In an ideal world, people would vote for or against political candidates solely on the basis of their beliefs, values, or character. It would not matter that someone is black or white, male or female, tall or short, attractive or unattractive, able-bodied or disabled. Ours is not an ideal world, however. There are people who will vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s a woman. In light of this, is it permissible for people to vote against her simply because she’s a woman? I believe it is. To refrain from doing so would be to take the moral high road, but the moral high road in this case is a road to nowhere, for politics is about winning, not moral purity. What we have here is a Hobbesian assurance problem. All of us would be better off if nobody voted on the basis of sex (or other irrelevant characteristics). But unless I’m assured that my fellow citizens will act on this principle when they enter the voting booth, it’s not in my interest to do so. Why should I forbear to do what others are doing? Perhaps we should allow people to vote only if they can articulate a reason for doing so—a reason that makes reference to the candidates’ beliefs, values, or character. That would solve the assurance problem. What do you think? I was prompted to write about this because of Dick Morris’s latest column.
Thursday, 10 May 2007
I should admit up front that I’ve never been a fan of Bob Dylan. I’ve never owned one of his albums (in any format) and I don’t care for his music. Many of you probably think of Dylan as a progressive. Think again. Sean Curnyn and others (such as philosopher Stephen H. Webb) argue that Dylan has been misappropriated by the Left. Not having heard many of Dylan’s songs or read many of his interviews, I’m not competent to judge, but I have seen some utterances by Dylan that put him squarely in the conservative camp. See here and here.
To have an ideal . . . is to think of some kind of thing as pre-eminently good within some larger class. Thus, if I have a conception of the ideal sports car, this is to think of some particular description of sports car as pre-eminently good within the kind, sports car—I might say, ‘The ideal sports car would have precise steering, vivid acceleration, powerful and reliable brakes, &c.’ To have a moral ideal is to think of some type of man as a pre-eminently good type of man, or, possibly, of some type of society as a pre-eminently good one. The intractability of the conflict between the Nazis and at any rate their Western opponents was due to the fact that the Nazis’ ideals of man and of society were utterly different from those of, for example, liberal Englishmen or Americans. If it had been a question merely of conflicting national interests, a reconciliation might, given patience, have been arrived at by each side saying to itself ‘Which of our interests have to be sacrificed in the major interest of peace?’ (bargaining); or by saying ‘Which of our interests is such that its pursuit by any nation in like circumstances is a principle that we can accept?’ (morality). But what the Nazis and their opponents were in conflict about were themselves principles. The Nazis thought a certain kind of society and a certain kind of man pre-eminently good—and it was a kind of man and of society which liberals, with their different ideals, could not but abhor.
(R. M. Hare, Freedom and Reason [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963], 159 [ellipsis added])
Read this. Have you seen the video of this child molester? How old was the girl he abused? The New York Times refuses to say. Why? Is it politically incorrect to hold black men responsible for their criminal conduct? All the reporter says is that the victim (whom it refers to as “a fan”) was “under 18.” She’s 15! How would you like your 15-year-old daughter to be thrown around like a rag doll by an “entertainer”? This thug Akon should be prosecuted for battery and for sexual contact with a child. See here for Michelle Malkin’s post on this matter.
Addendum: The reporter implies that Verizon is racist for dumping Akon but not for dumping Pete Wentz or Keith Urban. But there’s a relevant difference. Neither Wentz nor Urban harmed anyone! We need a name for the propensity to find racism everywhere. How about “racism-ism”?
Addendum 2: I did a quick search and found the video.
Rudy Giuliani thinks he can win the Republican presidential nomination by supporting abortion rights. That he could believe such a preposterous thing is the best evidence yet that he is incompetent to be president.
I’m going to explain this one time, so listen up. When you get an opposing player in a rundown, the ball should be thrown no more than twice. The first thing you do is throw the ball to the fielder at the forward base (as opposed to the backward base). This fielder runs the runner back. As soon as the runner dives for the base, the ball is thrown. The runner will be put out, as if he were trying to steal the base. The worst thing that can happen if you do it this way is that the runner makes it back to the base from which he came. I just saw the New York Yankees chase a runner home (instead of back to third). He made it safely. Idiots! By the way, my adopted Texas Rangers are ahead, 14-2.
Here is Daniel Henninger’s latest column. Notice that he doesn’t mention one of the most important issues for conservatives: illegal immigration. I wonder why. Wait. He works for The Wall Street Journal. The Journal advocates open borders, i.e., erasure of national boundaries. Now it makes sense. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
To the Editor:
Nowhere in “Answering Al Qaeda” does Clark Kent Ervin address the real problem, mentioned merely in passing at the close of his second paragraph, that “the supply of young people who are willing and even eager to attack America seems limitless.”
What do those young people see when they look at America? A country that spends vast amounts on its military; a breathtaking hubris and arrogance that feels it can disregard the facts on the ground or in the street because “we’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality”; a dangerous combination of triumphalism combined with a naïve idealism; a lack of historical consciousness; and a political elite that thinks nothing of dragging a country to war based on lies.
While in no way condoning the murderous rage of these young people, until we understand its source, we will fail miserably at making our country and world a safer place.
Stanislao G. Pugliese
Rockville Centre, N.Y., May 8, 2007
The writer is a professor of history at Hofstra University.
Note from KBJ: It sounds like the letter writer is “condoning the murderous rage of these young people,” for he certainly seems to be saying that Americans deserve to be attacked by them. The bottom line—I hope the letter writer agrees with this—is that it’s wrong to kill innocent people. Why should it matter what motivates the murderer? Suppose we learn that a man raped a woman because he resented her wearing revealing clothing in public. What follows from this? That he’s not culpable? That the woman is culpable? That she should not have been wearing what she was wearing? Shifting the focus from the murderer or rapist to the victim is to displace or diffuse responsibility for the crime. The letter writer might reply that he’s not making a moral claim. All he’s doing is pointing out that it’s not in the interest of women to wear certain types of clothing in certain places at certain times. If they were to change their behavior, they’d be safer. True, but then the criminals win, don’t they? Just as women have a right to wear what they want, even if it offends or outrages rapists, Americans have a right to spend what they want on their military, to be hubristic, to be arrogant, to be triumphalist, to be idealistic, and to lack “historical consciousness,” even if it offends or outrages Jihadists. As for the part about the “political elite” dragging the country to war “based on lies,” that’s a lie.