Thursday, June 03, 2004

And what is compassion, if not an exercise in moral equivalence?

In the New Republic, Leon Wieseltier examines the warblogger's ethic and comes up a little empty.

Most of the right-wing heresiologists who scream "moral equivalence" at the sight of an inconvenient similarity intend mainly to shore up their own thinking or to shut down the thinking of others. (They had no compunction about comparing Saddam to Stalin.) And what is compassion, if not an exercise in moral equivalence? The care that we feel for people other than ourselves is the result of regarding us all, the subjects of our concern and ourselves, under a single and highly general description, which is the description of the human. There is no way to pursue justice without believing in the moral equivalence of all men and women. The idea that small-town Americans can bring democracy to small-town Iraqis is also a version of this belief. But everyone has their preferred equivalences, just as everyone has their preferred corpses.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home