Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Way One Thinks

In recent months, or is it years now? Sen. Obama, now Pres. Obama, quipped that knowing when life began was beyond his pay grade.  A recent mock interview published by the Archbishop of Rhode Island led to a new reflection on Pres. Obama's thought process.  Does the president give much thought to the life of the children cut short?  Think back to the inaugural address as well, where it was declared that "whether or not it works" is the only standard by which to judge.  

Abortion is possibly the one issue which holds the Republican party together-how many current republicans would completely jump ship if the party platform were to radically change on abortion?  The way the President (Obama) thinks on this issue is best described as flippant, given the quip just mentioned.  How does he think?  What formed his thought process?  Let's combine the inaugural address with the earlier quip of the tongue and describe the President's thought process as Pragmatic-Flippancy.  If an issue is not of concern to him, then it can be deemed, "above my pay grade."  If it is important to me and to my base...then pragmatism, results are the judging criteria, is what we use to measure the proper response and course of action.  

One famous politician of old comes to mind when I think of utter pragmatism in politics.  It has been said that this politician was the founding father of modern political science as a "science."  That famous Italian monarchist...Niccolo Macciavelli.  The one and only.  Famous for one line above all else: The Ends Justify the Means.  Not to dive into the nature and validity of teleological reasoning, but if results the only judge, then the ends justify the means.  

England has two stand out politicians that are in stark contrast to Macciavelli and Obama, both were well-trained lawyers.  Both were advisors and friends to the king.  Both were named the Lord High Chancellor of the King's realm, both the highest legal authorities in all their lands with all to lose and nothing more to gain, but added wealth; at least in the earthly realm.  Thomas Beckett and Thomas More both gave their lives for deciding that ends and means are important.  Both lawyers stood firm, death before pragmatism.  

The Archbishops article:

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