News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Ethical: Brownshirt vs. Pinko?

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Ethical: Brownshirt vs. Pinko?

A recent discussion at Glenn Greenwald's blog elicited the following exchange:

Why do right-wingers always turn out to have such a poor grasp on the facts?

Michael: Many of them really are just ignorant. Then there are the ones like bart and shooter242 who are willfully deceptive even though they know the facts are against them.

Look at how this question/response is structured. The question is not about why the Right is immoral but about the facts--as though it assumes that by getting the facts right, the ethics will follow. ...

I do not doubt that the Right gets the facts wrong. I also don't doubt that the Left gets facts wrong. That's the nature of facts--proteus-like they shift and jangle depending on the angle from which you look at them. A famous philosopher even went so far as to once claim that there are no facts, just interpretations (I paraphrase).

Yet, is the question really about facts at all? As Glenn somewhat cryptically said at the end of his posting, the real question is about ethics. It is that question that perhaps should form the focus of this discussion--rather than this back-and-forth about fact/counter-fact.

It should surprise us that the Rightist commenters here have let this opportunity slide. The brunt of their current arguments against the Left appear to rest in the idea that the Left has no moral core. The Left commenters, of course, should be showing how ethics does indeed inform their take on current events.

The reason for the lack of debate on this issue, perhaps, is that talking about ethics is much harder than talking about facts. I mean, I can google an ocean of facts all year and never reach the bottom.

Ethics, though, are not googlable--the debate involves revelation and realization and perhaps even self-transformation. It entails a level of soul-searching that many are simply unwilling to undertake since it requires an openness and authenticity that is always on the precipice of annihilating cherished illusions and sacrosanct platitudes.

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