Friday, June 23, 2006

Mixed Premises

In Michigan Republican Dick Devos is running against Democrat governor Jennifer Granholm. In today's June 23rd Detroit News there is a commentary by conservative talk show host Frank Beckmann. Mr. Beckmann quotes parts of a book written by Mr. DeVos in 1997 titled "Rediscovering American Values: The Foundations of our freedom for the 21st century."

Like most politicians, Mr. DeVos seems to be a mixture of good and bad premises:

**The DeVos book emphasizes integrity among public officials and perhaps the first hint of his political philosophy when he stresses freedom as a result of self-reliance.**

Actually, freedom is the result of government recognizing individual rights which then allows for the exercise of self-reliance.

**"When we are self-reliant," he writes, "we do not impose a burden on others by depending on them."**

It is true that relying on ourselves is good in the sense that we are not violating our neighbor's rights by forcing them to support us. None of us have that right. But the justification for self-reliance is man's right to life, not whether it imposes a burden on others. It's saying that the value of self-reliance is based on the needs or suffering of others and not the protection of their rights or the exercise of our own. It's advocating a good idea (self-reliance) for the wrong reason, service to others.

Dick DeVos is the son of Rich DeVos the founder of Amway Corp. now called Alticor Inc. He is selling himself as a businessman who understands Michigan's need for job growth and says he can improve the business climate here which would bring jobs. We'll have to see on that one. It's early and I haven't formed a firm opinion on him yet. If you're interested, the News has a front page article on him here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"It's advocating a good idea (self-reliance) for the wrong reason, service to others."

Which is totally consistent for conservatives. The only ethics they have is a more benevolent version of Christianity (and Judaism), so altruism will always show up as a justification. I have heard it argued that Liberals totally embrace altruism whereas conservatives try to "cheat" it. I think that's right. DeVos is an example of this.

D. Eastbrook