Saturday, 17 February 2007

Allan Bloom (1930-1992) on Life-Plans

Nietzsche teaches that only a certain kind of man is capable of creativity, by which he does not primarily mean the writing of poems or the painting of pictures, but the production of values by which man can live. He wants the very thing Rawls claims to want—a variety of rich and satisfying “life-plans”—but he has thought through how one gets them and has some inner experience of what they are.

(Allan Bloom, “Justice: John Rawls Vs. The Tradition of Political Philosophy,” The American Political Science Review 69 [June 1975]: 648-62, at 655)


Hillary Clinton has decided not to apologize for authorizing the war in Iraq. This tells me that she’s more worried about (1) losing the general election than (2) losing the Democrat nomination. In other words, she thinks it’s more likely that the antiwar crowd will forgive her for not apologizing than that the American people will forgive her for flip-flopping.

There’s another interpretation, obviously. It’s that she’s taken a principled stand. This would be the case if she thinks it’s more likely that the American people will forgive her for flip-flopping than that the antiwar crowd will forgive her for not apologizing. I’m a charitable person, but even I can’t go that far. What do you think? Is she taking a principled stand, or has she calculated that apologizing is not in her interest?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

In “California Split” (Op-Ed, Feb. 10), Gar Alperovitz raises a serious question that our increasingly tense and polarized national politics may soon be forced to confront. Is the United States just too big?

Americans who want to see meaningful political action on any number of problems are frustrated by a Congress that is totally captured by elites that govern from the center, or, worse yet, ideologues who use slim majorities to force their agendas on a public they cannot persuade through political dialogue.

Why should millions of people in the Northeast or California be prevented from moving in the direction of other developed nations on issues like global warming and international human rights because voters in Texas and Tennessee disagree?

If the structure of the political community is undermining the democratic values it was designed to promote, then perhaps it is time for the structure to change.

Vincent D. Rougeau
Notre Dame, Ind., Feb. 10, 2007
The writer is an associate professor at Notre Dame Law School.

Note from KBJ: The solution is simple. Progressives such as the letter writer should move to the Northeast or California, where they can tax each other to death, open marriage to any combination of people and animals, force people to limit their energy consumption, give employment and educational preferences to people based on the color of their skin, prohibit and punish politically incorrect speech, and so forth. The rest of us prefer limited government.

A Year Ago