Monday, November 1, 2010

Where are you, Honest Abe?

Sorry for the long absence, BLOGOSPHERE. I've been out doing non-computer things, or if I've been doing computer things, it hasn't been blogging. Hopefully you've been other things too besides missing my blog posts!

Well, my funemployment saga continues. It seems like so much is happening but nothing much is happening at all. I've mainly been feeding at the trough of continual enjoyment that is Netflix instant streaming. Starting Ken Burns' The Civil War was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. It's been really helpful, actually, in understanding the South better. It's both comforting and disturbing to know that some things never change. The documentary also has me wishing that Abraham Lincoln was alive today. Something tells me he would figure out a way to get us out of some of the messes we've made for ourselves.

I either forgot or never knew that Lincoln did some extremely controversial things, like suspending habeas corpus, in order to preserve the Union. While I would never actually endorse curtailing civil liberties, it's interesting that in spite of the drastic measures he took, Lincoln is still considered the greatest President in our nation's history. What exactly was his genius? Did he know that he could get away with such things if he succeeded in the bigger picture? Is his brand of pragmatism something to be emulated or abhorred? What good are individual rules if they cause the whole system to fall apart, thus abrogating the rules themselves anyway?

I wish I was independently wealthy, because I would love to study the philosophy of law. It seems to me that on a basic level, laws should be designed to protect us from the malicious actions of other individuals or larger entities. On the flip-side, this means that any exercise of law that does not reasonably serve the purpose of "protecting" us, in whatever sense that is defined, is a misuse of law. The word REASONABLY is operative. I spent three Springs in my sweatbox of a dorm room in a 200-year old building that still had the heat on even though it was almost 90 degrees in my room, because NJ state law was trying to "protect" me from an abusive landlord. Anyways, I'm no law student, but it seems to me that philosophical pragmatism and the philosophy of law need to be in ever-closer dialogue, as we face problems for which we have no clear "precedent".

No comments:

Post a Comment