If you missed Hugh Hewitts interview yesterday with columnist for The Rocky Mountain News and University of Colorado law professor, Paul Campos go read it now. Some of it is a bit tedious in the reading, so you can skip around a bit. But when read in conjunction with Joe Knippenbergs fine article (about which he blogged below), it is quite instructive.
The most telling part is toward the end when Campos is at pains to explain why he cant say that the United States is morally superior to the theocracy of Iran or a country like Zimbabwe. He claims that rhetoric like Lincolns calling America the "last best hope of mankind" is dangerous. Thats because, in his view, theres a certain percentage of humanity that (given the right circumstances) is capable of any measure of unimaginable evil--though he doesnt use such a morally charged term. None of us is really better than anyone else in that regard, he claims. He refuses to use language that implies better or worse with respect to any regime--saying that regimes are just whatever their people are. And since were all the same in our susceptibility to crazy things given the right conditions, I suppose he thinks that regimes are just whatever their circumstances lead them to be. Apparently, human beings and their regimes are nothing better than rats in the laboratory to Campos.
For Campos and his ilk, it is not at all significant that our regime has been (or believes itself to be or tries to be) striving since its inception toward an idea of the good. We delude ourselves if we believe that we are doing anything other than responding to the circumstances within which we operate. Everything we call good is just the result of accident and fortune or, to his mind, perhaps some injustice weve perpetrated on someone else. Of course, how something may be called unjust in this construct remains unclear to me. What is bad if there is no good? For example, it seems to be nothing more than Camposs own prejudice and preference that leads him to say such things like it was good we won in World War II--but hes even flaky about that claim (saying that the world would not have been lost had we not won). Worth a read and a mug!