As with most arguments, an impasse has been reached in this one. Every once in a while additional light is achieved by the whole in a debate, but usually it is not. One advantage does remain, however, and that is those on the sidelines receive quite a bit of food for thought to digest.
Where are we so far?
The core of the friction has been the following statement from chapter thirteen: "Tyranny by the majority is almost nonexistent."
Several have disagreed with this. I have attempted to explain the fuller meaning but have been so sidetracked by branch issues that I haven't had the time to explain this one sentence. This is largely my fault and I intend to rectify it starting with the next post.
Four members strongly disagreed with the statement supporting this definition for the word "tyranny." "Oppressive power; especially oppressive power exerted by government."
Now there's nothing wrong with this definition for one who has a general feel of the word and does not need to apply it specifically. The problem with it is that it can be used in many situations which most people do not consider tyrannical.
For instance, it could be applied to the thief who is caught by the police, thrown to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to jail. To him, in his mind, the government is acting tyrannical.
The teenage girl who is caught lying to her parents is sent to her room and not allowed to go to her pajama party she has been so looking forward to for a month. To her, the parents are using "oppressive power" and are tyrannical.
The problem with this definition is that it makes tyranny in the eye of the beholder. One man's tyranny here may be the procurement of security to the majority for the other.
The problem is that no definition substitutes for the reader or listener just tuning in to the mind of the writer or speaker. Even so, I offered a definition which I believe narrows down the meaning so there is less chance of misunderstanding my views when expressing the word.
Tyranny - "A situation where absolute power is in the hands of an individual or group, and such power is cruelly used to satisfy the desires of the individual or group with no regard to the pain and suffering of the subjects who are forced to obey or suffer death, unjust imprisonment, excommunication or torture. The power and the cruelty of the tyrant is so pervasive that the majority of the people live in fear of expressing any type of opposition." I think this applies much better to our discussion for this definition is much more difficult to mold away into nebulousness. For instance, using this definition the thief or the teenager above cannot say they are under a tyranny.
From my point of view, it is not about who is right or wrong, but about being understood so people can intelligently decide if I am right or wrong.
In an attempt to bring progress toward a resolution, I presented four conclusions, asking those who disagreed with me to basically give me a yes or no on whether or not they agreed with them. But then when I did not get a majority positive or negative on what IS is, in other words that IS refers to the present (in Conclusion Three) I decided to bag this approach.
I have thus decided, as perhaps I should have some time ago, to just proceed with teaching and let the chips fall where they may. This does not mean I will not answer questions, but that I will be use more discrimination in what I do answer so we can at least move away from the first word.
The amazing thing is that the only real disagreement so far that I can see that is actually on topic is this definition thing. There may be others once we get past the first word. We shall soon see.
Copyright 2002 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved