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Unformatted text preview: MGW 2010 1 Util Good Util Good Classics Util Good Isaac Their moral tunnel vision is complicit with the evil they criticize Isaac 02 (Professor of Political Science at Indiana-Bloomington, Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy and Public Life, PhD from Yale, Jeffery C., Dissent Magazine, Vol. 49, Iss. 2, Ends, Means, and Politics, p. Proquest) As a result, the most important political questions are simply not asked. It is assumed that U.S. military intervention is an act of "aggression," but no consideration is given to the aggression to which intervention is a response . The status quo ante in Afghanistan is not, as peace activists would have it, peace, but rather terrorist violence abetted by a regime--the Taliban--that rose to power through brutality and repression . This requires us to ask a question that most "peace" activists would prefer not to ask: What should be done to respond to the violence of a Saddam Hussein, or a Milosevic, or a Taliban regime? What means are likely to stop violence and bring criminals to justice? Calls for diplomacy and international law are well intended and important; they implicate a decent and civilized ethic of global order. But they are also vague and empty, because they are not accompanied by any account of how diplomacy or international law can work effectively to address the problem at hand . The campus left offers no such account. To do so would require it to contemplate tragic choices in which moral goodness is of limited utility. Here what matters is not purity of intention but the intelligent exercise of power. Power is not a dirty word or an unfortunate feature of the world. It is the core of politics. Power is the ability to effect outcomes in the world. Politics, in large part, involves contests over the distribution and use of power. To accomplish anything in the political world, one must attend to the means that are necessary to bring it about . And to develop such means is to develop, and to exercise, power. To say this is not to say that power is beyond morality. It is to say that power is not reducible to morality . As writers such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Max Weber, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Hannah Arendt have taught, an unyielding concern with moral goodness undercuts political responsibility . The concern may be morally laudable, reflecting a kind of personal integrity, but it suffers from three fatal flaws: (1) It fails to see that the purity of one's intention does not ensure the achievement of what one intends. Abjuring violence or refusing to make common cause with morally compromised parties may seem like the right thing; but if such tactics entail impotence, then it is hard to view them as serving any moral good beyond the clean conscience of their supporters; (2) it fails to see that in a world of real violence and injustice, moral purity is not simply a form of powerlessness; it is often a form of complicity in injustice . This is why, from the standpoint of politics--as opposed to religion--....
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course DEBATE 101 taught by Professor None during the Spring '12 term at University of California, Berkeley.
- Spring '12