Friday, June 03, 2005

Deontologist Round-Up

Just random thoughts on all things deontological.

The most annoying thing about Padme at the end of Revenge of the Sith (well, besides not caring about her children apparently, or how Luke got named after Anakin and not her, or… ok, it’s just one of many annoying things) was her giving up to death. Why? Well we’re supposed to believe it was because of the Republic losing and Anakin going evil. Except dammit, if anyone had any power to stop that it was her. She was still a Senator in good standing, she had enormous influence over the Empire’s second in command, she would raise the two chibi-Jedi, etc. Who knows how much a simple “kill Palpatine or I’m never talking to you again” would have changed things? But no, it’s nobler to mourn the Republic than try to save it. (Her defeatism seems even sillier after reading about all her involvement with the dissidents that were in deleted scenes).

I must say I’m very amused at all this discussion of reactionaries saying Deep Throat is partially responsible for the Khmer Rouge. Nixon would have stopped it, and Deep Throat prevented Nixon from doing so. Leave aside the many factual problems (Republican Congressmen impeached Nixon too, Nixon was the one who committed the crimes and led down the path. Nixon hardly seemed likely to effectively stop such a leftist and bloody revolution – he’s in fact responsible for it in many ways, why didn’t Republican President Ford do anything), I like the interesting moral question.

Reactionary conservatives are amongst the strongest deontologists in modern times. Morality should come from the Bible, economic redistribution is wrong, a President with strong principles is always better than an opportunistic one, etc. Ok, then how does this rule based view of morality look at reporting criminals? If reporting and stopping a crime leads to bad consequences down the road, do you forgo their justice? Of course not, a proper deontologist believes a crime must be punished no matter the cost. (Ask Bill Clinton.) What dreams Nixon’s foreign policy may have accomplished is irrelevant to whether he should have been removed from office. At least, according to deontologists.


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