If at first you don’t succeed

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

I had not intended to follow up on last week’s TF straight away but I had also not expected the reaction that I received. The people spoke and their answer was:

Tash Friday 11:4:14 3

Here are a few examples of the responses (I have paraphrased in places to take out some of the stronger language):

“Re TF, what you are doing is laudable but nationalism is not something that can be argued dispassionately. It’s a matter of faith. Your average nationalist cannot be shaken from the belief that he is right (he loses his ability to reason when he cedes his individualism to the “nation”). Folk lamenting the lack of debate are missing the point: nationalists cannot debate. They look for arguments supporting their prejudices (same as folk who deny global warming).”

“It’s a disingenuous debate and I’m saddened by your willingness to try to take the politics out of an inherently political debate. There is no independence on offer, stop pretending that there is.”

“I know you are trying to broaden it out but the issue of the day is whether we have an Independent Scotland or not. I don’t think your thing is impartial because it implicitly accepts the premise of Nationalism. You’ve been beaten in the dressing room.”

“This weeks TF is a real self indulgent effort…”

There were other comments too and I’m grateful to everyone who responded.

The point about faith is particularly interesting. In a world that is only able to operate thanks to logarithms and science, faith can be seen as a synonym for irrationality and as something that is unhelpful when it comes to decision-making.

I can see the merits in that point of view, but if our lives were ruled by logic, would it not be a terribly lonely and uneventful place? Would we risk heartbreak by entering into relationships with people who, at least at first, are strangers? Would we have children? Also, to what extent do we base our “logic” on notions that we don’t fully understand? For example, how many of us use modes of transport that rely on the internal combustion engine or aerodynamics without really knowing how or why they work? How many of us understand how and why modern medicine operates? These are all things I don’t understand but in which, I suppose, I have faith.

It’s also not accurate to say that only a “yes” vote is based on faith. A “no” vote will also involve faith; just a different kind. I also don’t accept that we can’t have a conversation which involves faith. I think that we need to tailor the way we talk to each other in order to take into account where folk are coming from.

To conclude, I don’t think that we should go into the voting booths on 18 September and make a decision based on faith alone. After all, we wouldn’t get on a plane if it’s wings looked a bit rickety and we wouldn’t take medical advice from a doctor who was drunk. The point I’m trying to make is that faith does have a part to play in the independence discussion.

For the sake of offering all points of view (and to preempt this being thrown in my face), I’ll leave you with a contrary view from this week’s Tash: Friedrich Nietzsche

“Faith: not wanting to know what is true.”

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Have a great weekend folks!

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