Carol Platt Liebau: Going to the Dogs

Friday, August 31, 2007

Going to the Dogs

Here, Deroy Murdock objects to a lot of the excuse-making that has issued in the Michael Vick case.

In my view, perhaps the most pernicious claim is that dog-fighting -- cruelty to dogs -- is simply part of "black culture." How insulting to try to tarnish all African Americans with the implication that the culture they have created and maintained would sanction such behavior.

But the claim is a savvy one in a multicultural world. Part of the pernicious legacy of the determined "non-judgmental" multiculturalism that's been bred into the marrow of American society is the ridiculous idea that, if it's part of another's "culture," behavior of an objectively objectionable nature has to be tolerated, if not condoned. Asserting that the criminal behavior is simply indigenous to black culture is a little bit like playing the race card; the defenders who employ that argument are attempting to justify his behavior in a way that defies rebuttal.


Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

if it's part of another's "culture," behavior of an objectively objectionable nature has to be tolerated,

objectively objectionable? That's a pretty serious logical blunder. Values are intrinsically subjective; there's no such thing as "objective values". Strip out the logical nonsense and you get the statement

"if it's part of another's "culture," behavior that I object to has to be tolerated"

This is a far less justifiable claim. Here's a better variation:

"if it's part of another's culture and does not violate laws enacted by the majority (and approved by the courts), then it has to be tolerated."

Now, this is a statement we can all agree with, because it's logical and in conformance with American notions of fair play. Mr. Vick's behavior DID violate laws, and is not being tolerated. What's your beef?

Lastly, why do you put scare quotes around the word 'culture'? It's a perfectly normal word, being used in a conventional manner. Does it really make any "sense" for me to start referring to "you" as a "conservative"? ";-)"

3:34 PM  
Blogger daniel said...

I'm struck by noyon's statement that "Values are intrinsically subjective; there's no such thing as "objective values." That flat statement may be the result of much study, perhaps, but this issue, that has been around since Plato, surely cannot and should not be summarized so quickly.

But a quick objection: it would suggest that in the 1930's we had to tolerate the laws of the Third Reich respecting, say, eugenics, if they were passed by its legislature and reviewed by its courts?

But more importantly: where does this objective statement of what we should do come from? Why isn't it equally "objectionable"? What's logical about court review (not a wide-spread practice, I believe, and its constitutionality is still questioned in the United States). And "American notions of fair play"?? please.

I strongly advise 'After Virtue' by Alasdair McIntyre, or Kreeft, or a host of others who have seriously traced the implications of 'no objective values'.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

I believe Carol's beef is that this notion of dog fights being part of the black culture is being put forth to lessen the negative emotions toward Vick. I've heard it put forth by another guy that Michelle Malkin was interviewing as she sat in for O'Reilley. I don't recall the dude's name but he's a regular guest on such shows. In any case, he wanted the audience to understand that such things as dog fights are a part of the black culture and not viewed in the same negative way within it. Why put that out there? Obviously to deflect criticism of Vick, to lessen the anger, and ultimately, to lessen his consequences. Therein lies the beef.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Daniel rejects my claim that there is no such thing as objective values. Very well, starting with the basic laws of physics, derive any set of objective values. Please show all formulae used in the calculation.

OK, I'm kidding. But the point remains valid: how do you objectively prove any set of values? You can demonstrate that cultures are selected for values -- that a culture with a seriously malformed set of values will likely fail or be supplanted by another culture with more pragmatic values. But no philosopher has ever proven any set of values. If it can't be proven, then how can you call it objective?

I welcome the opportunity to agree with Mr. Art's point regarding the precise nature of the original complaint. My objection was to a secondary detail within Ms. Liebau's article.

8:54 AM  

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