Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A final tribute to Irving Kristol

One of the great things about having the blog is that when someone of great stature dies, it gives us an opportunity to discuss their life and impact on politics/society/culture/philosophy.

Last Friday, Irving Kristol died. With his death, we lost one of the great conservative minds. In fact, if conservatives of today (by that I mean today's Republican Party) thought like Kristol, I'd be on board.

David Brooks of the New York Times wrote a moving tribute to him and his ideas. The link is posted here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/opinion/22brooks.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Kristol said everything more brilliantly than I have been able to on the blog. Brooks does a great job of summarizing the key tenets to Kristol's worldview.

1) No human idea to fix society is perfect. Everything has its positive side and its negative side. No idea is entirely void of some validity (He did make an exception for genocide), nor is any idea perfectly valid. We assess the strengths and weaknesses and make do with what we believe to be the right decision.

2) Only two cheers should go to capitalism. While it has been the greatest engine for technological/societal/etc development, it creates a system of winners and losers. Kristol argued that almost always the losers are not to be blamed for losing. It is a culmination of capitalistic bad luck, societal flaws and other factors beyond the control of any individual. In fact, this is not Kristol's original idea. This idea can be found originally in work called An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Kristol just applied the ideas to the modern world.

3) Since we have a flawed economic system, a "welfare state" is mandatory. He did not argue for a paternal system, but one that provided "social insurance" for those that capitalism has deemed losers. This is also not Kristol's original idea. The original idea can be found in a work called An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Kristol just applied the ideas to the modern world.

4) Capitalism has blinded us to believe that all problems can be fixed economically. Sometimes we have moral decisions to make as a society before we can work towards an economic solution to social injustice. This is also not Kristol's original idea. The original idea can be found in a work called An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Kristol just applied the ideas to the modern world.

This is just a quick summary of the tenets Brooks describes in his article. In my readings of Kristol, Brooks' article is a fitting summary of the life work of one of America's great minds.

He will be missed.

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