Category Archives: Political Philosophy

Over-reaching when we promote philosophy

Rebecca Goldstein over-reaches on behalf of the relevance and effectiveness of rational argument and the role that philosophers – with their rational arguments — played in bringing about an end to slavery and the plight of women (regarded as second-class members of society). Like with Yanni’s grand statement, so with Goldstein’s declaration of rational philosophy being the starting point of humanitarian developments, when we test the grand statement against the actual social and historical developments we find much reason for doubting and rejecting them.

The humanitarian movements that have helped to bring about the end of the institution of slavery have included social, historical, and economic forces not at all philosophical in nature; and have been executed by different people of different backgrounds, most of whom were not inspired by the “theoretical moral arguments” of some philosopher or other.

Bertrand Russell on the Budda’s and the Christian’s Ideal, and Nietzsche’s ‘Pathology’

In his book, A History of Western Philosophy,* Bertrand Russell makes some rather surprising statements about love as definitive of two great religions, Christianity and Buddhism. It is in the process of contrasting what he sees as advocacy of love by Christianity and the Buddha with what he takes as Friedrich Nietzsche’s ethic, that Russell contrasts the Christianity’s and Buddhists love for humanity with Nietzsche’s complete lack of sympathy for others. In the process Russell effectively misleads us both with regard to the religious ideal and Nietzsche’s philosophy

Does Big Money win Love, Sport Championships, and even the Presidency?

But more frequently than not, deep pockets are the main factor that enables a person or an athletic team to claim victory. This applies as much in sport competition as it does in politics and love. Any competitor for the big prize in politics better have a good fund raising team, as well as a good political program (or at least one that appeals to the voters). Our romantic myths may say that love conquers all, but any man seeking a desirable partner in life better show at least a potential for a decent income if he is to succeed. A destitute lover usually remains destitute longer than he remains a lover.

Lysenko: Pathological Science

In the former U.S.S.R. the story of Soviet gen­et­ics from 1937 to 1964 was one of the most tragic ex­am­­ples, with disastrous results, of a pseudo-scientific belief rising to absolute dog­ma. During this time a plant physiologist and char­latan named Trofim D. Lysenko rose to power, eventually achieving abso­lute control over all genetic and agricultural re­search. Lysenko not only de­stroyed the lives of thousands of scientists and sti­fled the devel­opment of biology in the U.S.S.R. for decades; he also had a dev­a­statingly destructive influence on Rus­sia’s entire economy.

C Rulon: Is a Nuclear War Inevitable?

But 65 years ago a quantum jump in warfare took place—the atomic bomb. Soon the nuclear genie was out of the bottle. More and more countries were eventually able to build or acquire nuclear weapons. North Korea and Pakistan. Soon Iran? There is even a nuclear black market that attracts terrorist groups. Yet, a full-scale nuclear war would destroy civilization and threaten life itself. Even a “limited” nuclear war could escalate into a full-scale one, as could a conventional war among the superpowers. At some point, if civilization is to flourish, loyalty to 200 individual nation-states must be enlarged to include a new over-rid­ing loyalty to humanity as a whole. But, can we do this? Does our brain carry within it the potential to peacefully resolve fundamental conflicts?

C Rulon: Nuclear War

In August, 1945, the United States exploded a sin­gle nuclear fission bomb over Hiro­shima and another over Nagasaki. Both cities were destroyed, 125,000 Japanese were kil­led outright, and within months another 100,000 had died from in­jur­ies and radioactive fallout. Yet, today, each of our Trident sub­marines has the firepower of about 200 Hiroshima bombs, or eight times the fire­power released in the entire six years of World War II!

C Rulon: Fascism is Political Fundamentalism – Fundamentalism is Religious Fascism‏

In recent years, the term “Islamo-fascism” has appeared in editorials and op-ed pieces. But what exactly is fascism? In an essay titled “Fascism Anyone?” Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies social and political agendas common to fascist regimes. . . much of it [also] mirrors the social and political agenda of religious funda­mentalisms worldwide.

Does recognition of the burden of war require support of war policy?

We can reject or have serious doubts about the “cause” for which our people are sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan while sympathizing with families like that of Lt. General Kelly and feeling sadness over the loss of lives like that of his son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, the lives of many other young servicemen and the tragedy that is brought on the people of those countries.