February 2017 Archives
February 1, 2017
Choice devours itself--Open murder in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, a female doctor knew that a patient with dementia had previously said she would want euthanasia "when the time was right." Then she developed dementia and wasn't able to tell anybody that the "time was right."
So the doctor went ahead and decided on her own that the "time was right." The patient, over 80, was "exhibit[ing] signs of fear and anger" and sometimes wandered around her nursing home at night. So the doctor deemed that she was "suffering intolerably."
The doctor didn't want to distress the patient (remember, she was already exhibiting signs of fear!) by telling her, "Okay, I'm going to give you a lethal injection now." So instead she drugged her without her knowledge in her coffee, then started to give her the lethal injection.
That's when things got messy.
February 8, 2017
Moral absolutes and apostasy
Philosophers like to philosophize, and surprisingly enough, they are not all immune from the influence of "the current." If a new movie comes out exploring an old subject, you will find that somewhere, some philosopher has decided that this requires that he write something new about it. That wouldn't be a bad thing in itself, but it is a bad thing when philosophers come to the wrong conclusions about a type of thing that has been hashed out long ago, and it's especially odd if they do so in a way that implies that this time it's different because of the peculiarities of the case at issue in the new movie, book, etc.
I have been surprised to find something of this phenomenon occurring concerning the new Scorsese movie, based upon a book by Shusako Endo, Silence.
February 14, 2017
RIP, Lieutenant General Hal Moore
I went through college as part of an ROTC program that granted an officer commission upon completion of my degree. I received my commission as a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant in January of 1992, and I went through The Basic School the same year.
If "The Basic School" conjures images of Full Metal Jacket in you, back up the truck: That movie depicted Basic Training, which is what enlisted people go through. TBS, a.k.a. "The Bummer Summer", is officer training, designed to make you well-rounded and capable of leading in any military occupational specialty, or MOS. It is, generally speaking, a continuation and amplification of the education officer candidates got in the ROTC program, and especially the Officer Candidate School session held during the summer before our senior years. The instructors never made us do push-ups until we threw up: It wasn't that kind of training. The iconic memory, for me, was doing a nine-mile run in combat boots, and then doing mapping problems so the staff can see how well we could think while fatigued.
While not exactly cerebral, Marine Corps officer training contains a significant amount of warfighting theory at the strategic and tactical levels.
That's right: We read books.
February 18, 2017
Two unrelated links
Forgive me for a post that isn't tied together by a theme. Unless it's the theme of this entire blog: What's Wrong With the World.
First, in case you haven't heard, the State Supreme Court of Washington just ruled that Barronelle Stutzman broke the law and discriminated on the basis of "sexual orientation" by refusing to give florist services to a homosexual "wedding." Washington State even has a Defense of Marriage law, but the justices said that that has nothing to do with it. She now faces possibly crushing costs, including paying the legal costs of her opponents. ADF Legal is talking about appealing to the SCOTUS. Even if Neil Gorsuch were confirmed, that doesn't tell us what SCOTUS would do, not least because the court tilted left even when Justice Scalia was alive and might very well rule along the same lines as Obergefell that it's perfectly wonderful for homosexuals and their weddings to have protected class status at the state level and, hey, while we're at it, they must have it at the federal level too. Because of the 14th amendment, of course.
If you're not reading the Babylon Bee, you should be. They make you laugh when you want to cry. Dark humor and funny, biting satire. Their satiric headline after the recent ruling: "New Registry Allows Engaged Same-Sex Couples to Decide Which Christian Florist to Put Out of Business."
I saw the ever-witty Frank Beckwith, my former blog colleague, comment on a Facebook thread: "I had been under the impression that flower arranging was an act between consenting adults."
Er, yes. But then again, with anti-discrimination ordinances in place, is anything an act between consenting adults? Pretty much any service offered to the public can be compelled under "public accommodations" laws, so...
February 20, 2017
Throwing Out the Baby to Keep the Bathwater
Here’s a good example of getting things topsy turvy: This piece in The Atlantic on charter schools that have religious affiliations. If you reverse everything they say, you come close to the right order of things.
Does Religion Have a Place in Public Schools? “The question of what to do with religion in school-choice programs is how, or whether, to keep the baby while ditching the bathwater.”
Only problem is, the authors get mixed up on which is the baby and which is the bathwater, and ends up trying to ditch the baby in order to keep the dirty bathwater. The question that they should have asked is whether secular public schools have a place in a nation with religion.
Perhaps the most pervasive feature of the article is an assumption by Justice and MacLeod that “what schools are for” is to train students to be good little children all supporting the secular democrat(ic) regime. [all emphasis below is mine]
From the standpoint of democratic theory, the basic problem with school choice is this…
In some ways, deregulating public education and transcending the geographic limitations of 19th-century districting laws can enhance democratic education. [which does NOT mean “the education that occurs in a democracy”]
February 24, 2017
Hidden in Plain View: Book update
A brief update on the status of my book, Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts.
February 28, 2017
Vincent Lambert is still alive
A positive entry for once.
I get e-mails in French (which I then put through the wretched Google auto-translate) from the Committee to Support Vincent Lambert. He is a disabled Frenchman who was slated to be dehydrated to death a couple of years ago. I blogged about him last in July, 2015. Well, guess what? He's still alive. He's not receiving the best care, but he is being fed, and at this precise moment, he doesn't seem to be in imminent danger.
I don't know the details of the whole legal situation in France and in Vincent's case. I think that an analysis by a French-speaking pro-life reporter who interviewed everybody involved might have brought out more clearly exactly how all the publicity and activism halted his scheduled death and how much danger he is in right now. Here is the online version of the latest update from the French group. If that doesn't work, try this link.
I want to bring up the fact that Vincent is still alive, due without doubt to publicity on his behalf, because at one time in the summer of 2015 an American pro-life blogger I very much admire said in a comment that supporting him was like trying to refight the 1968 election. I'm glad his parents and others didn't look at it that way. While there's life, there's hope.