The Last Exchange of the Debate

This is how Mr. Wright and I formally ended things. I will only add one thing: For my part, I feel as if we communicated across a vast gulf. Just as he was amazed at my reactions and how I thought and wrote, I was amazed at him. Things he considered self-evident I considered obvious mistakes, and vice versa. I only hope that one day we may reach a fuller understanding without insult, and I move on with no animosity whatsoever.

From Mr. Wright:

I have no concluding statement to make. This debate has been the most eye-opening, appalling, grievous, sad and miserable I have ever been mired in. That everything I said was misunderstood or ignored and everything I hold sacred demeaned and held at naught merely added to the frustration and bewilderment.

You managed to spit on my principles, my sense of honor, my family, my nation, my civilization, and my religion all at once, without the least intention of doing so, nor any awareness you had done. I have never met anyone who talks like you before. Even the zany materialist Dr Andreassen, who thought himself nothing more than a meat robot, did not think himself my inferior. Quite the opposite.

I am a police officer who tried to talk a suicide off a ledge, and failed. You do not think yourself worthy of the equality with your fellow man. You sell your birthright not for a mess of pottage, but for nothing. You sell your soul not for the magic powers of Faust, but for nothing. Down you go.

I thank you for retaining your courtesy when I lost mine.

From myself:

I found it more fascinating than anything else. I do apologize that I hit you so hard; at any rate you are correct in thinking it unintentional. If I’d realized what I said was that insulting to you, I would not have said it.

In my defense, that is the best I can say. Otherwise I am glad you apologized, glad I did as well, and glad to move onward.

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20 Responses to The Last Exchange of the Debate

  1. Galloglasses says:

    I got the impression of the vast gulf myself when I quit the debate much earlier around the time the second thread on Defining Freedom was drawn up, I had recognized where the conversation was going and the nature of the animosity of ideas, there was no ground to be gained either way there, never mind a reconciliation.

    That said, what I am most sad about is the heat the discussion degenerated into, which had been unexpected from a man such as Wright. I had hoped even if no reconciliation gained, he would at least not have been so apparently furious over the differences and the questions raised.

  2. I’m a completely impartial by-stander. I’m an Orthodox Christian, and I tend to favor the mixed system of Monarchy and church Republic that ruled Byzantium. Neither of you held that position, so I’m not in this one way or the other.

    I honestly can’t see what caused that level of offense to Mr. Wright. Category mistakes seem to be at the heart of it all.

    I think everyone involved could benefit from reading The Whig Interpretation of History. The author, Mr. Butterfield, tells that his book is argues against,

    the tendency in many historians to write on the side of Protestants and Whigs, to praise revolutions provided they have been successful, to emphasise certain principles of progress in the past and to produce a story which is the ratification if not the glorification of the present.

    Butterfield especially dislikes the ubiquitous narrative, which has attained the status of scared annal, that the expansion of personal liberty and democracy, along with concomitant limits to the English monarch, simply is the history of English people from the 1600’s on. It’s not.

    What he ends up exploring is how people establish categories privileged in the present and then fit peoples of the past into them. He’s helped me think through several issues. I have done much study on the anthropology of ancient peoples. We moderns assume that the primary impulses for human action are psychological and based in a person’s personality, and large parts of the personality may be submerged in the unconscious. By and large, ancient people did not believe this. It’s clear that the ancient Greeks did not even believe that humans had an integrated personality.

    This means that Julius Caesar and I could walk through a forest and literally not be in the same world. We would interpret all the natural signs before us in completely different ways. We could likely speak to each other intelligibly, but the meanings imparted would be completely misunderstood by the other.

    I think something like that happened here. You travelled with Mr. Wright down the same path in the forest, but y’all were literally not in the same world.

    • I’m an Orthodox Christian, and I tend to favor the mixed system of Monarchy and church Republic that ruled Byzantium.

      I have no particular objection to this. I have no bias in particular favor of monarchy or anything else. I merely believe it can be a valid form of government.

  3. Any idea what’s with this weird obsession Mr. Wright has with the idea that pro-monarchists think they’re inferior to him? Even if we accept his claim that nobody in a monarchy can debate with their king, Wright isn’t king. His arguments on this point just seem completely bizarre.

  4. Zippy says:

    theoriginalmrx:

    The logic of liberalism requires this: if you are not of the emancipated free and equal new man you are a less than fully human oppressor, simultaneously tyrant and slave. If all men are equal and you aren’t equal, you must not be a man.

    Also “you are beneath me in rank” is one of the worst insults a liberal can direct at someone, akin to calling him a dog. And the worst sort of cur is the one that likes being a cur and chooses to be a cur.

    • That last line pretty much sums it up, actually.

      Ah, well.

      • Zippy says:

        At least in what is in the OP, he continues to insult you while you are nothing but courteous to him. The logic of his embrace of (classical) liberalism requires this. Monarchists, or even people like you and I who fail to condemn monarchy as immoral — more generally, anyone who positively affirms political authority, the ‘right’ of one man or some men to rule others – is a feral dog, less than human. He can’t stop insulting you because he can’t see you in anything other than this way without giving up his commitment to (classical) liberalism.

  5. Aethelfrith says:

    What surprised me most is that JCW, a self-described Vulcan and Houyhnhm, would be so prone to histrionics.

  6. Crude says:

    Ugh, what a headache.

  7. GJ says:

    Aethelfrith:

    Perhaps self-descriptions aren’t all they are cut out to be.

  8. GJ says:

    Melampus the Seer:


    I think something like that happened here. You travelled with Mr. Wright down the same path in the forest, but y’all were literally not in the same world.

    They are not ‘in the same world’ because they have significantly different worldviews.

  9. GJ says:

    theoriginalmrx:

    I agree with Zippy’s analysis, but it can be made more complete by adding “SJWs Always Project!”

  10. Syllabus says:

    That’s… somewhat overwrought.

  11. luckymarty says:

    I stopped reading the exchange out of distaste a while back. Wright’s recent let-us-put-this-all-behind-us peace offering is a pretty impressive gesture, though.

  12. King Richard says:

    Without getting too biographical I have spent about 1/3rd of my life working strenuously to stop thinking like a Liberal. While I now view the world very differently than I once did the most astonishing revelation has been how others react to me.
    As I have mentioned elsewhere one of the fastest, easiest ways to get people to call you wrong, stupid, ignorant, bad, dangerous, evil, and deserving of a painful death is to simply cut and paste the definition of “Liberal” from any good dictionary and follow it with a list of political parties and other groups that are by definition Liberal from any decent encyclopedia or PoliSci textbook.
    Of the many anecdotes i have about the visceral response Liberals have to being confronted with the brute fact of personal authority please indulge me as I share two:
    In the first I approached a college student organization at a large Liberal Arts university. I explained what the Kingdom of Edan is, how it works, and its long-term goals. At the end there was a stunned silence in the room. One young woman, rather pretty, was sitting in front. She was wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt and had Mao’s little red book peeking from the top of her backpack. Her face was frozen in shock and horror as she stuttered out,
    “Bu-bu-but that’s un-American!”
    In the second I was speaking to a Catholic Men’s Group as we discussed the authority of the father within a family (I was speaking as a Catholic Theologian) and I drew a parallel between the authority of a father with his children and the authority of a bishop in his diocese when one father interjected,
    “Wait! They’re nothing alike. I am free to disobey the bishop as long as I am true to my own conscience!”
    As I explained his error to him he, and the other men, grew more and more agitated. When I pointed to the Catechism and the code of canon law clearly demonstrating my points were accurate two of the men stormed out, vowing never to return until I was barred from future meetings even as they acknowledged that I was obviously correct.
    .
    I feel a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Wright; I can only imagine how painful it must be for someone who believes that they are completely autonomous to be faced with the fact that they never have been and never will be.

  13. Pingback: Superior and Inferior | Free Northerner

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