Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dear Morans: What Would Edmund Burke Do (To You)?

Edmund Burke  triumph of evilRobert Creamer writes in Huffpo about a political backlash against the Republicans for the "Death Panels" lie intended to make people fearful of health care reform.

His last two paragraphs sum up the debt they incur by this starkly, and I'm sure he's correct about the political dimension.

In their attempt to enflame the powerful emotions surrounding the deaths of loved ones by spreading intentional lies, the Republicans have stooped to a new low. The Terry Schiavo case should have taught the Republicans that some emotions are too precious to be exploited for partisan political advantage. Apparently it did not.

But when Americans begin to discover just how far the Republicans have been willing to go to stop health insurance reform, they may receive a new lesson. Republicans will learn that combining those powerful emotions with deceit can create an explosive mixture that they will find impossible to forget.

Correct - but only superficially so. However shrewdly he sees this situation, he sees it through the lens of politics, purely as a political opportunity created by an "emotional reaction."

And for that (and only to the extent that it is true, of course,) he deserves reproof. For it should be clear that there is a larger, ethical dimension that is, or should be obvious to everyone.

We ignore those larger considerations at our peril, for that leads directly to evil flourishing due to the unwillingness of good men to do what they know to be right.

The reason that both the Terry Schaivo case backfired and the current Death Panels lie will have a shocking backlash is that they are evil deeds done by evil men for evil reasons and the political justifications made in favor of doing such things are simply more lies by evil, conscious and willful liars.

To quote my shirt which quotes Edmund Burke, "All that is required for evil to flourish is that good men (and women) do nothing."

It is no accident that I quote Burke, who is correctly credited and blamed for his part in founding a long and storied tradition of philosophical Conservatism amongst the English-Speaking peoples. And yet an overview of his words and his causes reveals complexity, intellectual rigor and above all, a deep and abiding regard for doing the Right thing.

Burke was observing the injustice of law being wielded by commercial interests against the interests of the common man, and he would say no less caustic things regarding corporate theft and the misuse of political office in defense of thieves.

Burke might well be alarmed at the idea of any sort of public health insurance scheme - but I doubt that he'd balk at the idea of some sharp regulatory checks on unrestrained greed, or the application of Justice to those to those who's criminality while in service to the state brought it's honor into disrepute.

As a Whig, he of course approached Right Action in the Whig way. But for the most part, it seems, he did not place the cart before the horse. It's a tribute to the lasting import and continuing influence of Edmund Burke that the Modern Whig Party has been established.

I absolutely endorse that effort, an effort among good men and women to do something. They have realized that the GOP has become a creature of evil, a thing to be discarded and supplanted by a party that does not merely stand against this or that, but which stands staunchly for the things that are worth conserving and are worth achieving.

It is as yet still possible to do something good by political means - and as Iraq Vets, many of the founders have a FAR clearer appreciation of "Politics By Other Means" then have slide-jacking funnymentalist eliminationist peckerheads that have made their exodus from the party a moral imperative.

When someone lies to my face for the third time, in order to induce me to go along with some transparently stupid or evil deed, I stop listening. Indeed, I have no trouble whatsoever using whatever reasonable and necessary force is required in order to remove them from my front porch.

Indeed, I see waiting for the third strike to be an exercise in most Christian charity. But "Three Times is Enemy Action" is a rule of thumb that has served me well. It requires a little forbearance, but with that comes a reasonable certainty of conviction.

But clearly, I'm in a distinct minority, even should I count the current members of the Modern Whigs, It saddens me that one explanation may be my lifelong unwillingness to "go along to get along."

Perhaps if more people were more concerned about right actions and right outcomes, and a little less tolerant of those who think that there is no social problem that cannot be solved by sticking someone else with the expense or the cleanup, a civilization might arise between the borders of Canada and Mexico.

I'm not sure if this sort of situation is what Menckin had in mind when he uttered his widely-cited observation, that "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the Jolly Roger, and start slitting throats."

What I am sure of is this; that when that temptation starts to become a creeping suspicion of an impending moral obligation... it's definitely time for good men and women to do something besides complain. Perhaps you should run for office.

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