Monday, May 31, 2010

Honoring Those Who Have Fallen in Defense of the Good

Memorial Day is an occasion... sacred to the memory of all those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy. We will never forget or fail to honor these heroes to whom we owe so much. We honor them best when we resolve to cherish and defend the liberties for which they gave their lives... --Ronald Reagan, May 1986

For obvious reasons, I think we'll jump ahead today and discuss the third of The Four Cardinal Virtues, fortitude. While on the one hand they form a vertical hierarchy (prudence --> justice --> fortitude --> temperance), they can also be seen as organically interlinked in a horizontal manner, so that, for example, prudence presupposes conformity to objective reality, justice its implementation, and fortitude its defense. Thus, for all practical purposes, the more transcendent virtue of prudence cannot survive in this fallen world without the real flesh-and-blood human beings who apprehend it and are willing to defend it.

The vertical hierarchy should make it perfectly clear that there is no fortitude in the absence of justice, and no justice in the absence of prudence. When the postliterate liberal barbarian Bill Maher talked about the "courage" of the 9-11 hijackers, he unwittingly revealed everything that is pathological in our relativistic secular educational establishment, for if courage can be deployed for ends that are intrinsically unjust and imprudent, then it can hardly be a virtue. One's only response to such "courage" could be "so what? Who needs it?"

Speaking of which, I recently saw an unbelievable (but typical) clip of a leftist student confronting David Horowitz at a university lecture, in which she compares Israel's enemies to America's founding fathers. (Here's another clip in which an Islamist student endorses extermination of the Jews; or how about here, in which the Times attacks Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- someone with real fortitude -- for antagonizing the evildoers who wish to murder her!)

But this is typical of the kind of sick brainwashing to which children are subjected in American universities. As Dennis Prager has said, they should not even be called "universities" but "leftist seminaries," where young adults go in order to learn to be leaders and defenders of that particular faith.

Consider the left's perennial confession of moral blindness, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" -- as if, for starters, the Islamists are fighting for truth and liberty instead of lies and tyranny! As St. Thomas made clear, The praise of fortitude is dependent upon justice. For how could it not be? You couldn't have a "Memorial Day" in the Soviet Union or theocratic Iran unless its purpose were to remember and pay homage to all of the evil and misery they have perpetrated around the world.

Islamists, North Koreans, Chinese, Gazans, Taliban -- they can be rash, or violent, or vainglorious, or thrill seeking, or swaggering, or power mad, or just plain deluded, but they cannot possess the virtue of fortitude (much less prudence) so long as they risk their lives for causes that are transparently unjust, again, unless we live in a flatland world in which transcendent values are reduced to mere behavior. Only in such an impoverished world can the "courage" of the Nazi or Islamist be equated with that of the American soldier.

But ideas have consequences, especially atheistic ideas that reduce conflicts to the mere enactment of violence, irrespective of what the violence is realizing or defending. Only in such a perverse world could a moral retard such as Obama see no distinction between nuclear missiles in the possession of Israel or Iran, and thus argue for a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. Hey, why not a gun-free zone in South Central Los Angeles? There's so much violence there, why not just have the police and the gangs turn in their weapons?

Pieper begins his analysis of fortitude at the very beginning, with human vulnerability. Obviously, if we were invulnerable, with no possibility of injury, there would be no possibility of fortitude. To be brave means facing the possibility of injury, including the ultimate injury which is death. Thus, "all fortitude has reference to death. All fortitude stands in the presence of death. Fortitude is basically readiness to die or, more accurately, readiness to fall, to die, in battle" (Pieper).

But again, not for its own sake. Rather, "the brave man suffers injury... as a means to preserve or acquire a deeper, more essential" good. Thus, in order to achieve the virtue of fortitude, "the brave man must first know what the good is, and he must be brave for the sake of the good." Fortitude always "points to something prior," to such an extent that "fortitude must not trust itself," because "without prudence, without justice, there is no fortitude."

One might say that prudence is the "inner form" of fortitude, that which literally "in-forms" it. Fortitude itself cannot realize the good, but it "protects this realization [of the good] or clears the road for it."

Again, "without the just cause, there is no fortitude." Note how for the true leftist (by which I mean the true believer, not the typical confused or misinformed "liberal" Democrat who doesn't even realize that the values of the left are antithetical to his own), fortitude is nearly impossible, since the doctrine of multiculturalism means that no culture is better -- which is to say, more prudent and just -- than another, and they specifically reject the vertical reality that makes real fortitude possible. Therefore, there is no moral distinction between the American soldier and Michael Moore's Iraqi "freedom fighters." Indeed, for a John Kerry, or Noam Chomsky, or Howard Zinn, or Dick Durbin, we are the terrorists. Which we must be in a left wing world without the transcencent virtues of prudence or justice, more on which later in the week.

Our goal is peace in which the highest aspirations of our people, and people everywhere, are secure: peace with freedom, with justice, and with opportunity for human development.... The surest guarantor of both peace and liberty is our unflinching resolve to defend that which has been purchased for us by our fallen heroes. --Ronald Reagan

44 Comments:

Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Today's topic touches on the matter of collective versus personal virtue. It is obvious for instance that in the army of each nation, there are individuals from all over the spectrum of personal virtue.

In my youth, I considered only personal virtue to be valid. But I have later come to the belief that it is possible to "tap into" collective virtue by willingly obeying authorities that are more virtuous than oneself.

This reminds me further of the folks Jesus talked about who would have been better off handing off their money to the moneylenders.

5/31/2010 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Absolutely. For many people, the best they can do is discern between good and bad counsel, for to put faith in bad counsel leads directly to evil. And our leftist seminaries are nothing if not "bad counsel."

5/31/2010 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

Islamists, North Koreans, Chinese, Gazans, Taliban -- they can be rash, or violent, or vainglorious, or thrill seeking, or swaggering, or power mad, or just plain deluded, but they cannot possess the virtue of fortitude (much less prudence) so long as they risk their lives for causes that are transparently unjust, again, unless we live in a flatland world in which transcendent values are reduced to mere behavior. Only in such an impoverished world can the "courage" of the Nazi or Islamist be equated with that of the American soldier.

So I guess you are opposed to memorials to the soldiers of the Confederacy as well? Or are they "American soldiers", despite fighting for a transparently unjust cause in a traitorous war?

It's a little confusing since nations have been fighting wars with each other for thousands of years. Can we classify each side in, say, The Hunderd Years War, into just and unjust? Or did just war only start with George Washington?

Also a little confused about your list of evildoers. China is an authoritarian state but aside from Tibet and a few other ares they mostly mind their own business militarily. You may disapprove of the Gazans tactics or just dislike them, but surely they can't be faulted on grounds of justice -- they were, after all, displaced from their land by an invading power and are now under occupation, so they have a right to resist.

5/31/2010 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Well, we already knew you were confused. But thanks for sharing.

5/31/2010 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of fortitude, Powerline has some good links about what happened with the flotilla yesterday, including an account which I doubt will receive much, if any, coverage by the MSM.

5/31/2010 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, Gaza is indeed occupied. By Hamas. And the left-wing activists who support them.

5/31/2010 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

To Magnus's comment: Probably no event in history combined the collective fortitude of Americans on the home front into such an enormous scale of supreme cooperation. All the compulsions—from the draft, to rationing, to censorship—were generally accepted without question, and people voluntarily sacrificed of themselves in time, money, and energy to support the soldiers.

On the current home front, I do believe 44 had a memento mori moment today.

5/31/2010 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Not that 44 would recognize it as such.

5/31/2010 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

Oh come on. I'm just asking you to think through the consequences of your own statements. Don't you think you owe your readers that much?

Re Gaza, who do you think is or should be the legitimate government of that unhappy piece of land? If Israel annexes the occupied territories, then it will lose its Jewish majority, and thus its status as a Jewish state (unless it enacts a full-blown apartheid regime -- is that what you advocate?)

5/31/2010 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger f/zero said...

We walked a mile into the Veterans Cemetery this morning in the rain to join the large throng gathered to remember our fallen soldiers. I have to say that there was a greater reverence in the air today than I can remember at any ceremony I've attended to date. It was truly unusual.

5/31/2010 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anon: to be honest, I don't give a fuck about the Palestinians. No culture on earth is more comprehensively depraved.

5/31/2010 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's like losing sleep over the fate of the KKK or neo-Nazis...

5/31/2010 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

sweet heavenly message to BO

5/31/2010 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Thanks for the honest answer. But the question wasn't really about the fate of the Palestinians, but the fate of Israel.

5/31/2010 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Close-Up Footage of Mavi Marmara Passengers Attacking IDF Soldiers

5/31/2010 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger greyniffler said...

A slightly more temperate take on the Gaza situation: by what theory can a "government" that rules by terror and has as its first principle the extinction of a neighbor (whose only "crime" is minimal self-defense) be considered legitimate? By what theory of just war can their perpetual attempt at genocide be considered just?

Now, to my question. Bob, I am sorry to be a dense student but again I need help with a step you've taken. The assertion that Fortitude does not exist in the absence of Justice is not obvious to me. Indeed, it still seems to me that people who have sacrificed themselves for love of an unjust cause have shown fortitude. Should I just read Peiper, or will you (or someone else here) take a shot at spelling this out for me?

5/31/2010 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes. As I said, because of the holiday, I started with Fortitude. Tomorrow I'll return to the beginning, with Prudence. But the short answer to your question is that courage fighting for an unjust cause could never be a virtue, any more than could intelligence fighting for the lie, i.e., intellectual dishonesty.

5/31/2010 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

by what theory can a "government" that rules by terror and has as its first principle the extinction of a neighbor (whose only "crime" is minimal self-defense) be considered legitimate? By what theory of just war can their perpetual attempt at genocide be considered just?

Which side are you talking about? The above could apply pretty readily to both.

The creation of the Israel involved ethnic cleansing and terrorism. This does not make Israel the bad guys and the Palis the good guys. But the opposite story -- where the Israelis are innocents put-upon by depraved Palestinains -- is nowhere near the truth either.

Which was my original point. Contrary to the theme of the post, war is almost never a contest of good and evil. It's simply one group of people exerting massive physical violence on another.

5/31/2010 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Grey:

I think you'll agree that anon's comment makes my point as vividly as imaginable, in that his intellectual dishonesty (or pathological denial of facts) eradicates the virtue of any native intelligence he may possess. Which is why conformity of intelligence and Reality -- which is Prudence -- is the cardinal virtue.

5/31/2010 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger greyniffler said...

Bob, even though fighting for an unjust cause is not a virtue, it seems to me that risking one's life in doing so requires that one exercise a virtue. The question then might be "Does exercising a virtue wrongly mean that it is no longer a virtue? Does the answer change if one is acting on the best information available to one?

5/31/2010 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Again, the virtues can only be understood organically and vertically, from the top down, not individually from the bottom up. True, each created thing is intrinsically "good," but not if it is stripped of its very context.

Thus, to separate oneself from prudence is to separate oneself from the Principle, and therefore even the ontological possibility of virtue.

Rather, you end up in Anon's infrahuman leftist world of "one group of people exerting massive physical violence on another," or raw power over truth and virtue.

5/31/2010 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Grey, I wonder if it would help to go back a step and ask what virtue is? At the very least in the context of Bob's post, I would understand it to mean action in service of that which is good, true or beautiful.

That being the case, acting in service of evil ends, even though it may require bravery or fearlessness unto bodily harm or death, cannot be called virtuous even though it may possess many or even all of the same outward characteristics as a similar act done for genuinely good ends.

That is to say, if one were, as you put it, "exercising virtue," one would by definition be acting in service of the good, true or beautiful. To say that one is exercising a virtue wrongly is something of an oxymoron (or maybe a paradox) - in acting for wrong ends, the act cannot be described as virtuous.

5/31/2010 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

anon:

Rather than the Israel example you should have stuck with the American Civil War example, which actually does introduce some interesting questions.

Any sort of moral equivalence talk when it comes to Israel marks one as fundamentally indecent (however it is certainly possible to recover from this state of moral depravity).

The Civil War is simply the exception that proves the rule. OF COURSE America has produced copious amounts of evil throughout her history. That's because America is a human (therefore fallen) society. I've never heard GB claim anything as asinine as that America is perfect -- only that it represents the closest approximation to perfection yet achieved in history.

For my part I don't believe that America is necessarily predestined to remain noble and great. The degree to which the Left (i.e., metaphysical anti-Christic principle) has infiltrated modern America is very dispiriting. It will take a great deal of fortitude to prevail against this dark tide.

5/31/2010 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Fred Barnes has a piece today on how Canada is now in far better shape economically than the US (and why my US partner is on board with basing our new company there). Why?

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Canadians came to grips with their fiscal crisis. They cut spending at both the national and provincial (state) level, reduced the size and payroll of government, slashed debt, and produced what Paul Martin, then finance minister and later prime minister, called smaller, smarter government.

In other words, the "socialist" Canadians actually did what the Republicans only preached. The gulf between the US and Canada continues to widen, with America pushing further to the Left by the month. This is very frightening.

5/31/2010 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Similar story in Sweden, by the way, from what I've heard. Maybe Magnus can confirm or deny...?

5/31/2010 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I could be wrong about this, but since the vast majority of antebellum southerners did not own slaves, I'm guessing that many if not most of the Confederates were fighting for other principles, mainly states rights vs. federalism, a dichotomy which was the basis of our first factions (the federalists and anti-federalists) as well as the current revolt against leftist statism. But the principle was so tainted by its association with slavery, that it was mortally damaged -- which is also why the reactionary left cannot help hallucinating that small government liberals are "racist."

5/31/2010 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of Memorial Day and acting in service of virtue, there was an interesting letter by Robert Heinlein posted at Letters of Note on Friday.

An excerpt:

I will not be able to supply an article for the fan publication you propose to publish in his memory. I dislike to have to tell you that I will not be writing for you, under the circumstances, and I feel that you are entitled to a full explanation. Forry, every day I am writing things which are, literally, dedicated to Alden, and to the many, many others who have died and are dying. My daily writings are dedicated to getting the war won quicker with the fewest number of deaths of our own. My writings are laboratory instructions, engineering reports, letters to manufacturers, and other things having to do with the tedious work of scientific research for war. It takes up all of my energy and all of my imagination and I have none left over for other matters. If I had any energy left over, I would know that I was not doing all that I could do and I would then, in truth, be disloyal to your brother's memory.

5/31/2010 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Rather, you end up in Anon's infrahuman leftist world of "one group of people exerting massive physical violence on another," or raw power over truth and virtue.

We are talking about war, right? That's not my "infrahuman leftist world", it's the actual world. Or are you saying that all wars over all of history have good guys and bad guys and the good guys win? Presumably that's too stupid even for here, but then what are you saying?

Of course, truth and virtue have their place even in war. For instance, the United States had a huge material advantage over the North Vietnamese, yet the latter succeeded in their war because they had -- well, I wouldn't want to label it truth or virtue, but they were fighting for their homeland while the US was an occupying power without the necessary political will to exercise enough brutality to crush an insurgency. Thus, their virtus was stronger than ours. That's a pretty typical case; insurgents just have an edge over occupiers over the long term (the Soviets learned the same lesson in Afghanistan).

The link above is to an example of two of our war leaders trying to figure out how far they can go. In this case restraint held the day.

Nixon: I still think we ought to take the North Vietnamese dikes out now. Will that drown people?
Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.
Nixon: No, no, no, I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.
Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?...I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.

5/31/2010 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger greyniffler said...

Bob, Northern Bandid, and especially Julie, thank you. It's Julie's point that I wanted.

The short form of my challenge to it is that if one places one's self in mortal peril for a cause that one mistakenly believes is worthy, and if the error is not so obvious that one is morally culpable for making it, then isn't one correct at least in the humility of recognizing that some things are worth that degree of loyalty or devotion, even if one is wrong about which things?

Do we need to make a clear distinction between the common idea of bravery on the one hand and the virtue of Fortitude on the other?

5/31/2010 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Grey, I'll take the easier question first:

Do we need to make a clear distinction between the common idea of bravery on the one hand and the virtue of Fortitude on the other?

Yes, I would say so. Look how many people engage in extreme sports which are likely to get them seriously injured or killed: such actions are brave, certainly, but not virtuous in and of themselves.

As to the other question, that of people mistakenly believing themselves to be acting virtuously, I would say it depends on the mistake. I hesitate to go there, because it's the kind of discussion that can so easily veer off into the splitting of hairs. (A good example of that is a recent essay and resulting discussions over at The Anchoress' place.)

The only reasonable answer I can think of is that honest mistakes, where people genuinely believe themselves to be acting in alignment with The Principle, would still be virtuous.

Those mistakes made where people align themselves with either purely horizontal ends (i.e. fighting for communism, as seen recently in Thailand, though notably, if it's only horizontal then it goes lower than that since mankind in service to himself is in reality less than human) or for clearly diabolical ends (Islamic "martyrdom" in the name of genocide) would not be virtuous.

Even saying that much feels as though I'm getting in over my head. You are concerned about very grey areas, not unreasonably. In fact, I started to talk about the Mistaken in my first comment, but realized that getting caught up there would lead to a lot of hypothetical scenarios with no clear answers. And any clear answers would likely be in error. In no small part because none of us are in a position to declare the mind of God, nor to know the hearts of individuals other than ourselves. Or for that matter, quite often even of ourselves.

Ultimately, I think all we can do is acknowledge that there are grey areas. However, lack of distinction in those areas does not invalidate the general principle; there are a great many more areas where the virtue of Fortitude is absolutely plain. One need only attend a Memorial Day service to be aware of that truth.

This is probably a very unsatisfactory reply; sorry about that. Maybe someone else has a better answer.

5/31/2010 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

Well, in the scuffle between Bob and Anon I'd have to give the nod to Anon.

Bob, no offense but you are an emotional chap. Your feelings for the Palestinians, for example, are not spiritually defensible, but they make perfect sense for a nationalist.

Because you love the USA, you are unfit to make pronounce for other nations.

Anon, bless her jaded soul, is a pragmatist.

But I doubt you know this or can know it.

Many great thinkers have areas in which they are a little unhinged.

But, I am in your corner when I say, Amerika Uber Alles. Because it should be.

6/01/2010 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

"I could be wrong about this, but since the vast majority of antebellum southerners did not own slaves, I'm guessing that many if not most of the Confederates were fighting for other principles, mainly states rights vs. federalism..."

Bob,
Spengler has written some interesting thoughts on this topic. He maintains that the slave owning southern plantation culture was a 'fantasy' culture and that the majority of poor non slave owners were fighting for their right to potentially become slave owning rich plantation owners. Of course they added several other reasons to justify their actions but this was the underlying motivation.

6/01/2010 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good point. I think a lot of it had to do with love of the homeland as well, but it was definitely a fantasy culture -- I would call it a "romantic culture" -- full of myth and magic. Probably no coincidence that our greatest literature -- to say nothing of our greatest music -- comes from there. There's a whole strand of paleoconservative thought -- e.g., Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, Albert Nock, etc. -- rooted in that way of life (minus the slavery, of course).

Also, there were apparently significant ethnic differences that made many southerners intrinsically rebellious, wild, touchy, violent, quick to defend their honor, and a little crazy.

6/01/2010 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...the postliterate liberal barbarian..."

Oh... perfect!

6/01/2010 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The vertical hierarchy should make it perfectly clear that there is no fortitude in the absence of justice, and no justice in the absence of prudence. When the postliterate liberal barbarian Bill Maher talked about the "courage" of the 9-11 hijackers, he unwittingly revealed everything that is pathological in our relativistic secular educational establishment, for if courage can be deployed for ends that are intrinsically unjust and imprudent, then it can hardly be a virtue. One's only response to such "courage" could be "so what? Who needs it?""

Absolutely. And once you've declared the need of an integrated philosophy to be unnecessary, even illusory, what other option is there but a disintegrated hash of literally meaningless bits of data?

And 'virtue'?! Don't be so pre-post-literate... that's just an artificial conglomeration of western biases.

Courage for the leftist mind is nothing more than not turning tail and running when an environmental stimulus indicating danger is met by adrenalin being pumped into the system... and other than correctly excluding the french, their notion of 'courage' has no other significance and serves no other function or purpose. Terrorists, bank robbers, George Washington... they all meet the leftist criteria of people who don't fall apart when adrenalin hits the system.

And they teach that.

"But this is typical of the kind of sick brainwashing to which children are subjected in American universities. "

'Read' a 'history' textbook. Makes no difference whether it is a grade school, high school or college version, you’ll find a recounting of facts and acts only. Utterly devoid of any higher, inspired or integrated meaning in either the text or in the manner of telling it.

For those who fight to 'improve' textbooks... I suppose it's a good thing to reduce the lethality of the poison being fed to the masses... but that really shouldn't be mistaken for doing something that will improve 'education'.

6/01/2010 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

As to the virtue of doing something horribly wrong with the best of intentions, I think St Paul has a few words he wants to share with those particularly interested, if you have a little time to spend with him.

6/01/2010 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

re the South vs North, mid 19th C:

Crazy, wild, rebellious -- Yep. Read the history of the month after Cornwallis´ surrender, especially in the Old 96th of S.C. Serious studies have suggested that our Civil War was the final battle in the war against the Celts; English merchants consolidated their defeat of Gaelic Wales, Scotland, & Ireland.

anon: your history reading should commence with UN creation of Israel. Our allies there are the actual Palestinians, making the desert bloom - balancing hundreds of thousands of slaves to the murder-mongering followers of a medieval maniac - and demonstrating genuine love.

On the question of can one be good in the service of evil: the final Chronicle of Narnia finds our friends in the heavenly company of ignorant followers of the false king. Our Maker loves ALL his creation, and will find each.

6/01/2010 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

John, if only curing Jew hatred were as easy as teaching history....

6/01/2010 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

John, re. Narnia I was actually thinking of that yesterday. The boy who had been a follower of Tash all his life (since that was his culture), but had in truth been serving Aslan all along. I couldn't remember which book it was, though. I do know that it's always rung true in my mind.

6/01/2010 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

China is an authoritarian state but aside from Tibet and a few other ares they mostly mind their own business militarily. You may disapprove of the Gazans tactics or just dislike them, but surely they can't be faulted on grounds of justice -- they were, after all, displaced from their land by an invading power and are now under occupation, so they have a right to resist.

Anon - no one wants to answer because it generally falls on deaf ears.

But here's the scoop. Your view is naive. I know, because I once thought the same thing.

The Chinese govt. would LOVE to become the #1 powerful govt. on Earth. And they are working to that end. They don't love the US or have any affection for us. Our destruction would cause them complete delight. At least for a year or two, until they figured out that a once stabilized nation that contributed tons of $ to their economy is gone.

If we became socialist and thought of them as our friends, they would laugh all the way to slaughter house.

As for the second part of your statement. That whole region of what is now considered Palestine, was properous under the Jews and only became the hell hole that it is today when Arafat and his terrorists moved in after they were driven out by the Lebanese Christians.

Arafat was the FIRST terrorist who hijacked an airliner. And the fact that he was later acknowledged as a "President" and treated as such and negotiated with by western govts. is a tribute to your kind of thought.

Which brings us to the brink of destruction we are at today, and headed for the next dark ages.

And that's all I have to say. Don't try to argue with me, because I know what I know, and I've said what I have to say. Take or leave it for what it's worth.

6/01/2010 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie @5/31/2010 05:42:00 PM said "That is to say, if one were, as you put it, "exercising virtue," one would by definition be acting in service of the good, true or beautiful. To say that one is exercising a virtue wrongly is something of an oxymoron (or maybe a paradox) - in acting for wrong ends, the act cannot be described as virtuous."

Really nailed it with that. Virtue is One, fracture & breach it, and the integrity of the whole, is no more. One cannot be acting virtuously, while knowingly being unvirtuous.

But that 'knowingly' is of course, a big question mark, one which leftie aninnymouses like to try and pretend is a breach, or even a dark gate which they can drive their relativist truck through. You can't use 'knowingly' as a way to exclude reality, as does a leftie when they say something like 'when you get right down to it, George Washington & che guevara were both freedom fighters'... in their world, 'when you get right down to it' in leftese means that you are supposed to willingly exclude EVERY possibly relevant fact, relation and factoid... every shred of information which might have the potential of properly identifying something as what it actually is, and might possibly differentiate it from what it isn't - also known as dropping the context - while that does makes it exceedingly easy to say 'George Washington' and 'che guevara' in the same breath, it doesn't lend it any relation to or standing in reality.

If you don't know the difference, it makes your lack of recognition of the difference... understandable.

If you refuse to admit knowing the difference, it doesn't make a difference, and it is unforgivable.

Ignorance can serve, to a certain extent, as something which functions as a seeming equivalent of context dropping - except that it doesn't drop the context, it creates a context vacant of contradiction and from which nothing more has been suspected to exist (this is also a prime source of 'common sense' decisions which are later revealed to be disastrously idiotic).

For a person in this state, it is fully possible to display fortitude, courage, because within the context of their knowledge, they are not fracturing their integrity, for them the whole is still whole.

The Spartans at Thermopylae, displayed Courage. They fought for not only their homeland and freedom, but against Tyranny and in the face of what they knew would likely be certain death. This is true even though they were a slaveholding society, a particularly brutal one at that - but they never knew any better. Their ignorance of deeper truths, saved them (I cannot imagine that they, or even Cicero, centuries later, were fully ignorant... I can't imagine that they didn't have the slightest inkling of 'ehmmm something seems off here... but not sure what... and it's just the way it is... so...[blank out]'... but I'll bet centuries from now (assuming the West survives, they'll say the same thing about our relation to Social Security. Yeah, I DID say that)) - they were not at odds with what they knew to be true.

I find it very difficult to believe, that those fighting for the confederacy didn't know that the 'country' they were fighting for was in the wrong, on some level they had to know. As members of a Christian culture, they knew of the importance of the individual, of choice, they knew of the ideas of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights... I don't believe they could fully claim that ignorance. To some extent they knew, and to that extent their Courage was tainted and corrupted. To the extent that you are at odds with what you know to be true, to the extent that you evade knowing what is readily apparent that you should, your integrity is corrupted and your ability to be virtuous is diminished.

6/01/2010 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Regarding the Confederacy, and Leftist's preening moral superiority over them, I'm always more than a bit amused at that. The fact is that leftist's concept of 'rights' have exactly the same fundamental idea of 'Rights' which the Confederacy affirmed. They derived their ideas of 'Rights' by legislation and need, Rights being Rights, only is in so far as they serve 'the greater good', the collective.

Such a notion of Rights is bereft of (or deep in denial of) the natural law, individual rights concept inherent in classical liberalism, and is ironically incapable of identifying, let alone valuing, Property and property rights.

To the leftist, as with the slave owner, 'property' is that which you hold in your possession, and by virtue of your possessing it, it is your 'property', but only to the extent that the 'greater good' is served.

That is not Property in the philosophic sense, it is merely something possessed by virtue of your grip on it.

Btw, that is the point in an otherwise excellent book, Kirk's "Conservative Mind", that he loses me, where he cites and defends the notion of southerners view of states rights as expressed by Calhoun, & others. To the extent they used 'States Rights' (and there are no 'states rights' under the constitution, there are states powers, and individuals rights) to justify slavery, they invalidated their claim to having legitimate governments which could assert or defend any rights.

At root, their (the confederacy and leftists) concept of 'Property Rights' is pre-American, their ideas have far more in common with Rousseau and Hobbes, than with Locke & the prevailing concepts of the Founders, it is rooted in unnatural law, not natural law.

6/01/2010 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Bob, outstanding post!
And almost all the comments, minus the obtuse ninny hellbent on cluelesside.

6/01/2010 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

God knows that anyone who makes any criticism of Israel must be a rabid anti-semite.

6/02/2010 08:20:00 AM  

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