had regarding abstract arguments, we diverged even further into the realm of pragmatic vs. philosophical arguments.
The basic idea is considering whether it makes more sense to present an argument that appeals to a moral objective or a practical one. For example, if one’s intent is to dissuade another from starting a war, the philosophical argument might be to illustrate the deaths likely to result from said war and to otherwise discuss the immorality of the act. The pragmatic argument might be to illustrate the high costs of the war. While both arguments may be aimed at preventing said war, only the philosophical argument will hold up indefinitely (as least from a pacifist’s point of view). But on the other hand, what’s the point of the philosophical argument if we live in a society unwilling to think philosophically?
Kevin: Hello and welcome back to yet another Throwback Thursday episode of the JK Podcast, and anti-authoritarian free speech podcast dedicated to liberty, humanity, and equality for all people. This episode takes us – for the second time – back to November 14th, 2012. After a discussion Jad and I had regarding abstract arguments, we diverged even further into the realm of pragmatic versus philosophical arguments. The basic ideas considering whether it makes more sense to present an argument that appeals to a moral objective, or to a practical one.
For example, if one’s intent is to dissuade another from starting a war, the philosophical argument might be to illustrate the deaths likely to result from said war, and otherwise discuss the immorality of the act. The pragmatic argument might be to illustrate the high costs associated with the war. While both arguments may be aimed at preventing said war, only the philosophical argument will hold up indefinitely – at least from a pacifist’s point of view.
But on the other hand, what’s the point of the philosophical argument if we live in a society unwilling to think philosophically in the first place? It’s an old episode and it’s a short episode, so grab a beer, sit back, and relax. I’m Kevin Ludlow, co-creator Jad Davis is the other voice in the episode – welcome back to the JK Podcast.
Jad: I was listening to our – I think it was the 10/24[?], the first time we had Tom on –
Jad: And I listened to it a few times and I started to come up with like a you know, sort of a pattern, more of a pattern of our interaction where it’s funny, we’re talking about things – I’m hitting the philosophy side and you’re pointing out like – well that’s you know, I totally agree with you you know, your points are sound and their philosophically correct. Most people don’t like to think about that, or don’t talk about – so here’s the same thing that is convincing to people who are – they’re going to get caught by the ethical argument, but they will get caught by this argument and that’s why you know, I was thinking about – you were saying as for that recording – you were talking about how much success you have and how you know, people just are really complimentary and constantly giving you feedback about how revolutionary your ideas are –
Kevin: To keep my head from overly inflating here, revolutionary is certainly rather exaggerated. But on the other hand, I have enjoyed many compliments regarding my general willingness to publicly present unpopular views. In general, I’ve found that while many people may hold the ideal of self governance, few seem willing to proselytize those positions.
Jad: – whereas the experience from my side and Tom’s side is pretty much like just blank stares and anger, and I was thinking that that’s probably – that probably has a lot to do with it. I mean I think you know, it’s kind of obvious, but it never really occurred to me that I guess the parallel tracks of the pragmatic argument with the knowledge that it’s going to hopefully bloom into a full blown case of ethics –
Jad: – but not via the conversation, that’s part of an incubation and processing you know – people integrate the practical lessons into their you know, kindergarten morality – I mean not in a bad way, kindergarten – but like, “oh that’s right, and this also has a side effect of not hurting people”, and you know –
Jad: – and not being evil, and being nice, and building a you know, a consensus and all that sort of thing when they wrap that rationale around the practical side then you’ve got the whole package – it’s kinda interesting.
Kevin: Yeah, I think well, that’s I mean, flattering to hear you say it that way I guess, but I mean for what it’s worth, that’s really been my adoration of Ron Paul over all these years, right?
Kevin: Because that’s exactly what he does and in fact, today was his very last day in congress. He gave his speech at 3pm, it was about an hour long, and I actually did watch it on C-Span, and I mean it was interesting because that was one of the things he talked about is exactly what you just said right there is he’s like you know, by any measure, he’s like you know, “by any measure”, he’s like, “I’ve been in and out of congress for a 33 year period, about 28 years of those years I sat in congress” – or 23 years, whatever it was – “and it doesn’t look like I actually accomplished anything. It’s like I have no roads named after me, no structures named after me thankfully”, and he’s like, “I don’t have my name on very many bills, but on the other hand if we look at what has been the result of this educational movement for the last 30 years”, he’s like, “I feel that I’ve actually made great strides”, and for what it’s worth, I see him as like a – man people would crucify me for saying this – but I see him as like a very modern day type of Gandhi where it’s just like you’ve got this idea, you can agree with it or disagree with it, but you take this idea, you don’t force it upon somebody, and you just keep repeating the same principle over, and over, and try to put a pragmatic side to it and some people jump on, some people don’t.
It took a really long time in his case for people to jump on, but I feel that now he’ll be dead in I mean – sadly – not too many more years, and when he is I have a feeling that idea will live on for some time now, so –
Jad: Sure, right, right. That’s the interesting thing that I think that sort of reflects I guess the education system in general, but you know, just our social status is that all those ideas are old ideas you know, that –
Kevin: Oh yeah.
Jad: – Ron Paul is the modern day you know, I don’t know, Barry Goldwater or something who was the modern day – I don’t even know what [?] back before that, I’m not sure even who there is – but –
Jad: – back to like a Thomas Jefferson or whatever, a decentralized paradigm of social organization. So yeah – but I totally agree with you. I think there’s really nothing – there is no other political leader in that category and no – I really don’t know when the last one was.
Kevin: I agree.
Jad: And it sounds like – oh, I heard today something awful, Rand Paul is trying to steer the tea party into more moderate waters apparently.
Jad: I mean which is you know that’s fine for some categories and things I guess, but this is you know, to do with the you know, the financial side. So it sounds like he’s going to be a politician’s politician.
Kevin: Interesting. Yeah well, no real surprise there, kinda goes back to our previous conversations. But right, then it takes you to this whole other conversation in itself and again, that’s why for the reasons of not doing that or why I really like Ron Paul and I guess to your point about you and Tom receiving blank stares is I mean, I certainly get plenty of people, but give me a really negative feedback you know, per the L.A. article for example that you did, or my time out in Los Angeles I mean, I had horrible feedback from people on a pretty recurrent basis.
Maybe some of those people took something away from that in the long run – I don’t really know – but for the most part, probably not, but in the case of Rand Paul, there’s – I assume anyways – he has an interest in accelerating, and I believe that he probably does have a lot of his father’s ideals, it’s just my guess is he doesn’t want to sit on his hands for say 40 years trying to tout the same message to end up in the same sort of positing where you know, a few million younger people jump on board with it.
And that’s the unfortunate part of politics is that people come into that rationalization at some point in their life where they are able to justify that the means justify the ends I mean, that sort of thing where he could take the attitude to say, “well, yes, I’m going to be slightly more of a statesman then I otherwise set out to be, but on the flipside, once people believe me, once people are on my side, once I have the masses working with me, then I can start injecting some of those original ideals that I had you know, from the teachings of my father for example, and I think the question always just remains is if you get to that point, do you actually – do you do that thing or not, and I think in many cases it’s not what happens.
Jad: Sure, I think that’s the classic goalpost shifting too because it’s always – there’s always something else that’s pressing that needs to be done, so you’re always putting off your end of the bargain you know, further and further until it’s either forgotten or lost, or you die, or whatever.
Kevin: Right. Well and that kind of speaks to the point – going back to the rich people that are here right now – and me saying, “man, I’d love to be part of that”, because I’d love to be the multi-hundred millionaire where I could inject what many people would see as a much more radical philosophy into the political sphere, and by virtue of me being rich beyond belief and being part of that elitist class, even if they didn’t want to listen to me, they’d be forced to listen to me because I could afford to make them listen to me, right? So the question becomes you know, if you actually get to that sustainable level of wealth, is that really what your focus in life becomes at that point? And I don’t really know because I’m not wealthy.
Jad: Right. Well I think that the big trick there is how did you get to be wealthy, right? Because almost everybody who’s going to be flying in to Austin this week got wealthy because of a big government somewhere –
Jad: You know helping them in some means is giving them an oil monopoly or whatever, so if you say I’m going to make my $500 million, then I’m going to go talk about liberty. If you’ve got that $500 million by you know, running oil down from Alaska via the Keystone XL pipeline or whatever then you’re kind of compromised, and you may not even have the opportunity to do it. But yeah not the way you make money though is you know, seems pretty legit to me – software development.
Kevin: So far. It’s all I got right now.
And with that we end this week’s Throwback Thursday episode. Thanks as always for tuning in to the show. If you have any questions, comments, or topic ideas for the show, we’d certainly love for you to reach out to us. You can reach us both through our podcast website of www.JKPod.com, or either of us individually – Jad as always is at www.Jad-Davis.com, and Kevin is at KevinLudlow.com. Our transcription services for the podcasts are provided by Deidra Alexander of Galaxy Creative Media. Thank you so much again, and we’ll catch you next week.