Part 2: What is to be done?

Ideologically rational debates

Ihmisiä keskustelemassa.
PHOTO © Heikki Nummi
Written by Editors

Contents

When are the discussion topics ideological?

Discussion and research topics are ideological if they (1) include opinions which, in some way or another, are dictated by interests – real or imaginary, conscious or unconscious, material or social-psychological – and if they (2) reflect the debaters’ view of the world and values of life.

Debate on ideological questions is always very emotional. Individuals tend to get irrational and arbitrary. This is also true with human relations and personal interactions. This is proven by political history, the history of ideas, and the greatest fiction.

This is a fact, and there is not much anyone can do about it.

Ideological rationalism means that the ideological nature of certain themes is accepted. Debaters recognise that they can become blinded by prejudice or by their unconscious ambitions. In this way, the debaters are open to criticism.

In an ideologically rational debate, not only opinions but attitudes are also discussed.

Power is the most important commodity. When people are rewarded for their sense of justice, power is distributed in a fair way.

There is no such an impartial expert or fact-checker who could distinguish the “right” world views from the “wrong” ones. Not to mention that artificial intelligence could be used for this purpose.

A man in the street, a professor, a politician – they are all equal to express their opinion on ideological issues. This is the most profound argument for the universal right to vote.

Objectivity can be obtained only by placing different views side by side. In that way, debaters are forced to learn about the opposing arguments and the reasoning behind them, to see where they come from and if they are justified – even if we disagree with them.

When debaters accept their fallibility and everybody’s right to disagree, it may also help them get to know each other personally.

A fair debate is a precondition for ideological rationality. Slandering and distorting the opinions of the opponents means violating their freedom of opinion. In severe cases, it can be seen as a crime against human rights.

Ideological rationality is a challenge in personal life, on social media, as well as in public societal debate.

Whenever people evaluate themselves and each other, their conversation is ideological, no matter how personal or unpolitical it is. The difficulty is the choice between being rational or irrational: do you think before you speak or just say the first thing that comes to your mind?

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There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man.

The most important human right: the right to get paid for speaking the truth

On the most general level, the emergence of an ethical civilisation is reflected in the following: “One must get paid, also and eventually above all, for a sense of justice, solidarity, and truthfulness.” This a general principle, which can be developed into a number of practical applications.

Since people tend to behave irrationally and arbitrarily, we need to encourage them to adopt a civilised debating culture. However, this is not easy to do in a society or a group with conflicts of interests. Therefore, we need a principle according to which we credit people for their sense of justice.

True knowledge of the world – serious truth-seeking – means unmasking prevailing lies and going against collective self-deception. When persons seek the truth, for the common good and in defence of human rights, they become consciously exposed to other people’s primitive reactions, slander, discrimination, and persecution.

The most important human right is the right to ”seek the truth”. Crediting people for their love of truth is the best way to protect and improve everybody’s human rights. It is also a necessary step in stopping hate speech and malevolent information influence.

Economic activity is based more and more on the production of immaterial goods (services, applications, fruits of mental labour). It is impossible to measure the value of work mechanically anymore. Therefore, wages and other means of earning are to be re-thought in any case.

A man in the street, a professor, a politician – they are all equal to express their opinion on ideological issues. This is the most profound argument for the universal right to vote.

If an ethical evaluation is not our conscious premise, then devious, ruthless, and power-lust activities are rewarded, as has already happened. Huge economic inequality and the impoverishment of middle-classes are signs of this phenomenon.

Power is the most important commodity. When people are rewarded for their sense of justice, power is distributed in a fair way.

Our proposal is a universal principle that can be applied in many ways. We use the word “pay” figuratively, of course. It can refer to various forms of reward, from reimbursements and scholarships to granting loans and creating new ways of earning.

The first step is to give material reward to those who are able to debate in an exemplarily fair and just manner. Another application of the principle is the financial compensation that the Truth Commission grants to those who have suffered injustice due to their opinions. Additionally, the principle can be applied at the local level in giving out micro-loans

FEATURED IMAGE
Ihmisiä keskustelemassa.

A discussion group of our Association in a library in Helsinki. From the left Otto Toivainen, Matias Toivainen and Pia Länsman. PHOTO: © New History Association.

OUR VIEW: Humanity first! Towards an ethical civilization.

PART 2. WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

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