NYTimes: email from Israel

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Wed, 03 Oct 2001 00:05:09 -0500


"Stephen D. Williams" wrote:

> We can decide, with at least some degree of self-critical neutrality,
> that a certain practice or belief is 'superior'.  Of course superiority
> has to be measured on various axis, but this isn't too hard when
> comparing cultures, beliefs, and practices.  It's also not too hard in
> many cases to sort those ideas into more and less primitive.  Do I
> really need to point out examples?

Thank you, Stephen.  For me, one axis that makes sense when considering
"societal forms" and their instantiation in gov't and law is the old yet vague
and probably undefinable economic saw: "maximum prosperity for the maximum
number of people."  Yes, this is a value judgement --- but one based on lowest
common denominator values that even ideological adversaries can agree on...

> Now, if you are comparing a raw religion with another without refering
> to a specific cultural expression, then things are much more foggy.
> Even socialism/Marxism/communism was once a possible rational experiment
> area, now disproved by a hundred years of failed attempts and deeper
> psycho-social understanding.

Exactly.  I have nothing against Marxism in principle;  it's that it's just as
disproven as a pragmatic socioeconomic system as, say, Lamarckian evolution is
in biology --- probably even moreso.

Whatever works, mon.

jb