9/11 Conspiracy theories: "any reasonable person"

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

Are there really things that "any reasonable person" must believe? What about evolution, global warming, 9/11 conspiracies, and Saddam's WMD program?

Absolutely. Any reasonable person would think so.
5
63%
Of course not. But you might have a very good reason for thinking otherwise.
3
38%
 
Total votes: 8

Madcity Expat
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Postby Madcity Expat » Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:59 pm

Marvell wrote:...as a committed post-modernist...


Isn't this a contradiction in terms?

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Postby Marvell » Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:32 pm

Madcity Expat wrote:
Marvell wrote:...as a committed post-modernist...


Isn't this a contradiction in terms?


Yes.

However, contradiction and paradox are hallmarks of post-modernism.

If I'm never 'right,' how can I be 'wrong?'

It's a brave new world of limitless sophistry!

And, frankly, it always was. Post-modernists just have the good grace to call a spade a spade.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:37 pm

Madcity Expat wrote: It is possible that Cheney is every bit as evil as Hitler*, but operates within an institutional context (American republican liberal democracy) that constrains the worst expressions of his evil.
Absolutely - so let me rephrase: There is no way you can convince me that Cheney's evil deeds should place him in the same category as evil-doers like Hitler, Pol Pot or ... just to shake things up, let's say, Pauly Shore, 'cuz it seems to me that evil is measured in deeds, not thoughts, since most of us lack the ability to read minds. Undoubtedly, the most evil thoughts ever thunk flashed across the brains of people who will remain completely anonymous to history, but so what? I don't give a rat's ass how much evil is in Cheney's heart, so long as it stays there.

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Postby Marvell » Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:43 pm

TomDavidson wrote:
Something repeatedly behaves a certain way, one learns to expect that it will behave the same way in the future.


So your argument is that any evil is qualitatively the same as all evil? That Cheney, by being willing to kill American soldiers and Iraqi citizens for a cause, must also be willing to kill American civilians as part of an elaborate plot?


Nice try, but no.

My argument, to the extent that I have 'an argument,' is that just like everybody else who posts on this board I have no ability to know, without any doubt, what the larger causes of 9/11 were. However, in speculating about what those larger causes were, it seems reasonable - as in, characteristic of a reasonable person - to at least countenance the possibility that it was an inside job. And that Mr. Cheney's personal track record, as well as the track record of the administrations he served, in terms of duplicity towards the American people and a willingness to expose Americans - civilian as well as military - to potentially mortal peril in the furtherance of an extremely narrow corporatist agenda, is an again reasonable thing to factor into whatever calculus one uses in making up ones own mind about these things.

And, indeed, is equally if not more reasonable than to dismiss this possibility based on what has been as of yet a merely sentimental distaste for imagining the Vice-President of the United States of America as being capable of perpetrating a crime of such magnitude on his own countrymen.

Have I made myself clear enough for you, or would you like to take another crack at misrepresenting my postion for dismissive rhetorical effect?

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Postby TomDavidson » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:03 pm

And that Mr. Cheney's personal track record, as well as the track record of the administrations he served, in terms of duplicity towards the American people and a willingness to expose Americans - civilian as well as military - to potentially mortal peril in the furtherance of an extremely narrow corporatist agenda, is an again reasonable thing to factor into whatever calculus one uses in making up ones own mind about these things.


Ah. That would be the problem, then. I don't see any necessary equivalence between Cheney's real and imagined misdeeds and the sort of evil that would be necessary to kill 3000 people in cold blood. What's the calculus on that? If he'd voted against South African sanctions but hadn't opposed Martin Luther King Day, would you set the upper bounds for homicide at, say, only 2500 people?

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Moving in the direction of greater probability...

Postby Marvell » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:26 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: Did he use their deaths to his political advantage? Unquestionably he did. Did he actually plot the mass murder of Americans on American soil? Gimme a break.


I personally don't think that Cheney, or anyone else in the administration, 'planned' 9/11 either.

What I suspect may have happened is that Cheney and Rumsfeld, at least, had prior knowledge that it was going to happen, and planned their response to it (including the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act).

What almost certainly did happen was that Cheney, Rumsfeld et al planned all the repressive post-9/11 shit in anticipation of something like 9/11.

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Postby Marvell » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:29 pm

TomDavidson wrote:Ah. That would be the problem, then. I don't see any necessary equivalence between Cheney's real and imagined misdeeds and the sort of evil that would be necessary to kill 3000 people in cold blood. What's the calculus on that? If he'd voted against South African sanctions but hadn't opposed Martin Luther King Day, would you set the upper bounds for homicide at, say, only 2500 people?


Oh grow up.

If you're just going to engage in tedious sophistric whimsy, why bother posting at all? Aren't there any less-public forms of self-gratification you could be engaged in?

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Postby TomDavidson » Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:45 pm

Hm. So, to clarify, the person accusing me of whimsy is the one saying that the Vice President of the United States can be reasonably accused of mass-murder because he's self-evidently evil?

I feel like I must have missed a step somewhere.

I mean, seriously, your argument is that Cheney's a bad person and therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that he oversaw the deaths of thousands of American citizens?

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Postby Marvell » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:57 pm

TomDavidson wrote:Hm. So, to clarify, the person accusing me of whimsy is the one saying that the Vice President of the United States can be reasonably accused of mass-murder because he's self-evidently evil?

I feel like I must have missed a step somewhere.

I mean, seriously, your argument is that Cheney's a bad person and therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that he oversaw the deaths of thousands of American citizens?


You are clearly incapable of arguing in good faith. I'm sorry you have this handicap, but I don't; after this I'm not going to waste any more time responding to your feeble misparaphrases and embarassingly hamfisted rhetorical flourishes.

I never said it was the most reasonable conclusion. I said it was a reasonable conclusion - i.e. one based on reason. 'Reason' I take to mean a weighing of various explanatory hypotheses, based on the facts in the case as understood by the individual. In this instance a whole lot of disparate and confusing behavior on the people making up the Bush Administration becomes a lot more understandable if some of them know about the attack ahead of time, and then immediately began taking steps to institute the offical cover story. Which doesn't really take that much coordination, because it's the truth; 19 people of middle-Eastern descent did indeed board these planes, take them hostage, and direct them towards their targets. Two of them did hit the Twin Towers, which then collapsed solely because of the impact of the planes.

That's the truth, as I understand it. But not the whole truth.

What is the 'Truth' with a capital 'T'? Who the hell knows? Who the hell will ever know? We're still arguing about who knew what regarding Pearl Harbor, and everyone knows about Ann Coulter's attempts to rehabilitate Joe McCarthy; for all we know she'll be telling us the Gulf of Tomkin really was all about those treacherous slopes.

But there's shit about the bin Laden and Bush families in there, and the Saudi money behind al Queda, and just what exactly was the relationship between Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein back in the day? (It seems that whacking pets gone bad is another hallmark of the Bush family dynasty - as evidenced by what happened to our man Manuel in Panama).

Belittle me all you want, but believe me when I say that I have less-than-zero use for your innate faith in Dick Cheney's warm fuzziness towards his fellow Americans. Your innate fuzzy Cheney faith won't bring back my civil liberties, or give back the billions looted from the U.S. economy by corporate kleptocrats and lobbyist puppetmasters.

What you call paranoid cynicism, I call realism.

And what you call realism, I call pathological denial.

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Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:34 am

TomDavidson wrote:
I mean, seriously, your argument is that Cheney's a bad person and therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that he oversaw the deaths of thousands of American citizens?


Oh, let me translate. He's saying Cheney's verifiable personal history would make his overseeing the deaths of thousands of American citizens not inconsistent with his previous actions.

And *I* was saying his overseeing the deaths of 2500-and-counting toward 3000 American military on the basis of lies he told would not be inconsistent with that record either. Are 3000 civilian deaths all that different? In either case he's put his own personal agenda ahead of the lives of a number of citizens who might still be alive today had he acted differently.

Does that make him a bad person? You get to decide. Maybe you rank evil monster dictators from history according to how many lives they destroyed. I don't care, as long as the record is straight. I would say, however, that refusing to consider someone's past actions might lead to trouble if they're allowed to continue in the same line of work for long, which is what seems to have happened here.

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Postby TomDavidson » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:26 am

You are clearly incapable of arguing in good faith.


I'd like to suggest that this is as intellectually dishonest and ultimately useless a "rhetorical flourish" as Barrett's "any reasonable person" motif.

Consider the following poster's "helpful" restatement, which is certainly no more distorted than mine: "He's saying Cheney's verifiable personal history would make his overseeing the deaths of thousands of American citizens not inconsistent with his previous actions."

Yeah, that is what you're saying. And I'm saying that's baldly ridiculous.

You're right about one thing, though: where we disagree isn't on the facts, but rather on our unfounded premises. In your world, people are routinely capable of deception and mass murder; in mine, this is a rare exception.

Frankly, I think my premises are both more reflective of reality and a far, far happier place to live.

---------

Are 3000 civilian deaths all that different?


To many people, yes, they are. In fact, I'd say that to most people in the military, there's a huge difference; our military has in the past been willing to sacrifice thousands of military lives on both sides to prevent a handful of civilian deaths.

A more problematic question is "are civilian deaths on your side worse than civilian deaths on 'their' side?" And the answer there varies more widely, although again I'd argue that the vast majority of people, after considering their options, will come down on "yes" for that one, too.

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Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:52 am

TomDavidson wrote:
You are clearly incapable of arguing in good faith.


I'd like to suggest that this is as intellectually dishonest and ultimately useless a "rhetorical flourish" as Barrett's "any reasonable person" motif.


Suggest whatever the hell you want. Again, since all you are prepared to offer as arguments supporting your position are ad hominems and puerile distortions of your opponents statements, I'll treat your suggestions with the credence they are due.

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Postby TomDavidson » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:12 pm

Again, since all you are prepared to offer as arguments supporting your position are ad hominems and puerile distortions of your opponents statements


Actually, I don't recall having offered a single ad hominem. And it's worth noting that my "distortion" of your statement was almost directly equivalent to what another poster wrote when s/he attempted to "clarify" your statement.

My argument is this: nothing Cheney has ever done is remotely equivalent to overseeing the murders of 3000 American citizens in peacetime. Any attempt to justify an accusation of this sort based on his past behavior that does not take this difference in both scope and motivation into account is extremely uncompelling.

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Postby Marvell » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:25 pm

TomDavidson wrote:
Again, since all you are prepared to offer as arguments supporting your position are ad hominems and puerile distortions of your opponents statements


Actually, I don't recall having offered a single ad hominem. And it's worth noting that my "distortion" of your statement was almost directly equivalent to what another poster wrote when s/he attempted to "clarify" your statement.


Okay, so you're a liar as well as a fool.

Distortion:
"I mean, seriously, your argument is that Cheney's a bad person and therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that he oversaw the deaths of thousands of American citizens?"

Sophistry:
"What's the calculus on that? If he'd voted against South African sanctions but hadn't opposed Martin Luther King Day, would you set the upper bounds for homicide at, say, only 2500 people?"

Distortion, sophistry and ad hominem - the Royal Sampler:
"So your argument is that any evil is qualitatively the same as all evil? That Cheney, by being willing to kill American soldiers and Iraqi citizens for a cause, must also be willing to kill American civilians as part of an elaborate plot?

Wow. That's rather insanely cynical, and must lead to a lot of accusations of murder."

Quod erat demonstrandum, sucker.

That's latin for 'You can't see me / The D-oh-double-G / 'Cause that be me.'

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Postby TomDavidson » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:32 pm

I mean, seriously, your argument is that Cheney's a bad person and therefore the most reasonable conclusion is that he oversaw the deaths of thousands of American citizens?


Ah. So the difference here is one of degree. You suggest that it's merely reasonable to conclude that Cheney was responsible. Mea culpa. :) The next time you say "I love cheese," I'll be sure to step in to demand qualifiers on that statement.

(Note: what's ironic is that this is the exact situation I discuss in the poll topic. Is it reasonable to suggest that someone might have conspired to commit mass murder based on their voting record? If you say it isn't, are you eliminating the possibility that the other person is still a "reasonable person?" Out of interest, how'd you vote?)

And I've never argued that I don't engage in sophistry. I quite like sophistry. And based on your previous posts, I suspect you do, too, when it's not biting you in the ass.

Still not seeing an ad hominem in there, though, unless you're going to stretch the definition to include criticism of an "insanely cynical" worldview.


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