From my “links” page, a response to the claim that “sore losers” are at work regarding claims of racism:

From sore winners:

People have to complain about the states that did go for McCain, claiming that all the white Southerners who voted for McCain were doing so merely because of racism rather than because they think Obama’s policies would be awful.

Nobody would argue that everybody who voted against Obama did so out of racism. However, when the old confederacy is pretty much the only place in the entire country that voted more Republican than last time, it makes you wonder. Unless you’re completely blind (willingly or not) to history.

One of the confusing things for me is the claim that voting against Mr Obama on the basis of race is racism and at the same time voting for him on the basis of race is not. It seems to me either both are or none is. If race is a valid basis to make a decision for a candidate … then that necessarily cuts both ways and that it is also is a valid reason for making a decision against a candidate. One claim on the Southern voting numbers is that a lot of those white Southern voters are Scots/Irish … and they voted more than some other regions for Mr McCain on account of ethnic heritage. But that is a little off topic. The salient point is if a decision by one person based on membership in group “A” is just (or unjust), then the particulars of membership in which group is not important.

The only argument that I’ve heard suggested that this claim that the logic works “both ways” is that one group is disadvantaged. That is is only moral to prefer one group over another if the group you prefer is disadvantaged. This apparently is very Rawlsian wiki cites the “2nd principle of justice” as:

Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that (Rawls, 1971, p.303):
a) they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society (the difference principle).
b) offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity

This is a statement which I’ve been mulling over somewhat recently. I can’t make heads of tails of it … especially the first part. This is described as a “principle of justice”. This connects with the above in proposing that the notion that one decision based on group membership is just if it is of benefit to the “least-advantaged” members of that society (which is read as connecting specifically with that group). That is specifically, Blacks in America have had a long history of suffering injustice and therefore on account of that they are entitled in this case to be located as “least-advantaged”. That being the case, according to this “rule” then it the logic is not reversible via the “difference principle.”

Earlier forms of justice don’t take the economic or status of an individual into account, hence statues of “blind justice” and so on. The idea there is that justice is meted out not according to your membership in group or your personal status (or lack thereof) but based only on circumstance, deed, and perhaps motive. I’m unclear on why abandoning this is a good idea or how Mr Rawl’s notion of justice connects with and can be demonstrated to be “superior” to a the the standard blind one.

Filed under: Ethics & MoralityMark O.Race Issues

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