Re: Re[6]: Rhetorical Theory

Steve Finley (Finley@TTDCE1.COED.TTU.EDU)
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 09:21:22 +0000

From M. Hamende:

" I too, am discomforted by this unwillingness on the part of many,
particularly liberals, to make judgements. . . . It was fun,
work, but fun to win you back from the Dark Side.."

Speaking from the Dark Side, I'd say boy are you gonna get mail from
some liberals on this one. Yeesh. But I'll agree totally with what
you've said about making judgments. It seems that almost
all public policymaking is infected with the slippery-slope
disease--that everything is seen in terms of "yeah, but if we do
that, pretty soon this will happen," presuming that people don't have
the sense to set the balance point at more or less the right spot. Of
course, this whole notion reaches a logical extreme rather quickly:
"If you start putting thieves in jail, pretty soon you'll be throwing
8-year-olds who shoplifted one time in jail, too." You've really hit a
nerve here, something I've bored everybody I know with over the past
few years, this distressing tendency to try to put all policy beyond
the reach of reasonable judgment. It won't work, nor will it work
for literally every idea of right and wrong to be relative. It's
undoubtedly true that people's ideas about the particulars of
morality have been off by a mile before, as have the things various
groups have attached to morality (you gotta be a Repub if you're gonna
be a Christian, etc.), but the fact that people have screwed up in
the particulars from time to time doesn't invalidate the whole idea
of a broader moral principle.

This line of thought reminds me--pardon the religious excess
here, but there is a thread of discussion on this--of when
Christ embarrassed hell out of the Pharisees, who were so obsessive
about every possible excruciating detail of the law, and went on to
say something about the whole law boiling down to two things: Love
God and love your neighbor as yourself. Not don't drink, dance, vote
Democratic, none of that kind of stuff. Doesn't mean that people who
think those things are stupid; they're just trying to work out
morality in their own way. Point is, obviously we have to be careful
about what we designate to be for-all-time moral rules, but that fact
doesn't mean that all is meaningless and there is no right or good
thing. At least not IMmostHO.

darth vader (aka s. finley)