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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Ethical Egoism
Posted: March 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm
LOsservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
Given the widely acknowledged fact that countries and populations enjoy wealth and prosperity precisely to the extent that they embrace capitalism, why does Pope Francis call capitalism the dung of the devil and jet around the globe aiming to rid the world of it?
Economists and other intellectuals have spelled out at great length the overwhelming historic evidence in support of the fact that capitalismthe system of individual rights, limited government, and rule of lawis the political-economic cause of prosperity. And one need not read lengthy books to get the message. Journalists regularly report on the relevant facts in bite-sized pieces that any active-minded person can fit together into an edifying mosaic over time.
In just the past few days, in anticipation of Pope Franciss visit to the United States, several prominent thinkers have published articles packedwith evidence showing the life-serving nature of capitalism. George Will, for instance, writes: The capitalist commerce that Francis disdains is the reason the portion of the planets population living in absolute poverty ($1.25 a day) declined from 53 percent to 17 percent in three decades after 1981.
Alex Epstein writes that, thanks to technologies made possible by relatively free markets,
Since 1980, the world has increased its use of coal, oil, and natural gas by over 80 percentbecause that is the most cost-effective way to produce energy. At the same time, the average life expectancy of our worlds 7 billion individuals has gone up 7 years7 years of precious life! Every other metric of human well-being has also improved, from income to access to health care to nourishment to clean water access. The most growth has been among the poorest people in the world.
Specifically in regard to climate change, which is one of the Popes favorite problems to blame on capitalism, Epstein adds:
According to the international disaster database, climate-related deaths are down 98 percent over the past 80 years. In 2013, there were 21,122 such deaths worldwide compared to a high of 3.7 million in 1931, when world population was less than a third of its current size.
Donald Boudreaux observes that capitalism is historys greatest force for raising the living standards of the masses, noting that Pope Francis somehow misses this:
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the average person lived on about $3 per day (reckoned in 2015 dollars), and each denizen of todays developing countriesthose places touched least by capitalismscrapes by on $7 per day. In contrast, the average person in todays market-oriented industrialized world lives on $110 per day, and the average American lives on $150. Now, thanks to capitalism, billions of us . . . live lives that not even the most powerful Byzantine or European potentate dared dream of just a few hundred years ago.
Such economic facts are indisputableas is the economic theory that explains them.
Ever since Adam Smith founded the science of economics in the 18th century, his ideas and those of countless other economistsfrom Jean-Baptiste Say to Ludwig von Mises to Henry Hazlitt to Thomas Sowellhave shown how and why free markets enable mass production of goods and services, vast creation of wealth, and prosperity for everyone who is able and willing to think, work, and trade.
The profound practicality of capitalism can be seen further in the Index of Economic Freedom, which has been compiled annually since 1995 by The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. The Index records various ways in which countries with more freedom (i.e., closer proximity to pure capitalism) enjoy greater wealth and prosperity than do those with less freedom (further proximity). Unsurprisingly, the Index shows that people in countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and the United States live markedly better lives than do people in countries such as Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea.
Given the myriad easily accessible facts and logical explanations showing over and over again that capitalism is the social system of human flourishing, there simply is no way today for a professional intellectual concerned with economicsnot to understand this truth at least to a substantial extent.
Why then does Pope Francis insist that capitalism is the dung of the devil and that we must eliminate or at least sharply curtail this wretched thing?
The Pope sees fit to make such claims because religionwhether Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, or Islamis, in principle, opposed to the very things that capitalism legalizes and veneratesmost notably, in this context, the selfish pursuit of profit and the right to keep and use the product of ones effort.
The Bible is chock full of passages that oppose these pillars of capitalism. In the Old Testament, for instance, God says, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land (Deuteronomy 15:11). In the New Testament, Jesus says, Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you . . . do not demand it back (Luke 6:30). The love of money is the root of all evil (Timothy 6:10). It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). And so on.
A particularly illuminating instance of biblical opposition to property rights is the story of Ananias and Sapphira, the central theme of which is that we have a divinely ordained duty to distribute all property in service of the common good. In the story, the unacceptably selfish couple attempts to keep a portion of their own earnings rather than share the entirety of it with the community. The result? God strikes the couple dead. His divine will for the people was that they had all things common . . . and distribution was made unto each, according as anyone had need (Acts 4:3235). (If that sounds familiar, its because Karl Marx later said essentially the same thing: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.) Ananias and Sapphira violated Gods will by attempting to keep some of their property, and God killed them.
Religious leaders over the ages have acknowledged the plain meaning of such passages: God forbids people to selfishly keep and use the product of their effort; He requires that everyone serve the common good; He, in effect, demands socialism. As theologian Nels Ferre explains, according to the Bible, All property is Gods for the common good. It belongs, therefore, first of all to God and then equally to society and the individual. When the individual has what the society needs and can profitably use, it is not his, but belongs to society, by divine right.1 Saint Thomas Aquinas writes, men should not treat things as exclusively theirs but use them for the good of all, ready to share them with those in need.2 And theologian Charles Lincoln Taylor Jr. explains, the [biblical] codes of law forbid selfishness; they issue unremitting condemnation of the use of property for self advantage; and they demand service and sacrifice to the community. No man is to arrogate to himself that which should contribute to the honor and welfare of his neighbor.3
What does all of this say about capitalismthe social system that recognizes, upholds, and protects property rights? What is the relationship between capitalism and religion? Theologian Emil Brunner sums it up neatly:
Capitalism is such a perversion of the divine order of creation, that we would feel obliged to assert its economically ruinous character even if . . . all the experts were to say the opposite. An economic system which contradicts the divine order to such an extent must prove the ruin of the people; this is a fact which none can gainsay. Here we are dealing not with technical questions but with the fundamental ethical question: can we . . . affirm a system which, as such, in its very foundations, is opposed to morality? Or to express it otherwise: have we any right to allow the experts to convince us that only this systemwhose anti-moral character we knowis in a position to provide humanity with the satisfaction of its daily needs?4
Whatever else religious scripture says, and whatever contrary assertions may be found therein, it is clear on this point: The selfish pursuing, keeping, and using of wealth is contrary to Gods will and is thus immoral. Consequently, any social system that legalizes and promotes such immoral behavior (as capitalism clearly does) is viewed by serious religionists not only as immoral but also as impracticalregardless of all historic evidence and expert analysis to the contrary. Capitalism cant provide people with their daily needs, the religious logic goes, because the system contradicts the divine order of creation. Empirical facts and the writings of von Mises cantoverride biblical scripture and the words of God.
Of course, not everyone takes religion as seriously as do popes and professional religionists. Most religious people try to find a middle ground between the scriptural demands for selfless behavior and the factual requirements of human life. And most religionists who try to defend capitalism do so either by acknowledging the selfish nature of the system and accepting the need to compromise their moralsor by obfuscating the selfish nature of the system and seeking to make it look unselfish.
The former tack, which can be seen in the arguments of many conservatives, is succinctly summed up by Michael Novak:
While recognizing that no system of political economy can escape the ravages of human sinfulness, [capitalism] has attempted to set in place a system which renders sinful tendencies as productive of good as possible. While basing itself on something less than perfect virtue, reasoned self-interest, it has attempted to draw from self-interest its most creative potential. It is a system designed for sinners, in the hope of achieving as much moral good as individuals and communities can generate under conditions of ample liberty.5
As I point out in Capitalism and the Moral High Ground, this tack amounts to the claim that by freeing sinners to pursue their reasoned self-interest, capitalism taps into the creative potential of these depraved souls and thereby achieves moral good. I further note there: To concede the immorality of a social system is to concede the argument for it.
The other tackthe effort to obfuscate the selfishness of capitalism and to make it look unselfishcan be seen in the arguments of many conservatives and some libertarians as well. Walter Williams, for instance, in a recent video titled Is Capitalism Moral?, goes through all manner of linguistic acrobatics to claim that capitalism is not really about selfishness or hunger for money, but rather is about incentivizing people to serve their fellow man. (There is much good in Williamss video, as there is in his work generally. My objection here is to his denial ofthe plain fact that capitalism is a system of and for self-interested action.)
A particularly direct instance of the effort to shroudthe selfish nature of capitalism can be seen in a famous passage from Ralph Barton Perry, which Rush Limbaugh quotes approvingly on his radio program:
The fundamental idea of modern capitalism is not the right of the individual to possess and enjoy what he has earned, but the thesis that the exercise of this right redounds to the general good. This justification is necessary if the institution of private property is to be defended against the charge of selfishness.6
This approachdenying that capitalism is about selfishness and insisting that it is really about the general good or the common good or the likeis worse than hopeless because it makes those who employ the approach appear to be pretending that facts are other than they are (which is in fact what they are doing).
As Ayn Rand demonstrated at great length in various books, essays, and letters, the idea that capitalism can be morally justified on a collectivist premise and defended on the grounds of the common good is futile and ludicrous. The effort, writes Rand, amounts to this:
Dear pinks [i.e., socialists], our objective, like yours, is the welfare of the poor, more general wealth, and a higher standard of living for everybodyso please let us capitalists function, because the capitalist system will achieve all these objectives for you. It is in fact the only system that can achieve them.
This last statement is true and has been proved and demonstrated in history, and yet it has not and will not win converts to the capitalist system. Because the above argument is self-contradictory. It is not the purpose of the capitalist system to cater to the welfare of the poor; it is not the purpose of a capitalist enterpriser to spread social benefits; an industrialist does not operate a factory for the purpose of providing jobs for his workers. A capitalist system could not function on such a premise.
The economic benefits which the whole society, including the poor, does receive from capitalism come about strictly as secondary consequences, (which is the only way any social result can come about), not as primary goals. The primary goal which makes the system work is the personal, private, individual profit motive. When that motive is declared to be immoral, the whole system becomes immoral, and the motor of the system stops dead.
Its useless to lie about the capitalists real and proper motive. The awful smell of hypocrisy that accompanies such a [lie] is so obvious and so strong that it has done more to destroy capitalism than any Marxist theory ever could. It has killed all respect for capitalism. It has, without any further analysis, simply at first glance and first whiff, made capitalism appear thoroughly and totally phony. . . .
Do not underestimate the common sense of the common man and do not blame him for ignorance. . . . He cannot untangle the philosophical contradiction of defending capitalism through the common goodbut he knows its a phony.7
Capitalism is the social system of self-interest, and the only way to defend this system on moral grounds is to embrace and defend the morality on which it logically depends: the morality of self-interest.
To defend capitalism on these grounds, however, we must repudiate all philosophies that undermine these grounds, which means: We must repudiate religion.
Pope Francis is right about one thing: religion and capitalism are utterly at odds. Its either-or: faith, altruism, and statismor reason, egoism, and capitalism.
1. Nels Ferre, Christianity and Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), p. 226. 2. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, a concise translation, edited by Timothy McDermott (Allen, TX: Christian Classics, 1989), p. 391. 3. Charles Lincoln Taylor Jr., Old Testament Foundations, in Christianity and Property, edited by Joseph F. Fletcher (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1947), pp. 2223, 30. 4. Emil Brunner, The Divine Imperative: A Study In Christian Ethics, translated by Olive Wyon (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1947), p. 426. 5. Michael Novak, From the Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, in Essential Neoconservative Reader, edited by Mark Gerson (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1996), p. 127. 6. Ralph Barton Perry, Puritanism and Democracy (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1944), pp 310311. 7. Ayn Rand, Letters of Ayn Rand, edited by Michael S. Berliner (New York: Dutton, 1995), pp. 25960.
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Posted: March 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals.
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Many years ago in the kitchen of my grandparents home, I read on a wall-mounted plaque the words of wisdom written by Reinhold Niebuhr in the above quotation. I would learn many years later that Niebuhr was a great theologian and social philosopher of the 20th century. Niebuhr often described himself as a Christian realist and even his well-known prayer quoted above reveals something of the core and wisdom of his Christian realism. That is, Niebuhr would consistently argue for reform to promote social justice, but within the limits and constraints of human nature and its contingencies. Social justice would provide provisional and not ultimate solutions. His thought represented a reaction against nave and utopian reform efforts in late 19th- and early 20th-century America.
His ideas have influenced millions conservatives and liberals alike. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama have specifically identified Niebuhr as an important intellectual influence. Similarly, and perhaps even more significantly, Martin Luther King Jr. studied Niebuhrs thought while at Crozer Theological Seminary and Boston University. And, yet, Niebuhrs thought cannot be categorized simplistically as liberal or conservative. There is no ideological category for his thought as a whole, though some elements could be called liberal and other elements could be called conservative.
The King quotation reflects further evidence of Niebuhrs realism in approaching questions of the common good. Derived from Niebuhrs Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932), King was invoking Niebuhrs teaching that in every group there is less reason to guide and check impulse, less capacity for self-transcendence, less ability to comprehend the needs of others, and therefore more unrestrained egoism than the individuals who compose the group reveal in their personal relationships. Writing from jail, King was arguing from his own experience that Niebuhrs teaching was accurate and true that groups supporting racial segregation were much more difficult to persuade otherwise than persuading individuals alone of this injustice.
Niebuhr linked empirically observable group dynamics to his Christian realism and argued that generally group egoism and pride is more difficult and virulent than individual egoism and pride. Group loyalties can become so strong that conformity to group norms defines individual virtue. In contrast, the individual standing alone has a greater capacity to check egoism, appeal to an ethical standard and render a more impartial and ethical judgment.
Niebuhrs argument continues to have relevance. Although groups of all stripes are important to America, Niebuhr reminds us from a theological perspective emphasizing pride and egoism that there are potential group dynamics and pressures running contrary to the common good. When class, sectarian, ethnic, gender or any other basis for group identity demands increasing levels of commitment and loyalty, the pressures to belong to the group may well override the individuals responsibility for independent, critical thought. This is a formula for pluralistic divisiveness rather than the promotion of the common good and national unity. And so, yes, we celebrate the pluralistic diversity of groups in America, but we remember Niebuhrs caution that selfish and divisive egoism is not confined to the individual, but actually even more accentuated with groups.
As we personally reflect on our own group associations, may we have the wisdom to know the difference between those group actions that are egoistic, selfish and self-serving and those group actions which we all applaud in contributing to our common good.
Ed Yager is a professor of political science at Western Kentucky University.
Ed Yager is a professor of political science at Western Kentucky University.
Posted: March 4, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Jewish theology has abundant philosophical and ethical principles pertaining to society, culture, economics, and human interaction. The Hebrew Scriptures, and other Jewish sacred writings, offer a myriad of teachings aimed at ordering society according to justice and mercy.
On a personal note, having formally studied both Catholic Social Teaching and Jewish theology and social ethics, I can say that there is tremendous overlap. Both traditions share a similar set of principles, operate from similar foundations, and reach overlapping conclusions. There are certainly differences in nuance but both traditions benefit from engaging the other.
If I had to draw out some nuances of the Jewish vision of social justice they would start with the strictness and immediacy the commanding nature of the Jewish tradition. There is an immediacy and a strong sense that every Jew MUST obey these commandments. Granted, Jews are imperfect like all human beings, and thus often fail to achieve even their own ideals. Additionally, and sadly, our culture works to erode the urgency and necessity of the Jewish vision of social justice. Yet at the end of the day, we can argue over whether government need be involved, who delivers the food, who pays for it but our hungry brother and sister MUST be fed, or we fail as Jews and human beings.
Another nuance to draw attention to most Jews, although certainly not all, tend to locate themselves on the left side of the political spectrum. Jews in America have a rich set of connections to progressive causes. Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Conservative, and even Modern Orthodoxy (to some extent) the majority movements in Judaism fully accept womens equality (women can be rabbis, equal pay for equal work, etc.), racial equality (voting rights, non-discrimination, equality under law), LGBT acceptance (same sex marriage, LGBT rabbis, and welcoming LGBT individuals and couples to our communities), and a general willingness to harness government to achieve social justice ends.
Two excellent books on Jewish Social Justice are Judaism and Justice, by Rabbi Sidney Schwarz, and There Shall be No Needy, by Rabbi Jill Jacobs.
PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH SOCIAL JUSTICE
Human Dignity/Dignity of All Creatures (Kavod habriyot) Human beings share in the Divine image as persons capable of love and creativity and all creatures possess an inherent dignity that derives from their nature and the fact of their existence. Accordingly, the proper response to this dignity is love, respect, and justice.
Loving Kindness (Chesed) the general attitude of wanting the good for others, the acts that are inspired by such, along with a willingness to cultivate openness, generosity, and hospitality toward all of good will shorthand for affirming human dignity at all times.
Justice (Tzedakah) the concept of justice in Judaism also includes the concept of charity giving to another his or her due includes ensuring that everyone have the basic needs met. It is therefore properly a matter of justice, and not kindness or charity, to help the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the marginalized, or the needy. Seeking and pursuing justice for all people in all circumstances is a primary Jewish directive and a requirement of affirming human dignity.
You Shall Not Stand Idly By (Lo Taamod) passivity or inaction in the face of evil or need is not permitted. One may not stand idly by when anothers blood is being shed, or when another is being abused, or when another is in need.
Love your neighbor as yourself (vahavtalreachakamocha) we are commanded to affirm and work for the good of all, to love others as we love ourself, to refrain doing to others what we would not want done to ourselves, and to predispose ourselves to the service of others.
Love the Stranger (Ahavat Ger) it is somewhat easy to love those closest to us and those who love us in return. It is also somewhat easy to love those like ourselves. Torah commands us more than 30 times to love the stranger as well to love those unlike ourselves. Implicit in this command is the prohibition of turning people into others or marginalizing people. To the degree that we reinforce unjust marginalization is to the degree we sin against love.
The Way of Peace (Darchei Shalom) violence is to be avoided at all costs, except for self-defense. Peace among people and among nations is highly cherished in Judaism as with all people of goodwill.
JEWISH ECONOMIC ISSUES
The Dual Nature of Property & Material Goods Genesis, and later texts in Tanakh, as well as Talmud, lay out the dual nature of property that human creativity and labor may allow one to justly claim private ownership of some property or good, but that this ownership carries with it responsibilities toward the common good and, more importantly, that rights of private ownership arent absolute or unlimited. All of creation is intended for the human family and all living creatures, therefore, all property has a universal destination which permits the taking/utilization of property through taxation and other legitimate means for the sake of the common good, and imposes strict obligations on sharing from surplus wealth with the needy.
The Biblical concept of the Jubilee year and seven year cycles of debt forgiveness are connected to this understanding of property and land. At regular intervals, debts should be forgiven and land returned to its original state a resetting of economic equilibrium allowing for a leveling of the economic playing field. While such actions may be impractical in todays economic realities the underlying intent is to maintain a level and fair economic playing field and allow maximum participation in the creative sector for all. Further, debts should be handled with mercy.
Gleaning The Hebrew scriptures command that farmers not harvest all of their crops, leaving some behind near the edges and corners of the property for the poor and hungry. Harvesting all of ones crop is therefore a sin against the poor. The implications of this commandment in modern business and economics is profound, although sadly neglected.
Humane Wages Torah repeats several times the worker is due their wages. And those wages are to be in accord with human dignity and afford the worker the ability to care for and feed his or her family.
Honesty in Business Torah is filled with references to accurate scales, honest measuring devices, and just weights. The implication here is the strict need for honesty in business dealings.
Helping the Needy Torah contains abundant references to the requirements of generosity, mandates to approach the poor with an open hand, the scandal of letting a neighbor go without basic needs, and the value of helping others attain self sufficiency.
The Role of Government in general, the above responsibilities apply primarily to individuals and local communities, implying a sense of subsidiarity and solidarity as necessary social principles. Torah treats political power with suspicion and warns the Jewish people repeatedly about excessive trust or reliance on government. This is not to say that government has no role in creating a just and humane society, rather it is simply a reminder of priorities as well as the dangers inherent in political power turning oppressive.
A CULTURE OF LIFE
Torah, and other Jewish texts, cast a vision of what a humane culture looks like its just, merciful, hospitable, loving, compassionate, attends to the needy, values all life, cares for the environment, treats all animals humanely, and promotes peace.
Jewish tradition understands that such a vision remains an ideal in our imperfect world. It is the responsibility of every Jew to engage in Tikkun Olam the healing of the world to help all attain this vision of a world redeemed.
Jewish realism recognizes that too often we engender a culture of what might be called, the imperial self, where ego driven behavior is rewarded, honored, and glorified. In a world lacking attunement to spiritual values, the individual ego (defined as the selfish will to power) is free to run amok without much restraint.The Jewish metaphor for such a culture is Egypt Mitzrayim the place of narrowness, restriction, and bondage the primary symbol of the culture of the imperial self.
What was Egypt all about that made it so terrible? Why is Egypt the biblical archetype for slavery, death, and oppression? Political, economic, and social structures emerge based on the five primary traits of the imperial egoist culture as portrayed in Torah (hat tip, John Dominic Crossan):
Materialism/Consumerism is dysfunctional thinking that equates a good life with having more things. This mindset leads to constant accumulation of material goods as a means to happiness. Within a consumerist culture, all other human goods eventually become subjugated to the pursuit of material gain. As the dysfunction spreads, even the mechanisms of consumerism itself begin to fray work loses its dignity, wages grow stagnant as the owner-elite skim ever deeper from the gains of productivity. Plutocracy, wealth inequality, cultural bifurcation, and the loss of meaningful creative opportunity tear the social fabric.
Slavery in its actual form is rare in developed nations. Yet its actual practice continues in many parts of the world and more subtle forms of slavery exist even in the developed countries. A fundamental precept of justice is that a worker is due their wage and the benefit of their labor. Obviously, others may also benefit from such labor, but only in a system of free and fair cooperative agreements. Many of the industrialized economies are now witnessing deteriorating terms and conditions for workers, exploitation, and ownership and upper management unfairly benefiting from the work of those deemed below them.
Patriarchy (understood as abusive sex and sexuality)is the result of complex attitudes, practices, and biases that allow men to exercise undue control over women (or the strong over the weak), preventing their full participation across society, as well as the oppression of many sexual minorities who serve no interest to the male sexual power elites. The dignity of the individual person is lost as they are treated as an object of sexual gratification, a means to an end of ego sexual fulfillment. The Ego Imperial culture promotes hyper-sexualization. Often, exploitive sexual practices are favored and furthered including promiscuity, pornography, abusive fetishes, prostitution (the commodification of sex) and subtle (and not so subtle) forms of sexual abuse and control. Marriage, committed relationships, and family life suffer as a result.
Elitism is a fundamental preference for the powerful, the wealthy, and those who sit atop the hierarchies of social and cultural control. Driven by the dictates of rampant, uncontrolled egoism, the elite use those below them to further their own ends. In this sense, the elite become social parasites and create abusive structures that denigrate the poor, the marginalized, the misfits, the elderly, the young, the ill, the undereducated, and those who do not demonstrate social utility. Elitist culture treats those below it as disposable means to the ends of self-aggrandizement.
Violence is the natural result of the glorification of the imperial ego. Tensions, divisions, and hostilities are fostered and even manufactured on all societal levels as a way of furthering the control of the political and economic elite. Violence is seen as an acceptable means to social control and permeates all aspects of the culture. On the level of geopolitics, war is used a tool of empire building and for exploiting weaker and poorer nations.
The Culture of Life and Love
Judaism is rooted in an alternative cultural and social vision one based on the channeling of egos drives toward cooperation, the promotion of justice, compassion, equality, and service.
The fundamental program of Torah is the mastery of self so one may find fulfillment and a sense of proper place in the cosmos through kenotic love.
The Jewish vision of dignity and good news has been called a culture of life, a program that has animated the better aspects of Western culture for thousands of years.
The social vision of the Hebrew scriptures is fundamentally subversive to that of the vision of the culture of the imperial self.
Simplicity is not the denial of the goodness of the material world, rather it is the refusal to equate the quantity and quality of material goods with a life of value and purpose.
Freedom is the primary experience of the Exodus and therefore a core Jewish value. Many things compete for our attention and devotion, and therefore our freedom. We are only free to the degree that we choose to give ourselves to things that deserve our dignity.
Gender Equality is the opposite of patriarchy and the result of a deep appreciation for diversity. It is also a fundamental stance against all forms of sexual abuse and degradation. Sexuality is intended for intimacy, love, and pleasure not manipulation, debasement, or an expression of violence.
Egalitarianism is the antidote to elitism and the skewing of power to the few.
Peace is the radical opposite vision to violence.
The basic thrust of Torah properly understood is toward a culture that embodies simplicity, freedom, gender equality, egalitarianism, and peace. May this vision be realized soon and in our time.
There is so much more within Jewish tradition concerning social justice and a humane culture of life. Unfortunately, I cant cover every issue in this blog post. I welcome your comments, objections, thoughts, and insights.
The Weakness and wickedness of Kiir’s Administration: South Sudan in political and ethnic crisis – Borglobe
Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm
By Malual Jangdit
The theoretical analysis is aimed to explore the multi-dimensional speculative reasons for persistent ethnic conflict, abject poverty and poor development as the outcomes of the weakness of Kiirs administration in the Republic of South Sudan. In essence, the historical and contextual analysis is based on an empirical knowledge rather than a mere assumption to illustrate the weakness of Kiirs administration such as political sleaze and corruption, prejudicial acts of violence and kleptocratic oligarchy. Therefore, the article uses devil theory, political and social and political crises arise from the deliberate actions of misguided leaders rather than as a natural result of conditions as a guiding principle to depict the ramifications of the weakness and wickedness of Kiirs administration. Thus, the theoretical framework is to depart from simplistic explanations of weak structure of Kiirs administration and provide a framework and contextual theory for a more comprehensive approach to nation building, peace and reconciliation, and post-conflict development strategy in ethnically divided societies. Moreover, the devil theory of ethnic violence affects the lives of all the citizens across the nation. As a consequence, the philosophical analysis will explain to what extent should Kiirs administration solve the social and political crises arise from the deliberate actions of weak leadership such as economic deterioration, tribal killings, ethnic division, and lack of constitutional, institutional and political transformation, including the absurd notions of self-indulgence and iniquitous practices as a fundamental approach to improving the weak structure of Kiirs government. Hence, a thematic intention is designed to focus on the consequences of inconsistent and weak structure of the Kiirs administration such as rampant corruption, neo-patrimonial regime and lack of transformational leadership, lack of constitutional reform, lack of ethnic diversity and institutional and political transformation, absurd notions of self-indulgence and iniquitous practices, an embezzlement scandal and disadvantages of incompetence and predominance of militarism as well as kleptocratic oligarchy, a small group of people having control of the country. Since the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the persistent ethnic conflict, and poverty ravaged the country due to the fact that Kiirs administration has failed to curb the corruption and work for peace and reconciliation as well as development as a holistic approach to improving the deplorable situation and reconciling the divided nation. In fact, it is universally true that South Sudan is the failed state, experiencing the extremely economic collapse, and inability to provide public services due to the weak structure of the government and primitive communalism, a greater loyalty to an ethnic group. To provide evidence, the argument is based on the political corruption, an impenetrable and ineffective bureaucracy, judicial ineffectiveness, military interference in politics and cultural situations in which traditional leaders such as Jieng Council of elders wield more power than those who are working in the national government. We know that the country is not governed by the elected members of parliament rather than the tribal self-appointed leaders. For example, Jieng Council of Elders is a largest ethnic bloc working for a common interest of Dinka rather than the national affairs. Not only Jieng Council of Elders, but the Nuer primitive elites are working for the interest of Nuer people rather than the national affairs likewise Equatoria primitive elites are doing a similar thing. However, the article is written to denounce such as Dinkanism, Nuerism and Equatorianism as an effective approach to unifying the divided nation and promote unity and nationalism as well as patriotism, proudly loyalty and devotion to the nation rather than tribal supremacy and discrimination that tore the country apart. Apart from a belief of the superiority of social group that a person belongs to, I continue arguing that the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain is a result of weakness of Kiirs administration as well as a root cause of economic deterioration not limited to currently ethnic killings. For example, the case of 16 people who got involved in an embezzlement scandal by forging the signature of President described the weakness of Kiirs administration. Not only corruption as the main controversial issue, but the targeted killing of people because of their ethnicity or based on the tribal lines is another factor that Kiirs administration has failed to tackle it. In fact, Kiirs administration has failed to curtail an act of atrocious terror such as the human trafficking and ethnic killing of the passengers. We have heard the sad news and seen the ghastly images of the people who got killed on Juba-Nimule or Juba-Yei Roads in which Tiger and Mathiang Ayoor have failed to tackle the terrorists. Thus a kidnapping and targeted killing of the innocent people carried out for political purpose is clearly an act of terrorism. However, Kiirs administration is reluctant to draft the Terror Act and pass it as a legal framework that shall prevent the ethnic killing. Therefore, I argue that South Sudan needs a national army rather than a tribal army such as Mathiang Ayoor, Equatorian Arrow Boys and Nuer White Army in order to curb the social crimes of ethnic killings and wanton culture of cruelty. In this piece of writing, the weakness of Kiirs administration is seen as an obstacle to nation building rather than the nation disintegration and collapse. In order to achieve peace and reconciliation, there must be a change of neopatrimonial regime as well as the political, cultural, and leadership transformation. Such transformations would bring peace and reconciliation rather than a mere assumption of calling for National dialogue without concrete framework and ethical approach. In essence, the civilian abuses, human rights violations and war crimes taking place currently as the outcomes of imperfect Kiirs administration. For us to achieve peace and reconciliation including development, Kiirs administration needs to be destroyed through cold-war rather than the uprising leads by the truculent warlord, Dr. Riek Machar who spares not even the children, and disabled and elderly people. Thus, re-establishing the new administration is the best strategy that shall unite the people of South Sudan and promote ethnic diversity regardless of ethnicity, sex, age and culture. We have seen now where the country is going and to what extent Kiirs administration failed the nation. I think there is no single person who can argue that today South Sudan is not the failed state. I provided significant evidence to prove that South Sudan is the failed state due to the social crises of the ethnic killing and rampant corruption that Kiirs administration failed to tackle them. I have not disclosed the human rights abuses committed by both tribal armies (Mathiang Ayoor and White Army as well as Equatorian Arrow Boys) if needed be I am titled to reveal the act of terror and atrocities I have witnessed. In war-torn states such as Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu, we heard the sad news and saw the bodies of those who were killed during the civil war in 2013-16. In fact, SPLA-IG and SPLA-IO committed the human rights abuses and war crimes against humanity and thus human rights violation and abuses created ethnic division between Dinka and Nuer as well as Dinka and Equatoria. Nonetheless, I suggest that neither SPLM/A-IG nor SPLM/A-IO is not right group to unite divided nation due to the fact both parties breached the public trust. In fact, many people have developed a cynical distrust of politicians and this is why Non-Dinka are against Dinka as well as Dinka against Nuer as well as Equatoria. In order to create ethnic diversity, the ruling party should adopt a peaceful and reconciliatory approach as the means of unifying the divided primitive society. On top of that, I still argue that the policy of giving the position based on the tribal lines is not the best procedure that Kiirs administration should use as a means of political mollification. On the other hand, I suggest that the Transitional Government of National Unity could have not appointed two vice presidents rather than one vice and prime minister. James Wani Igga could have been appointed as the prime minister with the same powers of second vice president and then Taban Deng Gai as the vice president with the same powers he has now. Thus structuring of the Transitional Government of National Unity would be much better than giving two people one position. I dont understand why Kiirs administration prefers to give two people one position. Hence, Kiirs administration needs to be realistic and fair rather than politically idealistic and nave. This idealistic practice provides significant evidence on the weakness of Kiirs administration. Moreover, the theoretical framework illustrates the dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain such as the ghost names in the organised forces. In general, the military and police leaders have ghost names and thus political corruption contributes to the current economic crisis in the country. In addition, the misuses of the public funds contribute to the poor development in the public sectors. For example, there are no good road, education and healthcare despite the humanitarian assistance, development grants and foreign loan that the government is getting from donors such as US-AID, EU, World Bank and IMF. For example, in the USAID press Office, it is reported that, In addition to $1.7 billion in humanitarian funding, the U.S. government also provides community level peace-building programs and long-term development assistance to the people of South Sudan, such as basic education and health services. (USAID Press Office, UNITED STATES ANNOUNCES NEARLY $138 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE FOR SOUTH SUDAN, August 22, 2016). It is clear that the USAID provides assistance, however, the individuals use the assistant grants for their personal gain rather than to prioritize development. In such a situation, I suggest that the victims of corruption and ethnic killings should stand up and denounce the corrupt system for the sake of development, prosperity, liberty and individual welfare. In my analysis, I argue that South Sudan could have been a welfare state if it is not administered by the hedonistic leaders who got involved in self-indulgence as a way of life or have a lack of self-control in pursuing their own pleasure or satisfaction as well as a belief that pleasure or happiness is the most important goal in life rather than nation building, peace and reconciliation. Thus, the philosophical analysis demonstrates the political unrest as the outcomes of the weak leadership. On the other hand, I suggest that the ruling authority should develop a strategic and comprehensive approach to put an end the social crisis and political unrest as an essential method of curbing the ethnic killing, eradicating poverty and promoting peace and development. Thus the political analysis is to depart from simplistic explanation of the weak structure of the Kiirs administration, and rampant corruption and provide a framework and contextual theory for a more comprehensive approach to neo-patrimonial regime and lack of transformational leadership, constitutional reform, and ethnic division to illustrate the social crises arise from deliberate acts of kleptocratic system. The theoretical analysis is designed to demonstrate a system of social hierarchy where patrons use state resources in order to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population. It is an informal patronclient relationship that can reach from very high up in state structures down to individuals in the villages. Thus neo-patrimonialism illustrates the kleptocracy. Therefore, the philosophical analysis reveals kleptocratic oligarchy in which those in power exploit national resources for their personal gains rather than to work for nation building, peace and reconciliation. In fact, the wicked leaders in Kiirs administration use their power to exploit the natural resources to bribe their supporters in order to hold on power. For example, Riek Machar uses the stolen money to pay the White Army to fight for him including many primitive Nuer elites. On the other hand, Mathiang Ayoor stands firmly to die for Kiir Mayardit and this tribal self-defence is a cause of state collapse. However, Riek should avoid mobilizing his kinsmen to topple the government because the government does not belong to a tribe. On top of that, the kleptocratic system involves an embezzlement scandal of the public funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest services such as the fake contracts e.g. Sorghum Saga. The theoretical and contextual framework is based on the dictatorship, oligarchy, military junta or other form of autocratic and nepotistic government. The corrupt leaders spend the public funds on luxury things, concubines and lavish lifestyle which are not the reasons of making separation in 2011. In essence, thus explanation describes how the corrupt leaders working in Kiirs administration secretly transfer public funds into hidden personal numbered bank accounts in foreign countries to enrich themselves. For example, the case of 75 people who stole 4 billion US dollars and Gadaffi Investment that involved in a case of 8 million US dollars provide significant evidence on corruption, how the government top officials use the public funds to enrich themselves rather than using the money for making good road and infrastructures. I suggest that 4 billion dollars could have constructed many roads across the nation. Therefore, I argue that for the people of South Sudan to achieve development as well as peace and reconciliation, the current ruling party should be dismantled and re-established a new party and a fresh leadership that would provide services to the public. Another point is amnesty. Kiirs administration gave amnesty to renegades such as John Olony and Gabriel Duop Lam etc for the sake of peace and reconciliation rather than taking them to the court for the war crimes and civilian abuses. Thus official pardon motivates many people to rebel against the government. For example, Riek Machar and David Yau Yau are good example of those who shed blood to get the ministerial position and high rank in the military such a political mollification of awarding the criminals with a high position in the government is another weakness and root cause of defection. Absolutely, I argue that if Kiirs administration had indicted Riek Machar for his war crimes he committed against the civilians in Bor in 1991, he did not get another chance for forming another armed struggle that riven the nation. In fact, I argue that South Sudan is the only country in the world where the human rights abusers are given a ministerial position rather than prosecuting them. The rebels should not be appointed in the high positions for killing the civilians rather than indicting them. Therefore, I argue that Kiirs administration should use meritocracy, a social system that gives advantages to people on the basis of their abilities and achievements rather than their crimes committed against the civilians. Therefore, neopatrimonialism shows the lack of constitutional reform, prejudicial acts of violence as well as a breach of civil liberty in the country. On the other hand, I suggest that Kiirs administration shall implement the new polices based on the human rights convention to give an individual freedom and right to live as an essential approach to govern the dilapidated nation. South Sudan is experiencing the economic crisis due to the foreign exploitation and predatory pricing practice as well as the lack of marketing control that led to devaluation. In Juba, the foreign business people take the control of the market by supplying the goods from the neighbouring countries and in return, collect the hard currency (US dollars) and send dollars back to their native countries leaving the country without hard currencies. However, the government is failed to put restriction on remittance as an effective method of controlling devaluation efficiently. Not only price discrimination, but an issuance of a fake contract plays a negative role in progress and development as well as reconstitution of the kleptocratic government. For example in 2012, an Indian Printing Company was given a contract to go and print the constitution, however, the company took the money and hard copies that disappeared like a fleeting shadow. In essence, Kiirs administration did not track the criminals and this is why there is no constitution at the moment. There is no legal system in the country. People committed atrocities and flout the rules, but there is no law to charge and convict them. The thugs kill people as a lack of criminal law and justice, but the authority cannot apprehend the offenders due to the weakness of Kiirs administration. For example, in Rumbek, the young people are committing human rights abuses, but the President did/ does not want to go and address them or set up the panel that will deal with the human rights violations and civilian abuses of killing people on loan. I think you heard the sad news of a man who was going to Wau for holiday when the terrorists hijacked his car and killed his entire family on loan. However, the President did not bother himself to pay a visit to the area where he was killed and addressed the people in that area. What sort of a leader is he? Thus reluctance to focus on the social crisis provides significant evidence that my writing is a powerful argument that revealed the failure of the kleptocratic government. On the other hand, the criminals from Pibor are abducting the young children in Bor, but the President did/does not bother himself to go to Pibor and address those who abduct the kids and kill the parents. Not only the president, but his entire administration (cabinet) is keeping quiet to raise a motion about human trafficking, child abduction and random killing in the parliament and pass the new laws and orders (Child Abduction Act, and Serial Killing Act) rather than embezzling millions of pounds for personal gain. Nonetheless, I suggest that Kiirs administration should develop a holistic approach to improving the imperfect system. For example, the employment is not based on the qualification rather than the family relationship. This nepotism is a setback to peace and reconciliation. Many people who fail to get a job due to the lack of their family members in Kiirs government take arms against the government. In essence, I argue that the weakness of Kiirs administration is a root cause of all the crises in the nation. In consequence, I suggest that neo-patrimonial regime contributes to the institutional tribalism. Notwithstanding, I suggest the practice of giving special treatment to a relative is another issue that leads to the failed state. Not only corrupt system, but the licentious culture of immorality and wickedness plays a negative role in creating an ethnic division. However, this piece of writing aims to denounce the institutional tribalism and neo-patrimonial regime as an essential approach to put an end the tribalism as a peaceful method of creating a just society and unifying community based on the gender quality, individual liberty and justice as well as regardless of ethnic, cultural and political affiliation rather than the society based on the tribal lines, gender inequality, unequal employment opportunity and discrimination. The theoretical analysis is focused on the unfair treatment of one person or group usually because of prejudice about tribe, ethnicity, age and gender as it is a case in the country. The theoretical analysis deplores the lacks of transformational leadership, constitutional reform, and ethnic division. The article highlights a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in society as an essential approach that Kiirs administration should adopt in order to put an end the social crises of tribalism and nepotism that riven the nation. The empirical analysis reveals favoritism shown by the officials in Kiirs administration to their relatives and friends especially in appointing them to the good positions. Thus nepotism creates ethnic division, civil war as well as ethnic killings in a guise of democratization. In the country, the thugs, militants and the powerful figures in Kiirs government are abusing the civilians due to the lack of constitutional reform. The militants detain many civilians without trial and thus arbitrary arrest and detention explains the prejudicial acts of violence and an obscene misuse of power and thus gives us a good example of weakness of Kiirs administration. Nonetheless, the government should work hard to end the prejudicial act of violence as the underlying principles of improving the weak structure of Kiirs administration as well as harmonic approach to the current national dialogue at stake. Not only neo-patrimonial regime, lack of transformational leadership, constitutional reform, and ethnic division, but the absurd notions of self-indulgence and iniquitous practices, as well as corrupting and methodological schemes of an embezzlement scandal. To provide significant evidence, theoretical analysis will look at the case of embezzlement scandal in the office of the President and to what extent should Kiirs administration tackle the issues of embezzlement scandal. In this case, the ruling authority is not working hard to end the social crisis of scandal. This piece of writing shows the absurd notions of self-indulgence and iniquitous practices such as hedonism, a philosophical doctrine that holds that pleasure is the source of moral values. For example, all the government officials buy the expensive V. cars, and live in the hotels. The government officials spend the millions of Pounds on luxury life, and concubines. However, the theoretical approach deplores such as self-gratification, intemperance, and profligacy. In essence, I argue that Kiirs administration should stop paying for officials accommodation in the hotels, reducing the office and travel allowance, and screening the ghost names in the payroll as an effective approach to reduce the lavishness that costs the government a lot of millions of Pounds. Last but not least, the theoretical analysis is structured to explain the disadvantages of incompetence and predominance of militarism. In South Sudan, a government policy of investing heavily in and strengthening the armed forces describes a ramification of militarism. Therefore, the holistic approach examines the militant attitude of the organised forces such as military and police forces. In fact, Mathiang Ayoor and White Army committed the terrible atrocities against the civilians. Not only Mathiang Ayoor and White Army, but the generals are abusing the civilians, but the government is keeping quiet to condemn the brutal and cruel treatment of the civilians. In essence, I argue that Kiirs administration has failed to manage the country affairs and control the bad behaviour. Therefore, it depends on the people of South Sudan to decide their fate whether to perish at the hands of the invisible devil or stand up against the neo-patrimonial regime. In the country, I argue that the Ministry of Labour should screen all the employees as we know that millions of the workers are not qualified. In the most cases, the government should take the incompetent workers to the training as the best way of improving their work skills. Not only that, but a desire or willingness to use strong, extreme and forceful methods to achieve something and thus political radicals with a militant unwillingness to compromise on an issue is another weakness of Kiirs administration. In the country, the military forces use the over-speeding that resulted to hit-and-run, but the government does not bother to apprehend the criminals who killed the innocent people. The military and police forces on duty stop the civilian cars and ask for a logbook and who fails to show his or her logbook is detained and asked to pay for bribery. Instead of asking for the driver license, they ask for logbook and this wicked approach describes the militant extremism as an outcome of kleptocratic system. Thus, Mathiang Ayoor, Tiger and White Army are committing terrible atrocities and human rights abuses against the civilians, however, Kiirs administration is reluctant to take a major action against the culprits. In Juba, the criminals kill people every day, but the criminals are not apprehended due to the lack of taking the initiative by acting proactively rather than dragging its feet and this lack of disinclination describes the weak structure of Kiirs administration. This week, the United Nations declared the famine in the country as an outcome of civil war, ethnic violence and displacement. In fact, millions of people fled the country during 2013-2016 civil wars in which the government has failed to provide food and humanitarian assistance. Millions of children are malnourished and thousands of displaced people have no food yet the government is spending the money on buying the military weapons rather than providing food to the starved internal displaced persons. I suggest that, instead of spending the money on the military weapons, it would be good to provide food stuff and humanitarian assistance to the displaced persons. In this point, what was a reason for the people of South Sudan to make separation if they knew that they would not be able to govern themselves or reconcile to live in peace and harmony? For us to achieve peace and reconciliation as an effective appraoch to eradicate extreme poverty, we must to depose the leaders of Transitional Government of National Unity including the invisible Devil, Riek Machar Teny, the warlord and warlock who caused the suffering to the people of South Sudan. The people of South Sudan are suffering because of KiiRieks greediness and fiendish desire to hold on power. In fact, the famine could have not hit the country if it was not the wickedness of KiiRieks selfish desire for leadership. KiiRieks power struggle caused an unendurable and unbearable suffering due to their self-esteems and egoism. On the other hand, Kiirs administration needs to write a new constitution and put the term limit as an essential way of ending the power struggle as well as a guiding principle to govern the nation peacefully rather than sticking to the neopatrimonial regime that leads to the ethnic violence. Riek Machar on the other hand, needs to disavow uprising as a means of ending the ethnic violence between Dinka and Nuer. The ideas expressed are based on the eye-witness account rather than a hypothetic theory that damages the reputation of Kiirs administration or denies the achievements of Kiirs administration.
Author: Malual Jangdit Political Analyst and Writer Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand email@example.com
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Out of the shadows Helena Born and Helen Tufts on Squibnocket Beach in Marthas Vineyard, 1896. Photograph: Courtesy of Verso Books
Last year, believe it or not, was the year of Utopia. A perfect society: happy, prosperous, tolerant, peaceful this idyll was widely commemorated, although its location, appropriately, was nowhere (from the Greek ou-topos: U-topia). The occasion was the 500th anniversary of Thomas Mores Utopia, a splendid little book (in Mores words) that, over the centuries, has found echoes in innumerable dreams and schemes, especially on the left.
Socialism has always harboured utopian visionaries, although they have not always been welcome there. From the communities of universal harmony sponsored by Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon and their early 19th-century followers (dismissed by Marx and Engels as purely utopian); to the libertarian-communist Edens of William Morris, Edward Carpenter and other fin de sicle New Lifers; to the free-loving, free-living arcadias of 1960s radicals, utopianism has been alternately embraced and repudiated by the left. The scope of socialist aspirations has widened and narrowed with changing times. Today, in a climate of ascendant neoliberalism and far-right populism, the aspirations have dwindled to the point where even the modest social-democratic ambitions of Jeremy Corbyn and his followers are slated as cranky utopian fantasies by their Labour party detractors.
All socialist utopias involve some refashioning of gender relationships. This has been true from the start. Between 1825 and 1845, Britains first socialists the Owenites, after the capitalist-turned-communist Owen produced a root-and-branch critique ofwomens oppression along with strategies to eradicate it, ranging from practical measures such as reform of the marriage laws and the introduction of birth control, to the creation of communities where private property would be abolished, childcare collectivised and nuclear households replaced by cooperative family arrangements. With these changes, the Owenites promised, women, married or single, would become mens social equals; no woman, with or without children, would need aman in order to survive. Or, as one woman told a socialist meeting in 1840: When all should labour for each, and each be expected to labour for the whole, then would woman be placed in a position in which she would not sell her liberties and her finest feelings.
In the 1830s, Owenite feminism travelled from Britain to the US via Owens son Robert Dale Owen, a strong believer in womens reproductive rights, and the celebrity freethinker Frances Wright. A handful of communities were established where marriage was by joint declaration, with no swearing of eternal fidelity or wifely obedience. These communities were short-lived, as were the half-dozen Owenite communities in Britain, and by the late 1840s the movement had died out. But the links between utopianism, socialism and feminism survived to reemerge inthe 1880s, strengthened by the rise of the womens suffrage movement in the intervening decades.
A host of thinkers and organisations appeared in Britain and America dedicated to building a new Jerusalem free from sex slavery. The US east coast was especially rich in visionaries. Most were obscure, with few adherents and few traces left behind them. But in the mid-1970s, Sheila Rowbotham found a little book in the British Library written by one of them, Helena Born, who originally came from Bristol, and edited by an American named Helen Tufts. Later she discovered that Tufts had kept a personal journal. These findings set her on a four-decade search that has resulted in Rebel Crossings, a collective biography of a half-dozen transatlantic radicals ofthe late 19th century.
Rowbotham is a leading feminist historian, and an unapologetic utopian. Rebel Crossings opens on a personal note: I first discovered the little group of rebels in this book when I, myself, was young and convinced the world wasabout to change for the better. Now in her 70s, Rowbotham came of age politically in the salad days of the New Left, when young lefties like her were seeking an alternative to communism under Stalin. She looked for her alternatives in the campaign for nuclear disarmament, in the History Workshop movement and, above all, in womens liberation, which became for her, as for many leftwing women at the time, her political home.
New Left men could be pretty old-school when it came to women. In 1969, Rowbotham published an influential pamphlet attacking the marginalisation of women by the male-dominated revolutionary left and arguing for feminism as a whole people question: Our liberation is inextricably bound up with the revolt of all those who are oppressed [and] their liberation is not realisable fully unless our subordination is ended. The following year she faced down an audience of (mostly male) students who laughed at her call for research into womens history. In the decades since, she has published dozens of books and articles chronicling the histories of women, especially female freethinkers such as those in Rebel Crossings.
I met Rowbotham in those early days in the womens movement. She had just published her first book Women, Resistance and Revolution (1972) which changed my life. I was a PhD student writing a boring dissertation on the USliberal philosopher John Dewey. Iread her chapter on Utopian Proposals, ditched Dewey, and embarked ona study of utopian socialism and feminism in Britain (published as Eve and the New Jerusalem in 1983 and reissued last year).
For Rowbotham, history writing was not an academic exercise but a political act: her declared purpose in writing Women, Resistance and Revolution was to produce a work that would aid the continuing effort to connect feminism to socialist revolution. Today her hopes for a socialist revolution have faded, but the ambition to link the pastand present in radical ways is still present. My aim, she writes in Rebel Crossings, is subversion sustained by humour and enjoyment.
Born and Miriam Daniell were friendsin 1880s Bristol who campaigned for womens suffrage, aided local strikers and played leading roles in the Bristol Socialist Society. Robert Nicol was a Scottish union militant and Miriams lover. In 1890, the three young people migrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where they experimented with a host ofisms, including Marxism, anarchism, transcendentalism and something called ownerism (self-ownership). They read Emerson, Thoreau, Carpenter, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Walt Whitman (a special hero), andwrote for journals with titles suchas Liberty, the New Age and the ComingLight.
Miriam gorgeous, charismatic and the boldest of the trio embraced Russian nihilism and a mystical feminism centring on woman as the universal redeemer. Helena, a more tough-minded individual (fearless and repellent was her self-description), became the directing liberator of the Boston Comradeship of Free Socialists and wrote articles denouncing capitalist alienation and feminine fripperies. Both women were bravely defiant of social convention: Miriam had left behind a husband in Bristol, while Helena became the lover of a married man, an Irish-born anarchist named William Bailie.
Both also died young: Helena in her early 40s, Miriam in her mid-30s, after giving birth to a daughter named Sunrise, a small, helpless bundle of utopia who became the stepdaughter of the socialist novelist Gertrude Dix, who succeeded Miriam as Robert Nicols lover. After Helenas death, William Bailie married Helenas friend Helen Tufts, a Boston-born feminist who in the 1920s was expelled from the Daughters of the American Revolution for exposing a DAR blacklist of social reformers and other anti-patriots. Ifthats patriotism, she bit back, Ill have none of it.
Rebel Crossings vividly evokes thesebusy, entangled lives, with their campaigning and propagandising and romancing, criss-crossed by doctrinal disagreements and ethical dilemmas made more acute by relentless soul-searching and grasping at moral absolutes. All six of Rowbothams protagonists were religious freethinkers, but their radicalism was shot through with the missionary zeal of a spiritual elect. Dear Comrade, Miriam wrote to a friend, let us if we think we see higher heights and purer lights than another not shun that climbing Soul but bend to point the way we take. Pragmatism had little part to play here, including in their free-love commitments, which were passionately ideological. Love waits not upon social or political changes, Helena wrote to William at the height of their romance. It creates them. Love is the great equaliser.
She vividly evokes these busy, entangled lives, with their campaigning and propagandising and romancing
But if love equalised hearts, it left many social inequities intact. Beyond all teaching and preaching is actual living, Tufts reminded her comrades. But actual life often disappointed, as new world modes of relating bumped up against old world habits and attitudes. Jealousy, rivalry, prejudice raised their heads; low bodily needs got in the way of the higher life, especially for the women. A woman who behaved as though her rights were equal to mans would be treated equally, Helen maintained; but daily life with her William was not always an egalitarian dream. Wm hardly ever wipes the dishes, but he says I cant understand where all these dishes come from! she confided to her journal. My dearest would like to forget dishes after he has used them.
Its easy to smile at some of this, and Rowbotham does smile now and then. But she never condescends. These were brave spirits whose courage she admires, and whose struggles to balance altruistic service and egoism, union and personal desire earn her sympathy. And her empathy: she has known such struggles. She has lived them, or rather experiences very like them as have I, and many other women who share our political past.
For any veteran of 1970s socialist feminism, reading Rebel Crossings is likely to be a mixed pleasure, summoning up a radical past that feels sadly distant yet uncomfortably close, as itreawakens memories of our own utopian moment, with its courage and confusions, its open-hearted visions and myopias. Like the books protagonists, we knew what we wanted aworld where all would live freely andunselfishly, with equal status, resources and opportunities and we sought to live our lives in the shape of our ideals, forming anti-patriarchal sexual relationships and communal households intended to prefigure the egalitarian society to come.
We were whole life revolutionaries, and the future belonged to us. But we underestimated the inequalities among us (of class, race, cultural advantage, financial resources) and the obstacles we faced, both internal and external: our conflicting desires (for unity, independence, work, children); our muddles over men; the personal hostilities, disguised as political disagreements, that cut across sisterly solidarities; but above all, the relentless momentum of our times, as the postwar settlement that had kindled our optimistic dreams gave way to tooth-and-claw neoliberalism and the dystopian nightmare we now see before us.
Rebel Crossings is crammed with hopeful visions from the past, but on the present it strikes a melancholy note. Watching globalised capitalism in action appropriating free expression, raiding collective spaces, shredding non-marketable aspirations, social solidarity and fellow feeling Rowbotham is forced to recognise that a good society, along with a new radical and emancipatory social consciousness, will take longer to realise that I imagined. Like many in my generation, I accept this reality rationally, but emotionally find itineffably baffling.
In the wake of 2016, Rowbothams bafflement is widely shared and not just by one-time utopians. And yet last month some five million women took to the streets in 673 marches worldwide. On seven continents we marched, against Trump and all that he represents: demagoguery, xenophobia, misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia. Our banners echoed the call ofRowbothams long-ago rebels, for a future of liberty, love and solidarity. For most of us, this was thefirst glimmer of light in a dark time. Hardly utopia, but a moment of genuine hope, born not in some nowhere land of political fantasy but here and now, in this very world, which is the world of all of us (Wordsworth) the only placefrom which real hope, and determination, can spring.
Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States is published by Verso. To order a copy for 21.25 (RRP 25) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.
Posted: at 3:07 pm
If youve been reading along in this series of posts about the basics of a Jewish theology, thank you. Im thinking there will likely be 3 or so more posts in this series after this one.
Lets turn our attention to Jewish ways of thinking about human nature, morality, and salvation. Again, my thoughts are colored by Reform and Liberal Jewish approaches to these topics, and Im aware of the diversity of opinion within Jewish thought.
The opening chapters of Genesis, and then the remainder of Torah, seems to indicate that to be human is to be a unique, personal expression of the divine/evolutionary impulse in the world. Metaphorically, we speak of our sharing in this impulse as our sharing in the divine image as persons we possess an inherent dignity, an ontological value, and a sense of worth that is grounded in our very being and is not merited or earned.
As persons we are unified, self-aware flesh. Our existence melds material and immaterial realities, and that the exact relationship of the mind-soul to the body is a mystery. As persons, we are inherently social, relational, and capable of love our flourishing is interdependent on others flourishing as well we are only as whole as the least of our brothers and sisters.
Our wholeness is illusive. Instead of affirming our connection to nature and to others, we too often experience fragmentation, alienation, and separation the results of egoism and selfish living treating nature and others as a means to an end and not ends in themselves. We find ourselves living in disequilibrium, harming others, the environment, and ourselves.
Denying our connectedness with nature puts us at risk of peril. If our culture and spirituality is out of balance with nature, everything about our lives is affected; family, workplace, school, and community all eventually become unbalanced because neglect or abuse of nature is essentially neglect and abuse of self.
Denying our connectedness to others also risks peril. Humans are inherently social animals that cannot exist without community; we engender culture with our very being. Interconnected/Interdependent on one another, kindness and social cooperation make sense from a practical, evolutionary point of view we can only truly thrive when others thrive this insight is foundational for an integrated spirituality of wholeness.
The way to healing is through restoring healthy relationships, cultivating awareness of our interconnectedness with the ecosystem and the rest of the human family. Humans are capable of transcending ego and living lives of kenotic love in service and harmony with nature and others. We are fully ourselves when we give ourselves away to things that deserve us and reflect/enhance our inherent dignity.Our survival and thriving depends on such right relationships.
Jews have crafted their moral views through an ongoing conversation with Torah and experience, reason and tradition much the way some Christian traditions do (in particular, Im thinking of Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism.)
Jews make their moral decisions and form their views in conversation with the past while living in the present. Neither aspect of the conversation trumps the other.
In a general sense, this manner of moral reasoning has been called the Natural Law tradition. Most Jews wouldnt be overly familiar with the term, but in essence, its the manner of their moral reasoning.
Morality is an integral part of our natural identity. Right human behavior is predicated on human flourishing and empathetic reciprocity, conveyed in the core truth of love your neighbor as yourself treating others, as we would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative known through human reason. Judaism, and all religion, is at its best when it reinforces this truth.
The insights for living a good life arise from a reasoned, teleological reflection on our own nature and our relationships to others. This vision offers a formal framework within which to conduct our moral reasoning. Our motivation for virtue is a matter of our own integrity, following the logic of our very being.
Human moral understanding has evolved throughout our history. Ethical convictions concerning slavery, patriarchy, marriage, warfare, and many other subjects have changed. Certainly, contemporary Jews do not hold the same moral opinions as did our ancient ancestors and thats often a good thing.
To note the evolving nature of human moral understanding is not to assert subjectivism or relativism. Our understanding of moral truth changes, not necessarily the truth itself. Most accept an ethical understanding that slavery was always morally wrong we humans merely came to see that truth over time.
Jewish ethics has always stressed the social dimensions of morality. We are only as well off as the least of our brothers and sisters.The essential human challenge is to affirm our dignity and interconnectedness with others and nature and overcome the isolating, selfish egocentric tendencies. The path of life is this we can tame our ego and find our right place in the world by living lives of kenotic love, caring for each other and the ecosystem and attuning to the cycles, patterns, and rhythms of nature.
Tying the above themes together, we come to understand that the central Jewish metaphor for the human challenge is the the Exodus event which is symbolic of each persons liberation from the narrowness of egoism, set free to live a life of goodness in harmony with others in the wilderness.
Salvation is the totality of individual and collective actualization and fulfillment the alignment with Power of Salvation it is an ongoing process of love.
The majority Jewish interpretation of Genesis does not lead to conclusions of original sin. There is no Fall in Jewish theology that must be overcome or reversed. Humans, created in the divine image, are not separated from the divine there is no chasm between God and humankind, no rift, no cosmic debt no eternal gap. (The Genesis accounts are about many things human maturation, moral awareness, even the change from hunter gather social structures to agricultural forms but a divine curse or some form of eternal separation are not Jewish interpretations.) Human nature is certainly imperfect and limited. Sin is a reality. But the capacity for goodness and evil is inherent in human nature.
Much of Torah is about sacrificial love. Kenotic love is vital to our wholeness. When we give ourselves to realities that deserve us we are returned to ourselves healed, whole, and transformed through divine energy reconnected to nature and others. Flowing from the insight of empathetic reciprocity we further grasp other foundational moral imperatives care for the needy and lowly, seeking a just society, welcoming the stranger, and drawing in the unjustly marginalized.
Kenotic love opens us toward wholeness now we need not wait for some sense of cosmic wholeness or salvation that occurs at our death. Love provides meaning to our lives nihilism is simply not a realistic option; to choose such a path is absurd. We cannot live with integrity as a nihilist; for every action we take implies that we find our life imbued with meaning.
Meaning is found on the journey the meaning of life is not some grand mystery revealed on our deathbed with cloudbursts and trumpets its found now in the present moment to live for the past or future is to live in futility. We can only live in the present moment it is all we have the past is gone and the future does not yet exist.
Our journey will seemingly end no one knows what happens when we die. Judaism doesnt engage in much speculation, either. Yet we do know that wisdom lies in embracing the core spiritual truth of our interconnectedness with others and with nature, and therefore our need for kenotic love, and our need to live according to the cycles of nature.
Jewish hope is rooted in this love endures beyond death how we live our lives now matters both in the present moment and in the world to come. Something of us transcends death may that something be a blessing toward a better world.
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Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:07 pm
The global sports industry is estimated to carry a $1.5 trillion value. With that big of a presence in the business, it makes sense that Mendoza College of Business chose its Ethics Week theme for this year to be Sports and the Common Good.
Sports and the Common Good just seemed like a natural [pick for a theme], especially at a university like Notre Dame [with] a college of business like Mendoza, Brian Levey, one of the organizers for the event, said in an email. Educating the mind, body and spirit is at the heart of the Holy Cross mission.
Levey said Notre Dames emphasis on this complete education is evidenced not only in varsity sports, but also in activities such as Bengal Bouts, which starts this week, and Bookstore Basketball.
Now in its 20thyear, Mendoza College of Business Ethics Week was first started by accounting professor Ken Milani. Inspired by the work of John Houck, a Notre Dame management professor who died in 1996, Ethics Week has included themes such as sustainability, financial institutions, governing for the greater good (politics and public service) and ethics through a global lens.
Over the history of the event, the organizers have tried various approaches and activities with Ethics Week, including a brown bag lunch speaker series and an ethics case competition.
Recently, changes in the timing and formatting of the events, as well as an increased online presence through a Facebook page and Twitter account, have helped attendance spike to about 500 participants in 2014 and 2015.
Speakers from past Ethics Weeks have ranged from Fr. Jenkins to the chief ethics officer of the United Nations. This years agenda feature an equally diverse group, with backgrounds spanning sports psychology to wealth management.
Levey hopes incorporating sportswith this years Ethics Week will help students consider ethics on a different level.
By examining sports from a deeper perspective, we can explore business ethics issues in a relatable manner. Winning, losing, fair play, cheating, equality, discrimination, altruism, egoism sports has it all, he said. Just check the headlines; youll see a sports ethics issue, and, in turn, a business ethics issue almost every day.
Thursday offers a movie night that features the baseball movie The Natural, starring Robert Redford. The first 75 movie attendees who also stay for the panel after the movie will be treated to free pizza.
Its critically acclaimed its a sports movie, its a love story, its a tale of redemption and it presents the audience with an ethical dilemma, Levey said.
Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:06 pm
The 2017 edition of Notre Dame Ethics Week will put a new spin on a popular topic sports.
The annual conference, held Feb. 14-17 at the University of Notre Dames Mendoza College of Business, will explore Sports and the Common Good through a series of panel discussions, speakers and even the showing of a classic baseball movie.
Sports is big business, said Brian Levey, Mendoza teaching professor and one of the Ethics Week organizers. Estimates peg the global sports market at $1.5 trillion. And by examining sports from a deeper perspective, we can explore business ethics issues in a relatable manner. Winning, losing, fair play, cheating, equality, discrimination, altruism, egoism -- sports has it all.
Ethics Week events, which are free and open to the public, take place in the Giovanini Commons located in the lower level of Mendoza College of Business unless otherwise noted in the following schedule:
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Panel discussion: Life Lessons from Sports: Performance & Purpose, featuring Christopher Adkins, executive director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership; and Amber Lattner, founder, Lattner Performance Group
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 12:20-1:30 p.m.: Panel discussion: Building Global Bridges through Sports, featuring Guiorgie Gia Kvaratskhelia, head fencing coach, University of Notre Dame; Notre Dame student-athletes Jonah Shainberg (fencing) and Sandra Yu (soccer); and Mario Berkeley, Mendoza teaching assistant (moderator)
Thursday, Feb. 16, 5:30-7:45 p.m.: Movie night: The Natural, showing in Mendozas Jordan Auditorium, immediately followed by Panel & Pizza
Thursday, Feb. 16, 7:45-8:30 p.m.: Panel & Pizza: Discussion of the novel, The Natural: Messiah in Uniform, by Bernard Malamud, featuring Michael Cozzillio, Widener University Commonwealth Law School; and Ed Edmonds, Notre Dame Law School. Note: Free pizza will be provided to the first 75 movie attendees who also attend the panel discussion
Friday, Feb. 17, 12-1 p.m.: "Prolanthrophy: The Business of Helping Athletes Give Back, featuring J. Jonathan Hayes, principal director, Pro Sports, Pegasus Partners Ltd.
Notre Dame Ethics Week takes place annually in February, and brings in experts from a diverse array of industries to explore current ethics issues. The event is sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business and the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership.
Now in its 20th year, Notre Dame Ethics Week was established to encourage the discussion of ethical matters in undergraduate and graduate business classes atNotreDame and to secure a foundation for future discussions inside and outside the classroom. The event continues the legacy of JohnHouck, aNotreDame management professor who authored numerous works on business ethics, including Is the Good Corporation Dead?Houckdied in 1996.
For more information aboutNotreDame Ethics Week, contact Brian Levey at(574) firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted: at 3:06 pm
Driving the Day
JUST A THOUGHT: Earlier this week, President Donald Trump mocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for crying about the plight of immigrants, saying he was faking, and wondering aloud from the White House who his acting coach was. Yesterday, he followed that up by calling him Fake Tears Chuck Schumer to his 23 million Twitter followers. Now hes asking Schumer to expedite the consideration and support Neil Gorsuch, his nominee for the Supreme Court. Do you think thats how this works, Mr. President?
Story Continued Below
Good Wednesday morning and welcome to February. Yes, we expect Gorsuch to get confirmed. But Democrats are saying they want him to get 60 votes, daring Republicans to push him through on a majority vote. Gorsuch passed the Senate unanimously 2006 when President George W. Bush nominated him, but that matters little when talking about todays political dynamics. Eight Democrats would need to join with Republicans to break the expected Democratic filibuster.
AT LEAST SEVEN Democratic senators have signaled an openness to having a committee vote on Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris Coons (Del.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.).
**SUBSCRIBE to Playbook: http://politi.co/1M75UbX
THE REVIEWS TRUMP CARES ABOUT -- NYT -- 5 of 6 stories about Trump and ANOTHER six-column banner headline -- TRUMPS COURT PICK SETS UP POLITICAL CLASH. He probably likes this one, referring to Gorsuch, A Nominee Who Echoes Scalias Style, but probably doesnt care for this one, referring to Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge-fund manager turned adviser, A Trump Aide, a Chinese Firm And A Fear of Tangled Interests. http://nyti.ms/2jVIVII WaPo -- the entire front page is about Trump, and another banner headline -- Supreme Court nominee is Gorsuch Its still Justice Kennedys court Originalist pick seen as willing to compromise http://bit.ly/2kpN1tU N.Y. Post: BURN IT DOWN!: Dems go full blast to undermine Trump http://nyp.st/2jusKUo
THE BACKSTORY -- GREAT DETAILS -- How Trump got to yes on Gorsuch, by Shane Goldmacher, Eliana Johnson and Josh Gerstein: Behind the scenes, [Donald] Trump settled on [Neil] Gorsuch after only a single in-person interview in Trump Tower. Gorsuch was ushered into the building through a back door on Jan. 14 so he wouldnt be seen by the press gathered in the lobby. Trump personally interviewed four Supreme Court finalists, three at his home in New York before he moved to the White House, according to two people involved in the search. ... Only one other person was in the room during Trumps full interviews with the finalists: White House Counsel Don McGahn, the two officials said. And Trump only met with each of the finalists once before deciding, although he did later speak with some by phone. Trumps top lieutenants -- Vice President Mike Pence, McGahn, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and chief strategist Stephen Bannon -- also had their own interviews with the four finalists, along with several other candidates in New York. http://politi.co/2jul6t1 Video of Trump announcing Gorsuch http://bit.ly/2kqcgfx
THE ANALYSIS -- NYTs ADAM LIPTAK: In Judge Neil Gorsuch, an Echo of Scalia in Philosophy and Style: Judge Gorsuch ... is an originalist, meaning he tries to interpret the Constitution consistently with the understanding of those who drafted and adopted it. This approach leads him to generally but not uniformly conservative results. While he has not written extensively on several issues of importance to many conservatives, including gun control and gay rights, Judge Gorsuch has taken strong stands in favor of religious freedom, earning him admiration from the right. Judge Gorsuch has not hesitated to take stands that critics say have a partisan edge. He has criticized liberals for turning to the courts rather than legislatures to achieve their policy goals, and has called for limiting the power of federal regulators. http://nyti.ms/2kfP9lg
-- WAPOS ROBERT BARNES: Trump makes his pick, but its still Anthony Kennedys Supreme Court: Kennedy, 80 and celebrating his 29th year on the court this month, will remain the pivotal member of the court no matter how the warfare between Republicans and Democrats plays out. On almost every big social issue, neither the courts liberal, Democratic-appointed justices nor Kennedys fellow Republican-appointed conservative colleagues can prevail without him. That is why an undercurrent of Trumps first choice for the court was whether it would soothe Kennedy, making him feel secure enough to retire and let this president choose the person who would succeed him.
Who better, then, to put Kennedy at ease than one of his former clerks? Kennedy trekked to Denver to swear in his protege Neil Gorsuch on the appeals court 10 years ago. If Gorsuch is confirmed to the Supreme Court, it would be the first time that a justice has served with a former clerk. http://wapo.st/2jC6nYb
-- NEAL K. KATYAL in the NYT, Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch: I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nations highest court. http://nyti.ms/2jTXieo
-- A 2002 op-ed in UPI by Gorsuch excoriated the Senate for delaying hearings to appoint John Roberts and Merrick Garland to the U.S. Court of Appeals http://bit.ly/2kqVRXO
-- @ShaneGoldmacher: Gorsuchs classmate at Harvard Law: A certain gentleman named Barack Obama
WHO WILL HELP GORSUCH -- Ayotte to lead White House team shepherding Supreme Court nominee, by WaPos Phil Rucker and Ashley Parker: [Kelly] Ayotte will serve as the nominees so-called sherpa, personally introducing the pick to senators and escorting him or her to meetings and the confirmation hearing. The lead staffer on the nominees team will be Makan Delrahim, currently the director of nominations for the White House legislative affairs office. Delrahim will serve as the quarterback, in the words of the White House official, overseeing strategy and outreach with the Senate.
Delrahim will work closely with Mary Elizabeth Taylor, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), where she ran the Senate cloakroom and developed personal relationships with Republican senators. Also involved will be Rick Dearborn, a deputy White House chief of staff and a former chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Marc Short, the White Houses director of legislative affairs. The communications strategy will be overseen by Ron Bonjean, a longtime Republican strategist who has served as chief of staff to the Senate Republican Conference and as the chief spokesman for former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). http://wapo.st/2jUiEbb
-- BUZZ: The White House considered several other potential sherpas before settling on Ayotte. Kyle Simmons, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was among those who had been discussed. Typically, SCOTUS sherpas are veteran staffers like former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein, who managed multiple Supreme Court and cabinet nominee picks.
** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Federal programs, state governments, employers, unions and others partner with PBMs to address rising prescription drug costs, keep patients healthy, and deliver value for the health system. Visit http://www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org for more. **
TEAM OF RIVALS -- White House tries to course correct after messy travel restriction rollout, by CNNs Dana Bash: According to sources familiar with internal White House conversations, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will now take more control of the systems dealing with basic functions, like executive orders. The way one source described it: Priebus already technically had the authority, but clearly the staff needed a reminder not to color outside their lines. Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, two other senior advisers, still have considerable power and influence with Trump. Administration officials say no role has been diminished or expanded but rather existing roles clarified. It is unclear how that will fit in with Priebus exerting more control over White House operations. Additionally, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway is expected to take more control of the communications strategy. http://cnn.it/2kQb6XX
SCARAMUCCI UNDER FIRE -- NYT A1, Trump Aides Deal With Chinese Firm Raises Fear of Tangled Interests, by Sharon LaFraniere, Michael Forsythe and Alexandra Stevenson: A secretive Chinese company with deep ties to the countrys Communist Party has become one of the biggest foreign investors in the United States over the past year, snapping up American firms in a string of multibillion-dollar deals. But it is one of its smaller deals that is apparently stalling the White House career of a top adviser to President Trump. Anthony Scaramucci, a flamboyant former campaign fund-raiser for Mr. Trump whom the president has appointed as the White House liaison to the business community, has been in limbo for more than a week since he agreed to sell his investment firm to a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate, HNA Group.
Mr. Scaramucci is on the job but has yet to be sworn in, partly because of concerns about the Jan. 17 deal, according to two administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters. It is the second known transaction between a politically connected Chinese company and an incoming White House official. And it is evidence of the unusual confluence of interests between superrich members of the new Trump administration who need to unwind complex financial portfolios to comply with government rules and international firms eager to buy American assets. http://nyti.ms/2kfNfBd
-- Scaramucci fights to stay in the White House, by Tara Palmeri: Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci were sucked into a bizarre episode of infighting Tuesday as the White House chief of staff tried to push Scaramucci out of a promised role as an adviser to President Donald Trump, only to later backtrack. http://politi.co/2kpXm93
PETRAEUS WARNING -- ONLY IN PLAYBOOK -- Former CIA Director, retired Gen. David Petraeus plans to warn the House Armed Services Committee this morning that U.S. global alliances are at risk, according to an advance copy of his testimony from someone close to Petraeus. In assessing the threats, Petraeus plans to tell the committee: Americans should not take the current international order for granted. It did not will itself into existence. We created it. Likewise, it is not naturally self-sustaining. We have sustained it. If we stop doing so, it will fray and, eventually, collapse. This is precisely what some of our adversaries seek to encourage. President Putin, for instance, understands that, while conventional aggression may occasionally enable Russia to grab a bit of land on its periphery, the real center of gravity is the political will of major democratic powers to defend Euro-Atlantic institutions like NATO and the EU.
NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL -- Poll: 1-in-4 voters believe Trump's vote-fraud claims, by Jake Sherman: One in four voters believe President Donald Trump's unsupported claim that millions of votes were illegally cast in the 2016 election, but more people believe that Trump benefited from any electoral malfeasance instead of Hillary Clinton. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult survey showed that 25 percent of registered voters say they agree with Trump that millions of people improperly cast ballots last November. But if the election was subject to voter fraud, 35 percent say its more likely any improper votes benefited Trump, and 30 percent say they benefited Clinton.
Trumps approval rating is ticking upward toward 50 percent: 49 percent of voters approve of how Trump is handling his job, and 41 percent disapprove. That is more positive than other polls; a 51-percent majority disapproves of Trump in the latest Gallup tracking poll. Even Trump's favorable rating -- 49 percent favorable to 44 percent unfavorable is a significant departure from other polls, which show Trump viewed more unfavorably. http://politi.co/2juUSGA
OTHER POLL HIGHLIGHTS
-- SEAN SPICER IS WELL KNOWN. 60% say they have seen, read or heard a lot or some of Spicer. He has a 24% favorable rating, 32% unfavorable, 16% have no opinion and 28% dont know him.
-- AS NETANYAHU READIES FOR TRIP TO THE U.S., AMERICANS SAY DONT MOVE THE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM. Across the board, our new poll shows that Americans dont want the U.S. to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. When told of the history of the issue, 41% say to leave the embassy in Tel Aviv and 33% say move the embassy to Jerusalem.
THE JUICE --
-- EU ANXIETY -- POSTCARD FROM BRUSSELS: From our POLITICO Europe Playbook colleague Ryan Heath in Brussels: "European Commission Vice President Maro efovi just stood up in the EU press room and said that the College of European Commissioners discussed at their weekly Cabinet meeting that it and the EU have to choose between the 'inequality, national egoism' displayed by the Trump administration or 'openness, social equality and solidarity' that the defines the EU. Sefcovic said there was 'growing anxiety' about the transatlantic relationship and urged the Trump team to cool it because: 'The U.S. never had a better ally than Europe.'"
-- BIDEN LAUNCHES FOUNDATION: The Biden Foundation is launching to build on Vice President and Dr. Bidens lifelong commitment to protecting and advancing rights and opportunities of all people, according to a release off embargo at 5 a.m. The board of the foundation: Former Sen. Ted Kaufman, a longtime Biden adviser; Valerie Biden Owens, the VPs sister; Mark Gitenstein, a former Biden aide who later was ambassador to Romania; Mark Angelson, a long time Biden adviser; and Jeff Peck of Peck Madigan and Jones. Peck also worked for Biden on the Hill. Louisa Terrell, Sen. Cory Bookers former chief of staff, a former Facebook lobbyist and FCC aide, will be executive director of the foundation.
-- KEY MCCARTHY AIDE TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Ben Howard, who ran the House floor for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), has gone to work for President Donald Trumps legislative affairs office. This is not only big for Howard, but also for McCarthy, whose stature continues to grow in Trump World. I cant begin to express my gratitude for all Ben has done not only for me and my team, but the entire Republican Conference, McCarthy emails. Over the years Ive relied on Ben for both his wisdom and his wit. Hes been an integral part of my senior staff, but President Trump and his team will be well served by Ben as we work to enact the American peoples legislative priorities.
-- SPOTTED: Eric Trump in first class and Don Trump Jr. in coach flying from DCA to LaGuardia on the 10 p.m. American shuttle after the Supreme Court announcement House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who is under heat for several of his aides agreeing to sign non-disclosures with the Trump team, chatting with Steve Bannon at the White House Supreme Court announcement Tuesday night NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan at the White House for the SCOTUS announcement.
HAPPENING TODAY -- PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff will interview Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday morning in his first sitdown since inauguration. It will air Wednesday night. Trump is attending an African American History Month listening session. In the afternoon, he is participating in a legislative affairs strategy session.
PHOTO DU JOUR: President Donald Trump walks through the Cross Hall to the East Room of the White House to nominate Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Jan. 31. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
THE RESISTANCE -- GET WITH THE PROGRAM, OR NOT -- State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trumps Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures, by NYTs Jeffrey Gettleman on A1: It started out in Washington. Then it went to Jakarta. Then across Africa. One version even showed up on Facebook. Within hours, a State Department dissent cable, asserting that President Trumps executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries would not make the nation safer, traveled like a chain letter -- or a viral video. The cable wended its way through dozens of American embassies around the world, quickly emerging as one of the broadest protests by American officials against their presidents policies. And it is not over yet. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the letter had attracted around 1,000 signatures, State Department officials said, far more than any dissent cable in recent years. It was being delivered to management, and department officials said more diplomats wanted to add their names to it. The State Department has 7,600 Foreign Service officers and 11,000 civil servants. http://nyti.ms/2jutOr1
-- Resistance from within: Federal workers push back against Trump, by WaPos Juliet Eilperin, Lisa Rein, and Marc Fisher: Less than two weeks into Trumps administration, federal workers are in regular consultation with recently departed Obama-era political appointees about what they can do to push back against the new presidents initiatives. Some federal employees have set up social media accounts to anonymously leak word of changes that Trump appointees are trying to make. ... At a church in Columbia Heights last weekend, dozens of federal workers attended a support group for civil servants seeking a forum to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration. And 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop next weekend, where experts will offer advice on workers rights and how they can express civil disobedience. http://wapo.st/2jVGN3H
COMING ATTRACTIONS -- Trump administration circulates more draft immigration restrictions, focusing on protecting U.S. jobs, by WaPos Abigail Hauslohner and Janell Ross: The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport --- when possible -- immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post. A second draft order under consideration calls for a substantial shake-up in the system through which the United States administers immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, with the aim of tightly controlling who enters the country and who can enter the workforce, and reducing the social services burden on U.S. taxpayers. http://wapo.st/2jup5FU
BRIAN FALLON in POLITICO, Why Trumps Firing of Sally Yates Should Worry You: [F]or Yates, if this weeks events did mark the conclusion of her career at Justice, she can at least depart knowing she was true to herself and to the finest traditions of the institution until the very end. But theres always the chance her leave from Justice is only temporary. It seems quite likely she will be at the top of any list for attorney general in a future administrationonly next time, on a full-time basis. http://politi.co/2kqJOK5
WHAT THE HILL IS READING -- Staffers secret work on immigration order rattles the Capitol, by Rachael Bade: News that House Judiciary Committee staffers secretly collaborated on Donald Trumps controversial immigration order reverberated through the Capitol on Tuesday: Democrats denounced the arrangement, the GOP panel stonewalled, and an outside ethics group requested an investigation. And the man most on the hot seat over the unusual arrangement, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, was in full-on cleanup mode. At a private GOP conference meeting, Goodlatte (R-Va.) tried to calm fellow Republicans who were incensed to learn that some of his aides helped craft Trump's immigration directive without telling him or GOP leaders or about it. Democrats, meanwhile, almost immediately began raising ethical concerns about nondisclosure agreements signed by the Judiciary aides and questioned whether such work infringes on separation of powers. http://politi.co/2jUjRiQ
-- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Several government employees signed a non-disclosure agreement to secretly work on an executive order on immigration for the Trump team. And Goodlattes staff -- whose salaries are funded by taxpayer money -- refuses to answer if the chairman approved of this, and why it was allowed.
SHOW ME THE MONEY -- Trump raised $15 million in December, by Ken Vogel: President Donald Trumps reelection efforts are off to a strong start financially, according to Tuesday evening campaign finance reports showing that Trumps three committees brought in a combined $15 million last month and finished the year with $16 million in the bank. The committees Trumps campaign and two joint fundraising vehicles created by the campaign and various Republican Party committees - disbursed nearly $32 million from Nov. 29 through Dec. 31. http://politi.co/2kPZTH2
--TEXT FROM TRUMP President Trump took office only 10 days ago and the media has waged a nasty fight every day. Fight back. Donate by the 11:59p deadline: http://www.bit.ly/2jSqMsN
** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: Federal programs, state governments, employers, unions and others partner with PBMs to address rising prescription drug costs, keep patients healthy, and deliver value for the health system. Visit http://www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org for more. **
THE CABINET -- Treasury secretary nominees foreign money links bring new scrutiny, by CNNs Phil Mattingly: In a private interview with committee staff, aides said, Mnuchin acknowledged that his responses to the committee had not, as he had stated, been true, accurate and complete. He twice was forced to revise his initial disclosure questionnaire. He stated his role in the entities was inadvertently missed during the disclosure process. http://cnn.it/2kQrcEh
WHAT PELOSI TOLD TAPPER -- CNNs town hall with the House minority leader -- TAPPER: You still think you can work with [Trump]? PELOSI: Well, I certainly hope so. Hes the president of the United States. And by the way, I told him at the meeting, so Ill tell you, I said, Mr. President, we have -- I worked, when I had the majority, I was the speaker, I had the gavel, and President George W. Bush was president, we worked with him even though we disagreed on the war in Iraq. What could be worse than that? And privatizing Social Security, we disagreed on those. But we passed some of the most progressive legislation to help poor children, the biggest energy bill in the history of our country. He wanted nuclear; we wanted renewables. We had a big bill. The list goes on. Drugs for HIV-AIDS, all of those kinds of things. So we disagree on certain issues. We respect that hes the president of the United States. We want to work together. But where we will draw the line is if he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
-- FOR YOUR RADAR: Pelosi and Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst will speak at the 132nd Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner on March 4.
MOVING ON -- Strobe Talbott stepping down from Brookings, by Michael Crowley: Talbott, a former TIME magazine journalist who became deputy secretary of state under Bill Clinton, has led Brookings for 15 years. He will resign in October. ... He served at the State Department from 1993 to 2001, including seven years as Deputy Secretary of State. http://politi.co/2kfHLGD Release http://politi.co/2kUx0IN
SCHOCK UPDATE -- @kenvogel: Ex-Rep. @AaronSchocks campaign cmte paid a $10k compliance penalty to the @USTreasury, & $16k+ in legal fees. http://bit.ly/2kQ9c9X
VALLEY TALK -- Googles Eric Schmidt: Trump Administration Will Do Evil Things, by BuzzFeeds William Alden and Nitasha Tiku: Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Googles parent company, told an audience of Google employees on Thursday that the Trump administration is going to do these evil things as theyve done in the immigration area and perhaps some others. Schmidts remarks were made during the companys weekly meeting at its headquarters in Mountain View, California, on January 26. http://bzfd.it/2kfQLeU
MEMO FROM CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN AND JOHN HARRIS -- Please join me in offering thanks and congratulations to our colleague, Roger Simon, who is retiring from the business after 42 years of writing columns 10 of which were for POLITICO. Roger was the first person in this newsroom hired after John Harris joined Matt Wuerker and Ken Vogel from the Capitol Leader gang in late 2006. In this peevish age, in which combatants seem never to relinquish the self-righteous pose, and the language of politics often is infused with contempt, Roger uses his gift for language for a different cause. He respects politics and its practitioners, even when he is being searingly critical. He is shrewd in assessing character and motive and views politics and the work of government less through an ideological prism than human one. These are real people, often quite powerful, making decisions that affect other real people, often quite powerless.
-- ROGERS LAST COLUMN: A majority of one walks away from his keyboard: This is the end, my friends. It is time to say goodbye. I realize this is the worst possible time for a political columnist to retire, but what I didnt realize is that any of you cared. Robert Feder, a famous media writer from Chicago, found out about my retirement a few days ago and I have been flooded with farewells ever since. I have also been flooded -- really, you can read them -- with messages on Facebook and Twitter asking me not to retire. Not now. Not, Im told, when America needs you. I know, I know: It is preposterous. It is laughable. But not to some.
For some, I have been the friend they have never met for more than 40 years. For all those years, my job took me all over the world. My wife and I had precious little time for extended vacations. She stayed behind working at newspapers for 35 years and then running her own editing business. Now she wants to see the world. And Id like to go with her while I still can. http://politi.co/2jCde3I
MEDIAWATCH -- White House ices out CNN, by Hadas Gold: The White House has refused to send its spokespeople or surrogates onto CNN shows, effectively icing out the network from on-air administration voices. Were sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda, said a White House official, acknowledging that CNN is not such a place, but adding that the ban is not permanent. A CNN reporter, speaking on background, was more blunt: The White House is trying to punish the network and force down its ratings. Theyre trying cull CNN from the herd, the reporter said. Administration officials are still answering questions from CNN reporters. But administration officials including White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway haven't appeared on the network's programming in recent weeks. http://politi.co/2jVAPje
--Upset in WSJ newsroom over editors directive to avoid majority Muslim in immigration ban coverage, by Joe Pompeo: [Gerry] Baker conveyed the message in an internal email Monday night, responding to a breaking news story about Trumps firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates for refusing to defend the executive order temporarily barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia from entering the country. Can we stop saying seven majority Muslim countries? Its very loaded, Baker wrote in an email to editors obtained by POLITICO. ... Would be less loaded to say seven countries the US has designated as being states that pose significant or elevated risks of terrorism. http://politi.co/2jC3gzg
--Fox News Tops Cable News Ratings for 15 Straight Years With January Win, by The Wraps Brian Flood: http://bit.ly/2jC70kA
KATY TUR PROFILE -- Taunted by Trump, Little Katy stood her ground. And became a star because of it, by WaPos Paul Farhi: Trumps attacks on [Megyn] Kelly may have had a higher profile, but few reporters took as much flak from the future president as Tur. Turs reaction to the tumult was like that during her first confrontations in New Hampshire and in Trump Tower. She stood her ground. She didnt fire back. She continued reporting. Now she smiles at the memory, as composed as a sonnet. Generally, I find the hotter the temperature, the cooler I am, she says. Its times of relative calm and ease that I start to wind myself up. http://wapo.st/2kOGlWA
SPOTTED -- Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump eating at RPM Italian Monday night. They also took a jog Saturday with their security detail on the trails on Rock Creek Parkway.
OUT AND ABOUT -- Democratic campaign hands gathered last night to celebrate former Howard Dean campaign manager and longtime political strategist, Rick Ridder, and his new book at the Hawk n Dove. Ridders book Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places: Tales and Rules from the Campaign Trail draws from his decades leading campaigns and the party featured friends old and new. $16.99 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2jCacg1 SPOTTED mingling in the crowd: Stephanie Schriock and Jess OConnell from EMILYs List, Colorado Reps. Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter, Mark Putnam, the DSCCs Lauren Passalacqua, Andrew Piatt, Danny Kazin, Jay Marlin, Rich Pelletier, Mark Blumenthal, Glen Totten, and Amy Pritchard. Also spotted: Ricks proud daughter and DCCC alum Jenn Ridder.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Doug Calidas, legislative counsel for Sen. Joe Manchin III and Wharton and Duke Law alum, and Katie Calidas, a designer for an advertising agency and Parsons alum, on Sunday at 12:05 a.m. welcomed William Kristopher Calidas, 7 pounds, 11 ounces, 21 inches. Mother and baby are doing great and came home from the hospital Monday. Pic http://bit.ly/2jBYYYW
TRANSITIONS -- Victoria Glynn, former deputy press secretary at the Veterans Affairs Department, has joined Rep. Henry Cuellars (D-Texas) office as communications director. My Brothers Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) has elected former Obama administration official Broderick D. Johnson as chairman of the board of directors effective yesterday. http://politi.co/2jUDozP
NSC DEPARTURE LOUNGE -- Adam Strickler departs the NSC today after nine years of service to four National Security Advisers, most recently Ambassador Susan Rice. He plans to take some time off with Lauren and Toby. (h/t Suitestaff44)
BIRTHDAYS OF THE DAY: Jake Siewert, head of corporate comms at Goldman Sachs, father of four, and Bill Clinton alumnus, celebrating with a pancake breakfast at my kids school, a full days work, and dinner with my wife near our apartment -- read his Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2kQnzuV ABC News Ali Dukakis, celebrating with friends and co-workers likely at Edgar -- Q&A: http://politi.co/2kUk1qP ... BuzzFeed White House correspondent Adrian Carrasquillo, celebrating with operatives, reporters, BuzzFeed colleagues and friends on Friday at Hawthorne -- Q&A: http://politi.co/2kpVEoi
BIRTHDAYS: CAAs Michael Kives ... Liz Breckenridge of Sen. Caseys office and is the pride of Chesterfield, Mo. Hudson Lee (Carol Lees son) is 4 ... Fred Barnes is 74 ... Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) is 73 ... Jamie Radice, head of comms and public policy at Shift Technologies, and a McAuliffe and HRC 2008 campaign alum ... Christine Halloran ... Marc Elias of Perkins Coie (h/ts Jon Haber) Mara Sloan Mat Lapinski, Jeff Kimbell protg and EVP of Crossroads Strategies (h/t Krueger) ... Matt Moon, EVP at Delve DC and a Rick Scott and RNC alum ... Politicos Andrew Friedman (h/t wife Taylor) ... Ashley Hicks, manager of corporate alliances at USO and a Politico alum ... Joseph Jones, pride of Des Moines and beloved friend of ACYPL ... Miguel Ayala, SBA and Hillary campaign alum, is 38 ... L.A. Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten, the pride of Lakewood, N.J., is 65 ... David Thomas of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Alexa Kissinger, Obama White House and 12 alum, now 2L at Harvard Law School (h/t Gareth Rhodes) ... Dan Arbell, 25-year veteran of the Israeli foreign service, now a scholar-in-residence at AU ... Tara Brown, Mid-Atlantic regional director for AIPAC (h/ts Jewish Insider) ... Jordyn Phelps, ABC News superstar White House producer (h/ts Jonathan Karl and Arlette Saenz) ... ABC News Erin Dooley (h/t Arlette) ...
... Tara McGowan, digital director at Priorities USA Willa Prescott, the pride of Omaha and Rep. Tom OHallerans scheduler and director of operations (h/t Zac Andrews) ... Bloomberg News U.S. economy reporter Michelle Jamrisko -- her Twitter bio: I like to tell my stories with pictures and numbers (h/t Ben Chang) ... Meet the Press producer Natalie Cucchiara, celebrating half of the day at 30 Rock and half of the day in D.C. (h/t Olivia Petersen) ... Locust Street Group founding partner David Barnhart (h/t Ben Jenkins) ... Andrew Oberlander ... Emmett McGroarty, education director at American Principles Project ... CBS News Alana Anyse ... Ubers Alex Luzi ... David Redl, counsel for the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee ... Susan Coll, director of events and programs at Politics & Prose ... Catherine Kim, executive editor at NBC News digital ... Maria Reppas ... Dan Chmielewski ... Josh Nelson, deputy political director of CREDO Mobile ... Alex Otwell of Cvent ... Karl Bach ... Bill Sweeney, former deputy DNC chair and now president and CEO at International Foundation for Electoral Systems ... Carrie Goux Luke Peterson ... Kelly Collins ... Zachary Tumin, deputy commissioner of strategic initiatives at NYPD ... Emily Laird ... Jordan Lillie Michael Frias Karl Bach, Human Rights Campaign alum Princess Stephanie of Monaco is 52 ... Lisa Marie Presley is 49 ... Pauly Shore is 49 ... Harry Styles (One Direction) is 23 (h/ts AP)
** A message from the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs: PBMs use their purchasing power, sophisticated analytics and clinical expertise to help government programs, employers and unions get the most effective drug at the lowest cost possible. In fact, a 2016 study found that for every $100 in prescription drug expenditures, costs would be $45 higher without PBMs negotiating directly with drug manufacturers. With drug costs on the rise, it's good to know there are private-market solutions to lower them. Check out http://www.affordableprescriptiondrugs.org for more. **
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CLARIFICATION: This version of Playbook has been updated to better clarify the stance of seven Democratic senators toward Neil Gorsuch.
See the original post:
Posted: December 25, 2016 at 10:52 pm
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. In an extreme form, the idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the saying, "the end justifies the means", meaning that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable.
Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology, in which rules and moral duty are central, derives the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. It is also contrasted with virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the nature or consequences of the act (or omission) itself, and pragmatic ethics which treats morality like science: advancing socially over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods.
Some argue that consequentialist and deontological theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, T. M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, which are commonly considered a "deontological" concept, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights. Similarly, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable "side-constraints" which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do.
It is the business of the benevolent man to seek to promote what is beneficial to the world and to eliminate what is harmful, and to provide a model for the world. What benefits he will carry out; what does not benefit men he will leave alone.
Mozi, Mozi (5th century BC) Part I
Mohist consequentialism, also known as state consequentialism, is an ethical theory which evaluates the moral worth of an action based on how much it contributes to the welfare of a state. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Mohist consequentialism, dating back to the 5th century BCE, is the "world's earliest form of consequentialism, a remarkably sophisticated version based on a plurality of intrinsic goods taken as constitutive of human welfare." Unlike utilitarianism, which views utility as the sole moral good, "the basic goods in Mohist consequentialist thinking are... order, material wealth, and increase in population". During Mozi's era, war and famines were common, and population growth was seen as a moral necessity for a harmonious society. The "material wealth" of Mohist consequentialism refers to basic needs like shelter and clothing, and the "order" of Mohist consequentialism refers to Mozi's stance against warfare and violence, which he viewed as pointless and a threat to social stability.Stanford sinologist David Shepherd Nivison, in the The Cambridge History of Ancient China, writes that the moral goods of Mohism "are interrelated: more basic wealth, then more reproduction; more people, then more production and wealth... if people have plenty, they would be good, filial, kind, and so on unproblematically." The Mohists believed that morality is based on "promoting the benefit of all under heaven and eliminating harm to all under heaven." In contrast to Jeremy Bentham's views, state consequentialism is not utilitarian because it is not hedonistic or individualistic. The importance of outcomes that are good for the community outweigh the importance of individual pleasure and pain. The term state consequentialism has also been applied to the political philosophy of the Confucian philosopher Xunzi.
Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think...
Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) Ch I, p 1
In summary, Jeremy Bentham states that people are driven by their interests and their fears, but their interests take precedence over their fears, and their interests are carried out in accordance with how people view the consequences that might be involved with their interests. "Happiness" on this account is defined as the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. Historically, hedonistic utilitarianism is the paradigmatic example of a consequentialist moral theory. This form of utilitarianism holds that what matters is the aggregate happiness; the happiness of everyone and not the happiness of any particular person. John Stuart Mill, in his exposition of hedonistic utilitarianism, proposed a hierarchy of pleasures, meaning that the pursuit of certain kinds of pleasure is more highly valued than the pursuit of other pleasures. However, some contemporary utilitarians, such as Peter Singer, are concerned with maximizing the satisfaction of preferences, hence "preference utilitarianism". Other contemporary forms of utilitarianism mirror the forms of consequentialism outlined below.
Ethical egoism can be understood as a consequentialist theory according to which the consequences for the individual agent are taken to matter more than any other result. Thus, egoism will prescribe actions that may be beneficial, detrimental, or neutral to the welfare of others. Some, like Henry Sidgwick, argue that a certain degree of egoism promotes the general welfare of society for two reasons: because individuals know how to please themselves best, and because if everyone were an austere altruist then general welfare would inevitably decrease.
Ethical altruism can be seen as a consequentialist ethic which prescribes that an individual take actions that have the best consequences for everyone except for himself. This was advocated by Auguste Comte, who coined the term "altruism," and whose ethics can be summed up in the phrase "Live for others".
In general, consequentialist theories focus on actions. However, this need not be the case. Rule consequentialism is a theory that is sometimes seen as an attempt to reconcile deontology and consequentialismand in some cases, this is stated as a criticism of rule consequentialism. Like deontology, rule consequentialism holds that moral behavior involves following certain rules. However, rule consequentialism chooses rules based on the consequences that the selection of those rules have. Rule consequentialism exists in the forms of rule utilitarianism and rule egoism.
Various theorists are split as to whether the rules are the only determinant of moral behavior or not. For example, Robert Nozick holds that a certain set of minimal rules, which he calls "side-constraints", are necessary to ensure appropriate actions. There are also differences as to how absolute these moral rules are. Thus, while Nozick's side-constraints are absolute restrictions on behavior, Amartya Sen proposes a theory that recognizes the importance of certain rules, but these rules are not absolute. That is, they may be violated if strict adherence to the rule would lead to much more undesirable consequences.
One of the most common objections to rule-consequentialism is that it is incoherent, because it is based on the consequentialist principle that what we should be concerned with is maximizing the good, but then it tells us not to act to maximize the good, but to follow rules (even in cases where we know that breaking the rule could produce better results).
Brad Hooker avoided this objection by not basing his form of rule-consequentialism on the ideal of maximizing the good. He writes:
the best argument for rule-consequentialism is not that it derives from an overarching commitment to maximise the good. The best argument for rule-consequentialism is that it does a better job than its rivals of matching and tying together our moral convictions, as well as offering us help with our moral disagreements and uncertainties
Derek Parfit described Brad Hooker's book on rule-consequentialism Ideal Code, Real World as the "best statement and defence, so far, of one of the most important moral theories."
The two-level approach involves engaging in critical reasoning and considering all the possible ramifications of one's actions before making an ethical decision, but reverting to generally reliable moral rules when one is not in a position to stand back and examine the dilemma as a whole. In practice, this equates to adhering to rule consequentialism when one can only reason on an intuitive level, and to act consequentialism when in a position to stand back and reason on a more critical level.
This position can be described as a reconciliation between act consequentialism in which the morality of an action is determined by that action's effects and rule consequentialism in which moral behavior is derived from following rules that lead to positive outcomes.
The two-level approach to consequentialism is most often associated with R. M. Hare and Peter Singer.
Another consequentialist version is motive consequentialism which looks at whether the state of affairs that results from the motive to choose an action is better or at least as good as each of the alternative state of affairs that would have resulted from alternative actions. This version gives relevance to the motive of an act and links it to its consequences. An act can therefore not be wrong if the decision to act was based on a right motive. A possible inference is, that one can not be blamed for mistaken judgements if the motivation was to do good.
Most consequentialist theories focus on promoting some sort of good consequences. However, Negative utilitarianism lays out a consequentialist theory that focuses solely on minimizing bad consequences.
One major difference between these two approaches is the agent's responsibility. Positive consequentialism demands that we bring about good states of affairs, whereas negative consequentialism requires that we avoid bad ones. Stronger versions of negative consequentialism will require active intervention to prevent bad and ameliorate existing harm. In weaker versions, simple forbearance from acts tending to harm others is sufficient.
Often "negative" consequentialist theories assert that reducing suffering is more important than increasing pleasure. Karl Popper, for example, claimed "from the moral point of view, pain cannot be outweighed by pleasure...". (While Popper is not a consequentialist per se, this is taken as a classic statement of negative utilitarianism.) When considering a theory of justice, negative consequentialists may use a statewide or global-reaching principle: the reduction of suffering (for the disadvantaged) is more valuable than increased pleasure (for the affluent or luxurious).
Teleological ethics (Greek telos, "end"; logos, "science") is an ethical theory that holds that the ends or consequences of an act determine whether an act is good or evil. Teleological theories are often discussed in opposition to deontological ethical theories, which hold that acts themselves are inherently good or evil, regardless of the consequences of acts.
Teleological theories differ on the nature of the end that actions ought to promote. Eudaemonist theories (Greek eudaimonia, "happiness") hold that the goal of ethics consists in some function or activity appropriate to man as a human being, and thus tend to emphasize the cultivation of virtue or excellence in the agent as the end of all action. These could be the classical virtuescourage, temperance, justice, and wisdomthat promoted the Greek ideal of man as the "rational animal", or the theological virtuesfaith, hope, and lovethat distinguished the Christian ideal of man as a being created in the image of God.
Utilitarian-type theories hold that the end consists in an experience or feeling produced by the action. Hedonism, for example, teaches that this feeling is pleasureeither one's own, as in egoism (the 17th-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes), or everyone's, as in universalistic hedonism, or utilitarianism (the 19th-century English philosophers Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick), with its formula of the "greatest pleasure of the greatest number."
Other utilitarian-type views include the claims that the end of action is survival and growth, as in evolutionary ethics (the 19th-century English philosopher Herbert Spencer); the experience of power, as in despotism; satisfaction and adjustment, as in pragmatism (20th-century American philosophers Ralph Barton Perry and John Dewey); and freedom, as in existentialism (the 20th-century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre).
The chief problem for eudaemonist theories is to show that leading a life of virtue will also be attended by happinessby the winning of the goods regarded as the chief end of action. That Job should suffer and Socrates and Jesus die while the wicked prosper, then seems unjust. Eudaemonists generally reply that the universe is moral and that, in Socrates' words, "No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death," or, in Jesus' words, "But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Matt 10:22).
Utilitarian theories, on the other hand, must answer the charge that ends do not justify the means. The problem arises in these theories because they tend to separate the achieved ends from the action by which these ends were produced. One implication of utilitarianism is that one's intention in performing an act may include all of its foreseen consequences. The goodness of the intention then reflects the balance of the good and evil of these consequences, with no limits imposed upon it by the nature of the act itselfeven if it be, say, the breaking of a promise or the execution of an innocent man. Utilitarianism, in answering this charge, must show either that what is apparently immoral is not really so or that, if it really is so, then closer examination of the consequences will bring this fact to light. Ideal utilitarianism (G.E. Moore and Hastings Rashdall) tries to meet the difficulty by advocating a plurality of ends and including among them the attainment of virtue itself, which, as John Stuart Mill affirmed, "may be felt a good in itself, and desired as such with as great intensity as any other good."
Since pure consequentialism holds that an action is to be judged solely by its result, most consequentialist theories hold that a deliberate action is no different from a deliberate decision not to act. This contrasts with the "acts and omissions doctrine", which is upheld by some medical ethicists and some religions: it asserts there is a significant moral distinction between acts and deliberate non-actions which lead to the same outcome. This contrast is brought out in issues such as voluntary euthanasia.
One important characteristic of many normative moral theories such as consequentialism is the ability to produce practical moral judgements. At the very least, any moral theory needs to define the standpoint from which the goodness of the consequences are to be determined. What is primarily at stake here is the responsibility of the agent.
One common tactic among consequentialists, particularly those committed to an altruistic (selfless) account of consequentialism, is to employ an ideal, neutral observer from which moral judgements can be made. John Rawls, a critic of utilitarianism, argues that utilitarianism, in common with other forms of consequentialism, relies on the perspective of such an ideal observer. The particular characteristics of this ideal observer can vary from an omniscient observer, who would grasp all the consequences of any action, to an ideally informed observer, who knows as much as could reasonably be expected, but not necessarily all the circumstances or all the possible consequences. Consequentialist theories that adopt this paradigm hold that right action is the action that will bring about the best consequences from this ideal observer's perspective.
In practice, it is very difficult, and at times arguably impossible, to adopt the point of view of an ideal observer. Individual moral agents do not know everything about their particular situations, and thus do not know all the possible consequences of their potential actions. For this reason, some theorists have argued that consequentialist theories can only require agents to choose the best action in line with what they know about the situation. However, if this approach is navely adopted, then moral agents who, for example, recklessly fail to reflect on their situation, and act in a way that brings about terrible results, could be said to be acting in a morally justifiable way. Acting in a situation without first informing oneself of the circumstances of the situation can lead to even the most well-intended actions yielding miserable consequences. As a result, it could be argued that there is a moral imperative for an agent to inform himself as much as possible about a situation before judging the appropriate course of action. This imperative, of course, is derived from consequential thinking: a better-informed agent is able to bring about better consequences.
Moral action always has consequences for certain people or things. Varieties of consequentialism can be differentiated by the beneficiary of the good consequences. That is, one might ask "Consequences for whom?"
A fundamental distinction can be drawn between theories which require that agents act for ends perhaps disconnected from their own interests and drives, and theories which permit that agents act for ends in which they have some personal interest or motivation. These are called "agent-neutral" and "agent-focused" theories respectively.
Agent-neutral consequentialism ignores the specific value a state of affairs has for any particular agent. Thus, in an agent-neutral theory, an actor's personal goals do not count any more than anyone else's goals in evaluating what action the actor should take. Agent-focused consequentialism, on the other hand, focuses on the particular needs of the moral agent. Thus, in an agent-focused account, such as one that Peter Railton outlines, the agent might be concerned with the general welfare, but the agent is more concerned with the immediate welfare of herself and her friends and family.
These two approaches could be reconciled by acknowledging the tension between an agent's interests as an individual and as a member of various groups, and seeking to somehow optimize among all of these interests. For example, it may be meaningful to speak of an action as being good for someone as an individual, but bad for them as a citizen of their town.
Many consequentialist theories may seem primarily concerned with human beings and their relationships with other human beings. However, some philosophers argue that we should not limit our ethical consideration to the interests of human beings alone. Jeremy Bentham, who is regarded as the founder of utilitarianism, argues that animals can experience pleasure and pain, thus demanding that 'non-human animals' should be a serious object of moral concern. More recently, Peter Singer has argued that it is unreasonable that we do not give equal consideration to the interests of animals as to those of human beings when we choose the way we are to treat them. Such equal consideration does not necessarily imply identical treatment of humans and non-humans, any more than it necessarily implies identical treatment of all humans.
One way to divide various consequentialisms is by the types of consequences that are taken to matter most, that is, which consequences count as good states of affairs. According to utilitarianism, a good action is one that results in an increase in pleasure, and the best action is one that results in the most pleasure for the greatest number. Closely related is eudaimonic consequentialism, according to which a full, flourishing life, which may or may not be the same as enjoying a great deal of pleasure, is the ultimate aim. Similarly, one might adopt an aesthetic consequentialism, in which the ultimate aim is to produce beauty. However, one might fix on non-psychological goods as the relevant effect. Thus, one might pursue an increase in material equality or political liberty instead of something like the more ephemeral "pleasure". Other theories adopt a package of several goods, all to be promoted equally.
Consequentialism can also be contrasted with aretaic moral theories such as virtue ethics. Whereas consequentialist theories posit that consequences of action should be the primary focus of our thinking about ethics, virtue ethics insists that it is the character rather than the consequences of actions that should be the focal point. Some virtue ethicists hold that consequentialist theories totally disregard the development and importance of moral character. For example, Philippa Foot argues that consequences in themselves have no ethical content, unless it has been provided by a virtue such as benevolence.
However, consequentialism and virtue ethics need not be entirely antagonistic. Philosopher Iain King has developed an approach which reconciles the two schools. Other consequentialists consider effects on the character of people involved in an action when assessing consequence. Similarly, a consequentialist theory may aim at the maximization of a particular virtue or set of virtues. Finally, following Foot's lead, one might adopt a sort of consequentialism that argues that virtuous activity ultimately produces the best consequences.[clarification needed]
The ultimate end is a concept in the moral philosophy of Max Weber, in which individuals act in a faithful, rather than rational, manner.
We must be clear about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an "ethic of ultimate ends" or to an "ethic of responsibility." This is not to say that an ethic of ultimate ends is identical with irresponsibility, or that an ethic of responsibility is identical with unprincipled opportunism. Naturally, nobody says that. However, there is an abysmal contrast between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate endsthat, is in religious terms, "the Christian does rightly and leaves the results with the Lord"and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one's action.
Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation, 1918
The term "consequentialism" was coined byG. E. M. Anscombe in her essay "Modern Moral Philosophy" in 1958, to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick.
The phrase and concept of "The end justifies the means" are at least as old as the first century BC. Ovid wrote in his Heroides that Exitus acta probat "The result justifies the deed".
G. E. M. Anscombe objects to consequentialism on the grounds that it does not provide ethical guidance in what one ought to do because there is no distinction between consequences that are foreseen and those that are intended.[full citation needed]
Bernard Williams has argued that consequentialism is alienating because it requires moral agents to put too much distance between themselves and their own projects and commitments. Williams argues that consequentialism requires moral agents to take a strictly impersonal view of all actions, since it is only the consequences, and not who produces them, that are said to matter. Williams argues that this demands too much of moral agentssince (he claims) consequentialism demands that they be willing to sacrifice any and all personal projects and commitments in any given circumstance in order to pursue the most beneficent course of action possible. He argues further that consequentialism fails to make sense of intuitions that it can matter whether or not someone is personally the author of a particular consequence. For example, that participating in a crime can matter, even if the crime would have been committed anyway, or would even have been worse, without the agent's participation.
Some consequentialistsmost notably Peter Railtonhave attempted to develop a form of consequentialism that acknowledges and avoids the objections raised by Williams. Railton argues that Williams's criticisms can be avoided by adopting a form of consequentialism in which moral decisions are to be determined by the sort of life that they express. On his account, the agent should choose the sort of life that will, on the whole, produce the best overall effects.
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