"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, December 25, 2015

Can a Liberal Kill? or: Dukakis got hosed

But they are different questions.

1988: Dukakis [for whom I voted anyway] simply blew the answer. In his defense, it was a preposterous question he could not have been prepared for.

The nature of the question was about retribution, not self-defense or defense of one’s family.
[CNN’s Bernard Shaw] would ask Dukakis a crime question, a capital punishment question, but also a personal question. One that nobody in the world would dare to ask:What if some criminal raped and murdered Dukakis’ wife, Kitty. Would Dukakis still oppose capital punishment?
There. He had it. By Shaw’s standards, it was perfect. And now he could get to sleep.
Sophistic swine. It would take at least 20 minutes to answer the question of forgoing retributive justice in a principled fashion. The proper question–esp re this discussion–is whether Dukakis would kill anyone attempting such a thing.

I trust he would have.


Mind you--Gov. Dukakis, alleged author of the Massachusetts Miracle, did deserve to lose the 1988 election for not foreseeing the bizarre optics of looking like the biggest smacked ass since, well, Walter Mondale in 1984.  But as a matter of national security, I can picture "Duke" pointing at Muslim or Christian terrorists or his wife's prospective rapist just like this and going, "Don't do that or I will have this tank shoot at you, or at least in your general direction!"

Mike, we hardly knew ye.  If only you'd have run again in 2008, tough guy, we wouldn't be in this mess today. You go, dude.

3 comments:

Tim Kowal said...

"it was a preposterous question he could not have been prepared for."

I don't think I agree on the first point and definitely not the second. Solid majorities support the death penalty, so it was fair to expect him to make his case against it. And I think it was fair to insist that he come at it on the same terms his countrymen do rather than giving a lecture on moral philosophy -- surely there were finer professors than Dukakis; but elections are our search for statesmen, who can connect our collective heart with our collective head. Dukakis couldn't lead us from the attic to the basement.

Tom Van Dyke said...

"What if some criminal raped and murdered Dukakis’ wife, Kitty. Would Dukakis still oppose capital punishment? There. He had it."


I think it's a garbage question, and certainly one that cannot be answered in soundbite format. For one thing, to give anything but the facile and emotionally-gratifying answer makes one look less than human, or in Dukakis's case, less than "manly."

I think it was fair to insist that he come at it on the same terms his countrymen do rather than giving a lecture on moral philosophy

But "lectures on moral philosophy" are the only way for "our collective head" to master the baser emotions of our "collective heart." Nor is a political debate exactly the place to go about it, for as we know, although Lincoln won the debates, Douglas won the election.

Tim Kowal said...

Now, now. We know both sides to this question are morally defensible, unlike the one in Lincoln and Douglas's contest. And we know that taking a question of the table because it tugs at the heartstrings, in the case of abortion as in the death penalty, is bias masquerading as neutrality. I think Dukakis had a coldness problem and found himself off guard on a hot issue where he should have been ready given his minority view.