The winning tumblr formula is (1) short, (2) superficial, (3) has picture. Bonus points for mocking, sarcastic, or angry tone.
Yep. I’ve learned a self-righteous tone that attacks people for not being as moral as me also works wonders.
Political Theory and Punditry from a native of Flyover Country
Not-interventionism is not isolationism. What is isolating is an aggressive foreign policy of preemptive invasions, propping up of despots, and creating trade barriers in the name of protecting domestic “interests” and jobs.
That works for me. Frankly, I view much of the difference as semantics. “Isolationism” is quite relative in American politics.
Either of these policies would be at least marginally better than the status quo.
Stop claiming no decision or action taken by anyone else can ever be legitimate over you in any way. Just stop.
This debate warrants further discussion. Before going further, allow me to post a quick disclaimer:
While I hold (to a degree) a libertarian streak, you won’t find the non-agression principle at the core of my political philosophy. It strikes me as something that, while admirable, isn’t going to happen. Political societies are built on complex webs of loyalties, power relationships and myths. That might not be ideal, but it’s the reality.
So let’s chat about the social contract. Before proceeding, please make sure you’ve read (in full) the posts by PoliticalProf and LaLiberty. They should help clarify a few questions that may arise on the way.
Consider the following a bit of a thought experiment on the Ron Paul newsletters scandal:
In light of further developments in the Ron Paul Newsletter debate, now might be a good time to revisit the discussion of the motivation behind canned good donations from December 13th, where LaLiberty delivered a defense of private thought versus public action.
So, for the moment, let’s just take your assertion as true: that the only reason these Ron Paul supporters are collecting five tons of food for charity is purely as a publicity stunt. You allege, then, that the motivations behind these actions - as evidenced by the tone and scare quotes - are completely selfish and thus this may not count as an act of selflessness.
But what counts more: a good deed voluntarily acted upon but with hidden, ulterior motives, or a good deed begrudgingly done through threat of force and violence? Or, worse still, a good deed one forces another to pay for or otherwise carry out?
If someone is consistently kind to others through his words and actions, does it really matter if he secretly detests those he is kind to? Would that person, to the outside world, not actually be kind? Conversely, if someone were rude and violent to his friends and family, would it matter very much if deep-down he sincerely loved them?
Can this go another step? Could we say that we care more about the policies put forth by politicians instead of their thoughts, both private and public? Let’s pick an example and see where that leaves us.
A classic example of this could be the now defunct sentencing guidelines that held much more lenient sentences for cocaine, a drug associated with upper class white users, than for crack cocaine, a drug associated with poor blacks. Correcting this issue was undoubtedly in the name of justice and trying to hold citizens equally before the law. Now, would I care more how the legislators and judges who worked to overturn this felt about people of other racial backgrounds or would my principle concern be how their public action impacted law and people’s treatment before said law? For me, the answer is undoubtedly clear.
Or how about another example, that of Abraham Lincoln?
After reading a few Lincoln biographies, it becomes rather apparent that his view, like that of many other abolitionists, was not particularly ambivalent or respectful toward the victims of chattel slavery. However, it was through the efforts of undoubtedly flawed individuals that a major step was taken in fulfilling the social contract established during America’s founding.
Look, I don’t have any desire to defend racial statements. Whether Paul or his associate Lew Rockwell or anyone else wrote these now infamous newsletters, the level of paranoia and racial insensitivity found in them dramatically degrades my opinion of Ron Paul as a man. As a Congressman and Presidential candidate, however, I find it more helpful to evaluate his stances on policy and law.
L.A. Liberty nicely offered the choice between a person who loves in public but hates in private versus a person who privately loves but hates in public. Clearly, if you care about the public interest, you’d prefer the one who loves in public. I suggest that we can extend this for members of Congress into preferring someone whose policy support betters life for racial minorities rather than leaves them imprisoned and executed at rates far beyond that of their share of the population.
H/T L.A. Liberty