Anchor for this item posted by Bernard Tremblay at Tuesday, March 12, 2002; Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Unless a person is going to argue in favour of a total, complete, absolute and mechanistic determinism, there has to be admitted something very much like agency and free-will, if only of the "within limits and contraints" type. Which leads flowingly to the other flavour of dangerous non-sense, which is the foul notion that we are as though angels or gods or greatly empowered demons who know no bounds and are always fully informed, clear sighted, cool headed, and willfully effective. The sort of rabid fundamentalist who argues to abject helplessness in the face of _this_ will argue that eternal amnation, perdition and hell-fire are causally required by _that_ ... the sort of foolishness that plays into the hands of the the exploitative, psychopath and sadist alike.
What I find most painful about this abject naivete is the prospect that it is, at root, a failure to realize consequences ... misery does not leave one un-scared, loss of integrity is not a fleeting thing, and neither self-deception nor denial give rise to the sort of happiness we're all striving for. The raw stock of democracy always remains: free of threat or promise of reward, we tend to render judgments that are of use to ourselves and others. We don't need to be always right, but being reasonable isn't likely to put a bad spin on things ... unless one is just sucking up, of course, in which case all bets are off.