Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
What should concern us is who stands in the way of solution, and why.
OBAMA IS ‘KENNEDY-ESQUE’?
I receive far more correspondence than I can reply to, but occasionally it may serve some of us at least to respond to a particular piece which reflects the disinformation and confusion we need to see our way through. I have no idea who Michael Gerson is, but I received and responded to this letter today:
EMAIL FROM “BILL” (2009 10 28)
Read and save………
Justice is what love looks like when it takes social form.
Giving democracy a dose of clarity
By Michael Gerson, Wednesday, October 28, 2009
There have been various attempts over the decades to bury moral philosophy ??to dismiss convictions about right and wrong as cultural prejudices, or secretions of the brain, or matters so personal they shouldn’t even affect our private lives.
But moral questions always return, as puzzles and as tragedies. Would we push a hefty man onto a railroad track to save the lives of five others? Should Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, in June of 2005, have executed a group of Afghan goatherds who, having stumbled on his position, might inform the enemy about his unit? (Luttrell let them go, the Taliban attacked, and three of his comrades died.)
These examples and others ??price-gouging after Hurricane Katrina, affirmative action, gay marriage ??are all grist for the teaching of Michael Sandel, perhaps the most prominent college professor in America. His popular class at Harvard ??Moral Reasoning 22: Justice ??attracts about a sixth of all undergraduates. For those lacking $49,000 a year in tuition and board, he has written “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” which has been further translated into a PBS series and a Web site, JusticeHarvard.org.
Sandel practices the best kind of academic populism, managing to simplify John Stuart Mill and John Rawls without being simplistic. His discussion of Immanuel Kant’s case against casual sex was almost enough to make me dig out my college copy of “Critique of Pure Reason.” Almost.
But Sandel is best at what he calls bringing “moral clarity to the alternatives we confront as democratic citizens.” In this cause, he outlines three attempts to define the meaning of justice, each with large public consequences.
Definition one is the maximization of social welfare ??the greatest happiness for the greatest number. But utilitarianism, in Sandel’s view, has glaring weaknesses. It allows no principled defense of individual rights. What if the sum of social happiness is increased by throwing a minority to the lions? And utilitarianism ultimately can make no distinction between fulfilling higher forms of happiness and degraded ones. Why should we prefer the pleasures of art museums to the pleasures of dog fighting?
A second definition of justice consists of respecting individual freedom. This approach can take the form of market-oriented libertarianism ??the belief that justice is identical to the free choices of consenting adults. Or it can have a more egalitarian expression, in which society is organized for the benefit of its least-advantaged members. But both of these views assume that government’s only job is to set fair rules and procedures; it is entirely up to free individuals to choose the best way to live.
Many Americans would find this view not only unobjectionable but also unassailable. Sandel assails it. “I do not think,” he says, “that freedom of choice ??even freedom of choice under fair conditions ??is an adequate basis for a just society.”
This equation of justice with freedom, he says, is unrealistic about the way human beings actually live. Our views of right and wrong, duty and betrayal, are not merely the result of individual free choice. All of us are born into institutions ??a family that involves our unconditional love, a community that elicits feelings of solidarity, a country that may demand a costly loyalty. Sandel argues that a liberal individualism cannot explain these deep attachments. We are “bound by some moral ties we haven’t chosen.”
Sandel, in the good company of Aristotle, contends that knowing “the right thing to do” in any of these institutions requires a determination of its purpose. And the purpose of government is not only to defend individual rights but also to honor and reward civic virtues ??patriotism, self-sacrifice and concern for our neighbor. This third definition of justice, by nature, is a moral enterprise.
Because Sandel is a progressive, he calls this approach “communitarian.” The stars of his political firmament are Robert Kennedy, for his call to vigorous citizenship, and Barack Obama, for his recognition that social justice is often based on moral ideals. But Sandel’s belief in family and community, his respect for religious motives and his defense of patriotism might also be called conservative, at least in an older sense of the term.
Sandel sets out to confront the most difficult moral issues in politics. He ends up clarifying a basic political divide ??not between left and right, but between those who recognize nothing greater than individual rights and choices, and those who affirm a “politics of the common good,” rooted in moral beliefs that can’t be ignored.
[Email omitted to preserve privacy of author.]
We live not in a democracy, but in a republic; and there are no “different kinds” of justice; there is one justice, which is defined by the bounds of liberty ??the actual maximum limits of liberty ??beyond which liberty would infringe upon and negate the equal liberties of others. As for the oxymoron of being “bound by moral ties we haven’t chosen…” since when do we not choose every such attachment? We have no control or perpetual choice in what we practice?
The divide Sandel must fail to clarify then is that a)?”those who recognize nothing greater than [but?] individual rights and choices” can only serve the purpose of breaching liberty, assumably hoping to attain and reserve for themselves the advantages of its excess (which are injustice); and b)?that “moral beliefs” therefore are no more (and no less) than to opine the natural bounds of liberty without regard for the qualifying arguments.
An example of both transgressions would be one generation claiming prosperity only by passing off criminal, insoluble, wholly artificial sums of debt to their own progeny ??likewise hoping to pass this off as justice, even as they would object to its double standard if they too were forced only by this irresponsibility, to bear an equal measure of its injustice. The generation claiming justice thus advocates injustice which is not merely “a moral or immoral ‘belief,’” but which further imposes an even ever diminishing possibility of prosperity, because what they call economy in fact merely presupposes (and does not justify) that we must borrow our own promises to pay at interest, which in turn makes it mathematically impossible even to maintain a vital circulation without perpetually re-borrowing principal and interest as ever greater and eventually terminal sums of debt. The assumed justice of the first generation, prospering relatively more under initial, far lesser sums of debt, certainly cannot be justified by the fact they refuse to acknowledge, much less to pay the public debt incurred by their time (and mere “moral belief”). On the contrary, to ask us to “believe” likewise is to ask us to accept the contradiction of purported prosperity which would be more than wiped out if the claiming generation *were* to pay the debts which are the only possible and terminal consequence of the system it presumes to justify by no more than claiming a “moral belief” which its very evasion of consequence of course invalidates.
The problem then with (or fault of) reducing the eternal and self evident bounds of liberty to mere “moral beliefs,” rather than facts of infringement, is that anyone wanting to breach the explicit bounds of liberty can argue against mere “moral beliefs,” because to express them only as such is to say only that this is what “I believe” versus what “you believe.” The very form of expression itself is completely (and usually intentionally) ignorant of the governing fact of infringement ??which even comprises the only possible prevailing arguments.
On the other hand, no one on the contrary can argue successfully against a case of exceeded bounds, because the compromising of the equivalent rights of others is always demonstrable. Worse then, the faults of “immoral beliefs” (asserting justice in exceeded/duplistic bounds) will always percolate to the fore, because their exercise can only compromise the equal liberties of others. In fact, this is the very reason we perceive and defend ourselves against injustice; and it is likewise the foremost governing principle which the design of a republic is in fact intended to preserve instead, in one, just liberty.
If it hasn’t already, time at least will prove who is right, even when whole generations hope for no more than to escape the consequences of their own undoings of liberty. But to call this morality only because it is an unqualified “belief” which can only serve that injustice ??that’s a stretch of truth which not only will never pass the ultimate scale of time, but the faults of which are unraveling before us in the very artificial, unnecessary, and unjust monetary failure before us.
Obama then can never rightly be considered a champion of liberty OR justice, so long as he serves the imposed systems of exploitation, which can only heap artificial debt upon us until we find nothing moral whatever in that preposterous pursuit which usurps a presumed authority to publish our promises to pay, not only to unjustifiably collect principal equal to all industry ever pretended to be “financed” by this obfuscation ??but further to multiply that artificial indebtedness until we are not only completely dispossessed by it, but can no longer afford either to produce, or to afford the artificial costliness of whatever little, unconsumed production might remain for some fast vanishing while.
If Obama is a saint for perpetuating that graft, then so are Geithner, Emanuel, Volker, Greenspan, and Alexander Hamilton ??against Jefferson, Adams, Monroe, Madison, Franklin, Jackson, and Lincoln. But the present men are hardly “Kennedy-esque” then either, for in fact JFK instead sought to remove this unassented and unwarrantable power from the so called Federal Reserve ??which of course, for the sake of its strictly adverse purposes, is neither federal nor an actual reserve of anything. Kennedy if you remember issued EO 11110, which at least sought to return us to a constitutional currency, even if it fell far short of a solution to the issues before us.
That famous EO, which so distinguishes Kennedy too from the current genre of men, of course has never been honored. And so, contrary to the pretended similarity of (a “Kennedy-esque”) intention, it is instead only in the same vein of corruption which of course ensued Kennedy’s assassination that, quite to the very opposite extreme, Obama has assembled all the very exploiters instead; and that instead, this is to preserve the unassented and unjustifiable system of exploitation, even as it works its final destruction.
founder, PEOPLE For Mathematically Perfected Economy?; author, mathematically perfected economy? (1979).
- MAIN SITE
- [?KEY?]??THE PROBLEM IS NOT DEBT!
- [?KEY?]??IF I WERE PRESIDENT ??HOW TO ARREST WORLD WIDE MONETARY COLLAPSE IN A DAY
- SYNOPSIS ??MATHEMATICALLY PERFECTED ECONOMY? REDUCED TO ITS BAREST THREAD
- PROBABILITY AND TIMELINE FOR WORLD-WIDE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE AS A CONSEQUENCE OF INTEREST
- EVALUATION OF JEFFERSON’S OPINION ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF A NATIONAL BANK
- WHY DON’T THE DEMOCRATS REVERSE WILSON’S ERROR, AND REPEAL THE FEDERAL RESERVE ACT?
“To find the players in all the corruption of the world, ‘Follow the money.’ To find the captains of world corruption, follow the money all the way.”
mike montagne ??founder, PEOPLE For Mathematically Perfected Economy?, author/engineer of mathematically perfected economy? (1968-1979)
? COPYRIGHT 2009, by mike montagne and PEOPLE For Mathematically Perfected Economy?.
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