Saturday, November 05, 2005

As I've said, my respect for the people in my neighborhood stems from the fact and their awareness of the fact that they have dual allegiences, not to two states or two cultures but to two philosophies: one of self and self-interest and another to community. My neighbors, from all over the world -from 40 different countries- are all both deeply conservative and not.

A tennis player has two allegiances: to the rules of the game and to him or herself and her desire for victory. A lawyer in a court has two allegiances: to his or her client and the the rules of court and of the law. A citizen in a democracy or a republic is required to have the same dual allegiances. There is no freedom without responsibility.

The question for ideologues and theologians is this: to what do I owe my primary allegiance? What are the foundations of my moral philosophy? Is that foundation in myself, in my own sense of what is right and wrong? Or is my sense of right and wrong, my moral compass, inseparable from my respect for the formal process, the rules of the game? And what follows if I say it is the latter? The rules of debate follow from an understanding of the rules such as they are of language: that language is not the invention or property of an individual. Rules of law may belong to, be limited by, the boundaries of a state, but language in its capacities and limitations if not its sounds and syntax, is universal. And from the universals of language, of its ambiguities, and of the relations between and among people, between selves, we end up with nothing but questions.

Freedom of Inquiry: the foundation of my moral code. Not freedom of action, nor even freedom of speech.

This is tenth grade shit. I've got no patience with anyone who does not take it for granted. No, Scalia is not particularly intelligent. No, neither is Scalito
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The second act of an american life.
Any minute now. Or maybe last week.

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