Grady. I just spent the last six months researching the Baha'i faith. The Baha'i faith preaches kindness, tolerance and nonviolent social action. I traveled all over the country visiting Baha'i congregations and seeing them in action. I found them all to be composed of gentle and kind people, all doing good work in their communities, and all getting along fabulously with anyone who was willing to get along with them. I think it would be great if we had a Baha'i society!
Kristine Promoting a Baha'i society is like promoting Communism. It sounds good until it's achieved, but then it turns into hell on earth.
Grady. 1. Grady spent six months researching the Baha'i faith.
2. The Baha'i faith preaches kindness, tolerance and nonviolent social action.
3. Grady observed Baha'i congregations all over the country.
4. All were composed of good people doing good work and getting along well with others.
(5. Our society would be a good society if it was composed of good people doing good work and getting along well with others.)
C. It would be good if our society was a Baha'i society.
Kristine. 1. Promoting a Baha'i society is like promoting Communism.
2. Promoting Communism sounds good until it's achieved, but then it turns into hell on earth.
(3. It's not good if a society turns into hell on earth.)
C. It would not be good if our society was a Baha'i society.
Generally speaking, it is well-established that societies where people are nice to each other are good societies, and that creating a good society is usually best accomplished by getting people to be nice to each other. The idea that promoting a good set of values will cause hell on earth is radically counterintuitive and so Kristine bears a heavy burden of proof here.
Both are making direct arguments.
Although it might be a bit awkward, I'm going to interpret Grady's argument as an analogy. If this turns out to make the basic logic of the argument clear, then it's a good idea. If it doesn't help, then it's not a good idea.
Grady. Analogy Argument. Kristine. Analogy Argument.
Conclusion Thingy: a Baha'i America. Conclusion Thingy: a Baha'i America.
Premise Thingy: an individual Baha'i congregation. Premise Thingy: a Communist society.
Property: a good thing. Property: hell on earth.
It might be important to remember that we're not talking just about having a Baha'i society. We're also talking about promoting a Baha'i society. Grady says it would be great to have a Baha'i society, but he can't just wave a magic wand and turn us into a Baha'i society. Turning America into a Baha'i society would be a long, difficult process, even if it can be done at all. So Grady's goal is probably impractical, but that, of course, does not mean it is a bad goal. Since no one has said anything bad about the Baha'i or their values, it seems clear that a Baha'i society would be a good place for Baha'i and non-Baha'i alike. Kristine claims that a Baha'i society would be a bad society based on a supposed analogy with a Communist society. However, the only relevant similarity between people who promote Baha'i and people who promote Communism is that they each promote systems with ostensibly good values. This makes promoting Communism equally similar to promoting libertarianism, promoting Christianity and promoting democracy. So if Kristine has proved that a Baha'i society would be hell on earth, she has proved the same thing about libertarianism, Christianity, democracy and any other belief system with ostensibly good values. If you reject the idea that libertarian societies, Christian societies and democracies are all hells on earth, then you should reject the idea that Kristine's argument proves that a Baha'i society would be hell on earth. Kristine's argument has another problem however. The claim that a Communist society is hell on earth is controversial, to say the least. It is certainly not something that Kristine can assume, so the fact that she does assume it means that her argument also begs the question. Therefore, if this discussion was all we had to go on, it would be clear that Grady is probably right, and Kristine is certainly wrong.
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