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How to Deny the Meaning of Words

A respondent reads Dewey, and his only comment is:  Reading is an active process.  The meaning of words depends on their context.  Scientific study has shown ... etc.

This is someone trying to deny the meaning of words.  He simply cannot face what Dewey says.

When, for example, Dewey wrote in 1935:

“... when society through an authorized majority has entered upon the path of social experimentation leading to great social change, and a minority refuses by force to permit the method of intelligent action to go into effect.  Then force may be intelligently employed to subdue and disarm the recalcitrant minority.”

he said, cutting out the verbiage:

When a majority votes to do something to a minority, the state can use the police to subdue those who resist.

Regarding Dewey’s book Impressions of Soviet Russia (1928, 1929) the respondent writes:

« in the total context of Dewey’s life, work, and advocacies, ... the ... charge that Dewey was a Bolshevik is truly a bizarre reading. »

Dewey agreed almost totally with Bolshevik goals.  And he turned a blind eye to the murders and torture, past and ongoing.  Dewey knew of the Bolshevik’s carnage, but to him it was  “a pile of ... isolated facts,”  “dead, empty, evacuated of vital significance,”  “insensitive,”  and  “marked by a certain vacuity.”

Dewey stands convicted by his own words of 1928 and 1929.  See the pages of  “PRACTICE”  on this website, such as  “A New World in the Making.”

In the later mid-thirties Dewey criticized Stalin, but he continued to endorse the original Soviet goals, and every idea on which those goals depend.

Of course Dewey wasn’t a Bolshevik literally.  And if he had been, the above respondent would quote scientific studies showing it doesn’t matter.

Another respondent, BM, made an interesting point.  The 1920’s Nazis (slang for National Socialists) in goals and methods were similar to the Bolsheviks.  Both conceived a totalitarian welfare state. In the former you sacrificed your life to Germany, in the later to Russia.

We should no more excuse a philosopher who in 1929 had written a glowing report of Nazi Germany, than Dewey for writing one of Soviet Russia.