RE: [xmca] Action Research and its relationship to SCHAT - Whiggism?

From: Jay Lemke (
Date: Sat Mar 31 2007 - 18:04:33 PST

(1) Well, there's neo-con's and neo-conmen. There are those who
cynically invoke the great spirits while they rob the public purse
and pursue their own ends. And there are others who really want to
believe in those magic ideals so much that they probably do.

(2) A good point. People get fanatical about symbols that stand for
things they're not sure are still secure, or really know in their
hearts are long gone. Maybe people even voted for Bush II because
they wished America could still be a place that didn't need a
president any smarter than him.


At 09:23 PM 3/31/2007, you wrote:
>I agree with everything you say here and actually found it an
>enjoyable read, Jay.
>Don't you think it interesting that neo-conservatives promote
>absolute loyalty to big, abstract symbols like God, Family and
>Country, but meanwhile (1) I don't think the neo-cons themselves
>believe in these entities, (2) there is no longer a homogeneous
>closed way of life behind these symbols? These Symbols are used in
>an instrumental way to prevent that "dangerous" discussion you refer to.
>At 05:46 PM 31/03/2007 -0400, you wrote:
>>After a long absence, a short reply.
>>One issue is whether Christianity, some people's ideas about
>>family, and some ideals of democracy are actually worth defending.
>>Frankly, I don't think that any of the ones you listed are worth
>>defending or are even very thoughtfully 'moral'. When I say this,
>>or attack them (rarely in public), I mean the institutionalized
>>ideologies they are cover terms for. I think that love within a
>>family, or the principle of the Golden Rule, or Jesus' stance on
>>the accumulation of wealth, or the notion that rulers should be
>>accountable to the ruled are all great ideas and worth promoting
>>and even defending. The problem is that what social conservatives
>>support are the bigger ideologies, and those are riddled with
>>horrors. What bothers me is that people don't THINK about moral
>>values. Just a little critical thought and you have to rip the big
>>pictures apart and salvage what's worth defending, but too many
>>people are afraid that if you rip apart the package, the universe fails.
>>So all critical thinking about what is really moral is labeled
>>moral relativism, or egoism. The notion that people can think
>>intelligently and make decisions about what is and is not moral is
>>seen as dangerous. And it is dangerous. But it's a risk I think
>>needs to be taken in the name of a higher standard of justice and
>>morality than the one we currently have. It is also a risk that is
>>at the foundation of Christian theology (moral free will), but
>>which somehow gets short-circuited.
>>There is no such thing as moral relativism, nor any thoughtful
>>person who has ever espoused it. Not if it means what those who
>>hate it or fear it mean by it. No one believes that all possible
>>views of what is moral and what is not are equally valid. That's
>>crazy. One can reasonably believe that you should not dismiss a
>>different view out of hand, especially if it has had a long history
>>in a different cultural community. But on the evidence of our own
>>community, not all that we believe to be moral really is moral, and
>>so not all that other cultures believe to be moral will be, either.
>>It is also reasonable to believe that there are no universal moral
>>principles, like Euclidean axioms, from which correct choices can
>>be derived in all times and places across the universe and aeons. I
>>don't believe there are any such principles for physics, or for
>>mathematics for that matter. Why would I believe in them for
>>morality? They are a misleading temptation of our wish-fulfillment
>>fantasies. Life would seem to be so much simpler if we had them.
>>Why? because then we would be absolved of the awful responsibility
>>of ultimate moral judgments. We could just pass the buck to God.
>>And go quietly to hell.
>>At 04:04 AM 1/29/2007, you wrote:
>>>But Jay, the kind of rant against historical ladders which I think
>>>you are fond of, signal to me and to social conservatives, a kind
>>>of moral relativism which is a real life-on-earth-threatening
>>>problem at the moment, a view which sustains a kind of egotism
>>>which is eroding the very foundations of social life. Is modernism
>>>of the Fordist variety the main enemy today? Jay, I am sure that
>>>you are not such an egotist (you wouldn't be on xmca if you were),
>>>but that is exactly how this rant against democracy and progress
>>>sounds to those think that Christianity, family and democracy are
>>>things worth defending, or those that think that unionism, social
>>>solidarity, education, universal rights and public utilities are
>>>worth defending.
>>Jay Lemke
>>University of Michigan
>>School of Education
>>610 East University
>>Ann Arbor, MI 48109
>>Tel. 734-763-9276
>>Website. <>
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