“However, I believe we must not use one’s “times” as an all-encompassing excuse. For instance, it does not excuse the inability to follow one’s own ideas to their logical conclusion. Someone “owning” slaves in the early 1800s may be excusable as being “part of their times.” Someone “owning” slaves while advocating an ideology of freedom for all men is not excusable.
Someone who advocates the existence of the State and hierarchies today may be excusable as being “part of their times.” Someone who advocates the existence of the State and hierarchies while also advocating an ideology of non-violence and non-exploitation is not excusable.
We must either admit logic as an absolute of thought, or else make logic relative also, and believe that what people said in the past really shouldn’t make any sense for us at all. I don’t believe most people would choose the second option. There is definitely a sense in which these people who wrote in the past are very much like us, regardless of the society they lived in, and that they should have at least some honesty and courage.
Unfortunately, honesty and courage are not common traits anywhere or at any time. In fact, we actively suppress honesty and courage in our societies, because of the inherent problem of forced cohabitation and the need for tolerence in a democratic melting pot. In a situation where any disagreement with anyone is suppressed, every individual becomes a censor agent for the State. This is the intellectual climate in which we live.”
“ “There is no such thing as truth.”
Whatever you try to posit, anyone can simply say that you can’t possibly be more “right” than they are because we really don’t know the entire truth about anything. So ultimately any positive position is just guesswork, any given argument can’t be any more valid than any other, and so no one can “win” and there’s no point in discussing anything.
The obvious problem with such a tactic, and this is a problem with all of these tactics really, is that it’s a semantics game. We live our lives as if we know many things with reasonable confidence. We also use the evidence of our senses to deduce or induce a great number of other things with reasonable confidence. Whatever you want to call those propositions, we all have them. It doesn’t matter if you call them “truths” or “things I am reasonably confident about,” or whatever you want.
This is the same semantics game as people who deny “objective reality.” Whatever it is that we perceive, there is something there. What you call it doesn’t change that fact. A rose by any other name is still a rose.”