[ExI] just a thought or two

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 29 19:45:16 UTC 2018

> On Sep 29, 2018, at 9:15 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, 29 Sep 2018 at 16:37, spike wrote:
>> Law enforcement and government already has everything that is public.  My take on it is that our own former ExI poster Julian Assange was absolutely right: transparency is the best disinfectant.
>> Now we have all these new tools to help fight crime, which can also be in government and law enforcement.  Consider the case of Carter Page, where the FBI got a warrant to open his email on questionable evidence.  As far as I know there has been no legal consequences for that (certainly consequences, but the perpetrators have not been indicted as far as I know.)
>> Unlike any time in history, we get to see the inner workings as all that plays out, and we understand the importance of limiting the scope of government, in order to prevent corruption due to excess power.
>> I am good with transparency: I will show them my life, all of it that is public.  In return they must hold to the limits imposed by the constitution.
> Too many laws makes too many criminals.
> Quote:
> There are so many regulations and criminal statutes on the books that
> a civil-liberties expert and lawyer, Harvey Silverglate, thinks that
> the average American commits three felonies a day, and they often are
> not even aware they are breaking the law. That is, not until a federal
> agency begins an investigation and they are indicted.
> -----
> Look at the Kavanaugh circus. Apart from the three felonies per day,
> everyone has incidents from their 'wild-oats' period that must never
> be mentioned. Especially if social mores have changed over the years
> so that previous OK actions have now become violently non-PC.

Regarding Kavanaugh, though, presuming Ford’s allegations were true, I don’t think in the early 1980s it was socially acceptable for a 17 year old boy to pin a 15 year old girl down, grope her, grind against her, and try to keep her silent while doing it. I bet if her father or responsible adults were in the room — again, presuming Ford’s allegations were true — back then I don’t they would’ve said, “He’s just being a normal healthy boy,” and not interfered.

> They are even disapproving famous people from centuries ago because
> they didn't conform to modern standards.

I don’t believe it’s always wrong to hold famous people from prior ages to current standards. Nor do I expect everyone else to adopt historical relativism with regard to us now. However, there are cases where ignorance influence outcomes.

Even so, many famous cases can be easily analyzed not do much by some current supposedly universal standard but by looking at the total context of the times and also considering what seem to be universal standards like “cruelty and viciousness are wrong” (which seems a tenet of most times, no?).

To take two examples: Jefferson and Thomas More. Jefferson’s owning slavery was pretty bad because he both knew better and there were plenty of others in his society who didn’t hold slaves. Thus, he both knew it was wrong and had examples of other people putting the anti-slavery view into practice. (It seems to me that many of the Founders who kept slaves let financial incentives (Jefferson, for instance, has a lavish lifestyle) override ethics — well, the ones who believed slavery was wrong at least.)

The Jefferson case is more complicated not just because of Sally Hemings, he failed to carry out Kościuszko’s will to free slaves and also seemed to have no problem hiring harsh overseers and treating his slaves as mere capital. See the work of Henry Wiencek on this.

More’s case was well-treated by James Wood (not Woods;). More seems to have been also behind the curve — not a religion tolerationist despite having both a humanist education and plenty of exemplars of such tolerance to choose from. Thus, I agree with Wood: he was worse than the historical context we find him placed in.


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