Monday, 6 August 2007


I don’t know how three years passed so quickly, but they have. On this date in 2004, having suffered for several days with a dial-up telephone connection, I got Charter High-Speed Internet. I have no regrets whatsoever about switching from DSL to cable. In fact, I consider this one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, right up there with forgoing a career in law. Has Charter’s service been perfect? No, but it’s a darn sight better than EarthLink’s DSL service. My telephone has been out of commission many times in the past three years, sometimes for as long as five days. My cable service has been down only a couple of times, and never for more than a few hours. Here is my gleeful post of three years ago today.


Progressives value diversity, both for its own sake and for the sake of its consequences, which are assumed to be good. It has become the main justification for affirmative-action programs in education. But diversity of what? I can understand a desire to have diverse outlooks or beliefs or values represented in a classroom or on a faculty, for that facilitates truth-seeking. But progressives want diversity of skin color. Could anything be more superficial? Is the assumption that different races think differently or have different values? Why is that anything other than racist stereotyping? It now transpires that diversity has bad effects. See here. It’s really quite simple. Human beings like to associate with similars. When you force, coerce, or manipulate them into associating with dissimilars, you make things worse rather than better. But this is just another instance of progressives not thinking things through. They think good intentions are enough. They’re not.

Cultural Renewal

Here is Robert P. George’s plea to Catholics.

Richard John Neuhaus on Polemic

We occasionally—well, more than occasionally—receive letters from readers commending us for smiting the enemy hip and thigh. Thank you, I’m sure, but such encouragements sometimes prompt a wince, remembering Holy Willie as I do. We resist the temptation to divide the world into “us” and “them,” and frequently succeed. While the reality of culture wars can hardly be denied, I prefer to think of First Things in terms of conversation rather than warfare. When in editorial meetings we discuss possible articles, the standard question is, “Does this advance the conversation?” Not, mind you, that we are averse to a judicious use of polemic. It is sometimes helpful in gaining the attention of those who are not aware of the nonsense they are spouting. But we try to be gentle, not wishing unnecessarily to offend the wrongheaded, and always holding out the hope that they might yet become partners in the conversation. The more encouraging messages from readers, and especially from the growing number of readers of college age, are those that say they discovered in First Things a perspective that enabled them to turn the cacophony of impassioned opinions into the paths of robustly constructive conversation. Which is why we are pleased to send a sample copy to people, young or not so young, who you think might become subscribers. Just send us their names and addresses, and we’ll let them know that you’re the one who thinks so highly of their good judgment.

(Richard John Neuhaus, “The Public Square,” First Things [April 2007]: 55-72, at 72)

Capital Punishment

The editorial board of The New York Times asserts—flatly—that capital punishment is unconstitutional. Wouldn’t it be nice if the board stated the ground of this judgment so that its readers could evaluate it? One thing we know for sure is that the drafters and ratifiers of the Constitution didn’t view capital punishment as unconstitutional. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments say that neither life, liberty, nor property may be taken from an individual (by the federal government or by state governments, respectively) without due process of law. This contemplates that life may be taken. Perhaps the board is saying that, since capital punishment is wrong, the Constitution ought to be amended to prohibit it. But that creates a raft of problems. The board would have to argue for the wrongness of capital punishment, since not everyone believes it to be wrong; and then the board would have to show why the wrongness of a thing justifies amending the Constitution to prohibit it. (Many people believe abortion to be wrong. Does that justify amending the Constitution to prohibit abortion?) I don’t think the board is interested in serious debate. It’s trying to be provocative.


Thank goodness there are still people who believe in law and order.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Should Most Pet Owners Be Required to Neuter Their Animals?,” by Verlyn Klinkenborg (Editorial Observer, July 30), is right: “The rate at which dogs are purchased and euthanized in this country is not a sign of our affection for them. It’s a sign of our indifference.”

We’ve been educating, helping and begging people to spay and neuter their animals for years, but three million to four million cats and dogs still die in shelters every year because of simple math: too many animals, not enough worthy adoptive homes.

This crisis calls for mandatory spay and neuter legislation. Given the current dire shortage of homes, no breeding is responsible. Every time someone buys a puppy or kitten from a breeder, a shelter animal loses its chance at a home and pays with its life.

Breeders kill shelter animals’ chances to find good homes. It is time to practice your A B C’s (Animal Birth Control)! Animals aren’t possessions to use, abuse and throw away when we tire of them.

If people won’t be responsible for their animals on their own, it’s time to make carelessness criminal.

Daphna Nachminovitch
Norfolk, Va., July 31, 2007
The writer is the director of Domestic Animals and Wildlife Rescue & Information for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

A Year Ago


The Grand Old Party

John Hawkins of Right Wing News conducted a poll of “right-of-center bloggers” to see which Republican presidential candidates are “most desired” and “least desired.” My ranked lists were as follows:

Most Desired
1. Fred Thompson
2. Mitt Romney
3. Tom Tancredo
4. Duncan Hunter
5. Mike Huckabee

Least Desired
1. Ron Paul
2. Rudy Giuliani
3. Sam Brownback
4. Tommy Thompson
5. John McCain

Here are the poll results. Feel free to supply your own lists as a comment.

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