Bullshit as Unintelligibility

Saying that some claim is bullshit is to negatively appraise the claim. But to appraise or evaluate a claim presupposes that you understood what was claimed. But what is the situation when you don’t understand the claim? There are two possibilities: (1)either there is something amiss with you or (2) there is something amiss with the alleged communication.

Now I don’t know most foreign languages, and when I encounter situations in which people are speaking an unknown foreign language, I know that the problem lies with me. What is said is unintelligible to me because I do not know this language. A similar problem arises when I hear people talking, using a technical language with its jargon, as, for example, physicists or mycologists. (If you do not know what I am talking about, this is because you don’t know what a mycologist is. I have just used some technical vocabulary.) In both these cases, the problem is similar. You don’t understand the language; therefore, whatever is talked about, is, as we say, “Greek to me.” (It’s a foreign language that I don’t understand.)

On the other hand, there are situations in which the problem does not lie with you, but with the communication itself. And this can happen in different ways. One way is to think that someone is speaking in a foreign language — but what you are hearing only sounds like a foreign language — but it is not. Sid Caesar was great at making sounds which seemed like a foreign language — but it was meaningless. Here is an example:

There is also the phenomenon which is called “double-talk.”  Even though it seems to be normal English, it contains nonsense words and nonsensical combination of words.  Here is an example:

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A famous nonsense poem is Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.”  It sounds English because it is grammatically constructed, but some of the words are pure inventions. Here it is:

Sometimes after an allegedly philosophical lecture, a person may say “It was deep.  I am afraid it was too profound for me to understand.”  My reply could be: “You did not understand because it was intrinsically nonsensical.”

Then there is also the phenomenon of rambling: stringing together unconnected ideas and words. Here is Sarah Pahlin endorsing Donald Trump:

Manifesto

In the public sphere, as on Facebook, my primary interest is “propaganda” in the non-pejorative sense of publicly propagating my ideology. My ideology is descriptive and prescriptive. It consists of accepting the well-confirmed finding of the natural sciences, a realistic conception of ordinary experiences, and economic and political prescriptions.

I am also critical of what others say. I reject supernaturalism and pseudo-science. I welcome civil rational public discussions. I am not interested in private discussions which cannot be made public.

Unlike the famous Cartesian phrase: “I think therefore I am,” I am more interested in the implications of: “I eat therefore I continue to live.” Eating is a necessary — though not a sufficient — condition for living. In economics, I am interested in satisfying these conditions. And, because there are other human beings who are bent on thwarting my efforts at survival, I am interested in a political organization as a way to safeguard these interests.

My economics starts with giving to each person free subsistence land.

My politics is based on a small community (such as a village), democratically electing a council to conduct its affairs, and federating with other such communities. By this token, I reject a State with officers elected by thousands or millions of people.

Putting the reigns of government into the hands of one person is bullshit.

 

It seems almost to be common-sense not to give political power to a single individual.  Such an individual is prone to look out for his own interest.  He can be bribed, and he can be threatened. Yet, almost the whole world keeps doing it.  And the hope is that the next person will be some kind of savior.  Never happens!  Combine this adulation of a leader with mass democracy, and you get a semi-literate Bush, then a suave snake oil salesman, Obama, and now a spoiled child, Trump.  And in Russia a rogue dictator, Putin.

What is needed is a new Constitution with the executive exercised by a collective body of at least two persons.  Below are links to Wikipedia describing such collegial executive bodies.  The best present example of such a collective executive is Switzerland.

Collective Heads of State