SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry: Quintessential American Pragmatist

Don't be fooled by debate spit-and-polish. Kerry's mind and values are the same shambles we have come to recognize. He was as stuffed and cooked by a legion of handlers for that debate as is the turkey for Thanksgiving.

Earlier in the week, John Fonda Kerry was interviewed by Diane Sawyer for Good Morning America. Kerry spewed out a classic. When Ms. Sawyer re-asked him--in an unsuccessful effort to clarify some gobbledegook which had fallen from Kerry's mouth--if he thought going to Iraq was worthwhile, Kerry said that it all depends on how it works out: If we did well, it was worthwhile; if not, then not.

Many point to Kerry's verbal excrescences as possibly the Ninth Wonder of the World. People grounded in reality and common sense find what he says as resembling the expressions of Korsakov's Disease patients. The best-intentioned of those attribute these to his failure to be clear and stable in his positions and principles; others note Kerry's hollow moral core and his flip-flopping. And, guess what? All of them are right.

John Dewey would be proud. John Kerry is THE quintessential poster boy for that uniquely American philosophy called "Pragmatism." John Dewey spread Pragmatism throughout our educational systems, and we see its results in its progeny, which include John Kerry. Dewey's progressive education has been an outstanding success, and this success has crippled America internally and externally. John Kerry is one of the cripples.

Many people think--ERRONEOUSLY--that pragmatism means something like "being practical," i.e., not tied to unrealistic and unrealizable ideas. What a snow job modern philosophy has pulled on people to get them to think this. Given the lack of mental tools they can get from American education, it is a wonder most Americans can even speak above the level of ebonics.

Old Kerry's remark to Diane Sawyer was right out of the pragmatism playbook. Turn to the section on epistemology, the science of knowledge, and thumb down to "truth." Before going further, ask yourself, what is truth? No bullshit now, no New Age crap. I think most of you would say that truth is that which is factually correct, i.e., that which fits reality and is provable. If you said this, you would be absolutely correct.

That is not what Kerry meant.

Pragmatism says that truth is "that which works." In short, if something works out the way you wanted it to, then "it" was "true." That means, among other things, that you cannot know or project any course of action in advance. No, you have to wait until after the event to determine if it "worked" according to your desires. Pragmatism means action. Act first and see if it was OK afterward when you see the results. This same principle drives psychopaths.

Pragmatism tears the identity of anything from everything. It also inverts cause and effect. In reality, it is a notion as far from reality as one can get and not be a literal psychotic.

Note also, that this notion of "truth" makes it an issue of emotional gratification. That reduces "knowing" to the basal animal level of raw gratification, akin to existentialism. You can see the results of this "version" of the "truth" all around us every day.

Pres. Bush lined up all the existing evidence and made a decision based on the quality and quantity of existing intelligence. On the principle of national defense, he invaded Iraq -- as the RIGHT thing to do ON PRINCIPLE. Nothing could have been more opposite for Kerry and all other pragmatists like Clinton.

Pragmatists have no need for principles. If their action met their desires, they did right. No principle works for this subhuman approach to life and knowledge.

Through Kerry, John Dewey, Peirce, and William James live on. We do not want at the helm anyone whose mind is turned this inside out and upside down. This man, because of his patho-philosophy deserves no berth in the White House. For that matter, he deserves no place in power and influence in America. Send him back to France on 2 November.

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