Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 (11:10 pm), by John W Gillis
Quote of the Day for Tuesday, February 1st, 2011:
I’m not sure quite how to attribute this… I’m quoting Joe Carter over at the First Thoughts blog today, who is quoting Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling published Monday striking down the ObamaCare law on account of the individual mandate, which is quoting then-candidate Barack Obama from 2008, essentially mocking the notion of a mandate… You can figure it out:
On this point, it should be emphasized that while the individual mandate was clearly “necessary and essential” to the Act as drafted, it is not “necessary and essential” to health care reform in general. It is undisputed that there are various other (Constitutional) ways to accomplish what Congress wanted to do. Indeed, I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that “if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.”
Politicians really hate when you remind them what they said on the campaign trail. I imagine they despise it even more when the reminder is included in a federal ruling overturning their prized legislation.
Priceless. But if there remained any doubts, we surely know now why Senator Obama was so well-known for voting “present” during his legislative stints – he’s not stupid. As to whether he’s principled, well, that’s another question altogether, as we wouldn’t want to conflate being principled with having an agenda. There’s a world of difference between being willing to pay any price to stand your ground, and being willing to pay any price to get what you want.
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 (7:54 pm), by John W Gillis
Quote of the Day for Wednesday, January 26th, 2011:
Joe Carter, writing an “On the Square” column over at FirstThings.com, on Being a Person:
But should all human beings be considered persons? Historically, the answer has been a resounding “no.” Slaves, women, infants, Jews, and “foreigners” all share a common history of being denied legal or moral standing as persons, despite being recognized as humans. The judgment of recent generations, however, has without exception concluded that denying personhood to these members of the human family is a great moral evil. I have no doubt that future generations will judge ours just as harshly.
Yet while recognition of personhood is the foundation of certain positive rights, it should not be required for a basic negative right—the right not to be deprived of life without due process of law. In other words, people cannot claim a right to kill you simply because they will not recognize you as a person.
This is an interesting article from Carter, in which he throws down the gauntlet to a certain extent by trying to move the arguments for the rationalization of abortion away from language concerning personhood, and toward the more ontologically coherent matter of being. That being said, I don’t see why he is apparently ready to concede any kind of functional imperative to personhood, even if the legal fiction of corporate personhood involves that kind of reductionism. It seem to me that we shouldn’t have too much trouble distinguishing in a moral argument between a person as a spiritual reality on the one hand, and on the other a legal construct that is transparently meant to be understood as a person only analogously.
Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 (9:35 pm), by John W Gillis
Quote of the Day for January 3rd, 2011:
John Sommerville, from an article in the October 1991 issue of First Things, entitled: Why the News Makes Us Dumb:
The News can’t be fixed. There is something about daily publication, all by itself, that distorts reality. That is why the addiction to News that so many of us share has brought on a kind of stupidity. Our whole society shares this stupidity, and so we have a hard time recognizing it.
Catching up on some blog reading I missed last week, I noticed that Joe Carter had penned a piece at FirstThings.com on one of my favorite subjects to grouse about: how the Daily News Product industry dominates our culture, and infests it with rampant stupidity. Carter quoted a different passage in this 20 year-old article from Sommerville, which happily appears to be a free article in the First Things on-line archive. According to Carter, this essay was later fleshed out into a book by Sommerville, which I see via Amazon is a rather short one (155 pgs.) published by IVP in 1999, called How the News Makes Us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think the schlock marketed to them as "news" makes them somehow more knowledgeable about the world around them.
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 (4:12 pm), by John W Gillis
Quote of the Day, from Joe Carter over at First Things:
Many of us fool ourselves into believing that we can approach our vocations from the position of religious neutrality. What we fail to understand is that we either bring the Logos to bear on our areas of expertise and fields of study or we reject him as irrelevant, a useless appendage that can be shaved off with Occam’s razor.
Shaved off with Occam’s Razor, indeed… What a great line.