Monday, July 03, 2006

July 4th

On July 4th let’s remember those who fought for our freedom. Oliver North does as does and Donald Rumsfeld who says:

"This Fourth of July across America, families will enjoy picnics, and parades, and the uplifting beat of "Stars and Stripes Forever." But our celebrations are tempered by the knowledge that the freedoms we hold sacred and dear have once again come under attack."

Our fellow bloggers express their thoughts: George Mason, AOW, Mustang, and Jack Wheeler. Wheeler writes:

"We Americans are privileged to live in one of history's supreme moments. We Americans are participants in one of history's greatest civilizations in its prime. Someday in some future epoch, history will have moved on, and there will be distant centuries between that time and the American Era. People will then look upon America as we do upon ancient Egypt or Greece, and will do so with same wonder and awe.

I suggest you look upon America with that wonder and awe now.

America is the most moral and humanitarian nation ever to exist. The gifts it has freely given the world -- of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, of proclaiming that all human beings have a moral right to their own personal happiness, of capitalist wealth and scientific progress throughout the world, of sacrificing oceans of blood to end Nazi and Tojo tyranny, of oceans of treasure to assist other countries and foreign peoples, of ridding the world of the curse of the Soviet Union, on and on and on -- are incalculable."

Update1: Edward Hudgins reminds us of what the founding fathers thought.
Update2: And here's what John Lewis thinks about how to fight today's enemy.
Update3: Kevin let’s Jefferson say it. Doug is simply on target. Edwin Locke explains our greatness at CapMag. But Cox and Forkum are bitter sweet.
Update4: For Robert Bove, it's a Cagney moment. Nicholas Provenzo (and George Mason) reprint the Declaration of Independence--let it inspire a revival. R. J. Rummel cheers America's role in the world. L.A.Sunsett remembers that freedom is not free.


Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thank you for including me in your round-up.

look upon America with that wonder and awe now.

Our freedoms are so precious, purchased by both sword and pen.

7/3/06, 4:56 PM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

With regard to the issue of equality, it has been said that there should not be any benefit given to one party that is not bestowed equally upon all. For example, if a farmer is subsidized to keep him from losing his farm or standard of living, then all of us (businessman, laborer, writer, etc.) should be equally subsidized. Similarly, if government intervention protects any party, it should protect all parties. The consequence of equality would be to keep government from intervening in education, the economy, and all cultural areas (with the exception of when needed for survival).

As to the moral equivalence between the aggressor and the victim, this is upheld by presuming that morality is found in physical acts, such as firing a gun. *Yet physical acts do not constitute morality, but rather the intentions behind the acts.* An aggressor intends to take what belongs to another, while a defender intends to hold on to what is his. That is why *an aggressor's behavior renders him a worse person, while a defender's behavior renders him a better person*. It is rather when someone does not defend himself that he becomes a worse person.

The logic of moral equivalence is to view the mugger who knifes a person, as one does a surgeon who operates. Since both employ a knife, and both cause pain, their behavior is presented as comparable. Yet that is an intrinsicist interpretation, finding morality in physical activity, whereas it is in the mind that one makes moral choices.

It should be evident that it is not the act, but the intention that matters. Still, given the prevalent view, it pays to explicate matters. Suppose someone grabs a party to steal his wallet, which inadvertently saves him from dying in traffic. Can we view his act as moral since it saved a life? Conversely, suppose someone gives a dehydrated man some requested water. Can we view him as immoral if it leads to internal injuries?

Morality applies to man's intentions, rather than to consequences.

7/3/06, 5:57 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I just stumbled across this posting, entitled "What Happened after We Gained Our Independence?" Thought you might be interested.

7/4/06, 6:26 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Allen's analysis is preceptive and correct.

Thanks, AOW for the link. I only had time to read some of it but I like re-reading what our founding fathers thought after their encounter with Islamic terrorism. People don't realize that this isn't something new.

7/4/06, 7:41 AM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

When I read Jason’s statement “Allen's analysis is preceptive and correct” I thought he meant to write “perceptive”. Yet that analysis was based on the precepts that there be ‘equality before the law’, and that ‘morality be gauged by intentions’. Moreover, my orientation continually aims at ascertaining the fundamentals involved in political issues, which generally turn out to be moral precepts. There is one generic issue that continually requires this orientation.

Consider that when the liberals (and the left) impede the war effort, people argue about the facts of each case, be it American misbehavior in Iraq, or secrecy by the Bush administration. Now it is always possible that the facts in a given incident are on the side of the liberals. Yet when they consistently impede whatever protects America, while doing everything that defends the enemy, it is no longer an issue of the facts in a given case, but the intent of the liberal.

Yet, the intent to fight against America’s interests is due to their logic of finding fault with America. It derives from a ‘morality’ based on class warfare, where the wealthy (or “imperialists”) are guilty, while morality lies in protecting the underdog. Yet justice is supposed to be blind, not seeing who a person is, or what group he belongs to, but only the facts regarding the crime. Thus if one man kills another, his guilt or innocence is not determined by his class, but by his aggression.

(This is not to say that in the mind of the liberal he is trying to harm America, for he believes that his attacks are helping to build a better world. It is rather that the logic of attacking America, while defending her detractors, leads to destruction.)

Now the liberals present a disguised viewpoint of the class struggle, claiming that they want justice, which always takes the form of attacking the productive, while defending the destructive. Still, they have a clear position. It is the conservatives who lack a supporting theory, for they cannot bring themselves to say that we are against whomever engages in aggression, and will defend whomever is the victim. (Only a rare person such as Ayn Rand can consider that the productive rich are persecuted by the unproductive mass.)

In short, the bottleneck in fighting the war of ideas with the left, is that our side is not preceptive, but allows the precepts of the left to be unopposed. One almost never encounters a blog (such as Liberty and Culture) that provides a fundamentally different precept, namely that ‘justice should reign regardless of who it applies to’.

7/4/06, 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again Jason for another great roundup!

7/4/06, 6:42 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Allen, I didn’t have the time to respond in more detail to your first post. You’ve explained a good part of what people call “politically correct.” A central element is “moral equivalence” and context-dropping, or more exactly, ignoring the intentions that make an act intelligible. Thus a victim who defends himself/herself is seen as “no better” than the perpetrator. But in actuality, the purpose for being violent in the case of the thief and victim makes the former’s act atrocious and the latter’s act appropriate and praise-worthy. Most people with common sense realize this. Yet we see the “moral equivalence” argument dominate the analysis of leftist pundits.

You discuss the egalitarian worldview in your second post. And, interesting enough, the egalitarian worldview doesn’t lead to treating everyone in a fair and equal matter based on their actions but leads to punitive action against people of achievement. Thus we see laws singling out the rich for punitive action in domestic politics and anti-Americanism in international politics.

You didn't use the phrase "politically correct" itself but many readers will reach for that phrase when reading what you wrote. Recently, I was thinking how often the phrase “politically correct” is used without arriving at a conceptual understanding of the phenomena. Those who are appalled at the PC mindset and those who embody the PC mentality look at each other in amazement. I wonder if anyone has written about what PC means, where it comes from, and what attracts some to this way of seeing the world. You’ve given it a good start. I’ve thought about writing on the topic but it is a major undertaking.

Still, there are philosophical concepts that elucidate what the catch-phrase, politically correct, is referring to. Pulling all the symptoms and sub-issues together by getting to the essence would be an excellent contribution. Stephen Hicks talks about post-modernism in his book, Postmodernism. But he stays at an academic level. You’ve brought good philosophical insight to the issues of the day and showed how it explains what’s happening. You really must start a blog so you posts don’t get buried in my comments section.

7/5/06, 8:28 AM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

Jason, as is usual, I agree with what you wrote. I suspect that we were separated at birth (or else that you have broken the code, and are plagiarizing my secret writings).

Yes, today we tend to ignore the intentions that make an act intelligible. So that a victim is “no better” than a perpetrator. Next, the egalitarian worldview “leads to punitive action against people of achievement.”

I further agree that we should ascertain the root of being 'politically correct', which I believe is partly due to finding morality in gratifying mass desires, rather than in justice (which I define via ‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’).

We do however have different priorities. Yours is primarily influencing others, and secondarily furthering your own edification, while mine is the reverse. (That is, you are a teacher/student, while I am a student/teacher.) Thus it is within your comments section, including the offline criticism of my positions, that I am edified.

7/5/06, 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often wonder, "What exactly do 'liberals" think they're celebrating on the Fourth of July?" The mere exchange of a foreign set of rulers for a home-grown set of rulers seems like a trivial thing for them to celebrate, especially since modern-day collectivist "liberalism"'s State worship far exceeds that of the most hidebound 18th Century. Tory. In fact, I think of today's pseudo-liberals as "Welfare State Tories." Why they should commemorate a tax revolt triggered off when the Crown's armed thugs tried to confiscate privately-owned weapons and munitions is a mystery to me. Maybe Lord Duckworth will enlighten us.

7/5/06, 12:04 PM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

Jason mentioned how my diatribe could have benefited by use of the term 'politically correct'. Actually, I can speak with authority on the subject.

My first foray was in 1987, at GE, in Pennsylvania, where its management was required to take a course in diplomacy. The lecturer asked one of us what he thought of unions, and received the reply "I don't like them!" The lecturer explained how he is entitled to his opinion, but the diplomatic thing to say is 'they have their place' for it doesn't upset anyone. A while later he raised the question "What do you think of minorities?" I responded that I didn't want to upset anyone, "so my answer is they have their place."

In 1991, such courses were required at Bellcore (now Telcordia). All of us had to take at least one each year. The first course I took was on Women's Rights. There the idea was that anything that fits a man suits a woman as well. At one point during the course, I affirmed the thesis, and told about Jack and Sally (who were eating supper). Fred calls and asks Sally if Jack can join the boys tonight. She tells Jack that there is no reason why she can't go as well, because she bowls as well as he, can also drink him under the table, etc. In short anything that he can do, she can do as well. So Jack says "I'm convinced" and takes the phone. He says to Fred "Yes, I'll be able to make it tonight, and one more thing, line up another broad."

My final course was on dealing with gays, which was taught by an apt representative. Here the message was that whenever people say anything critical of gays, it is because they are homophobic. Then he asked "Why do people tell gay jokes?". I answered "Because they're funny; did you hear the one about why a queer is just like an alka-seltzer?" He didn't allow the punch line, and turned from me in disgust.

Yet in all three courses, I received a certificate of having met the requirements. So I need no reminder about being politically correct, for I are one.

7/6/06, 10:19 AM  

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