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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Character, Judgement and Unity

The Right Christians (not to be comfused with the Christians of the Right Wing) is an amazing wealth of information and well-thought dialogue, ranging from the George Lakoff book, mentioned below, to the Alabama tax structure, to insightful discussions of framing morality from a progressive viewpoint.

Norm at onegoodmove continues to discuss George Lakoff's book. Moral Politics How Liberals and Conservatives Think. He found this assessment of character from which I'll quote a snippet:

"Every argument turns into one of character. Bad public schools? Let people go to private school! If they can't afford to that's they're own fault, they're poor because they have bad character, those with bad character don't deserve a hand-out. Lower taxation of capital? Only someone with good character is able to build capital, they shouldn't be punished for having good character. Estate tax? Only someone with good character was able to build all that wealth, they shouldn't be punished.

The desire to dismantle social programs? Social programs only benefit those with poor character, why should people with good character pay to give hand-outs to those with bad character?"

The Right Christians discuss the absolute certainty of the Christian Right and the means of which they can completely deny they've been lied to by someone they deem to be 'of good character':

"For the Christian Right, the Bible is the one source of God's revelation to humanity. It is perfect as God is perfect and any conflicting truth claim must be false. No one is acceptable to God unless they accept this Bible and the Christ it reveals. No one who is unacceptable to God can be a source of wisdom or truth.

Such a worldview necessitates that the Christian Right enters into political discourse not to participate but to dictate. They can never admit that they are wrong. It would be blasphemy.
They cannot even take seriously arguments from those who do not accept their particular brand of Christianity. It would be syncretism. At best they can follow a two-track course: evangelize so that more accept their premises at the same time as they camouflage their case in shades of modernity to appear as good-faith participants in public debates. And that is precisely what they do as they refuse to get down with the rest of us and risk dearly-held assumptions and modify long-cherished principles. As self-anointed spokesmen for God, their goal is to dictate not participate. "

Values of compassion and fairness are pitted against values of self-reliance and self discipline. What happens when the rewards of self-discipline are gutted in favor of wealthy corporations? When power and greed by government becomes so mighty that rights and compassion for all people are forgotten? Do people unify for the better of the all, or further descend into a selfish abyss?

In yesterdays post at the RightChristians, Allen was discussing Truman. There are some parallels between Truman and Kucinich's vision that I outlined in the comments here.

I have to ask, whose responsibility is it to dictate and judge? Whose responsibility is it to demonstrate compassion? Are we united in the quest for power and empire or for the quest of well-being for all?
posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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