Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 – 25 August 1904) was born in Grenoble (Isère). He studied at l’École de Dessin (from 1850) under Lecoq de Boisbaudran and at l’École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, beginning in 1854. As did many students registered at l’École des Beaux-Arts, he copied the masters in the Louvre.
Fantin-Latour befriended many artists, some of whom became prominent Impressionists or transitional figures, such as Édouard Manet. For his part, Fantin-Latour chose to paint in a more conservative and crisper manner and worked with Gustave Courbet. But Fantin-Latour also met American-born British artist James MacNeill Whistler who very much admired Fantin-Latour still-lifes and introduced Fantin-Latour to a British public. Fantin-Latour was so successful in Britain that he became better known in England than in France.
Fantin-Latour married Victoria Dubourg, an artist, and spent his summers at her family’s country estate near Orne, Normandy. So, by and large, he lived a very stable life which is reflected in his art. He never reached stardom, but his art has endured and will no doubt continue to endure.
In 1875, aged 68, Fantin-Latour died of lyme disease, a tick-borne disease that was almost impossible to treat before antibiotics became available.
Yesterday’s Blog: Tough Leadership
Yesterday’s blog depicted what I would call “tough leadership.” The October Crisisof 1970 was a major event in Canadian history. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau implemented the War Measures Act which had never been done in peacetime. His “Just watch me” has remained as famous as his “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” a statement he made at the time the Omnibus Bill (Bill C-150) or the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, designed when Pierre Trudeau was Minister of Justice and the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972), Canada’s Prime Minister and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his role in defusing the Suez Crisis.
On 3 December, after being held hostage for 62 days, kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross is released by the FLQ Liberation Cell in return for their being granted safe passage to Cuba by the government of Canada after approval by Fidel Castro. They are flown to Cuba by a Canadian Forces aircraft.
On 23 December, Pierre Trudeau announces that troops will withdraw from Quebec on 5 January 1971.
On 28 December, members of the Chénier cell, who murdered Pierre Laporte, are arrested.
— Chénier Postcard
There are times when political leaders take a strong stand against persons who put explosives in mailboxes, threaten the bulk of society or kidnap important figures. Trudeau was criticized for involving the army in what was a serious crisis but not a war. He was condemned by Civil Libertarians. Pierre Elliott Trudeau would not allow what he thought was nonsense.
The Chénier cell, Pierre Laporte’s murderers, was named after Jean-Olivier Chénier, a medical doctor and patriote who was killed as he was leaving the burning church were many of the men he had led into battle had found refuge during the battle of Saint-Eustache (14 December 1738) FR. He died at the age of 31, but his memory lingers. He’s a saint to Indépendantistes and there was a celebration in Saint-Eustache on 10 May 2012: la Journée des patriotes.
During the October Crisis, 497 persons were arrested under the War Measures Act, 435 were released, 62 were charged and “32 were accused of crimes of such seriousness that a Quebec Superior Court judge refused them bail.” (October Crisis, Wikipedia.)
These words are uttered by the philosopher or person who uses reason only. He always sleeps peacefully. He is not endowed with the pity/compassion that moderates self-love (l’amour-propre or l’amour de soi-même) in the savage. (Part One, more than two paragraphs after Note 15)
The Romney-Ryan Team
Allow me to place in the proper mouths, the mouths of extremists in the Republican Party, Rousseau’s “Perish if you wish; I am safe.” I may be wrong, but I suspect that the reason these Republicans can speak like choir-boys on the subject of planned parenthood is that they are sufficiently wealthy to fly to countries where birth-control is available and inexpensive as well as to countries where abortions are not criminalized. They can also pay a doctor the “right” fee. In other words, I suspect a substantial degree of hypocrisy: “Perish if you wish: I am safe.” (On rape, see The Washington Post). On the “Gag Rule,” see The Huffington Post).
In fact, hypocrisy may not be the only sin. We are also looking at inequality and at an unjust society. The rich and wealthy will have a freedom that will be denied the poor. As I have indicated in earlier blogs, the rich and the wealthy do not need health-insurance. They can pay for medical treatment and medication. Well, let’s raise that curtain again: the wealthy, wealthy women, need not give up controlling how many children they will have and when these children will be born. This is again something they can buy. In fact, they can also afford several children and help galore, in which they are very fortunate (no pun intended). They are therefore saying: “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
So it could be that the debate is not about morality
In other words, if Republicans are against planned parenthood and abortion, I am inclined to think it has little to do with morality. I hope I’m wrong, but the debate about abortions seems such a convenient front. Extremists among Republicans will attract the votes of persons who are against abortion and who think naively that because a party does not criminalize abortion, members of that party are for abortion. This is not the case and there are very real drawbacks to criminalizing abortion. For instance, what are doctors to do when an abortion is an imperative?
Tying up the hands of doctors: unfit women
An abortion may indeed be an imperative. What does a doctor do—assuming a woman can afford to see a doctor—if a woman’s life is at risk, if the fetus is abnormal, if she is taking medication that can harm the child, if she is taking drugs or is an alcoholic, if the pregnant patient is much too young to bear a child or if a women cannot otherwise face a pregnancy, etc. Under privatized health-insurance, it may again be privatized, not only will these unfit women be told that they are suffering from a pre-existing condition, but if an unfit woman consents to an abortion and a doctor intervenes, he or she, i.e. the doctor, and the unfit patient will face criminal charges. “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
A few years ago, I met a woman who had not slept since giving birth. Her son was three years old but she could not look after him. Nor could she work. Fortunately, she lived in Canada so all that could be done, medically-speaking, was done at no cost to her. However, I doubt that a doctor would have allowed a second pregnancy. She was sick: severe postpartum depression. Doctors need a little leeway.
Would that matters had been as they are now when my mother was having her babies. My poor mother carried a child every year knowing that the child would probably die in infancy of a congenital blood disease. Her first children survived. But she buried all the others. I will spare you the number. To make matters worse, in those days, a good Catholic woman could not say “no” to her husband. Sexual intercourse was a duty (un devoir). It was called: le devoir conjugal. I fail to see what was good in having babies that would die. This was cruelty. And I also fail to see what was good in our attending a funeral or two every year.
Saying “no” as the only recourse
If Mr Romney is elected to the office of President of the United States, the only recourse women who are poor and “women of humble means” will have is the word, “no” both outside and inside marriage. There are husbands, such as Charles de Gaulle (rumor has it), who will not ask their spouse to engage in sexual intercourse if she is not prepared to carry a child and give birth to this child.
That is rather noble, but it isn’t very realistic in the case of most couples. After a fine meal and, perhaps, one or two glasses of wine, hormones tend to take over, crippling intellectual resolve, particularly in younger people. In fact, even we, older folks, snuggle up from time to time and just may be induced to “play doctor.”
The above poster: reality
The above poster goes a long way into describing the situation poor and raped women will face (there is no “legitimate rape”) if planned parenthood is criminalized. Before abortion was decriminalized in Canada, women, particularly unmarried women, who could not face a pregnancy, sometimes used tools that killed (metallic coat hangers) or went to charlatans and, in many cases, they committed suicide. In the Quebec of my childhood, to avoid bringing shame on their family, young girls who got pregnant were sent to special institutions and when the baby was born, it was taken from them. The babies were raised in an orphanage or adopted. It would appear that some were sold.
So allow me to say that when it comes to a woman’s right to choose when and if she will have a child and her right to undergo an abortion when an abortion is necessary, I take matters very seriously. It would be my view that a woman
should not be forced into a pregnancy, especially if she has been raped (there are no “legitimate rape”), including rape within marriage;
that she should act responsibly when she engages in sexual intercourse, as should her husband or partner. Pregnancies can usually be avoided. And I would like to point out
that there are cases when a doctor, with the consent of his or her patient, should be allowed to end a pregnancy.
On Day One: shackling women
However, if Republicans get into office, “On Day One,” not only will Mitt Romney call the Chinese “currency manipulators” and end the health-care reforms introduced by President Obama, but he will also shackle women who are poor and women of “humble means.” Poor women and women of “humble means” will not have access to what is available to the rich.
So scratch out most of the paragraph preceding the “On Day One,” because the conclusion is that “On Day One” women who are poor and women of humble means will be denied what will be accessible to the rich. It will again be all about money and appearing virtuous when virtue is not part of the equation, but a convenient means to an end: being elected People who are against abortions will be fooled into thinking that are voting for the morally superior party.
Such is not the case. If members of that party are elected they will impose on the poor repressive measures that seem virtuous, yet they will be hiding millions and billions, if not more, and demand tax cuts thus acting criminally. So how can these persons talk about morality? So wake up; it’s a smokescreen. What they are saying is “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
Make sure everyone knows that if the President does not criminalize abortions, it does not mean that he is for abortion.
Canadians were lucky. In 1967, future Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got the Omnibus Bill passed. One can access the details, including videos by clicking on Omnibus Bill, or CBC Digital Archives.
I wrote my final blog on the American presidential election and will be posting it after I send the News. There is more to say about the “Noble Savage” and other topics.
The article I will post I about planned parenthood. I am making the point that there is hypocrisy in the attitude of Republicans. If a weathy person gets sicks, he or she can afford treatment and medication. Moreover, a wealthy woman can manage if and when she will have a child. She can buy birth control and she can buy an abortion. Moreover, she can also afford children and can hire help in caring for them.
But my post lacks an important paragraph which would have to do with a woman’s right to say “no” to unprotected sexual intercourse. There is nothing wrong with a woman saying “no,” until she is ready to have a child. In fact, there are still women who say “no” until they have found a husband or are in a stable and permanent relationship. If a man cannot understand a woman’s wish to wait, it may well be prudent to let him go. Do not listen to such arguments as the classic you-don’t-love-me-if-you-wont… In other words, do not let a man bully (that word again!) you into sexual intercourse. Walk away as fast as you can and do not look back.
Yet, by 1735, Thomas Hobbes (5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) had written his Leviathan (1651) and, in Chapter XIII, entitled Of the Natural Condition of Mankind Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery, Hobbes had negated the idea that in the state of nature, man was good. But such was not the opinion of the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, an English politician and philosopher. Nor was it altogether John Locke‘s view of man in the state of nature, FRS (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704).
Hobbes and John Locke were political philosophers. But it would be useful to take into consideration various travel accounts that inspired writers such as John Dryden. One traveller was the baron de Lahontan[i] who had depicted a noble savage or bon sauvage, a man in the state of nature portrayed not only as good, but as superior to Europeans.
Louis Armand, Baron de Lahontan
Louis Armand, Baron de Lahontan (9 June 1666 – prior to 1716) was a French baron who served in the French military, in New France, from 1683 to 1693, but, as I have noted above, also travelled in the Wisconsin and Minnesota region and the upper Mississippi Valley. Lahontan deserted and upon his return to Europe, he published three books, the third of which is about Adario. The titles are:
1. Les Nouveaux Voyages de M. le Baron de Lahontan dans l’Amérique septentrionale (a narrative of the Baron de Lahontan’s new trips to North America)2. Les Mémoires de l’Amérique septentrionale (history of the territory, the settlers and the Amerindians)
3. Les Dialogues curieux entre l’auteur et un sauvage de bon sens qui a voyagé (The curious dialogues between the author and a sensible savage who has travelled)
Lahontan’s three books, published at The Hague in 1703, were bestsellers and they were translated into various languages. It is therefore entirely possible that by giving the name Adario (The Rat) to the bon sauvage whom Zima chooses as her husband, Jean-Philippe Rameau (25 September 1683, Dijon – 12 September 1764), and his librettist Louis Fuzelier (1672 – 1752) were attesting to the popularity of Lahontan’s three books, the third in particularly. Naming Zima’s bon sauvage Adario cannot be a mere coincidence, even if there were a number of Hurons named Adario.
According to Lahontan, there are five areas in which Adario is depicted as morally superior to the French: religion, law, property, medicine and marriage. However, if we look at property, the third area in which Lahontan’s Adario is considered as superior to Europeans, the French in particularly, it is difficult to dismiss the idea that, on the subject of property, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was influenced, first, by Lahontan and, second, by Hobbes.
Adario tells Lahontan that among Amerindians, there is no “le tien et le mien” (yours and mine). In this respect, there is a significant degree of affinity between Lahontan and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality(1754).
“[t]he first man who, having enclosed off a piece of land, got the idea
of saying ‘This is mine’ and found people simple enough to believe him
was the true founder of civil society.” (Second Part: first line)
“What crimes, what wars, what murders, what miseries and horrors would someone have spared the human race who, pulling out the stakes or filling in the ditch, had cried out to his fellows, ‘Stop listening to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to everyone and the earth belongs to no one.’” (Second Part: second line)
In Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, the “sovereign” has twelve principal rights, the seventh of which is “to prescribe the rules of civil law and property.” But, as I noted above, it would be my opinion that, given the popularity of Lahontan’s books, Rousseau’s “This is mine” may have been Adario’s “le tien et le mien” (yours and mine), down to the very wording.(First Part: two paragraphs after note 15)
Moreover, it does not appear that “civil society” as first introduced in the Discours on Inequality is the society in which individuals have entered into a social contract (government) and where the rule of law prevails. In the Discourse on Inequality, Jean-Jacques argued that “moral inequality is endemic to a civil society and relates to, and causes, differences in power and wealth. (Discourse on Inequality, Wikipedia)
Therefore, the “civil society” in which innate human goodness deteriorates when the innately good individual is no longer isolated or “savage,” would be plain society. Civil society, as it is understood in the Social Contract, is a later development.
And savage man, deprived of every kind of enlightenment, experiences only the passions of the latter sort: his desires do not go beyond his physical needs. (Discourse on Inequality, (First Part).
According to Rousseau, man corrupts man. Note that Rousseau uses the words “savage man,” hence his being associated with the idea of the “noble savage,” when in fact, Dryden coined the term “noble savage.”[iii]
“Tout est bien sortant des mains de l’Auteur des choses, tout dégénère entre les mains de l’homme.” (Émile, ou, De l’éducation, Livre premier)
God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil. (Émile, Project Gutenberg, Chapter 1).
[i] Louis-Armand de Lom d’Arce de Lahontan, Baron de Lahontan (9 June 1666 – prior to 1716), known as Lahontan or le baron de Lahontan published his three books at The Hague in 1703.
[ii]The first Discourse, entited the Discourse on the Arts andSciences was written in 1750 in response to an add that appeared in a 1749 issue of the Mercure de France, a newspaper. It was a prize competition sponsored by the Academy of Dijon and the subject to be discussed was the following question: “Has the restoration of the sciences and the arts contributed to refining moral character?” Rousseau won first prize in the competition.
Mr Romney made it perfectly clear that, under his presidency, the United States would stand behind Israel. One cannot object to his standing behind Israel, but can he play favorites, thereby alienating the Arab world? If Mr Romney plays favorites or takes sides, the United States will remain an enemy in the eyes of other countries in the Near and Middle East. As a result, he would not be protecting but endangering Israel.
Moreover, by taking sides, he would endanger the United States. The events of 9/11 and the disastrous wars fought in the wake of these attacks dictate prudence in the Middle East. There are countries in the Arab world that harbor considerable ill feelings against the United States.
Mr Romney also stated that “[w]e need to indict Ahmadinejad.” In what capacity could the President of the United States do this? Ahmadinejad is not an American citizen and Iran is a sovereign nation. Indicting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have to be done using the proper international channels. The President of the United States does not rule the world.
China: Mr Romney
Mr Romney’s comments on China were also alarming.
“That’s why on day one, I will label them a currency manipulator, which allows us to apply tariffs where they’re taking jobs. They’re stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods.” (Mitt Romney)
The United States borrowed a great deal of money from China and may need to borrow more. If Mr Romney and other very wealthy Americans will not pay their fair share of taxes, if they deposit their money in offshore accounts, if they continue to expect tax cuts, if they export too large a number of jobs to China and other countries, thereby taking jobs away from Americans and, by the same token, depriving the US of tax-payers, how will the debt be repaid? Mr Romney may have to learn Chinese.
In short, Mr Romney is fomenting dissent in the Middle East and inviting retaliatory action from China. His behaviour suggests that he would be a reckless President and that as President of the United States, he would not give sufficient attention to domestic issues. He would in fact bully the world: sanctions here, sanctions there.
The Middle East: President Obama
“[O]ur security is at stake.” (President Obama)
Contrary to Mr Romney, President Obama’s main concern is for the safety of his people. For instance, he stated that:
his administration is “going to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure that they [Iran] do not get a nuclear weapon. That’s in America’s national interest and that will be the case so long as I’m president.”
President Obama is right. It is in America’s national interest to make sure than Iran and other countries do not get nuclear weapons. This matter is, in fact, a global issue and should be addressed as such.
President Obama also stated that “[t]hey [Egypt] have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel’s security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels.”
According to Mr Romney, the US “should be playing the leadership role there[Libya]” not on the ground with military[,]” a statement to which President Obama’s response was that they (the US) “are playing the leadership role.”
America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America, and it is stronger now than when I came into office.
English: President Obama had called on the two former Presidents to help. During their public remarks in the Rose Garden, President Clinton had said about President Bush, ‘I’ve already figured out how I can get him to do some things that he didn’t sign on for.’ Later, back in the Oval, President Bush is jokingly asking President Clinton what were those things he had in mind. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes the United States “remains the one indispensable nation,” but a nation where a social contract, albeit tacit, dictates that its president’s main concern be the “safety” of his nation. That notion has to inform a president’s actions and any candidate to the presidency of the United States who expresses views that stray from this tenet does not seem a suitable candidate.
So the United States now knows that if it elects Mr Romney, it may well elect a warmonger who is indeed prepared to barge into other countries thoughtlessly and will revive the image of the “ugly American:” a “pejorative term used to refer to perceptions of loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless and ethnocentric behavior of American citizens mainly abroad, but also at home.Although the term is usually associated with or applied to travelers and tourists, it also applies to US corporate businesses in the international arena.” (Ugly American, Wikipedia)
After four years of careful negotiations with the Middle East and a rapprochement, America might again be sending soldiers into battle, young Americans who will lose their life or whose life may be ruined.
* * *
What comes to my mind is that picture of President elect Obama entering the White House surrounded by former presidents. The US suffered under the former president’s administration, but President Bush was President of the United States and he was President on 9/11, a calamity that can lead and led to injudicious decisions. But President Obama treated President Bush in a kind and courteous manner as he did all former presidents. The “five presidents” was a moment of mutual respect that brought me hope, and hope is the road that takes us into the future.
Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I reported in my last blog, Mitt Romney seems to have entered into some alliance with Israel, which is dangerous. For the Arab World, Israel is an American presence in the Near and Middle East. As a result, hatred for the US is immense. Therefore, the US cannot take sides. It has to work with the support of the world in order to eliminate nuclear threat everywhere. This would protect Israel.
The Second Debate
With respect to the second debate (16 October 2012), I have written that Mitt Romney acted in a Machiavellian fashion. This approach is a “do-anything-to-become-President-of-the-United States.” The end justifies the means.
Some people have not had the opportunity to read Machiavelli. I will therefore introduce a word everyone will understand: bullying. It appears Mitt Romney is a bully and bullies can break people. I have discovered that others consider Mr Romney a bully. I’m not alone.
I will have to do a little digging on this issue, but I recall a statement on the part of Mr Romney to the effect that his ethnicity would give him an edge over President Obama. It had to do with Mr Romney’s ability to understand people better, white people I believe. This is a statement he made in the UK.
Combined with voter suppression, this statement leads me to believe that Mr Romney hasn’t much use for persons of color. In fact, even if my memory does not serve me well regarding the UK remark, voter suppression alone would indicate that Mitt Romney does not respect persons of colour sufficiently to be elected into the office of President of the United States. At any rate, his poor opinion of persons of colour would make it easier for him to bully President Obama.
Interrupting the debate
If the next debate turns into a quarrel, as moderator of that debate, I would end it.
For the last couple of weeks, the Israeli prime minister has been the featured player in a Republican-sponsored TV ad playing in Florida. It shows excerpts from Netanyahu’s United Nations speech last month in which he tacitly attacks President Obama for his failure to set a clear red line for Iran’s nuclear program.
“The world tells Israel: ‘Wait, there’s still time,’” he says. “And I say, wait for what? Wait until when?”
No, Netanyahu didn’t plan or buy the campaign ad. Secure America Now, a group run by longtime Republican strategists, put it up. But Florida is filled with Israeli emigres and American Jews. There’s no question that Netanyahu knows all about the ad and has made no effort to criticize or blunt it. An anonymous Israeli official did tell the news media that the prime minister’s office had nothing to do with the ad and did not approve of it. That’s all.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu called for early elections to take place early next year. How would he like it if an opponent began airing TV ads that showed Obama openly criticizing him? And then, when asked about it, an anonymous White House aide managed to say something banal, like: “Oh, we didn’t authorize that.”
If Netanyahu has no interest in taking sides in the American presidential election, then he should issue a strong statement or hold a press conference to declare that he does not support the use of his U.N. remarks in a partisan campaign ad.
But he didn’t say a word. Not one. And the reason is clear: He does not like Obama, and Obama doesn’t like him. Remember the Group of 20 summit in France late last year, when Obama was overheard chatting with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president? Neither knew the mike was open.
“Netanyahu, I can’t stand him,” Sarkozy leaned over and told Obama. “He’s a liar.”
Obama responded, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.
“Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.”
I suggested that the above statement be rephrased: “The world must stand firmly in opposing nuclear threat.” In fact, the original statement (NY Times) is not altogether accurate. The United States is opposing nuclear threat, but it cannot create the impression that Israel is an American presence in the midst of the Arab world. (See The Ottawa Citizen).
How does Mr Romney expect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will react? Moreover, in what capacity did Mr Romney talk with Mr Netanyahu. Mr Romney is not the President of the United States. This seems an “I’ll-stoop-to-anything-to-get-votes” scenario, the Machiavellian scenario.
The Diplomatic Way
It would be my opinion that the diplomatic way of dealing with factions in the Middle East is not to take sides. Under the Bush (R) administration, the US waged two disastrous wars in the Middle East. That was a mistake, but the 9/11 attacks were destabilizing. President Bush found himself in a real dilemma. However, the time has come for the United States to mend fences, which the US has done from the time Mr Obama was elected to the presidency of his country and Hillary Clinton accepted to be his Secretary of State.
Mr Romney adopted a Machiavellian approach during the last debate, the debate that took place on October 16th, acting rather dishonorably. But given that he may have entered into some alliance with Israel, I believe he may also be a threat to the United States.
composer: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (18 March 1844 – 21 June 1908)
piece: Scheherazade 3rd movement – The Young Prince & Princess
performers: Berliner Philharmoniker & Michel Schwalbé
conductor: Herbert von Karajan
“So the nature of war, consisteth not in actuall fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary.” (The Leviathan,Chapter XIII)
Hobbes identified “three principall causes of quarrell. First, competition; Secondly, Diffidence; Thirdly, Glory. The first maketh man invade for gain; the second, for Safety; and the third, for Reputation. The first use Violence, to make themselves Masters of other mens persons, wives, children, and cattell; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other signe of undervalue, either direct in their Persons, or by reflexion in their Kindred, their Friends, their Nation, their Profession, or their Name.”
What we heard and saw in this week debate, held on 16 October 2012, is one man, President Obama, defending himself against false accusations and false accusations may eventually lead a man to say: “You’re lying.” The debate turned into a quarrel and President Obama defended himself, for his own safety. Human beings are born equipped with an instinct for self-preservation. John Locke opposed inneism, but to my knowledge, he did not negate the innateness of man’s instinct for self-preservation. It is the instinct that motivates individuals to protect themselves and, at times, to enter into a Social Contract to ensure their safety.
In Chapter XIV of the Leviathan, Hobbes writes that “no man can transferre, or lay down his Right to save himselfe from Death, Wounds, and Imprisonment.”
In the case of the October 16th debate, no one had to fear death and imprisonment, but wounds were being inflicted. Mr Romney indulged in machiavelianism: the end justifies the means. I therefore believe that the winner in the October 16th, 2012 debate is President Obama. Defending oneself seems legitimate.
The Near and Middle East
Moreover, if war is a constant feature in human behaviour, the US and the world may be at risk again (please see the New York Times, 20 October 2012, for an analysis), “Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.”
Mr Romney should know better. It isn’t in the best interest of the United States to wage war in the Near and Middle East. Citizens of the Near and Middle East loathe the United States. I would rephrase the above quotation. It would read: “The world must stand firmly in opposing nuclear threat.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, is no choirboy. If the US takes sides, it may provoke him into greater adversity.
Besides, we all know that Mr Romney is seeking the Presidency of the United States in order to spare the rich their fair share of taxes, which is the freedom we surrender, the social contract, in order to live safely.