Stanley Fish, CS Lewis and Might Makes Right

Monday, March 19, AD 2012


Stanley Fish, probably the most noted American literary theorist of our time, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on March 12, 2012 called Two Cheers for Double Standards in which he demonstrated how deeply wed he and other members of the Left in this country are to the Orwell axiom from Animal Farm that some animals are more equal than others:

If we think about the Rush Limbaugh dust-up from the non-liberal — that is, non-formal — perspective, the similarity between what he did and what Schultz and Maher did disappears. Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice. Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy. Why should he get an even break?

There is no answer to that question once you step outside of the liberal calculus in which all persons, no matter what their moral status as you see it, are weighed in an equal balance. Rather than relaxing or soft-pedaling your convictions about what is right and wrong, stay with them, and treat people you see as morally different differently. Condemn Limbaugh and say that Schultz and Maher may have gone a bit too far but that they’re basically O.K. If you do that you will not be displaying a double standard; you will be affirming a single standard, and moreover it will be a moral one because you will be going with what you think is good rather than what you think is fair. “Fair” is a weak virtue; it is not even a virtue at all because it insists on a withdrawal from moral judgment.

I know the objections to what I have said here. It amounts to an apology for identity politics. It elevates tribal obligations over the universal obligations we owe to each other as citizens. It licenses differential and discriminatory treatment on the basis of contested points of view. It substitutes for the rule “don’t do it to them if you don’t want it done to you” the rule “be sure to do it to them first and more effectively.” It implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that.

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11 Responses to Stanley Fish, CS Lewis and Might Makes Right

  • “Professor Fish says that he can live with the non-standard that might makes right. If that is going to be how our political and social discourse is now to be carried out, I am very afraid that a great many Americans will eventually not be able to remain alive under such a rule of conduct.”

    That’s why there is a Second Amendment. You may not like my saying this, but liberal leftists really do understand only one thing, and it’s the same thing that Islamic fascists understand: overwhelming force. To both of them, might makes right, and it always has, and it always will.

    I hope that in November these people can be thrown out peaceably.

  • “That’s why there is a Second Amendment.”

    Exactly what I was thinking, Paul.

  • Without an appeal and obedience to a higher Law, might does make right and sometimes we cannot avoid that. We are to turn the other cheek, but that does not mean that we are to be doormats. Of course, you should always clean your own house first. For us, that means it is time for an Inquisition within the Church and then the rest of the country. We have to expel those who do not adhere to the American Creed as expressed in the language of Natural Law in our Declaration of Independence. I know this seems extreme; however, the chasm of polarization in this country cannot be bridged. It will eventually come down to the will to power in a mobocracy, or a vigorous return to the Rule of Law in our Republic. I see no benefit in waiting.

    I am not advocating violence, but if those who ascribe to the doctrine of power will eventually take us there. We either decline into chaos-tyranny-totalitarianism or restore the Republic. The tolerant ‘liberal’ mindset cannot tolerate lack of power – it has to be taken from them.

    Viva Christo Rey!

  • “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  • There are no coincidences. In the previous post, the pro-death logic that we exist only to serve our masters was exposed. Now, it is revealed that we exist only to serve those powerful enough to maintain that mastery.

    “The only real power comes out of a long rifle.”
    Joseph Stalin

    If this is what they want, then let them come.

  • Very glad that you have raised this issue through the Fish op-ed. I’ve noticed for a good long time, having to exist professionally in the liberal teapot, that a ‘letist’ is almost instantly recognizable as they most often insist on impolitely discussing their ‘religion’ before all else. In other words, before even, or within seconds of, any exchange of pleasantries, one will hear utterances as if being read off of a “Fishwrapper” screed. The second thing immediately noticeable is that culturally there is no connection, not in language (post modernists are at war with reason and faith), ideas, even culture. Even once harmless and unoffensive discussions about sports or weather are fertile for leftist diatribe.

  • cthemfly25: They are possessed.

  • All mankind is the intellectual property of our Creator, as emblazoned in our founding principles. Anybody, from president to pastor, who refutes out founding principles has cast himself into an abyss. Let him be anathema.

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  • Paul P @ 0555 (God Bless Gen’l Robin Olds and the “Triple Nickel!”)

    Nail on Head!

    The motivation for lying liberals’ and repressive progressives’ Seventy Years War on The Second Amendment was to make it so we could not shoot back when they came for us.

    God made us. Sam Colt made us equal.