New Kindle Book: “Values and the Future (Revaluation of Values)”

Values and the Future (Revaluation of Values) is now available at the Kindle Store

Nietzsche said revaluation of values is the supreme task of the philosopher. Nietzsche called philosophers lawgivers. And yet the world continues to operate as though values were not something we are called to revise, develop, enunciate. The position of these recent reflections is allied with Nietzsche. The values suggested are vastly different from the usual, traditional pantheon.


My First and Last Sotomayor Post

This is a closed case that will be a summer cash cow for people who make money taking sides. She will be confirmed and that’s that.

The following observations are random and close the subject for me.

Jonathan Turley has projected an image of such snobbery toward the nominee that he ranks in my mind as the Paul Krugman of legal opinions. Both men are right half the time. (Interestingly. Turley modified his snarky initial reaction later for KO — guests on MSNBC do not merely reappear, they appear serially from show to show — intensifying viewer alienation.)

I refuse to watch MSNBC talk all summer about this.

I refuse to get upset when all the opponents of Obama can do conclude that all he cares about is his socialist agenda. Barack Obama is an Alinsky veteran who inclines to democracy and realizes the limitations of community organization. That is why he ran for President. He is for a mixed system that seeks to bring out the best in the both private and public sectors. He is above all smart, smarter than his opponents for the most part, and miles smarter than the people on his side who want to grouse rather than follow his lead.

He put out his A team yesterday to take on the media and, if you watched Jarret, Axelrod and Gibbs, you got a carefully-honed message that nonplussed the conflict-hungry MSM. It was a delight to see.

Following the President does not mean agreeing all the time. It means supporting when you can and cutting some slack when you cannot. And realizing that we are gently moving past the era of binary and double binds in respect to … us.

Republican opposition to Sotomayor will make their loss of standing among Hispanics a veritable sentence of doom upon their electoral hopes for at least the next two rounds. Even McCain seems to understand this, pushing back on Limbaugh-Rove.

Slurs of Santomajor have already begun online and no doubt elsewhere. Each of these will leave her in a more powerful position.

Democrats should probably pray for Republican opposition as it will only help a party which is itself reeling from its own internal contradictions. The jury is still out on about half of the Democrats in high office as far as I am concerned. Maybe the Sotomayor chapter will provide an occasion for Democratic unanimity and repentance for their shameful performance on the Gitmo Closing vote.

My final observation will please no Democrat. It is very simple and possibly even correct:

The Sotomayor who is being thinly excoriated by an asinine corps of Republican talking heads could well become the Souter of the Democrats. Her record is mixed enough and has enough blanks on issues that the High Court considers that we cannot tell if she is a lock on all the reflexive expectations of doctrinaire Democrats. As with President Obama, we may find that, with Sotomayor, empathy runs both ways. And that winking and nodding does not work with prospective lifetime high court judges with minds of their own.


Why Defend Empathy?

Paper tigers abound in these weird times, when Democrats appear to be walking on glass and Republicans are rubbing their eyes because the media is spoon feeding them.

This is the context of the empathy flap currently claimed to be hobbling Obama’s Supreme Court fight in the making.

The fact is that empathy, the ability to see other sides of a situation, is simply a sympathetic term for understanding, insight or perception.

None of this works as a soundbite, so here are a few notions of empathy that Democrats can use with reporters.

Empathy is what concerned parents feel when their kid gets into trouble. It’s what parents do when they love their kids in spite of everything.

Empathy is opening a door for someone who is overloaded with packages. It’s the instinct to help someone who’s struggling.

Empathy is continuing to listen when the person speaking to you is overcome with a case of nerves. It’s giving everyone a voice.

Empathy is seeing things as others see them — saying, I can see how you might feel that way. It’s considering the views of others.

Empathy needs no defense.

What might need defense is the opposite of empathy, including

Insensitivity to the feelings or position of others.

The inability to see more than one side of anything.

A general intolerance of anyone who does not share your values, your religion, your politics.

Anyone who allows Republicans to claim the higher ground, because they can skewer the term empathy and define it in a completely false and distorted way, is caving in to a venal and degrading process.

Empathy is not a code word for an effort to politicize the court. A code word for that is what the Court did in 2000 when it deigned to make a completely political decision to thwart an embarrassing but legitimate struggle to resolve a close election.