March 11, 2011

BRIAN LEITER ON BUDGET CUTS: “At some point these acts of brazen viciousness are going to lead to a renewed philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified.” This whole “new civility” business just isn’t working out as promised. On the other hand, it is working out pretty much as expected. . . .

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh comments: “Now I should say that I’m all in favor of ‘philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified’; it is a subject of enduring moral and philosophical significance, and without question sometimes such acts are justified against some governments. My sense from Prof. Leiter’s post, though, is that he is hinting at more than just a philosophical inquiry — though perhaps I’m mistaken.” Perhaps.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Paul Stinchfield sends this quote: “The left claims that the guilty party in a conflict is not the one who covets another’s goods but the one who defends his own.”

MORE: Ann Althouse: “How quickly the lefty mind turns toward violence! . . . Here, I’ll help you get your fancy-schmancy, high-tone philosophy seminar started: Acts of political violence are justified to get what you want.” That’s my prediction of how it will go, too.

MORE STILL: Somehow, I’m reminded of this quote from Robert Heinlein:

Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

Indeed.

STILL MORE: A reader emails: “If you see the post now, he’s backpedaled and edited his original sentence without any disclosure. Seems like all the attention embarrassed him, but like Icarus, if you fly too high you get burnt.” Well, lots of people look at blog posts and decide they’re not clear. But he appears to have added the stuff about Locke after he added the update saying there had been more attention than he realized, which makes no sense. Anyway, I don’t think Brian is likely to be leading a revolution in any event. Nor do the looters and moochers really need him to provide a philosophical underpinning. For that, they’ve got Trumka.

PLUS: “In retrospect, I guess we might have resorted to cannibalism a bit early.”