Why I won't read a book
When I argue with opposing ideologues, especially anarcho-communists, my arguments are often met with a demand that I just read their favorite book, and that my refusal to read books invalidates my argument. There's an obvious need for an article dedicated to why you're all full of shit.
- It's unreasonable to request someone devote several hours to merely finding out what your argument is. I have a life outside of my debate with you. An hour spent reading a book is an hour taken away from earning money to pay my bills, or from open-source projects that actually help people. And if I gave into this every time, I would spend the rest of my life reading political books.
I'm consistent on this. I never tell anyone to read books or long articles. At most I ask them to read short articles (<15 minutes), but most of the time I rehash the arguments myself (this allows me to tailor them).
- If you can't defend your position yourself, then your belief in it is irrational. This is a basic principle of epistemology. Philosophy is not like science in that it takes a large amount of specialized knowledge to understand and can reasonably be offloaded to others. Everyone is responsible for their own philosophy and if you can't find anything wrong with an argument against your beliefs, the rational course of action is to change your beliefs.
What is philosophy, really?
- On its face, the odds that an ancient book will contain a response to any of my arguments is very low, since the book was written by someone I never argued with, and most of my arguments are not common ones. Since you're the one who's heard my argument, you're the one qualified to respond to it.
- The experience I do have reading popular philosophers is that they never address my arguments (and usually make very little argument at all). During the phase where I argued a lot with ancoms on r/DebateAnarchism, *lots* of them told me to read Conquest of Bread. Even though I was positive it wouldn't address my arguments, I eventually did to get them to stop using it as a reason to dismiss me. I was right: all of Kropotkin's arguments were things my opponents had already expressed and I had already rebutted. And to no one's surprise, having read this book didn't stop them from assuming I hadn't and telling me to go read it and come back.
- I have never seen an argument that couldn't be expressed in less than 1000 words. Every long piece of ideological writing is long because only a tiny fraction of it is the actual argument, and the rest can be removed without affecting it.
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