[O]nly those actions are ethical which involve more than is strictly required. If we so behave that we do no more than is required of us, we merely live honestly, but we do not on that account deserve honour; but if we do more than is strictly demanded, our action is worthy of honour, and we are then truly honourable men.
(Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics, trans. Louis Infield, The Library of Religion and Culture, ed. Benjamin Nelson [New York: Harper & Row, 1963 (first published in 1930)], 50)
No Straight Lines (2015). I just bought this album. I also have Bill's 1989 album There Were Signs. Incredibly enough, Bill is an attorney as well as a musician, and, proving that all good things are ultimately connected, he studied philosophy as an undergraduate.
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address.
As a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and more recently as the father of three children of draft age, I have long supported a military draft and a national service requirement that would (1) provide no college deferments and (2) apply equally to men and women.
As is, our volunteer Army overwhelmingly comprises young working-class people who, in the eyes of most unaffected Americans and despite all the patriotic pandering, have become mere collateral damage.
Until our policy makers, the privileged and powerful, have offspring who are subjected to a service requirement—until they have some “skin in the game”—we will continue to engage in nonstop military adventures throughout the world.
Note from KBJ: The letter writer, who refused to fight for his country, thereby making someone else do it, wants to use young people as a mere means to his end, which is the prevention of "military adventures." Where does the New York Times get these people?
I'm watching the Democrat debate from Milwaukee as I work at the computer. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton inhabit an alternate reality. I don't even recognize their world. Okay, I recognize it, because I used to inhabit it myself, but I find it revolting. Someone submitted a question through social media, something to the effect of, "What are you going to do about the mass incarceration of black men?" My answer would have been, "Encourage them to obey the law." How difficult is it to live a long life without running afoul of the criminal law? Criminal law, unlike morality, lays down minimal conditions. Don't kill; don't steal; don't rob; don't burn buildings down; don't kidnap or rape; don't buy, sell, or use certain drugs; pay your taxes. Thank God for prisons.
Re “The Court Enters the Climate Wars” (editorial, Feb. 11):
Notwithstanding that a unanimous Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to block the Clean Power Plan from taking effect, five members of the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented decision without waiting until it formally heard the case, issued an order temporarily blocking the law.
The coal industry should consider itself fortunate that it could do without the services of lobbyists, since five members of the Supreme Court will accomplish its bidding. History will not favorably judge members of the court who abandon sound legal reasoning and base their decision on right-wing politics.
The editorial board of the New York Times persists in characterizing the Supreme Court of the United States (and its members) in political terms. This says more about the editorial board than it does about the Supreme Court. What it says is that the board views everything in relation to its political ends. If a decision of the Supreme Court doesn't accord with the progressive ends of the editorial board, then there is only one possible explanation, to wit: the Supreme Court is conservative, and, as such, is trying to thwart the progressive agenda. In fact, law is an autonomous institution, with its own concepts, language, standards, and roles.
Imagine describing every decision by a Major League Baseball umpire in terms of his (or her) baseball loyalties. "The Yankees won the game because most of the umpires on hand are, or were in childhood, fans of the Yankees." This debases our discourse by insisting that all decisions are political. It is also personally insulting, inasmuch as it assumes that participants in institutions such as law or baseball are incapable of being impartial (disinterested, fair). Isn't it possible—indeed, likely—that the umpires based their decisions on what they saw, rather than on what they wanted to happen? Is there no such thing as integrity? And why should judges be any different from umpires? That my judicial decision accords with conservatism, or makes conservatives happy, doesn't mean that it was my goal to promote conservatism, much less that I am a conservative. Nor is it honest to describe my decision as "conservative."
The editorial board of the New York Times (a once-great newspaper, but now little more than a propaganda rag) has almost single-handedly destroyed our national discourse by politicizing everything. But that's what progressives do. In their view, law is political, education is political, art is political, sport is political, war is political, science is political, journalism is political—even the personal is political.
Here is information about the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The United States Constitution allows private property to be taken for public use, provided that just compensation is paid to the property owner. If you don't like this, then you need to amend the Constitution. (Note: I'm not talking about the taking of private property for private use, which is controversial. What I'm saying is that taking private property for public use is not controversial. Why do I bring this up? Because in recent days, I have gotten the sense that some people think it's outrageous that government can take private property for public use.)
If you want to go to heaven, you'd better get right with Jesus before you die. If you want to have influence over the next president, you'd better get right with Donald Trump before he secures the Republican nomination. Fred Barnes gets right.