Sunday, October 12, 2008

Half-baked philosophy


You are quite right to suppose that it can sometimes be rational to accept a less-qualified candidate who agrees with you on the major issues over a more qualified candidate who is in the opposite camp.

I didn’t concede that Palin is less qualified than Obama or Biden. I’ll concede that she’s less qualified than, say, Gingrich or John Bolton.

So if I were someone who believes in the right-wing agenda across-the-board, these Palin problems would not prevent me for voting for McCain.

Of course, McCain is not a rightwing Republican. He’s a purple politician. But he’s to the right of Obama and Biden, while Palin is probably to the right of McCain.

I even doubt that Palin is a rightwing ideologue. She’s not that intellectual. Presidents are rarely intellectuals. And intellectual presidents don’t necessarily make good presidents (e.g. Wilson).

Still I would find her ignorance of the major issues troubling.

It would be nice if she knew more about domestic and foreign policy. It would also be nice if I could design my own candidate for president.

Take a pristine brain. Upload the military prowess of David Petraeus; upload the eloquence and social values of Huckabee; upload the theological outlook of Kuyper; upload the economic acumen of Thomas Sowell or Ben Stein—and so on and so forth.

But we don’t get to choose an abstract ideal. It comes down to concrete candidates.

The veep isn't a policy maker? Sure. McCain could assign her the job of making coffee and christening boats if he wants to.

Vice Presidents don’t make policy. At most, they serve in an advisory capacity.

And, traditionally, veeps were chosen, not for their “qualifications,” but for bringing a key voting block to the ticket. Helping the presidential candidate get elected.

But she's supposed to be able to ascend to the Presidency in case McCain passes.

Worst-case scenario: McCain dies or suffers a massive stroke two months into office and she assumes the presidency. She would still be better than either Obama or Biden.

You consistently seem to think that someone hasn't thought through any issues unless they have considered the points you would put forward and answer them. You presuppose that I have the burden of proof on every question and am open to personal attack if I don't shoulder it to your satisfaction.

I presuppose that, as a philosopher, you have a duty to adequately research an issue and present a serious argument.

For example, I offered a substantial argument against the use of waterboarding, which of course you found unsatisfactory. Fine. Shoot, I even numbered my premises.

That’s a wonderful illustration of what low standards you set for yourself.

Compare your performance to the sustained argument of Keith Pavlischek:

Who is doing the heavy-lifting here: you or Pavlischek? Hint: it isn’t the philosophy prof. from Arizona.

Or compare your performance to the meticulous analysis of Keith Burgess-Jackson:

Once again, which one of you is moving the heavy lumber? Hint: it isn’t the philosophy prof. from Arizona.

A good deal of my political discussions have to do with why I support Obama in spite of what I consider to be a morally deficient response to the abortion issue.

Actually, you’ve tried to minimize his position on abortion. And it’s a reflection of your moral blindness that you think that’s the only major problem with Obama.

Do we need to be demonizing opponents here? That's quite a step, and it's a perilous one. It's the first step on the road to the Spanish Inquisition.

Once again, silly statements like that reveal your inability to discuss politics from a philosophically respectable standpoint.

Feel free to show us how, by extrapolating from the current ideological balance of power, the reinstitution of the Spanish Inquisition is a live option in the foreseeable future. I look forward to your “substantive argument” with “numbered premises.”

Is Obama the enemy of faith and family? Even if he's wrong on abortion, his intention, it seems to me, is to help families.

You could say the same thing for Karl Marx, Peter Singer, or Margaret Sanger. Evil people can be very idealistic in their twisted way. They actually think they’re doing good.

Is he a real Christian?

Clearly not.

Is McCain a real Christian.

I have no idea.

One of these men is a known adulterer. Which one is it?

i) As I’ve said before, I vote for candidates based on their policies. I’m not looking for a personal role model. As a middle-aged man, I internalized my role models a long time ago, and politicians were never my role models in the first place.

ii) But since you bring up the issue of sexual ethics, both adultery and fornication are sins. Are you prepared to stipulate that Obama was a virgin on his wedding night?

I do sometimes back off and say "oops" in the course of discussion, and try not to overstate my case.

Concessions have to be beaten out of you. And you wouldn’t have to back down so often if you did your homework the first time around.

I never see you do that.

I’m not as careless as you are.

Am I an evil person?

When you support evil candidates with evil policies, when you support the greater of two evils, when you indulge in special pleading to minimize their evil policies, then, yes, that makes you an evil person, too.

Is my contribution to philosophy mostly evil?

You’ve made some positive contributions to Christian apologetics. Your political philosophy is mostly evil.

Like many people, you are logically and morally compartmentalized.

1 comment:

  1. You see this interview with Donald Miller?

    "I realize this is controversial, that there are many who would rather vote for a pro-life candidate and keep the abortion rate the same, on principle. And like them I believe in the sanctity of life, I simply think we need to begin making progress, and Barack is offering progress. He is also standing up to his own party on the issue and moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life within the Democratic Party. I also see this as progress. I do wish we could end abortion completely, but the Republicans have not spelled out a realistic plan to do so, and until they do, I won't vote for a candidate who simply throws us a pro-life line and no plan. It seems insincere."