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41765My views Re: politics

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  • C. S. Wyatt
    Jul 3 1:36 PM
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      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      > The former, social discourse, is a space wherein a debate can take place, but
      > if I am consigned a role in such, I do not see why I should celebrate any
      > middle.

      To me, political change requires compromise and sometimes slow evolutionary steps. My
      very deep aversion to the death penalty, for example, is not likely to be a position adopted
      by most voters / politicians. Instead of trying for an "outright win" in the political arena, I
      try to argue other elements of the problem. For example, it is hard to argue that the
      application reveals social and political biases in the courts. Also, one can point to those
      freed thanks to DNA and modern forensics. In other words, I shift the debate to those
      areas I think there might be consensus.

      Do I surrender my philosophical notion that the state shouldn't take a life? No. But, I also
      realize there is a more effective approach politically.

      I've shifted a lot in life, from the normal "left" of undergraduate years to a libertarian
      approach. The more I worked in / around government, the less I trusted it.

      My philosophical approach is to still dream of a time when people get along and help each
      other voluntarily. I still imagine people have a responsibility to mutually respect each
      other's rights and freedoms.

      Politically? I see government in all nations is about the powerful elites, not idealism.

      Philosophical grounding would help our leaders, as it would any group of people. I want
      people to consider "The Other" and how our choices impinge on the other. I want people
      to consider, "What if country/group X did Y to me? What of my rights, then?"

      Yes, I'm definitely more libertarian than I was two decades ago. I'm also more pro-union,
      I'm generally more ambivalent about my support for the ACLU (I cannot believe they are
      supporting the installation of foot baths in our colleges in Minnesota -- uhg), and still a
      devoted supporter of the National Wildlife Federation (but not the Sierra Club).

      My philosophy remains apart from political action because I have to compromise to get
      things done at the university and in our schools. You cannot go in with "I think we should
      shift taxes collected from one district to the inner city schools" -- a position I hold.
      Instead, you have to explain to the suburbs why they don't want inner city schools
      collapsing and failing. My beliefs have to be mediated to get action.

      I am not a politician, since I couldn't compromise nearly as often as it is required. But, I
      have been much better at compromise in the last four years than in the past.

      Pragmatism becomes more appealing when I need to accomplish something. At those
      moments, Rorty and Schiappa guide my reasoning. When I shift to freedoms, I still turn to
      a mix of Continental thinkers.

      Philosophy and the reality conflict. I support republican ideals, with limits on the majority.
      I always fear the majority and its ability to abuse power -- even when my views might be
      in the majority.

      When we implement a philosophy, it changes. What is good in the ideal is always off when
      men and women try to implement those ideals.

      Politics is about getting things done. It means terrible choices, like which houses must
      give way to new roads and transit lines. Politics is not philosophy, at those moments. But, I
      think philosopher-leaders would ask, "Is it really fair that we always put the roads through
      poor or middle-income neighborhoods?" I want politicians to feel some internal agony
      over every choice, while still making a choice.

      Isn't that the core of existentialism? Most choices have a negative, Sartre said, but we tend
      to ignore the negatives so we can act free of guilt. I want more guilt from our leaders. Lots
      more guilt.
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