Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Long live Andrew Breitbart"

Great post from Hollywood screenwriter Daniel Knauf, who tells of his journey from reflexive liberalism to thoughtful passionate conservatism, via 9-11 and an honest look at the left, and about his debt to Andrew Brietbart.

Many of us have made the same journey. I was a liberal when I was in the Army and during my first couple of years in college. There I met real liberals (I was at Columbia and this was only a few years after the student riots)-- I had debates in seminars in which I defended the view that handicapped people had a right to life (and this was before I was a Christian!), in which I defended the use of money (several of my pinhead interlocutors believed that money was the root of all evil and that humanity should return to the barter system), and in which I defended the notion that it was wrong for the government to lie to citizens (my classmates were intoxicated by Plato's Republic). I was particularly attacked for asserting that constitutional representative democracy was, generally speaking, the most just form of government. My interlocutors generally advocated some variant of totalitarianism, usually a regime run by Ivy League cognoscenti much like themselves. I had only one classmate who took my side, a shy kid from the South who didn't say much but who told me outside of class that he agreed with me. The professor was quietly sympathetic to my views.

Like Breitbart and Knauf, I saw liberalism close up. I became a conservative.


38 comments:

  1. So, when were you in the Army?

    Carlito

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Twice. I enlisted out of high school in 1973 and served until 1976. I was a medic in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. I went to college on the GI Bill in 1976.

      In residency I joined the Army Reserves in 1986 as a physician. I was called up for the First Gulf War in 1991, but never went to the middle east (they decided that they didn't need resident-level neurosurgeons). I left the reserves later that year.

      I never saw combat, thank goodness. The military was a great experience, and I have great respect for the folks who serve.

      Delete
  2. "I had debates in seminars in which I defended the view that handicapped people had a right to life..."

    Speaking of which, did you read this one?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/03/portland_couple_sues_legacy_he.html

    A couple in Oregon is suing the hospital because they weren't informed that their child had down syndrome. They were planning on killing the child in the womb, and now it's too late! Woops. Such a sad story.

    And now they're blaming the hospital.

    Don't be fooled. The words that dance across the liberals' mouths usually sound measured and nice (Bill Maher excluded) but on the inside they're really eugenicist murderers dreaming about killing retarded children. They make Dr. Mengele look tame.

    Little known fact: Dr. Mengele escaped to Argentina and lived out his days as an abortionist. I say "little known" because the media and educational systems tend to leave that one out.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/11/world/mengele-an-abortionist-argentine-files-suggest.html

    Carlito

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Oregon couple shouldn't feel bad. "Ethicists" are now arguing that "post birth abortions" should be accepted and legalized.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/yes-we-are-serious-ethicists-defend-after-birth-abortion-argument-in-raucous-radio-interview/

    "For the same reasons of why you can have an abortion during a pregnancy,” Minerva said. “People have different reasons, right?”

    So it might not be too late to snuff out their kid. I supposed that's "good" news for the mother and father who think they missed their chance to do it the first time. Bad news for the kid.

    Thoughts of killing children preoccupy the liberal mind all day long.

    Carlito

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abortion is a sacrament of the left.

      The "after birth abortion" stuff is real and very frightening.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. An example of "liberalism close up" -- the abortion sacrament taken to an extreme: sex-selection abortions in China. If this stuff doesn't provoke a response in our moral gag reflex, what will?

    My daughter, as a student at Patrick Henry College in Virginia, was at the UN this past week, and attended Dr. Susan Yoshihara's presentation on "sex selection" (an awful euphemism, actually) in China. If time permits, I will post some of her observations and responses to this, and other, presentations she attended. For now, suffice it to say, it's not atheist organizations that are battling against totalitarianism run amok; rather, Christian pro-family and pro-life groups (primarily Roman Catholic) are actively opposing policy proposals at the UN level -- policies that would encourage or continue to enable this massive destruction of life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If this stuff doesn't provoke a response in our moral gag reflex, what will?

      Kent, I would argue that it's all about unconstrained self-gratification. Short-term, personal pleasure uber alles. If a few female fetuses bite the dust in some far-off country, what do you care so long as you can bop 'till you drop?

      Delete
    2. My daughter, as a student at Patrick Henry College in Virginia

      Too bad she didn't get the opportunity to go to a real college.

      Delete
    3. @Anonymous:

      If Patrick Henry College (hereafter PHC) was my own alma mater, I might be tempted to let your ignorant remark slide. But since you're impugning my daughter's choice of undergraduate study, let's see if you have any idea what you're talking about.

      What exactly do you know about Patrick Henry College? Why does it not, in your opinion, qualify as a "real college"? Name me a few institutions that do qualify as "real" colleges or universities.

      Delete
    4. @anon:

      Patrick Henry College is well known for its very high academic standards. It's a superb school. I only wish other educational institutions would learn from it.

      You criticize it because it doesn't hew to the secular/leftist ideology so prevalent in college today. You let your own ideology and bigotry interfere with your judgement.

      Delete
    5. One can have a look at the data to see where PHC stands relative to other colleges. Here is Patrick Henry College on College Board. For comparison, here is the University of Virginia.

      PHC is not that competitive. It offers admission to 86 percent of applicants. In contrast, UVA admits 33 percent of its applicants. One can explain the high admission rate to self-selection: a student has to be pretty conservative to apply to PHC.

      We can also compare SAT scores for freshmen at PHC and UVA: 560-660 in math at PHC (630-740 at UVA), 600-690 in writing (620-720), and 640-750 in critical reading (610-720). So PHC students are much into critical thinking, are OK writers, and suck at math.

      The trend is about the same as at that other flagship conservative school, Hillsdale College. No surprise here. Kids graduating from PHC and Hillsdale become lawyers and politicians and we almost never see them in sciences.

      Delete
    6. [Kids graduating from PHC and Hillsdale become lawyers and politicians and we almost never see them in sciences.]

      and if you get your way, oleg, you'll never see Christian students in the sciences.

      Your whole agenda is the cleansing of the public sphere of any vestige of Christian thought. You won't even allow a prayer in a school; why would anyone even imagine that you would allow a serious Christian in a scientifc profession. Even the most prominent scientist in the US today-- Francis Collins, who is a devout Christian-- was viciously panned by atheists who tried to derail his appointment as director of NIH. If you'll go after the best scientist in the country because of his Christian beliefs, why suppose that you'd behave any more decently to a Christian kid from Patrick Henry applying for grad school?

      When a kid applies to grad school in evolutionary biology or other atheist-dominated fields, there's a waste basket labeled "Applicants from Christian colleges".

      Delete
    7. You are blaming the wrong guy, Mike. We never evaluate applicants on their religious views. For the most part, we don't even know about them. We look at grades, standardized test scores, classes, and research work.

      And that's where places like PHC fail. If you look at the faculty roster, they have one professor of physics and one professor of biology (whose PhD is in a different field). There is just not much there to inspire kids to go into the sciences.

      Contrast this with, say, Yeshiva University. The school has strong religious roots, but it also has a good science faculty. And unlike PHC, Yeshiva does send talented kids into top grad schools in science.

      You might want to look inward to see the root of the problem.

      Delete
    8. And despite all that, Oleg, PHC students have equal verbal SAT scores and better critical thinking scores than entering UVA students. UVA is a huge prestigious 200 year old university with a massive endowment. PHC is a tiny 12 year old college. Yet PHC attracts students who, in liberal arts, are equal to and in critical thinking skills superior to students entering UVA.

      The small Christian schools-- Hillsdale, PHC, Thomas Aquinas, Biola, Wheaton, Liberty-- are exceptionally strong educational institutions.

      You've really got to take off those "anti-Christian bigot" sunglasses and have a good look at reality.

      Delete
    9. It's not an accurate characterization, Mike. PHC students have strong critical thinking skills and weak math skills in comparison to UVA students.

      As someone with an outside prospective, I have always been amazed at the preoccupation with "critical thinking" on the part of American educators. It's an activity whose primary goal is to pick errors in other people's arguments, a skill that is great for lawyers, but not so great for scientists. It isn't a creative activity.

      Fortunately, smart people are starting to realize that critical thinking is not the best thing since sliced bread. In Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Wood writes:

      We have elevated “critical thinking” as the chief and worthiest end of a liberal education. Perhaps it is time for a reassessment. The critical thinker who is deaf to culture’s deeper appeals is impoverished in some profound ways. He is equipped to take everything apart but not to put anything together. We need more minds capable of moving at ease and grasping the whole. That’s really the answer to my friend’s question.

      Hillsdale and PHC might have intellectually strong students, but these students choose to go into politics rather than science. They don't even get to the graduate admissions committee.

      Delete
    10. And Biola is an exceptionally strong educational institution? Oh, come on! With SAT scores of 500-630 in all categories, that place is dangling at the bottom of the academic food chain.

      Delete
    11. And Liberty, how did I miss that bastion of higher learning? Critical reading SATs 430-570, math 430-550, 96 percent of applicants admitted? Its College of Arts and Sciences may have no department of physics, but it has a Center for Creation Studies!

      Delete
    12. @oleg:

      [I have always been amazed at the preoccupation with "critical thinking" on the part of American educators.]

      Critical thinking is of fundamental importance. Atheism is one consequence of lack of critical thinking.

      Delete
    13. That's it? Where's a spirited defense of the great scholarship taking place at Biola and Liberty? I must have missed that. :)

      Delete
    14. @Oleg:

      Is science some kind of an obsession or fetish with you? To qualify as first-rate, an institution of higher learning must have a top-notch science department? Hmmm. I guess that disqualifies, for example, Julliard, Eastman School of Music, Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory, etc. (My academic background is in music.) Caltech has a top-ranked physics program, but it offers no music major -- so it's not a "real" educational institution? Such an assertion is absurd, as is your measuring PHC by its relative weakness in the so-called "hard" sciences.

      Delete
    15. @Oleg:

      It seems to me that the phrase “critical thinking”, at least in colloquial (and sometimes even in academic) usage, carries with it a certain amount of ambiguity. Sometimes it means simply to question or to challenge an established set of beliefs or opinions. For example, the 1960’s generation (led primarily by its middle-aged vanguards) questioned, and revolted against, what it regarded as “the establishment”. Some would say that in so doing, the 1960’s generation exercised critical thinking. By contrast, “critical thinking” sometimes connotes the exercise of logical rigor and intellectual discipline, for purposes of appraising a given set of propositions or ideas. The former sense (mere questioning or challenging) I’ll call sense #1; the latter (exercising logical rigor) I’ll call sense #2.

      As to Peter Woods’ remarks:

      We have elevated “critical thinking” as the chief and worthiest end of a liberal education. Perhaps it is time for a reassessment. The critical thinker who is deaf to culture’s deeper appeals is impoverished in some profound ways. He is equipped to take everything apart but not to put anything together. We need more minds capable of moving at ease and grasping the whole.

      I think his comments apply quite well to sense #1 (critical thinking as merely questioning or challenging, apart from logical rigor). The sixties generation railed against the establishment, but what they proposed to replace it with was far inferior to what already existed. Their vision of what ought to be, and the means by which they hoped to achieve their vision, were certainly not based on solid intellectual, logical, or moral foundations. They were in fact a denial of (and a flight from) the intellect, and rationality, and logic, and morality.

      Woods’ remarks do not apply so well to sense #2 (critical thinking as the application of logical rigor). He opines, “He [the critical thinker] is equipped to take everything apart...”. Now whatever else may be said of critical thinking, it must be admitted that the role of a negative critic is both important and indispensable. Suppose I claim to have discovered a mathematical function (as opposed to an algorithm) that will generate the prime numbers. The mathematical community, which is well known for thinking critically in sense #2, examines my claim, dissects it, and proves me wrong. There is value now in knowing that my claim is false; otherwise, the unexamined (and false) claim might have become the basis for some real-world system (say, a cryptosystem), with potentially disastrous results. It does not matter that my critics did not themselves arrive at a correct function; it is sufficient that they proved mine wrong.

      Woods continues: “[The critical thinker] is not equipped to put anything back together. We need more minds capable of moving at ease and grasping the whole.” Assuming Woods has sense #2 in mind (he might not), he does not (at least in this particular quotation) comment on how applying logical rigor might be at odds with “putting things back together”, or “moving at ease and grasping the whole”. It seems to me that critical thinking in sense #2 would be a help, rather than a hindrance. For example, what is the universe of proven mathematical theorems, if not a formal extension, based upon critical thinking, of certain fundamental axioms? Doesn’t our current state of mathematical knowledge represent a “putting together”, and at least a partial grasp of “the whole”?

      (continued below)

      Delete
    16. @Oleg:

      (continued from above)

      “The critical thinker who is deaf to culture’s deeper appeals is impoverished in some profound ways”, writes Woods. Now I’m not sure what Woods is driving at here, but if he means what I think he means I would answer this way: Criticism (in its broadest sense) need not be negative or judgmental, and is synonymous with discernment. Criticism cuts two ways. The critic may say “this is a bad piece of art” or “this is a horrible symphony” or “this purported mathematical proof is incorrect” or “this is a defective scientific theory”. He may also, having exercised his critical faculties, praise or endorse the object of criticism -- “this is a great painting”; “this is an excellent symphony”; “this is a correct mathematical proof”; “this is a robust and credible scientific theory”. (Since the “deeper appeals” of a culture presumably include an aesthetic aspect, the objects may not necessarily be judged by purely objective measures. But one might reasonably expect that some objective standards be employed in each case.)

      The same Lord who praises the raiment of the lilies of the field (one of creation’s “deeper appeals”) also commands us to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The original New Testament Greek words for judge and judgment are krinĊ and krisis, respectively, from which we get our English words criticize and criticism. So, in my opinion, we actually have a divine mandate to apply our intellects correctly, to exercise logical rigor -- that is, to be critical thinkers in sense #2.

      Delete
    17. Hello Kent,

      Is science some kind of an obsession or fetish with you?

      I happen to be a scientist, Kent.

      To qualify as first-rate, an institution of higher learning must have a top-notch science department? Hmmm. I guess that disqualifies, for example, Julliard, Eastman School of Music, Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory, etc. (My academic background is in music.) Caltech has a top-ranked physics program, but it offers no music major -- so it's not a "real" educational institution? Such an assertion is absurd, as is your measuring PHC by its relative weakness in the so-called "hard" sciences.

      Good for you, Kent. At least you are willing to acknowledge that PHC is weak in the sciences. Of course I agree that Caltech sucks at music and Julliard at engineering, but at least these institutions are known to be near the top in certain fields.

      So pray tell what field PHC is strong. Advanced conservatives studies? :)

      Delete
    18. @Oleg:

      Returning now to your negative appraisal of Patrick Henry College (PHC):

      I will grant that I have a vested interest in the quality of education that PHC actually provides, and am therefore not inclined to launch a detailed polemic in its favor. Let the following suffice.

      I agree with Michael's assessment of PHC. I'm also somewhat surprised, given its small size, Protestant orientation, and relative newness, that PHC was even on his radar. (Thanks for the good words, Michael.)

      Oleg, in this case, I think you're using statistics (SAT scores, percent of applicants accepted, etc.) like a drunk uses a light pole -- more for support than for illumination.

      The best arguments I can give in PHC's favor are PHC’s own alumni. They speak for themselves. Even allowing for some "cherry picking" -- what school wouldn't cherry-pick for publicity purposes? -- I contend that these alumni are generally representative of PHC alumni as a whole, and that PHC alumni often meet or exceed the college's publicly stated goals for its students. To my way of thinking, that makes PHC an excellent school.

      Delete
    19. That's a pretty weak argument, Kent. Every college has a web page dedicated to its best alumni. That does not mean that every college is a top place. Try again and point out some surveys that put PHC in a top ten category or some such. Otherwise, no cigar.

      As to your lamppost analogy, it does not work. I have served on the graduate admissions committee in my department for a number of years and I am quite familiar with the academic landscape. The admissions numbers were for the people who aren't. I am well aware, for instance, that Hillsdale is pretty good academically. It's fairly selective (admits 42 percent of its applicants). I've seen applications to our graduate program from that school. I doubt that I will see any from PHC, Liberty, or Biola in the foreseeable future. There is no science to speak of in these places.

      Perhaps I am not all that familiar with the situation outside of sciences and perhaps PHC figures prominently in some areas. Can you point me to any examples of that?

      Delete
    20. @Oleg:

      So pray tell what field PHC is strong. Advanced conservatives studies? :)

      Collegiate moot court competition, which fosters an obviously important skill set for lawyers-to-be. From wikipedia's article on PHC:


      Students...compete in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA), and had the winning teams at the ACMA National Tournaments of 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Moot court is a form of debate competition designed to simulate appellate arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which teams of two students function as co-counsels and stand before a panel of judges to argue legal matters. In 2006, PHC not only won first overall but also won second, third, and fifth place, a feat that had never before been accomplished in ACMA history. Likewise, in 2006, the college took home the most trophies out of any school for the fifth consecutive year. In a much publicized event during the 2004–2005 academic year, the college moot court team defeated that of Balliol College, Oxford in two separate competitions — one held in England using English law, and the other in the USA using American law. Patrick Henry College also has participated in British Parliamentary debate since the fall of 2010.

      Spanked Oxford (yes, that Oxford) in moot court competition? PHC must be doing something right.

      As an additional piece of anecdotal evidence in PHC's favor, I was recently told that PHC is one of a very few schools (2 maybe?) from which credits are accepted by the University of Dallas virtually unquestioned. UD is not exactly Poedunk University. (Bear in mind this is anecdotal. I didn't verify it, but the person I talked to seemed to be in a position to know what she was talking about.)

      Delete
    21. @Oleg:

      I happen to be a scientist, Kent.

      I gathered as much from prior posts you've submitted. But my question still stands: Is science some kind of an obsession or fetish with you? I intend no disrespect by the question. I'm simply trying to understand how you arrived at an obvious non sequitur in your condemnation of PHC. PHC has never pretended to be strong in the "hard" sciences, so why would you dismiss the institution on those grounds? It seemed to me that you were saying, A college that doesn't excel in the hard sciences is irrelevant. And that possibly you were extending your assertion to make a more general statement: Fields of knowledge outside of the hard sciences are irrelevant.

      Your remarks seemed to me to reflect an unwarranted faith in the hard sciences, and a lack of awareness concerning the very things which make scientific endeavor (properly so-called) possible. The things which make science possible do not fall within the realm of science at all; they fall under the purview of religion and philosophy. Not all scientists are adherents of scientism; one can be a scientist without making science an obsession or a fetish.

      Am I misreading you?

      Delete
    22. Kent,

      If the UD is your measure of success, who am I to argue? I'll just note, in case anyone is paying attention, that the University of Dallas is not part of the University of Texas.

      The moot court competition is a story that has been in the news. This sport is indeed a good training for lawyers. Do PHC graduates end up at top law schools?

      Delete
    23. Kent: A college that doesn't excel in the hard sciences is irrelevant. And that possibly you were extending your assertion to make a more general statement:

      I don't think I said anything of the sort. I did note that PHC is not strong in sciences and then asked to explain in which disciplines it is a top school. I also mentioned that its graduates go into politics.

      The things which make science possible do not fall within the realm of science at all; they fall under the purview of religion and philosophy.

      Philosophy makes science possible? LOL. Not at this point. Science branched out of philosophy a long time ago and since then philosophy has not played much of a role in the exploration of nature. There are philosophers of science who study what scientists do. Philosophers proper sometimes muse about science, with hilarious results. Whatever rocks their boat.

      And don't get me started on the role of religion in science.

      Delete
    24. oleg:

      Science is philosophy. Natural philosophy, to be precise. It never "branched out" from philosophy. Science is a particular kind of philosophy, which uses a specific method to study one aspect of reality.

      The validity of the philosophical basis for science cannot be adjudicated by science. Science is not self-affirming.

      As you so amply demonstrate, scientists are as a group lousy philosophers, which also means that they are poor scientists. Scientists are philosophers, no less than other kinds of philosophers.

      Technicians get by without understanding the philosophical basis for their work, and scientists who are ignorant of the philosophical nature of their work are really technicians, posing as scientists.

      Delete
    25. Egnor: Science is philosophy. Natural philosophy, to be precise. It never "branched out" from philosophy. Science is a particular kind of philosophy, which uses a specific method to study one aspect of reality.

      If that were the case, science education would start with philosophy courses. Last time I checked, philosophy isn't on the list of required courses at major research universities.

      The validity of the philosophical basis for science cannot be adjudicated by science. Science is not self-affirming.

      Scientists leave that thorny issue to philosophers and deal with more pressing issues.

      As you so amply demonstrate, scientists are as a group lousy philosophers, which also means that they are poor scientists.

      We may be poor scientists, but we're the best you've got. Tough luck, Mike.

      Delete
    26. @Oleg:

      The way I'd put it is that science operates upon principles which can only be illuminated (examined, understood, criticized, etc) in light of religion and philosophy. Science is simply not equipped, but its own definition of itself, to evaluate its fundamental assumptions. Somebody famously said (was it Gould?) that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria. I disagree. Science, properly so-called, is a proper subset of religion/philosophy. Science simply cannot exist outside of a religio-philosophical context.

      You wrote that if science was philosophy, "science education would start with philosophy courses." The fact that science education does not start with a philosophy course is to science's shame. Of course, it's no big surprise to me that scientism parading as science wishes to prevent its fundamental beliefs from being critically examined -- especially by beginners.

      Delete
    27. Kent: Science is simply not equipped, but its own definition of itself, to evaluate its fundamental assumptions.

      Yet science does exactly that from time to time, no thanks to philosophers or theologists. Recall the scientific revolutions of the early 20th century. Physicists have rethought fundamental assumptions about space and time as well as the nature of physical reality. Philosophers are still catching up to that.

      Somebody famously said (was it Gould?) that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria. I disagree. Science, properly so-called, is a proper subset of religion/philosophy. Science simply cannot exist outside of a religio-philosophical context.

      But it does. Visit any science department at a major research university and see how much philosophy or religion comes up.

      Of course, it's no big surprise to me that scientism parading as science wishes to prevent its fundamental beliefs from being critically examined -- especially by beginners.

      What prevents beginners from critically examining science's fundamental beliefs is a lack of exposure to science. But that can be remedied. Take a science course at your local university. There are some good science books for the lay people.

      Delete
    28. @Oleg:

      A correction to what I wrote: What I intended to say was, Science is simply not equipped, by [not but] its own definition of itself, to evaluate its fundamental assumptions.

      You wrote:

      Physicists have rethought fundamental assumptions about space and time as well as the nature of physical reality.

      That's an impressive acheivement, and I declare in all sincerity that I'm awestruck by scientific discoveries, for example, in cosmology, fundamental particle physics, and biology (materialistic Darwinism excluded). But being awestruck by scientific discoveries is much different that being awestruck by science. And building powerful and persuasive models of physical reality hardly equips science to answer certain basic questions about the universe, or about science itself.

      Do scientists know, from scientific investigation, the origins of physical reality? Whence the universe? Does anything exist apart from physical reality? If it does, is it able to impinge upon physical reality in an observable way?

      What is the true nature of man? Obviously man has a material component. But does man have an immaterial component? What gives us confidence in our observational faculties? Our thinking and reasoning faculties? Assuming that scientists select or recognize the fundamental assumptions of science, from whence their ability to choose? Is there such a thing as free will? Meaning? Significance?

      Science has always been utterly incapable of answering these questions, and it will always be incapable. Science can't even account for itself. To the extent that science attempts to examine its fundamental beliefs, it always does so within a religio-philosophical context. To think otherwise is to misunderstand the nature of religion, philosophy, and science.

      But it [science] does [exist outside of a religio-philosophical context].

      No, it does not. The fact that you are blind to this, and that you are teaching science at the college level, is scary. (No disrespect intended.)

      Visit any science department at a major research university and see how much philosophy or religion comes up.

      Again, that's not surprising, but it is scary.

      Delete
  5. That legalized abortion would ultimately (and quite logically) be stretched to encompass infanticide was obvious more than 30 years ago, when Roe v. Wade was in its relative infancy (no pun intended):

    The [abortion] liberty, which could not be confined by geographic or governmental limits, could not be confined to the womb. The practitioners of personal choice needed to be free not only to kill the unborn but to cause the death of a child already born: Only then would the exercise of the liberty not be “chilled.” At a philosophical level, Michael Tooley, a Stanford philosopher, argued [logically correctly, but towards a perverse end] that there was no moral distinction between abortion and infanticide: The unsocialized infant outside the uterus was no more a person than his or her brother or sister not yet born. At a legal level, adherents of the liberty undertook the defense of doctors accused of manslaughter and murder for actions alleged to have affected the newborn; they did not scruple to regard such cases as “abortion cases.”

    -- from A Private Choice: Abortion in America in the Seventies, by John T. Noonan, Jr., pages 87-88 (New York: The Free Press, 1979). Noonan’s eloquent case against abortion is one of the finest examples of rhetoric I’ve read on any subject.

    Among the many lessons that we might draw retrospectively from Roe v. Wade, and the abortion battle as it played out in our legal system in the 1960’s and 70’s, is this: We should have fought to the death, so to speak, to draw the line of protection to include, not to exclude, life inside the womb. There is indeed a slippery slope, and the culture of death is intent on accelerating our society’s descent down that slope. Michael wrote that our present situation is “very scary”. I agree.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cool story. I have to admit I was never a liberal so I lack your more balanced perspective. As for Breitbart, his greatest gift to me was the ability to calmly and confidently dismiss the reflexive, bullying screams of "Racism!" that come from the left. The days of cowering before that charge are over for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Oleg:

    Good for you, Kent. At least you are willing to acknowledge that PHC is weak in the sciences.

    PHC never pretended otherwise, to the best of my knowledge. And I certainly never said it was.

    Of course I agree that Caltech sucks at music...

    Actually, that's probably going too far. It's an interesting fact that you can get a music degree at MIT, which is the last place I would have expected to find a music program. I speculate that MIT offers such a program because many top students in math and science also come to university as accomplished musicians, who either hope to make music a major or a minor, or at a minimum to continue performing for pleasure and improvement. If that's the case, I'd expect the situation to be similar at Caltech -- there are probably many skilled musicians in their student body -- but for whatever reason they've chosen not to offer a major course of study for music.

    To be fair to Caltech, I did browse their website. The university brings in absolutely top-notch professional talent to enrich students' performing experience in various ensembles. You may not come away with a music degree, but if you perform in any serious ensembles, and you're paying attention, you will come away a better musician.

    ReplyDelete