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Monday, March 07, 2005

Cernig's Logic Trap

Cernig over at Newshog posted this- (it is his entire post on the subject, but you should go visit his site anyway, because 1. it is good and 2. that way he won't get pissed at me for stealing his entire post... hopefully)

This from Tony Blair, quoted in the WashPost today.

"I confess I have always believed that it is absurd to say in international law that a state can do whatever it wants with its own citizens. Surely if we believe in human dignity and human rights, that extends to whatever country a person happens to be in."

He was talking about reasons for invading Iraq, but if you accept that what Blair said is true in respect of Iraq(and I know that many from both right and left do, they have said so)then you must also accept that, say, European belief in "human dignity and human rights" should have an effect on how the US conducts itself. Now apply that to various rightwing rants about how the Supreme Court was wrong to ban executing minors on the strength of foreign opinion. Then apply it to Guantanamo Bay.

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

The post is titled "Logic Trap." I'll accept the implied challenge, and see if I can't escape it.

Democracy. The US is a democracy, Iraq was not, so the logic fails.
What if a democracy chooses NOT to recognize inherent individual rights, like those you conservatives Americans claim you were endowed with by a "Creator?"
But democracies alwasy DO recognize those rights, so the hypothetical is not worth using.
Hello? The US, a democracy, had institutionalized slavery for a hundred years.
Um... I'll get back to you... WAIT! The difference is, in this case, we are talking about a person losing their rights because of what they did, not because of who they are. So the entire question is moot.
Are you serious?
No. That was cheap sophistry. Okay... um...

Frankly, dear readers, I need some help.

UPDATE!!! Solved!!! ?
big-wannabe says "The logic holds as long as you buy in to the moral relativist idea that islamafascist totalitarian thugs are morally equivalent to the greatest purveyor of freedom and justice in the history of the world. Since they are not morally equivalent the logic is inherently flawed."

Which, I think, gets me about 30% of the way out. And Ronin pulls me ALL THE WAY out with this:
"re: the SCOTUS decision we have an established rule of law that protects the rights of our citizens. minor shadings within that framework are not the same as the lack of existence of such a thing. apples and bullets." Which, I think, demonstrates the lack of moral equivalence big-wannabe mentioned, as it pertains directly to this subject... Freedom! ahhhhh....

Still, this might get me out of the trap but it is sort of a Gordian Knot brute force escape.

I emailed the sensationally smart dudes over at Powerline about this... I'm very interested in what they think, given all the coverage they've given the recent Supreme Court case... They may have an entirely different way out of the trap. Perhaps a more elegant way. Then again, why Higher Beings such as they would reply to a Slimy Snake (or whatever it is I am on the TTLB scale- the thing disappeared for some reason) is beyond me. If I was a hot chick they might come down in the shape of a bull to have their way with me, but a dog of the Baron Harkonnen does not entice...


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