Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Everything's Black and White--Except When It's Not--Morally Absolute Politics II

If like me you're confused by conservatives who claim to believe in moral values and to support moral absolution in the political arena but seem to have a strangely selective--and highly self-serving and self-justifying--process for determining when such moral absolute distinctions apply, then you're not alone.

But I'm here to help. Here are some clues to recognize when the issue shouldn't be viewed through the lense of morality or absolute values:

1. If the certain something is an emblem or matter of "heritage". This "heritage" idea comes around a lot when someone wants to wear a confederate flag on their prom dress, paint a confederate flag on their pick up truck, or include a confederate flag symbol in their state's State flag, or attend functions sponsored by associations that celebrate the "historic South". While not celebrating the slavery of the old South, or even the segregation of the past mid century South, mind you, although if they could reverse those decisions, they would, all the conservatives really want us to know is that if something seems unjust to us or others, then we're guilty of "political correctness".

2. When the conservatives "aren't especially interested in the subject". Such apparently is the case with blubberline and the Tom Delay affair(s). Just not interesting. So no moral issues at stake here.

3. If the issue involves guns and shooting defenseless animals.

4. If the issue involves "patriotism" or a war for whatever purpose and conducted in whatever manner against whatever enemy even if said enemy was once and not long before an ally of ours, so long as it's sponsored by a Republican administration and can be used to generate profits for American military companies and serve as a wedge issue to keep flagwaving, jingoistic concerns up front and other less comfortable, social welfare or civil liberties issues to the back.

5. If from the perspective of conservatives, the initiators or the subject of an issue are "politically motivated" or "notorious partisans", than the issue doesn't fall under the perview of morally absolute politics.

6. If the conservative is "just kidding around" about torture or exterminating non-Christians.

So what's the lesson for progressives here?

To be like a conservative when challenged on an issue and avoid being pelted with the stones of moral absolution we need to claim that our position is based on either a matter of (a) "heritage"; (b) patriotism; (c) our "just not being very interested in the subject"; (d) our need to just "let off some steam"; and that our opponents are (e) politically motivated, notoriously partisan hacks and; (f) persecuting us with "political correctness".

Please feel free to add any additional items as necessary.

No comments: