I own one album (There Were Signs ) by Bill Gable. I love it. "High Trapeze" is one of my favorite songs of all time. This afternoon, Bill posted a comment on my blog! I'm flattered. He directed my attention to newly discovered demo versions of the album's songs. Here they are.
The state of Israel has accomplished what no Roman Empire, no Nazi persecution, no bigot has ever been able to do. It has made me ashamed to be a Jew. We are witnessing another massacre of the innocents. Anybody who cannot respond to the disproportionate response, to the suffering of the Palestinian people, to the targeting of schools, water plants, mosques and hospitals is truly a lost soul. And it grieves me beyond measure that my government is Israel's enabler.
As another Jew, killed by our mentor the Roman Empire, once asked: "Having eyes, do you not see?"
Michael Beer, Richmond
Note from KBJ: I have a feeling that Michael Beer would be ashamed to be a Jew even if there were no state of Israel. It's called self-loathing.
In Gaza, as Mohammed Omer notes in his Op-Ed article, “fear permeated the summer night,” and Gazans “scanned the night sky” for any warning of bombs. What better example of the tragic toll of this war in moral degradation and disproportionate destruction?
As I think of it, philosophers of religion, indeed philosophers in general, often make progress on philosophical issues in a way analogous to the way in which laws are refined as they are adjudicated in appellate courts. So I think of our journal in these terms. The great body of literature in philosophy, like the body of law we live by, is always subject to dispute, to correction, to critique. Our journal is a forum designed to contribute to this critical process and hence to the advancement of our understanding of religion.
We bring our submissions before our Editorial Board and other external reviewers, and the ones that pass this review are published and set before our readers for their judgment and criticism. As philosophers of religion, we know full well that to publish our ideas in books and journals is to place them before a critical audience of our peers. But this is how we deepen our understanding and correct our misunderstandings. Even though the path of critique can sometimes be harsh and hurtful, it is also the case that when it is undertaken in a spirit of collegiality, this critical process can lead to the happy outcome of advancing our philosophical projects.
The five articles in this issue are exercises in this procedure of critical philosophical discussion. The first three are critical of specific philosophers of religion, the fourth is critical of a particular approach to the philosophy of religion, namely, the phenomenological approach, and the last is a criticism of a particular philosopher for not taking such a phenomenological approach to the philosophy of religion.
Our lead essay, “Does Anselm beg the question?,” can stand, in my judgment, as a model of what I would call genuine collegial criticism. Keith Burgess-Jackson shows us how criticism is itself subject to criticism and reproof. He discusses the claim of a long-time friend of this journal and former member of our Editorial Board, William Rowe, namely, his celebrated claim that the ontological argument begs the question. In the article, Rowe’s argument is clearly set out and Burgess-Jackson’s critique is clear and easy to follow. Indeed, you may find that it raises serious objections to Rowe’s objection to the ontological argument. But what I also call your attention to is the fact that Burgess-Jackson dedicates this article to Rowe.
(R. L. Hall, "Editorial Preface," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 [August 2014]: 1-3, at 1-2)
In response to the July 22 letter, "Genuine choice": I am a woman who believes men should have complete control over their bodies. I also believe I have the right not to have to pay for it. Tell you what: I will stay out of your bedroom, if you stay out of my wallet! How about you pay for your little blue pill? A pill which assists men achieve an erection should not be covered by any insurance.
John Sullivan sent a link to this essay, entitled "The 10 Biggest Classic Rock Douchebags." I wish I had written it, because I agree with most of it. The douchebags are Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Lou Reed, David Crosby, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, Phil Spector, Carlos Santana, and Frank Zappa. The only albums I own by any of these "artists" are Lou Reed's Berlin (1973) (which I consider a masterpiece) and the early albums by The Beatles. I like some of Carlos Santana's work (such as this), and I must admit to liking some of the songs by Crosby Stills Nash & Young. I have never understood the appeal of the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, or Frank Zappa. There's not one song by any of these individuals that I like, much less love.
The contents of the eight books of the Politics may be briefly stated as follows, taking them in the order in which they appear in all the manuscripts. The first book describes the city-state as the highest form of community, and as formed by the coalescence of villages, which in turn are formed by the coalescence of households; and it proceeds to discuss two main themes—slavery, which is an element in the Greek household, and property, of which slaves are a part. The second book discusses the ideal commonwealths described by Plato, Phaleas, and Hippodamus, and the best states existing in the world known to the Greeks of Aristotle's day. The third deals with the definition of citizenship, the classification of constitutions, and the varieties of one of them—monarchy. The fourth discusses variations in the five other types of constitution recognized by Aristotle, and the three institutions regarded by him as essential to a state—the deliberative assembly, the executive, and the law-courts. The fifth discusses revolutions and their causes, and the means of preventing them. The sixth discusses the proper organization of two inferior forms of state—democracies and oligarchies. The seventh and eighth form a continuous but unfinished discussion of the ideal state.
(Sir David Ross, "The Development of Aristotle's Thought," Dawes Hicks Lecture on Philosophy, Proceedings of the British Academy 43 [6 February 1957]: 63-78, at 68-9 [boldface added])
For those who oppose the death penalty, any delay is good, but it’s still cruel and unusual punishment. And that everyone on California’s death row is indigent is another injustice. The cruelty, injustice and cost of the system lead to one conclusion: It’s time to abandon the death penalty.
TOM MILLER Oakland, Calif., July 21, 2014
The writer is a lawyer.
Note from KBJ: I'm a lawyer, too, so any authority Tom Miller has is negated by mine. The death penalty is neither cruel nor unusual, and the United States Supreme Court has never said it is. Killing murderers is not only not unjust; it is required by justice. (Justice consists in giving individuals their due.) Incidentally, killing murderers saves many innocent lives, so states without capital punishment violate the rights of their citizens. It's time to expand the use of the death penalty.
Regarding "Death penalty's fatal flaws," editorial, July 18: Capital punishment has been on legal hold since 2006 in California. For eight years the world's center of innovation has not been able to find the right lethal mixture? I wish criminals were so careful in the selection of the bullet caliber they choose for their next murder. We would be a near-homicide-free state.
Here is my contribution: After police identify a murder subject, a prosecutor asks for the death penalty, 12 carefully screened peers find guilt and an appellate court concurs, the criminal should be executed. This whole procedure ought not to take more than two years. Don't routinely involve state and federal Supreme Courts.
Execution is by firing squad, a method neither cruel (no agonizing pain) nor unusual, in fact quite usual on the streets of many California cities. This would put many thousands of attorneys on food stamps, but they can then call my proposal simple-minded.
How can all three branches of government so blatantly disregard the will of the majority of the voters?