moral clarity

Seth Kahn slkahneg at
Thu Jul 25 07:51:20 EST 2002

What David gets at here is what I see as the central conundrum of any 
organizational scheme.  "Clarity" comes at the expense of flexibility 
and, I would argue, of freedom.  As somebody who spent years working 
as a grassroots environmental organizer, I fought this tension every 
day.  Organizing work works best when an organization has a clear 
agenda and purpose, but the clearer the agenda and purpose, the more 
likely opponents are to accuse the organization of trying to control 
behavior.  That's why we often see Republicans attacking 
environmentalists on the grounds that environmentalists are just 
trying to take control of everything.


At 8:38 AM -0400 7/25/02, David Tietge wrote:
>I agree with you, Jim.  In many ways, the labels "liberal" and
>"conservative" serve as a bureaucratization of the imaginative in the sense
>that they force people to fall within certain political boundaries.  If one
>denies being either democrat or republican, people tend to suspect the
>person of being either a waffler on issues or a subversive to the American
>two-party democracy.  No one seems to respect the moderate for these reasons
>(and probably others), despite the fact that moderate views and activities
>are usually the more pragmatic and are often the most useful in initiating
>political (if incremental) change.  This false dilemma still prevails
>because it serves as a shortcut to actually thinking about the best ways to
>proceed and often initiates the most dangerous policies.
>David J. Tietge, Ph.D.
>Associate Director of Writing
>Monmouth University

Seth Kahn
PhD, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric

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