Does it make sense?

VDH makes note – What is America—and is it worth defending?

The students seemed a little stunned, but had picked up the current American campus trait of thinking that if the United States can be shown not to be perfect, it is therefore not good—and that no one would dare to question the moral principles, or consistency, by which they press their own moralistic attack on the United States.

We worry about the Patriot Act. Castro and Hugo Chavez end free speech. We worry about morality in foreign policy, China contracts with the Sudan and Iran for all they can get. We worry about the glass-ceiling, the Islamic world doesn’t mention much about polygamy or female circumcision. We worry about the religious Right, Saudi Arabia arrests those with bibles. The world abroad, these students sometimes forget, does not operate on the principles of the campus library or student union.

It is a matter of perspective and standards. Sometimes people forget and forgetting is often a means towards emotional comfort. That is why it is necessary to have well thought out objective standards for comparison and to actually compare what is important.

Another example of this was noted in the Webb response to the SOU speech on poverty. The President took on absolute poverty in which the standard was the ability of people to meet their needs independently. The response took on relative poverty which compared one person’s income to another’s. The question is then whether poverty is matter of people being able to satisfy their needs or a matter of envy that others are able to have more. Where does morality stand on these? Which appeals to emotion and which to reality? Are the emotions involved constructive or destructive?

Is ‘not perfect’ the same as ‘not good’ or is, perhaps, perfection an innapropriate standard?

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