Reactionaries must eschew argument - ever more as they lose more ground; since arguments are the food of secular Leftism.
...Gómez Dávila’s use of aphorisms was also motivated in part by polemical considerations. In the modern age, the reactionary cannot hope to formulate arguments that will convince his opponent, because he does not share any assumptions with his opponent. Moreover, even if the reactionary could argue from certain shared assumptions, modern man’s dogmatism prevents him from listening to argumentation. Faced with this situation, the reactionary should instead write aphorisms. Gómez Dávila compares his aphorisms to shots fired by a guerrilla from behind a thicket on any modern idea that dares advance along the road. The reactionary will not convince his opponent, but he may convert him.
We are fully convinced only by the idea that does not need arguments to convince us.
"Don Colacho" (Gomez Davila) - http://don-colacho.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/2828.html
"We are fully convinced only by the idea that does not need arguments to convince us."
"You can't reason someone out of a position they never reasoned themselves into to begin with."
Appeal to reason through rational argumentation does not work well today because the mindset of secular leftism (which now dominates) is irrationalistic. That mindset is also disjointed, incoherent, and prone to distraction. Hence, one moment a man is claiming that rational argumentation is “mere word-games”, fiddling with language”, etc, and the next, he is claiming something on its basis.
Reason does not lead the secular leftist. He accepts no greater authority than his own desires. (Nevertheless, to an idol of those desires, he may give the honourable name of reason.) As long as rational argumentation remains the slave of those desires, he can praise it, but otherwise he scorns it as unconnected with reality, which for him is merely the occasion for his desires.
Since he will go only where his desires lead him, regardless of whether those desires are rationally ordered, rational argumentation has little force against him. Indeed, as you say, he even draws strength from the rational argumentation made against him. For argumentation suggests to him a matter open to question, and anything that is open to question, but which is not in accord with his desires, he finds easy to dismiss.
Secular leftism, like all evil, is parasitic upon good. Rational argumentation is food for secular leftism as blood is food for leeches.
@D - "For argumentation suggests to him a matter open to question, and anything that is open to question, but which is not in accord with his desires, he finds easy to dismiss."
Excellent point. A very important trope of modernity.
(One example, which Christians have done to themselves, as linguistic and historical Scriptural criticism. No advantage gained by clarification of difficult points can overcome the profound subversion of regarding literally every word of the Bible as 'open to question').
Dialogue, and thus argumentation, presupposes that there is a truth that can be found through that means.
But the typical secular leftist does not believe there is any such thing as Truth. For him, argumentation is just another way to impose his will. He'll use it if it works, and eschew it if it does not.
For him, the only validation in these encounters is who wins, in the Thrasymachean sense.
I wish I could say this attitude is confined to the Left. But it is not. You'll find just as many blowhard yahoos on the Right, trumpeting their cheap rhetorical victories over some stumblebum opponents.
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