Rationaly Choice Thoery?-Reply -Reply

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Wed Apr 12 11:50:35 MDT 1995

On Wed, 12 Apr 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:

> >>> Justin Schwartz <jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us>  4/5/95,
> 09:47pm >>>
> .....
> 2. Instability also shows that a justice which provokes resistance is
> unrealizable, so not binding, by the principle that ought implies
> can.
> .....
> --Justin
> Ought implies can?  Why?  I'm not familiar with this concept.
> Lisa Rogers

How about the logically equivalent statement, Cannot implies Not-Ought?
That is, we are not obligated to do what we cannot do. In other words,
inability is a good excuse. The idea in the present context is that if
sociologically speaking people cannot be expected to systematically act
aginst their group interests, there is no point in holding them to a moarl
theory which says they should do so. It's a little more complicated than
that. I think that dominant groups are morally obliged to act against
their group interests and in favor of those of subordinate groups, even
though they won't. How can this be if Ought Implies Can? Well, on my story
the theories of justice the dominant groups come up with to rationalize
their domination also fall prey to Ought Implies Can, because resistance
makes these justicesof domination unstable, thus unrealizable, thus
impossaible to maintain in the long run. Since dominant groups accept
Ought Implies Can and so stability as a desirable feature of justice,
their own standards demand that they reject domination. They won't, of
course course, but they should.

On another subject, Harvey Klehr is no liberal or social democrat, Louis,
unlike Draper or Radosh. He's a stone reactionary. Nonetheless his book on
Communism in the 30s, like Draper's two on Communism in the 20s, are
pretty good, given their limitations and biases. Almost everything they
say in those books is true, and they are right that the Party leadership
was captive to Soviet foreign policy. The New Communist history doesn't
dispute this. It ratheremphasizes that there was more to the CPUSA than
the policies of the leadership and that grassroots rank-and-file activism
was something other than a tool of the USSR. I share your doubts about the
new book claiming that Commies were all spies. But you err when you say
that the book last year claiming that Fermi, Szilard, Oppenheimer, etc.
were spies was based on KGB archives. It was cobbled together as a memoir
of a KGB official and was based on his unsupported assertions, not on
archival work. Nonetheless, while KGB or any secret policve archives
should be treated with care and suspicion, we shouldn't dismiss their
evikdence out of hand. Still, you are right that there is a campaign to
smear past radicalism. That is of course nothing new. Remember the
allegations about Lenin as a tool of German imperialism?

--Justin Schwartz

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