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Schiavo link

In the left-hand column I’ve added a feed for Blogsfor, a sort of clearing house for people concerned about Terri Schiavo. From videos it appears she’s not in a “persistent vegetative state” as defined by Florida law. The local courts have been ruling she has to go, though, with the support of the ACLU and the New York Times and the acquiescence of her bishop. Unless something happens soon they’ll be removing the feeding tube, and she’ll die of hunger and thirst.


New front in the eternal war on bigotry!

Building on a foundation laid by the Massachusetts “gay marriage” decision, and perhaps the Larry Summers smackdown, some students at Harvard are working with an official university body to do something about the problem of heteronormativity—the tendency some people still have of speaking as if male-female relations set some sort of sexual standard. The issue came to a head when a female singer came to campus to receive an award and made some inspirational feminist comments about relationships in the course of her talk:


Ex-Dartmouth pres throws gross-out

I have mixed feelings about my old school, Dartmouth College. I had a good time there—it was a very pretty place, I met good people and was surrounded by good things, and it was a time of life when the whole world seemed to be opening up. Still, visits over the years and communications from the alumni office have given me the settled impression that at bottom it’s an enterprise that’s not very reputable. Part of that impression had to do with James O. Freedman, president of the college from 1987 to 1998. He seemed to stand for the careerism, pretence, lack of principle and ideological mindlessness that I had come to see in the college as an institution. So when my wife pointed out a letter from him in last Saturday’s New York Times I took notice.

Here’s the letter:

To the Editor:

More than half a century ago, George Orwell warned, in his essay “Politics and the English Language” against the immorality implicit in the use, especially by government officals, of intentionally misleading words. I think of Orwell’s essay every time that President Bush speaks of the need for “reform” of Social Security and tort law.

Orwell’s contemporary George Bernard Shaw got it right when he reputedly retorted to an adversary whom he was debating: “Do not speak to me, sir, of reform. Things are bad enough as they are!”

James O. Freedman


More on academic winter

Here’s a Harvey Mansfield piece about the Larry Summers situation that’s worth reading. Since the issues are controversial, I suppose I should say that I think it perfectly obvious that men and women differ naturally in talents and inclinations, and that current views on the topic are evidence that something’s gone radically wrong with intellectual and social life.


Headliner gets headlined

A slice of life for a socially conservative Christian journalist in the Big City: Eden in Exile.


Some thoughts on culpability

Here is the short essay I contributed to Nikos Salingaros’ book Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction. They edited it a bit in the final version. The book is a recommended read, although I’m admittedly not neutral, and if you don’t like what I have to say in English you can also buy it in German:


A bad Idea continues its march through History

In line with the principle of nondiscrimination with regard to sexual matters that Rocco Buttiglione supports so solidly, it appears that unemployed German women may lose unemployment benefits if they turn down jobs as prostitutes. On current public understandings it’s hard to find fault with the result. After all, sexual standards are purely personal and of no conceivable public relevance, so what legitimate grounds could there be for the state to distinguish the work of a sex worker from that of a waitress or dental hygenist? Meanwhile, dutiful bureaucrats are threatening to confiscate the children of German parents who want to homeschool them because they don’t want them trained in the new public truth regarding sex. Again, it’s a sensible decision from the perspective that’s now established as mainstream—the state has a superior interest in the education of its citizens and the well-being of children, and public rationality trumps private prejudice, so who can criticize? (And isn’t it great that the liberal Left has taken government out of our bedrooms?)


Acceptance of mainstream radicalism weakening

I had sensed something like this, so it’s interesting to see such decisive confirmation: New Survey Shows Religious Americans More Inclined to Stand Their Ground. It seems that people today are more likely to say politicians should stand by their principles on “cultural” issues. The change among church-goers since 2000 has been quite substantial, 15-20 percentage points on some issues.


Summers and Academic Winter

How long has it been since being a college president was a respectable job? Every time one gets appointed it seems it’s because of his passionate personal embrace of “diversity.” It’s not so important what happens, as long as people from officially protected groups get as big a piece of the action as possible. Leading academics who try to talk about something more substantive have to profess the same monomania whenever an issue arises and back up professions with action. So here’s Larry Summers, president of Harvard University, apologizing for raising the issue of possible sex differences at a supposedly off-the-record meeting called among top-level academics to discuss the horrible problem of women’s relative lack of achievement in science despite decades of well-funded efforts to push them forward.


The ever-more-glorious present

More signs of the times:


Gloom, doom and the FCC

Here’s a claim that 99.8 percent of FCC indecency complaints were filed by a single activist group. The facts seem a little confused, but the evident general inactivity on the conservative side of the issue is the sort of thing the “conservative trend” in American life amounts to. The truth is that there isn’t a culture war to speak of, let alone a “radical religious right.” What we see instead is unrelenting cultural revolution that the majority resists inconsistently, sporadically, mostly passively, and invariably unsuccessfully. The victories of cultural conservatism, the recent referenda on “gay marriage” for example, simply amount to a few symbolic instances in which the cultural Left hasn’t won as quickly and effortlessly as experience has taught them to expect. They’re just speed bumps on the road to the glorious future they envision.


More thoughts on the blue state of mind

The ’60s, bracketed as they were by the school prayer and abortion decisions, stand for definitive public rejection of the transcendent in favor of a wholly this-worldly understanding of reality. In the absence of a superior point of reference, the social order became the ultimate moral reality and human choice the ultimate authority. For those who accept the ’60s, including those who set the standards and tone of mainstream respectable public life, the consequences include the following:

  • “Inclusion” is now a supreme moral imperative. Since the public social order is ultimate reality, to treat some people, classes or ways of living as more closely connected to it than others is to that extent to exclude them from participation in reality and therefore to annihilate them. That’s one reason Nazi imagery pops up so quickly in response to failures of inclusiveness. Similarly, to be a minor-league social dropout, to homeschool your children or live in a community that’s insufficiently diverse or whatever, is to avoid reality and your obligations to reality. It’s a violation of your obvious fundamental moral obligations as a social being. (Note that the attempt to put the public order into equally close connection to all possible persons and ways of being deprives the public order of all content. Ultimate reality becomes a void, to be filled by sensation and fantasy.)

The rights of conscience in America today

Here’s the latest on mutual respect and public neutrality, as filtered through what now passes for American public thought: a U.S. appeals court says that law schools, which have never seen a federal antidiscrimination rule on faculty hiring they don’t like, can ignore a federal law that says they can’t discriminate against military recruiters and k


Onward and upward, worse and worse

According to a generally thoughtful and well-informed conservative weblog, Power Line, a recent poll shows


Leftist head-scratching continues

An example of leftish puzzlement about religion and politics that’s more intelligent and well-meant than the sort of thing one sees in the New York Times:

The right question, I think, is not whether religion has an undue influence, but why it is that the current flourishing of religious faith has, for the first time ever, virtually no element of social justice? Why is its public phase so exclusively focused on issues of private and personal behavior?


Post-election spin

Leftist blogs say the election turned on “gay marriage,” the prominent rightist blogs say it didn’t (Kos and Little Green Footballs provide an example). The election was close, and turned on any number of things.


The persistence of faith schools in England

“Faith schools”—those with a definite religious orientation—have been something of an issue in England the past several years. The issue comes out of the secular and multicultural commitments of the British state. The problem is that secular multicultural education is always bad, at least on any large scale, because schools of that kind can’t have educational goals that are more sustaining than pliability on the one hand and the effective pursuit of self-interest on the other. If the moral world consists solely of the conflicting purposes of various people, then you either teach children to do what they’re told or you teach them to get what they want. The results of such an outlook applied to education are fundamental aimlessness, aggression, manipulation, boredom, stupidity, and general bad conduct. Everybody hates everybody, and nobody learns anything.


The Passion is still with us

This is an interesting story, given the sensitivity in the American mainstream media to concerns about anti-Semitism in general and to complaints that things are “run by Jews” in particular: Will Oscar Listen? The article, on the Academy Awards, is quite forthright on the point that Hollywood’s “Jewish roots” are the reason The Passion of the Christ won’t get nominated for Best Picture. Some quotes:


O Canada!

“Worthwhile Canadian Initiative” once won a New Republic contest for the most boring conceivable headline for a New York Times editorial. With that in mind, here are some Canadian initiatives the Times would no doubt find worthwhile:

  • A New Brunswick human rights tribunal says that a 14-year-old girl who’s on a hockey team has to be able to use the same locker room as the boys on the team.
  • A Quebec tribunal says a homosexual man should get $1,000 because a used car salesman referred to him (out of earshot) as “fifi”. The salesman and his employer have also been ordered to pay interest and expenses.

On to Thanksgiving!

We’ve seen a largely successful attempt at public abolition of Christmas. This may be a first sighting of a similar campaign for Thankgiving: from “Clifford’s Puppy Days,” a PBS children’s program, their latest episode Fall Feast:



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