[lit-ideas] Re: When a civilized society fights a barbarous one

  • From: "Judith Evans" <judithevans1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 19:08:54 +0100

> We've had this argument before about "high standards."

Yes we have, and perhaps I should simply have said that.
But my point here is this.

JE>Those who seek to hold the US (etc.) to a high
> standard, those who do not accept that it's right for
> the US (etc.) to use torture because others use
> torture, those who oppose the use of torture by their
> government in the knowledge that it is often used by
> other governments, patently obviously believe that
> some cultures are different from others and that some
> cultures are better than others.  It's slightly
> worrying that West cannot see this.

I did not intend a return to the previous argument.  Your post
makes
an important point but is not relevant to what I said.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eric Yost" <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 6:55 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: When a civilized society fights a
barbarous one


> Judy: Those who seek to hold the US (etc.) to a high
> standard, those who do not accept that it's right for
> the US (etc.) to use torture because others use
> torture, those who oppose the use of torture by their
> government in the knowledge that it is often used by
> other governments, patently obviously believe that
> some cultures are different from others and that some
> cultures are better than others.  It's slightly
> worrying that West cannot see this.
>
>
> We've had this argument before about "high standards."
>
> One of my history professors used to make the point that the
> US high standards (The Constitution, for example) mean that
> US actions will ALWAYS fall short of expectations. Given the
> absolute language of the Constitution, the US will always be
> seen to fail. Other governments, and I believe he cited the
> British as an example, employ less grandiose language to
> their governments, and will always be seen to meet or exceed
> their claims.
>
> His point is important. High ideals mean regular failure to
> meet them. The value of high ideals is in the direction of
> social evolution, not in their day-to-day realization.
>
> So if a civilization is fighting for its right to exist
> against barbaric medieval Islamists, the failure to meet
> absolute standards on a day-to-day basis is MUCH less
> important than the overall direction of the civilization.
>
> The direction of secular civilization is much more important
> than the lapses from absolute standards. That direction is
> toward greater fulfillment of human potential, and it has
> been empirically demonstrated in ending slavery (which still
> exists in Islamist societies) and enhancing equality for
> women (which still is hindered in Islamist societies).
>
> We may fall short of our ideals but the direction toward
> greater fulfillment of human potential is obvious.
>
------------------------------------------------------------------
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: