Saturday, August 7, 2010

pp. 82-83 A New Birth of Freedom, Jaffa

How can Carl Becker argue that to ask whether natural rights is true or false is a meaningless question? And how does Jaffa answer Becker?

Relevant Passages: They were certain that from the abolitionists to the advocates of the positive good of slavery, those who asserted a ground of truth for their moral preferences were laboring under delusions. They therefore condemned, whether explicitly or implicitly, those politicians on either side of the Mason and Dixon Line who inflamed the uncompromisable moral passions of the electorate.

They were convinced that they knew, as Lincoln and his fellow citizens did not, that to ask whether slavery was right or wrong was to ask, in the words of Carl Becker, an "essentially meaningless question."

The answer is that in our time, truth has been disarmed by the opinion that reason is impotent to know what is just or unjust, right or wrong, true or false.

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