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Reductio ad absurdum

  • ALI INAN
  • Nov, 2020
  • 247
  • Editorial

A form of repudiation generally used in Philosophy and other arenas of inquiry is “Reductio ad absurdum” translated as “reducing to absurdity”.

Reductio ad absurdum is a manner of argumentation that hunts for establishing an argument by stemming an absurdity from its rejection; hence, contending that a proposition must be recognized because its denial would be indefensible. Such is the state of political affairs around the world. For instance, if A remains in power then democracy is in danger; if B can raise voice then state sovereignty is in peril. Other instances, if A wins the election then constitutional rights may suffer; if B is given freedom then national interest would be compromised. However, such notions fail to hold ground if investigated deeply. The scenario itself indicates a trend of reducing the political vision to absurdity and renders the political stage akin to the theater of the absurd. Hence, Politics in 2020 has been reduced to absurdity because it has been preoccupied with the negation trend, apagogical questions and appeals to the extremes.

Pakistan has been witnessing a consistent trend of disproving political opponents to the level of absurdity. All forms of negotiations seem futile. All attempts seem directed to chaos. Rhetoric appears anarchic in nature and actions remain monotonous. Protests are unnoticed, complaints unheard and issues remain unresolved. For one the other is an absurdity only, and it is religiously imperative to defame one another. Blame game is the order of the day, and no real attempt is made at addressing the root of evil. The current political spectrum presents a classical manifestation of the oft quoted dialogue from Beckett’s play ‘Waiting for Godot’ “…blaming on his boots the faults of his feet.”

United States of America is no different too. The first Presidential debate was as futile as the dialogue between Viladimir and Estragon in ‘Waiting for Godot.’ Both Biden and Trump were bent upon reducing each other’s argument to absurdity. Economy, health, politics, education and constitution all appeared secondary; the primary goal was to reduce each other’s argument to absurdity. It is a trend not to be praised. A convention not to be adopted. However, it is a popular tactic to gain popular support. A tactic that renders the democratic norms absurd and promotes a culture appalling in nature.

The year 2020 has been challenging in multiple ways. The implicit casualty has been politics around the world. The leaders seem to be clueless. They have been incapacitated by the emerging challenges. The Personalization of power has reduced institutions to absurdity and the politicians appear to be floundering in a politically absurd valley with no spiritual signpost. The attempts at reducing the opposing ideals to absurdity has wounded the faith of political adherents. The futility of political process and the senselessness of political rhetoric is the major challenge that may deconstruct the political future of mankind. Nothing but mere rhetoric has reduced political faith to absurdity. It is an irony that politics itself has reduced politics to absurdity.

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