The Disappearing Argument

May 15, 2010

In a new post, Gene Callahan expands upon his recent theme of “rejecting ideology,” particularly with respect to libertarianism. At one point in the comments, he made a statement that I found interesting:

Given the existence of people who disagree, the libertarian claim to be uniquely ‘non-aggressive’ is bogus — libertarians will not aggress against those who accept their political system, and will aggress against those who don’t — just like every other political doctrine.

Is he making a variation of the classic (and flawed) “argument from disagreement” for relativism? I wasn’t sure, but it seemed to me this might be the key to getting a grasp of his argument. I decided to ask for clarification:

So what? Are you implying that truth is relative? Is that what all of this talk about “rejecting ideology” means, i.e. that you’ve come to accept a sort of radical relativism about justice?

You’ll only see my questions here, however, since they disappeared. Callahan seems to be having some trouble with the comments on his blog randomly going away.


2 Responses to “The Disappearing Argument”

  1. James Says:

    Here’s an alternative to his version of the libertarian argument:

    1) The issue is NOT coercion, except for the minority of us who are pacifists, the issue is aggression
    2) Gene Callahan bases his argument on us being anti-coercion
    3) Gene Callahan has created a strawman

    end debate.

  2. Gene Callahan Says:

    “Is he making a variation of the classic (and flawed) ‘argument from disagreement’ for relativism?”

    No. I can’t see a single thing I wrote that would lead anyone to think that.

    As far James goes, you’re just playing word games. Rephrase everything as “aggression” instead of coercion, if you’d like. My argument remains exactly the same.

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