Friday, January 03, 2014

I believe in socialism plus character

We should have a comprehensive socialist society, but that society needs to recognize, and enforce, good character on the part of its citizens. It comes down to distinction: to crib a phrase from conservative philosopher Richard Weaver, do you believe that some things are better than others, and some things are worse than others? Is there good conduct and bad conduct, ways of behaving that habitually hurt people and hurt society and ways of behaving that don't? I believe there is, and that we should privilege and encourage this behavior while penalizing the opposite.

To me, questions about why a person does what they do are things that can be dealt with further down the line. The immediate reality is that criminal behavior hurts others and should be penalized, and further that people should try to be reformed, to change that behavior. The ultimate causes do not do much to comfort those who are victimized by the behavior, and moreover it's often not just one or two actions but the product of a general orientation in how the person thinks about the world and behaves. 

This can be something that privileges the lowest in humanity, or it can be something that privileges humanity's highest aspirations, and we should not let those who privilege what's lowest in human life impose themselves on the rest of society, and demand tolerance for their actions based on previous oppression.

*and I should make it clear that while some of this language has been used in a racial context before, that defects of character go through all races and ethnicities, as well as whatever other social grouping that you want to point at. It's the orientation to life itself that's the issue.

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