Thursday, December 6, 2007


Some pickings from the Freedom/Justice and Defining Liberty Brigades.

Bill Whittle
Are you in favor of Freedom? Well, who isn’t?

What about Justice? Put me down for that too.

Everybody wants freedom, and everybody wants justice… but it occurs to me, if you really get down to brass tacks, that pure freedom and pure justice are mutually exclusive.

For example, if one was truly free, utterly at liberty to do whatever one wanted, whenever they wanted to do it, then that person would leave a vast wake of injustice. To walk wherever you wanted: trespassing. To take what you wanted: stealing (or rape if it was who you wanted). If you were absolutely, utterly free you could murder at will. Or perhaps just drive as fast as you want.

The fact that you are not able to do any of these things puts constraints on your liberty. It limits your freedom to act. Thank God.
Read it all at .ejectejecteject

Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred on 12.05.07 blogs commentary from an US perspective regarding an essay by David Goodhart.

She chose two excerpts in particular from The discomfort of strangers.
“…And therein lies one of the central dilemmas of political life in developed societies: sharing and solidarity can conflict with diversity. This is an especially acute dilemma for progressives who want plenty of both solidarity (high social cohesion and generous welfare paid out of a progressive tax system) and diversity (equal respect for a wide range of peoples, values and ways of life). The tension between the two values is a reminder that serious politics is about trade-offs. It also suggests that the left’s recent love affair with diversity may come at the expense of the values and even the people that it once championed….”

Moreover, modern liberal societies cannot be based on a simple assertion of group identity - the very idea of the rule of law, of equal legal treatment for everyone regardless of religion, wealth, gender or ethnicity, conflicts with it. On the other hand, if you deny the assumption that humans are social, group-based primates with constraints, however imprecise, on their willingness to share, you find yourself having to defend some implausible positions…”
“…When solidarity and diversity pull against each other, which side should public policy favour? Diversity can increasingly look after itself - the underlying drift of social and economic development favours it. Solidarity, on the other hand, thrives at times of adversity, hence its high point just after the second world war and its steady decline ever since as affluence, mobility, value diversity and (in some areas) immigration have loosened the ties of a common culture. Public policy should therefore tend to favour solidarity in four broad areas.

…Negotiating the tension between solidarity and diversity is at the heart of politics. But both left and right have, for different reasons, downplayed the issue. The left is reluctant to acknowledge a conflict between values it cherishes; it is ready to stress the erosion of community from “bad” forms of diversity, such as market individualism, but not from “good” forms of diversity, such as sexual freedom and immigration. And the right, in Britain at least, has sidestepped the conflict, partly because it is less interested in solidarity than the left, but also because it is still trying to prove that it is comfortable with diversity.”
But in my reading of the original text I find this gem:
Thinking about the conflict between solidarity and diversity is another way of asking a question as old as human society itself: who is my brother, with whom do I share mutual obligations? The traditional conservative, Burkean view is that our affinities ripple out from our families and localities to the nation, and not very far beyond. That view is pitted against a liberal universalist one that sees us in some sense equally obligated to all human beings, from Bolton to Burundi - an idea that is associated with the universalist aspects of Christianity and Islam, with Kantian universalism and with left-wing internationalism.
Goodhart is not wrong about "the universalist aspects of Christianity and Islam, with Kantian universalism and with left-wing internationalism".

But some juxtapositions are hard to compare. Consider: Catholic charities supported the four decade mission of Mother Teresa in Calcutta, ministering to the poor, the sick and dying, widows and orphans, few of which were Christian. Some, a relative few, saw her example and converted.

In the heart of Islam, the house of Saud commits millions to fund Madrassas that teach two subjects: The Quran (memorized by rote in Arabic) and the Wahhabist doctrinal interpretation of it--jihad.

Muslim charities worldwide and--gaak--Western governments including the US send aid money almost directly to Hamas. Hamas must be laughing at us.

Kant wrote of the great expansion of enlightenment to reach all mankind in rejection of the purely empirical theory of Hume. There must be a willingness to come to reason, not the coerced method of indoctrination as evidenced by 'left-wing internationalism', err...Marxism.

I only want equality under the law in a land that values freedom. I don't wish for any special treatment. Some diversity-based groups don't share this belief. They want a special status under the law and a different set of behaviors--formerly frowned upon--to be not just accepted but embraced and celebrated.

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Gay Last Supper

In this era, with its celebration of diversity, it seems that the melting pot has become a stew pot with the lid on and the burner set at max. it's not constitutional for some groups to have elevated rights, and privileges still must be earned to be honored. Nothing illustrates this better than in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens (immigrant implies that one did more than swim a river or cross a desert). States that have passed these laws have elevated an illegal's rights to be above residents of the other 49.

"With liberty and justice for all".

Liberty meaning freedom to pursue your happiness within the constraints of the law.

Justice meaning equality under the law.

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