Legal Fiction has criticized
the condemnation of Rush Limbaugh for his, ummm..., moral laxity on the basis that socially tolerant/liberal individuals should be tolerant of the all too human failing of even the worst moral scolds. I don't think that's quite right.
Recently I've begun reading Simon Blackburn's RULING PASSIONS
and I want to quote at length from the first chapter of the book:
People who moralize too readily arouse our suspicions. To be able to give somebody a bad conscience is to have a hold over them, and people like this power. They may claim quite spurious authority, from sacred traditions, or convenient pieces of text, in holy books or holy constitutions, or from inner voices. They may be hypocrites, or they may be just stupid, blind to the real complexities of situations people find themselves in, and perhaps they are glib with justifications for their own doings.
Thoughtful criticism of the moral failings of scolds is difficult, but it is important so that the willful simplifications of our moral worlds isn't successful. We need to be on guard against the Manichean ethics of those who cannot understand tragedy and weakness of the will. So to gloat at Limbaugh's difficulties (while tempting) isn't appropriate, it is important to point out when people promote moral codes that do not map onto our actual moral world.
-Ziggy Stardust 23:53 EST |