Sunday, December 12

I Found a Theme

It has been noted too many places these last few days to cite, that there is a fundamental gap in understanding between the "left" and the "right". Those on the left, insist that those on the right are stupid, hateful, and intolerant. Those on the right think the left lacks values and patriotism combined with a view of history and the social condition which lacks a strong connection with reality.

Now a lot of this is a fundemental misunderstanding of what has been termed worldview (or what I call one's ethical framework). Now perhaps because of the post-modernist influence on the left, one of my chief frustrations with the left, is their inability to explain where their ethics derive. As far as I know, there is not philosopher or ethicist who has laid out what the ethical beliefs to which many of the liberals in America adhere.

However, in reading some of the more reasonable blogger's essays from the left, I have made one (anthropolgical?) discovery. One of the important leftist core values is "fairness". This drives their rationalization for supporting many (if not most) of their social programming. Now fairness is good, when it means that there is no favoritism, e.g., color-blind. "Life should be fair" seems to be one of the strongest aphorisms (besides their everpresent call for diversity).

Now from the right, fairness is seen as not just wrong when it is used to justify re-dietribution of wealth. In fact fairness is also a little confusing, because when it comes down to it, they don't actually believe it. They will say they want, for example, a fair start for every child. But lo, with respect to their own children, do they want that? Did for example the leaders on the left, Kerry, Gore, et al, send their children to public schools? No. Will they give their children every advantage? Yes. Because deep down, they think fairness is good for public policy but not private. In fact, the inequalities of personal ability and drive coupled with the desire for people to pass on the fruits of their efforts to their children which drives most if not all of the inequality of wealth in the country. It is impossible to fix the first, and immoral to fix the second.

But fairness drives their "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", rhetoric. One doesn't have to agree with it, but perhaps understanding where they are coming from will help our discourse.