Moral questions, perspectives, and rhetorical fallacies

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Posted by excog on July 17, 2012 at 23:59:18

I ended my last post emphasizing the issue of pondering moral questions that transcend history and can help us become better human beings.

I want to elaborate on that, after having read more on the thread below, with posts by LTE, Ray and Perry.

These are the issues as I see them, and let's start from a few facts:

1) Many people were victimized and abused (sexually, psychologically, and physically) in TFI.

2) Many of these victims have found no justice, and have committed suicide. Quite a few are still struggling with a number of issues that are rooted in the abuse and maltreatment they suffered.

It seems to me that what the victims have asked for so long - and I will keep referring to the video by Ricky Rodriguez for that matter - is some form of justice.

Any kind of justice would start with the ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the crimes. Something along the lines of:

- YES, David Berg was a predator and a pedophile.
- YES, he encouraged other people to sexually abuse children.
- YES, he encouraged rape and physical violence as well.
- YES, the abuse was rampant for a long period of time and there were no SAFETY GUARDS in place, nor ways to escape for the victims.
- YES, TFI became a place were predators could easily hide and perpetrate crimes.
- YES, we truly and utterly deplore all of that. It should never have happened. David Berg should not be canonized but reviled for what he did. In a just world, he should be in jail. (Just like Sandusky, who btw, did not create and lead a cult, nor ever said he was God's prophet!)

How would that have been for a start? Instead of systematically sending surrogates to lie and DENY DENY DENY the facts - attacking every single person that has come out and put themselves on the line as a WITNESS to what took place, starting from the British court case all the way to the more recent media inquiries and expose's.

The resort to the media was driven by the need to create 1) awareness for the accountability and 2) prevention for more crimes.

Regardless of the fact that the movement was doomed to fall apart, and that people are freer now, as Ray says, that they are coming out, rebuilding lives, etc. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH ACKNOWLEDGING THE TRUTH? Telling it like it is? No more lies, secrecy and denial? Isn't that something that CAN be done WHILE REBUILDING A LIFE?

When people on this board get a little brusque with some who come and try to repeat the same old stories, I understand them. They are free to express their point of view in light of the fact that there has never been a REAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the crimes committed.

While in the cult, we were subjected to a lot of propaganda and rhetoric. The rhetoric uses techniques that can be studied as "rhetorical fallacies."

You can google some of this stuff and find good sites with good example of how this works - this rhetoric is especially used in both religion and politics. It makes for some very effective propaganda. Here is just one site out of many:

Even though many of us are ex-cult members, the cultic thinking has not necessarily left all of us. It works in black and white, with either/or, with slippery slopes, with false dilemmas, false dychotomies, etc. etc.

Ray, you seem to be prone to reasoning that uses these types of fallacies to make a point. Examples:

<maybe someone feels called to a Nazi hunt> but...

<but I think it would be unfair to insist that those who put a priority on trying to rebuild their lives rather (than) pursue criminals are "nazi sympathizers">....

<forced reeducation programs...>

Let me try to get this straight:

- the acknowledgment of historical facts is NOT a "Nazi hunt."

- insisting or even demanding (on an online board!) that acknowledgment *does not mean* insisting that the people who are rebuilding their lives instead *pursue* criminals.

??? Where did that come from? Why this false dichotomy every time? Why if not this, then that?

How does this happen in your thinking? Is there some guilt, some residual confusion, some projections and residual cultic thinking fueling all or some of this?

You can rebuild your life AND acknowledge history.
You can rebuild your life AND admit to what took place.
You can rebuild your life AND when asked say, YES, it was wrong, it was horrible, and it should never happen again. Nobody should fuck little kids and encourage and protect others who do that. Nobody should cover for that - EVER.

And I sure hope the perpetrators smiling on the FB pages have broached this topic at the VERY LEAST privately with the people they have HURT and ABUSED to ask their forgiveness. Because if they have NOT, and they keep DENYING then the lack of healing will continue.

While a legal action may not be possible, this does not *exclude* so many other options. One of the big issues in healing from such traumas is tied to the secrecy and the lies.

Ray, you seem to think in either/or: either you are busy rebuilding your life, OR you are "pursuing criminals." Pursuing how?

Many of us have tried - while rebuilding our lives - to DONATE some of our time to cult awareness. Charity begins at home. And as ex-members of this destructive cult we felt a moral responsibility to educate the public and to SPEAK THE TRUTH as to what happened. And some of us paid dearly for that. And every person (FGA) or SGA who has put their name out there with these stories has paid a price. It took courage, especially when so many others were DENYING instead. (I am thinking about Watchman as I say this, but the list get longer as you know.)

Even these websites, it took a lot to put them together and it was done to HELP OTHERS. God only knows how many days and hours WC has spent working on this. Kudos to him and the coordinators.

Julia Mcneil (may she rest in peace) created She was VERY busy rebuilding her life, trying to heal from so much, looking for a job AND holding on to a job. And there are so many examples of people that wanted to at the very least call it what it was and not hide what took place.

That has NOTHING TO DO with a Nazi hunt - it has nothing to do with trying to tell people NOT to rebuild their lives and instead "pursue criminals."

It has a lot to do with the moral question that I mentioned, and with the need to pass down to other generations - at the very least - the historical truth of what happened, hopefully some wisdom, and a legacy that they can build on.

What can you build on lies, secrecy and denials? Even more when you CLAIM TO BE A CHRISTIAN, as current members/sympathizers of TFI do.

So even if some on this board are a little tough on some posters, I understand why they call a spade a spade. Tina is in her 30's I believe, and is well able to take that. If she comes and posts here she must know some issues may come up. Did she need an advocate? I think she did well for herself.

Was what was told to her by some posters a kind of "forced reeducation?" HOW? Nobody is forcing anything on anybody. Nobody CAN force anything on anybody on a board. People can choose to come to this board, post, see what happens, reply, not reply, leave, etc.

Ray, how exactly do you see this "forced" reeducation program? There are NO PREMISES in place here for something of this sort, so why do you mention that? I find that peculiar.

Justice starts with fessin' up and encouraging/exhorting/insisting that others fess up. This is one of the reasons why this website came into place.

I tend to be more diplomatic than some who post on this board, but I understand they are no vigilantes. They are people (like Perry, who went and got a law degree) who are appalled by what took place and say "never again," and try to practice that. They may be a little eager at times, but the level of atrocities we witnessed I think may well excuse that.

In my opinion justice and healing start with some sort of honesty and not with denial. So I agree with you about all that good stuff you say, but I will never agree that just because (some of) "the damage is history" (actually some people are still living with that damage) some of us cannot keep insisting - on these silly virtual boards - on the need, the importance, the value of fessin' up, WHILE we continue to rebuild our lives.

to be cont'd.

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