Thursday, January 21, 2016

If X then not Y

One thing I've never understood is the tendency to discount something said by someone merely because they happen to hold a given position on a completely separate topic. No side of any argument seems to have a lock on this fallacy; I most recently saw it in a conversation about Dagulf Loptson's "What is Heathenry Missing?" post. Essentially, the person with whom I was conversing discounted the article entirely, without reading it, entirely because the author was a Lokean.

Now, I am not a fan of Lokeanism, or worshiping Jotuns in general. But Loptson's article had absolutely nothing to do with Loki. It made no reference to giant-worship, or "you need more chaos in your Heathenry" or anything of the sort. It was a well-written, focused article that made what was, in my opinion as a non-Lokean, a great point about contemporary Heathenry. But someone was prepared to jettison the entire thing, simply because the author held a contrary opinion on something completely divorced from the subject.

That sort of asinine behavior just baffles me.

I sometimes see the same thing on the Folkish/Universalist divide. Folkish Asatruar discount what Universalists say, or publish, right off the bat without even bothering to read it. And Universalist Asatruar do exactly the same thing, usually accompanied by some tirade about how evil Folkish Asatruar are, even if the article or book in question had absolutely nothing to do with Folkishness.

I really don't think any of us can afford to do that. I'm not going to give up new translations of hard-to-find Icelandic sagas, simply because they're published by the Troth. And Universalists who boycott books by Folkish authors or blogs (like this one) because 17 out of almost 300 posts deal with Folkishness, then they're just cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

That's one reason I try to read as much as I can, wherever I can find it. I don't judge lore, or new information, based on the political inclinations of the author. I like to think I'm smart enough to know when someone's biases are sneaking into an article or a book (and that goes for a ton of biases including Loki/anti-Loki, modernist/traditionalist, reconstructionist/eclectic, etc. etc. etc.; not just Folkish/Universalist). Much like Odin wandered far and wide, seeking wisdom and knowledge wherever he could find it, caring not if it came from the lips of a long-dead volva, a wise dwarf, or a giant, I will take knowledge wherever I can find it.

And always with a grain of salt, even from the best of sources.

2 comments:

  1. We have become politists rather than racists. to the Republican, the average democrat is as foul as a black man in the eyes of a jim crow white. To the democrat, the average republican is as vile as the jew to the nazi.

    At least, this is how it seems to me these days.

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  2. Jon, I was reading your Performance in Ritual piece today and came across this as well. I strongly agree with you on this point. Obviously we have have some difference of opinion on theological points, and I'd say on the scale of Universalist to hardline Folkish I fall somewhere in the middle, but I appreciate that you're sharing your research and think you have good things to say as well. I hope that Heathens can in time stop viewing our differences as personal attacks and stop typecasting each other without understanding what brought that person to where they are.
    -Dagulf

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