Hildegarde

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Chickens!

with 39 comments

So, it’s Sunday, and because it’s Sunday, I’m spending my morning trying very hard not to think of anything serious, and failing.

I’ve got The Well-Tempered Clavier, performed by Gustav Leonhardt, playing in the background, and Thomas Aquinas talking about Aristotle waiting on the loveseat, and I just–I don’t know.

Let me start by saying that this is going to get back to something contemporary, but first I want to highlight something I noticed in the Aquinas a couple of days ago.

If you go off today and buy a few modern books by modern philosophers talking about ethics and morality, you’ll find volume after volume that concerns itself with WHAT we should consider moral.

If by killing one person we can save five, what is the moral thing to do? If we know that a child we are about to give birth to will be born with severe illness or disability, are we morally obliged to give birth to him and care for him, or to abort him and save him a short life of pain?

These are the kinds of things modern moral philosophers spend their time thinking and writing and teaching about, and this is the kind of thing we think of moral philosophy being about.

This is not, however, what either Aristotle or Aquinas thought moral philosophy was about.

It would not be entirely true to say that Aquinas and Aristotle agreed on all the particulars of what a moral action was.  There are a couple of places in Aquinas’s commentary on the Nichomachean Ethics that are almost funny.  For instance–Aquinas’s attempt to prove that virginity and celibacy are a mean between two vice and not vices in themselves by being an extreme, the “too little” sex as opposed to the “too much,” each less worthy than “the right amount.”

In spite of that, however, neither Aquinas nor Aristotle feels any need to discuss IF some actions are moral and under what circumstances.

The general moral landscape is simply assumed to be everywhere evident to everybody.  One of the reasons it was possible for Aquinas to “baptize” Aristotle is that, with the exception of a few squiffy places on the edges, everybody pretty much “knew” the difference between right and wrong.

And even the squiffy areas around the edges were fairly easily taken care of–if Aristotle and the agents didn’t realize that when they sacrificed to “secondary divine” powers they were worshipping demons, that was because the demonic nature of those entities was one of those things that could not be discovered by reason alone and needed revelation to point out.

Therefore, the ancients, not having access to a revelation that hadn’t yet occurred, could not be faulted for their worship, because they didn’t intend to worship evil but to give glory to God, and acted as best they were able to know.

Yes, I know.  We don’t worry much about this stuff anymore.

My point here, though, is that there is a continuity in Western moral thought, one that lasted certainly well into the 20th century, at least among the vast majority of the people living in every Western culture.

I’m not talking here about specifics like, say, whether we should consider homsexual sex to be morally right or wrong, but about big ticket items like justice and truth, guilt and innocence.

Not only are there virtually no points of contention between Aquinas and Aristotle about these things, there are virtually no points of contention between anybody about these things.  The same standards of justice and truth, guilt and innocence were used to excoriate Nazi behavior as had been used by Aristotle to excoriate the tyrants of his own time.

And even the people who wanted to be allowed to cheat–say, the fellow travelers and other Communists sympathizers of the years after 1917–assumed that the first necessity in their cheating was to hide what the Bolsheviks were actually doing, because everybody (including themselves) knew it was morally wrong.  The fellow travelers had just decided that they needed to do wrong to get what they thought was a greater good.

At the same time, they experienced that cheat as shameful, and did their best to hide the reality of it from the rest of the world.

What is going on now, though, is something very different, and I find it difficult to figure out either how we got here or how anybody can think this way without having their head explode.

In one of the articles I’ve posted over the last few days on the Rolling Stone rape story and the Lena Dunham mess, a student at Oberlin College refused to allow a Breitbart reporter access to the files he needed to corroborate a portion of Dunham’s story by saying that at Oberlin they weren’t “so much into justice” as “supporting the victim.”

I mean, look at that for a minute, and tell me if it even qualifies as linear thought.

If the allegations are not true, there is no victim to support.

How do you “support the victim” unless you know who the victim is, or if there even is one?

This goes well beyond the common modern abomination of simply insisting on believing that all allegations must be true unless they are somehow proved not to be.

This is a declaration that the speaker inhabits an alternative universe where the real has become irrelevant. 

I am fairly sure that the young woman who said these things does not actually believe what she seems to be saying she believes.

My guess is that she’s latched on to the less esoteric doctrine–the idea that all rape allegations must be true. 

That is hardly something to celebrate, but at least its in the realm of the sane.

To declare that somebody is a victim even though they have not in fact been victimized is the sort of thing that makes doctors prescribe heavy duty meds.

Granted that bad thinking drives out good, and that this young woman had not only not be taught “critical thinking” or any other kind–how, exactly, did we get here?

The train of thought is almost instinctually wrongheaded. 

It is not only wrong in a way that I don’t think any other culture has ever been wrong, it’s practically gibberish.

The problem is not that not enough people take rape seriously and so people who do have to insist on ideas and procedures that make it more possible for victims to prevail when they make accusations.

That’s a debatable issue, although the standards these people want are not the ones that anybody with half a brain could support.

The issue is a “moral” construct in which the most virtuous thing to do is to punish people who not only haven’t done anything wrong, but who haven’t done anything.

It’s like a morality made from quantum mechanics–things appear and disappear at random, without rhyme or reason. 

It’s obvious from the text that this young woman thinks she is behaving morally.

In truth, she isn’t even behaving immorally.

It’s like you asked her how far it is to her house and she said,

“Chickens!”

Written by janeh

December 7th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

39 Responses to 'Chickens!'

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  1. How did we get here? I will start by confessing that I was 30 in 1966. Remember that was the era of “never trust anyone over 30”.

    Jane has been reading Aristotle and Aquinas. Those are dead white men. And the morality they took for granted was the work of a patriarchal society.

    Moreover, there are no facts and truth is relative. And history is not relevant to present affairs.

    I do not accept any of that but the student who talked about supporting the victim was brought up by parents and teachers who may have believed those ideas.

    Back when I was young, I was taught that laws should clearly define what actions were illegal. In fact, I was taught that US courts would reject laws as “unconstitutionally vague.” I can’t imagine anything more vague then the way universities are defining “sexual assault.” But the senior faculty and administrators are the product of the 60s.

    jd

    7 Dec 14 at 3:29 pm

  2. Sinkholes!

    They’re not magic. They’re not even sudden. Somewhere out of sight, the earth is eroded away and when the last few inches go, the befuddled bystander tells newspeople how the sinkhole suddenly appeared.

    The ground has been eroding beneath you since the romantics decided it was more important to feel than to think or know, and the “politically engaged” decided that wholesale slaughter was justified if it served the cause of “equality”–by which they meant gaining or retaining power.

    The layer above that was the arts. Put a collection of David next to a collection of Picasso or Mondrian. Then complete the progression with Pollock, or whoever does the rotting sharks.

    The last layer was higher education, and I KNOW you’ve read Bloom’s CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, in which he admits that the floodgates were open in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, but he hadn’t noticed at the time.

    Now we’ve had 50 years, as jd says, for this to filter down from seminaries to pulpits and from teachers’ colleges to classrooms. And so we wind up with that child at Oberlin who no longer realizes that emotions and moral judgments should be based on facts. Why should she? for decades, those responsible for her education have substituted emotions and clichés for facts and reason, and she has learned her lesson well.

    The good (?) news is that she has a bright future ahead of her as a censor/editor in some prestigious leftist news agency. (You thought censor and editor were different jobs? You were mistaken.)

    Yes, of course there is an alternative tradition which holds all these people in the contempt they deserve. We’ll win in the end, too. But things will get worse before they get better. Maybe a lot worse.

    robert_piepenbrink

    7 Dec 14 at 6:14 pm

  3. Robert says “We’ll win in the end”.

    I am no historian but I keep thinking about the Muslim world. They had a “Golden Age” about 750AD. There was a time when Muslim doctors were considered the best in the world and Muslim astronomers and mathematicians were world leaders. Then something happened and they have been stuck in the Middle Ages ever since.

    I have come across various explanations including the Caliphs decided that everything worth knowing was in the Koran, the Crusades or the Mongol Conquest.

    Subject change warning: Another “how did we get here”
    question. Every account I’ve read about Ferguson and the choke hold death in New York City has stressed that the victim was unarmed. My problem with that is that the police can’t know that a suspect is unarmed until he or she has been secured and searched. How did we get to the point of attributing psychic power of foresight to the police?

    jd

    8 Dec 14 at 4:16 pm

  4. jd, I’m more optimistic about us because (1) most of our potential cultural rivals aren’t in great shape themselves, (2) our ruling class is stupid at roughly Bourbon/Romanov levels, so they can’t feed and shelter our cultural and educational nitwits forever, and (3) those of us who believe in facts and reason and the culture that goes with them aren’t gone–just displaced.

    If you cleared the rabble out of the English and History departments tomorrow, you could fill every English Department vacancy with people who know and love literature, and who mostly have post-graduate degrees in the field. And you could fill every History slot with published authors of history books who think facts and reason trump feelings.

    For that matter, we have more than enough businessmen and military officers who favor results over posturing to replace all our officeholders.

    Even in the arts, music is still being composed and performed, novels written and pictures painted which have nothing to do with the crashing chairs Booker Prize and dung Madonna schools of art.

    We have the makings of a sane society. The question is how we get these imposters out of the reserved seating.

    The engineers tell me that highly-stressed systems tend to unstress themselves–except you’d be better off doing it yourself, first. I expect our system will unstress itself–but the crash when it does could be fairly spectacular.

    robert_piepenbrink

    8 Dec 14 at 7:56 pm

  5. jd–the chokehold thing is radically different from Ferguson. With the chokehold (Eric Garner), there’s video of the entite encounter, and as far as I can tell, only the prosecutor and the grand jury thought the police were anything but wrong. Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly are pushing as hard as anyone on the left saying the guy shouldn’t have done what he did and should have been indicted.

    janeh

    8 Dec 14 at 8:13 pm

  6. Most conservative commentators I’ve read are at least as outraged as anyone else that Garner should have died for the “offense” that he allegedly had committed. I read somewhere (VDH?) that the fact that a black sergeant in charge had been present during the entire incident, and had not ordered the cop to cease or ease his hold on Garner, removed any racial element from the incident.

    Be that as it may, you have to wonder why the fuss. Even though such choke-holds are inherently dangerous and likely to cause the death of the victim if not carefully controlled, they are designed to subdue violent people quickly and are unlikely to be applied unless a suspect or perpetrator forcibly resists arrest.

    As JD says, cops cannot be mindreaders, and far too many cops have been killed or seriously injured when they have failed to disarm people they are attempting to subdue/arrest, and they can’t do that without having complete control of the individuals concerned. A very graphic close-up image of a wounded policeman was posted on Facebook just last week showing the extremely serious wounds suffered by the policeman who thought that he was fit enough, fast enough and a good enough fighter to manually disarm a knife-wielding man.

    The photo depicted him sitting with his naked back to the camera. His back was criss-crossed with five or six long, very deep cuts spanning the width of his back and, vertically, from about his waist-line to his shoulder line. Each cut looked to be about half an inch deep and few, if any, were less than 12 inches long. The point was made that if a police officer is separated from a knife-wielding person by 20 feet, it would take that person less than three seconds to mortally wound the police officer.

    I have very little patience with people who expect police to protect them against violent offenders but who demand that they be treated as common criminals when something goes wrong and someone dies. That doesn’t mean that I condone the sort of thing that occurred in the Rodney King or similar incidents, but unless there is something in the Garner incident to suggest that the choke hold was applied gratuitously, ie unnecessarily, then I can’t see what the cop could justly be indicted for.

    Mique

    8 Dec 14 at 8:47 pm

  7. jd

    9 Dec 14 at 9:29 pm

  8. Hijack alert:

    This from Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill, always an interesting writer:

    http://tinyurl.com/kbpo4c6

    Mique

    11 Dec 14 at 7:11 pm

  9. Philosophy. Ferguson. The “rape culture.” This one fits in well:

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/12/12/the-one-thing-the-left-can-learn-from-ayn-rand/

    robert_piepenbrink

    13 Dec 14 at 7:17 am

  10. jd

    16 Dec 14 at 10:29 pm

  11. Merry Christmas, everybody.

    Mique

    24 Dec 14 at 6:23 am

  12. And here we go:

    http://news.yahoo.com/christmas-banned-chinese-university-says-kitsch-023358427.html

    A university in China making the students sit through anti-Western propaganda while the teachers stand at the doors to prevent escape. Maybe they are catching up with the West. Except for the animus against Christmas, it brings back some of my own high school and college days–right down to using “kitsch” to mean “any art the powers that be don’t like.”

    (There are worse things than big-eyed children painted on black velvet. Many of them are on display in art museums.)

    robert_piepenbrink

    25 Dec 14 at 2:47 pm

  13. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/boxing-day-traffic-delays-on-m1-pacific-highway-and-princes-highway-20141226-12dy62.html

    Christmas! Bah Humbug!

    I’m in the NSW south region and safely in my house. I’m ordering groceries online for home delivery. I am NOT going near any major highway or shopping center until well after New Year’s Sat.

    jd

    25 Dec 14 at 11:07 pm

  14. This from today’s Australian:

    Our higher education debate should be about values, not just costs
    LUKE SLATTERY THE AUSTRALIAN DECEMBER 26, 2014 12:00AM
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    WHEN we talk about higher education we talk about the Australian higher education system: its structure and its funding. The higher education debate provoked by the Abbott government’s fee deregulation proposal is more of the same. It’s all about money.

    The hoo-ha over high school results is a timely reminder of a ­reality long acknowledged in the US higher education system yet virtually ignored in ours: that the university curriculum is, in the first instance, about elite character formation. Ultimately it’s about the kind of society we want; the kind of leaders we want.

    We worry ceaselessly about the school syllabus and whether it is equipped to meet changing social and labour force needs, while virtually ignoring the educational, moral and ethical values undergirding the university curriculum. What should an educated citizen know? It’s about time we started having this conversation.

    Recent events have exposed the fault lines in our civil society. At the same time, an increasingly fractious global environment sees the West at loggerheads with two manifestly anti-Western powers — Russia and China — and the militant wing of one religion: that’s two cold wars and a hot war.

    It’s time the curriculum that forms our elites fashioned some response to the great questions of the age — questions about citizenship, democracy, rights and freedoms, the individual and the community — and demanded that all students engage with them. The goal is not necessarily to reinforce Western values but to engage with them critically; to hold a mirror to ourselves.

    In the US, in contrast, questions about its central purpose define the higher education debate, and the first degree is in many ins­tances an encounter with the great traditions of Western civilisation: a blend, increasingly, of humanities and science.

    At most of the best American universities you can’t really opt out of the liberal arts. In Australia, despite the fact the great and abiding questions are raised within the liberal arts tradition, you can pick at the undergraduate smorgasbord and never even sample a can­onical novel, an enduring religious text or one of those philosophical dialogues, such as Plato’s Republic, whose power has never really dimmed after almost 2½ millennia. Most of our graduates are the intellectual equivalents of orphans: unsure of, and perhaps not even interested in, their paternity.

    At the University of Chicago, for example, the undergraduate degree begins with a “common core curriculum”. The university handbook explains: “The objective of our faculty-taught general education courses — which constitute the major component of the first two years in the college — is not to transfer information but to raise fundamental questions and to encourage those habits of mind and those critical, analytical and writing skills that are most urgent to a well-informed member of civil ­society.”

    Columbia University, similarly, maintains a core curriculum as its educational cornerstone. “Central to the intellectual mission of the core is the goal of providing all Columbia students, regardless of their major or concentration, with wide-ranging perspectives on significant ideas and achievements in literature, philosophy, history, music, art and science.

    “The hallmark of the core is its commitment to the critical examination of challenging ideas in the context of small and intensive classes. At its centre stands Contemporary Civilisation, a course founded in 1919, which over the span of two semesters surveys the history of moral and political thought from Plato to the present.”

    While there has been some movement away from courses related to the old great books, especially after they were implicated in the “culture wars” of the 1990s, the idea of a humanities-plus-­science liberal core is maintained in many private and public universities and more than 100 dedicated liberal arts colleges. It is anchored in ideas about citizenship and education — the stuff that every educated person should know.

    In the past decade in Australia the universities of Melbourne and Western Australia have overhauled their curriculums to align them with the American pattern of general undergraduate education followed by a professional focus in the second degree. But in neither institution has curriculum reform produced a core of common studies in which the university responds to the question: what does it mean to be educated?

    The one higher education debate we manifestly have not had these past three decades is one about higher education in all its dimensions. It seems remiss of publicly funded institutions to ignore the public goals of higher ­education.

    In the US, where the traditions of liberal education remain strong (though not as strong as they once were), universities are acutely aware of the undergraduate curriculum’s role in character formation, ethics and citizenship. The Ivy League universities and hundreds of liberal arts colleges still hold to the notion that there are some things the educated citizen should know.

    In Australia we have one liberal arts college, the Catholic Campion College, but no secular non-­denominational versions of these small, boutique institutions dedicated to the idea of a rounded ­educational experience. A consequence of the proposed higher education reforms, should they pass the Senate, is that the deregulated environment may favour them. I would expect to see a number of small American colleges and Ivies looking to establish branches here, along the model of the liberal-arts Yale-NUS (National University of Singapore) College established in Singapore in 2011.

    If that were to happen it might just shame our public university sector into an intellectual and ethical exercise it has avoided to date. It needs to treat the deepest questions about education as seriously as it treats its concerns about budgets and institutional structures. It needs to orchestrate a higher education debate, and not just a university funding debate.

    Luke Slattery is a former higher education editor of The Australian and the co-author of Crisis in the Clever Country: Why our Universities are Failing.

    Mique

    26 Dec 14 at 12:38 am

  15. Mique, a good article but I want to ask Jane if his view of US universities is correct.

    jd

    26 Dec 14 at 1:03 am

  16. Mique

    26 Dec 14 at 5:53 pm

  17. Ah. There was discussion of the reliability of rape accusers a while back. Someone might want to take a look at this:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2009/10/how_often_do_women_falsely_cry_rape.html

    And all those people thinking that the UVA case is somehow going to make it harder to be believed might want to google the Hofstra University case mentioned in that article. Or just remember the Duke case.

    As for the state of Western Civ in American universities, Jane will have to provide her own answer. My impression was that the United States overall and Columbia in particular was being given ‘way too much credit. But the variety is HUGE. Anyone who says “American universities are…” is going to be wrong much (perhaps most) of the time.

    robert_piepenbrink

    26 Dec 14 at 7:20 pm

  18. Robert, there used to be a saying “Better 100 guilty go free than 1 innocent convicted.”

    The slate article suggests that 8 to 10% of rape accusations are false. That runs head on into the saying!

    jd

    27 Dec 14 at 12:38 am

  19. jd, not so sure. The problem is not false accusations as such, but persons wrongly punished.

    Which is why the English-speaking world gets fussy about evidence presented in court, the right to examine that evidence and confront accusers, trial by jury and the presumption of innocence.

    Hence my problem with “activists” universities and governments who want to cut out all the time-consuming stuff and just go from accusation to punishment. The first step is killing their dogma that the accuser is always right. You’d think Brawley, Duke, Hofstra and now UVA would at least have slowed them down.

    robert_piepenbrink

    27 Dec 14 at 11:25 am

  20. Robert, when the process is the punishment – as is increasingly the case in both out countries – simply triggering the “time-consuming stuff” is probably the main if not the only aim in these cases.

    Mique

    27 Dec 14 at 6:31 pm

  21. Maybe, but if you do it right, the falsely-accused can then sue for false arrest, slander and such. It’s the new university approach where they skip the stuff designed to give the defendant a chance to refute evidence and go right to punishment I object to.

    Long, dragged-out legal proceedings are a problem, but I don’t think Star Chamber hearings are a solution.

    robert_piepenbrink

    27 Dec 14 at 10:08 pm

  22. And we were discussing cultures earlier. Here’s the response of a Belgian mayor when Muslim immigrants wanted him to ban pork from school cafeterias.

    http://slikinsight.blogspot.com/2014/10/if-you-dont-like-pork-then-leave.html

    Makes me feel better about my morning eggs and bacon.

    robert_piepenbrink

    29 Dec 14 at 6:53 pm

  23. Finally, someone says it. The host country does not have to change!

    jd

    30 Dec 14 at 3:27 am

  24. Just to play devil’s advocate – in a democracy, everyone has a say, including citizens who are recent immigrants. They have every right to lobby for any changes they want, just as anyone else does. Admittedly, also like anyone else, they don’t have an automatic right to have anyone agree with them, much less make changes to accommodate them. But – base on that single link – I don’t see that the Muslim population has done anything wrong by requesting that pork be removed from the menu, and the mayor’s response reads less like a principled defense of Belgian culture than like an attempt to curry favour with those who dislike the newcomers. I’d have been more impressed if he’d stayed out of it (unless the schools are under his authority), and the local school said either no, we wish to accommodate the desires of the pork-eating majority but let’s talk about a compromise, like alternate meals or yes, we can do that; most of the pupils don’t like the pork anyway and chicken is cheaper.

    Cheryl

    30 Dec 14 at 9:07 am

  25. Everyone has more than a say in a democracy, Cheryl: they have a vote, which is why some of us think you should be a little careful how many new citizens you let in at a time.
    And the story may not be a reported. But AS REPORTED, the immigrants petitioned the mayor, which suggests he DID have the power (or influence) and they didn’t call for alternative meals, but for the banning of a food they found objectionable. If they weren’t comfortable with it, no one else should be allowed to do it in their presence–an attitude I find all too common today. (No, I have no idea how great a variety is offered in Belgian school cafeterias.)

    For real refugees, I’d bend pretty far, out of courtesy. But there are, as is pointed out, plenty of places with an Arab/Muslim culture. People come to Belgium because they want to. The trade-off is that they have to become Belgians, the way my German ancestors became Americans.

    I watch people who want to live and work in a country but not be OF that country, and I hear Will Rogers: “any man worth his salt will fight for his home, but no sane man will fight for his boarding house.”

    On the case as stated, I’m with the Mayor. And if I lived in a civilized country, I’d celebrate that with a breaded pork tenderloin.

    robert_piepenbrink

    30 Dec 14 at 8:46 pm

  26. Happy New Year

    jd

    31 Dec 14 at 1:28 pm

  27. More mind-boggling stuff:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2015/eon0105mh.html

    Words fail me.

    Mique

    6 Jan 15 at 5:03 pm

  28. There’s something in Bujold to the effect that when you want something, you want the consequences of that thing. Otherwise, you’re just carping about reality and insisting on magic. The New York TIMES is especially prone to wanting ends while despising means–or insisting consequences aren’t really.

    They’re not alone in this by any means. They’re just particularly blatant about it.

    If I were a policeman right now looking at someone committing a minor infraction, I’d be thinking very long and hard about what happened if my man didn’t come along quietly. Might be a lot of things I just wouldn’t see until the perpetually indignant found a new target.

    robert_piepenbrink

    6 Jan 15 at 7:50 pm

  29. The term “Broken Windows” means nothing to me. Could someone elucidate?

    jd

    7 Jan 15 at 12:08 am

  30. John, as I understand it, it is a crime-fighting strategy developed/championed by NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton during his first term in that office, and continued since. Go to Wikipedia’s entry for William Bratton where it’s explained in some detail. It’s credited with reducing NYC’s crime rate dramatically, making it one of the safest big cities in the world when not long ago it was one of the most dangerous. My elder son who visits the city regularly says it’s an amazing change. Of course, it is opposed by the usual leftist suspects for reasons only their finely tuned brains could possibly understand.

    Mique

    7 Jan 15 at 2:59 am

  31. jd

    7 Jan 15 at 6:02 pm

  32. This from Spiked puts the cleaners through the look at me narcissists of this world who are making such a meal of the Paris massacres:

    http://tinyurl.com/ko47mur

    Mique

    11 Jan 15 at 10:01 am

  33. jd

    15 Jan 15 at 6:35 pm

  34. This seems like a controversial enough issue to kick-start some sort of discussion in here again.

    http://www.city-journal.org/2015/cjc0123mp.html

    It’s clear that religious fanaticism is not confined to the usual suspects. It’s at least as virulent, and possibly even more so, among atheists.

    Just what is it that would motivate the ACLU to go plaintiff shopping as, if the above report is accurate, it seems to have done to continue this case when the original complainant died. Shameful. Beyond that, just plain perverse.

    Mique

    25 Jan 15 at 2:02 am

  35. I am an ethnic Jew but am also a non-believer. A simple cross does not offend me. A crucifix would be offensive but not a simple geometric shape.

    jd

    25 Jan 15 at 4:18 am

  36. If I recall my religious symbology correctly, a plain cross is to Protestantism as a crucifix is to Roman Catholicism and to High Church Anglicanism. So one should be no more, or less, offensive than the other to non-believers. I also am an atheist, but for the life of me I cannot find myself offended or in any significant way put about by other people’s beliefs. By their actions, perhaps, but not by their beliefs.

    Mique

    25 Jan 15 at 9:40 am

  37. Here’s another interesting article from JWR:

    http://jewishworldreview.com/0115/feldman01271515.php3

    I’ve always thought the American system of electing judges was ridiculous. Glad to see I’m not the only one.

    Mique

    27 Jan 15 at 8:06 am

  38. Mique, I am not sure that I agree with you. The US courts seem to have adopted the view that they are agents of “social change”. I liked that in the anti-segregation cases. I’m not so happy about abortion and same sex marriage. There have been recent cases where a state constitution was amended by popular vote and a court rejected the amendment.

    If judges are going to force their social views on the public, then those judges should be answerable to the public.

    I have been thinking of a split system. Let the term of a judge be 12 years and limit them to 2 terms. The first term by appointment, the 2nd term by election.

    jd

    27 Jan 15 at 4:58 pm

  39. Was the state constitutional amendment in conflict with the Federal Constitution? If so, would it not be invalid? Unless I’m mistaken, that is the situation is Australia where our Federal Constitution is based largely on the concepts of the US Constitution.

    I don’t think our system of appointed judges is perfect, but I fail to see how the appointment of judges by the Government du jour of any particular level of government, ie local, county, state and federal is not, in fact as well as theory, appointment by the “public”. This is particularly so when such appointments have to be ratified by the elected forums, ie councils, governments at all levels.

    The scope for sheer blatant corruption of elected judges by their need to canvass votes is simply too great, in my opinion.

    Mique

    28 Jan 15 at 7:48 pm

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