Roe, Roe, Roe, Abort…

October 27, 2005 § 4 Comments

…gently silent scream…

The new Roberts court in action on abortion.

(HT: Mark Shea)

So That’s That

October 27, 2005 § Leave a comment

A dignified way to withdraw, if not precisely addressing the issues that led to it.

Harriet Miers: Typical Modern Liberal?

October 27, 2005 § 3 Comments

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers said in a speech more than a decade ago that “self-determination” should guide decisions about abortion and school prayer and that in cases where scientific facts are disputed and religious beliefs vary, “government should not act.”…

“The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual women’s [sic] right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion,” Miers said.

Those seeking to resolve such disputes would do well to remember that “we gave up” a long time ago on “legislating religion or morality,” she said. And “when science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act.”

(HT: Lawrence Auster)

Calculating the Bang and Narrating Design

October 25, 2005 § 2 Comments

John Farrell posts about Michael Behe’s testimony at some evolution trial. I agree with Farrell’s criticism of Behe in this instance, though not with his glib dismissal of Behe and “Intelligent Design” in general. Big Bang cosmology is based on using the mathematics of general relativity to extrapolate backward in time. “Intelligent Design” such as that espoused by Behe does not extrapolate backward in time mathematically: it does so narratively.

But that raises the interesting point that evolutionary theory in general does not extrapolate backward in time mathematically, but rather does so narratively. So Farrell’s criticism of Intelligent Design applies with equal force to evolutionary theory in general. I am agnostic on whether such narrative extrapolations are or are not “science”, but clearly mathematical theories such as general relativity (of which the Big Bang is simply an extrapolated endpoint) are epistemically quite different sorts of things from narrative theories such as evolution.

(HT: DarwinCatholic).

"Pro-Choice" is Not Deceptive

October 19, 2005 § 15 Comments

Michelle Arnold has an interesting post up entitled The Wordplay Of Abortion. This is an important topic, and my own view on it is a bit different from the usual one, or perhaps peels back an additional layer of the onion.

I think that a fundamental problem arises when our public discourse becomes dominated by talk of “rights”. Framing public morality in terms of rights at least connotes, and perhaps denotes, that a person can legitimately choose to have his rights enforced, or not. If I have a right to a particular piece of property I can choose whether or not to have trespassers expelled. If I have a right to life it at least connotes the idea that I (or my representative, if I am not competent) get to choose whether or not I live, and the manner in which I am willing to live.

But that underlying connotation of choice does not obtain as an objective moral matter. As a gedankenexperiment, even if (though this is not possible in reality) the baby herself did not want to live, that would not make it morally acceptable to abort her. And perhaps less intuitively, if I own a piece of property I am its steward, and it would be morally wrong for me to allow it to be overrun and ruined rather than tended in some way for the greater glory of God.

So I agree that language is a big part of the cultural problem and has to be addressed. But I think the rabbit hole goes deeper than most people realize.

George W. Bush vs. Alexander Hamilton

October 14, 2005 § Leave a comment

Miers, Oh Miers

October 13, 2005 § 2 Comments

On the bright side, there is no reason to believe that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is a legal positivist. On the downside, the reason is because one wonders whether she has any inkling of what the term even means.

I am not necessarily negative about the Miers nomination because of the issue of abstract experience and qualifications, as something formal and distinct from the human person exercising them, though. What is needed on the Supreme Court isn’t a super-Lawyer. What is needed on the Supreme Court is a saint.

Lawrence Auster is pretty unhappy with nominee Miers for the right reasons.

The Homosexual as Ubermensch

October 9, 2005 § 8 Comments

Mark Shea often observes ironically in his headlines that homosexuality is viewed, on the left side of the culture, as the source and summit of all that is good, true, and beautiful. On the other side of the opinion divide from Mark is Andrew Sullivan, who tells us that “Celibacy is a strange, unnatural way of life…”.

Of course objectively celibacy (or more accurately sexual continence) is not only a natural state, it is a state that every single human being is in at least some of the time. Even married couples do not engage in sex all the time, and with illnesses and other life occurrences it is commonplace for married couples to abstain for quite lengthy periods of time, in many cases extending to permanence.

But setting aside objective reality for a moment, why is it that the homosexual insists upon viewing someone who abstains from sex as unnatural, as not fully human?

If you look back at the hydra of liberal revolutions, although the particulars do change from time to time and from place to place there are some constant features. Liberal revolutions have as their objective the creation of a state of freedom and equality among men. The free and equal new man, emancipated from the oppressive chains of arbitrary history, is the superman, self-created by his reason and will. The superman would already be here, fully free and equal in every important respect, if it were not for oppressors – oppressors who represent the chains of arbitrary tradition and history, and from whom the superman must be emancipated. The free and equal superman would be here already were it not for the oppressor who, in virtue of his attachment to the past and to arbitrary concepts of a human nature that does not reduce to the free and equal choices of every man, is less human than the superman. The oppressor-untermensch is both slave and master at the same time: slave to history and tradition, unwilling to create his own destiny in an exercise of the will to power, and oppressor of the proto-superman who would be free if only the untermensch would disappear. The oppressor-untermensch must be made to disappear: as the popular lefty bumper-sticker says, “educate, elucidate, eradicate”.

Liberals do not, I think, appreciate their intellectual debt to Nietzsche. They do not appreciate the fact that the communist and the capitalist are the same in terms of fundamental philosophical foundations, disagreeing only over the particulars. But the irony of blogdom’s most famous homosexual asserting that abstaining from buggery is “a strange, unnatural way of life” helps to bring those philosophical foundations closer to the foreground.

Roberts Redux

October 6, 2005 § Leave a comment

A reader asks:

Care to expand your thoughts regarding Roberts as a terrible pick?

I’ve posted on it several times, but in a nutshell:

1) His statement that as an appellate judge he has no personal reason whatsoever (as a practicing Catholic) not to enforce Roe;

2) His pro bono work for the gay lobby, which led directly to the Lawrence vs. Texas decision; and the fact that he did not disclose it: it had to be dug up by a reporter;

3) His legal positivism (which I think underlies #1);

4) The fact that in his decades-long legal career he hasn’t managed to establish any unequivocally pro-life bon-fides whatsoever;

5) The fact that support for Roberts among pro-life conservatives comes almost exclusively from legal positivists, as far as I can tell;

6) The fact that he is a George Bush “trust me” candidate, and I do not trust George Bush’s judgement on these matters. The fact that Alberto Gonzales was floated first and rejected by social conservatives is proof positive that GWB cannot be trusted. GWB appoints people he thinks are “good people” in some fuzzy sense, without regard for their substantive positions and legal philosophy.

In summary, at best Roberts is an unknown in terms of his substantive pro-life credentials; the track record he does have is on the best spin ambivalent and on the worst spin makes him an enemy of social conservatives; and the very thing neoconservatives like about him – his legal positivism, which is to say his rejection of the legal quiddity of the natural law – conclusively disqualifies him.


October 4, 2005 § 1 Comment

The point to the President’s most recent supreme court nomination seems to be to make the last one (which was terrible in its own right) look positively brilliant by comparison.

Update: Some info from Worldnet Daily on this gem of a pick.

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