“You Only Think You Disagree”

The obvious interpretation of this blog’s tagline is the wrong one. It is not the assertion that I am right about everything, and that the only reason you don’t agree with me is that you haven’t listened to me long enough.

Rather, I intend the phrase to be understood more or less along the lines of what Leo Strauss meant in a certain line in his essay “What is Political Philosophy.” As much as I’d like to just paste the one most relevant line, the context is necessary.

The belief that value judgments are not subject, in the last analysis, to rational control, encourages the inclination to make irresponsible assertions regarding right and wrong or good and bad. One evades serious discussion of serious issues by the simple device of passing them off as value problems. One even creates the impression that all important human conflicts are value conflicts, whereas, to say the least, many of these conflicts arise out of men’s very agreement regarding values.

The actual meaning of the seemingly obnoxious phrase I chose as this blog’s tagline is that I one of my goals is to understand and articulate the ways in which apparent conflicts are actually signs of deeper agreements. It is not that you, dear reader, wrongly believe that you disagree with me, but rather, that individuals and groups who perceive each other as opponents often do not sufficiently understand how many presuppositions their arguments have in common with those of their opponents. I use the ambiguously obnoxious phrasing not because I have an overinflated opinion of my own intellect, but because my overdeveloped sense of humor is uninhibited by my underdeveloped sense of shame.

The tagline is, in other words, an ironic way of explaining my irenic outlook.

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