Thursday, December 11, 2014

Questions of Moral Equivalence

What is morality at any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike.

Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues

These days we are wrestling with questions of moral equivalence.

Are the Obama administrations drone strikes, which kills terrorist leaders but also slaughters innocents as part of inevitable collateral damage, morally equivalent to enhanced interrogations, i.e. “torture”, of known terrorists after 9/11?

Is ObamaCare, which has covered and subsidized 10 million or so of America’s 30 million uninsured, morally equivalent to unknown millions of health plan cancellations and raising premiums, deductibles, and co-payments of the insured?

These are slippery questions.

As Ernest Hemingway said, “What is moral is what you feel good about after and what is immoral is what bad about after.”

The answers lie in the mind of the beholder, and in your political ideology, e.g. whether you are a “bleeding heart liberal”or a “a hard-heart conservative.”

Does the end justify the means, 13 years without a terrorist attack on the U.S.? Or does the end have anything to do with the means? Did the means thwart a terrorist attack on the homeland?

Do the means, passing ObamaCare through misleading obfuscation arguments, and false promises, justify its final results, covering 10 million previously uninsured?

You have to put the answers in context, something that is hard to do in these days of extreme partisanship.

But unfortunately, As Oscar Wilde trenchantly observed, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”

Or as Bret Hume of Fox News noted in a current video, " The Feinstein report is as one-sided as the Rolling Stone Report on UVA rapes.”

There appears to be no refuge for the moderate. No platform for those asking for reason, no quest for middle ground.

The attitude seems to be. If you have a point to make, make it strongly, or you won’t be heard about the roar. The other person is wrong, you are right. If you have a nail to hit, hit the other guy on the head. It's your side v their side, and never the twain shall meet.

And so, to get some context, some sense of reality, you have to turn to what the majority say in the polls.

Today’s polls indicate a 42% ObamaCare approval, a 58% disapproval of ObamaCare, and past Pew polls say 53% support enhanced interrogations of terrorists. So far, in an ongoing Fox poll, 78% of people think releasing the CIA report was a “bad thing.”

Bad thing? Right thing? Moral or immoral thing? Let the majority decide.

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