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Topic: The Truth About Reagan

  1. #1

    The Truth About Reagan

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  2. #2

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    Pretext: I am responding here..to several different threads/posts.

    There is always opinion and perspective...nothing wrong with that. You can always take a perspective on history, form your own conclusions, opinions and perspectives etc..from that.

    IN all such things, there are people who agree and disagree about such conclusions based on the same historical record. Just depending on how one felt about Russia and it's behavior and the principals behind it, might change how you view other's reactions to Russia and the events that have transpired in the world over decades. And the truth, the moral positions..etc..you hold from all of that...is what you believe and what your experience was based on the facts as you knew them. Truth..is the reality of your experience and your vision. What you see..without omission. 2 people can have 2 different experiences...witnessing the same event..and their truth..will be different because what they saw and the perspective they have, their experience, might be completely different. Facts are simply the events in so far as they are known..with no emotion or judgement tied to them. And one who holds a "truth"...and experience...may or may not even have a full record of the "facts"...but moreso..have only experienced part of the factual event in some limited way. This is a very important distinction that I feel often gets cross threaded in discussions. You are a witness to your truth. But, that may very well be in total contridiction to the entire record of fact. This is entirely possible. The truth is your own understanding and experience of the facts as you know them...without purposefully trying to alter that experience in the recounting of them..or to present something "different" than you know the facts to be.

    Often, in such views, you will find that the discussion will hyperfocus on one person or one gov or etc...to track it through history without ever mentioning what was going on in the world at the time, what the conditions were in the world at the time..and even who all the players are, and to selectively leave out such things in order to open the doors to raise different questions.

    I've often read long diatribes about Iraq..that never mentioned Saddam, nor any other country other than the US and it's gov. The entire point of such opinons was to hyper focus exclusively on US and it's gov...and to do that in isolation to what was going on in the world and what others were doing.
    I find such writings...inherently shallow and truly lacking in any depth from any objective or historical standpoint. But, they can be interesting reading none the less...esp if you are only interested in the role that "one" person or gov played at the time..without caring why or what it was in response to...etc. or if you happen to find your own personal truth..conveyed through such writings...and find it interesting and informative towards that.

    This is exactly why such articles/books are written this way; it makes it much easier to assign your own motives to such actions and form uncontested opinions on it..when you isolate them away from surrounding events and the full context of what was going on.

    Let me give you an example: Here are 2 articles in newspaper of the same event.

    A man shot 2 people and crashed his car in a rampage in downtown Brooklyn. The article goes on to talk about the stress of daily life..and opinions about gun control. How the guy under much stress, cracked, and the ready availability of guns led to this tragic event..etc..witnesses recounted seeing the man just go nuts..etc.

    Now..here is a 2nd article on the same event. A man robbed a bank in downtown brooklyn and was fleeing the scene. Cops were chasing him...and he shot 2 people hijacking a car...then..tried to drive around..and crashed the car and was arrested and the money was recovered. Witnesses from the bank recounted the mans robbery and his fleeing. Witnesses near the bank recounted the man running with the money and gun in his hand. Wintesses down the street further away...recounted the horror of the man shooting the 2 people in the street, taking their car and then bashing into things.

    The exclusion of the facts in article one that this was a robbery and fleeing event...completely alter the record of fact..and open this event to an entirely different conclusion as to motive, and to questions of why the event happened. This exclusion was purposeful...to open the event to a different opinion and to set up the fertile ground for a diatribe about social commentary and gun control. But, as you'll note, the facts that "were" included ..are still fact (which often is cited to give creedence to the opinion and differing motives ascribed to the event).

    The motives and opinions of "why" that happened..vary completely between these 2 versions of events. The man "did" rob the bank. Writer one here..wants to take an isolated and constrictied view of the event...in order to setup his opinion piece on stress and gun control. But, in order to do that, he has to leave out some of the factual events of what transpired that day...surrounding the event and hyperfocus on just the man driving the car who had a gun and shot 2 people. This then leaves a hole...and questions. "Why"? did the man do this? And this is what the writer is attempting to prescribe motives too..and conveniently left out the context of the full event...so it opens up a bigger question of "why" did this happen..and opens it up..to opinion, perspective..name your reason people go crazy here. This, the writer would have us conclude..is a "deeper" look at why such events take place since it is hyperfocusing down..exculudign the bigger picture..to look a the minutia ..to come back up with a "different" conclusion as to the bigger picture (which in this case..was already known...it was a robbery) For a person on the street the day this event happened...they may only know (as fact) that a guy went crazy, shot two people and went nuts crashing a car. That's exactly what "they" saw. And, the reporter in story one had plenty of witnessess..away from the bank...to say "just that". "he just went nuts"? And..."he had a gun"..etc.

    Most people look at the first version and would say...sheesh...that guy went nuts. I wonder why? And that's the setup and fertile ground for opinion, hypothesis..etc..on that question that did not exist from the actual record of fact. And, this is the motivation for such selective reading of events...to setup questions..and offer conclusions that may or may not even exist in the factual record of the event. The 2nd article on this..is a factual recording of events that day...man robbed a bank, shot 2 people and crashed his car while fleeing the scene of the robbery. As soon as you see "robbed a bank"...you have some context as to why he fled in such a hurry and why he shot 2 people etc. It starts to have context and make sense...as it relates to one another and has far more limited scope of questions. The conspiricy theroists would say...that it's "because" it is so cut and dried and makes sense..and fits together...that proves that a conspricy took place.

    And in the context of the interesting opinion and social commentary of the first article, knowing that this occurred in the context of a bankrobbery...would really expose the hyper extended context that the first writer has tangentially and purposefully gone off on here for the purpose of social commentary. I just want to make the point...that article one..doesn't even qualify as "truth" even though it contains "some" basis of fact at it's core "because" certain portions of facts of the event that were known were "purposefully" excluded in order to open this up to different questions that needed to be answered to form a different "truth" out of it. It would qualify as opinion or social commentary though. (as a hypothetical that did not in reality exist...but..."could" if the facts were different)

    Anybody...who "purposefully" excludes facts or record of events...as they know them to be...to form opinions etc...is not being truthful by the very definition of "truth". But, it is also entirely possible for one to have a limited experience of the facts and events..and tell the truth about an event as they know it..and based on the facts as they know them..and be entirely wrong in their conclusion and opinions as to the event based on the entire record of fact. This is very common in "witness" testimony of people who only experienced a singular part of a large event. (such as the witnesses who only saw the guy go nuts..but did not see him rob the bank)

    I find all the rehtrocial musings and the ascribed motivations to the US and it's people interesting reading. And I have no problem with opinion...perspectives...etc...so long as they are presented as such. And i don't need anyone to tell me that quite often these days...such articles, posts..etc..are purposely excluding things...in order to setup their position and often times...the very record and basis of the complete record of fact flies in the face of their rhetorical positioning. So, my purpose for this post..is not to decry foul. ..but more so...to say I find it all interesting; the thought process and motivations behind such things.

    I think that's all I wanted to say. Carry on.

  3. #3

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    Long-winded, but I get the point. But nothing in your post negates the fact that Reagan was a bad man who did bad things. Even HE admitted to being a criminal -- when he gave a speech admitting to trading arms for hostages. That he got away with it, even after the admission, is a testament to his charisma.

    The first and last lines of the above paragraph are opinion. The rest are fact.

  4. #4

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    Quote Originally Posted by robgb
    Long-winded, but I get the point. But nothing in your post negates the fact that Reagan was a bad man who did bad things.
    Apparently you don’t get the point. As dcornutt pointed out, isolated facts are still technically facts, but they’re incomplete and are not sufficient to draw conclusions. As one who supposedly deals exclusively in facts, you say that it is a “fact” that “Reagan was a bad man who did bad things”. These “facts” are not facts in themselves, but rather derivative of the facts listed in the article, incomplete facts. Facts that lack context, disembodied from the larger picture. So Reagan being a “bad man” is actually not a “fact” as you claim, but rather an opinion.

    All that having been said, I’m not trying to say that everything Reagan did was right. It clearly wasn’t. But any evaluation of those events in history must be performed in light of ALL the factors. For instance, the arms for hostages fiasco. I completely disagree with what Reagan did (and I’m sure in hindsight even he would agree). However, someone could, as dcornutt pointed out, simply state selective facts thusly: Reagan aided terrorists by supplying them with arms. Yes, this statement is technically factually true. But one’s interpretation of this event is greatly changed if an additional fact is supplied: Reagan capitulated to terrorist demands in an effort to free hostages. Clearly the perceived morality of the act changes drastically once the full context is known. This is just an example.

  5. #5

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Wright
    So Reagan being a “bad man” is actually not a “fact” as you claim, but rather an opinion.
    Brady, you've gotta be THE most long-winded person I've ever encountered. Is it just me or do you have a lot of spare time.

    Actually, Reagan WAS a bad man by just about any definition you can think of. That IS a fact, not an opinion.


  6. #6

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    Quote Originally Posted by dcornutt
    Pretext: I am responding here..to several different threads/posts.
    i agree, the way i read it there is an infinite relationship between any micro and macro perspective, change the relationship of the foreground to the background and the whole meaning changes and that is why i asked for the full context in the other posts in regard to Chomsky because i know how easily something can be misconstrued especaily with a writer like Chomsky who has written a massive amount of material.

    The same thing happens in music after all what is form about, take a melody out of a movement and place it somewhere else and it means something totally different, the same with art, the relationship of foreground to background and the micro to the macro is everything, without understanding this relationship we have just rationalizations and you can rationalize anthing , just look at Brady, you could give him any sentence and he can turn it around no matter what totally destroying the relationship you had in mind between the relationship of foreground to background and re-orientating the idea to fit in with the relationhip that does justification to his view, and to be honest i guess we are all guilty unconsciously of this to various degrees, but with Reagan you must remember also that there is also physical objective proof such as dead bodies, such as ruined lives this is not opinion, anymore than a melody by Mozart is a phantasy it exists, the interpretation might show different perspectives but a dead body is a dead body and if you dont except this logic than you can rationalize anthing and isnt there a philosophical word for this i cant remember solipsism

  7. #7

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    If you take that basic premise, that there "is" a relationship between the macro and micro, that holds the context of any event you are talking about ..then somewhere in that..is the basic recognition that the world isn't perfect. That bad things can happen and bring about greater good and visa versa. And the context of that beyond exactly how it happend and what conditions/policies were in place in the world that led to it..is weighing the cost of that to the outcome.

    It's easy enough to hyperfocus into the micro view and find bad things to hold up and declare they are bad things. I too dont' find that necessarily insightful or deep thinking. Here...hows this: in the 1940s...the imperilist US gov foreign policy killed many, many people all over the world. And we supported "regimes" during that time that also killed alot of people...bodies all over..destroyed entire cities! That's the truth! And that's a fact! You can look it up. And if you want to deny it..then post proof otherwise! (there's a micro view of WWII, with facts to back it up)

    And in a response to this..someone might talk about Germany and Hitler and etc..etc..(context and more of a macro view)..and the greater good that came out of the end of that war..and look at where we are today...and one could respond....that they have completely ignored the assertions and have not presented any proof otherwise that it hasn't happened...because it DID happen and there are bodies to prove it_our gov killed a whole bunch of people..and supported others who did the same. Is the existence of bodies "context"? I dont' think so.

    Even Chomsky recognizes this in his subseqent discussion of Pol Pot and Khemer rouge when he concludes that as unfortunate as the atrocites were..that they must be "weighed in the context" of the greater good that eventually came to the region.

    The problem some people have with Chomsky, is that when it comes to US policy he has skewed context. He finds no good in it..therefore..there is nothing to weigh against the price of such policies.. To Chomsky, anything the US supports is (bad)...anything or anybody we oppose is also a bad thing. Any "good" that might come out of that..he explains seperately in no relation or context to the policy. Often it is either written off as something inadvertant that happened...some unexpected benefit..or was going to happen anyway, or would have happend by itself in a "good way" had we not intervend..in which case it happend in "bad way" or etc. Therefore..there is never anything to weigh..only a bad policy and bodies.(cost)

    Futher, in regards to macro and context that things happen in...Chomsky tends to weigh heavily on a US policy focus. That's entirely understandable given the focus of his writings and nature of it. And I wouldn't dare say that Chomsky has no context...he does. It's just heavily skewed. It's a counter weight to the skewing that happens the other way. You can find the same sort of skewed context in many forms from all sides.

  8. #8

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    i agree with what your saying, but where does responsibility come into this?

    ok some are now saying that Reagan helped bring down the Soviet Union, which in our discussion we would consider the macro, now this by implication is used as a justification for his foreign policy in Central America , now we would designate this as our micro, now i know you have already hinted at this relationship
    but how do we assign responsibility?

    the mother of a son who died in Central America would probably not be thinking in terms of Geo Political strategies, and perhaps the Reagan administration weighed up the death of this mothers son as part of the price
    i dont know, and off course maybe the relationship is a hoax used to get Reagan of the hook, the moral questions are interesting i think

    In regard to Chomsky i think we have to look at his main focus of interest,

    2-Media Analysis
    3-Politics (essentialy left (Anarchist)and focusing on the USA)

    now in terms of his studies into how the power relations work in the media, he naturally studied the country he knows best and the country he resides in, which of course is the USA, now this is basic to Chomsky his emphasis on the Foreign policy of the USA is inextricably tied up with his analysis of the media i think this is very important to keep in mind, the crimes of the Soviet Union were not censored in the USA for obvious reasons, but the crimes of the USA were censored in the USA, i really do believe that if your media was doing its job Chomsky would probably of placed his energies into other things maybe more linguistics or whatever, so the skewed context you talk about,
    well, in what point of time do we decide to address the relationship between the micro and the macro?,
    do you decide ?
    and when ?
    when it suits your criteria or when it suits mine?

    depends how you look at it, maybe to you and others it looks skewed, but to me it looks like he chose his main focus area simply because he knew the actions of other countries and there consequences would more than likely be reported and he felt a responsibilty to follow the course he did, i know that Bertrand Russel was a very big influence on him, and there is definetly parallels between the two men, but in the end i think only Noam Chomsky and his conscience can really answer for his motivations, maybe now that so many of his observations are entering public discourse they are beginning to sound almost cliche, Manufacturing Consent etc but you must remember he has followed this path for decades and as i have stated in other places his Anarchism is core to how he views the world, he is motivated by a firm sense of justice, not so much by notions of God Country etc, so in weighing up the Actions of the USA against say, Nicaragua or East Timor do you really think he skewed his context?

    what good can you see in what happened in Central America?

    what were the real interests in the region?

    who was to ultimately benefit by these policies in the region?

    now i could pose the exact same questions in regard to East Timor

    how do we make people in office accountable for their actions if the relationship of the micro and the macro can be adjusted to suite those in power, these are interesting moral questions because without them there is no basis for ethical actions

    The problem as i see it is this, that behind every micro is a macro, and that every macro can in turn become a micro which can again be interpreted within a macro

    so something like this

    micro <> macro = micro <> macro = mcro <> macro to infiinity

    1-within this scheme how do we assign moral responsibility ?
    2-who decides on the relationship of the micro and the macro in the first

    3- by what criteria?

  9. #9

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    Quote Originally Posted by robgb
    Brady, you've gotta be THE most long-winded person I've ever encountered. Is it just me or do you have a lot of spare time.

    Actually, Reagan WAS a bad man by just about any definition you can think of. That IS a fact, not an opinion.

    Reagan was a piece of donkey spit. But wait, no, Reagan wasn't bad because there is no universally agreed definition of bad. Bad is good, actually badass. Reagan began the modern era of Republican domination, dishonesty, cruelty and the deregulatory mess that hurt our economy, enabled his rich buddies to steal from YOU and completely destroy our media. In other words, Reagan was an enemy of the people. When will people realize that the guys running this country are not working in your best interest. They are completely out of touch and elitist. This true of both parties, but particularly the Republican party. Reagan would have been just as happy wearing a white hood. Reagan did help to bring down the Soviet Union, however. I concede that one could argue that this was a good thing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Dorset, UK

    Re: The Truth About Reagan

    The problem I have leaders who hold ideals, visions and principles is that they pay too little heed to the possible wider ramifications and outfall of their policies, and become stuck in a belief system. If they have the charisma and support to implement their policies they become potentially dangerous. Reagan could only cope with ideals broken down into simple terms, and is said to often not understand his brief, which made him more dangerous than most.

    The same is true for Bush's current foreign policy. Let's say that the war on Iraq is purely an implementation of the PNAC's policy of bringing stability to the Middle East through domino democritisation. This is a perfectly legitimate ideal to hold in the defence of America, in terms of reducing terrorism and a stable oil supply, even though, IMO, the policy itself was more likely to achieve the opposite. As it involved impalatable means, such as preemptive strikes, it was only possible to persuade the nation through red herrings and deception.

    Now consider FDR at the outbreak of WW II. In order to win the 1940 election he needed to promise the isolationist majority that America would stay out of the War. This was a dupe. Despite Neutrality laws that the overwhelmingly isolationist Congress had put in place, he immediately started to implement measures as stepping stones to engagement, whilst mainstaining his isolationist rhetoric. He even secretly signed an agreement with Churchill in 1941, the Atlantic Charter, that committed America to war.

    This high handed approach is, surely, even worse than that of Bush. Yet FDR is considered a great president. Why? Because it is now easy to see that he was right. Of course his job of persuasion was subsequently made easier by Pearl Harbour (as 9/11 did for the neo-cons). But in 1941 FDR may well have been considered "bad". It's fairly clear to me that Reagan and Bush's foreign policies were wrong and counter-productive. (and BTW I credit Gorbachev for ending the cold war, not Reagan).

    From many aspects Blair is even worse, as he holds strong personal convictions, both on domestic and foreign policy, decides to implement them first, (without seeking Cabinet consensus, unlike Thatcher), and thrashes around for some evidence second.

    My point?: God spare us from strong leaders with ideals who want to emulate FDR. If they're going to have a vison it's GOT to be right, with all ramifications considered.

    It seems to me that Kerry may hold strong opinions, but when faced with contradictory evidence he is capable of changing his mind. This would make him a much safer president, (though not a "great" one). Bush and, even more so, Blair are incapable of this.

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