[lit-ideas] Re: Aren't you glad you no longer have a Hitler problem?

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 09:40:50 -0700 (PDT)

--- Phil Enns <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Omar Kusturica wrote:
> "Also, to say that ethical difference between acts
> cannot be established
> on the basis of who is committing them does not mean
> that there cannot
> be other pertinent ethical distinctions."
> Torture and murder are legal terms. 

*They may be legal terms, but they are also ethical

 However, you
> deny the significance
> of the rule of law in making ethical distinctions.* 
> Having denied the
> rule of law, you also deny the grounds for making
> ethical distinctions.

*Doesn't follow, Phil. The distinction betweem ethical
and legal judgements has been known since Socrates'
time at least. (Probably earlier but I hope you get my
point.) I am not an expert but I suspect that J.C.
also distinguished between the laws of the land
(Empire) and ethical laws.

Anyway I admit that the international law has some
significance, not absolute of course, but that
probably makes me more of a legalist than the Bush

> You have made judgments based on acting.  According
> to you, Al-Zarqawi
> is morally superior to Eric because Al-Zarqawi
> acted.  

*Within the posited moral jungle world, yes.

But US soldiers
> are also acting, just against the side you
> sympathize with. 

*I don't want to go into what soldiers do now. They
sometimes follow orders and sometimes not, sometimes
they follow them out of moral conviction and sometimes
This would require a lengthy discussion which I don't
have the inclination for right now.

 The only
> grounds for distinguishing these acts is your
> sympathies.  So, drop the
> talk of morality and just acknowledge that you
> prefer the actions of Al
> Zarqawi because you sympathize with his beliefs. 
> And instead of
> whinging about the morality of invading Iraq, just
> admit that you are
> cheering for the insurgency.  As I said, have the
> courage of your
> convictions and admit you are opposed to the US
> adventure in Iraq
> because you are sympathetic to Al Zarqawi's ilk.

*The reverse might be closer to it.
> *I think this bit nicely summarizes Omar's position
> regarding the
> significance of the rule of law.

> (Callicles in Plato's _Gorgias_)

*Callicles' position seems a bit like Nietzsche's. It
is a position worth consideration but not quite my
own. I'll admit that I keep going back to Nietzsche,


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