Punchinello’s Chronicles

April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter, Pragmatism and Ethical Relativism

“The bottom line is the Republican Party has become inhospitable to moderates,'” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. This from a CNN news report about the change in party affiliation announced today by Arlen Specter, the previous Republican, now Democrat Senator from Pennsylvania.

The question in my mind is what happens to the people who elected Sen. Specter? Didn’t they expect him to represent their political, financial, and social ideas in Washington? Don’t they count?

Senator Specter said that he believes he no longer could win an election as a Republican. Damn right he couldn’t!

Follow-up stories all day have pointed out that the Republican party is becoming “too conservative,” and that so-called moderates are being driven away from the party. A few people have said that Republicans will just have to see what results from “their” closed-minded shift toward something unexplained. Ironically, that’s exactly what conservatives are saying about the off-the-charts liberal extremism taking place.

What about values? Where are principles and values in all this?

America is organized around a representative system of government. People elect a representative who will advocate for their positions, values, beliefs, and expectations. They don’t elect someone to wander off to Washington and do whatever the hell they feel like doing! A politician is the servant of the people! That’s why it’s called public service!

The service being performed by our elected representatives is…what? Those representatives work full-time toward keeping the nation running smoothly, resolving problems, and supporting the underlying social contract that brings us all into a common society. That gives the rest of us time to work, build things, make things, earn money and improve the world around us.

The people who choose each representative become that representative’s constituents. The operative point is that the public servant acts for and in the place of the citizen and that citizen’s philosophy and values.

We know that only a minuscule number of politicians give a rat’s crap about their constituents. The ONLY time voters matter whatsoever is during election time. And that’s what this is all about. It’s what’s at the heart of ALL the problems we’re facing today, and have faced throughout history. Politicians are now totally out of control.

It comes down to pragmatism. Pragmatism is a diabolical philosophy. It basically argues that the ends justify the means. Something is “good” if it accomplishes a goal and works. Whose goal? Whomever is strongest. Only secondarily does any pragmatist try to resolve moral and quality of life issues. Those issues are part of a complex equation, but when push comes to shove, “the ends justify the means” and to hell with the individual. The “ends” (results) far outweigh the life of mere individuals.

Both political parties these days argue that unless they’re “in power,” they can’t run the country according to the ideological values necessary for a quality nation. The ends, in this case, are to put in place right-thinking, good-feeling policies. Whatever it takes to be able to put those things in place, those actions become the moral “good.”

In other words, “good” is whatever works. That’s it. That’s why we need to get rid of religion, because religions start with what’s good, and demand that we make things work on the basis of that morality. Not the other way around. Religion, like the gold standard in economics, is too limiting.

The problem with pragmatism is that increasingly, it cancels out principled values, moral actions, and the entire concept of an objective morality. “Compromise” is the word of the day. Do you compromise with a criminal? If someone is about to shoot you in the head, but is willing to compromise and shoot your loved ones instead, do you compromise?

We’ve been told by vacuous philosophers that there isn’t any such thing as a clear moral reference. There are no absolutes, and absolutely there are no absolute values! There are no objective truths whatsoever. Nobody has “the right” to “dictate” what’s right and wrong, because feelings matter more than reason. We’re told that all morality and all ethics are subject to change, depending on “the situation.”

Ethical relativism is also called situational ethics. Same thing.

Arlen Specter has flat-out said that he has no principles, no values, no morals. He’s flat-out said that he could give a flying fart about people who voted for him. He’s flat-out said that his own life of power in Washington totally outweighs whatever anyone else thinks is important. All he’s interested in is re-election and keeping that power intact. And he’s now a hero of the Democratic party! (What’s that tell you about Democrats in Washington?)

Is this what we want in a government? Of course it is! As a group, we keep voting into office the same power-hungry lunatics. As individuals we may try to vote for reasonable politicians, but what happens when they win office? They go nowhere, do nothing, and fail utterly. Why? Because they won’t compromise.

Pragmatically, when anyone is elected to office they have to compromise. Otherwise, they won’t get anything accomplished. Right? And who’s to say what’s so bad about compromises? After all, the bail-outs and budget overdrafts are all compromises, and they’re working. Right…? In fact, the entire reconciliation process is totally based on compromise.

Although term limits might possibly help solve this problem of life-time politicians, even that’s not for sure. The level of greed and avarice in politicians is so high, so compelling, and so vicious, that term limits might drive them to desperate measures. Who knows what sort of blackmail, bribery, theft, or violence a politician might engage in when their term is due to expire? Based on what they’re doing lately, I think we can equate politicians with the Mafia or a terrorist organization.

Arlen Specter has demonstrated today that of all the calculated variables in life, voters and the citizens of the United States are at the very bottom. We, the people, are essentially meaningless. If they could eliminate the entire voting process, then they’d be happy. For awhile.

It’s like watching piranhas in a lake. The water, metaphorically speaking, is power, control, and money. The economy feeds that water into the lake. As there is less and less water, the piranhas turn on each other and on anything at all that falls into the shrinking lake. Politicians can eat an entire nation down to the fleshless bones in less than 100 days.

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. […] Punchinello’s Chronicles created an interesting post today on Arlen Specter, Pragmatism and Ethical RelativismHere’s a short outline“The bottom line is the Republican Party has become inhospitable to moderates,’” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. This from a CNN news report about the change in party affiliation announced today by Arlen Specter, the previous Republican, now Democrat Senator from Pennsylvania.The question in my mind is what happens to the people who elected Sen. Specter? Didn’t they expect him to represent their political, financial, and social ideas in Washington? Don’t they count?Senator Specter said th […]

    Pingback by Topics about Last-words | Arlen Specter, Pragmatism and Ethical Relativism — April 28, 2009 @ 6:33 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: