I'm having a little trouble getting in the state of mind necessary to write the sort Comprehensible Nonsense parable that I want as a companion piece to "Little Ms Deeds", so I am still working on The Parable of the Evil of Root", I hope you will bear with me, but I find myself with some thoughts on authority that Kosher raised by his posting at :
and I would like your thoughts as an aid to putting down my thoughts on the relationship between Reason, Self, and Authority- including the moral vs the legal authority of a system of government or regulation imposed upon or agreed to by a Reasoning being. - which is the underlying theme of my next post in the Chautauqua.
So: Kosher puts forth that he is a new congressman, and he is faced with the dilemna of either
1.voting his coscience or
2. Helping people
he poses this in the dilemna of whether he should accept a "deal" with a more powerful colleague who wishes to trade support for Kosher's Gay Marriage bill for kosher's support on a bill that is envionmentally unfriendly. -see kosher's post for more detail and comment
Anyway, my comments:
By whose Rules will you play? Are there any rules?
Is what you talk about a sportsmanlike endeavor, or a Free for All?
Is anything that a congressman does dishonorable, or is it honorable simply because he “helps” people ?
I find myself musing on my career as a wrestler. I didn't wrestle in high school, my high school didn't have a team. Our football team wrestled other schools football teams, as winter conditioning, but we had no formal league and no formal referees. I'd been practicing judo and other self defense arts since I 'd been 6, and no one was too clear about what sorts of pressure or choke holds were illegal in collegiate wrestling, so I was never disqualified for my “unintentional” use of such holds. I won all of my matches .
I made the OSU wrestling team my freshman year, not because I could wrestle, but because I could fight, and the coach saw some hope of teaching me to fight by the rules.
I spent my wrestling career at OSU being the practice dummy for a kid that went on to be Big ten champ in my weight class, and did so for 3 years. I got kind of tired of being out wrestled within the rules, but he was wrestling and I was “judo”ing. He'd come to OSU on a wrestling scholarship from Cleveland, and had had years of practice within the rules, which are specifically designed to keep anyone from getting hurt.
One day, he grew particularly contemptuous of me and called me a “Fish” ( a grave insult in wrestling )
We faced off again and I threw him over my hip and got him on the mat and choked him out. ( Both of which would have gotten me disqualified in a match ) and I said, “Jim, are we wrestling or are we fighting, cause it makes a difference.”
So, are you going to congress to play by the rules or not? The Rules are the rule of Reason, Enlightenment, Liberty, Freedom and Self Government. These rules are pretty clearly laid out in the Constitution. As a representative of the people, you are not there as a governor, but as a referee.
I've lost the reference for this quote, but to me it sums up the expectations of a Liberal government. You are not there to either vote your conscience or Help people- ( your help to one will necessarily be someone else's Harm)
Government by the people, Liberal government
“…does not consist in making others do what you think is right. The difference between a free Government and a Government which is not free is principally this -- that a Government which is not free interferes with everything it can, and a free Government interferes with nothing except what it must. A despotic government tries to make everybody do what it wishes, a Liberal Government tries, so far as the safety of society will permit, to allow everybody to do what he wishes.”
That said, the Constitution has about as much to do with the way the federal government currently, behaves as the NCAA rules of intercollegiate wrestling have to do with the WWE ( late WWF) Professional wrestling, It sickens and amuses me that anyone in Washington pretends differently.
As someone trained in the martial arts, I recognize the difference between the WWE charade, and the rules of athletic competition, as well as being aware that the rules I operate under as a martial artist in self defense is simply to “Win”.
I tried to be honorable in collegiate wrestling and not hurt anyone, and so I never did wrestle in an actual collegiate meet. You might think that that means that I would approve of the free for all atmosphere of the WWE ( or by extension, our current federal government)
What I would say is, whatever the WWE is doing, it isn't wrestling.
Whatever the Federal government is currently doing, it isn't Liberal government.
As far as getting my hands dirty, I'd quit trying to weight the outcome one way or the other, and referee fairly, not “help”, and not attempt to impose my conscience on others.
I'd try to play by the rules as written, not as interpreted by “Professionals”
And if I had to fight for my life ( or my honor) with a “professional wrestler”, I wouldn't wrestle him.
I'd shoot him.
A good question but I don't think the one I'm asking. I'm not talking about cheating per se. Still, I enjoyed the story in the comment."
My next comment:
What I'm getting at is a variation of what Jan is saying-
As a Congressman, you do not have legitimate authority to either vote your conscience, or "help" people-
He says essentially that you can't avoid getting your hands dirty- which is true, I am saying that you pose a question that exceeds your authority.
We have Professional Wrestlers ( actors, clowns, stunt-men) pretending to hold an intercollegiate wrestling meet, making up the rules as they go along.
I'll make another example- If you are the investigator in a missing child case, and you've caught the child molester that you believe has kidnapped a child- will you torture him to to find out where the child is?
The short and nasty answer is that you haven't the authority to do so. That you would even think about doing it is corruption of your actual legal authority.
That you would go ahead and torture your prisoner ( as the noble cops on the TV crime dramas do) would, in a system of honor, require that you then cleanse yourself and the office, by committing Seppuku. ( (by the way, you have the wrong guy)
In relation to my parable of "Professional Wrestlers" holding an intercollegiate wrestling meet and "Dirty Hands", I'm further struck by the notion that once you've decided that what you are doing is essentially a morality play with rules that you make up solely for entertainment and your own enrichment, it's too late to quibble about "Dirty Hands" ( "the rules" vs your morality )
If you're going to hold a circus in a church, you might as well be the clown as the ringmaster. In either case, I'm not going to mistake you for a priest, and it is insulting and absurd that you should dress up in vestments and pretend to be one.
PS- not YOU personally, I'm afraid i was thinking of some of our more self righteous congress critters- of either denomination.
Exceeds your authority how? Congress can legislate all sorts of things that it should legislate. What would be wrong with, for example, increasing Pell Grants?
So if we think that it would be good for the economy to give students more aid for college education, but the only way we can accomplish that is by putting a pork barrel project in some legislator's district, do we do it? It's essentially legislative graft, but these kids need help, and our economy could run into problems if they stay in debt their whole lives. In an ideal world, we don't deal with graft, but someone puts a pretty face on this pork barrel project and calls it necessary, even though we know different.
So, clean hands and a bad economy and students fighting with debt for the rest of their lives, or dirty hands (which has a little ambiguity when people claim that the pork barrel project really isn't one) and a better economy with students suffering less?
What is being moral? What is being naive? What is being responsible? What is being realistic? I can make either case.