egalitarianism

egalitarianism


Empathy is a Solid Route to Moral Goodness

moral goodness May 5th, 2020

Empathy is the degree to which a person can place oneself in another’s shoes. Anyone can feel pain when someone steps on their toe, but what if you see someone else wincing in pain, grasping their own toe? The question is related to what you experience when you determine, perceptually, that someone else is suffering in some way. Empathy is a key driver of moral goodness, I believe. Another way to describe this phenomenon is, acting right is about empathizing with the other. What follows is my rationale.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Exemplifies True Liberalism

liberalism January 13th, 2019

I have a new favorite person! Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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The “Natural Aristocracy” of Thomas Jefferson

natural aristocracy January 3rd, 2018

This is a summary of chapter four of Fareed Zakaria’s book, In Defense of A Liberal Education. It is entitled “The Natural Aristocracy”. It is based on a phrase used by the storied founder of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson. There is a fundamental difference between the teaching and learning of facts such as names, dates, formulae, and vocabulary on the one hand, and the more basic, utilitarian, fundamental approach of critical thinking. Indeed, learning to think is a profoundly valuable asset we would do well to inculcate in our children, and Franklin and Jefferson believed it would also make America special and virtuous. That it would lead to a natural aristocracy growing in the new land. Let’s learn about the two “founding fathers” and this incredible experiment, this “republic of virtue” they helped craft. In this chapter, education in general is discussed, as is online education.

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A Progressive Perspective on Justice (V&E-19)

a progressive perspective on justice October 8th, 2017

The following piece is entitled “A Progressive Perspective on Justice, Liberty, and Social Problems” and constitutes chapter 19 of the book Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom (itself based on an Internet-based talk radio show of the same name I did in times past). My influential and tireless partners in dialogue are Michael Ratner J.D., and Matthew Rothschild. Mr. Ratner is the founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights, an outfit that consistently fights for the rights of the downtrodden, disappeared, and despised. Matthew Rothschild was Senior Editor of The Progressive for years.

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Contrary Notions: Michael Parenti Quotes

Michael Parenti quotes October 5th, 2017

The following are Michael Parenti quotes which I took from his wonderful book, Contrary Notions. It is expensive, but so is organic produce and beef from free-range cattle. And that is how I think of Michael Parenti: the cream of the crop. An independent scholar, he is an inspiration to me. His writings are clear, compelling, and careful. He is a liberal luminary, and I’m proud to present to you a sampling of Michael Parenti quotes from Contrary Notions and other sources as well.

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The Case for Capitalism

capitalism September 27th, 2017

I am in a class this semester studying justice in re: to economics. That is, How do we know a given system (or aspects of capitalism, for example) are just? Meaning, right and justifiable. Libertarian capitalism has really been cooking since about 1980 in the United States. What is it all about? As Murray Rothbard put it: “The central thrust of the libertarian thought is to oppose any and all aggression against the property rights of individuals in their own persons and in the material objects they have voluntarily acquired.” Sounds pretty attractive. Even more inarguable is Richard Epstein’s characterization: “All people are not equally driven, but when it comes to the use of power, those who have excessive amounts of self-interest are apt to be the most influential – and the most dangerous.” So, is libertarian capitalism (free-market or laissez-faire capitalism) above reproach? Let me first try to at least lobby for it. I present three arguments in favor of capitalism (perhaps more specifically, a libertarian version of capitalism) and some quotations for your consideration, followed by a critique.

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Social Justice: Based in Historical Truth

social justice May 3rd, 2017

I was a little discomfited by Daniel Lattier’s derision of social justice in his account of an elementary school in Minnesota which has made some noble attempts at teaching children about historical truth, such as the idea of “white privilege.” I believe this position shows a lack of insight into the way America works, will shortchange children of all races, and will perpetuate the status quo. It’s not terribly surprising, though. Consider: “Once you follow a path of nonviolence and social justice, it won’t take you long before you come into conflict with the culture, with the society” ~ Martin Sheen. Lattier wrote in Not All Parents Want Their Children to be Social Justice Warriors:

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Conservatism: As Compared to Other Views

conservatism and libertarianism May 3rd, 2017

There are so many ultra-rich people in this country that “being a billionaire is barely enough to gain admission to the Forbes 400 [list of wealthiest individuals],” said Michael J. Sandel in is superb, readable book Justice. In a libertarian America, sure, there would be less discrimination and some of the icky stuff that social conservatives foist on the rest of us (censorship, the drug war, etc.). There could conceivably be a lot of wealth inequality, however. Is this right? Can it be morally justified? Let’s analyze, criticize, and philosophize about modern political conservatism and its ugly younger brother, libertarianism.

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