21 April 2010

Bloviators vs Scholars

Okay, maybe this is just the way the world works and as I often "bloviate" myself (laugh track indicating unintended joke on self) I can accept mine as a kind of hypocritical position. I want you to shut up if you have no grounding in the issues you're talking about...you should be asking questions not offering opinions based on nothing.

Now my friend Jon recently called me out about a comment I made about Wal-Mart and Levi's saying I presented no facts and had no real knowledge of the industry. True and true. I did do "middling" research looking to "back-up" the quote I offered and found, I think, some valid facts about the situation. But, I am not privy to certain information that would prove or disprove this--most is proprietary and I am not inclined to hunt too much.

Anyway, recently listened to Gary Francione "debate" with Wesley J. Smith on the Michael Medved show about Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare.

3 Points to make (and do they matter to you?):

1. Medved is a "right-wing" Christian "apologist" with a bullhorn called a radio show. (I'm using quotes here--not sure why, but I think because I want to say these may be arguable points--but I don't think so)

2. Smith is an author (a practicing attorney till 1985) then a "public policy" advocate--primarily advocating all things "human" are great, and all things Western are great. Typical, I think of "Power" apologists or "prevailing white social view". No "specific" scholarly grounding in Welfare and Rights for animals--just an opinion that fits his worldview on all subjects.

3. Francione--author of many books about Animal Rights and the Law. He also has a "worldview"--one in which humans kill (murder) sentient beings primarily for pleasure and he believes this is morally indefensible--ie, wrong. Not because of god or the bible or historical precedent.

So, you decide. Bloviators vs. Scholars (I'm sure you know my position). Also, feel free to disagree with any and all of the above...it's fun when you do.


  1. I'm not quite sure this post really presents anything to argue for or against. There's not really anything to disagree with here. I don't think anyone would read this and say "Yes, I'll take the less thought out reactionary idiot."

    So in light of your opening paragraph, what questions are you asking bloviators here? To ask themselves questions about their spoutings? Obviously you can't defend an argument for human pleasure and power on morality. You could make an argument based on a Christian notion of divine right, but this isn't morally sound.

    I think what I'm trying to say is, you need to give more to argue with here, and a little bit of background for the argument that these three sources are engaged in.

  2. Okay, fair. Yes...hmmm...well, mostly before I wade in I like to do some research and I suppose most bloviators do something similar. And finally I guess that means I have nothing to argue here but motivation. Why do we argue what we argue? If there is a principle to stand on is it consistent and coherent?

  3. how time flies ... let me comment on your April post, belatedly. I didn't hear the interview you cited. The three points you mention do indeed matter. Of course, it's always possible I misunderstood your post, but my own opinion is that "Scholars" are not necessarily more qualified than a "Bloviator"; they should be, but I have become skeptical of the "product" churned out by the university system and its recognized "scholars". Bloviator, a perjorative by all means, could potentially contribute in a positive way to a discussion from their own experience, though perhaps not a labeled scholar in a particular field. Interesting that you find Medved, a Jew (I think), as a Christian apologist. I do not listen, so I am not sure about that (being a Christian apologist). His bullhorn has been muted by my lack of list'nership. If you agree with someone on the radio, do they still have a "bullhorn" or only those you disagree with? Just curious. Should he not have a bullhorn, i.e. radio show? If there is a radio show and no one listens, does it exist? Is it really "fun" when people disagree with you?, as you wrote at the end of the post. Trust me, there is no velvet on the hammer you use when responding to folks who disagree. Probably stops being fun for them, anyway. Easy, out.

  4. Ah, Easy, I don't know what to say...I'm to the point where I just think people on the radio and tv are just creeps motivated by money and power. I don't know how to argue with a kind of false equivalence. An argument "pro-meat" is made in order to justify a human "pleasure" and doesn't have any other basis as far as I can find. "Because it tastes good," isn't a good reason anymore (if it ever was)..."Because I'm starving and I can't forage in the winter," makes more sense, but it's not true anymore.

    Medved is an apologist for anything that is status quo to the power-base (ie, ruling class)...no matter his upbringing in a "religion". The religious right is his audience and it's quite large.

    Experts have motivations too and you're right to note that we should be very clear of their motivations as well. I tend to try to learn from those that speak from a deep well of study in a morally significant field--with moral outcomes in mind...I don't listen with much patience to folks who are simply playing "real politik" and blow with the wind of the current argument suiting the powers-that-be.

    It's time for the 95% of the population who has no voice to try to start thinking outside the boxes they've been given. This includes those of us who are "fortunate" enough to be educated and not in poverty...we are the ones that they try hardest to convince...the poor don't matter and the rich want to stay rich...it's you and me that need to really break away from a world that serves the wealthy.

    How we begin is to interogate our institutions and try to find answers that come from somewhere outside the "received" knowledge we get.

    Why be pro-status quo? Look where we are and where we're clearly going. Unless you're a multi-millionaire with the freedom that money and being white affords you are going to be on the losing end of history in short order. World poverty is going be exacerbated by climate change and it's going to happen sooner than later. Holden will live it.