Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Basic Philosophical Difference

ArchPundit quotes an unlinked Alan Keyes, who quotes an unlinked Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, who declares...well, I'm not too sure what his point is, or who he is criticizing. Our institutions are failing because of a "political and moral crisis that has been building for years," and "we are also tragically watching our country’s political institutions, our people’s moral fiber, and most vividly, our allegiance to the principle of the rule of law—clearly beginning to fray and rend under the terrible stress of Katrina’s devastation."

I really don't think he's arguing the same political and moral crisis that I would argue, and I don't know how the rule of law is being frayed by the stress any more than would have happened at any other time under similar circumstances. I agree with this passage, though I doubt I agree the way he would have meant it
But we have known for some time that our national capacity for goodness and greatness as a people has been under assault. Now we see how insufficient has been our national response to the political and moral crisis that has been building for years.

Our national (Federal Government) capacity, as determined by many conservatives who believe that government isn't meant to help people; people need to help themselves, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, sink or swim. The national (Federal Government) response to human suffering in this situation was slow because of that attitude coupled with the attitude that the Federal Government is meant to enrich one's unqualified friends who need jobs at FEMA.

Be that as it may, I noticed this one sentence
America is a nation of laws, not of men. Lawlessness—or casual regard for human worth and the institutions of society—will not prevail.

Since I started thinking about such things, I always thought that laws were created to serve man, man was not created to serve laws. If a law is unjust, for example, there is a moral imperative to disobey and challenge it. A society may have laws which reflect a casual regard for human worth and institutions.

Mr. Gilchrist needs to be more specific in what he is railing against. Is the casual regard for human worth he fears based on the criminal behaviors he's heard of in NOLA, or is it the response some have had which blame those stuck there for not leaving? Is the casual regard for the institutions of society he fears based on the looting of pharmacies and shooting of helicopters, or is it the lackadaisical response of the Federal Government which doesn't seem to value itself as an institution?

Isn't it interesting how the same words used by people with different basic philosophies can have radically opposite meanings? If that's what he meant.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
Join | List | Previous | Next | Random | Previous 5 | Next 5 | Skip Previous | Skip Next