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Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Public Ethic

I have a relative who goes to Mass everyday he can. With his Church officials, he also opposes same sex marriage and the freedom of a newly pregnant woman to choose to abort her fetus; and he thinks that these should be enforced by government. He also supports all military actions by government. He also drives on government supported highways and takes advantage of every government real estate program he can.

Yet, influenced by Hate Radio, he believes that government spending, taxes, and regulations are evil and need to be stopped. He sees no inconsistency with his positions.

Ideology, in the sense of absolute beliefs, do not admit of thought. Indeed faith supplants reason according to religious ideologues.

The Public Ethic, John Dewey demonstrated in the last century is Pragmatic Progressivism. But Progressive Pragmatism should not be understood as relativism or survivalism or acting without value moorings. Progressive pragmatism is not just "what works." Because "what works" or what is considered "progress" always presumes principles.

Indeed Reagonomics, the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and the so-called free market and laissez-faire capitalism work. The question is: work for whom?

Most of the ministers of reactionary economic and political theologies, including the hate radio preachers, are indeed pragmatic. Their preaching works well for them even if it really doesn't for so many of their dittohead listeners.

I contend that, with the present election, America and perhaps the world, are nearing the harbor of a new progressive pragmatics--a new public ethic. That is hopeful for the species. It is that public ethic that I want to examine and show how it indeed can advance the humanity and the conditions that sustain us.

More later.

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