changing times and intellectual dishonesty

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Have changing times ushered in a norm of intellectual dishonesty?



From FindLaw Legal Commentary:



George Will, Miguel Estrada, and the Cloture Vote:

How Will's Flip-Flop of Positions Illustrates the Increasing Collapse of the Politics/Law Distinction



Quote:

Intellectual dishonesty is pure poison to the enterprise of the law. Yet countless examples show intellectual dishonesty has now become a routine, expected part of American discourse. The most obvious half-truths and hypocrisies are greeted with shrugged shoulders and a grunt of "what did you expect?"



These dishonesties that we have come to accept too easily range from the non-reasoning of Bush v. Gore, to the logic-defying economic rationale for more tax cuts, to the ever-shifting justification of war in Iraq. And they extend to just about every other significant issue of law and policy that affects American life.



Why does this happen? It cannot be because all the people perpetrating these intellectual frauds are bad people. It's been my experience (limited, I admit) that most people who go into government or devote themselves to a life of public policymaking or intellectualism, do so for the best of reasons - because they want to help shape the world for the better.



Then why? I found a partial answer watching, last night, an old clip of Daniel Ellsberg being interviewed by Walter Cronkite, in the wake of Ellsberg's controversial release of the Pentagon Papers. To paraphrase, Ellsberg contended that our society had become so divided, with each side so bent on perpetuating itself in power, that government and the world around it imposed a sustained and terrible pressure on good people to make a choice. They could either leave that world or, far worse, give up the search for truth, in exchange for the search for victory.



That was more than 30 years ago. Has anything much changed?



We see this all the time!



People voting for the most "bankable" candidate instead of the one closest and truest to one's ideology. Blind partisanship and unwillingness to criticize especially.



"People giving up the search for truth in exchange for the search for victory"



Comment away...

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ShawnJ

    "People giving up the search for truth in exchange for the search for victory"



    Never. I'm not afraid of anyone.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Unfortunately I think the author missed one of the main points of why the "cloture" has become a big problem all of a sudden. It has to do with the dual tracks of the senate these days. So someone can use the rule to keep the debate open. Fine, keep the debate open, all other Senate business will wait until it's closed. Ooops, no, dual track. Hold the debate open and instead of the Senate coming to a stand still while the Democrats effectively filibuster a vote on a candidate, they change to another track and keep going, keeping the filibuster on hold forever. I don't know how long it's been in effect but neither Will nor Lazarus make mention of it ( i didn't bother to find the original of Wills op-ed).







    But forget that the moment. WTF is this guy trying to say? He caught Will in a position flip flip and now somehow this a hall mark of "intellectual dishonesty"? This is his example? The one that got him motivated to write about this issue. Maybe the fact that the NYTs op-ed can't quote the President correctly and then is to pig headed to print a correction missed him? Forget the fact that they can't follow basic journalistic standards. Where's was he when Bill had to ask what the meaning of "is" is. Surely no "intellectual dishonesty" there to write about. We have to wait till Will writes and op-e about a subject that most people don't know about let alone care about. Ah Ha! Intellectual dishonesty!
  • Reply 3 of 18
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    Ooops, no, dual track. Hold the debate open and instead of the Senate coming to a stand still while the Democrats effectively filibuster a vote on a candidate, they change to another track and keep going, keeping the filibuster on hold forever.



    Don't you mean that that the Democrats will wait until the candidate respectfully answers questions they he/she has so far refused to answer?
  • Reply 4 of 18
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Um, is this supposed to be new? I'm deadly serious.



    Cheers

    Scott
  • Reply 5 of 18
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Maybe that would happen if the debate had not been kept open and then suspended while the Senate moved on. Thinking this is about some candidate not answering question is intellectually dishonest. If any senator felt they didn't have enough information what's so bad about them just voting "no"?
  • Reply 6 of 18
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    This general propensity to waver on matters of importance, tell half-truths and otherwise distort facts is prevalent in the business community also. What it boils down to friends - the sad fact we cannot escape - is that all of this is done in the name of PR / spin / image. That is to say, a leader's image is more important now than the substance of his character, and more important than the ideas in his head.



    We are a nation of Plastic Fantastic?.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    Wow. That's three trademarks in one morning. I better lay off the biting sarcasm or I could hurt myself.



  • Reply 8 of 18
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,039member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    Don't you mean that that the Democrats will wait until the candidate respectfully answers questions they he/she has so far refused to answer?



    The Democrats are thwarting the Constitution with their holding up of judicial nominees. It is nothing but blind, partisan politics. Confirmation is by simple majority, and yet the Dems have used their minority to prevent Bush's nominees from being confirmed. If he loses the vote I'm fine with that.



    And you guys are talking about intellectual dishonesty? My God.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,039member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by tonton

    It turned out that Estrada was so intent on being dishonest or secretive about his position on such things as abortion and gay rights that he decided to withdraw his nomination rather than simply answer the freaking questions. Now if that's not dishonesty then I don't know what is.



    You have got to be kidding me.



    Wait...aren't the Dems for minorities?
  • Reply 10 of 18
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by SDW2001

    You have got to be kidding me.



    Wait...aren't the Dems for minorities?




    What, minorities don't have political opinions? Liberals aren't allowed to require that candidates for jobs, even minority candidates, answer the questions they get asked in the process of a confirmation?



    At any rate, the Estrada thing is no different than anything else.



    Cheers

    Scott
  • Reply 11 of 18
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by tonton

    Estrada was nominated because he would strengthen support for conservative concepts like criminalizing abortion and allowing detention without evidence in the name of "patriotism".



    He was also nominated because the Dems would look bad opposing his appointment.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by SDW2001

    The Democrats are thwarting the Constitution with their holding up of judicial nominees. It is nothing but blind, partisan politics. Confirmation is by simple majority, and yet the Dems have used their minority to prevent Bush's nominees from being confirmed. If he loses the vote I'm fine with that.



    And you guys are talking about intellectual dishonesty? My God.




    Warning: the following hypothetical example is not intended to provoke a debate about healthy diets or obesity in children.



    If you were running a school cafeteria, and 60% of the kids preferred chocolate ice cream, and 40% preferred vanilla, is your idea of fairness that chocolate would be served every day of the week, or would it seem more fair if three days were for chocolate and two days for vanilla each week? Winner take all, or winner take most?



    Granted, some things can only go one way or the other, with no compromise in between possible. But democracy is about more than letting a majority party have their way in everything, all of the time. If a minority -- and a minority by a small margin at that -- can get their way occasionally by using parliamentary tactics, is this "intellectually dishonest"?



    The Democrats, when they were in control of the Senate early in the Bush administration, passed many, many more of Bush's candidates than Republicans did for Clinton, even with Bush proudly stating that he was making overtly ideological choices for judicial candidates. For all of the Republican whining, Democrats have given Bush far better treatment when they had the power to do so than when the shoe was on the other foot.



    A Reality Check On GOP Whining About Judicial Nominations



    I'd also like to know where the stupid idea came from that the Senate's roll of "advice and consent" must be limited to matters of technical qualifications, that the Senate isn't allowed to consider ideology at all, while the President can be as ideological as he likes. What's wrong with "I don't consent to your candidate because I don't like his ideology, so I advise that you pick someone else if you want my approval". Sounds like advice and consent to me.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by SDW2001

    The Democrats are thwarting the Constitution with their holding up of judicial nominees.



    How? They're not and you know it. It doesn't matter what democrats do, you're so dogmatic you'll cry foul regardless. You're blind; I'm sorry.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally posted by SDW2001

    The Democrats are thwarting the Constitution with their holding up of judicial nominees. It is nothing but blind, partisan politics.



    meanwhile, when the republicans did THE SAME THING, ONLY FAR MORE OFTEN, it was righteous and holy and all was good in the kingdom.



    Cheers

    Scott
  • Reply 15 of 18
    intellectual dishonesty = disagreeing with Shawn. :P
Sign In or Register to comment.