Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chareidi logical fallicies - take 2

Another logical trap is "begging the question" - when you assume your own premis as part of an argument. Suppose my son complains he does not want to eat vegetables. Were he to argue that "children should not be forcefed food that is tasteless", he would merely be begging the question: he has assumed his concluding premis - supposedly tasteless food need not be eaten by children- as part of his argument. It is verbiage without content.
In response to the comment that explained that Avi Shafran is after all a chareidi, and therefore he sees Torah and State as mutually exclusive values, I agree wholeheartedly, but that is not an argument - that is begging the question. An argument (or opinion essay) should explain to others why they should share your POV, not repeat your premis.
I made no attempt to defend the argument that the centrality of the state and torah are not mutually exclusive because as long as that possibility exists - and even the comment admitted it does, just labelled "religious zionism" - then Shafran's claim of either/or is a false dilemma.
Anyway, enough with the mini-logic course. Here is the real question that needs to be addressed by Shafran or anyone else in chareidi-land. Without labels that beg the question - e.g. "I believe X because I am chareidi and that's what we do", or "I don't believe Y because that is religious zionism and I don't do that", WHY is the belief in the centrality of the State and the centrality of Torah mutually exclusive values?


  1. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Why _are_ they mutually exclusive values. Apparently your wife didn't teach English.

    To answer your question - simple; one can't pledge allegience to two masters. It may be that you can imagine a world where a belief in the cetrality of the State and the centrality of the Torah are, in the main, not mutually exclusive. It may be a fairly accurate assessment. What happens, however, when the two conflict? And they do on ocassion, of course. What then? For the Torah Jew, the answer is that the centrality of Torah must be primary. That precludes affirming the unqualified centrality of the State.

  2. I am not going to address R' Shafran's argument, but look at the realpolitikal side of things: The Mafdal has become marginalized, and merged out of existence as an Orthodox party, while the Agudah still retains great power, well beyond its size, in Israel. So, pragmatically, not going along has proved beneficial for them there - and here as well, it seems.

  3. Anonymous - You are confusing relative importance with absolute importance. I can affirm with honesty that my family is of central value to me, and I can also affirm that learning Torah is of central value to me. What happens when family demands intrude on my learning time and I have to make a choice? Does that choice negate the fact that both are still of centrality to my life and value system relative to all else? When a Torah jew must unfortunately make a choice between his allegiance to halacha and his allegiance to State, it comes with a heavy heart precisely because both are (or should be) centrally important values. I am sure R' Lichtenstein and R' Shachter also place halacha as primary, but one can still affirm the centrality of the State relative to the many many other competing values of life.

    YGB - I am not Kissenger. My interest extends only the the theoretical underpinnings of modern chareidihood. Who cares anyway when we should be learning Kilayim : )