Monday, May 03, 2010

Today in Goodness

I intend to launch a new blog soon where I go in search of goodness. Yup, I am a tad addled to even attempt this, but the subjects of right and wrong and morality fascinate me for many reasons, some of them rather personal.

While I've been noodling around with all sorts of pre-launch tasks for the new project, however, the topic of goodness keeps popping up in the news. I'm not quite ready to begin my new blog, but I'm sick of missing the, ah, "good" stuff. So here is a look at what's happening today in the wild world of goodness.

Political scientists at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., have just released what amounts to a rule book for politics.
The rules are a lot simpler than the infield fly rule and the reserve clause, for they bar the following common elements of our politics: belittling or insulting opponents; making personal attacks on people with whom you disagree; shouting over someone during an argument; interrupting people in public; manipulating the facts to persuade others to your viewpoint; and questioning opponents’ patriotism.
All the details of the Alleghany study are here. These rules are culled from a survey of the American public on civility and politics. I haven't had a chance to look at the results closely, but my first, knee-jerk reaction is why don't people vote their wishes? I heartily endorse the idea of civility in politics, not to mention the delightful thought that we should stick to the truth and not manipulate the facts. But lying seems to get people elected. Nastiness works, or at least it looks like it does.

Am I wrong about that? Why do people say they want one thing, yet vote another way? Why are they constantly rewarding the nastiest of politicians with victories?

Also today, Andrew Sullivan points us to a forum on moral action and reason. This looks like a delicious discussion of the topic, which tends to make me gnash my teeth. More later when I've had a chance to read through the discussion.

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