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Thread: Locke & Liberalism

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    . . .

    That doesn't mean there's no such thing as virtue. The republican values Adams was talking about was a real notion of how people should act, and Dewey thought education could help people learn republican values.
    Because those values are the sworn enemy of the Party Of Segretti, I always refer to them as the 'Republican' Party.
    Rattling the teacups.

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    If Levin or MDH want to toss the "marxist" label around, they need to explain what
    it is they mean by the term . .

    Do they mean Marx's theory of labor and surplus value? His theory of alienation? History? Materialism? Class conflict?
    The business cycle? The early Marx? The late Marx?

    The problem for MDH is that, if one answers "yes" to all the above, then there is not a single marxist on the planet - and as Marx joked,
    he would not be considered a marxist either . .

    Just trying to briefly explain how shallow the thinking of Levin/MDH is.

    "Not for empty minds" - indeed
    Last edited by sandtown; 01-11-2019 at 02:19 PM. Reason: clarify

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Communism and Fascism were Utopian experiments as well, and they failed spectacularly. Libertarian anarchy assumes no social contract is needed, so it would be a different Utopian experiment.
    So the L.A. premise is, if people banded together to protect their rights, that would be better than a government?

    And the liberal premise is that utopia = a state in which rights are protected, and that's it? No other foundational values?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    So the L.A. premise is, if people banded together to protect their rights, that would be better than a government?

    And the liberal premise is that utopia = a state in which rights are protected, and that's it? No other foundational values?
    The liberal idea is that when people banded together to protect their rights, that was government.
    Last edited by johnw; 01-12-2019 at 01:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Any decade since and including Hooke and Newton? Shakespeare and the great classical composers?
    Impossible to pick any period of time.
    You may argue that there was better culture, but that's a subjective judgement. My statement was that there is more culture attainment. More is written, more mummers act out plays, more artists persuade a skeptical public that their work is art. And if anything is left of the culture we've built, some future civilization may see it as a golden age. But it would be nicer if things just kept getting better.

    A for Newton and Hooke, their work was fundamental, but more science is being done with more data then ever before.

    I think you fail to appreciate what a remarkable time we live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    You may argue that there was better culture, but that's a subjective judgement. My statement was that there is more culture attainment. More is written, more mummers act out plays, more artists persuade a skeptical public that their work is art. And if anything is left of the culture we've built, some future civilization may see it as a golden age. But it would be nicer if things just kept getting better.

    A for Newton and Hooke, their work was fundamental, but more science is being done with more data then ever before.

    I think you fail to appreciate what a remarkable time we live in.
    What you describe is natural progression facilitated by the use of new technologies. We humans have not evolved more intelligence, we are the same members of the human race as the members of the Lunar Society. They were named because they could only hold their meetings when there was a full moon allowing them to travel, but they still achieved stuff. Think of what they could have done with modern media and transport. So I do not see us as any more or less special than any other era, just a damn sight luckier. And as most of my TV viewing is of science, archaeology and history documentaries I do have a handle on what we have now and what we had then.

    Golden Age? Depending on what survives, records of our recent political history, pollution, AGW, records of failed education AKA Flat Earthers and Creationists of several religious stamps, they may look on us as the Moronic Age.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    The liberal idea is that when people banded together to protect their rights, that was government.
    So when people are against liberalism, what's the objection?

    He asked, rhetorically. This is an old story. Some people need something liberalism doesn't deliver. They can't articulate it. They can't trace it in theory. In history, they say it leads inevitably to
    communism, yet there is no communism.

    So there's no way you can approach their world-view except as a mass delusion. They cling to it like grim death, in spite of everything. Why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    So when people are against liberalism, what's the objection?

    He asked, rhetorically. This is an old story. Some people need something liberalism doesn't deliver. They can't articulate it. They can't trace it in theory. In history, they say it leads inevitably to
    communism, yet there is no communism.

    So there's no way you can approach their world-view except as a mass delusion. They cling to it like grim death, in spite of everything. Why?
    https://www.salon.com/2014/07/29/sec...hostile_world/
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/b...ervatives-dont
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    What you describe is natural progression facilitated by the use of new technologies. We humans have not evolved more intelligence, we are the same members of the human race as the members of the Lunar Society. They were named because they could only hold their meetings when there was a full moon allowing them to travel, but they still achieved stuff. Think of what they could have done with modern media and transport. So I do not see us as any more or less special than any other era, just a damn sight luckier. And as most of my TV viewing is of science, archaeology and history documentaries I do have a handle on what we have now and what we had then.

    Golden Age? Depending on what survives, records of our recent political history, pollution, AGW, records of failed education AKA Flat Earthers and Creationists of several religious stamps, they may look on us as the Moronic Age.
    That's a very flat view of human attainment. Is no era more golden than any other?

    Why do we have these better technologies? Because we have better science. Why do we have more people doing more things without starving? Because we have better science.

    We have developed a system that produces more knowledge and more wealth than past societies. That's the basis for a golden age. Part of what has produced the wealth surplus that enables us to have a profusion of culture is our system of government. From Chapter 21 of The Outlaw John Locke:

    Capitalismhas managed to thrive in a number of nations that have been ruled bydictators. Capitalism no more guarantees liberal freedoms than anyother market-oriented economic system has throughout history.
    Butliberalism has provided a more welcoming environment to the creativeenergies that can be released by capitalism than dictatorships, andin any case, dictatorships tend to produce rent-seeking by officialswhose power cannot be questioned. The resulting corruption interfereswith commerce, as those with power siphon off wealth.
    Hayekhad it backwards. Property is not a guarantor of freedom, but freedomis a guarantor of just property claims, because in a dictatorship youare under the rule of the leader's will, not the rule of law. To havefreedom, you must have the rule of law. That was the point of socialcontract theory; you could not exercise your freedom during the warof each against all.


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    And it isn't just that the social contract allows you to be secure in your property. From Chapter 35:

    DaronAcemoglu, Suresh Naidu, James A Robinson, and Pascual Restrepo, inthe 2014 study Democracy Does Cause Growth,*argue that – spoiler alert – democracy does cause growth.In an introduction to thestudy, they state the following:



    When we disentangle what components of democracy matterthe most for growth, we find that civil liberties are what seem to bethe most important. We also find positive effects of democracy oneconomic reforms, private investment, the size and capacity ofgovernment, and a reduction in social conflict. Clearly all of theseare channels by which democracy can increase economic growth, and agreat deal of further research is needed.
    So,it isn't voting that matters, it is freedom that matters. Not thatyou are likely to keep civil liberties if the rest of theinstitutions of democracy, such as rule of law and rule by theconsent of the governed, disappear. You need those institutions toensure that you can keep civil liberties, but the freedom to thinkand say what you want is, according to Acemoglu and his co-authors,the real spur to economic growth.
    *NBER Working Paper No. 20004 Issued in March 2014

    Weshouldn't be surprised. After all, the strength of democracy is notin executing policy, it is in deciding what policy is worth pursuing.If the example of the Soviet Union showed us anything, it is that theability to produce the most steel is not as important as being ableto decide what to produce. Consider American capitalism without theinput of The Wall Street Journaland other commentators on the economic scene. Without them, who wouldembarrass inept executives, or question company policy? And if yousay, well, dissident shareholders, they need freedom of speech aswell. Consider that the youth of the Soviet Union wanted Levi jeans,not Soviet work pants. Free speech gives you fashion magazines andother means of deciding what to wear, therefore free speech helps usknow what is worth making.
    The social contract requires that we have freedom to discuss matters of interest, or we could not form a consensus on who should lead us or what policies they should work toward. Happily, the same freedom turns out to help us get what we want in other areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    That's a very flat view of human attainment. Is no era more golden than any other?

    Why do we have these better technologies? Because we have better science. Why do we have more people doing more things without starving? Because we have better science.

    We have developed a system that produces more knowledge and more wealth than past societies. That's the basis for a golden age. Part of what has produced the wealth surplus that enables us to have a profusion of culture is our system of government. From Chapter 21 of The Outlaw John Locke:
    It is the same scientific process, we have just been doing it for longer and sharing the results quicker and more widely. To quote Newton "If I can see further, it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants". Who attained more, those who overturned long held paradigms like heliocentricity, or those who refined the new model? Everything is soooo subjective.

    I think that there may be several different golden ages, in music, we are probably in a medical golden age now, but even that could get even more glittery yet. In science there will hve been different golden ages, one for chemistry, one for astronomy, one for thermodynamics, one for genetics. Some have peaked others still developing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    What you describe is natural progression facilitated by the use of new technologies.
    Nothing natural about it. Science was dead in the water when Galileo came along. MEM was thought control. Without a revolution in political thinking, and then in politics, Galileo's fate would have been the fate of all would-be scientists to come. We owe as much to Locke as to Newton, one might say. Maybe more.
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    Seeing a different world is only at the periphery of the situation. Only applies to things that actually exist. Conservatives among the rabble see things that aren't there. That's a difference in delusion, not in perception or interpretation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Nothing natural about it. Science was dead in the water when Galileo came along. MEM was thought control. Without a revolution in political thinking, and then in politics, Galileo's fate would have been the fate of all would-be scientists to come. We owe as much to Locke as to Newton, one might say. Maybe more.
    I think that you misstate. The scientific method is attributed to the Elizabethan Sir Frances Bacon and or Galileo, and so has little to do with the Enlightenment. Locke was several generations after their times. This discusses their influence on science. https://www.settheory.com/bacon_galileo.html It may be that the rise of protestantism after Martin Luther was more important for nurturing science as it weakened Catholicism. Before their time natural philosophy was a different animal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I think that you misstate. The scientific method is attributed to the Elizabethan Sir Frances Bacon and or Galileo, and so has little to do with the Enlightenment. Locke was several generations after their times. This discusses their influence on science. https://www.settheory.com/bacon_galileo.html It may be that the rise of protestantism after Martin Luther was more important for nurturing science as it weakened Catholicism. Before their time natural philosophy was a different animal.
    The enlightenment created the conditions in which scientific could be practiced without fear of reprisal. Protestantism weakened Catholicism, then instituted its own bigotry. Locke said, all of you, knock it off, your conflict will keep the world stupid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    The enlightenment created the conditions in which scientific could be practiced without fear of reprisal. Protestantism weakened Catholicism, then instituted its own bigotry. Locke said, all of you, knock it off, your conflict will keep the world stupid.
    I have absorbed a fair amount on the history of science from books and the quality documentaries aired on British telly, and never once has there been any mention of the influence of the Enlightenment through out Europe on the advancement of science. Similarly most of what I find researching after reading your opinion is that enlightenment thinkers were more concerned with religion than with science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I think that you misstate. The scientific method is attributed to the Elizabethan Sir Frances Bacon and or Galileo, and so has little to do with the Enlightenment. Locke was several generations after their times. This discusses their influence on science. https://www.settheory.com/bacon_galileo.html It may be that the rise of protestantism after Martin Luther was more important for nurturing science as it weakened Catholicism. Before their time natural philosophy was a different animal.
    I think you misstate. Bacon, like Newton, is generally considered an Enlightenment figure. Hobbes wrote on mathematics and natural philosophy. Bacon and Hobbes overlapped, while Bacon and Newton did not, so how important can people being alive at the same time be to your point?

    Hobbes and Locke were trying to apply the principle of natural philosophy to government. They studied human nature, and tried to come up with a government more compatible with it than the kind of government they had.

    The Enlightenment, after all, was the Age of Reason. It was a time when applying our intellects to a problem, be it social or scientific, was showing it could get results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    I think you misstate. Bacon, like Newton, is generally considered an Enlightenment figure. Hobbes wrote on mathematics and natural philosophy. Bacon and Hobbes overlapped, while Bacon and Newton did not, so how important can people being alive at the same time be to your point?

    Hobbes and Locke were trying to apply the principle of natural philosophy to government. They studied human nature, and tried to come up with a government more compatible with it than the kind of government they had.

    The Enlightenment, after all, was the Age of Reason. It was a time when applying our intellects to a problem, be it social or scientific, was showing it could get results.
    Wiki disagrees, arguing that the age of the enlightenment followed on from the development of the scientific method by Galileo and Bacon. That Locke and co learned methods of thinking from the scientific method does not support Osborne's argument that Science needed the enlightenment. It should be remembered that scientific advances were made for very many different reasons. Copernicus and Kepler made their advances because their sponsor wanted better more accurate astrology. Other advances were sponsored in other ways, but a supply of independent income, either through wealth or a university post et c. was the main enabler.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Wiki disagrees, arguing that the age of the enlightenment followed on from the development of the scientific method by Galileo and Bacon. That Locke and co learned methods of thinking from the scientific method does not support Osborne's argument that Science needed the enlightenment. It should be remembered that scientific advances were made for very many different reasons. Copernicus and Kepler made their advances because their sponsor wanted better more accurate astrology. Other advances were sponsored in other ways, but a supply of independent income, either through wealth or a university post et c. was the main enabler.
    If science didn't need liberalism in theory, it sure needed it in the real world, and still does, for the same reasons.

    But science does in fact depend on liberalism. As John points out so well in his book, liberalism is a revolution in the concept of the legitimacy of society, a moral revolution. Science depends on it for the right to subject anything to scientific inquiry, and follow the inquiry wherever it may lead.
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Just to keep the long arc of history in mind:


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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    If science didn't need liberalism in theory, it sure needed it in the real world, and still does, for the same reasons.

    But science does in fact depend on liberalism. As John points out so well in his book, liberalism is a revolution in the concept of the legitimacy of society, a moral revolution. Science depends on it for the right to subject anything to scientific inquiry, and follow the inquiry wherever it may lead.
    Which ignores all of the scientific advances made under the sponsorship of kings, Muslim sultans and caliphs, and so on. You really should resist the temptation to make sweeping generalisations on history, on the history of anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Wiki disagrees, arguing that the age of the enlightenment followed on from the development of the scientific method by Galileo and Bacon. That Locke and co learned methods of thinking from the scientific method does not support Osborne's argument that Science needed the enlightenment. It should be remembered that scientific advances were made for very many different reasons. Copernicus and Kepler made their advances because their sponsor wanted better more accurate astrology. Other advances were sponsored in other ways, but a supply of independent income, either through wealth or a university post et c. was the main enabler.
    Yes, Bacon helped lay the foundations for the Enlightenment, just as Wiki says. You seem to think his work was unrelated to the Enlightenment, which is simply not true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Which ignores all of the scientific advances made under the sponsorship of kings, Muslim sultans and caliphs, and so on. You really should resist the temptation to make sweeping generalisations on history, on the history of anything.
    Said the man who made sweeping generalizations about the Enlightenment.

    What science needs to thrive is an environment where reason is considered the way to truth and people are free to engage in open debate. In the early years of the Muslim faith, they picked up the philosophy of the Greeks and did good work based on Greek methods. It' instructive to look at how the golden age of Arab science ended. From my blog:

    http://booksellersvsbestsellers.blog...hat-myths.html
    The golden age of Muslim science and philosophy spanned from 750 AD to about 1100 AD. What happened then?

    The Incoherence of the Philosophers, that's what. The second-most influential Muslim cleric (after Muhammad) was a scholar named Abu Hamid Al Ghazali, who wrote a book of that title published in the late 11th century. He argued against those Muslim scholars who had based their works on Plato and Aristotle were wrong -- essentially, heretical. The spread of his thought led to religious institutions that taught that human reason by itself cannot establish truth. Although Al-Ghazali himself had nothing against science, this in effect meant that if you really wanted to establish truth, you didn't go to a scientist or a philosopher who had devoted his life and efforts to learning about the thing in question. Instead, the final arbiter of truth would be a cleric who specialized in the Koran.

    This led to a decay of Muslim science and philosophy. Some would say, it led to a dark age for their civilization.

    This seems to be the way to cause a dark age: You simply give religion authority over establishing what is true of the physical world.
    The Enlightenment was a time when reason was restored to its rightful place in society. Galileo had his work suppressed because religious authorities had arrogated to themselves the power to decide what was true about the physical world. Bacon had more freedom to explore the use of evidence and reason because Tudor England had destroyed the power of the Catholic Church under Henry VIII.

    Given the history of heliocentrism, Galileo seems like a very poor example to use for making your point. The Catholic Church even put Kepler's work on the list of prohibited texts, even though he was a Protestant.

    I think part of the problem is that you're trying to make a bright line between the Enlightenment and the forces that made the Enlightenment, such as the challenges to the Catholic Church by the C of E and Protestant faiths.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Yes, Bacon helped lay the foundations for the Enlightenment, just as Wiki says. You seem to think his work was unrelated to the Enlightenment, which is simply not true.
    Not t all, I am refuting he argument that has it arse about face. It also depends on when you place the beginning of the enlightenment in time and whether the enlightenment was of political philosophy alone or included what used to be called natural philosophy. Most references set its beginnings after the scientific revolution, so after Bacon. As you say, Bacon is a precursor as was Descartes et al.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Which ignores all of the scientific advances made under the sponsorship of kings, Muslim sultans and caliphs, and so on. You really should resist the temptation to make sweeping generalisations on history, on the history of anything.
    Ignores nothing. Pre-enlightenment science pales in comparison to post-enlightenment science, and not coincidentally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Not t all, I am refuting he argument that has it arse about face. It also depends on when you place the beginning of the enlightenment in time and whether the enlightenment was of political philosophy alone or included what used to be called natural philosophy. Most references set its beginnings after the scientific revolution, so after Bacon. As you say, Bacon is a precursor as was Descartes et al.
    It's like the left leg arguing that it went first. The right leg says, without me on the ground holding us up and pushing us, we're both on our ass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Ignores nothing. Pre-enlightenment science pales in comparison to post-enlightenment science, and not coincidentally.
    19th C science pales into insignificance against 20th C science against 21st C science. Something to do with the accelerating speed of communicating information.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    It's like the left leg arguing that it went first. The right leg says, without me on the ground holding us up and pushing us, we're both on our ass.
    Crappy simile, science flows like a stream, it does not stagger like a drunk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Crappy simile, science flows like a stream, it does not stagger like a drunk.
    I'm pretty sure history staggers like a drunk.

    The naming of the ages seem less important to me than to you. If you want to argue that Bacon belonged to a different age than Hobbes, even though both were alive at the same time, that may seem illogical to me, but if it makes sense to you, fine. But Newton was only six years old when Leviathan was published, so how does he belong to a different age? Newton and Locke were both dead before anyone claimed that there had been a scientific revolution, and Newton was born only 10 years after Locke. I'd say they belonged to the same age, an age when reason was gaining ground as a way toward a better life.
    Last edited by johnw; 01-15-2019 at 01:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Crappy simile, science flows like a stream, it does not stagger like a drunk.
    Crappy comment, we're talking about the enlightenment.
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    The naming of the ages seem less important to me than to you . . . Newton and Locke were both dead before anyone claimed that there had been a scientific revolution.
    Now they claim a great deal besides. The SR produced a variety of hubris by operation of which other human activities are devalued. The world is to be reformed, all of it, by technology. The most ancient and difficult problems. Just replace everything pre-SR, including the Enlightenment. Except the science, of course.
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    It's like the left leg arguing that it went first. The right leg says, without me on the ground holding us up and pushing us, we're both on our ass.
    I actually like this simile. It's not saying science or history stagger, it's saying they don't, because one leg supports the other.

    Look at what happened to Muslim science after Al Ghazali published The Incoherence of the Philosophers. A change in the social environment stopped science dead in its tracks. One might even say, it staggered and fell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    I actually like this simile. It's not saying science or history stagger, it's saying they don't, because one leg supports the other.
    Yeah. A distinction between right and left is possible, and of both from the rest of the organism, can be drawn. Doesn't mean it must be. Depends on the context.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Look at what happened to Muslim science after Al Ghazali published The Incoherence of the Philosophers. A change in the social environment stopped science dead in its tracks. One might even say, it staggered and fell.
    Yep. Without regard to which leg went first. The point is whether the whole thing keeps walking.

    When did science transcend the need for liberalism? Where does anti-science come from? What keeps it at bay?

    Goes to your point, let's not take things for granted.
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