I see an odd dichotomy in your post. On one hand you reference an obligation to God's work, yet in the very next sentence you dismiss acting in God's stead. I see it as a simple choice-- we can either do everything within our ability to improve the lives of others or we do nothing at all. How will we answer God when He asks, "Why did you help your fellow American but not all of your fellow men?"I'm glad you asked this. I think this is an area a lot of people are confused about. Yes, there is a difference between doing G-d's will and playing G-d. Doing what you can to help others and better the world is doing G-d's will. Using governmental power to compel the taxpayers to do so is PLAYING GOD.
What's fluff is anthropomorphizing spotted owls to make a point about human political ideals.They don't need to be "anthropomorphized" to make my point. You see, that's just it. You view humanity's divisions as arbitrary, but if I wanted to follow you into the intellectual abyss of post-modernism, I could say the same thing about species distinctions.
If spotted owls were rationally capable of voting in an election I would wonder why they were not included.I fear getting sidetracked, but this is interesting. What constitutes "rational capability"? By what standards and criteria are such things to be measured? Who gets to make that determination and by what right?
Instead, to each their kingdom.Indeed.
I support environmental initiatives to preserve the spotted owl species and their native habitat even at the expense of corporate profits and even some human dead-weight loss.Wow! Can I occaisionally borrow that crown of yours that gives you the right to determine which humans are "dead weight" and which ones are are not?
By that same rationale I support the continued efforts to promote freedom from terror and oppression even at the expense of human lives, whether they be American or Sudanese.Two things: (1)You not only support the efforts to do those things, but you also support the efforts to use force to make others support the efforts to do those things. (2) How many human lives are expendable to you? I mean, after all, one way to end terror and oppression could be to kill everyone who's being terrorized and oppressed. Would you countenance that? Why not?
Although it is tradition, the belief that all those deserving the benefits of our way of life somehow make it here is preposterous.It certainly is preposterous: just as preposterous as the ideas of people arrogant enough to believe themselves worthy of determining what everyone else deserves and who they deserve to get it from.
If I believe in the equality of man, and the inalienable rights bestowed upon us by our creator, then I believe in that for ALL people.Even the "dead-weight" people and the people whose lives you're willing to expend to pursue your ideological goals? Also, believing in the equality of man is something quite apart from believing oneself capable or worthy of bringing it about. I don't mean this as an insult, but I have to seriously wonder about whoever it was on this forum who considered you a member of the "far right." Your ideology seems, ultimately, to stem more from Rousseau, post-modernism, Trotskyism. You seem to not only be a socialist internationalist, but an ardent and radical one at that. Any agreement you have with conservative or capitalist ideas seem to be only when you recognize the utility of them. If I'm wrong, I apologzie, but please tell me how I'm wrong without getting angry.
Although I'm hardly a utopianist, I'd have to say that your view of political order is fairly cynical.It's not cynicism, it's conservatism.
Political initiatives to improve the human condition have come out of both adversity and harmony. Has one promoted more advancement than the other? It could very well be. To limit our understanding of how we as a society improve to historical methods ignores the natural order of things, IMHO. We improve upon our processes until the most efficient, beneficial process evolves. There is no reason to believe that our political structure is immune from this pressure.I'm sure you realize that you're essentially advocating for the radical communist concept of permanent revolution. But anyway, which "natural order of things" are you referring to? Please explain it to me. Also who gets to decide upon the "improvement processes" you speak of? And by what right?
Our system was certainly instituted for such a purpose, but the ideals our system was founded on are universal.Just because a government has been founded on universalist principles doesn't mean it has either the right or capability to become a world government. But I actually don't believe our system is a purely universalist ideological construct the way that Radical Islam, Soviet Communism, and the ideas behind the French Revolution are.
There is no exclusion for governmental power in terms of doing God's will.That's something that a Shi'ite Ayatollah might agree with, but not something I'd subscribe to. While we're on the subject of what should be done with governmental power: do you share this same view for domestic plicy? There are many in America who live in terror from violence and lack of economic power to better themselves. Should taxes be raised to redistribute wealth to these people?
You don't believe that ascribing a completely human act unto a spotted owl in order to prove a point is anthropomorphizing? I disagree.I'm not trying to say it's not anthropomorphizing. I'm trying to say that it doesn't matter if it is or not.
Species distinctions are just that. Distinctions.Exactly. And I see national borders and the separations of families, nation states, cultures, and peoples as important distinctions as well. You can't have your post-modernist ideology and eat it too.
There is no serious movement (I emphasize the word serious) to endow non-human species with the same rights and obligations as humans themselves.Is moral legitimacy established by volume? Nazism, Communism, and Radical Wahabbism are all serious movements, but do they really deserve more moral legitimacy than VHEM? I honestly think they have LESS moral legitimacy than VHEM since VHEM isn't forcing anyone to do things their way.
In terms of spotted owls and voting? I don't know. The ability to actually go through the process of voting without any help, supervision and/or prompting would be a useful start.There are people who vote who don't meet all of the above criteria. We ARE getting sidetracked now, though. I'm ok with leaving the owl discussion alone at the moment. I'm just trying to point out the importance of divisions and distinctions to prevent the utter silliness that world politics would be without them. Certainly divisions are often fuzzy, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Speciation, for example, is fuzzy: there have been experiments with plants wherein Plant A is able to polinate plants B & C, but B & C are unable to pollinate each other. Donkeys and horses can mate and produce offspring, but are still members of different species.
I'm disappointed. Dead-weight loss is an economics terms associated with the value lost by certain actions.Thank you. I didn't know that. Somehow, I'll manage to overcome my sense of shame.
This is different from sitting by and watching the Sudanese slaughter thousands of innocent people how?Because the course of action you suggest involves taking from others and exploiting them without their consent. And also because it's the difference between negative and positive action. I don't subscribe to the radical leftwing Cass Sunstein view that there is no difference between negative and positive obligation. But you apparently do hold such a belief. The question is how far you're willing to go with it: you can always do "more." You could donate all your discretionary income to hire mercs to guard innocent Sudanese Christians, but what's discretionary? Do you really need computer and internet access? For that matter, do you even really need a second kidney? You could sell yours on the Chinese black market and donate the proceeds. Or you could realize that you don't have a positive obligation to liquidate yourself, pull your nose out of their business, and go back to a peaceful, productive life. And please don't insult my intelligence by making some reference to 'the Kitty Genovese Syndrome'. That BS has seen its day.
I think any question of how many lives would be "expendable" is a fairly insincere one that is beneath you. I never said, nor have I ever implied, that human lives are "expendable".Don't think that throwing a hissy fit will get you out of answering the question. No one called you a "chickenhawk." You've stated that you favor intervention and that American and Sudanese lives are part of the price you're willing to pay for that. The fact that your own life is part of that price only protects you from the charge of hyprocrisy--not any other charge. So the question remains, how many lives? Can it ever be too many? Again, you could easily end terror and oppression by killing all those who are terrorized and oppressed!
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