“Bias”?

This story asks whether the current political tradewinds exhibit an anti-Catholic “bias” and I think it circles around a fairly sensible answer.  The reflection is occasioned by some of the events that we have been discussing at CLR Forum. 

Usually when people use the term “bias,” they mean some sort of totally irrational judgment which is also unfair and perhaps even unintelligible.  But if this is the meaning of “bias,” it does not seem to me to apply in this context.  We are living in an age when (some of) the beliefs and moral views of the Catholic Church are being (or, perhaps better, have been) rejected, but the reasons for the rejection generally do not strike me as irrational or unfair, let alone unintelligible.  Just as the reasons adduced by Catholics for the positions that they hold are not irrational or unintelligible, so too are the opposed reasons not “biased” in this way.  In fact, it sometimes seems to me that the epithet “bias!” slips a little too easily from the mouths of the warring camps, as a rapidly economical way to delegitimize the much more difficult and entrenched problem of genuinely intractable disagreement.  — MOD

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