Thursday, March 31, 2005

Schiavo Case

I have held off on this story because I think it is totally overblown and it is highly irresponsible on the part of the media and government to devote so much time and so many resources to it, especially when you consider that religious fanatics in Tehran, not outside the hospice, are plotting the deaths of thousands of Americans. That being said, I think this issue has some points upon which some comment may be helpful.

First of all, the national government overstepped its bounds, which is no surprise, by interfering in this case. The legislation passed was an unconstitutional bill of attainder, it was meant and drafted for one person only and as such it is clearly illegal.

Second, the only issue here is what the woman would have wanted. Secondary to that is what other people want, no matter who they are. A trial was conducted to determine what her wishes were, to find out what her condition was exactly, etc. It was a finding of fact, with input from all sides and certain things were established. It was established with testimony from the husband and other people whom the media has entirely ignored, that this woman would not want to live as a vegetable and by artificial methods with no hope of recovery. It is hard to imagine anyone wanting to exist in such a state, but apparently some people think that such a state is ok, even for people they allegedly love. It was further established that, indeed, Mrs. Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state and a quick look at her CAT scan will indicate why. Much of the interior region of her brain was missing, it had atrophied like her other muscles and in place was inert spinal fluid. This situation was irreversible, her state could never have improved no matter how many mystics her parents decided to consult. With these facts established by an impartial arbiter (the court) it is patently obvious that the only proper result is what occurred, the removal of the artificial life support (which contrary to the wise words of the POPE!!!, is an extraordinary step to keep someone alive).

Her parents were given ample legal appeals to demonstrate how justice had miscarried and contrary to the media, they could argue evidence and present new evidence if they ever had any. They failed in all these respects and then proceeded to slander Mr. Schiavo in the media and rake mud over every conceivable issue in this case, except (tellingly) her CAT scan. This "culture of life, culture of death" tripe is clearly tied to religious mysticism hovering around the abortion issue. President Bush foolishly defined civilization as the strong realizing they had a duty to the weak. Such a concept is absolutely absurd for any civilization, let alone ours. The protection and upholding of individual rights, including the individual right to die when and as one pleases (assuming it violates no one else's rights), is the essence of civilization. The degree to which any culture meets that standard is its level of civilization.

If we are to be subjected to ridiculous and foolish stories like this instead of important stories it almost makes one wish for a terrorist attack to refocus everyone's attention on what is important. But if it takes that to do the elementary then we have almost lost from the outset.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I have been accepted to Clark University with full tuition remission for their history graduate program starting in the Fall of 2005, I have to answer by April 15. More news should be coming in from the other schools (I have already been accepted to Brandeis but am on the waiting list for full remission, if I don't get that I doubt I will go there as it is around $30,000 a semester) the next couple of weeks before I make my decision. I'll let you all know what is to happen to me when I know.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Book Recommendation

Today I am recommending David Hackett Fischer's Washington's Crossing an incredibly readable and inspiring account of the Winter campaigns of 1776. Perhaps we all think that we know what happened in this period, Washington crossed the Delaware, beat some drunken Hessians at Trenton and then surprised the British at Princeton before retreating to winter quarters, achieving symbolic but largely superficial victories. Wrong! In this book you learn the facts, the beautifully heroic story of men trudging through ten miles of snow to fight crack troops who were totally sober and some of the best troops in the world. The transformation in General Washington's leadership style and his awe inspiring presence among his men is also chronicled here in vivid detail. Dr. Fischer does all of this and more, including beautifully destroying those who would insult the famous painting that graces the cover of his book, as ahistorical and unrealistic. An excellent read and a great piece of history.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Clarification

This comment was recently added to my post on my book and the skeleton listing of chapters.

from bbrown,
I may be missing some important information, but the table of contents that you've presented doesn't seem to really fit the title of the book. The first six chapters have nothing to do with anything secular or America.Could you give a brief outline of one the first seven chapters so your readers might see how "Jesus Christ: Peasant God" might be relevant to the secular founding of America?

I have laid out the book in two parts, the first is negative and the second positive. Since so much about religious ideas is said in the media and by others without bringing up what those ideas are I have dedicated probably a slight majority of the book to looking at those ideas from numerous sources and negatively showing that those ideas could not be the basis of the American Republic. The second part is meant to be a positive demonstration of what the country was based on.

Does this answer the question and clarify any of the confusing points which may have arisen out of the structure of the book?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Book Chapters

I am currently writing a book, tentatively titled "The Secular Founding of America," and before I start posting chapters for reading, since the first two are pretty nearly finished, I thought I would release the chapter names to give everyone an idea of the book's outline. Warning, I don't think I can post the footnote's onto the blog so you wil have to wait until the book is published to read those.


The Secular Founding of America
Part One
Chapter One: The Ten Commandments and the Jewish Tradition
Chapter Two: Jesus Christ - Peasant God
The Catholics
Chapter Three: Saint Augustine - The First Christian Philosopher
Chapter Four: Sir Thomas More - Catholic Utopian
The Protestants
Chapter Five: Martin Luther - The Return of Augustinian Thought
Chapter Six: John Calvin's City of God - Geneva
Part Two
Chapter Seven: George Washington
Chapter Eight: John Adams
Chapter Nine: Thomas Jefferson and the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment

Chapter Ten: James Madison and the Constitution
Conclusion: The Gentile Greeks and Romans