Much public debate occurs on a platform whose shape and dimensions are understood intuitively by all the advocates for each side. In the debate on contraception, for instance, it is well understood that no one may legitimately disapprove of anyone else’s sexual lifestyle. It is an unspoken assumption that how often consenting adults consent is none of our business. The debate turns instead on who should pay for enabling their lifestyle. Questions about whether promiscuity itself is blameworthy—for instance, because it is risky behavior with a high chance of collateral consequences for society—arise beyond the edge of the debate platform. In the matter of the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court has taken up this week, the unspoken assumption is that “we” must “do” something about the alleged problem of however many people there are without health insurance. Those on the Right argue that the ACA overreaches with its individual mandate (they are right), and that we should do something else. Those on the Left argue that the noble goal of universal coverage justifies the means (they are wrong). Neither side, however, seems to doubt that the government (“we”) must take action.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
It was news today that evangelist television personality Pat Robertson has decided the so-called War on Drugs has failed and that therefore marijuana should be legalized and controlled like alcohol. What does this prove? If nothing else, it clearly establishes that whatever strength religious convictions can give to moral positions is not always very great. If even Pat Robertson has embraced marijuana legalization, then reliance on religion as a bulwark for morality is misplaced. But of course this conclusion really is not news. Many (perhaps most?) religious people seem to hold their moral convictions lightly. Think of the number of divorced Christians you know. Meditate on the Christian denominations that now ordain homosexuals. Cogitate on the number of Christian women who violate their own Bible’s prohibition against immodest clothing. It’s one thing not to be a Christian and then reject the teachings of the Bible. It’s another thing entirely to claim Christian faith—and then reject the teachings of the Bible. At least for some people who assert Christianity, secular hedonism and political correctness are more powerful than faith.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Last month, the Pentagon announced that the military services would allow women to serve even closer to combat than they have heretofore. Also last month, the Senate judiciary committee voted to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Res ipsa loquitur.