Friday, October 31, 2014


Polemics challenge any given narrative... without polemics a particular narrative seems to occupy the place of authority in culture. In order to escape the possible tyranny of this authority it is essential to challenge this authority. Polemics is a difficult task but someone has to do it.

Our view of the polemicist is largely skewed. We assume that all confrontation is wrong (this proposition is false).

A true polemicist has the highest value to community in that he or she fights for the freedom of community, which is to say, the freedom of the individual. This is done by challenging the authority of any narrative which consciously or unconsciously tries to restrict freedom. We might go so far as to say that all progress comes by way of polemics. Above all else it takes courage to stand against error.

The world is full of men who would tell us what to do; but this kind of authority most certainly bears the burden of proof. The polemicist justifiably demands that the authoritarian substantiate his claims. And because we are so used to blindly obeying authority we tend to despise the polemicist. We criticize the man instead of his argument, we note that he has caused offense, but we very seldom interact with his ideas. This is not a refutation of the polemicist, but a mark against the intellectual character of the one who engages in this kind of fallacy.

Men are afraid to offend; they are afraid to step outside the dictates of authority. The polemicist is first and foremost a man or woman of courage.