Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baileywikipedia II

Another Barnum's Baileywick comment (where does he find the time?):
Points 1-5 add nothing to what I've already admitted: that Iran is in the process of building a nuclear arsenal, and that the President of Iran thinks that the destruction of Israel is a good idea. Whether taken singly or in combination, these points do not imply that Iran is engaged in the project of destroying Israel by nuclear attack.
The question is why BB does not consider points 1-5 as evidence of a sinister intent, such as a pre-emptive strike against Israel, and the question does not diminish in importance simply owing to the fact that BB acknowledges the truth of the points per se.
I think that there are some things -- justice would be one, but there are others -- that mandate from us that we not understand human life as an absolute good.
I favor a moral understanding similar to that of W. D. Ross, in the form of a hierarchy of moral absolutes (as Norman Geisler expresses it). Within that framework, I would agree with BB. It seems that there are moral tenets that would outweigh the goodness of human life.
At the same time, I do think that human life is a good, and worth being preserved.
Ah, so BB is an anti-abortionist and condemns euthanasia.
But if what you're saying with the final questions -- about relativism, and the deaths of millions -- is that, in light of the extreme consequences of a potential Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, we are within our rights to pre-emptively attack Iran so as to prevent even the possibility of those Israeli (and Iranian) deaths, then I think we disagree in a fundamental way about the nature of moral and political rights.
It might be nice if BB could just skip the part where he guesses at my motivations and just answer the question. :)
If the two come into conflict, the preservation of liberty is, I think, a more fundamental value than physical/material security.
If BB's understanding represents a competition between two absolutes, then our views may be essentially similar. If his view is informed (however ambiguously) by moral relativism, then our agreement is superficial.
I would rather live in an unsafe society where I was free, than a safer one in which I had fewer basic rights.
You do want to live, then. Vote Republican! Those other guys will get us killed.
Similarly, I would rather live in a world where nuclear attack from state or non-state actors is a real possibility, than in a world where the sovereignty of nations is routinely challenged.
BB's view is silly, and I shall promptly explain how.
Nations are people, in the same manner that corporations are people. They act in a manner strongly analogous to sentient beings in relation to civil laws. When people act contrary to civil law, they suffer consequences, and that is how order is maintained in a society. When society places a criminal in jail for life, or visits capital punishment on a murderer, the sovereignty of that criminal is being challenged. There are enough civil laws on the books such that the sovereignty of the people is routinely challenged (woe is BB).
Iran has flaunted the international civil laws respecting its nuclear programs and research. That compounds the transgression against society.
Fail to address the actions of criminal nations, and you will assuredly undermine the freedoms you seek, along with those of perhaps millions of others.
I don't think there's anything fundamentally relativistic about these things, even though I do admit the very real possibility that I am wrong.
Poo on you. There's nothing in principle keeping the moral absolutist from believing that there is a very real possibility that he is wrong. BB is telling me nothing, unless it's that he's so humble that I should be impressed.
I have faith that these basic beliefs are true, but I am no dogmatist.
I think BB should admit that he might be a dogmatist, otherwise it looks like he's being dogmatic about how he's not dogmatic. :)
Show me a good reason to believe the security of the Israelis is more valuable than the sovereignty of Iran, and I'll accept it. I just haven't come across one yet.
Israel's leaders have never hinted that it would be worthwhile to use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike intended to wipe out their neighbors, in contrast to those of Iran.
The leaders of a nation are those who exercise sovereignty on behalf of a nation.

The good reason is under BB's nose, crowding his nose hairs. He simply declines to acknowledge it as a good reason.

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