Friday, January 07, 2005
Divorcing principle from necessity: the two minds of Keifer Sutherland
Sutherland’s denial that he agrees with Bauer’s use of torture seems to be based on a philosophically confused distinction between principle and necessity (as if principles don’t comprehend necessity), and this confusion seems to exist both in Sutherland’s own mind and in the character that he and his writers are creating. This was an interesting juxtaposition for me, as I had just channel surfed over from the grotesque spectacle of Ted Kennedy grilling Alberto Gonzales about his role in the supposed perfidy of opining that the President has war powers that Congress cannot outlaw. “If Congress outlaws torture,” Kennedy pontificates, “then under no circumstances does the President have the legitimate authority to order torture.” (Paraphrasing again.) Gonzales stuck to his position that, as White House Counsel, his role was to solicit an opinion on this question from the Justice Department, not to try to decide it himself, but I kept wishing that instead of resisting Kennedy’s attempts to get at the substance of the question, Gonzales would turn around and open it up on Kennedy: “If we have a terrorist who knows where a nuke is planted in Washington D.C., do you seriously believe that Congress can usurp the President’s war-fighting powers and forbid him to torture that terrorist for the location of the nuke? Just what do you think it means, sir, for the President of the United States to have war-fighting powers? Is it not the responsibility of the Commander
Kennedy was acting the outraged idealist in somewhat the same morally confused fashion as Sutherland, presuming that ideals and principles are not responsive to necessity. The difference is that Sutherland DOES recognize necessity. He just thinks it is somehow separate from principle, while Kennedy refuses to recognize necessity at all, perhaps because recognizing military necessity, and the war-powers that spring from it, would empower a president who he considers to be his enemy (the country, the will of the people and the Constitution be damned). Whatever the explanation, where Sutherland is merely confused, Kennedy is clearly perverse.
As the Rose interview went on, Sutherland’s strange two-mindedness continued. Rose noted that Muslim activists have protested a promotional clip from the first episode of the new season because it has Muslim terrorists in it. "It is a fact of the world today that there are Muslim elements that want to commit mass murder in America," says Sutherland, "so that gets into the show." "Good," I’m thinking: "At least he is not so P.C. that he can’t acknowledge the obvious. Maybe when he is done with 24 hrs we can make him secretary of transportation.” But then Sutherland launches into a P.C. expression of concern for "the extreme discrimination suffered by Muslims in America." WHAT??? He pulled that straight out of his ass! Serious discrimination against Muslims is extremely RARE. This is a country where the most blatant terrorist sympathizers find no shortage of friends and champions. Airlines are sued BY THE GOVERNMENT if they disproportionately search Muslims. Of course Islamists have picked up the Democrat trick of claiming that their free speech rights are violated whenever they are criticized for voicing terrorist sympathies, but that is isn't real discrimination. Sutherland’s duality on P.C. is similar to his duality on torture. In “principle” Sutherland is P.C., but necessity, or reality, forces him to be a bit un-P.C.. There ARE Muslim terrorists, but he has to balance this out with phony P.C. presumptions of horrendous discrimination.
Rose next asks Sutherland about another film he is making (Queen something). Sutherland says it is about the Maori uprising in New Zealand in the 1860’s. He talks about how the war was remarkable in that both the English-Irish soldiers and the Maori soldiers often switched sides. “You know it is a really dumb war when people can’t figure out which side they are on,” says Sutherland, an interesting observation, but then he continues: “which makes this story especially appropriate for the times we are in today.” WHAT????? Who doesn’t know what side they are on today???? But then I think about it. Hollywood types. Sutherland is surrounded by people who are rooting for our terrorist enemy. They aren’t rooting for the terrorists to successfully set off nukes in American cities. They are just rooting for the Republican [led] effort in Iraq to fail, just as they will root for whatever Republicans may do in Iran and North Korea and Taiwan and America to fail.
Sutherland thinks principle and necessity are on opposite sides and he keeps going back and forth between them. The Maori war is the perfect metaphor for his decent but confused mind. I take him as another example of why most Hollywood types should stay out of politics. Acting is about feeling, not logic. But at least Sutherland is not perverse. In fact, in the persona of Jack Bauer, he is all about necessity. Maybe someday Sutherland will figure out that principle is all about necessity too, and he can stop wondering if he is on the right side. In the meantime, kick that terrorist ass Jack.
UPDATE: Hey, an Instalanche! Thanks for visiting. I have updated with a couple of your corrections. Decentralized editing, whew! Check out some of my other cool junk if you have a few minutes. Too bad no one ever read this one, for instance, and only a couple of hundred people so far have met my friends Solomon and Jeffer.
Even knowing or imagining this to be true, it comes too late for me -- I have long since given up patronizing the movies, shows and music of the bigmouths. Even if I agree with their macho play-acting, it is ruined by the lunacies and idiocies we read and hear. I've lost all respect for them. But I do feel I understand them better, so thanks for that.
FYI - It is NOT
Commander AND Chief
Commander IN Chief
To verify check out Article II Section 2 of the US Constitution
Article II Section 2Thanks
Agree or disagree with that position, folks, but claiming (as I have seen people do) that the Administration is wiping its arse with the GC and throwing it out the window (at the same time!) is silly.
But what exactly has the Bush administration done to support Taiwan?!? Absolutely nothing that I've seen, and Powell recently became the first US SecState to state that there is 'one China.' Freedom's on the march, unless WalMart's bottom line might be in jeopardy.
Bauer is seeking information from a Muslim suspect in connection with a nuclear weapon that is loose in the United States. Bauer has the suspect's family rounded up. He then shows the suspect a video link of his wife and three children being tied up. When Bauer fails to extract any information he orders one of the children shot. You then see the child fall forward. The suspect then starts talking.
Later you are shown the family is tied up, yes children too, but nobody was actually shot. It was an elaborate setup that surely would have the Congress throwing hissy fits. Then again this is Jack Bauer, Fox and Television.
One observation: You wrote:
"He talks about how the war was remarkable in that both the English-Irish soldiers and the Maori soldiers often switched sides. "You know it is a really dumb war when people can't figure out which side they are on," says Sutherland, an interesting observation..."
Maybe. I think the comment likely reflects ignorance about warfare in history. Many people seem to have a superficial acquaintance with WWII and maybe Vietnam (though their knowledge on that is almost always exclusively about politics and society). The fact is that changing sides in war is very common, though not so much in the wars Sutherland may be familiar with. Does that feature make for a "stupid war"? Maybe, maybe not. But I doubt Sutherland has reflected very seriously on the question.
Besides, why should someone being an actor preclude them from having a poitical opinion? Anyone can express their view - just have you have done in this blog. It seems that you're merely using his name as a staging post for your own vitriolic rant.
Just a tip - if you want people to really listen to what you're saying don't speak as though you know someone else's mind. 'Sutherland thinks principle and nessecity are on opposite sides...' You dont know that for sure. And again - he's entitled to his view. Just because you dont agree with it doesn't make it any less valid.
As in 'Kiefer Sutherland'...
Being entitled to have your own view does not make your view valid. There is such a thing as right and wrong in the world.
As for whether a person can have grounds to comment on another person's thought process, the thought process of the person who left the above comment is clear. He suggests that because not ALL Hollywood types are on the left, it is wrong to say that that Hollywood is full of anti-American Michael Moore fans. That is an obvious non-sequitur. Probably he is imagining that the P.C. prohibition on "stereotyping" will substitute for logic here, but what is certain is that he is striving for any straw he grasp at as an excuse to dismiss what he does not agree with. Ditto with thinking I spelled "Keifer" wrong.
This absurd nit-picking, without any regard for whether the nit-picking is even right or not, is a clear manifestation of what I call "backwards thinking." Instead of following reason and evidence (thinking frontwards), the backwards thinker starts with his presumptions about what is right or good or in his interest, and devotes his mental faculties to trying to support those presumptions. The problem is that, because the backwards thinker does not follow reason and evidence, nothing that he presumes to be right can possibly BE right, hence the title of this blog (Error Theory), which dissects the consequences of backwards thinking, along with the other stereotypical ways that people fail to think straight.
The left is utterly engrossed in backwards thinking. This explains why they embrace the propaganda of someone like Michael Moore. They already lie to themselves.
As for evidence - how do you know the evidence is reliable? You've taken one interview with a guy and neatly pigeonholed him into a set of values that you've given to every 'Hollywood type' there is.
What I'm disagreeing with is every sweeping generalisation you've made. You're disagreeing anyone else's view - because it doesn't fit with your own. Thats what it boils down to. You're obviously politically right-wing and that is - more than obviously - skewering your viewpoint. And you think that people are stupid for listening to Michael Moore? Why should they listen to you? You've stated that anyone that doesn't follow your 'reason and evidence' line is a backward thinker. Who the hell do you think you are?!
And I'm a 'she' BTW.
Serial murderers are not rational. They may be instrumentally rational, or partially rational, using the most effective means to their chosen end, but they cannot be fully rational, or morally rational. Moral rationality requires husbanding and following evidence of value, so that one comes to see what there is to value in the world. One of the things that anyone whose eyes are open to value in the world will come to value is human life, thus the serial murderer can be seen to be morally irrational.
One can claim that human life displaces other valued ends, such as the health of the environment, as Oliver Stone did in Natural Born Killers, and try in that way to make a rational case for mass murder, but such arguments are subject to rational scrutiny. In fact, the neo-Malthusians are wrong. An additional human being on average does more to advance technology and prosperity than to diminish it by overstressing resources. This is why we keep getting richer as population, not poorer as Malthus predicted. We can do more with less, placing less stress on the environment as we get richer, not more. If humans are not allowed to progress, this analysis can work out differently, but the correct answer in that case is not to murder people, but to secure the liberty that enables progress.
As I said, there really is such a thing as right and wrong in the world. Moral reason does not give determinate answers to all questions, or even to very many questions. Where it does yield determinate answers, people can have different ideas, but they can't all be right.
Ultimately, cognitive style may be the most important determinant of whether a republic succeeds in achieving moral competence. Cognitive style--frontwards vs. backwards thinking--establishes a process that either promotes or resists progress in practical and moral understanding. Only if we secure a process that advances moral competence will we ever attain moral competence.
Communist said that they would not have to invade America to see her death, she would die from the inside out.
I interviewed Sutherland? That was Charlie Rose.
I am disgusted by Sutherland? I give the man his props.
We shouldn't be so picky as to "decifer" when Sutherland says outlandish things like that people can't figure out which side they are on in the war against terror, or the Iraq war?
Since anonymous thinks 24 is awesome, I'm pretty sure he CAN figure out which side he is on. Does he really not find it strange to hear "Jack Bauer" of all people expressing ambivalence on that question?
At least anonymous and I are in agreement about one thing. 24 definitely is an awesome show. I love the weak-president story-line, preposterous as it is. Great cautionary message. No weaklings in the presidency please.
He is a good actor but Kiefer..stay out of politics ..We have enough to deal with having that moron George Bush in office...
yeah...i gave a shit once about reasoned argument with the likes of you. but we're way past that now.
oh, and have a nice day!
And don't worry about it--he won't run for office in the States. As far as I can tell, he still holds Canadian citizenship.
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