10A024 Contradictions by Jim Davies, 9/16/2010

They don't exist, wrote Aristotle, except in the minds of those who fail to think straight. So while just about anything goes in a free, zero-government society, to hold in one's mind two ideas that contradict each other is one that doesn't go. Not that anyone will damage a person who does, but that person will not be taken seriously in any discussion; he'll be treated as a flake, someone not too reliable. He can retain his silly ideas, but won't earn much respect.

In today's government-infested society, there is no such disadvantage. All manner of people hold all manner of contradictory ideas in their minds, and even boast of them openly, and are not generally ridiculed or marginalized. There are thousands of them, all over the place, and they mark their holders as irrational. In fact, government and religion survive only because so many people think askew.

Here are a couple of examples, drawn almost at random. I chanced today to enquire what Christian Scientists believe, so reached their web site here. Note, this is a religion well established in this country, with a large Boston church and a well-respected daily newspaper. Yet here are two statements on that site:

  • Christian Science is based on the Bible, and Christian Scientists follow the teachings and ministry of Christ Jesus.
  • Christian Science theology does not include a final judgment day.

Amazing! Completely contradictory. The "teachings and ministry of Christ Jesus" include the following, recorded in Matthew 25:31–46:

 31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd his sheep from the goats:
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mind, I'm not saying which of these two CS propositions is right, if either. Just that at least one of them must be wrong; they contradict. No rational person can believe both of them, so this is proof that this religion, at least, is irrational.

Here's another example, about the religious cult of the Omnipotent State. It's often spoken; this version happens to come from the site of Bill Binnie, who ran this week for the Republican nomination for US Senate from New Hampshire:

  • We need to start insisting on truly free trade with our major trading partners --especially countries like China. The Chinese have been stealing American jobs for years; we need to tell them to stop.

Mr Binnie is a successful businessman; he knows real life. Yet here he placed in the same sentence "truly free trade" and "telling" a trader what to do.

Leaving aside the obvious fact that there is no such thing as an "American job" which somebody might "steal", it is impossible to have both "truly free" trade by "insisting" anything about what the other party will or will not do. Trade can be free, or it can be governed, managed or distorted; but it cannot possibly be both. Like everyone else in government, Bill Binnie is contradictory and, so, irrational.

Whenever we hear someone pontificate, it's no bad idea to ask oneself whether his statement contains an internal contradiction. If so, look elsewhere.

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