Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rahm bahm thank you mahm

I found this current editorial by the aged Fidel Castro courtesy of the Huffington Post. It fascinates me that he mentions Immanuel Kant, because I am currently reading "Writings on an Ethical Life" by Peter Singer. Singer adores Kant, but notes with stunned amazement that Kant was a believing Christian. The implication I derive, is that in Singer-world, heavy-hitters of philosophy should really be Atheist or Jewish. I tend to concur.

Getting back to the Castro article, it is literate, it is surreal, it is nonsensical. Yet it has a certain coherence. If Fidel hadn't been a Communist dictator, he could have been a Talmudist, or maybe a Depak Chopra style guru of everything. I am finding myself firmly in the Barbara Walters camp: Castro is a lot of fun.

Fidel calls his titular topic, Rahm Emanuel, "brilliant", and wants to stir up excitement because Emanuel was a warrior in a real war. Also, his mother has been a political activist. Why this is just like someone with a similar name, someone who has a revolutionary, vice president mother, a character in a book by a Cuban ambassador! Castro longs for charismatic, energetic leaders to emerge. Maybe an American, maybe someone with a vaguely hispanic surname. . . .

Dategirl and her readers of assorted gender just want to make out with Rahmmy-baby. Apparently they aren't the only ones.


Elizabeth said...

Singer may adore Kant, but he is NOT a Kantian. He defends his positions (some of them, to my mind, morally repugnant) on utilitarian (the greatest good for the greatest number) grounds. It is the aggregate good he seeks. In a Kantian, or rights-based framework, an individual can not be sacrificed to achieve a greater good. Ironic, no, for a "Christian" philosopher?

It is important to distinguish the “right” from the “good.” Whereas classical philosophy (Aristotle) begins with a view of the common good and utilitarian philosophy (Singer) attempts to aggregate the good (the greatest good for the greatest number) both threaten individual liberty – insofar as in a pluralistic society we can expect to find different conceptions of the good – for Kant the *right* is prior to the *good.* Within a Kantian framework, there is room for disagreement, with egalitarian liberals such as John Rawls defending a welfare state and libertarians such as Robert Nozick claiming that redistributive policies violate individual rights. But a Kantian will be distinguished by a concern for primacy of individual right, something Singer does NOT acknowledge, at least not for those he regards as inferior.

Prisstopolis said...

Elizabeth: I was mostly with you until your last sentence. Singer does not ask us to develop a standard of inferior and superior and then to cull accordingly. His concept of utilitarianism does include preserving a diversity of species, even at the cost of individual humans. This is a new concept, and goes against what many of us grew up believing. I'm not convinced that everything Singer espouses is completely heartfelt. I wonder if some of it has been put out there to be shocking, to garner attention. Clearly, I am going to have to read the rest of his books.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.