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The Sometime Virtues of Globalism

| 11 Comments
As of last week, the United States was in bed with the following countries on a hotly debated issue of international importance and grave moral consequence:  China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Cuba, Libya, Uganda, Bangladesh, and Namibia.

Question:  Can you name the issue?
Answer:  The Paris Climate Accord.  No, not the death penalty.  Namibia does not have capital punishment.

So what's my point?  Easy, really.  The supposed eye-rolling backwardness of a handful of "bad" countries that agree with us about the death penalty is quickly and seamlessly re-born as exemplary, hand-in-hand international vision  when the subject is more congenial to Our Betters.

These formerly morally squalid nations we hear so much about from death penalty abolitionists get an instantaneous makeover as models of global leadership  --  models in particular to the dull-witted United States  --  when such is thought useful to academia.

N.B.  This is not a post about the merits of being in or not being in the Paris Accord, about which I'm nobody's expert.  It's a post noting that the internationalist arguments used to shame the Untied States for agreeing with a considerable (but, as these things go, relatively small) number of countries on the death penalty can be turned on a dime to shame the United States for not agreeing with those same countries on an issue more popular with the mainstream media.

So remember.  Sometimes China, Iran and Iraq are bad, I mean, like, really, truly yuuchy and awful. Other times  --  like today  -- they're good.  No nettlesome inquiry about the lightning speed or precise mechanisms of this transformation is particularly welcome.  You just need to be a bit, ummmm, nimble

11 Comments

Decencyevolves: I guess it says something when all of the world's nations but three--Syria, Nicaragua and now the US under the Trump Administration--agree on the importance of making environmental changes to avert global catastrophe (although Nicaragua's complaint was that the Paris Accord didn't go far enough). Apart from that, I'm not sure what to make of this post.

So you approve the Paris Accord-embracing cultural enlightenment of China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, etc., as being an improvement on the selfish and retrograde United States??

Or, instead, are these Oriental and Islamic peoples backward because, along with the USA, they have the death penalty?

I'm just having a tough time following liberal approval/disapproval of other countries and peoples. It sure seems to me that whether a different culture gets the Good Liberal Housekeeping Seal of Approval depends on how slavishly that culture bows to the liberal cause du jour, not on any inherent respect for different mores and values that, in other contexts, liberals thunderously demand.

I mean, Decency, surely you respect Islamic approval for, and frequent use of, the death penalty, right? We wouldn't want any "Islamophobia" or anything like that hanging around these parts, no? Or is Islamic approval of capital punishment backward?

If Uzbekistan, Burma, and North Korea all employ torture for political enemies or religious minorities and are widely condemned for such actions, but they all embrace a worldwide consensus on the environment that must mean either: (1) their use of torture is fine, or (2) the worldwide consensus on the environment is wrong? If logic requires treating similar things similarly and different things differently, such an argument fails to meet that test.

The argument that carried some weight on the death penalty in Rper v. Simmons, to the outrage of conservatives, was that there was an international consensus against the execution of juvenile offenders, which according to the majority opinion placed us only in the company of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Having that as our only company strikes me as differerent from having 197 countries opposing your position and only two (or arguably one, Syria) on your side. There's nothing incomprehensible or confusing about that.

There is also a "worldwide consensus" condemning Israel, as you can see in any UN vote. Whether a worldwide consensus should carry any weight depends, of course, on the question at issue.

On the question actually at issue in this post -- which I repeat is the death penalty -- many more people throughout the world live in countries that have it than in countries that don't. Indeed, the four largest countries by far, China, India, the US, and Indonesia, have and use the death penalty.

Does this make a difference to you in considering your opposition? If so, I've never heard you say so. Do you think it should?

Finally, since you didn't answer, I'll ask again: Is Islamic approval of capital punishment backward?

Governments all over the world have unfortunate policies certainly. I'd say for example that Saudi and Chinese policies on criminal justice and on political rights are not something I think are worthy of emulation. If you are looking for models, they wouldn't be mine.

China is a huge place, as is India, with massive populations, but in terms of law and policy, I much prefer our political culture. Respect for the rights of individuals and aversion to political corruption are hallmarks of Western Europe and the United States. As an attorney practicing in this country, I'm especially attuned to the importance of these principles.

DE: Unfortunately, your entire argument is based on a logical fallacy. The evilness of a regime says nothing about an individual policy. One could come up with a laundry list of policies from Nazi Germany or fascist Italy that progressives then (and today) would see as beneficial. A position is right or wrong on its merits, not who holds the position.

And even you do not believe the "global catastrophe" nonsense you are spewing. Nor do the elites. If we were really a generation (or less!) away from global catastrophe, you would be sacrificing to avoid it. I don't mean recycling or replacing a couple of Edison bulbs with LEDs, but real sacrifice as it is the only kind that will avoid catastrophe. Go back to an 18th century standard of living and do something meaningful instead of virtue signaling. Heck, I'd be impressed if Al Gore just gave up a mansion or Leo DiCaprio flew coach to a climate conference instead of on a private plane.

Until y'all do that, the rest of us have no reason to take you seriously. You cannot have your cell phone, computer, car, electric lights, AC, and other luxuries of the 21st century AND avoid catastrophe.

It cannot be done.

Of course, there is one other option. You DO believe it but are too selfish to sacrifice for the future generations and do what is necessary to give them a functioning planet.

Your choice.

Decencyevolves: This in the end, is why voting for GOP Presidential candidates has b one such folly. Whatever anyone's politics on other issues may be, current GOP office holders are in thrall to donors and media who make it impossible to dealing with these issues in a sensible fashion.

There was a time not at all long ago when Republican and Democratic office holders alike strove to be good stewards of the earth. At least for now, that time has passed. And dealing with enovrinmental change at a global level is critically important for the further of our progeny:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-effects/

https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/

When ideology obliterates science, there's something fundamentally wrong with it, and that is precisely what has happened to the Republican Party. It's beyond sad to see the Party of Lincoln become the Party of Trump.

Uh, no.

Most Republicans acknowledge global warming (or is it cooling? Or climate change?).

However, they question how much is caused by humans, how critical the damage will be, and what the cost of it is compared to doing nothing.

Meanwhile, it is almost impossible to consider yourself a leftist unless you believe it is all caused by human activity and the damage will be catastrophic.

Who are the extremists?

Your case is weak scientifically. The climate models don't work. This "catastrophe" was predicted to come 40, 30, 20, 10 years ago. It never came but we are still supposed to believe your cocksure proclamations that it is indeed coming in the next 10-20 years?

Furthermore, you people don't live your beliefs. You want the Kansas farmer and the Kentucky coal miner to pay the cost of "saving the planet", while burning carbons at a record pace with your cell phones, computers, AC, etc. If you believe it, live it before you preach to the rest of us."Saving the planet" is not cheap. Sacrifice.

And the lecture about being on the side of science while the right is a slave to special interests is a case study in having zero self-awareness. Let's pretend that Steyer, Soros, the Solyndras, etc. have nothing to gain and are all operating for the good of the world and the other side is controlled by pure greed. Absurd.

Sorry, the "party of science" denies science at every turn. They cannot even admit the scientific certainty of a human life beginning at conception or soon after or that there are "boys" and "girls" and everything else is a mental illness.

But, please, continue to lecture about "science."

Is this a joke?

I assume you voted for President Trump, the leader of the Republican Party and the federal government. He proclaimed during his campaign that climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese government to hurt the US. He pulled us out of an accord joined in by all the world's nations apart from Syria and Nicaragua to avert consequences that the sites I linked to, maintained by NASA and National Geographic, can only be described as catastrophic. That is the current state of the Party of Lincoln, God help us.

To clarify, he referred to climate change as a hoax before the campaign, but has opposed environmental protections designed to forestall global warming during his campaign and since his inauguration: http://www.snopes.com/donald-trump-global-warming-hoax/

1) You assume wrong. I did not vote for Trump in the Republican primary or the general election.

2) Your responses do not address the points I made at all.

Your diatribe is a completely political load of nonsense and shows absolutely zero self-awareness when it comes to the leftist position on climate change.

The likes of National Geographic have been saying we would reach the "catastrophe" decades ago. Again, why should we believe the chicken little cries NOW?

Here is a mainstream news source (Good Morning America) in 2008 predicting the then future 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_WHQkPrhjg

Is milk $12.99 and gas $9.00? Are we producing less food than we were in 2008 causing starvation?

Furthermore, as I have stated twice, which you failed to address, those screaming the loudest are making zero sacrifice to avoid the catastrophe. They continue to buy more and bigger houses, drive their cars, cool/heat with fossil fuels, and use all of 21st century's conveniences that contribute greatly to the supposed catastrophe. Why is that? Why are you here burning carbon on this website instead of living the life of an Amish subsistence farmer?

To be blunt, why are you not living in a cabin doing your part in light of the coming "catastrophe?" If you respond to nothing else, please answer that question.

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