Pascal Fervor's Glossary
PF's Elaboration: 1. Not everyone employing specious reasoning is, in the pejorative sense, a casuist. The use of the word casuistry is indicated whenever you wish it understood that the person speaking believes they are promoting selfless interests with specious argumentation that is often accompanied by cavalier rationalization; (e.g., "well, if it's flawed, it's still to good purpose.")
2. Contrast the adjective casuistic with conscientious. Both connote actions driven by conscience. The former implies actions which go overboard and irrationally tramples other principles; the latter implies actions which are guardedly principled in and of themselves. One will find that it is casuists who have coined the phrase: "the ends justify the means," a trait that the conscientious find troubling or alarming.
PF's Expansion: The corral's fences are formed by two ostensible opponents offering differing political viewpoints, frequently in extremis. Often one side of the fence expands in fits and starts in the direction toward greater centralized control while the other side of the fence brings up the rear more gently. In this manner the moderate position is perceived to have hardly moved at all, when, in reality, because the sense of speed is relative, the corral has been moving a great deal faster all the time. The aim is to keep the sheeple, trimmed, fat and happy right up to the time the corral reaches the goal set by those manipulating it. The goal may be a heavenly pasture or it may be the slaughterhouse: a great deal depends on the benevolence of those who are most adept at corral manipulation. We with Pascal fervor think a great deal depends on how many people have exercised and are experienced with their higher human functions before any goal is reached.
For another insight into its purpose, please see apologue from Geoff Metcalf: Free Corn.
PF's Elaboration: offering ostensible reasons and facades, often with great hoopla, provides essential red herrings or placebos, depending on the nature of who is being entertained. This provides time and leeway to carry out plans by distracting the viewers from one's real intentions.
PF's Elaboration: - this is for what the American Founding Fathers gave up much of their own vested interests. It is also what today's Elite wishes the majority of people to neglect. For these elite, the world is populated by the "wrong sort of people," i.e., not them.
They go so far as to encourage young women to destroy their progeny by making it appear liberating and smart, while in every way possible censuring anyone who would reach these young souls with a moment's thought of the long-term consequences - an act that puts an end to their posterity, a sort of hereditary "suicide."
Some of the most well-known promoters of this form of suicide are public servants living off the taxpayer in one way or another, and have or are from the largest families. While these sophisticated leaders call their wide scale program of self destruction "choice," what they really would like to see happen is that the gene pool become concentrated with essence of themselves -- the ultimate vanity.
PF's Elaboration: any one or group of schemers and their nurtured intellectuals fomenting the neverending pursuit of centralized power achieved by robbing individuals of their freedoms a little bit at a time; relentless, deceitful powerhungerers.
PF's Original Contribution: Most all hard science engineering uses what is called "The Electrical Analogy" to construct mathematical models. V=IR, DT=qR, DP=W2z are the basic relative linearized equations of but three engineering disciplines. The general verbal expression of these relationships is potential difference provides the impetus for flow to overcome resistance; the greater the potential difference, the greater the flow for any given resistence. From this it is clear that when there is no difference between states, there is no flow.
Enter the social engineer. Unlike the engineer who deals with hard science (1+1=2, etc.), the SE deals with soft science (the probability that a given input will derive a target output) in its most humanistic form. Where there is no difference there is no social progress. But as there are differences, both big and small, the SE always has something to work with. However, it is on the outskirts of the Idealogical Corral where these differences frequently are identified and exploited. Fittingly, people who want us to remove, instantly, the most extreme differences are called extremists. However, it is Progressives who are most appreciative of, and who most effectively exploit, extremists. Especially useful are those causes may be played up as needing (in the positive sense) casuistic remedy (although it's not called that). Far more frequently the connection of such causes to the noble ideal only further demeans its recognition as indeed legitimate.
Why use extremes of differences rather than less extreme ones? Because, as we know from other forms of engineering, it is easier to overcome resistance to social change that way. And they who wish to promote their own advantages also see the potential in addressing extreme differences so that they may achieve smaller ones (theirs) along the way. This applies too, and maybe especially, to those who really have no care for the extreme goal. All they see is that their personal goal lies along the way to the extreme. This is why the idea of backing extremists is such a delightfully subtle tool of sophists. If an extremist does not already exist where needed, they are sure to make sure one will materialize. This is where those susceptible to the modern and improper use of casuistry are recruited. A cause is identified. When done effectively, it matters not how far fetched and narrow the cause is. If it is promoted properly in the media, many of the unthinking will take on the cause as if it were the most important issue in the world. "It is simply unconscionable that this condition is permitted to exist."A new zealot is born, convinced that his own conscience will be salved by his involvement in the cause. This is not what formal casuistry is supposed to be about, but it frequently is unstoppable when the passive media exploits cases of conscience like only it can do. Where extremism is found, opportunity for and successful exploitation of a lesser demand is probable.
What forms the natural resistance to social change? It is the attitudes of true conservatives; i.e., the predisposition of any who are either happy with or relatively accepting of the status quo. We are talking, in general, about the resistance put up by most individuals to being disturbed: "leave us be."
One of the difficulties an SE is sure to encounter is how to gauge the resultant social change for any given social difference. What are the quantifiables in the basic linearized equation? PF suggests the following equation<g>:
L = liberty given up to satisfy the screams, given in units of BST (blood, sweat and tears), and
R = the resistance to part with liberty in an attempt to quiet the screamers, whose units are in groans.
PF thinks the current method is too haphazard and imprecise.<g> The media multiplies the appearance of screams but pretty much underplays the number of groans to help legislators and executives and jurists to think the groans are meager in comparison to the screams. When this happens, the politicians, who are expecting far more liberty to be given up, find they were wrong. They fall short of fulfilling the dissatisfaction. Those who were expecting to have their screams answered, as promised by the politicians, get hot. And the groaners, who are mad at expectations of them giving up even more, are hot too. Our most trusted Progressive steps out front and does one of those patented pull-backs, where e promises never to let those well meaning but misguided extremists overextend us again. So what do the pols do now? They fire the polsters and commission another poll that says everything will be okay as long as everybody is reasonable. So what happens? As the only source of power comes from the groaners, the groaners awake to find the middle of the road has shifted left again (see Idealogical Corral again). They are told again and again about how the need is only fair and their sacrifice will only be temporary. And the Progressives push onward again.
Additionally, those of us inspired with Pascal fervor know there may be no end to the number of ways SE may be analogous to EE. Political power (DL or D2/R) is analogous to electrical power (VI or V2/R). Those who would draw too much liberty at any one time from any one circuit, by overstating an urgency there, run the risk of burning up important parts of society with all its ripple effects upon the rest of society. There are probably other forms of electrical phenomena such as capacitance and inductance which have their correspondence in this political engineering modelling technique. (We fear each of these last two may have a great deal to do with things like greed and corruption, so we won't go there yet).
Others are invited to add their insights to our own. Please do, but give us credit.
PF's Elaboration: 1. Not everyone employing fallacious argumentation is a sophist. The use of the word sophistry is fitting wherever you see evidence that a person is promoting selfish interests, his own or his patrons', with clever and flawed argumentation. The word contains almost no vestiges of its meaning from its origins -- Greek teachers who taught the philosophy of governing and living well. About the only word with a root connection to sophistry that retains some respectability is the word sophisticate. Yet even it has one negative: when it means adulterated -- which, in some ways, it still means when a positive intent is meant (as in not ingenuous; having cultivated discriminating tastes).
element: both sophistry and casuistry connote little qualm over employing
PF's Elaboration: The favored mechanism of American social engineers progressively to expand socialistic ends under cover of a capitalistic facade. E.g., Intrusions into personal behavior have evolved incrementally. The non busy-body excuse is, ostensibly, "we do this for the sake of economic health."