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Futile Dialogue: What Would Socrates Do?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/02/futile-dialogue-what-would-socrates-do

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With 95% of the electorate slated to support the same two degenerate political parties that brought us to this moment, how do you continue to look for the best in people when they don’t?

“As a consequence of this experience, however, I am inclined, sadly, to question the validity of Socrates’ intuition about humankind, possibly even my decision to dismiss Clinton’s characterization of Trump’s supporters.”

I am glad that Mac arrived at this sad, troubling, but inevitable conclusion. Socrates most likely did not know that some people are sociopaths, and that a disproportionate number of them gravitate to, and are “successful” in, politics, among other cut-throat, ambition-obsessed professions.

Trump is certainly a violent but cowardly sociopath, unlike Mac, who DID see combat in the U.S. war on Vietnam and then returned a changed man who now works to oppose war.

Trump appeals to the worst in people, and many of his cultish followers ARE, unfortunately and terrifyingly, racist, intolerant, misogynistic, xenophobic, and anti-science, especially white Evangelical so-called “Christians”.

They should no longer be given the benefit of the doubt. They have had long enough, with more than enough evidence, to come to their senses about the dangerous, ignorant, Orange Psychopath.

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“Perhaps even illegal behavior” ?

Try unequivocally illegal actions that are serially protected by Moscow Mitch and the organized crime syndicate disguised as the GOP.

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Trump supporters do not believe they are doing wrong, and (per Socrates) their belief in that respect is largely a consequence of ignorance and misinformation (they’ve been fed plenty of that from Trump and Co). Even sociopaths don’t think they are doing “wrong”, not from their point of view - it’s why they never feel guilty or remorseful.

However, I think the fact that people can feel guilty about what they’ve done, and not blame it on ignorance or misinformation, suggests Socrates was wrong. But that fact seems one far too obvious for Socrates to have missed.

I’d ask Socrates, “To what ignorance or misinformation could a liquor store robber say accounts for his crime, leaving him otherwise free of awareness of wrongdoing?”

At this point, probably drink hemlock.

I can’t talk to die hard Trump supporters about much, but I can’t talk to die hard corporate Democratic supporters either. Those that wouldn’t listen to criticism of Obama a few months after talking office when it became clear he wasn’t going to be a progressive president, are we claiming they are any more rational than the a Trump supporter discussed here?

I suggest as much as possible talking to people about policy. Ask them what they think we should do about the Afghanistan war, trade, health care, environment, etc. then when their position is staked out, you can bring in the particular president’s record.

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I look for Justice Democrats and any other candidates that do not accept corporate bribes and do not accept corporate PAC bribes.

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“…embracing the Socratic thesis that no human being does wrong intentionally but rather, as a consequence of ignorance or misinformation.”

Ivory tower crap by the great Socrates. He wasn’t big on democracy either, so be careful who you worship.

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Have you found many Ron?

Now I have a question for you.

Given the subject and the topic, why would you pick as your example a crime like robbing a liquor store (May I call that a “working class” crime?) as exemplifying someone who should know better, when there are so many examples of rich, educated and powerful people committing high-profile crimes every day and calling it “politics”?

Even if what these people do is technically not illegal, that is only because they have the means to make the evil they do legal. They are also the ones fostering the ignorance and misinformation for their own gain.

But your best example of wanton crime for its own sake is robbing a liquor store…?

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I’d expect Socrates to affect a philosophical attitude (before his cup of hemlock tea).

Karen Armstrong recently wrote her best classic yet (imho) called The Lost Art of Scripture, in which the Greeks come up much more than you might expect. A whole lot of our basic Christian theological ontology (the “spiritual” vs “material” dichotomy) emerges from that old Grecian cave.

I picked it because it was simple.

But I agree with your sentiment.

“…no human being does wrong intentionally…”

So, David Icke was right. There are lizard people among us.

I will no longer engage such individuals as continued dialogue is futile. As a consequence of this experience, however, I am inclined, sadly, to question the validity of Socrates’ intuition about humankind, possibly even my decision to dismiss Clinton’s characterization of Trump’s supporters.

The religious fundamentalists I know, are often very willing to acknowledge all critiques of Trump. However, the line I hear repeated time after time is that Trump is and example of:

God sending the perfect message through an imperfect messenger.

Now consider one of these people outside in a public park, with a handful of other socially distance people including a mom and a little kid. Then, a couple of men, with jackets that say ICE, pull up in an car jump out, take the kid, and throw the mom into the car, all as the mom and kid scream in Spanish and cry hysterically. Then the performers give the names of the people who are represented in this event.

While there is clearly no use to dialogue, what I have found more effective is the visceral connections that are sown through theater, particularly street theater.

More and more. But you go ahead and voted for the bribed. You’ll get the legislation you deserve, but the legislation you need.

No human being does wrong intentionally? BS!!!

Just one example:

A PETA undercover investigation has revealed video footage of a California man gunning down a curious young elephant just outside Kruger National Park in South Africa, where no hunting is allowed. What unfolds in this shocking video shows why UPS must end trophy hunting shipments that allow people like this to ship home trophies of animals’ body parts to display and brag about.

In the video, the elephant can be seen peacefully ambling out of the bushes, and then we see the trophy hunter take his first shot. The elephant collapses to his knees. The man takes his time before firing more shots, none of them fatal. The young elephant is obviously suffering and starts to rumble in distress—using his own language to express his pain or warn other elephants of the danger. The professional guides, who could have ended this suffering in a split second, don’t step in because the hunter paid for the thrill of the kill, and their job is to deliver it.

The elephant was shot by the inept shooter at least four more times over the next two minutes. How many more shots were taken after the video stopped and how long the elephant suffered before finally losing consciousness and dying is unknown.

This man, a crane operator from Los Angeles County, paid $30,000 for the perverse pleasure of killing an elephant—an animal known to be compassionate and to grieve for dead relatives—and then later paid an additional $20,000 to have the body parts preserved for shipment back home to the United States.

PETA’s investigation also exposes the way trophy hunters—people with a deep psychological need to build themselves up by showing others that they have killed a majestic living being—gun down wildlife specifically bred to be killed for their perverse pleasure. Many lions and other animals in South Africa are captive-bred, meaning they are habituated to humans, even hand-fed by them, making them easy targets. Other footage that we obtained during the investigation shows men ambushing a captive-bred lion resting under a tree. When shot by the hunter, the lion charges and the hunting guides must help “save the day” by firing multiple shots. The hunter and the camera operator laugh after the final shot.

Trophy hunters and those who make a living by selling hunting excursions and accessories like to try to defend the indefensible by talking about wildlife “conservation” or patronizingly claiming that they’re helping to “feed the natives.” But as PETA’s investigation clearly shows, trophy hunters are cowardly people. They shoot animals who are minding their own business, usually at close range, surrounded by “guides” who have led them to the exact spot, and yet they are often incapable even of felling the animal, instead inflicting immense pain on them.