But What About Back-Alley Slavery?

June 19, 2008 § 13 Comments

Francis Beckwith points out that there is a non-trivial difference between working for the abolition of slavery and hoping to keep slavery safe, legal, and rare.

I wonder how many people think that we could vote for a member of the KKK for President on some kind of ‘least bad outcome’ calculus, without that vote saying something profound about ourselves, far more profound than its vanishingly small capacity to affect the actual election outcome?

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§ 13 Responses to But What About Back-Alley Slavery?

  • discalcedyooper says:

    Why speculate? Many segregationists were elected. Lyndon Johnson was generally seen as an enemy of the civil rights movement, but civil rights leaders worked with him to see what they could achieve.The more I explore the slavery and civil rights’ analogies the more I see they don’t align perfectly with what people want them to be.

  • zippy says:

    Just because <>in fact<> some people are willing to vote for a member of the KKK for President it does not follow that anyone <>should<> be willing to vote for a member of the KKK for President.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,Your slanted formulation of the circumstances seems an unfair and, not to mention, a distorted representation of the reality.I would ask that you examine your conscience on the matter and come to terms with the fact that such acts as the presidential signing of the FOCA (as Obama has postively stated he would be doing), is an actual evil that will transpire should he be elected and, therefore, will need to be prevented.

  • discalcedyooper says:

    Given it’s an analogical constuct, I don’t see where ‘should’ is particularly relevent. The claim has been made people who truly supported civil rights or emancipation didn’t support or engage those who opposed them. This is supposed to make manifest that one shouldn’t ever support those who aren’t 100% behind your cause – there’s that should. The analogy turns out to be false. The Civil Rights movement wasn’t really all that picky about who it worked with to advance its cause.

  • zippy says:

    <>The claim has been made people who truly supported civil rights or emancipation didn’t support or engage those who opposed them.<>Lots of claims have been made by lots of people, and it isn’t my intention to defend all of them. I’ve already said that the fact that people <>actually<> do this or <>actually<> do that isn’t particularly interesting to me: that (again) what is interesting to me is what people <>should<> and <>should not<> do.Are you suggesting that you are perfectly fine morally with voting for a KKK member for President?

  • zippy says:

    <>…and, therefore, will need to be prevented.<>The assumption appears to be that there is something I can do about that – and other disastrous acts of vile, despicable wickedness – which is more effective than what I am actually doing about it. I don’t share that assumption. At all.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Betcha people will say in a blog thread that yes, they could see doing that under some strange circumstances if it would prevent a greater evil. But hopefully they don’t mean it. I once got in a certain amount of trouble for asking a blog colleague on a thread where I had made points much like those in my “What is a Vote” post, “Would you ever make an anonymous campaign contribution to Hitler?” He insisted that I shouldn’t have asked, because it was embarrassing and if he answered was the kind of thing that could later be quoted out of context against him. I was tempted to say, but restrained myself from saying, that of course that all depended on the answer.

  • Anonymous says:

    <>This is supposed to make manifest that one shouldn’t ever support those who aren’t 100% behind your cause<>I do not think that is the claim. I think the claim is that people who want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare” are fundamentally opposed to the pro-life cause. It is kind of like saying that slave owners should be good stewards. If slave owners took better care of their “property” it would improve the lives of slaves, but it is a position that is fundamentally opposed to the truth that human beings are not property. Likewise, the “safe, legal and rare” position is fundamentally opposed to the truth that abortion is murder.– Kurt

  • discalcedyooper says:

    Kurt,‘Like’ is an analogical construction. (I have used that term 15 times today +/-, here and elsewhere.)<>It is kind of like saying that slave owners should be good stewards.<>Should they be bad stewards?<>If slave owners took better care of their “property” it would improve the lives of slaves, but it is a position that is fundamentally opposed to the truth that human beings are not property.<>Viewed as dichotomy, it is certainly the case. Treating slaves better is more in line with respecting their dignity than treating them worse though.Zippy,<>Are you suggesting that you are perfectly fine morally with voting for a KKK member for President<>Why would I entertain this fiction? Pope Pius himself basically endorsed the confederacy during the civil war. The only reason to address the history of civil rights and slavery is to apply to present circumstances. You don’t want to actually address the history.

  • Anonymous says:

    <>Should they be bad stewards?<>They should not be stewards at all; people are not property.<>Treating slaves better is more in line with respecting their dignity than treating them worse though.<>I am inclined to say that it does not respect their dignity to take care of them because they are property.– Kurt

  • zippy says:

    <>Why would I entertain this fiction?<>In order to give a direct answer to a direct question.

  • discalcedyooper says:

    I don’t have enough information to answer the question sensibly since you’re creating a fantasy scenario. I can tell you there was a time where one chose between segregationists and during that time civil rights leaders worked with them and supported them to serve their own purposes.

  • zippy says:

    <>I don’t have enough information to answer the question sensibly.<>Sure you do. The question is whether you are or are not perfectly comfortable, as a moral matter, voting for a KKK member for President. You are welcome to answer by saying “yes, if conditions warrant” or “no, I would never be morally comfortable doing that under anything like ordinary conditions”.Since you have said that you are voting for Obama, and the things Obama stands for are at least as bad objectively as the things that the KKK stand for, your answer should be a straightforward “yes” without all the hemming and hawing. That is, it should be a straightforward “yes” if your approach is consistent.On the other hand if your conscience is enough of a nag to give you trouble about the prospect of voting for a KKK member for President, such that you can’t bring yourself to give a straightforward answer to a straightforward question – which is quite unusual for you – then perhaps that is a sign that you might want to re-think your position.I’m not trying to give you grief as much as I am trying to warn you not to light yourself on fire. To vote for Barack Obama is, in my view, to commit a moral atrocity, to do something very harmful to onesself. Don’t do it.

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