Sunday, January 07, 2007

Empiricism, revisited 
The New Criterion hits the issue:

It may be naïveté on the part of these men to imagine that political, military, or diplomatic speech is or ought to be an exercise in sharing the thoughts and feelings of the speaker rather than a means of coalition-building and preservation, but it cannot be merely naïveté. There is in the assumption a kind of willed ignorance of the basic realities of political life which is, ironically, the same thing they are alleging against President Bush. I mention this not to do as they do and suggest that mental illness is what lies behind their intemperate musings, but rather to point out that the language of the media has more in common with the language of diplomacy and politics than the media would care to admit. Truth—or, if you prefer, “reality”—is not the object of either, though it is essential in both cases to keep up the pretense, however transparent, that it is. The more the media bang on about “reality,” the more apparent it is that what they mean is the version of reality which it is their rhetorical project to establish in the public mind as the only legitimate one.

If you were interested in the Press Think thread on empiricism, the Press, and the Bush Administration, this is a must read. If that thread made your eyes glaze over, you might want to skip it.

Thanks for this. This guy seems interesting--a Yank editing TLS and writing a book about *honor*, a concept that seems to be something alien to some folks...
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