Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Still feeling Blogcheap today...

` How about part of an eSkeptic? It's a book review of Rights from Wrongs, which talks about part of how we humans came up with human rights. The book apparently leaves out a bunch of stuff, but it's still pretty good, so says Kenneth W. Krause.
` So here's the last part of the eSkeptic, unedited:

And what could ring more quixotic than a request that Americans base their judgments on a sophisticated appreciation of the past? In order to “learn from the mistakes of history,” as Dershowitz suggests we do, one must first have a working knowledge of that history, or, at the very least, a discernible desire to acquire it. But, if the substance of our popular media is any indication of the breadth and depth of such knowledge, and of the intensity of such desire, Americans are about as likely to know their history as George W. Bush is to familiarize himself with the collected works of Voltaire, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Bertrand Russell.

Nevertheless, Dershowitz is correct that “an experiential reaction to wrongs is more empirical, observable, and debatable, and less dependent on unprovable faith, metaphor, and myth than theories premised on sources external to human experience.” Adaptation is the key. Neither gods nor natural laws, if they exist, have ever demonstrated an appropriate capacity to expand or contract according to humanity’s evolving needs. As Dershowitz aptly observes:

The function of rights — indeed, of law and morality — is to change that natural condition for the better: to improve upon nature, to domesticate its wild beast, and to elevate us from the terrible state of nature into a state of civilization. It is a never-ending challenge. If the advocates of rights fall asleep at the wheel for even one historical moment, there is danger that the natural human condition will rear its ugly head, as it has so many times over the millennia.

Judicious advice indeed, to a people whose current leaders shamelessly campaign for the official implementation or maintenance of religious establishment, political loyalty oaths, coercion and torture, censorship, and the further degradation of the people’s protections from illicit searches and seizures. Judicious advice indeed, to a people who generally regard television and periodical infotainment as adequate sources of continuing education.

Alan Dershowitz’s answers might be painfully obvious to many readers of this review, and they are clearly imperfect. Nonetheless, they are honest and, as such, the most helpful suggestions offered thus far.

` Yup. Isn't that sorta-kinda interesting? It looks like a neat, yet flawed book. I'm sure I won't even read it. But I thought I'd put that up there anyway. Bye, now.

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