There's replying to criticism, and there's accepting it. km most certainly takes a more civil approach to contested issues, and that's more than can be said for some of us rowdier, more confrontational types.
But quite frankly, those I take most seriously are those who take themselves less seriously. I'll take that over civility eight days a week.
There's replying to criticism, and there's accepting it. km most certainly takes a more civil approach to contested issue, and that's more than can be said for some of us rowdier, more confrontational types.
He kinda grows on ya', doesn't he? And he's never once mentioned your, uh, vertical disability.
Just replace homosexuality with any other kind of person and you would have ban-able offenses. What would you do if someone responsively and politely argued that (insert blacks, jews, women, etc... here) were actually nonexistent in nature and shouldn't have their interests looked after in society?
And when KM gets over thinking that "law" describes the world, he makes for a good arguer.
Like a good ambulance chaser he can turn fact into fiction - turn Farts into a lovely smelling Rose - turns barf into a hot chicken soup - death into a Jihad - murdering is okay so long as you have a dispute .
I think that the basic argument he usually works from, that a social system is defined by law, not by "moral response" is probably true. If you've seen The Reader, that's the premise of the law professor in the flick. But that proposition leaves a great deal to be desired. For instance, if the law says that blacks must sit in the back of the bus, then on what grounds can one challenge the law? An appeal to a moral imperative seems to me inevitable, but "moral response" is distinct from "law," and a society is not obliged to pay any attention at all to morality. So, to reprise KM's argument from a while ago, gays who want to change the law on marriage have no standing to do so, and marching to raise consciousness becomes at best a tiresome exercise and at worst an illegal assembly. Demonstrations in the South of the US to break apartheid laws were treated precisely in that way, and it was only by dint of keeping on keeping on that the moral righteousness of the Civil Rights demonstrations led to changing the law. But until the law was changed, the demonstrators were breaking the law, and "deserved" to be in jail.
Now, I recognize perfectly well the limitations that KM's perspective (if I've got it right) imposes on moral action, but at the same time I also recognize that KM is right about the legal rather than moral foundation of social practices. In fact, on what basis does one appeal to morality? What's the source of morality? How does one assert the validity of morality? Is "moral righteousness" and indignation simply self-righteousness, just a way to impose a particular point of view that lacks the sanction of law? All those are difficult questions, I think--and I suspect that KM would not be satisfied with a response modeled on the SCOTUS Justice's remark about pornography, that "it's hard to define what pornography is, but I recognize it when I see it." I recognize a moral imperative when I see it--but . . . what's the authority for it?
I guess one could work from the premise that a moral action is one that works towards an increasingly larger distribution of rights and freedoms--so not being forced to sit in the back on the bus is a moral response because it enlarges the scope of rights and liberties, whereas the apartheid laws were immoral because they limited rights and liberties. But that perspective runs smack into all sorts of religious and "traditional" practices. Now, I'm perfectly willing to live dangerously, so to speak. By that I mean that I see law as a limitation to human freedom, which may well be necessary but which needs always to be considered skeptically and, as often as possible, dismissively. I'm perfectly willing to negotiate the validity of a "moral response," knowing full well that there will be times when such a response will produce really profoundly problematic social realities. But I firmly believe that there is such a thing as social progress, and that the only path to such progress is by means of asserting a moral response rather than a legal one.
Much of what I believe to be the case derives from John Milton's "Areopagitica," by the way--one of the most resoundingly liberal assertions of liberty ever written.
Edited by yoyo52 (02/16/0909:04 PM)
_________________________ MACTECHubi dolor ibi digitus
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