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Ezra Klein jumps the moral relativisim shark
Posted by: McQ on Friday, May 25, 2007

Wow.

For the most part I like to read Ezra, but this is hopefully an outlier and the result of some bad mushrooms or something:
To get back to the burning building, though: Size matters. Say what you will about [Hugo] Chavez, but the worst he's doing is harming a small country's economy. Bush is playing on a larger field. Given the scale, if Bush is even a tenth as malign as Chavez — and I'd argue he's quite a bit worse than that — the impact of his actions, thanks to the size and power of the country he helms, far overwhelms anything Chavez can lay claim to.

There's a conceptual flaw in our tendency to compare various world leaders based on their actions as individuals rather than how their personal qualities interact with their country's capabilities.
So a democratically elected US president with whom you disagree is much worse than a Castro-like dictator now ruling by decree and stealing property and nationalizing industries on a grand scale?

BDS is full bloom.
 
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Comments
Ezra jumped the rational shark years ago.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
There’s only 1 cure for terminal stupidity.....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I think the loaded question you pose (following Ezra’s quote) exhibits the very "conceptual flaw" of which Ezra speaks.

I find it hard to dispute what Ezra is saying. He’s not talking about which is "worse" on a scale of moral relativity; he’s talking which is worse on a scale of global impact. The misdeeds of a world leader, by definition, are going to have far greater impact globally and over time than those of a national leader. Is that position even controversial?
 
Written By: K Ashford
URL: http://
Sure K Ashford a Hitler in charge of the US a problem, a Hitler in charge of Andorra, not so much...the problem is that Klein is saying both Venezuela AND the US are being run by Hitler(s).
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Yes, obviously it is controversial.

Whatever their supposed "reach", they each only directly effect the lives and liberty of those they rule/govern. It is there such measurements have meaning.

The fact that Hugo Chavez is, for the sake of argument, at least 10 times more oppressive than Bush, has acquired dictatorial powers through intimidation and manipulation of a formerly democratic process and rules by decree is the framework in which true moral measurement should take place. Or said another way, in terms by which we commonly measure freedom, how free are his people?

Not in some assumed and arbitrarily contrived "impact" in which some limited assumptions (mostly those which support the desired outcome) are given value. It’s a fallacious rhetorical device in which moral relativism is used to rationalize support for a nonsensical thesis that Bush’s reach, relatively speaking, makes him worse than an honest-to-goodness dictator.

"Compared to Bush, he’s not so bad because he’s just a little guy."

Would you make the same argument for China? It can be argued they don’t have the same ’reach’ or ’impact’ as the US (we are the only acknowledged super-power, right?).

"Compared to Bush, the Chinese aren’t so bad?"

Agree? It would validate Klein’s thesis.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Sure K Ashford a Hitler in charge of the US a problem, a Hitler in charge of Andorra, not so much...the problem is that Klein is saying both Venezuela AND the US are being run by Hitler(s).
And he’s not a real Hitler like the guy in Andorra, he’s a Hitler only because of his size and impact, all of which, apparently, is negative.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And he’s not a real Hitler like the guy in Andorra, he’s a Hitler only because of his size and impact, all of which, apparently, is negative.
That goes without saying McQ, he supports tax cuts, the War in Iraq, opposes abortion, and gay marriage...all those things plus opposition to Kyoto and the ICC and Missile Defense demonstrate his evilllllness and therefore his Fascism, because all that is evilllll is Fascist.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
if Bush is even a tenth as malign as Chavez — and I’d argue he’s quite a bit worse than that
It’s at the point where BDS sufferers have stopped even thinking of Bush as being human. I sometimes wonder exactly why I should extend them that courtesy anymore...

He’s "quite a bit worse" that that? I’d love to know just where on the Chavez-o-meter Bush comes up to. 15% Chavez? 25% Chavez? 85% Chavez?

Sometimes I wish Bush was actually as terrible, evil, oppressive and dictatorial as they shriek that he is, just so that they’d learn a real lesson...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark precise International Long Base interferometry Results determine that Bush is .1765 Chavez’s....considering he is in charge of a nation 1,000 times more powerful that means Bush is 176.5 Chavez’s!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Sometimes I wish Bush was actually as terrible, evil, oppressive and dictatorial as they shriek that he is, just so that they’d learn a real lesson..."
Absolutely. Most of these fools don’t have a singular clue what it is like to live under anything even remotely oppressive.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Most of these fools don’t have a singular clue what it is like to live under anything even remotely oppressive.
Of course they do! Don’t you realize how oppressive it is having to use a year-old Motorola Razor because you can’t afford a new iPhone?

Plus just having to watch George Bush on the nightly newscast. I mean, how much more oppressive can you get than that? If they couldn’t pop over and see Jon Stewart making fun of Bush as an antidote, they probably wouldn’t be able to survive it.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Of course they do! Don’t you realize how oppressive it is having to use a year-old Motorola Razor because you can’t afford a new iPhone?
Yes, I remember now. A lib friend of mine was depressed that he had to wait an extra 2 months to trade in his cooper for a miata. Damn that Busilter Amerikkka
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I’d like very much for the US *not* to be the world’s singular super-power. Making excuses for the "little guys" isn’t going to get some other country up to our economic, and therefore political or military, power level. Making excuses for people like Chavez is going to keep us the world’s singular super-power because everyone else is busy committing economic seppuku.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
There’s only 1 cure for terminal stupidity.....
More cowbell?
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
Every time I hear someone on TV screaming about how oppressive Bush is, and how their freedoms are gone, I can’t help but wonder if they even marginally grasp the fact that they are denouncing the head of the country on national/global TV and how that one fact alone negates their argument...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"BDS is full bloom."

I am too lazy to type the full "BDS", so I shall abbreviate it,"BS". Same same.

"... precise International Long Base interferometry Results..."

I like that.

"More cowbell?"

I like that one even more. Sorry Joe.


" but the worst he’s doing is harming a small country’s economy."

If that was all he was doing, he wouldn’t be worth worrying about. We have had Presidents who have done that(not, of course, JC). Not only is he ruining his country’s economy and political and possibly its social structure, he has an international effect.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Mister Klein’s statement is strange and leaves the matter of what sort of harm Bush might cause vague. I think that Mister McQuain has nonetheless misconstrued the matter. Not unlike K Ashford I think that mister Klein is considering the breadth of the effect on the world of each as defined by the size and importance of their respective nations, asserting that if Chavez and Bush were to act identically, the damage consequent to the acts of the latter would be of a far greater magnitude and detriment of the world at large than those of the former, so President Bush need only act in some way a fraction as foolishly as President Chavez to bring consequences of equal or greater magnitude about, but not necessarily consequences of the same sort.

Mister Klein does wander into the territory of fools in suggesting that President Bush is more than a tenth as wretched as President Chavez whilst failing to define the particular form of malignity, but as I disdain acts either judgmental or puerile, I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt for present time. His assessment could be either bad or harmless. Leaving the question of whether he finds a specific commonality in oppressiveness, maladministration, or diplomatic mischief between Presidents Bush and Chavez or merely a general, undefined one unanswered builds a gap into his claim which vicious imaginations will happily fill.
 
Written By: Paludicola
URL: http://www.vikinghats.com
It strikes me that if we wanted a complete picture of the underlying immorality of Ezra Klein, (to say nothing of his detachment from reality,) one needs look no further than his "let’s give big government a chance" article of a few weeks ago.

After all, what client is proposing in that column is more theft (He calls them ’taxes") to support his vision of the world. In essence, client at that entire column, arguing for socialism, which is a morally bankrupt, long disproven system.

After that, this column McQ brings up is hardly an outlier, but rather is a logical extension of the article I’m speaking of.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Hello admin, nice site you have!
 
Written By: Roselyn
URL: http://www.google.com/

 
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