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Sunday, March 29, 2020


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I am astounded that you even entertain for polite conversation those alt-right interlocutors who harbor these truly contemptible ideas. They are beneath refutation. The alt-right has already demonstrated their depravity and ineligibility for moral discourse. By addressing them, you grant their ideas plausibility, even if ultimately you disagree. When someone raises the possibility that women should be denied the franchise, the proper response is not to fashion some clever syllogism. The proper response is condemnation and censure.

Oh, I don't know. Islamic civilization has its shortcomings, but I think it's pretty hard to look at, e.g., the Ottoman Empire in the era of Suleiman the Magnificent (cf. Andre Clot's Suleiman the Magnificent) and say that Islam had no civilizing effect on peoples where it held sway.


I agree. Excellent response.


>>There are people to my Right who think that women should not have the right to vote, and there are people to my Left who think that children and illegal aliens should have the right to vote.<<

Would you say the very same thing about the second independent clause of my sentence? If not, why not? As I see it, both ideas are wrong. If you agree that we ought to oppose the second idea with reasoned discourse, then you should also agree that we ought to oppose the first with reasoned discourse.

Thank you for your reply, Bill. I would draw the distinction in terms of how foundational the principles are that are in dispute. Two interlocutors may come to different conclusions regarding the second clause, yet share a commitment to the fundamental moral equality of all human persons, whereas it is precisely this foundational moral principle that is disputed by the first clause.


We agree about the moral equality of all persons. But it is not clear to me that this principle is disputed, or rather need be disputed, by those who think that women should be denied the franchise. The argument of the reactionaries is that the emotional nature of women interferes with their political judgment. Just as no reasonable person would give the franchise to children, no reasonable person would give the franchise to women who are essentially just overgrown children. Now it is a bad argument! But it is consistent with respecting the moral equality of all persons, whether male or female.

Should women be allowed into the Navy SEALs? Obviously not: as a group, women lack the physical strength and other attributes for the job. But this is no violation of their moral equality as persons. Moral equality does not entail empirical equality.

Similarly with children. It is no violation of a child's moral equality as a person to deny that child the right to vote.

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