Friday, December 8, 2006

They Told You So: PAUL KRUGMAN

The New York Times

They Told You So

Published: December 8, 2006

I’d like to offer some praise to those who correctly predicted the folly of the Iraq war.

Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, "The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers." Among those the article mocked was a "war novelist" named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article's title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra's curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true. And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, they were ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded that the paper's account of the debate in the House of Representatives over the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — a resolution opposed by a majority of the Democrats — gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that now seem prescient.



Anonymous said...

Good article.

But Cassandra's Curse?

Thank you for the introduction.

I give all here, the moral imperative, which, if Kant had given it to us, we'd all be reaping the benefits of it now.

I wrote a good letter the other day. It follows here, describing the moral imperative to another author. It's rare when one gets the words out right.

You hit it on the button, Somewhere a Banker Smiles smacks of being very close to the truth in observation. What is being billed as progress is actually rescinding the Emancipation Proclamation for every American. Between property taxes that are reducing the value of your home to zero, and the addiction economy being fostered upon the American consumer, indentured servitude is being extolled the same way some extolled slavery as our Civil War broke out as the cultural future for the entire world that will give to it then, as now, more progress.

I didn't write to tell you what you have done so well, and with such flare I wish I'd come up with a few of your iterations myself, but rather to push you to a new level. So hold onto your hat, there's a wind blowing hard.

Ours is a faux moral-societist nation, meaning common consent expects our government to set moral standards and goals for the people. Of course it is a sham, more opiate for the masses, but the human instinct for morality is founded on something that is real, despite the nihilist and existentialist trappings of so many who have simply resigned themselves to letting the world end on their watch.

I write philosophy. Horrors! I know. But at least I'm not writing theist philosophy. So, bear with me as I try and give you a quick 101 in the philosophy of now that I'm pushing. Why am I pushing philosophy? Because it allows me to fulfill a moral obligation to the world I feel for the grand experience it has been for me in my lifetime. I'm fifty-six, married 36 years, two great sons, and a little money in the bank. I never had a loan in my life. And, life is good!

First of all, philosophers, like physicists and economist, don't have it all figured out. If it wasn't for this glaring fact I never would have become interested in writing philosophy. On a casual bet, I began writing "An Illustrated Philosophy Primer for Young Readers", the bet being that a work on philosophy couldn't be geared toward youth. I found as I did this, youths are the only ones for whom works on philosophy could be addressed, if one wants to have some positive effect. I also found as I pared back all that was inane about philosophy, some really glaring holes. I filled one of them. I just got methodologically lucky and stumbled upon the moral imperative of life, the literal fountain of all philosophic moralness is this:

The moral imperative of life is to live a life that detracts not at all from the lives available to those who will follow us into this world.

Oh, I know, on a first reading, unless you're steeped in philosophical tradition, it sounds like more of the same old-same old. It is not however titanic, as it forces constraints and opens new avenues of measure for virtually every human thought and action by shifting the emphasis toward the future. (It's too bad Kant didn't discover the moral imperative as we'd all be reaping its benefits today.)

The gist of the import and justification for the moral imperative is this, no one has the right to gamble with the wager being the future of humanity, or even to the detriment of the future of humanity because these detriments are as we both know, cumulative. Progress as measured by economists and political ideologues has been a fraud. Their notions of progress is upside down.

I've been exploring the moral imperative for almost a year, and I see no bottom to the depth of the positive changes it can inspire. It is not about us at all, it is about the future. The "us' in Utilitarianism and Libertarianism is just plain selfish and self-defeating if we don't look to the future.

I have found that for all empirical processes it is necessary for the moral imperative to be applied first, and then again and again as every other step in any empirical process because empirical methodologies are trial and error, lead where they may.

I have found in capitalism and socialism, as they are each derived from and implimentations of empirical thought, both require extensive adjustment to even come close to meeting the requirements of the moral imperative.

Democracy is profoundly effected, and even as if seemingly ruled out by the moral imperative, as human nature is not atuned to it, and those who vote, might vote to imperil the future to their short term benefit today.

Nothing is the same.

I'll leave it at that, to see if I've struck a note. Think it through. If you're interested enough, you might even realize, the moral imperative is the key to winning just about any debate currently being debated on our planet today. It is the only cognet moral view. It redefines human truth with a wholesale shift away from Aristotle's scientific methodologies that have made progress the upside down affair it has become.

So far as I have been able to discover, the moral imperative of life trumps all else that is known in the world. As I read and listen to the great thinkers of today, I am astonished at what I know, that they seem so utterly blind to. I reach out to you in this light.

Yes. Cassandra's Curse indeed.


Don Robertson, The American Philosopher
Limestone, Maine

An Illustrated Philosophy Primer for Young Readers

Anonymous said...

The Mainstream Media is bought and paid for. It's all about censorship (of views opposing the gov't). After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protestors, ban books like "America Deceived" America Deceived (book) from Amazon and Wikipedia, and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Long live the internet. ("They" will come for it soon)

Anonymous said...

For the most part, Islam is the faith of those under constant siege. Ramadan is a month-long fire drill designed to teach its followers how to maintain the national civility while their nation has to undergo rationing.

With this in mind, something even the lamest of anthrpology students would get, the real goal has never been the publicly stated aim of bring these people western style freeom and democracy. The only possible accomplishment of the war as it has been executed is to scorch any form of Iraqi autonomy into ashes. In essence, we hate them because they hate being (oil) sharecroppers.