01/12/2010

The Arrogance of Saints, 1



A friend said he wished to improve the world. Just improve yourself; that is the only thing you can do to better the world.
- Wittgenstein

vs

Is [existing] not an act of repulsing, excluding, exiling, stripping, killing? … I fear for all the violence and murder my existing might generate. I fear occupying someone's place.
- Levinas



Observation statement #1:
The Shanghai district government is offering postgraduate scholarships to foreigners (even philosophers).


Observation statement #2:
I am relatively poor and want to know Chinese.


Observation statement #3:
The Chinese government publically-but-secretly executes about 6000 people a year, putting to shame the rest of the world, who are only unspeakable 2000 times a year put together.


Observation statement #4:
The Chinese government covertly tortures lots (illegally, even by their own fucking law).


Observation statement #5:
There is in place, in this "Communism", a hereditary class order (rural/urban) reminiscent of apartheid.


Observation statement #6:
China's media is the 171st free. Censorship is omnipresent and often absurd. This only shows you what constitutions are really worth (Chapter II, Article 35).


Observation statement #7:
All the power is in the hands of nine men who choose their next nine men, and all the other men.


Value disclosure @3:
I am opposed to capital punishment.


Value disclosure @4:
I am opposed to torture, absolutely.


Value disclosure @5:
I don't like apartheid very much.


Value disclosure @6:
See that thing where people can speak in public? That's well good.


Value disclosure @7:
Whatever democracy is, it ain't this.



The CCCP is authoritarian in dozens of other unacceptable ways, and when clever people point this out with helpful suggestions, they get fucked.


Clincher:
I hold the tacit approval argument, under which one's economic or indirect support for an immoral process is itself immoral. This degree will be wrongfully obtained. (Someone is going to accept it. Someone with no interest in reputation or plans for future political action I suppose.)


Value judgment:
"Oh bugger, not again."


Possible appeal:
To get anywhere with these regimes, the human rights movement needs people able to familiarize and engage, more than partial boycotts and self-righteousness.


Appeal result, from Supreme Court Judge Ethics: "Lisa, maybe if I'm part of that mob, I can help steer it in wise directions. Now where's my giant foam cowboy hat and airhorn?"


: Fuck off.





Arrogance #2 is on Responsibility


Arrogance #3 is on epistemological honesty

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