Sunday, April 14, 2013

Neutral principle defined

Purveyor is busy writing his next column where, I trust, he will address some of your concerns. I'm pretty sure he is tired of explaining, "neutral principle" (NP) over and over again. While we wait, as Purvy's neutral principle disciple, I'm here to explain and defend NP. As the last thread has become a gun toting, boot kicking, weapons, orgasm fest, I've started a new post. Purvy's own words from previous conversations:
Neutral Principle is a philosophy, an applied philosophy! When I was an undergraduate I was so dissatisfied with the way philosophy was taught, I organized my own 3 credit course, whereby WE, the group/students read the great philosophers and related those lessons to current political and legal events. It was the most fulfilling class ever and I went on to teach seminars based on that format. NP urges the adherent, so to speak, to practice in their personal lives what they promote in their political and legal lives: "I will not lie, cheat nor steal."

Curiously, those demands can be found in Poly-theism, Christianity, Judaism, etc. NP starts with the reasoned, the ethical and coincidentally, serves the religious, emotional and moral inclination.

NP is PROCESS! The consistent and honest application of process. [removed] NP is NOT a catch all for every problem, particularly international problems, maybe someday, but not now as moral and ethical considerations very widely across international boundaries. Furthermore, moral and ethical values are all to often used as a ruse, a surreptitious, deceitful way for one nation/society to get what it wants, morality and ethics be damned?
And: of my favorite analogies...

Back in 1990, a Court case "Colorado v. Hill" determined that a woman entering a health clinic has a right to "bubble or zone of protection." The principle being that a protester in close proximity, (10 or so feet) can arguably be threatening. Furthermore, free speech is coincidentally protected as the protester(s) can still be heard and/or display any placards or signs from "10 or so feet," or across the street. Effectively, there are two competing rights at issue and sans moral relativism, how does society deal with such?

Judge St Joan, applied principle in her decision, NOT her own moral predilection, rather she protected both the individual as well as the abstraction of free speech?

Now, "the other shoe drops"... What about a "scab" crossing a picket line? Shouldn't a strike breaker be accorded the same principles--a ten foot "zone of protection" just like the woman entering a clinic? Again, coincidentally the striker's freedom of speech is protected, HENCE, principle, "neutral principle" is the basis for legal reason?

OUCH! I have presented this dilemma to many people and depending on one's moral-political inclination, can cause dissonance! But, that's NP! Moreover, the phrase "pro-choice" is not only about abortion, it's about a philosophy! For millennia, the "Divine Right of Kings," made our choices for us, then came the "enlightenment" and the "American Experiment." Somewhere along the way Karl Marx made the scene, while at the same time America began to lose her principles? We need to find those lost "principles?

I firmly believe that NP is what the Founders envisioned, but not necessarily by those words?

I see neutral principle as a set of principles or philosophy derived from first principles in a logical and consistent manner. In the US, those first principles would be our Constitution. It's the "logical and consistent manner" that is so lacking in today's mainstream parties. Each party has it's platform and then contorts the Constitution and the rule of law to justify its position.

Any questions, boys and girls?