Stopping the infinite argument

Remember the end – your ultimate goal.
That is where you’re going. I’ll give a hint
The ancients say we’re here to flourish. Trolls
Don’t want this “goal” post raised. The mere glint
Of “goal talk” breaks a spell they spin to
Bind us in infinite argument. So
Be wise. Find the worthy goal.  Ask how do you
Get there? Change the game to yes and no.
A worthy goal gives us the tools of
Virtue and motion. We’re not asking is
It good? Is it bad? The labor of love
Is to teach ourselves to avoid this
Trap of the infinite argument
Which leads to painful disheartenment.
-Allegra Jordan, 2019.

After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre is a book that is difficult to read** but worth it for the last few chapters. He suggests Western Civilization gets trapped in infinite argument by asking unanswerable questions over preferences – “Is conservatism good?” “Is liberalism good?” etc. Instead, ask, “What is your idea of a thriving community?” (There is a lot of research on what makes a nation thrive.) Then look at a proposal and say, “Does this get us closer to or further from that ideal?” If so, move there if possible. If not, ask, “Why are we doing this if it moves us away from being a thriving community?”

You may not win the day – there’s a long history of people who were right and lost their lives- but at least we don’t waste our breath with infinite argument loops.

** I sense Prof. MacIntyre has no sense of irony when he talks of unintelligibility given his writing on some pages is that to this reader.