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Has Thompson fizzled before he starts?
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, September 06, 2007

Investors Business Daily seems to think so, and apparently so do others in the GOP:
Wlady Pleszczynski, editorial director for the conservative American Spectator magazine, says the long, slow rollout of Thompson's campaign has backfired.

"So far this year he's been a big tease, and . . . (it has) undermined his implied claims to being a real man. A real man doesn't have things both ways," Pleszczynski said. Thompson's few campaign appearances so far haven't helped.

"More than once we've already heard people react to a Thompson appearance by saying they were 'underwhelmed.' That's what happens when image and hype don't have a basis in substance," said Pleszczynski.

A few months ago, the magazine was much friendlier toward Thompson. A May cover story on his candidacy said: "Republicans respond with standing ovations. And Democrats get nervous. Stay tuned."
I think Pleszczynski's assessment has been mirrored here in the comment section as we've posted various stories over the last few months. Initial excitement was replaced by impatience and finally with anger at the repeated teasing and delays. So Pleszczynski's point that his strategy of keeping interest up while delaying official entry my have indeed backfired. And, of course, the turmoil is his unofficial campaign staff hasn't been particularly helpful either.

That said, he's in it now. The question is, can he restimulate that intitial excitement and build on it? That's the $64,000 dollar question and certainly remains to be seen. It'll also be interesting, given Pleszczynski's thoughts, how the conservative press handles him as well.
 
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Meet the new gatekeepers, same as the old gatekeepers.

It’s probably wise to keep in mind that Mr. Thompson’s plan is to explicitly NOT run the same race as the other rats. The extent to which he can maintain his visible distance from that spectacle is the source of his powerful appeal to the only target audience that counts ... the voters.

What other candidate, aside from Mrs. Clinton, could most Americans pick out of a lineup? Not even Mr. Giuliani.
 
Written By: Uncle Kenny
URL: http://
I’ll be contrarian here and say that he was very smart to wait. Most people don’t connect with politics until closer to the election, so the views of bloggers and political insiders dominate in the very early primary season. Their "insider" perspective takes seriously every little misstep of a candidate, a quote that could be embarrassing, and every debate — things that will be forgotten come the main event. That’s why early favorites falter, they are the favorite of the "political class" — those who really take politics seriously.

What matters early is building an organization and a strategy that can raise funds, mobilize volunteers, and effectiely "play" the primary schedule. Early leaders often fall short on much of that because they think they’re riding a wave (shown in unreliable polls) when they’re support is at best lukewarm. Moreover they risk looking stale or peaking too early if they are involved in a lot of debates and events far in advance of when the public pays attention.

The smart thing to do is to join late, though only the most well known (Gore could still pull it off if he wanted to, I suspect) can do this and still have access to campaign money capable of a successful strategy. If Thompson has spent this time setting up the infrastructure of a campaign and has the funds, then he’s probably in a better position then if he had been spending the last few months on the campaign trail watching misleading early polls.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Thompson isn’t as attractive a choice now as he was earlier this year, but neither is anyone else.

He needs to get behind the Federal Marriage Amendment, even if it costs him the support of his friends in Hollywood. They are not going to get him the Republican nomination.

If he does that, he’ll be on the right side of the trifecta of cultural issues: pro-life, pro-gun, pro-marriage.

Culture is the most powerful dynamic in this society. Having a loosey-goosey "federalism" position on something as basic as marriage will kill Thompson’s campaign. Why? Because the cultural conservatives won’t turn out for the primaries in force, and those who do will vote, aimlessly, for Romney.

Thompson will not be able to finesse them on the marriage issue. Giuliani will win the nomination and lose the election. By November 2008 the Clinton machine will drive Giuliani’s negatives up as high as Madame Nu’s. And that will be that.

Thompson will not lose the Republican nomination, or the election, over support for the marriage amendment. Supporting it won’t guarantee him a win, but not supporting it will guarantee a loss of the nomination. (I refer you all to the huge grassroots effort to get marriage on the ballot in state referenda and the success so far of those propostions. Those people are looking for someone to lead on that issue nationally and are not going to buy the half-hearted Thompson dodge.)

So, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he got it wrong because his staff was undergoing rapid change and he’s looking over his shoulder back at his friends in the entertainment industry. He needs to stop looking to the entertainment industry for anything.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Uncle Kenny hits precisely on Madame Nu’s problem but thinks it’s here advantage:
What other candidate, aside from Mrs. Clinton, could most Americans pick out of a lineup?
Well, that’s the thing with Madame Nu. Most Americans think that they are, literally, picking her out of a line-up, and well they should. That’s why her negatives bounce over the 50% mark.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I’m very skeptical of how Fred Thompson is being viewed by various media sources. Isn’t the election determined by the voters? I say we should wait and see how people react to his announcement before judging whether he is done or not.
 
Written By: CR UVa
URL: http://TheRedStater.blogspot.com/
I totally agree with Scott Erb. Wow, typing that felt weird. The public doesn’t care about candidates until much closer to the actual primaries. Right now the people who care are political wonks and there aren’t enough of them to even carry a primary.

Except for the bit about Gore. After 2000 his political career was done. In 2000 Gore was a viable candidate after spending 8 years as VP. It’s now 2008. He hasn’t done anything for eight years except make a successful movie and turn himself back into the one trick pony he was prior to becoming VP in 1992.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
CRUVa writes:
I’m very skeptical of how Fred Thompson is being viewed by various media sources.
I think his strategy so far has been to control his media exposure. He did a real basic series of radio talks subbing for Paul Harvey, for instance.

Those who think of themselves as "political insiders," however, are very concerned about the topsy-turvy changes in his campaign organization. I think that they think that his advantage as a sort of grassroots white knight candidate was squandered on internal bickering and confusion.

I demur on that question, because that sort of thing can be positive or negative, depending on whether something is getting ironed out or merely more confused.

But if Thompson is going anywhere, he’ll go there in the next three months. As I said in my earlier post, he’s got to get solid on the marriage issue, otherwise he won’t be able to knock Romney out of the race, and he won’t gain the confidence of enough of the base to bring them out against Giuliani, and the country-clubbers will nominate a loser (Rudy) who cannot unite the Republican coalition.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
O.K., I don’t keep abreast of the details of the pro-marriage movement, but to buttress my case about what I wrote just above about Thompson’s mis-step in failing to support the Federal Marriage Amendment, here’s a link to Maggie Gallagher writing about Thompson on this issue. Why is Gallagher significant here? Because she is intimately tuned into the pro-marriage movement, and it is tuned into her. That’s what her focus is, and she is one of the people who the huge grassroots pro-marriage movement turns to for her take on the GOP candidates.

Note that she cites Romney as the only candidate solid on the marriage question. He’s not strong enough to win the nomination, but he is strong enough on this issue so that cultural conservatives who do turn out for the primaries will turn to him, aimlessly, as I said.

Thompson can win the nomination if he gets solid on this issue, and by making sure that Maggie Gallagher knows it, because she is a key player in that huge grassroots pro-marriage movement.

Thompson cannot win the nomination without the support of that huge grassroots pro-marriage movement. He cannot win the nomination by keeping the homocentric entertainment industry happy, no matter how much cash they fork his way.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
From Martin:
Culture is the most powerful dynamic in this society.
Probably so.

Which would be great if we lived in a culture primarily and fundamentally about freedom and liberty.

The problem with your trifecta of issues is that there is no unifying principle other than religious dogma (though even that’s tenuous, as it’s probably a stretch to justify guns with a Catechism). And guns is the only of the three issues with a non-contradictory relationship with freedom and liberty. Believe what you will about abortion and gay marriage, but there is simply no way to uncompromisingly offer freedom and liberty with a straight face while demanding to stand moral gatekeeper for what is ultimately none of your business.

But that’s OK. After all, it’s all about culture, not freedom or liberty; so at least all you "libertarians" have the facts straight.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Dick you seem to think that what YOU think of as "hypocrisy" is a great sin don’t you? And further that this site, being run BY libertarians must BE libertarian. I don’t follow many of your complaints at all. McQ may or may not agree with "culture" or abortion or gay marriage, but that does not require us as readers to agree with McQ’s beliefs at all. So you keep throwing up "libertarian" and libertarian website as if some how that means something. All it means is that McQ and Dale and Henke fall into the roughly 22% of voters who can be considered "libertarian." No more no less, it doesn’t say anything aobut the rest of the posse. And even amongst that 22% there isn’t going to be all that much agreement.

So your supposed complaint/"knock" that this website isn’t libertarian is kind of sill, isn’t it? Or are you like most LP candidates for POTUS, very authoritarian in your enforcement of freedom? Badnarik and the like were going to rule thru EO’s in order to defeat the Federal "monster." Is it your contention that McQ et. al. should ruthlessly moderate and prune this site so that only the "correct", i.e. libertarian views are allowed? And who defines libertarian; as I think Pro-Life is a VERY libertarian position, YOU? We must destroy the freedom to post in order to preserve the freedom of dissent? Debate is wrong, UNLESS we’re debating how quickly we’re going to adopt the Gold Standard or whether or not the FBI agents would be entitled to unemployment beenfits after the buraeu’s dissolution and any other debate is suspect, because it doesn’t meet YOUR definition of libertarian?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Richard writes:
Believe what you will about abortion and gay marriage, but there is simply no way to uncompromisingly offer freedom and liberty with a straight face while demanding to stand moral gatekeeper for what is ultimately none of your business.
So, you think that killing unborn persons and offering a legal accomodation to something called "gay marriage" are matters of "freedom and liberty?"

If it’s none of my business who is killed and who lives, then perhaps I’ve mistaken this country for part of the civilized world.

And if it’s none of my business whether courts change the meaning of a basic social institution to mean something that it isn’t, then I guess I have no business being interested in the business of the courts.

And when the math teachers start teaching 2+2=5, that too will just be a matter of "freedom and liberty."

There is either truth in things or there isn’t. If there is, freedom does not supercede that truth, and if it tries, it isn’t freedom. There are objective essential meanings, or there are not. If there are, then saying that you are overriding those essential meanings in the name of freedom, is something other than freedom.

If there is no truth in things and no essential meaning to them, then we live in a world in which the only truth is that there is no truth and liberty has no meaning. That would make your radical libertarianism the same thing as postmodernism and cultural relativism, with you clinging to liberty as the only surviving absolute in a sea of meaninglessness. But liberty only has meaning if there is truth in things and those things have essential meanings and liberty is ordered in accordance with those truths and essential meanings.

That’s why liberty is a product of our culture that respects the clarity of reason with its ability to locate and express the truth in things, one of which is that liberty is part of the good, and when it strays from what is good, it is merely free will, which is something that every cannibal has.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
The problem with your trifecta of issues is that there is no unifying principle other than religious dogma (though even that’s tenuous, as it’s probably a stretch to justify guns with a Catechism). And guns is the only of the three issues with a non-contradictory relationship with freedom and liberty. Believe what you will about abortion and gay marriage, but there is simply no way to uncompromisingly offer freedom and liberty with a straight face while demanding to stand moral gatekeeper for what is ultimately none of your business.
One really positive thing that the upcoming generation is showing is a stronger sense of freedom and liberty as primary values. Even College Republicans are increasingly in favor of things such as gay marriage, and national trends also show that the country is moving beyond past prejudices and bigotries. The GOP embraces that fight at their peril. On the issue of abortion there is also a growing sense that the silly fights between different groups is giving way to a "let’s do things to make it easier for women to choose not to have an abortion." In other words, less big government making the moral call on issues of life and choice, and more power to individuals. Talking to colleagues across the country, the change in thinking that many of us are seeing seems widespread.

I think both the GOP and the Democratic party are going to find themselves dealing with a generation that is more skeptical of governmental power and more willing to take responsibility for things on their own. The change in attitudes in the last ten years is not subtle either, and I think it has a lot to do with changes in media and technology. People think differently now than they did just a decade ago, with less of a so-called "herd mentality," more openness to individuality vs. cultural conformity, and a real skepticism of governmental power (though focused less on protest, more on action). I think it’ll be awhile before this new kind of thinking really comes forth on the political scene, but we’re at the start of some major political realignments — and one likely to push us towards rather than away from freedom.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
One really positive thing that the upcoming generation is showing is a stronger sense of freedom and liberty as primary values. Even College Republicans are increasingly in favor of things such as gay marriage, and national trends also show that the country is moving beyond past prejudices and bigotries.
Yesterday, or was it the day before, Boris was calling himself a Burkean conservative on cultural issues. Today he’s promoting gay marriage. What’s your next Burkean move, Boris? Bestiality a la Peter Singer?

What the blithering fool doesn’t understand is that college students are among the most peer-pressured and authority-pressured individuals in the mix. See Mike Adams series Of Mice and Mormons about how this sort of thing plays out on college campuses (it’s in seven parts but it’s a page turner). College campuses are not about freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas. They’re locked down, shut-off, politically correct re-education camps. There’s no traditional "search for truth." There’s a contest to see if you can get out of those places with any values at all. Students don’t begin to have a chance to really think for themselves until they’re out of those rat-holes, and away from pretenders like Boris himself.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
I think both the GOP and the Democratic party are going to find themselves dealing with a generation that is more skeptical of governmental power
If so, Boris, then they will certainly be skeptical of a court interpreting a 230-year-old state constitution as requiring the performance of "gay marriages" and then ordering the legislature to pass a law making them legal, as happened in Massachusetts.

And then, when the same legislature had the opportunity to put the question to the people of Massachusetts, it refused to do so.

I know that you don’t really pay attention to the "stuff" that you teach, Boris, but you ought to try it sometime.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Dick...
Yes, F*ckface?
So your supposed complaint/"knock" that this website isn’t libertarian is kind of sill (sic), isn’t it?
Well you’re entirely welcome to think so. I think I’m making an apt observation, and judging by your overly-defensive, two long paragraphs on what is essentially just a bit of a barb at McQ (whom I’ve known for a long time), I’ve hit just about the right nerve.

For the record, I’ve never been an LP member. I believe that save for the first word in a sentence, I always use a small ’l’.

Perhaps I ought to restate it, though: I see virtually no talk of the ideals of freedom and liberty, here. Most everything I see here concerns what might be "the best strategy" for forcing others to toe your line. I understand they’re trying to get you to toe theirs, but the nice thing about libertarians was that they always focussed on freedom.


 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Martin:
So, you think that killing unborn persons and offering a legal accomodation to something called "gay marriage" are matters of "freedom and liberty?"
Yes. Because they are. Neither are any of your business, or anyone else’s not involved. Nobody, and certainly no group of 300 million people owe you a particular "culture," Martin, regardless of your childhood memories and the nostalgia you gain from history books and old movies.
If it’s none of my business who is killed and who lives, then perhaps I’ve mistaken this country for part of the civilized world.
Listen, Martin: It’s none of your business (except when it involves you). Do you see the implication in the parenthetical? It’s always somebody’s business. And I would submit to you that before you go about trusting and exalting a culture, you need first to trust and exalt humanity in its ideal. That is to say, a great culture could only come out of that. These affairs are always somebody’s business and more often than not they are the business of human beings with conscience, who find ways — sometimes by doing things they regret — to get along in their societies and cultures (existing right here).
And if it’s none of my business whether courts change the meaning of a basic social institution to mean something that it isn’t, then I guess I have no business being interested in the business of the courts.
Oh, come now. I am absolutely certain you are clever enough to make distinctions between meaning and legal definition. The concept of marriage existed long before any state.

Let me tell you something. I used to make fun of gays in all the standard ways. I bought into a lot of the slippery slope arguments. Then, a couple of years ago we moved from the ’burbs to downtown and bought a new-construction loft. Well, guess what? We didn’t see this coming, but we’re about 30% gay, and you know what? They’re people. Some I like, some I don’t. Some behave in ways I don’t approve of (like 20-something ’heteros’ often do), while others maintain beautiful residences and have been with the same partner for 25-30 years. They are all very different, so getting accustomed to them has just blown all my ignorant prejudices out of the water. Yep, I was a real idiot about it. I have a number of new and in a few cases close friends and I’m very happy about that.

Oh, the burdens of Enlightenment, Martin.

It reminds me of the gun debate. I’m convinced that at least 80% of it is simply ignorance and inexperience that results in irrational panic and fear. And that’s another thing. Fear seems to drive all of these comments on this blog all the time. Why are you all scared so much?
There is either truth in things or there isn’t.
True. The problem is that people disagree as to what the truth is. Also true. How do you reconcile that? Some people say that the majority of the people ought to decide what’s true — you know, like when the Universe used to revolve around the Earth — and policy made accordingly.

I think that just sets up a perpetual battle, such that we’re perpetually in some war or other (poverty, drugs, terrorism, discrimination — take your pick or all).

So, very simply, I prefer freedom. I don’t care to be in war with others all the time so that I can stand guard over my nostalgia for the past. I’m happy to leave others to attend to their own affairs and I’ll attend to mine. I understand there’s a chance that could end bad for me, but it’s not like I don’t face the same risk now, only, it seems to me, from a lot more directions.

No guarantees, but I know I prefer to live in peace and attendant to my own affairs than to live in perpetual war because others don’t wish to toe my line.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Again, this quote from Boris Erb, as to its implicit threat to his students:
One really positive thing that the upcoming generation is showing is a stronger sense of freedom and liberty as primary values. Even College Republicans are increasingly in favor of things such as gay marriage, and national trends also show that the country is moving beyond past prejudices and bigotries.
In other words, abandon your views on the meaning of marriage as it has always been understood, or be labeled by a faculty member as a prejudiced bigot.

There’s got to be a way to inform Boris’s students of their imminent peril before they speak their minds and are labeled bigots by their postmodern commissar.

But it’s very difficult to send messages through the barbed wire into the re-education camps.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Richard writes:
Yes. Because they are. Neither are any of your business, or anyone else’s not involved. Nobody, and certainly no group of 300 million people owe you a particular "culture," Martin, regardless of your childhood memories and the nostalgia you gain from history books and old movies.
So killing is a "freedom" issue for you. I guess it would be too much to ask for you to work your way through the ethics of abortion beyond "it’s her body and she can do whatever she wants with it." Because she has already decided to do something leading up to the creation of a new human life. It takes a little more than the typical American attention span.

Then this:
I used to make fun of gays in all the standard ways.
Is that what you think is going on here, in a debate about the meaning of marriage?

And:
True. The problem is that people disagree as to what the truth is. Also true. How do you reconcile that?
I suppose you could start with 2+2=4, not 5, and then move to the things themselves. The phenomenology of homosexuality vs. sex between a man and a woman (whence comes the meaning of sex) shows immediately that we’re talking about two different things. Natural function. Opposition of the two sexes. Biological reality. Purpose. The reality that marriage encompasses. We’re talking about a difference in kind. And marriage is not anything as simple as a convenient relationship between any two individuals.

You want to talk about liberty, but you haven’t done your homework on reality. No society that goes around cracking open its most fundamental social institutions and handing them around like coconuts at the weekly meeting of the chimps will survive.

There are huge arcs of history and meaning involved here, not just a couple decades of cultural revolution and "feelings." This is serious business.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Perhaps I ought to restate it, though: I see virtually no talk of the ideals of freedom and liberty, here.
Well gee Rich, ever stop to think that may be your fault?

We don’t stop writing when you’re not reading.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Darn, it’s over a year to the election.

Most of the populace are still tired of the last election.
Is it now impossible to have a rest from this permanent campaign ?

 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Neo writes:
Darn, it’s over a year to the election.

Most of the populace are still tired of the last election.
Is it now impossible to have a rest from this permanent campaign ?
I haven’t watched a single minute from any of the debates and I pay almost no attention to any extended reportage about them.

I’m trying to treat it just as I would any other presidential cycle, noting the bona fides and essentials of the candidates.

There is nothing much to look at. There’s Hillary looming, and then there’s a bunch of guys who are not quite the right fit for bringing the Republican coalition together.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
And all this happens on a day when the Democratic frontrunner’s convicted felon fundraiser and the manuscript of an embrassing book disappear.

I think there is a lot of wiggle room left for anyone to win.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Martin:
So killing is a "freedom" issue for you.
It depends. Sometimes you must kill to keep your freedom, but I know that’s not what you mean — yet there’s a relevance. Freedom is a moral issue, and that’s simply because morality isn’t possible without it (it’s just obedience to coercion).

So, while I take no particular pleasure in abortions — or wars that happen to kill lots of innocent people — I simply understand that they are unavoidable at times and in circumstances. I will implore people to work things out without going to war, and I will implore a woman to take precaution, but in the end must accept that freedom must reign so that morality is possible.

I don’t and I never thought that freedom means everything is great. It’s just the natural state of things and it’s the only environment in which moral virtue is possible. Obedience out of fraudulent fear, threat, or direct force is not freedom, and is not a moral environment.

In contrast, you seek (well, that is, you seek to have others do it for you) to intervene in the private affairs of people who didn’t ask for your opinion or help, and you’re going to deliver morality, through force, and if they buck you, you’re (well, that is...) going to jail them.

Now, if a woman is having an abortion forced on her, completely different story, as it may reasonably be presumed that she wants help (this applies to all victims). And, yes, I make distinctions between a fetus, a child, and an adult (and mentally incapacitated), and so on. That influences me somewhat, but to a far lesser degree than the foregoing.
Is that what you think is going on here, in a debate about the meaning of marriage?
Yes. I made my point. This may not apply to you, or everyone, but I am convinced that the root of the objection to gay marriage is simply unfamiliarity with gay people. I used to make fun of them and was "afraid" of them because they were an unknown and I bought into all the stories about how my life and our lives would be forever altered and our children would be seduced, and so on and so on. Utter rubbish. I’m pretty certain this issue will go completely away in 10-20 years. Good riddance. I’m sure sick of hearing about it.
I suppose you could start with 2+2=4, not 5, and then move to the things themselves. The phenomenology of homosexuality vs. sex between a man and a woman (whence comes the meaning of sex) shows immediately that we’re talking about two different things. Natural function. Opposition of the two sexes. Biological reality. Purpose. The reality that marriage encompasses. We’re talking about a difference in kind. And marriage is not anything as simple as a convenient relationship between any two individuals.
You can spin it however you like, and in fact I quite appreciate some of the distinctions you are making. I have often done the same thing in many areas.

But in the end, what you are insisting is that an individual, a group, or a family should not be legally permitted, i.e., they should be prevented by force, to be locked in jail is they persist, from asserting that 2+2=5.

Now, if you don’t think they should, then what? Does that mean two people can use their genitalia in unconventional ways that don’t equal man/woman copulation, call it sex, and be done with it?

can they call their union a marriage? How about a same-sex marriage? I mean, what’s your beef, anyway. I really don’t get it. The world is going to come to an end because gay people want to form conventional monogamous and long term relationships?

I’m not objecting you your seeing it perversely, but I just can’t help wondering why you care so much as to make it a focus of a presidential race when soldiers are dying and the state takes half of what we produce.

My God, man.
You want to talk about liberty, but you haven’t done your homework on reality.


Please, Martin. I’ve been at this a very long time. But do let me know if I needlessly insult you. It’s not my intention.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Bruce:
Well gee Rich, ever stop to think that may be your fault?
I am now, sir.

Then I better get busy.

 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Richard writes:
Freedom is a moral issue, and that’s simply because morality isn’t possible without it (it’s just obedience to coercion).
It’s the other way around. Freedom is not possible without morality. Liberty, what we are talking about, arises out of a correctly ordered society that allows freedom to manifest itself. Ergo, killing unborn human beings cannot have anything to do with liberty. (If someone drove down to Mexico to adopt a baby on the black market and while driving back realized that it was a mistake and just opened the window of the car and tossed the baby into a ravine, would you call that freedom?)

Later:
But in the end, what you are insisting is that an individual, a group, or a family should not be legally permitted, i.e., they should be prevented by force, to be locked in jail is they persist,
Backwards again. Not legally sanctioning something as marriage is a distinction that society makes through its institutions. No one is "locked in jail" for not being accorded a certain status.

But what strikes me about this argument that you’re making, and I’ve seen versions of it many times, is that in the name of "liberty" it is a direct play into the efforts of cultural Marxism. The roots go back to the French Revolution, of course. But Marx had unbridled hostility toward culture and the family. The more modern impetus for what Marxists call "cultural counter-hegemony" comes via Antonio Gramsci, whose programmed attack on social institutions is embodied today in such places as "critical legal theory" whence comes the theoretical attack on marriage (camoflaged as a sympathetic attitude toward gays) that your comments reflect.

Now, you can shrug that off if you like, but them is the facts.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Martin:

In no way intending to insult you by implying you’re "predictable," I must say that this is precisely the reply I expected, knowing somewhat of your background form your long dormant blog.
It’s the other way around.
No, it’s not.

What you are talking about is "freedom" within a prescribed but largely arbitrary range, i.e., such as the commandments as prescribed by some religious order, which are asserted as "morality;" which is to say, morality is defined by edict. Others define it in terms of cultural norms, secular legalisms, tribalisms, racisms, and so on.

I’m very familiar with the religious aspect of this, being, as I am, a product of a church-sponsored school through HS and having attended divinity school my first year in college.

This is not what I’m talking about, though I fully acknowledge your impeccable and unassailable logic and clear thinking within the confines of that system.

I’m talking about the freedom as in free will. This is what morality arises from, which is simply the fundamental choice to pursue rational values over irrational values, or no values.

We both agree, I think, that morality is essentially nothing more than a free choice — the difference being that I stop short of defining "good" values in terms of some institution’s commandments or norms. In other words, without an ability to choose freely (freedom), morality is not possible. That’s the basis of my claim that freedom (free will) comes first.

I fully admit that this cuts out a great deal of what is thought of by most people as "moral" and "immoral," relegating it to matters of preference or, at least, matters that ought to be left up to the individuals involved (i.e., mind your own business).

Conversely, I view as immoral much of what passes for the enforcement of morality amongst most people, i.e., when they force their religious, social, or cultural norms and practices on others by force. And I view it as immoral simply on the basis of logical contradiction. To practice morality, i.e., to exercise choice for the good, logically requires a practitioner to recognize that same right for everyone else.

In this way, morality is utterly divorced from mysticism and its chief and only important aspect is to eschew the initiation of force. This is a kind of a meta-ethics, if you will. What’s fundamentally good for a human being is to abstain from initiating force or coercion against others. Beyond that, I have few if any concerns.

All that said, I have no complaints about people developing their own moral systems, such as churches do, and I fully understand the utility of it, both for those in leadership roles trying to keep all the feces consolidated, as well as those who willingly participate as members. I get it: "here’s your rule book; minimal thinking required." That’s not a snide remark. Indeed, people lead busy and productive lives and if they can have a way they trust that advises them on their bounds of behavior I’m plenty satisfied.

But I get angry when I and others are told that our "culture" is party and subject to what amounts to the by-laws of that institution and that we must buckle under, or else.
Not legally sanctioning something as marriage...
Point taken, though that’s not what I meant. But this is getting long, so I’ll let that go.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Nikoley:
In no way intending to insult you by implying you’re "predictable," I must say that this is precisely the reply I expected, knowing somewhat of your background form your long dormant blog.
...

What you are talking about is "freedom" within a prescribed but largely arbitrary range, i.e., such as the commandments as prescribed by some religious order, which are asserted as "morality;" which is to say, morality is defined by edict. Others define it in terms of cultural norms, secular legalisms, tribalisms, racisms, and so on.

I’m very familiar with the religious aspect of this, being, as I am, a product of a church-sponsored school through HS and having attended divinity school my first year in college.

This is not what I’m talking about, though I fully acknowledge your impeccable and unassailable logic and clear thinking within the confines of that system.
Are you referring to the "system" known as Western civilization?

I don’t care about your antipathy to religion; it’s your rejection of fundamental values that put you out in the "postmodern space," whence no society can either survive or return.

Liberty does not exist in a vacuum. Its viability arises not from itself but from a unique infrastructure of meaning — Western meaning — that is grounded in the dignity of individual human life. There is no such thing as "let’s go make a campfire with freedom" societies. The United States itself did not get to the farther shore of freedom on its own. It stood and continues to stand on long and valuable traditions.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/

 
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