Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A Little Treatise on Morals

Well, it's official: the media have informed us the number-one issue driving Bush voters was "moral values." Therefore, Bush's victory - if we accept it for the sake of argument as legitimate - represents a triumph of moral values over...

Over what, exactly?

I honestly think it would astonish our starry-eyed media to learn that moral values were foremost on the minds of Kerry voters, too. God knows they were foremost on mine. For instance, it's my firm belief that you simply do not lie your country into war for financial and political gain. The evil that has and will come from that single act of fully conscious immorality is beyond all reckoning, and I'll bow to no Old Testament prophet in my condemnation of it.

I also believe that you don't blame the poor for their poverty, nor attack the sick for their sickness. Instead, you help them first materially, and later (if you really must) philosophically. You do this because as a moral being, you're obliged to treat others as you would have them treat you. That's about the oldest moral concept there is, and I see absolutely no trace of it in BushCo's brave new world. (Not, at any rate, unless you believe that our country labors under a death-wish, which is a possibility I'm prepared to consider seriously.)

I would never accuse women who get raped of deserving it, not under any circumstances. Still less would I pile legal or medical woes upon their emotional and physical wounds. I can't imagine an uglier, more loathsome piece of injustice; to commit it under the pretence of personal righteousness is to be a mere vessel for Evil and a traitor to any recognizable human virtue.

I'm grateful that I don't confuse tight-fisted indifference to suffering with greatness of spirit, nor petty viciousness with personal sanctity. I'm grateful that I don't see military might as a sign of God's grace, nor view the murder of children in Iraq as a necessary step towards our national salvation.

My vote against Bush was a deeply felt protest against each of these acts and monuments of moral idiocy, and I cast that vote as passionately as anyone in America could've cast one for him. I'll wager the moral fervor of my beliefs against that of any gay-basher or abortion-bomber you can name. Furthermore, my beliefs have at least as much Biblical support as any cherished pet cruelty of the fundamentalists, and infinitely more support from the Constitution.

We've heard it claimed by the Right that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." I disagree. The Constitution is most certainly a suicide pact, in exactly the same way that the cry "Give me liberty or give me death" is a suicide pact. Truly moral beings recognize that some types of existence are beneath human dignity, and that tyranny's chief crime is to make human beings choose daily between life and liberty. That's a choice early Christians made when they chose to die rather than to renounce their faith, back in the days when they still believed that it was a bad bargain to win the world but lose one's soul.

So after millennia of soul-searching and thought and prayer and other sorts of high-minded and sincere inquiry...guess what? It turns out that as long as one is opposed to gay rights and abortion, and holds the poor in utter contempt, and worships that most false of all false idols, militarism, one is firmly on the path of righteousness. And the rest of us - the people who don't sneer at suffering or kick people when they're down or make comfortable excuses for evil - are supposed to be quietly abashed as BushCo's gruesome, cynical, and deadly burlesque of morality wins the day.


Anonymous said...

Phila -

Thank you. And bless you.

(from over at E.)

Pastabagel said...

Man, you're a piece of work. Philalethes, indeed. More like Phililithios.

I found this on Atrios:

Christ on a crutch, I can't believe there are so many Pastabagel fans! Come on over to my blog...he's been haunting it pretty consistently - just wrote me a pretty remarkable epic of point-missing this very AM, in fact, which it took me nearly ten minutes to refute.

While he's pleasant enough I'd be happy to sell him to the highest bidder. (And I should make it clear that I treat string, lint, and burnt matches as legal tender.)
Philalethes | Email | Homepage | 11.09.04 - 8:21 pm | #
How ironic is it that you chastize people for >gasp!< liking what I write and then proceed to whore your blog on the basis of my sporadic presence here?Well, I shall disturb the resonance in this echo chamber no more. You want me? You know where to find me.


Phila said...

Ummm, Pastabagel? No one on Eschaton was saying they liked anything you wrote. That thread was about Eschaton's silliest trolls, and any "praise" you got in that line was very, very ironical. As was my invitation to your "fans."

I honestly do respect the fact that you try to be pleasant and polite. Your opinions, however, are ignorant and common as dirt, and thus I don't really care whether you post them here or not. If you do, I'll continue to answer you politely. If you don't, that's OK too. Suit yourself! Honestly sorry if I hurt your feelings, but you've been known to be pretty goddamn insulting yourself, haven't you?

Anonymous said...

That was some of the best righteous ranting I've seen since the Rs first claimed "morality"


Thersites said...

To add to my getting-ripped-off-edness lately, here's Mr. Carbs ripping off my metacomments shtick, going to a blog's comments to complain about what a blogger says in the comments on another blog. But anyway, sorry 'bout losing your troll. Which is much like saying sorry about that scab finally crusting over & falling off.

On the morality topic, I find myself agreeing with Digby about the fungibility of the moral issues the Pure Ones of the Right keep screeching about. None of these issues are actually anything more than a club to beat the Godless Liberals with. It's all about winning the Game: which puts us at a natural disadvantage, because we don't see it as such. Having actual values means your hands are tied behind your back in a fight about Values. If that makes any sense...