Saturday, May 25, 2002

When you're called "unpardonable", you know you've hit home, or at the very least caught some attention. I won't do a point-for-point response (because those lead to nothing useful), but will respond generally. I'm also not overly worried about the hits, but thanks anyway.

First: every "individual right" recognized by a state and a society is a moral and ethical decision on the part of the state, the society, and the individuals that are the basis of both. Indeed, the concept of individual rights itself is not something to be taken for granted, nor is it something that is considered "God-given" outside of, perhaps, certain segments of the United States. If rights are morals, then those protecting and defending those rights (ie police) are at least indirectly defending the morals of society. The comparison I made is valid. One is free to criticize those morals and beliefs that are defended and the way in which they are defended, but the nature of the beast doesn't change. (Until it does: there's a reason that there's an appetite for reform in Iran)

Oh, and for the record, I don't support Islamic fundamentalism, but at the same time I don't support reflexive anti-Islamicism. (which was the context of the first post; the context that privateer left out)

Second, and this is a point I want to emphasize: I am not inflexibly and irrationally anti-conservativism. I am a liberal and have no problem identifying myself as such, but I'm not about to call conservatives "evil" unless they deserve it. I have no idea why Privateer cited Welch; that post of Welch's was a cesspool of strawman arguments and ludicrous generalizations, including the typical identification of the entire left with the cartoonish decontextualized version of Chomsky that the right loves to beat on. (If Horowitz got savaged by liberals half as much as Chomsky is by conservatives...). If nothing else, I am most certainly not willing to admit that the "United States is the primary source for geopolitical good"; not without much better evidence than Welch brings to the table.

Third and final point: a common argument I've heard from the right about the left is that "you can't say 'socialism wasn't done properly'; it either works, or it doesn't. Since it killed people, it didn't work. Therefore, since total state control doesn't work, it can't work in any case". The "bad implementation" argument, IOW, does not work if Walkerton is taken into account, because it leaves the right in a bind: either they have to give up the first argument (and therefore their chief argument against socialism specifically or state control generally falls apart) or the latter argument (and therefore the moral superiority of their position falls apart; there is no reason to necessarily believe that a private market can do a better job). Whether it was "done wrong" or not is immaterial; the people are dead either way, and one has to decide where the fault lies. In the case of that judge and that case, the fault was found in the ideology itself.

By the way, considering that removing progressive taxation (as he advocates) would utterly change how our society works, I hardly think that deregulating "the least important things" fits that case. How, exactly, does one define "the least important things" after the life-threatening level, anyway?

Thanks for the link and the discussion, but I'm not about to cede the point just yet.

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