Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I have a question for those who stand with our thirty-ninth President. On anything. And my question concerns the word “morality.” Does this describe a relative concept, or an absolute one? In other words, is this thing that is described by that word, something that applies to us all universally, equally, regardless of the different perspectives upon which we draw in recognizing what it is? Could it be incumbent upon one person to apply another person’s sensibilities of what is “moral” and what is not? Or are we all free to figure out for ourselves what is moral, recognizing the different opinions of our commanders, statesmen, religious leaders and celebrities with lip-service, empty platitudes, and nothing else?
It’s a heady question. It introduces the idea of freedoms coming at loggerheads. You have the freedom to prosecute others for violating your moral code, whether they agreed to it or not — or, you have the freedom to define your own set of moral taboos however you wish. Both cannot apply; and, one or the other, must.
Via Boortz, I come to find out about a column written by David Limbaugh called “Sympathy for the Devil.” It would appear Limbaugh is describing an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel; I tracked down said interview here. And I must say, as Carter goes off on his latest tear against the current administration, it strikes me as a bit odd — the man who made me a registered Republican for life by showing me what bad policy looks like and the enormous damage it can do, directly addresses the conundrum with which I opened this post.
The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God’s ideas and God’s premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases — as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world — it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant. Another thing is that a fundamentalist can’t bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them — which is also a radical departure from past history. So these are the kinds of things that cause me concern. And, of course, fundamentalists don’t believe they can make mistakes, so when we permit the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, it’s just impossible for a fundamentalist to admit that a mistake was made.
Go back and read that again. Carter makes an comment about what he calls “fundamentalists” which appears to be based on his own observations. In his first point, all he’s doing is clarifying what a fundamentalist is, and what ideas they have about my question. The ensuing nasty tidbits about fundamentalists are things that, according to him, just logically derive from that first one. “And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior…”
So Carter, it would appear, has an answer to my question. And it is a definite one.
But not a universal one.
The other principle that I described in the book is basic justice. We’ve never had an administration before that so overtly and clearly and consistently passed tax reform bills that were uniquely targeted to benefit the richest people in our country at the expense or the detriment of the working families of America.
“Basic justice,” huh? What does that adjective mean, “basic”? Easy to understand? Good heavens, I hope not. I’m still trying to figure out what is “just” about people making much better decisions than mine, and then before they get to reap the profits of those wise decisions, being fleeced to fatten up my sorry ass.
No, I don’t think even Carter would define “basic” that way. I’m going to go waaaaaaaaay out on a limb here, and based on the context, postulate he is defining “basic” to mean “you can’t argue with this because I’m not going to let you” or some derivative of that.
But wait! I thought imposing your morality on others was wrong! I thought it led to you thinking others are inferior and lead meaningless lives, blah blah blah.
Perhaps that doesn’t pertain, somehow, to Jimmy Carter. I’d like to see some evidence it doesn’t; I’ve been watching the old goat for quite awhile. Depending on who you’re talking about, he does seem to think that some among us get to define morality, and others amongst us have the privilege of simply practicing what the first group has defined. One thing is for sure: If morality is something that prevails in a singular direction upon us all, according to Carter, we don’t all get to vote on it. Another thing is sure: He, himself, definitely has a say. And it looks like a lot more than just a “vote.”
What I find odd, is that the people Carter calls “fundamentalists,” seem to have an answer for me, and it’s a pretty good one. They say this thing called “morality” is up to God, and not man; in fact, man intrudes upon God’s domain, committing a grave offense against Him, by usurping this authority. Man, similarly, commits a grave offense against Him, by violating what that authority says. This is The Word of He Who Put Us Here; if you’re not willing to abide by it, then what good are ya? It’s a solid, logical question — once you accept the premise there is a He. And, if you are placed in a position of interpretive authority by other men, should you then permit others to violate this morality, or choose the dictates of your man-made office over that morality — again, what good are ya? What in the world would inspire Him to keep you here…other than, moment-to-moment, it’s not quite yet worth His time to kick your ass to oblivion, kind of like I haven’t quite gotten around to running the next load of dishes yet?
Great rhetorical questions, they do what rhetorical questions should do. They’re unanswerable. The theory is placed under assault, often, supposedly for contravening logic. The notion that it contravenes logic, is supported by nothing whatsoever, save for the fact that the theory has something to do with God. As far as starting with a premise and proceeding forward with one cognition after another cognition, and arriving at a conclusion about rules we should follow — I find it to be very strong. I’m told that it isn’t. I’ve yet to figure out why.
Carter talks about “traditional” values. He should go back and read the Declaration of Independence. This is the “basic” argument that justified our independence from Great Britain in the very beginning. Ooh! I’m so sorry, to all those I offended…er, no I’m not. It’s the truth. That’s just the way it is. That’s the design of the machinery.
Now, to my first question. What is morality? Does it have a place in a society where some people make rules, and others abide by them?
Or does each person decide this for him- or herself?
I’m at about 28 years, give-or-take, not having a shred of respect for Jimmy Carter’s opinion about anything. There are a lot of people behaving as if they’d like to dislodge scales from my eyes, and inspire me to listen to the curmudgeon’s ramblings. Whether they realize it or not, what they’re trying to tell me is that at age ten I was right after all, and my exposure to real life, stupid people, evil people, narcissists, thieves, charlatans, boneheaded mistakes on my part, bills to pay, etc. etc. etc. has just made me dumber. They’re saying I knew something then, and don’t know it now. To them, I say a great first step in changing my mind would be to get an answer to my question about morality; a consistent one. Straight from him, would be great; something that somehow comports with all that he says — all that he says, about anyone — would be almost as good.
But consistency is the vital attribute to such an answer. If someone wants to change my mind about the man who received my last Democrat-party vote in this lifetime — thank goodness I was too young to actually cast it! — I’m going to have to insist on it, or don’t bother answering. Seems like so little to ask.
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