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More thoughtful commentary

by Michael Nielsen on November 4, 2004

This time from physicist Carl Caves.

From → General

3 Comments
  1. N Lundblad permalink

    Good stuff, but he frightens me at the end by suggesting that the Cause will only be advanced by discarding abortion rights and gay rights.

    Discarding the issues as cast-iron albatrosses is a pretty damned scary thing to suggest.

  2. Nathan,

    On these so-called “moral issues”, my understanding is that younger voters are much more liberal than older voters.

    So, from a purely political point of view, the best strategy may be to attempt to de-emphasize the issues, and simply wait for the older generation to die off. Of course, this only works if the Repubs don’t push these issues as wedge issues, forcing the Democrats to take a stand.

    This sort of thinking, of course, ignores ethical concerns. As a practical matter, it seems that politicians can only be a little way out in front of their electorates, whatever their personal ethical beliefs. Lincoln, for example, seems to have been pretty (publicly) equivocal on slavery for a very long time, whatever his personal feelings.

  3. Rodney Polkinghorne permalink

    I take issue with Carl’s conclusion. The current questions are whether
    our governments will support or disrupt same-sex relationships and
    children being raised by gay or lesbian parents. To first order these
    are about prejudice. The idea that being gay is about sex – with the
    implication that being straight isn’t – is enemy propoganda, be that
    enemy George W. Bush, John W. Howard or Osama bin Laden.

    Letting the older generation die off only works if the next generation
    is as liberal as us. And we wouldn’t be the same people if Mandela,
    Greer et al. hadn’t made a stink about the injustice that surrounded
    us as we grew up. As Alan Kay keeps pointing out in another context,
    the only inevitable future is the one we make.

    My favorite comment is from the advice column on Salon: “Until people
    start disappearing in the night, fight the bastards! After people start
    disappearing in the night, keep fighting the bastards!”

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