Compassion is the basis of all morality



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Value/Criteron

Compassion/Ethic of Care

Compassion is the basis of all morality.


Schopenhauer, Arthur. On the Basis of Morality. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965. Print.

But if what I do is to take place solely on account of some one else ; then it follows that his weal and woe must directly constitute my motive ; just as, ordinarily, my own weal and woe form it. This narrows the limits of our problem, which may now be stated as follows : How is it possible that another's weal and woe should influence my will directly, that is, exactly in the same way as otherwise my own move it ? How can that which affects another for good or bad become my immediate motive, and actually sometimes assume such importance that it more or less supplants my own interests, which are, as a rule, the single source of the incentives that appeal to me ? Obviously, only because that other person becomes the ultimate object of my will, precisely as usually I myself am that object ; in other words, because I directly desire weal, and not woe, for him, just as habitually I do for myself. This, however, necessarily implies that I suffer with him, and feel his woe, exactly as in most cases I feel only mine, and therefore desire his weal as immediately as at other times I desire only my own. But, for this to be possible, I must in some way or other be identified with him ; that is, the difference between myself and him, which is the precise raison d'etre of my Egoism, must be removed, at least to a certain extent. Now, since I do not live in his skin, there remains only the knowledge, that is, the mental picture, I have of him, as the possible means where- by I can so far identify myself with him, that my action declares the difference to be practically effaced. The process here analyzed is not a dream, a fancy floating in the air ; it is perfectly real, and by no means infrequent. It is, what we see every day, the phenomenon of Compassion ; in other words, the direct participation, independent of all ulterior considerations, in the sufferings of another, leading to sympathetic assistance in the effort to prevent or remove them ; whereon in the last resort all satisfaction and all well-being and happiness depend. It is this Compassion alone which is the real basis of all voluntary justice and all genuine loving-kindness. Only so far as an action springs therefrom, has it moral value ; and all conduct that proceeds from any other motive whatever has none. When once compassion is stirred within me, by another's pain, then his weal and woe go straight to my heart, exactly in the same way, if not always to the same degree, as otherwise I feel only my own. Consequently the difference between myself and him is no longer an absolute one. No doubt this operation is astonishing, indeed hardly comprehensible. It is, in fact, the great mystery of Ethics, its original phaenomenon, and the boundary stone, past which only transcendental speculation may dare to take a step. Herein we see the wall of partition, which, according to the light of nature (as reason is called by old theologians), entirely separates being from being, broken down, and the non-ego to a certain extent identified with the ego. I wish for the moment to leave the metaphysical explanation of this enigma untouched, and first to inquire whether all acts of voluntary justice and true loving- kindness really arise from it. If so, our problem will be solved, for we shall have found the ultimate basis of morality, and shown that it lies in human nature itself. This foundation, however, in its turn cannot form a problem of Ethics, but rather, like every other ultimate fact as such, of Metaphysics. Only the solution, that the latter offers of the primary ethical phaenomenon, lies outside the limits of the question put by the Danish Royal Society, which is concerned solely with the basis ; so that the transcendental explanation can be given merely as a voluntary and unessential appendix.

States have a responsibility to practice compassion towards those in need; this responsibility can be provoked by civic debate.


Elisabeth Porter, PhD, professor of social sciences at the University of South Australia, 2006, Hypatia, “Can Politics Practice Compassion?”, pp. 97-12, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4640024, Access date: 7/17/12

Yet, as intimated earlier, in order to move beyond empathy, we must also address claims for justice and equality. Again, I suggest that without the compassionate drive that is prompted by visualizing the pain of injustice, we will not feel peoples' anguish, or bother to consider what they need. As individuals, we have responsibilities beyond our personal connections to assist whenever it is within our capacities and resources to do so. I do not want to give the impression that our entire lives should be devoted to attending to others' needs. To do so would return women to exclusive nurturance at the expense of self-development and public citizenship. It is, rather, a matter of acting with compassion when it is possible to do so, and the possibility of course is debatable and requires priorities, which differ with us all. Politically, this means that politicians, nations, and international organizations have a similar responsibility to alleviate the suffering that results when peoples' basic needs are not met. There is a heavy responsibility on wealthy nations where the extent of poverty and misery is not as conspicuous as elsewhere to assist less wealthy nations.16 State responsibility is acute when suffering is caused by harsh economic policies, careless sales of arms and military weapons, severe immigration rules, and obscene responses to terrorism by further acts of violence. With the majority of these massive global issues, most of us can only demonstrate the first stage of co-suffering, and perhaps move to the second and debate the merit of options that might meet peoples' needs, and alleviate suffering. This vocal civic debate can provoke the third process of political responses that actually lead to political compassion. Given nations' moral failures of compassion and such conspicuous evidence of oppression, exploitation, brutality, and indifference, we need to be observant, and understand the implications of a failure to practice compassion.



The responsibility of the state to those in need includes providing welfare programs.


Elisabeth Porter, PhD, professor of social sciences at the University of South Australia, 2006, Hypatia, “Can Politics Practice Compassion?”, pp. 97-12, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4640024, Access date: 7/17/12

I am defending the position that it is possible to be politically compassionate and just and that such a claim should be disentangled from notions of gender. I dispute the essentialist claim that women are naturally compassionate. However, because of women's traditional association with caring and their role as primary parent, many women are experienced in caring and tend to respond readily with compassion. As others also argue (Philips 1993, 70; Sevenhuijsen 1998, 13), I am emphasizing the interplay between the particularity of compassion and the universality of justice. Undoubtedly, the dichotomy of public justice associated with masculinity and private care associated with femininity narrowed moral parameters, harmfully cementing restrictive gendered stereotypes. Rather, the relationship between compassion and justice is rich. Compassion "helps us recognize our justice obligations to those distant from us" (Clement 1996, 85). Examples of justice obligations include welfare programs; foreign aid; famine and disaster relief; humane immigration policies; and relieving the suffering of families who are affected by terrorism in Bali, Iraq, Israel, London, Morocco, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, the United States, and elsewhere. A choice between justice and compassion is false; considerations of justice "arise in and about the practice of care" (Bubeck 1995a, 189). Thus, a defense of the need for compassion is as much a defense for the rights of justice.



The obligation to care for others is delegated to whoever is best suited to provide that care.


Rosemarie Tong, professor of health care ethics and women’s studies at the University of North Carolina, 2002, Hypatia, “Love's Labor in the Health Care System: Working toward Gender Equity”, pg. 200-213, http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/3810802, Date accessed: 7/18/12
Kittay's justification for the dependency worker's obligations to the dependent resembles the one Robert Goodin offers in his book, Protecting the Vulnerable (Goodin 1985). According to Kittay's interpretation of Goodin, "the moral basis of special relations between individuals arises from the vulnerability of one party to the actions of another" (55). For example, a mother has an obligation to care for her infant because she is "the individual best situated, or exclusively situated to meet the needs of the dependent" (55). The source of a mother's moral obligation to her infant is not in the rights of the dependent as a person, but rather in the relationship that exists between one in need and one who is situated to meet the need. The defining characteristic of this largely socially constructed relationship is that it is not usually chosen but already given in the ties of family, the dynamics of friendship, or the obligations of employment. The fact that a relationship is "given" to the dependency worker, however, does not mean that it is necessarily wrong for the dependency worker to break the relationship. Kittay disagrees with Goodin when he refuses to absolve a slave from his "obligations" to a master who becomes so ill that he cannot survive without the slave's help. The master's fragile condition is the slave's one chance for freedom. Is the slave obligated to stay and take care of his master who will most likely die if left unattended? Goodin argues yes. As he sees it, if vulnerability arises in a relationship, the moral worth of that relationship is not relevant to the existence of the obligation (Kittay 1999, 59). Kittay argues no. As she sees it, the relationship that was given to the slave was a "relationship" that society should not have constructed. Its coerciveness cancels out the obligations that human vulnerability ordinarily creates. Here Kittay is supported by many feminist ethicists, particularly Sarah Lucia Hoagland (1991). According to Hoagland, if a relationship is coercive, abusive, or destructive, the aggrieved party has no obligation to remain in it. She comments: "I must be able to assess any relationship for abuse/oppression and withdraw if I find it to be so. I feel no guilt, I have grown, I have learned something. I understand my part in the relationship. I separate. I will not be there again. Far from diminishing my ethical self, I am enhancing it" (256). Interestingly Kittay believes that others' obligations to dependency workers are no less weighty than dependency workers' obligations to their dependents. In fact, she implies they are more weighty. Even though Kittay believes, as we have just seen, that there are some dependency relationships that dependency workers may rightfully break, she does not also believe that society may break its obligations to dependency workers.

AT Ethics of Care

Ethics of care subjugates womyn. Further oppresses womyn by seeing them as the “care takers.” and reinforces patriarchal binary.


Staudt, 2011 Maureen Sander-Staudt, Ph.D , feminist author, Peer reviewed philosophical data-base, March 18th 2011 “Care Ethics” http://www.iep.utm.edu/care-eth/#SH1a DW)

One of the earliest objections was that care ethics is a kind of slave morality valorizing the oppression of women (Puka, 1990; Card, 1990; Davion, 1993). The concept of slave morality comes from the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche, who held that oppressed peoples tend to develop moral theories that reaffirm subservient traits as virtues. Following this tradition, the charge that care ethics is a slave morality interprets the different voice of care as emerging from patriarchal traditions characterized by rigidly enforced sexual divisions of labor. This critique issues caution against uncritically valorizing caring practices and inclinations because women who predominantly perform the work of care often do so to their own economic and political disadvantage. To the extent that care ethics encourages care without further inquiring as to who is caring for whom, and whether these relationships are just, it provides an unsatisfactory base for a fully libratory ethic. This objection further implies that the voice of care may not be an authentic or empowering expression, but a product of false consciousness that equates moral maturity with self-sacrifice and self-effacement.

Care Ethics are Empirically Flawed


Staudt 2011 (Maureen Sander-Staudt, Ph.D , feminist author, Peer reviewed philosophical data-base, March 18th 2011 “Care Ethics” http://www.iep.utm.edu/care-eth/#SH1a DW)

Critics also question the empirical accuracy and validity of Gilligan’s studies. Gilligan has been faulted for basing her conclusions on too narrow a sample, and for drawing from overly homogenous groups such as students at elite colleges and women considering abortion (thereby excluding women who would not view abortion as morally permissible). It is argued that wider samples yield more diverse results and complicate  the picture of dual and gendered moral perspectives (Haan, 1976; Brabeck, 1983). For instance, Vanessa Siddle Walker and John Snarey surmise that resolution of the Heinz dilemma shifts if Heinz is identified as Black, because in the United States African-American males are disproportionately likely to be arrested for crime, and less likely to have their cases dismissed without stringent penalties (Walker and Snarey, 2004). Sandra Harding observes certain similarities between care ethics and African moralities, noting that care ethics has affinities with many other moral traditions (Harding, 1987). Sarah Lucia Hoagland identifies care as the heart of lesbian connection, but also cautions against the dangers of assuming that all care relations are ideally maternalistic (Hoagland, 1988). Thus, even if some women identify with care ethics, it is unclear whether this is a general quality of women, whether moral development is distinctly and dualistically gendered, and whether the voice of care is the only alternative moral voice.




Narratives

The only way to access the true moral and ethical questions of the resolution is through a narrative that humanizes the “other”


Kapust Antje, Prof. of Philosophy at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. 2005: Addressing Levinas Ed. Eric Sean Nelson, Antje Kapust, and Kent Still. Northwestern University Press. Pgs. 236-257

From antiquity to modern times-it was always the other as barbarian, as horrid animal, and as uncivilized being, who was all too often decreed to be a legitimated target for extinction. This “labeling” coincided with an ambivalent refusal of situating him or her in the reign of “ethical speech." Passing from the late concept of polemos to the holy doctrine of sacred war, from conquest of civilizations to ideological legitimations of persecutions of others, rationally developed many ways of interrupting the orientation that Levinas advances -that of preferring to talk to the so-called barbarian instead of killing him. Even the calling into memory of this orientation does not take place; violence is enacted in the sphere of mute acts of brutality such as took place in the mass execution of Jews, a mass murder which was set forth in the final solution of National Socialism: "We have drunk a lot of alcohol during this time in order to stimulate our verve and exhilaration for work." Victims are deprived of any possibility of speech, since any request for deliverance, rescue, or survival has to be immediately denied and repressed: “The Jews who were still living after mass execution as well as those who were only shot and still wounded in the lower layers were suffocated by the upper layers or were drowned by the blood of the upper layers." The force of violence replaces the creative function that Hannah Arendt attributed to the political word. An agonistic productivity of political speech shifts all too quickly to a dysfunctional and destructive force. Ricoeur describes the logic of this collision in a metaphor which dismisses Levinas’s ethical point, since violence is described as the mechanical action and reaction of two forces-an image that applied to illustrate the phenomena of battle and combat from modern philosophy to the military discourses of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But it is important that he links this collision of forces with a degradation of language. Ricoeur describes precisely the ontological dilemma of this violence: it consists in the dominance of the blind spot in which “two powers of command confront each other at the same point of pretension where they cannot sustain both at the same time." In this blind spot of collision, speech gets destroyed and is replaced by a myth that imposes a stigma upon the target of extinction.

Storytelling is necessary for the development of moral agency.


Tirrell, Lynne, Prof. Philosophy at U. Mass Boston, Storytelling and Moral agency, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring, 1990), pp. 115-126

It is through the articulation of events, motives and characters that we become moral agents. This is the sense in which storytelling is necessary for moral agency. In telling stories one develops a sense of self, a sense of self in relation to others, and a capacity to justify one's decisions. These features are necessary for being a moral agent in the categorical sense. Telling stories may also increase our sophistication as agents. We may begin with rudimentary stories that show a basic grasp of the moral, and sometimes we may eventually develop the thickened judgment that enables one to take control of oneself, one's place in one's community and to have a directed impact on that community.

Levinas

We must always interrupt the political with the ethical. Exposition to the suffering of the other is necessary for all ethical evaluations.


Jordaan, Eduard. Professor of Political Science at Stellenbosch, 2006, “Responsibility, Indifference, and Global Poverty: A Levinasian Perspective”

For Levinas, it is imperative that the political be forever interrupted by the ethical; the question is how? Awakening us to our responsibility for the other is the second function of the proposed strategy, which is intended to describe and emphasize human complexity to the greatest extent possible. Throughout this study, authors in the cosmopolitan-communitarian debate have been criticized for suppressing various aspects of the ethical relation with the other, which has resulted in us being left in good conscience, despite having failed the global other. At the start of this chapter it was argued that the cosmopolitan strategy to convince us of our guilt and responsibility for the global poor is counterproductive given that its emphasis on human equality numbs that which incites us to responsibility for the other, namely glimpses of him as inexpressibly different from everyone else, unique. So, it seems as though our task is to confront the world with the ‘face’ of the other, to accuse the world of having left the other to quite literally ‘die alone’. It is imperative that we “expose” the ‘skins’ of complacent selves to “wounds and outrage,” that we elicit a “suffering for the suffering of the other” (CPP 146). In order to bring the world into proximity to the other, to expose third parties to his ‘face,’ it is claimed that actions aimed at conveying the other in as great a complexity as possible can help us do this. Human complexity/difference/dissimilarity is therefore not important for its own sake (and therefore to be maintained at all costs), but insofar as it insinuates the uniqueness of the other. Of course, this ‘strategy’ immediately has to confront the objection that all representations of the other betray his alterity and suppress his otherness (see Broody, 2001). Granting this, the claim made here is that there are representations (and positionings) of the other and articulations of his situation that are more suggestive of his otherness and therefore of my ethical responsibility for him. That this is so is suggested by the opposite, namely an extreme form of negating the other’s alterity, his de-humanisation through racist and stereotyped representations whereby the way is paved for social and political disregard, maltreatment, or ‘disciplining’. Though one cannot be sure of the direction of causality, there seems to be a direct correlation between the fullness with which people are viewed and the extent of the concern we have for them. Is it not generally the case that the people we are most indifferent towards are also those most absent from our imaginations, those persons/groups we know least about? Returning to the group of people I am most concerned with in this study, the global poor, is it not the case that we generally know very little about tem, compared to say, Americans? And, for example, is this not part of the reason that while the world reacted with great sympathy for the victims of the September 11th attacks in which approximately three thousand people died, we do not pay much attention to the fact that every day approximately 30,000 children die from preventable illnesses, which translates into more than 10 million deaths per year (UNDP 2003: 5; World Bank, 2004)? It is my contention that there is a relationship between the fullness with which we view people and the concern we have for them, and a large part of the reason is that a fuller conception of the other person is a stronger suggestion of his altery and the ethical command that issues from the fact of his otherness.
The State is the beginning of all violence-not helping those who aren’t “its own” ignores responsibility for the other and is the root cause of all violence.

Aronowicz, prof Judaism Franklin and Marshall, 2006 Annette Aronowicz, professor of Judaic studies at Franklin and Marshall College, Summer 2006, “Levinas and Politics” http://66.102.1.104/scholar?q=cache:5L5lnjhcUSgJ:scholar.google.com/+levinas%2Bholocaust%2Bpolitics&hl=en ¶ ¶ What remains after so much bloodshed and tears shed in the name of immortal principles is individual sacrifice, which, amidst the dialectical rebounds of justice and all its contradictory aboutfaces, without any hesitation finds a straight and sure way (1990: 29). Once again, we have a very violent reality, “the cruelty inherent in rational order (and¶ perhaps simply in Order)” says Levinas (1990: 29). Countering this is the act of protection and mercy extended from one to the other. This is not to suggest that Levinas’ solution to the problem of violence lies simply in the individual’s act of responsibility. It is neither that simple nor that simplistic. In ‘Judaism and revolution’, a very complex commentary dealing with the relationship of the Jewish tradition and the State, Levinas makes clear that the State itself is responsible for guaranteeing conditions that permit for the fulfillment of the human (Levinas 1990: 99). Yet the State claims a universalism that is deceptive, for while it attempts to protect the individual person, it limits that protection to its own and thus divides the world into an ‘us and them’, quelling the responsibility of one to the other, beyond any distinctions whatsoever. The Jewish tradition’s universalism, on the other hand, does not recognize limits to responsibility for the other person. It thus introduces a wedge between the Jewish people and the State, for the latter cannot limit the responsibility of the former. As such, the Jewish tradition always signals a loyalty beyond the State, and propels political activity in two directions. The first is in the direction of care for the most vulnerable members within it, setting the standard by which the State offers guarantees against dehumanization (Levinas 1990: 99-100). The second is in refusing to identify the good with a particular State, thus preventing the State from turning into an object of idolatry. Levinas warns, however, that even a revolutionary movement whose aim is to overthrow a hopelessly corrupt government can turn into a mirror image of the violence it contests, dividing the world into us and them just as much. A revolution always risks the very thing it is opposing. This does not mean that revolution is never justified but once again, we are left, as our only recourse, vigilance against abuses, rather than a once and for all transformation: Revolutionary action is first of all the action of the isolated man who plans revolution not only in danger but also in the agony of conscience. In the agony of conscience that risks making revolution impossible: for it is not only a question of seizing the evil-doer but also of not making the innocent suffer (Levinas 1990:¶ 110).
We should reject the state-rather that it’s in a permanent revolution to always become more ethical. We must help by taking individual responsibility to check its instituions -without ethics we all face unlimited violence.

Simmons, associate prof social sciences ASU, 2003¶ William Paul Simmons, associate professor of social sciences at Arizona State University, 2003, “An-Archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’s Political Thought”¶

According to Levinas, the move from the Other to the Third is the beginning of all violence. In the realm of the said, the ego must necessarily weigh others in the name of justice, but this process reduces the Other to a cipher. Strangely enough, justice is un-ethical. When justice is universalized into laws and institutions it moves yet another step away from the an-archical responsibility for the Other. The necessary universalization of ethical responsibility into the state is inherently un-ethical and violent. In the state, the ego is unable to respond directly to the face of the Other. Further, the institutions of the state treat the Other as an interchangeable cog in its machinery, thereby denying the transcendent element in man. Even when the state functions perfectly it is, by its very nature, opposed to ethics. "For me, the negative element, the element of violence in the state, in the hierarchy, appears even when the hierarchy functions perfectly, when everyone submits to universal ideas. There are cruelties which are terrible because they proceed from the necessity of the reasonable order. There are, if you like, the tears that a civil servant cannot see: the tears of the Other.'45¶ Vigilance against violence in the state is essential. Institutions need to be constantly checked by the ethical relationship with the Other. "In order for things to work and in order for things to develop an equilibrium, it is absolutely necessary to affirm the infinite responsibility of each, for each, before each . .. . As I see it, subjective protest is not received favorably on the pretext that its egoism is sacred, but because the 1 alone can perceive the 'secret tears' of the Other which are caused by the functioning-albeit reasonable-of the hierarchy."4' The state must be constantly reminded of its inherent violence. Levinas finds just such a self-critical state in the modem liberal state. The liberal state "always asks itself whether its own justice really is justice. "17¶ What qualities does the liberal state possess that makes it self-critical? First, there is the freedom of the press, the freedom to criticize the government, to speak out against injustice. "You know the prophets of the bible, they come and say to the king that his method of dispensing justice is wrong. The prophet doesn't do this in a clandestine way: he comes before the king and he tells him. In the liberal state, it's the press, the poets, the writers who fulfill this role."48¶ Second, in the liberal state, the leader is not above the people, but is chosen from among the people. A ruler who is in an ethical relationship sees humanity through the Other's eyes. Against the Platonic formulation that the best ruler is the one who is best in control of himself, Levinas argues that the best ruler is the one who is in an ethical relationship with the Other. "The State, in accordance with its pure essence, is possible only if the divine word enters into it; the prince¶ is educated in this knowledge."9¶ However, for Levinas, the most important component of the liberal state is its call for a "permanent revolution."50 The Levinasian liberal state is always trying to improve itself, trying to be more just. It is "a rebellion that begins where the other society is satisfied to leave off, a rebellion against injustice that begins once order begins."5' Although no state can be purely ethical, the liberal state at least strives for ethics. Such a state is the desideratum if politics cannot be ethical. There is no politics for accomplishing the moral, but there are certainly some politics which are further from it or closer to it. For example, I've mentioned Stalinism to you. I've told you that justice is always a justice which desires a better justice. This is the way that I will characterize the liberal state. The liberal state is a state which holds justice as the absolutely desirable end and hence as a perfection. Concretely, the liberal state has always admitted alongside the written law-human rights as a parallel institution. It continues to preach that within its justice there are always improvements to be made in human rights. Human rights are the reminder that there is no justice yet. And consequently, I believe that it is absolutely obvious that the liberal state is more moral than the fascist state, and closer to the morally ideal state.32¶


The ethical and the political are not separated-politics is the ethical relationship between more than one Other. Infusing Levinasian ethics into politics will create a more ethical, less violent state.


Simmons, associate prof social sciences ASU, 2003

William Paul Simmons, associate professor of social sciences at Arizona State University, 2003, “An-Archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’s Political Thought”



Therefore, Levinas distinguishes the ethical relationship with the Other from justice which involves three or more people.2° The an-archical relationship with the Other is the pre-linguistic world of the saying. Language is unnecessary to respond to the Other. The Third, however, demands an explanation. "In its frankness it [language] refuses the clandestinity of love, where it loses its frankness and meaning and turns into laughter or cooing. The third party looks at me in the eyes of the Other-.language is justice."2' In order to judge between Others, they must be co-present, or synchronous. Thus, the Third also opens up the world of knowledge and consciousness. "Here is the hour and birthplace of the question: a demand for justice! Here is the obligation to compare unique and incomparable others; here is the hour of knowledge and, then, of the objectivity beyond or on the hither side of the nudity of the face; here is the hour of consciousness and intentionality."22¶ Finally, the Third introduces the realm of politics. The ego's infinite respon- sibility must be extended to all humanity, no matter how far off. Ethics must be universalized and institutionalized to affect the others. "To the extent that someone else's Face brings us in relation with a third party, My metaphysical relation to the Other is transformed into a We, and works toward a State, institutions and laws which form the source of universality."¶ Before delving into the relationship between ethics and politics, several implications of Levinas's move from the Other to the Third need to be addressed. First, does the ego still have an infinite responsibility for the Other? In Otherwise than Being, Levinas defines justice as "the limit of responsibility and the birth of the question?'24 However, in the same work, he also claims that "in no way is justice a degradation of obsession, a degeneration of the for-the-other, a diminution, a limitation of anarchic responsibility.us How can these conflicting statements be resolved? Either justice limits the responsibility for the Other or it does not. The contradiction is resolved by considering, once again, Levinas's theoretical emphasis on the separation between the saying and the said. Ethics is found in the an-archical realm of the saying, while justice is a part of the totalizing realm of the said. Ethics and justice exist in both relation and separation. Neither can be reduced to the other. Thus, justice cannot diminish the infinite responsibility for the Other the ego remains infinitely, asymmetrically, and concretely responsible for the Other. This responsibility always maintains its potency. However, the ego is also invariably transported by the Third into the realm of the said. The ego must weigh its obligations. It is not possible to respond infinitely to all Others. The original demand for an infinite responsibility remains, but it cannot be fulfilled. Ethics must be universalized, but in attempting to do so, the ego has already reneged on its responsibility for the Other. Thus, Levinas's peculiar formulation; justice is un-ethical and violent "Only justice can wipe it [ethical responsibility] away by bringing this giving-oneself to my neighbor under measure, or moderating it by thinking in relation to the third and the fourth, who are also my 'others,' but justice is already the first violence."¶
The State is the beginning of all violence-not helping those who aren’t “its own” ignores responsibility for the other and is the root cause of all violence.

Aronowicz, prof Judaism Franklin and Marshall, 2006¶ Annette Aronowicz, professor of Judaic studies at Franklin and Marshall College, Summer 2006, “Levinas and Politics” http://66.102.1.104/scholar?q=cache:5L5lnjhcUSgJ:scholar.google.com/+levinas%2Bholocaust%2Bpolitics&hl=en ¶ ¶ What remains after so much bloodshed and tears shed in the name of immortal principles is individual sacrifice, which, amidst the dialectical rebounds of justice and all its contradictory aboutfaces, without any hesitation finds a straight and sure way (1990: 29). Once again, we have a very violent reality, “the cruelty inherent in rational order (and¶ perhaps simply in Order)” says Levinas (1990: 29). Countering this is the act of protection and mercy extended from one to the other. This is not to suggest that Levinas’ solution to the problem of violence lies simply in the individual’s act of responsibility. It is neither that simple nor that simplistic. In ‘Judaism and revolution’, a very complex commentary dealing with the relationship of the Jewish tradition and the State, Levinas makes clear that the State itself is responsible for guaranteeing conditions that permit for the fulfillment of the human (Levinas 1990: 99). Yet the State claims a universalism that is deceptive, for while it attempts to protect the individual person, it limits that protection to its own and thus divides the world into an ‘us and them’, quelling the responsibility of one to the other, beyond any distinctions whatsoever. The Jewish tradition’s universalism, on the other hand, does not recognize limits to responsibility for the other person. It thus introduces a wedge between the Jewish people and the State, for the latter cannot limit the responsibility of the former. As such, the Jewish tradition always signals a loyalty beyond the State, and propels political activity in two directions. The first is in the direction of care for the most vulnerable members within it, setting the standard by which the State offers guarantees against dehumanization (Levinas 1990: 99-100). The second is in refusing to identify the good with a particular State, thus preventing the State from turning into an object of idolatry. Levinas warns, however, that even a revolutionary movement whose aim is to overthrow a hopelessly corrupt government can turn into a mirror image of the violence it contests, dividing the world into us and them just as much. A revolution always risks the very thing it is opposing. This does not mean that revolution is never justified but once again, we are left, as our only recourse, vigilance against abuses, rather than a once and for all transformation: Revolutionary action is first of all the action of the isolated man who plans revolution not only in danger but also in the agony of conscience. In the agony of conscience that risks making revolution impossible: for it is not only a question of seizing the evil-doer but also of not making the innocent suffer (Levinas 1990:¶ 110).

This isn’t to say we should reject the state-rather that it’s in a permanent revolution to always become more ethical. We must help by taking individual responsibility to check its instituions -without ethics we all face unlimited violence.

Simmons, associate prof social sciences ASU, 2003¶ William Paul Simmons, associate professor of social sciences at Arizona State University, 2003, “An-Archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’s Political Thought”¶

According to Levinas, the move from the Other to the Third is the beginning of all violence. In the realm of the said, the ego must necessarily weigh others in the name of justice, but this process reduces the Other to a cipher. Strangely enough, justice is un-ethical. When justice is universalized into laws and institutions it moves yet another step away from the an-archical responsibility for the Other. The necessary universalization of ethical responsibility into the state is inherently un-ethical and violent. In the state, the ego is unable to respond directly to the face of the Other. Further, the institutions of the state treat the Other as an interchangeable cog in its machinery, thereby denying the transcendent element in man. Even when the state functions perfectly it is, by its very nature, opposed to ethics. "For me, the negative element, the element of violence in the state, in the hierarchy, appears even when the hierarchy functions perfectly, when everyone submits to universal ideas. There are cruelties which are terrible because they proceed from the necessity of the reasonable order. There are, if you like, the tears that a civil servant cannot see: the tears of the Other.'45¶ Vigilance against violence in the state is essential. Institutions need to be constantly checked by the ethical relationship with the Other. "In order for things to work and in order for things to develop an equilibrium, it is absolutely necessary to affirm the infinite responsibility of each, for each, before each . .. . As I see it, subjective protest is not received favorably on the pretext that its egoism is sacred, but because the 1 alone can perceive the 'secret tears' of the Other which are caused by the functioning-albeit reasonable-of the hierarchy."4' The state must be constantly reminded of its inherent violence. Levinas finds just such a self-critical state in the modem liberal state. The liberal state "always asks itself whether its own justice really is justice. "17¶ What qualities does the liberal state possess that makes it self-critical? First, there is the freedom of the press, the freedom to criticize the government, to speak out against injustice. "You know the prophets of the bible, they come and say to the king that his method of dispensing justice is wrong. The prophet doesn't do this in a clandestine way: he comes before the king and he tells him. In the liberal state, it's the press, the poets, the writers who fulfill this role."48¶ Second, in the liberal state, the leader is not above the people, but is chosen from among the people. A ruler who is in an ethical relationship sees humanity through the Other's eyes. Against the Platonic formulation that the best ruler is the one who is best in control of himself, Levinas argues that the best ruler is the one who is in an ethical relationship with the Other. "The State, in accordance with its pure essence, is possible only if the divine word enters into it; the prince¶ is educated in this knowledge."9¶ However, for Levinas, the most important component of the liberal state is its call for a "permanent revolution."50 The Levinasian liberal state is always trying to improve itself, trying to be more just. It is "a rebellion that begins where the other society is satisfied to leave off, a rebellion against injustice that begins once order begins."5' Although no state can be purely ethical, the liberal state at least strives for ethics. Such a state is the desideratum if politics cannot be ethical. There is no politics for accomplishing the moral, but there are certainly some politics which are further from it or closer to it. For example, I've mentioned Stalinism to you. I've told you that justice is always a justice which desires a better justice. This is the way that I will characterize the liberal state. The liberal state is a state which holds justice as the absolutely desirable end and hence as a perfection. Concretely, the liberal state has always admitted alongside the written law-human rights as a parallel institution. It continues to preach that within its justice there are always improvements to be made in human rights. Human rights are the reminder that there is no justice yet. And consequently, I believe that it is absolutely obvious that the liberal state is more moral than the fascist state, and closer to the morally ideal state.32¶


The ethical and the political are not separated-politics is the ethical relationship between more than one Other. Infusing Levinasian ethics into politics will create a more ethical, less violent state.


Simmons, associate prof social sciences ASU, 2003

William Paul Simmons, associate professor of social sciences at Arizona State University, 2003, “An-Archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’s Political Thought”



Therefore, Levinas distinguishes the ethical relationship with the Other from justice which involves three or more people.2° The an-archical relationship with the Other is the pre-linguistic world of the saying. Language is unnecessary to respond to the Other. The Third, however, demands an explanation. "In its frankness it [language] refuses the clandestinity of love, where it loses its frankness and meaning and turns into laughter or cooing. The third party looks at me in the eyes of the Other-.language is justice."2' In order to judge between Others, they must be co-present, or synchronous. Thus, the Third also opens up the world of knowledge and consciousness. "Here is the hour and birthplace of the question: a demand for justice! Here is the obligation to compare unique and incomparable others; here is the hour of knowledge and, then, of the objectivity beyond or on the hither side of the nudity of the face; here is the hour of consciousness and intentionality."22¶ Finally, the Third introduces the realm of politics. The ego's infinite respon- sibility must be extended to all humanity, no matter how far off. Ethics must be universalized and institutionalized to affect the others. "To the extent that someone else's Face brings us in relation with a third party, My metaphysical relation to the Other is transformed into a We, and works toward a State, institutions and laws which form the source of universality."¶ Before delving into the relationship between ethics and politics, several implications of Levinas's move from the Other to the Third need to be addressed. First, does the ego still have an infinite responsibility for the Other? In Otherwise than Being, Levinas defines justice as "the limit of responsibility and the birth of the question?'24 However, in the same work, he also claims that "in no way is justice a degradation of obsession, a degeneration of the for-the-other, a diminution, a limitation of anarchic responsibility.us How can these conflicting statements be resolved? Either justice limits the responsibility for the Other or it does not. The contradiction is resolved by considering, once again, Levinas's theoretical emphasis on the separation between the saying and the said. Ethics is found in the an-archical realm of the saying, while justice is a part of the totalizing realm of the said. Ethics and justice exist in both relation and separation. Neither can be reduced to the other. Thus, justice cannot diminish the infinite responsibility for the Other the ego remains infinitely, asymmetrically, and concretely responsible for the Other. This responsibility always maintains its potency. However, the ego is also invariably transported by the Third into the realm of the said. The ego must weigh its obligations. It is not possible to respond infinitely to all Others. The original demand for an infinite responsibility remains, but it cannot be fulfilled. Ethics must be universalized, but in attempting to do so, the ego has already reneged on its responsibility for the Other. Thus, Levinas's peculiar formulation; justice is un-ethical and violent "Only justice can wipe it [ethical responsibility] away by bringing this giving-oneself to my neighbor under measure, or moderating it by thinking in relation to the third and the fourth, who are also my 'others,' but justice is already the first violence."¶
Responsibility towards the other is the basis for all ethical relations
Peter Jowers Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of the West of England. 2005 Trust, Risk, and Uncertainty. “Risk, Sensibility, Ethics and Justice in the Later Levinas” Pgs. 47-73¶¶ \

The psyche senses a 'call' from outside, stemming from the proximate expressivity of the Other. The psyche as incarnation senses another body in proximity; the Other as expressive subjectivity. She, neighbour, makes demands on me, or in Levinasian terms - derived and profoundly reordered from Heidegger -'calls' me, placing me under an injunction or command. The Other 'solicits", 'institutes', 'accuses' or 'elects' me to cite some of the terms Levinas uses in this connection. I am incarnate, I feel and, above all, am both an enjoying and suffering sensate creature who involuntarily responds to and for the Other who suffers and, at this very root or on this ground, can do no other but passively place myself at their service, in their 'hour of need'. There is no choice. I am not a slave. In this involuntary response to the Other, I found my human self in responsibility. Levinas repeatedly cites the phrase 'Yes, I am here' as the psyche's response to the Other prior to any cognition as the founding moment of sociality which is always laced within the said!¶ The psyche, as being-for-the-other, needs incarnation and proximity. The self involuntarily responds to the Other's vulnerability via sensibility, prior to any conscious sense of compassion, sympathy or empathy. I do not place myself consciously in another's 'shoes' by first imagining my way into their suffering. I respond affectively. The Other takes me hostage in the sense that I, as minimal sensate self, cannot bear them suffering. I involuntarily respond to suffering because pain has happened to me and their worse pain must be alleviated. My capacity for pain meets the vulnerability 1 being for the other. Such affective truth' underpins our capacity for compassion. Otherwise we would remain coldly distance, dispassionate and uninvolved in the late of the Other. Levinas writes:¶ It is through the condition of being hostage that there can be in the world, pity, compassion, pardon, proximity ... Being hostage is ... the condition for all solidarity. (OR. 117)¶ Taking responsibility for the outrages suffered by the Other 'is the source of all compassion' (OR: 116).¶ The psyche is the point at which the minimal sensate self and Other interlink to the point of substitution, and the sense of being taken hostage occurs. Responsibility is placed on us. It informs our consciousness. Its flickering traces haunt us as guilt, conscience, remorse, expiation) atonement. Is this capacity for guilt universal or merely linked to the sacrificial structures of Abrahamic lineage (Derrida, 1992; 199S: 108-15)? Levinas writes:¶ The animation, the very pneuma of the psyche, alterity in identity, is the identity of the body exposed to the other, becoming 'for the other', the possibility of giving. (0B: 69)¶ This pneuma, or breath, is literally and spiritually inspiration. It is a different type of 'breathing in', as involuntary as the air the lungs take in. Just as air facilitates life prior to any intentionality, so too the approach of the other gives the self ethical meaning, makes us human, takes us from the pure fatality and meaningless of a merely material universe where the conscious ego locked up in its self-absorption merely finds monotony, the horror of the monochrome materiality that Levinas always characterised as the 'there is' or 'it y a' and which always emerges from ontology and is assuaged by ethics. The Other in proximity as node brings out this new identity, but is one at the service of the other'. Strangely, the Other brings a certain type of contradictory stabilisation to the self always in danger of slipping back towards mere responsiveness to stimuli signaling either enjoyment or danger. Response becomes responsibility.


Rejection of Racism

Racism is the ultimate moral evil and must be rejected at all costs


Albert Memmi, Essayist qualified to write about the colonizer and the colonized, 2000. RACISM, pg. 165. http://books.google.com/books?id=lP8kKUKmOwAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false accessed 7/20/12

Of course, this is debatable. There are those who think that if one is strong enough, the assault on and oppression of others is permissible. But no one is ever sure of remaining the strongest. One day, per-haps, the roles will be reversed. All unjust society contains within itself the seeds of its own death. It is probably smarter to treat others with respect so that they treat you with respect. "Recall," says the Bible, "that you were once a stranger in Egypt," which means both that you ought to respect the stranger because you were a stranger yourself and that you risk becoming one again someday. It is an ethical and a practical appeal—indeed, it is a contract, however implicit it might be. In short, the refusal of racism is the condition for all theoretical and practical morality. Because, in the end, the ethical choice commands the political choice, a just society must be a society accepted by all. If this contractual principle is not accepted, then only conflict, violence, and destruction will be our lot. If it is accepted, we can hope someday to live in peace. True, it is a wager, but the stakes are irresistible.


Rejecting racism is a pre-requisite to founding a moral order. Utilitarian considerations are irrelevant when racism runs rampant.


Albert Memmi, Essayist qualified to write about the colonizer and the colonized, 2000. RACISM, pg. 165.

However, it remains true that one's moral conduct only emerges from a choice; one has to want it. It is a choice among other choices, and always debatable in its foundations and its consequences. Let us say, broadly speaking, that the choice to conduct one-self morally is the condition for the establishment of a human order, for which racism is the very negation. This is almost a redundancy. One cannot found a moral order, let alone a legislative order, on racism, because racism signifies the exclusion of the other, and his or her subjection to violence and domination. From an ethical point of view, if one can deploy a lit-tle religious language, racism is "the truly capital sin."22 It is not an accident that almost all of humani-ty's spiritual traditions counsel respect for the weak, for orphans, widows, or strangers. It is not just a question of theoretical morality and disinterested commandments. Such unanimity in the safeguarding of the other suggests the real utility of such sentiments. All things considered, we have an interest in banishing injustice, because injustice engenders violence and death. Of course, this is debatable. There are those who think that if one is strong enough, the assault on and oppression of others is permissible. But no one is ever sure of remaining the strongest. One day, per-haps, the roles will be reversed. All unjust society


Human worth and morality cannot exist with racism.


Albert Memmi, Essayist qualified to write about the colonizer and the colonized, 2000. RACISM, pg. 165.

The struggle against racism will be long, difficult, without intermission, without remission, probably never achieved, yet for this very reason, it is a struggle to be undertaken without surcease and without concessions. One cannot be indulgent toward racism. One cannot even let the monster in the house, especially not in a mask. To give it merely a foothold means to augment the bestial part in us and in other people which is to diminish what is human. To accept the racist universe to the slightest degree is to endorse fear, injustice, and violence. It is to accept the persistence of the dark history in which we still largely live. It is to agree that the outsider will always be a possible victim (and which [person] man is not [themself] himself an outsider relative to someone else?).Racism illustrates in sum, the inevitable negativity of the condition of the dominated; that is it illuminates in a certain sense the entire human condition. The anti-racist struggle, difficult though it is, and always in question, is nevertheless one of the prologues to the ultimate passage from animality to humanity. In that sense, we cannot fail to rise to the racist challenge.

We have a moral obligation to reject racism even if we do not succeed, the less racist choice is always the most moral choice. The Aff does not have to solve all racism to garner offense.


Michael K. Brown et al, Department of Politics at the University of California. 2003 Whitewashing Race: the myth of a color-blind society, “Conclusion: Facing up to Race” pg. 229. http://www.jonescollegeprep.org/ourpages/auto/2007/11/26/1196104740124/Facing%20Up%20To%20Race.pdf accessed 7/20/12

Even if Derrick Bell is correct in his prognosis that durable racial inequality is permanent, it must be challenged. It cannot be ignored. And while we celebrate diversity and applaud cultural pluralism, we do not think that changing identities will eliminate or minimize the harsh reali-ties of the durable racial inequality we have described in this book. Nor do we think that remedies for class inequality by themselves will over-come persistent racial stratification. In fact, if our analysis of U.S. social policies since the New Deal reveals anything, it is the folly of assuming class-specific policies will benefit all racial groups equally.



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