Friday, October 13, 2006

Equivalance again

Another thought on Howard's speech, and a common error displayed in it. Howard identifies as philio-communists worthy of condemnation:
All those who did not simply oppose Australia’s commitment in Vietnam, but who actively supported the other side and fed the delusion that Ho Chi Minh was some sort of Jeffersonian Democrat intent on spreading liberty in Asia.
Let's not dispute that point, although you could, but there is the suggestion that thinking things which are naive, morally wrong etc. is the moral equivalent of actions which result in death and destruction on a vast scale. But they are not. Consider: John fantasises about killing his neighbour. Bill is a nice bloke who recklessly lights a fire in his backyard to burn off rubbish; the fire spreads next door and kills his neighbour. Who of Bill and John should be criminally prosecuted, who is more morally reprehensible? When the fire that has spread from Bill's place is raging do we attempt to extinguish it, or do we walk past and go and tell John that he is an evil man. Howard's atitude is not uncommon, much public debate on both sides in Australia is not a debate about what we should do, but what we should think about what other people are thinking about what other people are thinking or doing.


At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my history teacher telling me that Ho Chi Minh was a Jeffersonian Democrat until Versailles when the U.S. did not actively push for self-determination against Wilson's Fourteen Points. It was then that he became a Communist. Mind you my history teacher was no left-winger, he was a fan of Nixon.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Geoff Robinson said...

So this is why the phrase comes from, it had me puzzled as i didn't see the 60s protestors waving pix of Jefferson...


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