Sunday, January 09, 2005

What do Social Security "Reform", the Iraq War, IOKIFYAR, Rumsfeld, Plato, Strauss and Nietzsche have in common?

Faughnan's Notes: Social Security talking points

What do all of these things have in common? For a hint, look here and here and here and here.

All of these programs and persons share elements of a common philosophy:
  1. There is a morality for the common man, and a "higher morality" for the uber man.
  2. In the "higher morality" the ends often justify the means.
  3. The masses need comforting stories that will ease their lives. If they could understand the big picture they'd probably agree with the decisions, but they really can't.
  4. The burden of greatness is heavy. Those who bear it deserve some special privileges, some exemptions from the rules that guide the lighthearted masses.
So there are rational, albeit debateable, reasons to invade Iraq -- even in the absence of sufficient resources to provide post-conquest stability. Likewise there are rational reasons to change the way social security is provided -- as part of a larger package that transforms the role of governmnent. I could make those arguments in a debate. I don't agree with the premises of the arguments or the extensions of the premises, but there do exist rational arguments worthy of discussion.

We never hear those discussions.

What's noteworthy about the Bush administration, and consistent with Strauss/Nietzsche/Rumsfeld/Bush morality, is that those "rational" arguments are forbidden. Speaking them aloug would reveal dangerous thoughts and concepts to the masses.

Instead we hear "stories" about social security "crises" (really, crises arising more from a transformation of government than from a demographic transition -- Japan is another story) or about Iraq being responsible for 9/11. Stories that, we now know, are often funded by covert payoffs to administration propagandists.

Nietzsche. Strauss. Plato. Great thinkers all, but not men I'd want running my country. Their moral values are now the Bush moral values.

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