The View From 1776

Political Morality?

Liberal-progressives deny the existence of moral principles, but don’t hesitate to employ moral rhetoric to cudgel those who disagree with them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/31 at 07:00 PM
  1. Thomas,

    In your first paragraph, you pose the fascinating question of whether one should think less of a person's character when he disagrees with that person's politics. I assume you realize this cuts both ways. Do you think less of the character of Attorney General Holder or that of President Obama when you violently disagree with their politics? From the tenor of your writing, I infer that you actually do. (Please correct me if I am wrong on this point.)

    The second issue you raise is equally challenging. You criticize Justice Holmes for opining that if there were a popular movement to change the constitution, that doing so would be a terrible thing. (The extreme example given by Holmes was to change it to a Bolshevik format.)

    You are no doubt aware of the line in the declaration that says:

    "... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

    The constitution itself provides methods for amending the document when the majority sees a need to do so. So, your comments that Homes was off base seems hard to square with this history.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/01  at  07:01 PM
  2. Yes, everyone applies their moral "principles" to their political positions and analyses of others' positions, even when one's own seem much better thought out and concise and consistent while "those other guys' notions" seem to be arbitrary, unfounded, all over the map... Yes, different people hold different principles, and follow different trains of thought. Some people think moral principles can only come from God (or even gods or ancient aliens or totally fabricated myths), while others think they come from the inescapable nature of humankind (whether they believe that nature comes from God or not), while still others believe that moral principles are arbitrary, mutable, malleable... to be changed essentially at a whim as seems convenient.

    Yes, there are leftists who are Christians, Jews, Druids, animists, agnostics, atheists... some adhering to the generally recognized core principles of their religion more than others.

    Many both right and left believe they and their beliefs are more "scientific" than others, or more properly religious, or enlightened than others. Few adhere to the scientific method (of positing refutable hypotheses and then testing them against observations, and presenting data, and actual or proposed tests to the public to the extent possible, and then modifying or rejecting hypotheses according to new and ever more careful observations and cross-checks). Certainly not all who claim to be "scientists" or have various credentials as scientists adhere to the scientific method.

    Some, but not all, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druids, Hindus... cast aspersions on the enlightenment and on science. Some Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus... believe that evolution theory is more or less correct and some do not, and most don't think it is very important one way or the other.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/02  at  09:56 AM
  3. Mr. Jay, the first paragraph’s question was not my words, but a quote from a post by Peter Wehner. You are correct: I think much less of Obama and Holder because of their race-baiting and destructive socialistic policies.

    But that is not the point of my posting. Sorry if I didn’t make it sufficiently clear.

    My point is that liberal-progressives are estopped from using morality to criticize traditionalists, because liberal-progressives long ago explicitly denied the existence of moral principles.

    Another misunderstanding: Justice Holmes didn’t think that dumping the Constitution and adopting a Bolshevik government was a bad thing. He believed that politics and the law are merely expressions of whoever has the greatest power at the moment (legal realism and today’s critical legal theory). This is not a prescription for social and political order; it’s an endorsement of mob rule.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/03  at  03:36 PM
  4. I was reacting more to your words, Thomas,

    "Liberal-progressives deny the existence of moral principles, but don’t hesitate to employ moral rhetoric to cudgel those who disagree with them"

    than to the words of the cited article. Although, perhaps you are saying that your "headings" are merely summaries of the cited article and do not reflect your own editorial spin on the item.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/05  at  11:01 AM
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