Laughter, the best medicine

by Ted on December 23, 2003

Before I leave, I thought that I would string together a list of links and quotes from non-political humor sites. Enjoy.

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Four quotations bearing on choice and responsibility

by Chris Bertram on December 23, 2003

Jackie D from Au Currant has a “quote of the day”: picked up from “Norman Geras”: who gets it from “some columnist in the Jerusalem Post”: :

bq. [I]t’s about time we all stop treating Iraqis, and Arabs generally, as anything but what they are: Human beings, capable of making rational choices, who, _like the rest of us_ [emphasis added CB], are accountable for their own successes, their own failures, and their own fates.

On a plausible reading “like the rest of us” looks like a weasel phrase here: on the one hand appearing to stretch out the hand of a common humanity but with a wave of that same hand dismissing the very different conditions under which that human life gets lived. I wish I had a view about responsiblity, agency, choice, blame and so on that I was satisfied with. I don’t. But that view would have to satisfy at least two conditions: first, it would have to treat our fellow humans has having the capacity for free choice and second it would have to take a realistic view about the obstacles to their actualizing, developing, and exercising that capacity. If I lived (as I do) under conditions that are relatively propitious for that actualization, development and exercise, then I would hesitate before using phrases such as “like the rest of us” about those who have grown up under dictatorships and in much tougher material circumstances than I have.

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