Monday, August 18, 2014

#231 / Organizing Principles

Are we "Ready For Hillary?" It looks like Hillary is getting ready for us. In a recent interview in The Atlantic, Hillary Clinton has criticized our President for what she has identified as his failure to conduct our nation's affairs using appropriate "organizing principles." 

"Great nations need organizing principles," according to Hillary. So what does that mean? Well, according to Ms. Clinton: 

"Don't do stupid stuff" is not an organizing principle.

Maybe that's true, and not doing "stupid stuff" is not an "organizing principle" (though I am not sure exactly why it's not). It does seem to me, however, that "don't do stupid stuff," whatever you call it, is a pretty good "guideline" for decision making. I kind of like a President (like our current President) who thinks that we shouldn't be doing "stupid stuff." 

Hillary Clinton, as we may remember, voted for the War in Iraq. My own judgement is that this was very much a "stupid stuff" decision, and that is not just "hindsight." Millions communicated to the President, and to the Congress, that they thought starting a war in Iraq was "stupid." Too bad Ms. Clinton and other members of Congress were not sensitive to the "stupid stuff" category. 

Having read the Hillary Clinton interview, it seems to me that Ms. Clinton is searching for some way to distinguish herself from our current President (thus implicitly promising that she could do a better job), and that she appears to believe that the "great nation" status of the United States of America means that our nation needs "organizing principles" that are "positive," not "negative." Here are Ms. Clinton's proposed "organizing principles," the ones, I suppose, that she would use to guide her if she ever became President, and had to make those tough go to war / don't go to war decisions:


That list is what Hillary Clinton calls "organizing principles." It is certainly a good list! But are those really "organizing principles?" And, might one ask: "Peace, Progress, and Prosperity for whom?"

For us, I surmise, and the "us" probably including, as first among equals, those who make significant campaign contributions to the Hillary for President effort, including oil companies, weapons manufacturers and the like.

I have thought about the dichotomy between "positive" precepts and "negative" precepts as potential "organizing principles," and I have come to the conclusion that the kind of "organizing principles" we really need are not statements of pious aspiration, but statements indicating what our limits are. 

Here is one such "organizing principle" (old, it's true, but ever more relevant):

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Frankly, until I see Hillary Clinton espousing some organizing principles that would put a limit to United States military intervention, everywhere in the world (all to advance our "great nation" idea of ourselves), I am definitely not "Ready for Hillary."

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1 comment:

  1. I truly hope that I won't have to hold my nose and vote for Hilary instead of whatever the GOP dredges up.


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