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Saturday, August 18, 2012

With His Customary Mildness

Douglas Wilson: With My Customary Mildness
David Lampo, in his libertarian/Republican defense of
[a dispensation of special privileges for "gays" as "gays"], says this: "It is time for them [Republicans and conservataives] to realize that, in a free society, the highest political virtue should be freedom, not adherence to any specific moral or religious code" (A Fundamental Freedom, p. xii).

Got it. In a free society the highest political virtue should be freedom. And in a triangular society, the highest political virtue should be drawing triangles. So much we may assume, even without argument. But why should a society be free? Who cares if we draw triangles? I invite you to just try to answer that question without recourse to any specific moral or religious code. In fact, let me change that invitation to a defiance. Lampo is not providing serious political analysis here -- these are patched-together bromides from a political operative trying to get new talking points into circulation. Virtue requires serious definition, and it must have a foundation. Public virtue is a species of virtue, and it is no less in need of definition (and foundations) than is virtue generally.

...To return to Lampo's previous point, what should we call it if someone rejects the "highest political virtue" of "freedom"? What is that? Is it immoral to do such a thing? If so, by what standard? If not, why should we worry about transgressing that boundary? Who cares?
Or, to put it more bluntly -- those persons who speak of a "need" (much less an oughtness) to have a politics free of moral considerations are either unbelievably ignorant (*) or are disingenuous blackguards.

It's utterly impossible to have a politics free of moral considerations, for politics just is the art of what, and why, and how, we shall compell one another to do or to not do.

The only option in this regard is whether your politics will be based on true and correct moral considerations, or on false.

(*) unless it's simply that they are unspeakably stupid.