Don’t Know Much…

There is the one bit of conventional wisdom coagulating around Romney’s Veep selection that is absolutely true. We face a stark — really an existential — choice this November.

There are any number of ways to characterize the two branches that split from that decision, but for me it boils down to a commitment to the idea of society — that we exist as both individuals and as members of groups, with all the enhancement and constraint of experience that comes with such associations.  One side honors that concept; the other derides it.

All this is to say go read Benjamin Hale’s very thoughtful piece up at The New York Times‘ The Stone blog.

Hale offers a much more measured argument than anything I find myself capable of composing right now, channeling his inner John Rawls to provide a framework for understanding just how literally anti-social Ryan and Romney are.  His restraint makes his conclusion all the more potent:

The question of fairness has widespread application throughout our political discourse. It affects taxation, health care, education, social safety nets and so on. The veil of opulence would have us screen for fairness by asking what the most fortunate among us are willing to bear. The veil of ignorance would have us screen for fairness by asking what any of us would be willing to bear, if it were the case that we, or the ones we love, might be born into difficult circumstances or, despite our hard work, blindsided by misfortune. Society is in place to correct for the injustices of the universe, to ensure that our lives can run smoothly despite the stuff that is far out of our control: not to hand us what we need, but to give us the opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The veil of ignorance helps us see that. The veil of opulence keeps us in the dark.

Do go read the whole thing.

The modern Republican Party can’t be reformed, I think; it can only be unmade, till not one brick stands on the next.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

Image:  Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Potsdamer Platz,1914.

Explore posts in the same categories: Republican knavery, Romney, The Way We Live Now, Two Parties -- Not the Same

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3 Comments on “Don’t Know Much…”

  1. Batocchio Says:

    Good piece; thanks for passing it on. I particularly liked his “veil of opulence.” I’ve written a few posts on this general theme, including one invoking Rawls:

    http://vagabondscholar.blogspot.com/2010/07/social-contract.html

    I like Hale’s extended discussion. The same goes for Elizabeth Warren’s speeches on these ideas.

    (I sometimes describe myself as a civic-minded misanthrope, and being quite individualistic, I sorta think, hell, if I can buy the whole social contract thing…)


  2. […] Don’t Know Much… (inversesquare.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Teepee12 Says:

    Reblogged this on Serendipity and commented:
    Cogent, intelligent, and thoughtful … perhaps it’s time for more ideas and analysis and a lot less inflammatory rhetoric. I can hope, anyhow.


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