Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

3/06/2005

Philosophy for Dummies/Jonah Goldberg

Betraying an appalling ignorance of the history of moral philosophy, National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg makes a plea:

I get a lot of email from readers angry with conservatives who (allegedly) argue that the ends justify the means. I also recall that under Clinton, lots of conservatives complained about the same thing.

Having read quite a bit about pre-WWII liberalism, I know that many liberals and progressives used to explicitly endorse the notion that the ends can justify the means and the spirit of ends-justifying-the-means suffuses vast areas of liberal public policy and, often, conservative foreign policy.

Anyway, does anyone know about an essay or book specificly on this concept and the arguments which swirl around it? I think it would make for fascinating intellectual history to trace the concept and its critics throughout Western history. Maybe someone has done that? If so please let me know I would really love to read it.


Gee whiz, Jonah, didn't you take Intro to Philosophy at Goucher College? I'm not trying to take a cheap shot here (not that I would be against taking a cheap shot at Goldberg), but for one of the leading conservative writers at one of the leading conservative magazines to be so oblivious to the history of human thought that he would wonder if anyone ever wrote an essay on the concept of ends justifying means ... that's just embarrassing. Especially considering that the National Review was founded by advocate of "intellectual conservatism" William Buckley.

Jonah: you can start with a book called Utilitarianism by one "John Stuart Mill" and take it from there.

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