My Father’s Logic and The Dilemma

CypressGrove5x The long road of the heart

When I was in my early teens my father would bait me into discussions / arguments to use his premises and logic to win for the most part. He would use his premises as gospel and then the logic was a given. When he was backed into a corner he would shout me into submission. So I was always anxious and filled with trepidation when he tricked me into these discussions.

My father over-simplified the argument and the metaphor.

I didn’t necessarily have an opinion on the issues he thrust upon me, nor did I know when he would unexpectedly launch into one of his “arguments” so I was always taken off-guard.

In retrospect one of the most interesting arguments was an analogy between American Citizens and Native Americans land rights vis-à-vis Israel and Palestinian land rights. There is a long and complex history over regions in the Middle East where Jewish and Islamic faiths claim the same territories. In 1947 well after WWII was over the United Nations established Israel as the Jewish State in a hotly disputed territory between Palestinians and Jewish peoples. These disputes continue to this day.

My father over-simplified the argument and the metaphor.

It went something like this:

“The Jews kicked out the Palestinians and set up Israel through the UN. You wouldn’t give the Indians* (Native Americans) all the lands we took from them, would you? That’s what the Jews did and the world looked the other way when the UN gave the Jews the land the Palestinians owned. It would be if the UN came along and said we would have to give back the land to the Indians.”

I didn’t want to participate in being victimized by my father’s logic

Me: Well, if we agree that the Indians* (Native Americans) occupied the lands we live on then it is their land and they should have it back.”

My father: That’s not fair. We’d be kicked out of our houses and the Indians would take over.

Me: So you’re saying that the Palestinians should have the lands back that the UN gave the Jews?

My father: Yes, absolutely.

Me: I guess you’re right. (But I felt confused and I didn’t want to participate in being victimized by my father’s logic).

My father: Of course I’m right.

I began questioning my father’s premises


* In the 1960s and 70s Native Americans were referred to as Indians

 

Later it was the Viet Nam War.

My father: We have to stop the spread of Communism

Me: I feel war and killing is wrong.

My father: You’re wrong.

 

My girlfriend: How can “a feeling” be wrong. Feelings aren’t right or wrong they just are.

Me: Yeah.

 

After that I began questioning my father’s premises. That put an end to his desire to make be right and make me wrong.

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