Sunday, March 26, 2006

Clear identification

The new hot-button political issue, as if there weren't enough already, is the immigration debate.

Thus far, there are two problems:
(1) How to keep future "illegals" out of the United States...
(2) What to do with "illegals" that are in the United States...

Nevermind the cultural aspects that drive this political issue; it's not merely the issue of illegal immigration; it's the issue of illegal immigration by a group that is not merely distinctive via language, but usually by skin color and ethnicity as well; Mexicans are an easily identifible people, and illegal Mexican immigrants are not only clearly identifible, they're also clearly powerless. They're in the worst situation possible in a liberal, utilitarian system (nevermind the labor that they participate in).

The difficulty of the legislators is that they must write legislation from an empowered, majority standpoint, for a group that has no representation, no power, and is of a "lesser" cultural status (if only numerically).

It is difficult to imagine what America would be like if we did not have pre-determined situations in society for the purpose of exploiting and dominating a group. The fact remains that America was founded upon a system of labor that depended upon slavery; even after slavery was abolished, the same economy remained in place, waiting for other groups to exploit. Illegal aliens are a perfect group.

The difficulty of the legislators is that they must write legislation that clarifies the legal status of the immigrants (this could entail numerous conclusions--e.g., a wall, provisions for allowing illegals to "work" towards legality, a new waiting line system, etc.) without destroying the economic system that allows for such a group to exist.

What I wonder is, who will take over the lowest economic positions offered in America if the most extreme legislation is passed?

America needs an easily identifible, clearly powerless group to exist, in order to place them into their designated spot at the bottom of society, a spot that is clearly predetermined by America's slave economy.

It would be excellent for the illegal immigrants to receive the most progressive legislation possible to ensure their legality, which could open up doors for an eventual (and probably painstaking) change in status. But, another group would have to take their place.

So long as capitalism and liberalism co-exist in America, the problem of illegal immigration will never be resolved. The problem of illegal immigration is merely the problem of alienated labor, of exploitation of a cultural/ethnic minority, of slavery. To say that the problem has evolved is an understatement; but at its foundation it remains the same problem.

Monday, March 06, 2006

On the helpless

I was going to let the South Dakota abortion story go (honestly). Until I read this quote:

"In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them."
-Governor Mike Rounds

This quote is ridiculous. Since when has the treatment of the most vulnerable and the most helpless been the measure of the morality of the civilization?

Furthermore, I find it convenient that Rounds' logic defines vulnerable and helpless in a manner perfectly consistent with the interests of his conservative constituents, and proponents of the legislation:

(1) In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society.

(2) The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society.

There are multiple problems here:

(1) Which civilization, and when? Certainly not a liberal regime, nor a totalitarian regime. The true test of a civilization in the history of the world appears to be connected to motives of power, and also, the longevity and sustenance of that regime. The most studied regimes in the history of the world are usually the most corrupt; but, it is the most morally corrupt empires that last longest because their dominance and coercion goes unmatched (some totalitarian regimes are exceptions to this rule; Stalinist, Fascist, and Maoist regimes will be studied for a very long time because of their relatively quick rises to power, and their terribly efficient methods of extinguishing humans).

(2) Okay, great, anti-abortion proponents believe that abortion is wrong because abortion kills unborn children; and unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society:

(a) It is possible that others groups believe that other segments of the population are most vulnerable and most helpless. A list of these populations in American history might run: Native Americans, African Slaves, women, blacks, homeless people, the elderly, the poor, etc. You get the gist, right?

(b) Unborn children are only vulnerable and helpless persons if in fact one disconnects the requirement for moral action from the status of "personhood."

For instance, I am a person because I act morally: I make moral decisions and I act on them. Whether or not the outcome is right or wrong is not important here; rather, what is important is that I actually can bring those categories of right or wrong upon myself through actions.

Unborn infants can do no such things; they cannot act, nor can they act morally for that matter. Thus, it is not consistent with ethical action to place emotive categories such as "innocent" upon an entity that cannot act morally.

Unborn children are merely helpless because they do not have the capacity to act; abortion, of course, takes away the potentiality that unborn children might have to act. But, this type of action occurs all the time, at the hands of both liberal and totalitarian regimes: the death penalty, in this regard, executes defenseless persons (albeit, defenseless persons that purportedly committed morally wrong acts); genocide of both Native Americans and African slaves rendered many persons defenseless; this is a greater extent of "helplessness" than prisoners, because in many cases Natives or Africans were never actually given the opportunity to be judged on the terms of their unique cultural morality; these groups also failed to receive an opportunity to be equally involved in the realm of morality that was promoted by their dominant groups.

Homeless people provide an interesting example. Beneath a political association (liberalism) that is intended to protect private property, thus life, liberty, and estate, one is necessarily excluded from such an order if one has no estate. Thus, while it is possible for a homeless person to make a moral decision, it is nearly impossible for a homeless person to gain any significant position of protection within the prevalent political order while homeless. The same can be said of the poor, although to a lesser degree: the poor have some estate, just not enough to compete with the Joneses of the liberal political order.

"Helpless" is hardly a meaningful moral term in political issues; for, if we take what it means to be "defenseless" seriously, then it seems as though we have lots of unwanted consequences, and a lot more defenseless groups, than is desired...

(4) The most meaningful moral category we could grant to the unborn is either "ignorant" or "not-yet-moral." Whichever term one decides to use will obviously be of political preference, but the outcome is the same: the unborn are non-moral entities.

Of course, this is why the unborn need moral protection, right? Great. But, which other non-moral entities are we going to grant moral protection to?

Why is it that our politicans can so easily ignore some suffering, morally helpless populations, and yet exclusively cater to others?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Political Sushi

This week I have been attempting to write a post, but I kept waiting...not sure for what...

Two political issues are dominating my mind recently. Both are severe indicators of our government's ineptitude: the resurfacing of hurricane Katrina, and the continued Civil War talk in Iraq...

The Civil War talk is a greater indicator of our cockiness as a nation-building entity. Not only do we get to come in, knock out your old regime, design your new regime, and standby while you get things started, but we get to tell your country whether or not you're actually having a legitimate fight over your own country.

While governmental officials, cable news pundits, and just about everyone else, all deny that Iraq is going through the motions of a Civil War, Iraqis on the street are actually fighting for their liberty. Whether or not this violence is sectarian misses the point. The point is that the United States can't actually bring itself to admit that a Civil War in Iraq might actually be a realistic indicator of the country's democratic outlook.

A bothersome aspect of these anti-Civil War talks is the ignorance that Americans are revealing about their own nation. Here we are, a nation that has spent more time struggling and in-fighting than ruling a settled government, approximately 150 years removed from a brutal Civil War, and hardly even 40 years removed from an equally brutal Civil Rights fight. And we have the nerve to criticize Iraqis for fighting for their country?

We might not understand the reasons they are fighting, which is understandable. It is THEIR nation, not ours. But, I suppose as nation-builder, we get to verify whether or not they get to have a civil war. Perhaps because their nation is not yet a functioning democracy, operating apart from an intrusive external ruling hand, the Iraqis really aren't having a Civil War because they do not yet have their own, truthful, community or civil society...

The Katrina issue confounds me. Where I feel a vitality when I think about the fighting in Iraq, a real concern that Iraqis can fight for what they feel is worth fighting for, I feel grand confusion thinking about Katrina.

How does our government get away with such ineptitude?

The leader of our country assures state leaders that the federal government is prepared. WRONG. The leader of the state of Louisiana purportedly trusts the levees. WRONG. Recently, it has also been reported that an internal argument within Red Cross involving the allocation of funds (a repeat problem they faced in 2001 after September 11) has slowed their organization's response capabilities. Public bureaucracy, private bureaucracy, it's all the same...

And yet, part of me can't help but think that the government didn't actually care about what happened to the poor souls at the Superdome, the poor souls abandoned by their own city (what's this deal about city buses available to take the poor out of the city that were not used?), their state, and their country (who really never cared about them anyhow): since when has liberalism cared about those without estate?

Life, liberty, and estate has great benefits: but should one reverse the equation, one will find that those without estate receive no liberty, and thus have no life beneath the state.

Can anyone prove to me otherwise, that our elected representatives, in all of our liberal institutions, actually, legitimately, cared about the fate of these poor, stranded souls? President Bush is a terriblly incompassionate conservative; why didn't he make his confidence about responses to the Hurricane, the day before it struck, known to all those people at the Dome? Why did the governor of Louisiana instill confidence in the levees?

Why was it that the only persons that knew that the levees would break and that disaster would ensue weren't in a position to do anything?