June 11, 2014

Do you want to ask how Cantor went wrong or do you want to listen to the Professor?

There's a lot of post-mortem on Cantor, and I assume his crushing loss was about him, and Professor Brat was not so much a specific person as he was Not Cantor, but I'll leave that to others right now, because I want to hear from the Professor.

There's a blog post at the Wall Street Journal by Reid J. Epstein titled "David Brat’s Writings: Hitler’s Rise 'Could All Happen Again,'" that begins ominously:
David Brat, the Virginia Republican who shocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) Tuesday, wrote in 2011 that Hitler’s rise “could all happen again, quite easily.”

Mr. Brat’s remarks, in a 2011 issue of Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, came three years before he defeated the only Jewish Republican in Congress.
One might read that and feel that it means that Brat is a fan of Hilter's and that anti-Semitism made him run against Cantor. But that's not what Professor Brat says at all. In fact, Brat is making a brilliant libertarian point about the importance of not off-loading morality to government:
Capitalism is here to stay, and we need a church model that corresponds to that reality. Read Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the weak modern Christian democratic man was spot on. Jesus was a great man. Jesus said he was the Son of God. Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. Then came the Christians. What happened? What went wrong? We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily. The church should rise up higher than Nietzsche could see and prove him wrong. We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it. If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word, we would not need the government to backstop every action we take....

Can Christians force others to follow their ethical teachings on social issues? Note that consistency is lacking on all sides of this issue. The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality. The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule. Houston, we have a problem. Coercion is on the rise. What is the root word for liberalism? (Answer: Liberty)....

It does not mean that the State alone uses violence, but it does mean that when push comes to shove, the State will win in a battle of wills. If you refuse to pay your taxes, you will lose. You will go to jail, and if you fight, you will lose. The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military. Do we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice? Is that what history teaches us about the State? Or do we live in particularly lucky and fortunate times where the State can be trusted to do minimal justice? The State’s budget is currently about $3 trillion a year. Do you trust that power to the political Right? Do you trust it to the Left? If you answered “no” to either question, you may have a major problem in the future.
I haven't read the complete works of David Brat or even the complete essay quoted here, and I don't know what he'd really like to do. But I can tell you what the 3 paragraphs Epstein chose to quote made me think: Both left-liberals and social conservatives want government to do too much. They want government to embody their ideas of morality and to become the source of the moral order. But government is so powerful that if we outsource morality to government, trusting it to define and enforce our values, we are taking a horrible risk. Morality needs to remain within individual human minds that sincerely think about right and wrong and arrive at sincere beliefs. There is security for all of us in this widely dispersed moral reasoning, in this separation of morality and government.

And let me tie this back to the subject I've been talking with you about in this past week on the blog, in "I am pervasively skeptical that people actually believe the religion they profess to believe" and "Questioning the sincerity of Althouse's religion." Do we love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it? Or do we have a flimsy internal moral structure that professes belief and relies on various authority figures to tell us what our "beliefs" are?

Professor Brat was focusing on Christians, but the idea, as I understand it, extends to all religion and all morality, including the morality of those who have no religion. I used the phrase the "separation of morality and government" to refer to a political principle that includes the separation of religion and government, which is constitutionally required.

What I like about Brat (as I understand him) is that he's showing how you can be a social and religious conservative and strongly oppose empowering government to enforce morality through law (and — it could happen! — violence).

What Brat is saying (I think) resonates with the most important thing the United States Supreme Court ever said about abortion rights:
Our precedents "have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter."... These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.
Abortion rights opponents will argue that an innocent human life is at stake and therefore government should intervene and coerce morality, but in the long view, if individuals do not develop their own morality and possess minds that actually believe in right and wrong, then the trust we put in government — this the reliance on government to figure out morality for us and impose it on is — leaves us vulnerable to anything our outsourced conscience might decide to do.

Yes, we would still have democracy — or whatever is left of it after government constrains and controls it — but the people are bereft of actual belief in right and wrong.

117 comments:

Jane the Actuary said...

I was all set to summarize on my little blog a fascinating book on why the Holocaust happened. If I had, I would link to it here (and by the time I do so, Ann'll have moved on to something else) but in the meantime: a part of his argument is that by the time the Nazis deported their Jewish neighbors, Germans' moral compass was destroyed for multiple reasons. Among other things, having acquiesced in small things, they found themselves unable to rise up against larger injustices.

The Drill SGT said...

FWIW, the GOP candidate to replace Jim "I'm not a crook" Moran, in the VA-8 race next door to Cantor is a Black Jewish Republican.

YoungHegelian said...

Could Hitler happen again?

Could?

Sadly, Hitler has happened multiple times since 1945.

The Great Leap Forward & the Cultural Revolution in the PRC.

The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

The North Korean Gulags.

In the Congo in the late 1990's/2000's.

In Rwanda.

In Ethiopia under the Communist Miriam regime.

I'm sure that the history mavens here can come up with other examples.

What sort of idiot thinks that the capacity of mankind to perform genocidal evil died with Hitler in his bunker?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Abortion rights opponents will argue that an innocent human life is at stake and therefore government should intervene and coerce morality...

Right to life proponents have no interest in coercing morality, they are trying to prevent harm to the innocent.

Replace abortion rights opponents with murder rights opponents and see how silly your argument sounds.

Then think harder.

Owen said...

Ann: bingo bingo bingo. Your concerns, and those of Brat, are exactly those of Kenneth Minogue. His book "The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes The Moral Life" is well worth a look. We cannot delegate moral action. It is what makes us human.

garage mahal said...

What I like about Brat (as I understand him) is that he's showing how you can be a social and religious conservative and strongly oppose empowering government to enforce morality through law (and — it could happen! — violence).

So Brat is against government enacting abortion legislation? #BratFest

SJ said...

In a totally separate domain, a (non-religious) libertarian often quotes what he calls a Jews in the Attic test.

To run the test:

Think of a proposed government action. Anything from registering guns to government-mandated health insurance purchases.

Then imagine that you find yourself in a society that suddenly decides to round up Jews for internment in concentration camps. (Or gays, or Blacks, or Protestants, or anti-vaccine parents, or law professors...pick a group.)

Now ask yourself: would gun registries (or mandated, government-tracked health insurance) make it easier or harder for you to hide the Jew in your attic?

Remember, the Jew in your attic may need health care. If the State has entwined itself into the health-insurance and health-provision system, it may be very hard for the Jew in your attic to get health care without the Secret Police pulling that detail from a doctor's Electronic Health Record...

The Jew in the Attic test is a handy way of measuring the potential harm that most laws/policies can have, when the Wrong People have the chance to oppress your favorite minority.

YoungHegelian said...

Just watch: the Pundit Left will take this speech, most of which they could easily agree with using only the slightest of hermeneutic tweaking, and turn Brat into a Christianist firebrand who seeks to put a rosary on every ovary.

Jane the Actuary said...

"Delegating moral action" -- that was part of it, in this book. "Whatever Hitler says is moral."

SJ said...

Ann,

as an aside, per the separation of morality and government...

Does that mean we should separate marriage and government?

Is the equal right of various forms of sexual pairing to marry a religious precept, or a civil rights precept?

Are there situations in which the distinction between religious morality and civil rights isn't quite clear?

From Inwood said...

I agree with Ignorance.... here on abortion.

Also

VDH:

As for new legal immigration reform, was it really going to be largely ethnically blind and based on meritocratic criteria, in which, say, a Nigerian with an electrical-engineering degree who has been waiting five years to enter the U.S. legally would be given preference over someone from Latin America without a high-school diploma but with a long history of crossing the border illegally? Voters doubt that.

Cantor and others have never answered candidly any of these questions, instead falling into the cheap rhetoric of demonizing those with legitimate inquiries. That he would trust Barack Obama to enforce any of the elements of comprehensive immigration reform that did not enhance Obama’s visions of increasing the number of liberal constituents who would vote for big-government programs is incomprehensible — after what we have seen with the present administration’s sabotage of immigration law and the pick-and-choose enforcement of Obamacare

Voters in Virginia finally had enough with the big lie of illegal immigration: Those who want open borders are largely either ethnic activists and chauvinists who wish open borders on the south, but would never extend such laxity to other ethnic groups (e.g., La Raza activists would oppose 1 million Chinese, Nigerians, or Ukrainian nationals trying to cross illegally into the American Southwest), or want access to cheap labor, with employers pocketing the profits while the state and thus the taxpayer pick up the inevitable social costs of their exploitation of labor.

Yesterday, we saw that voters don’t like being called names by those who are both hypocrites and nakedly self-interested in putting their own selfish agendas over the concerns of the less well-off.



DKWalser said...

In grad school we studied the Hart-Devlin debate on law and morality. One argued that law and morality must be divorced and the other argued that laws and morality are intrinsically linked. Like many (most?) debates of this type, both had good points. Some laws, such as traffic laws, have little if anything to do with right and wrong. Even here, however, a community's sense of morality serve as the basis for some restrictions. For example, reduced speed limits near a hospital are not based so much on traffic safety but on a desire to be courteous to those in the hospital by insulating them from the sounds of loud motor noises.

I think the founders struck a good balance. Laws are powerful, yet very imprecise, tools. We need to build a high hedge around law making to prevent the misuse of this power. The potential harm to society from behaviors should be large before laws should be written to regulate the behaviors -- which is the opposite of the "nudge" approach many liberals favor today.

Brennan said...

Professor: Professor Brat told Sean Hannity last night that the two shared something in common. They both started at seminary school before transitioning to traditional public life.

Clayton Hennesey said...

The meltdown needn't necessarily even be moral, or at least moral as described by Brat. The only reason the charismatic vapor Barack Obama got elected in the wake of Bush was that the electorate had abandoned any pretense of weighing actual competence for office in favor of mere emotional and psychological rescue by a Latte Knight. Sweep us into your slender arms of Change, they cried, and smother our unhappiness away with your kisses of Hope. It's hard for me to argue that those who do so don't deserve what they get, good and hard.

Not a Hitler this time, thank goodness, but next time might not be so lucky.

The Godfather said...

"Slavery opponents will argue that the freedom of human beings is at stake and therefore government should intervene and coerce morality, but in the long view, if individuals do not develop their own morality and possess minds that actually believe in right and wrong, then the trust we put in government — this the reliance on government to figure out morality for us and impose it on is — leaves us vulnerable to anything our outsourced conscience might decide to do."

jr565 said...

Abortion rights opponents will argue that an innocent human life is at stake and therefore government should intervene and coerce morality,,

No. Not coerce morality. protect life.
It's not a moral question if you think it's an innocent life, it's a question of protecting rights.

Saint Croix said...

Abortion rights opponents will argue that an innocent human life is at stake and therefore government should intervene and coerce morality

Althouse, define a person for us. I say "live human being." What say you? Is a born infant a person? Is a partially-born infant a person? Do you have a definition of the word?

And it's laughable how pro-choice people talk about morality and spirituality while they censor and hide abortion photographs from themselves, from us, from everybody.

If we're going to dehumanize and kill these babies, let's be honest enough to show everybody what we are doing.

Brando said...

It's pretty safe to say that if a libertarian is talking about Hitler, he's not talking about something he's looking forward to.

That said, unless your opposition is realistically planning to impose dictatorship, create a military state, invade our neighbors for land for our growing race, then the Hitler analogies are inappropriate. How about instead pointing out something your audience can actually imagine happening?

Unknown said...

Enforcing morality is what government does.

Enforce contracts? Prevent fraud and use of force?

Sounds like your morals support private property rights and personal autonomy.

Catch and punish murderers? Guess you think murder is immoral.

Anything the government does in an democratic/republican government is an expression of what some portion of the electorate values, what it considers moral.

When the Supreme Court says that a mother's privacy and personal morality trump an unborn child's right to live that is moral choice.

It is impossible to not empower the government to not regulate morality since all choices involve competing moral imperatives.

Is it moral to allow people to starve in the streets when other people have more than enough? But what about the haves property rights?

Property rights of business owners vs discrimination against minorities? Women? LGBT?

Strictly enforce immigration rules?

What you are really saying is you disagree with the moral sentiment of a portion of the electorate and you want the government to side with you.

Jim said...

@Ignorance is Bliss

Exactly. I don't know what's up with Althouse lately, but her reasoning has not been up to her usual standards.

David said...

YoungHegelian said...
Could Hitler happen again?

Could?

Sadly, Hitler has happened multiple times since 1945.

[Gives Examples]


Correct. And by and large the "moral" nations have lacked the will (or the means) to do anything about it.

I particularly liked this quote from Brat: "The State’s budget is currently about $3 trillion a year. Do you trust that power to the political Right? Do you trust it to the Left? If you answered “no” to either question, you may have a major problem in the future."

The great risk lies in the power of the state. In essence the state is an amplification device. Put it in the hands of the wrong people, left or right, and the capacity for evil is boundless.

jr565 said...

"Can Christians force others to follow their ethical teachings on social issues? Note that consistency is lacking on all sides of this issue. The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality. The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule. Houston, we have a problem. Coercion is on the rise. What is the root word for liberalism? (Answer: Liberty)...."

It's too broad an argument. Because every law is enforcing some form of morality.You might as well argue we shouldnt pass laws.

I may not agree with banning gambling, but should kids be able to gamble? that's a moral argument. And since you are going to have people hash out the right way to word a law, morality will necessarily be legislated.
For example. Althouse is still against polygamy. How would Brat's entreaty be any different for polygamy versus gay marriage? or incestual marriage or marrying dogs. Oh wait, that would require imposing morality on the question of marriage.
The alternative is to get govt out of the marriage business, but we simply can't do that.

Larry J said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Abortion rights opponents will argue that an innocent human life is at stake and therefore government should intervene and coerce morality...

Right to life proponents have no interest in coercing morality, they are trying to prevent harm to the innocent.


Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Similar language is in the 14th Amendment. The argument is whether the unborn child is a person or not. Prolife people believe the unborn child is a person. Those in favor of abortion see it as a fetus, a clump of cells, or in extreme cases, a parasite.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

@Ann Althouse:

But the concept that "We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it" is exactly what religous opponents of homosexual behavior (and SSM as the State sanctioning same) would argue they're doing, right? If that belief is sincere then it's not really hate which is a common argument that I don't think you take seriously. Are we back to doubting the sincerity of that professed (loving) belief or is this line of reasoning faulty for some other reason (to you)?

jr565 said...

Owen wrote:
We cannot delegate moral action

We can and we do. In fact we must. Unless you want to live in anarchy.

KLDAVIS said...

"...a brilliant libertarian point about the importance of not off-loading morality to government"

Except, of course, where race might be involved, right Professor.

Alex said...

Obviously the intention of the writer is to say Brat = Hitler.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

@Ann Althouse: Also kudos for understanding and embracing this libertarian viewpoint! It's easy to mock but demarcates an imporant line between libertarian reasoning and that of both the political Left and Right. There are difficult applications of this principle, though, as in the abortion example you noted and the civil rights questions (regarding freedom of association/when gov. can force private citizens or businesses to change their behavior) that if I remember correctly formerly bothered you (that is to say the libertarians' take on that question upset you).

jr565 said...

"We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it." What does he propose christians actually do when he says they should do something about it?

Also when you say "What I like about Brat (as I understand him) is that he's showing how you can be a social and religious conservative and strongly oppose empowering government to enforce morality through law"
Is it ok with you if we empower govt to enforce laws? What else are we enforcing but morality?

Certainly we need to be wary of having too many laws, (but that too is a subjective argument) but the very idea that we have laws means we have govt enforcing morality through law. Coudl you imagine if govt was enforcing law and there was moral argument behind it?

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

"The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality. The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule."

Really? That's an accurate description of the two sides? I'm finding myself down with neither and I know it's bullshit, so what am I being asked to respect here, thinking-wise?

I SAID the guy's another Right-Wing nut job. He's already joined The 700 Club in seeing God's hand in this, and - just like all the wingers - he doesn't see a country, with citizens, but factions to fight. Including homosexuals. He's being linked to Ayn Rand, too, so fuck him.

It is SO beyond time to take a new vision of America seriously. One that doesn't result in white kids wanting to kill every-fucking-body they encounter, or spins delusional white folks into thinking "revolution" is at hand in Walmart. These are cultural problems and, as I've said, white culture is a sick culture.

I think about privacy a lot - not because I worry about the NSA but because blacks have never known privacy in the way whites talk about it. How could we, originally brought here naked and deprived of every other indignity, since? By white Christians. A reminder to reparations watchers:

MLK not only had his phones tapped, but what was heard got broadcast to individual whites, as needed, to destroy him - and now whites are worried about their mere meta data.

Pussies.

Blacks are the most American Americans there are because we tell the whole story - not just the parts we like. That's the new vision we build on. Not one that delusionally says the Right works and the Left plots, but that some whites need to stop tripping in such a partisan fashion and start focussing on what's important, like the rest of us, to start turning this franchise around.

It'll make everybody feel better.

And BTW - what I didn't say was we'd need government, or Jesus, or a selfishness cult, for such a change to occur.

Because it's a change of heart.

White folks, please make a note of it,...

Original Mike said...

"Both left-liberals and social conservatives want government to do too much. They want government to embody their ideas of morality and to become the source of the moral order. But government is so powerful that if we outsource morality to government, trusting it to define and enforce our values, we are taking a horrible risk."

Amen. Left-liberals and social conservatives are two peas in a pod.

Alex said...

Reading the leftist blogs, it's clear they're going full on with the R-card. Racism. The GOP is racist, mean, anti-middle class, anti-working class, anti-woman, anti-immigrant.

Get it, they're MEAN and you should vote for the KIND Democrat.

Peter said...

"The government holds a monopoly on violence.

Well, strictly speaking it has a monopoly on legitimate violence. With the notable exception of self-defense, which many consider a natural right.

But in any case, it's hard not to see that government's just gotten too big, to the point where it can't help but intrude into areas that should remain private.

And its ability to react quickly,and to operate with reasonable efficiency and without corruption, are also all impaired by its massive size.

Chuck said...

Dave Brat's new national constituency might well celebrate the fact that he won an election against all odds. And that elections have consequences.

It might be nice, if Brat and his supporters and admirers would show the same respect for the state constitutional definitions of marriage eligibility.

I like Brat's election, on balance. I like the fact that the Coulter/Ingraham/Limbaugh/Levin campaign against "comprehensive immigration reform" (a/k/a American citizenship via amnesty) is getting new life and national attention. But is Brat going to be a "libertarian" proponent of same-sex marriage?

Original Mike said...

"What I like about Brat (as I understand him) is that he's showing how you can be a social and religious conservative and strongly oppose empowering government to enforce morality through law (and — it could happen! — violence)."

I'm not very sophisticated about political philosophy, but isn't this what libertarianism is all about? Yes, we all have our beliefs, but enforcing them through the strong arm of government is dangerous (not to mention wrong).

Chef Mojo said...

But, but, but Crack says he's a nut case!

Probably thinks Micah Edmond running in VA8 is an Uncle Tom Oreo, too.

CStanley said...

This is the first I've read on Brat's ideology and so far there's a lot to like.

This idea about morality and government also applies to homosexual marriage, and my view is that the correct application of this principle there would have been to advocate for broadly defined civil unions. It was predictable that the word marriage has greater moral implications and would signal a push for social acceptance as well as legal equality. Stressing the separation of civil contract from the institution of religious/sacramental marriage would have avoided this controversy, and gays would then appeal for acceptance in the non-governmental realm (similar to the "winning hearts and minds" argument on abortion.)

Sigivald said...

empowering government to enforce morality through law (and — it could happen! — violence).

Could happen? Must happen.

All law enforcement is rooted in violence.

That's why we have policemen, and why they're armed, and how we get people to go to prison or pay fines when they disobey the law.

Thus why the law should be confined to things that are so important they justify using violence on people who disobey; thus the minarchist or at least small-government position.

machine said...

Nevermind that #$%!...what's gonna happen to the GOP health care plan to replace Obamacare?????

traditionalguy said...

Brat expresses belief that the Creator God acts on earth through the men and women who have faith in His Messiah. That is nothing to bother us unless it is true . Only then is it a threat.

Brat says that was fulfilled in the election miracle. And he maybe right since the unique line up of events that happened ending with the Obama engineered Central American Children's invasion through Mexico and across the intentionally unenforced US border. It is D Day redux and we are the invaded country.

Nonapod said...

I watched a bit by Luis C.K. recently that demonstrated what I believe to be a misunderstanding C.K. had about humanity and civilization. The premise of the bit was that if murder were legal, there'd be a whole lot more muder going on. He suggested that pretty much everyone would regularly commit murder in absence of legal harsh consequences. I wasn't sure if he was just being darkly absurd for the sake of comedy or if he really honestly believes that would be the case. But if he does, it's some interesting insight into the way certain liberals must see their fellow human beings. I think many liberals not only believe that we should legislate morality, but that if we didn't it would lead to chaos.

Sebastian said...

"There is security for all of us in this widely dispersed moral reasoning, in this separation of morality and government."

Yes, it is better for moral reasoning to be dispersed. Yes, it is better for government to do less. It does not follow that morality should be separated from government.

In fact, it is not clear what that means, since many governmental actions themselves involve and affect moral decisions.

Kennedy et al. simply replace one view of morality with another, and imposes it on the country as a whole. Greater respect for dispersed moral reasoning would at least grant states the right to decide democratically on how to act on the moral principles of their own citizens.

Steve said...

It is possible to support laws banning murder and those banning abortion for exactly the same reason. While I believe that both are immoral, my democratized sense of morality is not the primary cause for my support.

Sebastian said...

"There is security for all of us in this widely dispersed moral reasoning, in this separation of morality and government."

Yes, it is better for moral reasoning to be dispersed. Yes, it is better for government to do less. It does not follow that morality should be separated from government.

In fact, it is not clear what that means, since many governmental actions themselves involve and affect moral decisions.

Kennedy et al. simply replace one view of morality with another, and imposes it on the country as a whole. Greater respect for dispersed moral reasoning would at least grant states the right to decide democratically on how to act on the moral principles of their own citizens.

chuck said...

How about instead pointing out something your audience can actually imagine happening?

I can easily imagine millennials going totalitarian. They have been poorly educated and have grown up in a period of moral disintegration, propaganda, and left wing hate mongering. Look at the Democratic party and tell me honestly that they could not go fascist. I think they are already half way there in this year six of the light worker.

David said...

Garage Mahal sez:

"So Brat is against government enacting abortion legislation? #BratFest"

Let's hope so. Government should not determine whether a woman can have an abortion. But neither should government prohibit parents from being notified that their minor children are seeking abortion. Nor should government give financial subsidy to those who advocate or provide abortions.

If you want to get the government out of abortion, get them completely out. It's between the woman and whomever she chooses to consult, adding only the requirement that parents of minor children have input into the decision.

I challenge you to really advocate removing the government from abortion.

David said...

Is Crack right? Is Bratty Dave a nut case?

Seems to me it's way early to reach a conclusion.

David said...

Any dirt you can find about Dave Brat will be dug up and tossed before the tv cameras. Even dirt that can not be found will be tossed there.

There will be ample evidence to reach conclusions then.

I hope Professor Brat is ready, because it's going to be a hard ride.

David said...

"This is the first I've read on Brat's ideology and so far there's a lot to like."

Ideology is all well and good. I like his pox on both your houses quote regarding placing the power of the state in the hands or right or left. Best to diminish that power so it can not be misused.

But character not ideology will be the final measure. We will see.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaswjd said...

The quoted parts of the article illustrate how culturally impoverished we have become. In the fixation on the role of government, we ignore the role and what should be the role of intermediate institutions and culture in our lives and society. Witness the huge controversy over campus speech and sexual activity codes. We can idolize an individual's right to free speech, but when we strip away social control, i.e. good manners, we end up with universities attempting to fill in the gap with legislation out of Orwell. The same can apply to sexual activity on campus. While the 1950's campus may be a place of sexual repression, we have now replaced it with the alternatives of "rape culture" or the requirement that each participant in a sexual act obtain explicit verbal consent to each escalation: "Can I now touch your left buttock?"

There is something to be said for Rodney King's "Can't we all just get along?" and actually trying to do it without governmental interference or oversight. Do we really have a society of free citizens when we need government to step in to police and enforce what should be merely decent behavior?

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for this guy.

They are going to do their best to destroy him. Especially the Republican Establishment. They are going to go to their media friends and do everything they can to paint this guy as a racist, or a creep, or unprepared, whatever. Whatever they can get to stick.

At this point, they want the Democrat to win so they can say, "I told you so! See?! Don't ever do that again, rubes!"

Levi Starks said...

I've been getting some rather frantic emails from the DNC.
Appearently Brat is both very intelligent, and he has the gall to openly confess a belief in God.
Could it get any worse?

Original Mike said...

"Right to life proponents have no interest in coercing morality, they are trying to prevent harm to the innocent."

I do cut anti-abortionists (I am so tired of the hard to remember labels) some slack, based upon their belief that abortion is murder, but I hope you at least admit that the other side doesn't agree that it is.

Ann Althouse said...

"as an aside, per the separation of morality and government… Does that mean we should separate marriage and government?"

I think the government's role should not be about taking over moral decision making, but marriage as a legal status is part of a great deal of law having to do with inheritance, pensions, insurance, health care, taxation. It's hard to see dismantling all that, so it's a status that an adult, competent person can enter into with one other adult, competent person, with the decision about why that relationship is worth entering into left to the individuals.

I certainly think that ending legal marriage now that gay people want to enter into it violates the separation of morality and government.

By the way, I'm not saying government operating in its proper sphere should not take morality into account, only that the proper sphere does not include taking over the individual's realm of morality.

garage mahal said...

Let's hope so. Government should not determine whether a woman can have an abortion

Somehow I don't think this is Brat's position on abortion.

Carnifex said...

Wow! Who knew the WSJ only cared for the bottom line and not America?!

Oh that's righ...everyone.

ALP said...

SJ said: Does that mean we should separate marriage and government?
***********
Absolutely - in our minds as far as the intangible, emotional aspects of marriage go. That's been the thorn in my side with marriage in general, not just SSM: I've run into too many women desperate to marry because its a "better" love, more "dignified" etc....when they may have those things already and they don't see it OR they don't see that the government can't make someone love them.

That means the government doles out love via a marriage certificate, and that idea makes my head hurt.

Carnifex said...

Crack usually like your rants but really? White culture is sick? Have you looked at Detroit, Chicago, New York, Montgomery. Atlanta, New Orleans...every city that is run by a black majority! Clean your own house first.

SJ said...

@Ann,

I don't know about "end legal marriage", but separating the covenantal/religious aspect from the civil-law aspect.

Incidentally, I'm told that in much of Europe, a governmental marriage license cannot be obtained from a religious minister. The religious ceremony can be done separately from the civil ceremony before a magistrate.

(I've also heard Catholics inside the U.S. doing such. The priest performs a ceremony and documents it according to canon law, but the couple has to go to a Justice of the Peace to be seen as a married couple by the State.)

It's a thought that I think worth pursuing. If only to reduce the potential of gay couples suing a minister who won't perform a ceremony that he finds morally objectionable.

And the way that proponents of gay marriage behaved towards cake-decorators, I'm afraid that one of them will due such to a minister in a couple of years.

Unknown said...

Crack says: "Blacks are the most American Americans there are because we tell the whole story - not just the parts we like. That's the new vision we build on. Not one that delusionally says the Right works and the Left plots, but that some whites need to stop tripping in such a partisan fashion and start focussing on what's important, like the rest of us, to start turning this franchise around."

Crack says: 97% of black vote goes to....

The Crack Emcee said...

Chef Mojo,

"But, but, but Crack says he's a nut case!

Probably thinks Micah Edmond running in VA8 is an Uncle Tom Oreo, too."

I don't know the guy, but a Black Jewish Republican?

I can imagine other blacks saying he's CONFUUUUUSED,...

Krumhorn said...

It was an open primary. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that the looselugnut libruls showed up to vote a powerful majority leader out so that some "whack job" teabagger would be the candidate in the general election.

The open primary system is a pernicious piece of political business. For the life of me, I can't figure out why we would permit unenrolled voters to vote in a primary, the purpose of which is to identify a candidate to run with the support of and to represent the political goals of the enrolled voters.

-Krumhorn

Owen said...

Ann: "By the way, I'm not saying government operating in its proper sphere should not take morality into account, only that the proper sphere does not include taking over the individual's realm of morality."

What you said. This is a good response to what jr565 said above at 11:59 AM. The individual cannot walk away from the moral consequences of laws adopted by the duly-constituted political structures. That being ground truth, we should be very careful about what we ask (and permit) the government to do. Easy to delegate about taxing ourselves to pay for better bridges. Not so easy to do so when it's subsidies for abortion.

Karen said...

Re: your last comment, Ann, would you have made the same argument to a sincere slaveholder in 1860?

damikesc said...

I SAID the guy's another Right-Wing nut job. He's already joined The 700 Club in seeing God's hand in this, and - just like all the wingers - he doesn't see a country, with citizens, but factions to fight. Including homosexuals. He's being linked to Ayn Rand, too, so fuck him.

Adorable. Crack denouncing a person without knowing a damned thing about him.

One that doesn't result in white kids wanting to kill every-fucking-body they encounter

Given up hope for black kids not wanting to kill everybody they encounter, eh?

How could we, originally brought here naked and deprived of every other indignity, since? By white Christians.

Know who freed you?

Hint: Those same Christians you hate so much.

Blacks didn't do it since blacks STILL OWN SLAVES TO THIS VERY DAY.

But, again, you don't MIND slavery...as long as blacks own the other blacks.

not just the parts we like.

*snicker*

Yeah, hold on to that.

Tell me more about poor innocent victim Trayvon Martin.

Or about good ol' Al Sharpton.

Ann Althouse said...

@Larry J

The 5th and 14th amendments protect the rights of persons against actions by government, so even if the fetus is a person, there is no constitutional right to be protected from the action of the pregnant woman, who is not the government.

The reason the question of whether the fetus is a person comes up in the cases is because the burdening of the woman's right over her own body depends on the government's interest, and if the fetus is a person, that's would be an argument for why the government can use statutory law to restrict the woman's action.

It's more like whether you have a right to defend yourself against an attacker. What if there were a law against self-defense unless the attacker was an imminent threat to your life, a law based on the respect for human life?

Original Mike said...

"For the life of me, I can't figure out why we would permit unenrolled voters to vote in a primary, the purpose of which is to identify a candidate to run with the support of and to represent the political goals of the enrolled voters."

Maybe because there's no such thing as "enrolled" and "unenrolled" voters.

Ann Althouse said...

"Those in favor of abortion see it as a fetus, a clump of cells, or in extreme cases, a parasite."

That is a bad statement for 2 reasons:

1. Those who see the decision as resting with the woman within whose body the pregnancy is occurring don't "favor abortion," they favor the woman's autonomous decision making.

2. One can certainly believe that the fetus is a person and still believe that belief does not entitle you to impose your belief on the woman within whose body the pregnancy is taking place. That's what I believe, for example.

The Crack Emcee said...

Carnifex,

"Crack usually like your rants but really? White culture is sick? Have you looked at Detroit, Chicago, New York, Montgomery. Atlanta, New Orleans...every city that is run by a black majority! Clean your own house first."

How can you tell who didn't read The Case For Reparations yet?

They're still saying what you just did,...

The Crack Emcee said...

eric,

"I feel sorry for this guy.

They are going to do their best to destroy him."

Nope - he's already doing a pretty good job on his own,...

Ann Althouse said...

"I feel sorry for this guy. They are going to do their best to destroy him. Especially the Republican Establishment. They are going to go to their media friends and do everything they can to paint this guy as a racist, or a creep, or unprepared, whatever. Whatever they can get to stick."

I think he's in a great position. He has a deep moral core and great communications skills. Look at those nice short sentences and his willingness to put real ideas into the listeners' head. People will want to hear from him, so this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I don't think he'll screw up. Whatever they say about him, he will have an answer for. His role model is Jesus. Think about how well that could work and how there is no way he can lose.

I could be wrong about what kind of person he is, but I think he's a man of substance and the questions will get great answers.

I'm eager to hear them!

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't know about "end legal marriage", but separating the covenantal/religious aspect from the civil-law aspect."

It's already separate, and when was it not in America?

Alex said...

It's pretty clear reading Brat's website that he supports bans on abortion. So much for the "Brat is Libertarian" meme. Just another fundie.

Drago said...

machine said...
Nevermind that #$%!...what's gonna happen to the GOP health care plan to replace Obamacare?????

Sorry machine.

We have to pass it to find out whats in it.

A policy that we already have established that your side heartily and lustily approves of.

Thanks for your input.

SJ said...

My understanding is that religious ministers are usually empowered to perform State ceremonies which make marriages valid.

And the language used in the common culture leads me to believe that most people treat the two ceremonies as inextricably tied. At least, in the United States.

(I know, you've mentioned that Colorado lets you marry someone without an official. Which is an interesting exception, and may weaken my argument within the bounds of Colorado. I'm referring to the situation in most other States, in which a minister can fill the role of Justice of the Peace for the purposes of civil-marriage.)

Drago said...

Ann Althouse: "2. One can certainly believe that the fetus is a person and still believe that belief does not entitle you to impose your belief on the woman within whose body the pregnancy is taking place. That's what I believe, for example."

That's what all pro-choicers say.

But then that keeps it nice and ambiguous, doesn't it.

An honest pro-choicer, like Camille Paglia, would say that clearly abortion is the killing of a child but that she remains pro-choice for a number of other reasons.

If you truly want to be honest, simply start at the point that you oppose "abortion" and work backwards to find the point at which your Pro-choice-ness becomes problematic.

For instance, are you for or against abortion of a baby that has exited the body of the mother completely but is still attached via umbilical cord?

What if that same baby had almost fully exited the mothers body but the foot had not yet "cleared"?

Can that child be killed simply on the mothers say so? Why or why not?

Keep walking this process back.

I've engaged many a pro-choicer and not a single one of them has ever been willing to even engage in this exercise.

Because they know the reality of what they are advocating and simply want to minimize the reality of what they are advocating for.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Crack Emcee said...
He's being linked to Ayn Rand, too, so fuck him.


I hereby link you to Robert Mugabe.

How dare you!

Drago said...

Crack: "How can you tell who didn't read The Case For Reparations yet?"

Uh, that would be every single person everywhere.

I also don't feel the need to read up on why Farrakhan is so into numerology and why the Washington Monument is the precise height that it is.

David said...

garage mahal said...
"Let's hope so. Government should not determine whether a woman can have an abortion."

Somehow I don't think this is Brat's position on abortion.


I can find no reference to Brat's postion on abortion in campaign literature or in his own words. Several sources say he takes the "usual" Republican position of opposing abortion.

What does this mean? I oppose abortion very strenuously. I think Roe v. Wade was a mistake. But I do not believe that the government should make abortion illegal.

That makes me unelectable just about everywhere (not that it matters.)

You may be right, Garage, but how about letting the man speak for himself. Apparently nobody has asked him on the record about this.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...
2. One can certainly believe that the fetus is a person and still believe that belief does not entitle you to impose your belief on the woman within whose body the pregnancy is taking place. That's what I believe, for example.


Prof, how do you determine which kinds of beliefs you are willing to impose on others and which you aren't?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...
I could be wrong about what kind of person he is, but I think he's a man of substance and the questions will get great answers


Is this just college professors sticking together? I think his opponent in the general is also a professor. Thank goodness Brat teaches economics!

Original Mike said...

"Adorable. Crack denouncing a person without knowing a damned thing about him. "

He's white. What more is there?

David said...

Brat graduated from Hope College. I've known a few Hopers. Conservative straight arrows all but not racist or ugly. Religious. Mostly idealistic and vulnerable. Serious minded. Earnest. Modest.

If Brat fits that mold, this could be fun to watch. Mitt Romney without the money and Mormonism. Some heads could to explode.

David said...

Or he may just end up another deer in the headlights.

Unknown said...

Dear Crack, you are of a minority race. You will never be of a majority race in the U.S. (although in some specific locations you will be). Therefore when you walk into most grocery stores in most states, you will be different. If you act like you write, no one will want to be around you, and that's OK because you say you don't like white people and they want to kill you so it's probably better if you aren't around white people. The reality is no one but you cares.
Get over it.

It is a shameful that you think thanking the Creator of the Universe for favoring an endeavor is somehow wacko when you live in a society where you can spew filth about a race because of what happened 100's of years ago and think that's a fine, reasonable thing to do.

JackWayne said...

I like Brat's sentiments but they are irrelevant to the discussion. The fact is, SCOTUS will never use the 9th and 10th amendments to decide anything. So we are left with the legal morass we have. In my opinion, if the court found an existing constitutional right to abortion then the argument is over. But they are loathe to surrender any real government power so they cobble together penumbras and other idiotic arguments to do what they want. And this is the true place to discuss morality and government. In my opinion, based on what Brat wrote, I think the truly moral person should fight SCOTUS for being unconstitutional in their abortion rulings. As well as immoral in trying to have it both says - by saying abortion is constitutionally legal but oh by the way here's a passel of constitutionally legal restrictions on that right. All made up on the fly.

Unknown said...

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Mark said...

... but in the long view, if individuals do not develop their own morality and possess minds that actually believe in right and wrong, then the trust we put in government — this the reliance on government to figure out morality for us and impose it on is — leaves us vulnerable to anything our outsourced conscience might decide to do.

Just so.

Tom Perkins said...

@ JR565

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2014/06/do-you-want-to-ask-how-cantor-went.html?showComment=1402505945668#c7474986025695704708

Of course Owen was wrong. From Locke to Nuremberg, the classically liberal answer is that it is literlly not possible to make a "social contract" wherein moral action is delegated. No legitimate monopoly on violence can exist.

What is possible is to create the circumstances where a society of free individuals can accept and co-operate even when losing (and winning) a political question. Limiting government drastically is a key part of that.

So is not overplaying your hand...cough, Obamacare, cough.

SeanF said...

Ann Althouse: "I don't know about "end legal marriage", but separating the covenantal/religious aspect from the civil-law aspect."

It's already separate, and when was it not in America?


A wedding cake and wedding photographs have absolutely nothing to do with the civil-law aspect of marriage, yet the government has taken it upon itself to decide who is entitled to get them.

Although I suppose it's arguable they have nothing to do with the covenantal/religious aspects, either. :)

Unknown said...

Well,this is disappointing: David Brat, when asked on MSNBC whether he opposed a minimum wage, responded “Um, I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one.” This isn't a difficult question. He's an Economics Professor for God's sake, supposedly a conservative. Has he even heard of Milton Friedman? The saddest part is that he certainly knows who Milton Friedman was and almost certainly has a personal position on the minimum wage. So what he is saying is that he hasn't yet crafted a political position yet. So, I have taken the liberty to craft a statement for him: "I am very much in favor of the minimum wage because it is very important to keep young, under educated and unskilled Americans, predominantly minorities, out of the labor force so there is ample capacity to hire undocumented workers from our Southern neighbor.."

Kirk Parker said...

SJ,

Regarding the "Jews in the Attic" test: nice to see Joe Huffman get a bit of recognition here!

jr565 said...

Althouse wrote:
2. One can certainly believe that the fetus is a person and still believe that belief does not entitle you to impose your belief on the woman within whose body the pregnancy is taking place. That's what I believe, for example.

Its hard to square the circle of giving the woman the choice to kill a person. A clump of cells sure, but a person? No way. if its a person it's entitled to life. And, it's only in the womans uterus chained to her for survival because the woman put it there.

Lydia said...

About anti-Semitism being involved and hints of Hitler re Brat -- from Commentary:

As the commentariat rushes to find meta-meaning in the defeat of Eric Cantor last night—a difficult task, because his primary loss was clearly the result of several smaller factors that added up into one serious shellacking—there’s one that’s especially cheap and especially disgraceful. So disgraceful, in fact, that it’s only hinted at in either an easily denied or giggly sort of way. And that is the idea that Cantor lost in his district because he is a Jew.

Among the reasons adduced by the regrettable Norman Ornstein in the New York Daily News: "He was highly visible as the only Jewish Republican in the House, in a district with a strong evangelical presence." The fact that Cantor has served the district as a Jew for 23 and a half years is not noted, nor is the fact that evangelicals are more likely to be philo- than anti-Semitic.

Reid Epstein of the Wall Street Journal proffered his own version in this cute set of sentences: “David Brat, the Virginia Republican who shocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday, wrote in 2011 that Hitler’s rise ‘could all happen again, quite easily.’ Mr. Brat’s remarks, in a 2011 issue of Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, came three years before he defeated the only Jewish Republican in Congress.” How Brat’s invocation of Hitler relates to Cantor’s Judaism is not clear, but Epstein decided to link them, and the link is suggestive, and not in a good way.

Eric Cantor is a proud Jew, and it is indeed unfortunate that the Republican party is left without a single Jewish elected voice in Washington. But his Judaism had nothing to do with his loss, and the only reason for suggesting otherwise is to tar David Brat and the voters of the seventh congressional district in Virginia with the taint of anti-Semitism. Shameful.

Kirk Parker said...

OMike,

"...I hope you at least admit that the other side doesn't agree that it is. "

Of course we understand that... and think less of you for it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

@Ann Althouse:
The 5th and 14th amendments protect the rights of persons against actions by government, so even if the fetus is a person, there is no constitutional right to be protected from the action of the pregnant woman, who is not the government.

I'm not sure that's a complete answer, though; how does that square with civil rights cases where private invididuals (not the government) were compelled to act in given ways, even when not "common carriers" and the like? The Court seems to have upheld laws protecting people from (non-government) people in lots of cases, no?

Original Mike said...

I'm crushed, Kirk.

jr565 said...

Crack Emcee wrote:
It is SO beyond time to take a new vision of America seriously. One that doesn't result in white kids wanting to kill every-fucking-body they encounter, or spins delusional white folks into thinking "revolution" is at hand in Walmart. These are cultural problems and, as I've said, white culture is a sick culture.

What are you talking about? Who wants to kill everyone they meet? I met plenty of people today and didn't want to kill any of them. What are you even referencing?

Original Mike said...

"Well,this is disappointing: David Brat, when asked on MSNBC whether he opposed a minimum wage, responded “Um, I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one.” "

That is disappointing. Is he being too cautious? Too professorial?

Anonymous said...

One can certainly believe that the fetus is a person and still believe that belief does not entitle you to impose your belief on the woman within whose body the pregnancy is taking place. Just as certainly, the person who'd believe that is exactly the same sort of person who'd believe that blacks should not be discriminated against, and still believe that belief does not entitle you to impose your belief on the proprietor within whose establishment the discrimination is taking place. And we already know what Althouse thinks of people like that. The abortion issue is a potent breeder of part-time libertarians.

Kirk Parker said...

OMike,

Crushed? Maybe.

Lucky your mother let you live? For sure.

n.n said...

Human life evolves from conception to death. Abortion is premeditated murder. Elective abortion is premeditated murder without cause or due process. State-sponsored abortion/murder of around one million human lives annually is a human rights violation on an unprecedented level.

Liberal gambling habits are a personal failure with consequences mostly but not totally constrained to the individual, their family, friends, and associates.

Homosexual behavior is antithetical to evolutionary fitness. It can be tolerated when exhibited by a minority of the population and when it is not a progressive condition. That said, why not bigamy, polygamy, et cetera? Selective exclusion is creates a moral hazard. Don't be a sanctimonious hypocrite.

Perhaps it's time to pull the frog from the frying pan and throw it into the fire. Progressivism/incrementalism is an immoral doctrine.

n.n said...

Original Mike:

The other side is objectively wrong. Human life evolves from conception to death. Abortion is the premeditated termination of a human life for money, sex, ego, convenience, and population control.

The theory of spontaneous conception, is a simple myth, not even an article of faith. People should not find comfort in this fairy tale told by the United Nations, Planned Parenthood, Democrats, and not a few Republicans. They are choosing to support and tolerate an unprecedented violation of human rights.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

"His role model is Jesus. Think about how well that could work and how there is no way he can lose."

I wanna see him flip out on the money-changers,...

Original Mike said...

"Lucky your mother let you live? For sure."

Yes. And it's not the only time I've been lucky to live. Same as everybody else, pretty much.

The Crack Emcee said...

Unknown,

"It is a shameful that you think thanking the Creator of the Universe for favoring an endeavor is somehow wacko when you live in a society where you can spew filth about a race because of what happened 100's of years ago and think that's a fine, reasonable thing to do.

How can you tell who didn't read The Case For Reparations yet?

They're still saying what you just did.

Which is cool because I like any reinforcement of the idea that whites are actually waaay more ignorant than they let on.

Thanks for living up to that,...

Original Mike said...

@Paul Zrimsek:

HEH.

The Crack Emcee said...

damikesc,

"Know who freed you?

Hint: Those same Christians you hate so much."

Riiiight. Now it was whites - not blacks - who cared so much about our freedom, and did all the work, because lazy assed blacks wouldn't do NOTHING.

Man, the lies white people tell themselves, and each other - creating the sick culture they live in - truly ARE incredible.

I want reparations just for seeing that one in print somewhere.

BTW - since you're practically a white black history historian, here's MLK's "Letter From A Birmingham Jail". It was written in 1963 and has King taking white Christians to task for not being of any help.

You know, like you said,...

geokstr said...

Brennan said...
Professor: Professor Brat told Sean Hannity last night that the two shared something in common. They both started at seminary school before transitioning to traditional public life.


Don't forget the scientific genius who personally discovered that the temperature at the center of the earth is millions of degrees, and invented the interwebs too - Algore. It is inexplicable then that he flunked out of divinity school, where you can just make stuff up on the tests.

Jane the Actuary said...

OK, so here, for what it's worth, is my summary of the book I mentioned at the beginning of these comments: http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/06/from-library-how-could-this-happen.html

Birkel said...

All:
I believe the reason the professor took no substantive position on the minimum wage was his hope to attempt to avoid a professorial answer. The professorial answer would be boring. It would have caveats. It would allow soundbites unfairly cut by 'Daily Show' writers.

The professor was right to avoid answering because he did no damage. The attacks in the general election will not be on Brat's stupidity or ill-education. Therefore he must avoid handing a weapon to his political enemy. And so he did.

Calm down and think.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Lately, I've been reading Betrayal which is about how the Christian Churches in Germany abandoned the Jews or supported Nazi policies. The Catholic Church was not the worst but tended to like the state supporting social conservatism which there included opposing principles of the French revolution such as equality of persons, including Jews, before the law. Pope Pius XII said he didn't want to say anything explicit about the ongoing Holocaust because 'he didn't want to put the German soldier in a conflict of conscience.' David Brat sounds good in this context and the Professor's analysis.

Anonymous said...

"Sadly, Hitler has happened multiple times since 1945"

"Hitler" happened before Hitler. The communists murdered more people than the nazis before Hitler even came to power. Why are those murders counted as nothing (it is as if the people murdered by the communists really were/are untermenschen)? Why always about Hitler coming to power and not about how the communists came to power? Without a USSR there wouldn't have been a nazi Germany.

What is more relevant for today, the "nazis" or the marxists quislings in power.

firstHat said...

Seems to me that the very heart of all moral decisions begins with the idea that life (not the style in which one lives, but rather the beating heart, the living motion) is the one thing we cannot give back once we take it. Knowing that, shouldn't we (as Obama once did) admit that knowing when it starts is something above our pay grade, but unlike him decide that we should at all costs err on the side of caution? Until science indeed has all answers and can tell us (never?) how can we even try to draw the line between life and not?

PeterJ said...

Regarding that quote from Justice Kennedy: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
What nonsense! -- unless it means the right to make things up, i.e. "define" things. I'm disappointed that you find profundity is such inane drivel.

Kansas City said...

I am right with Peter J that Kennedy's language is nonsense, drivel and made up as a constitutional interpretation.

I am flabbergasted that someone as smart and reasonable as Ann considers this gibberish to be wisdom of some kind. I thought when she said it was "important," I thought she was setting it up to be mocked. Instead, she was setting it up as sound constitutional doctrine.

It is one thing to say (although impossible to find in the constitution) that some nebulous right to privacy includes the right to abortion.

It is lunacy to hold that the constitution provides "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" in a manner that creates the right to abortion on demand.