Nick_A wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:41 am
Would you be open to an in depth discussion on her essay "profession of Faith"written while she was very ill? Anyone who appreciates what she means by the relationship between obligations and rights will understand what is essential for a free society to sustain itself.
Simone Weil makes many interesting points in "Profession of Faith" and I do not think we could discuss them all "in depth" in the space of one or two posts, though I would be happy to work through them over time if you like, as I find her views in this essay bear a very strong resemblance to the late 18th century Conservative political philosopher, Edmund Burke, one of my heroes. Burke's thinking still exerts a strong influence on Conservative politics in the West today. Like Simone Weil, Edmund Burke was a pious Christian, and it was his faith that always from the very start of his career in the world of Letters and Politics, provided the central foundation upon which he developed and articulated all of his political principles. Burke, who lived during the "Age Reason has over the past century acquired a reputation as "gravedigger of the Enlightenment". Interestingly Simone Weil was equally very leery of the "limitless power" the French philosphes
- (and their modern, liberal-progressive counterparts)- attributed to human reason. As far as her own mature work was concerned, She had little time for the abstract, esoteric, rationalist "metaphysical" concepts cooked up by academics and other intellectuals.
You did specifically mention Simon's discussion of the relationship between rights and obligations, so I will devote this post to that topic. Before I do, I would like to quickly reiterate a point I made to you in a recent post regarding the US Constitution's First Amendment defence of the "Freedom of Speech" and compare it with Simone Weil's views on the issue.
I have always been interested in US politics, so when Trump shocked the world by winning the 2016 Presidential election I began to follow his political fortunes very closely by watching as much of the US political news as I could access. For three or so years I have been watching the big American New Media's coverage of Trump, mainly: MSNBC; CNN; ABC; CBS; FOX and the like, as well as reading newspaper/magazines like "The Washington Post" "Politico" and " The New York Times" online.
What I have witnessed is a very strong, consistent bias against Trump among the main Liberal Media outlets. Let me use CNN as an example. CNN might as well be an official organ of the Democratic Party; while it is supposed to report the objective truth of national political events, it simply does not. In fact, it has no qualms about lying through its teeth or deceitfully misrepresenting facts, not covering important political events that reflect poorly on high-ranking Democrat politics, participating in what are clearly political smear campaigns against the President, and so on. Last week, for example I watched Anderson Cooper, the primary anchor of the CNN news show, start a televised interview with his guest by saying "I'd like to talk to you about the FALSE allegations of corruption that have been unfairly levelled at Vice President Joe Biden (Democrat 2020 Presidential candidate. The guest, of course, is a DNC lickspittal ,who has no doubt been well paid to lie, and proceeds to share his faux moral outrage at this dastardly attack against Biden for the cameras. He is shocked how there is absolutely no evidence of corruption on Biden's part, and how we are merely witnessing the Republican Party disgraceful attempt to smear Biden and force him out of the running for the 2020 election. The fact is that there IS hard, objective evidence linking Biden directly to serious criminal activities in the Ukraine and China. End of Story.
I still watch the Liberal news media in the US, but only to keep abreast of what outrageous lies/mischievous propaganda they will broadcast next. If I want to find out the TRUTH about what is going on in the world of American politics, I watch "FOX" news, because although they are critical of the political Left in America, at least they do not lie; at least they give the American people the facts about what is going on. FOX report that Congressman (Democrat) Adam Schiff- who presided over the recent CIRCUS that was the Trump Impeachment Inquiry - a congenital liar, a coward and a profoundly corrupt politician. And he IS, the evidence is rock solid. The American public need to know facts like this.
I think that the behaviour of the Liberal Mass media in the US over the past 3 years to date has been criminal and ought be punished. The right to freedom of speech/expression should not include a right for large and very powerful organisations to intentionally disseminate lies and political propaganda to countless hundreds of thousands of citizens in a nation who trust them to broadcast the truth. I think Simone Weil would agree. In "Profession of Faith" she write...
"The human soul has a need for truth and freedom of expression...It (the need for truth) requires that in the domain of thought there should never be any physical or moral pressure exerted for any purpose other than exclusive concern for the truth, which implies an ABSOLUTE ban on all PROPAGANDA without exception. It calls for protection against error and lies; which means that every avoidable falsehood publicly asserted becomes a PUNISHABLE OFFENCE. It call for public health measures against poisons in the domain of though/intellectual culture."
Wow, this post is already too long. So I'll get back to you about SW thoughts on" Equality; Hierarchy; and the relationship between rights and obligations/duties tomorrow.
PS: I find SW understanding of the notion of universal human equal (i.e; all human beings are owed a duty of respect by all other human being) and her understanding of the natural nature of human hierarchies (social, power,competence, aesthetic) very interesting. Again, her thinking on this question echoes Burke's and I believe reconciling the moral equality of all people in the context of their necessary existence in hierarchical social structure of is one of paramount important in the West today.