idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Are you REALLY asking me to define what a primary source is?
I know what a primary source is. I also know that what you're asking for has nothing to do with what you normally get from a primary source.
No wonder you have such a terrible grasp of history, your teachers clearly sucked.
That's funny. It really really is. I always love it when someone who clearly doesn't grasp the concept of what he's discussion attempts to tell someone who does (that's me, btw) that he doesn't know what he's talking about. It's not "fall on the floor" funny, but still amusing as hell.
A primary source is one that goes to the root of the problem. Do I have to define root for you too? If you are discussing how literature has changed over a period of 100 years, the actual pieces of literature are your primary source.
Yup. And if we want to know *what* that literary source said, that would be the use of such a primary source. But that would not be where we'd go for *why*. You do understand that you're asking me to prove why a law was passed
, and not what the law says.
Literary critiques might be a secondary source.
Yup. And that's where you'd learn "why" something was written, or even what it meant. Do you see how anything beyond the literal words that are physically written on the page cannot ever be determined by going to a "primary source"? Of course, anyone who actually understood the concept of a primary source, would know this. But you don't. I do though.
If you are discussing how literary critique had changed, then those critiques would be primary sources (and scholarly articles on these changes, or citing changes, would be secondary sources).
Yup. You're almost there
You are making a claim that these laws and benefits were established for a specific reason. A primary source goes back to the very root of those laws and benefits. A primary source might be text from the law, text from the court that passed the law (on it, obviously), content from speeches made concerning the law (by those who PASSED it or proposed it), house debates on it, etc.
Correct. And if laws were written by single individuals like pieces of literature, we could have primary sources of the reasons *why* they were written with the words they contained. But since they aren't, then all such writings are secondary sources. They must be. When Jefferson wrote his bit about the "wall of separation" between church and state, that cannot be considered a primary source for what the 1st amendment means, can it? It's only and always a secondary source. It's one person's opinion about what that amendment means. An important opinion, certainly, but not primary because nothing other than the actual words in the law can *ever* be considered a primary source.
Opinion pieces published in newspapers at the time would not be primary sources. Opinion pieces published now definitely aren't.
Yup. But what you're demanding can only be found in the equivalent of opinion pieces written at the time, or written after that time
. There is no primary source for *why* a law is written. The closest we can come is the incredibly rare occasion in which the body of the law itself contains a detailed reason. And even then, it's subject to interpretation, right? Consider the following: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Notice how the first part is an explanation of why this particular bit of law exists? It's as primary a source of "why" that can ever possibly exist for a law, right?
Get back to me when everyone agrees on what the first clause of that amendment actually means. Then get back to me when we agree on what separation of church and state means. Or any of a hundred other legal concepts.
It's an incredibly simple concept. A primary source gives you a primary account of what you are studying.
And only the most simple minds think that this works in the world of law and politics. It's *all* opinion. It's all interpretation. There is no single primary source that tells us exactly what a law means, much less why it was passed. If there was, there'd kinda be no need for a Supreme Court, would there?
And are you seriously going to deny that a source from the "Catholic Defense" blog, or the Marriage Law Foundation ("to defend and protect marriage between a husband and wife") aren't biased.
Of course not. The difference between you and I is that I understand that *all* sources which express an opinion about why a law is passed will be biased. You (and to be fair a lot of liberals based on the frequency with which this particular demand for sources of opinions is raised) labor under the absurd belief that there's some magical authoritarian source of all information which can tell us who is right and who is wrong. But in the case of interpreting the law, or determining why laws are written, there isn't. There can't be. You're delusional if you think there is.
What's so funny about this is that you also can't provide any "primary source" showing that the laws were written for some other reason anyway. But that lack does not prevent you from insisting that if I can't find one that supports my position that I must be wrong and you must be right. You can't apply the same logic to your own position. It's like a blind spot or something. If you can't do the same thing you're demanding that the other side do, then the fact the other guy can't do it never proves you right or him wrong. It means that you're asking for something that is meaningless (or nonhelpful) to the argument at hand.
If your point is obvious, is infallible, is so definitely true, then you should have no issues whatsoever in providing us with documents from the time of establishment that these laws/benefits were created for the reasons you describe.
I can't provide you with anything you would accept as an unbiased, let alone primary, source. And you can't do so either. So how about we accept that any source will be biased, and non-primary, and move on?
The best we can do is look at the primary source (the laws themselves) and ask the question "what does this do?". Then we can ask "Why would someone want to do what this law does?". That's what I've done, and which is the proper way to approach this. And as I've repeatedly stated, despite constant insistence that I'm wrong, not one person has yet produced a counter explanation. Why do *you* think that the government created all those benefits and limited them in the way they did?
If you can't answer that question yourself, then you somewhat lose the grounds to question my answer. Try providing an alternative and arguing why your alternative is better than mine. Failing that, you lose. That's how arguments are supposed to work, right? The guy with the best explanation wins. I have one. You don't. Therefore, I win by default. Edited, Feb 28th 2012 7:20pm by gbaji