Jun 10, 2011

Assorted Short Commentary

According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, soldiers who object to gays in the military will not be allowed to opt-out.

And of course they should not be allowed to do so--indeed, why should they be?  Citizens aren't allowed to opt-out of paying taxes when they no longer approve of the government, after all, and soldiers aren't allowed to refuse orders and walk away with an honorable discharge, either.


A reader of Andrew Sullivan makes a good point.   To paraphrase, if assisted suicide is murder for doctors, then why isn't it for gun salesmen?


Sullivan also asks when everyone first realized that our political climate is analogous to the waning stage of other historical empires, specifically Rome.  For me, Iraq was the full realization of decadence.


Overcoming Bias calls for punishing sleep-rape.  After largely missing the point, an addendum almost manages to touch the heart of the matter: "Like drunks, sleepwalkers seem somewhat incapacitated, so perhaps they should be excused from crimes to a similar degree as drunks."

However, that misses the point as well.  Intoxication is a form of voluntary incapacitation, whereas everyone has to sleep.  We punish drunk crimes less because the perpetrator was not fully in control of their actions; we still punish them at all because the perpetrator chose to enter a state where they were not in control of their actions.  With sleep, however, not only was the perpetrator not in control of their actions, but they had no choice but to enter the state in which they were not in control of their actions.


Found a lovely meditation on God and country:
In this hour I would ask of the Lord God only this: that, as in the past, so in the years to come He would give His blessing to our work and our action, to our judgement and our resolution, that He will safeguard us from all false pride and from all cowardly servility, that He may grant us to find the straight path which His Providence has ordained for [us], and that He may ever give us the courage to do the right, never to falter, never to yield before any violence, before any danger.... I am convinced that men who are created by God should live in accordance with the will of the Almighty.... If Providence had not guided us I could often never have found these dizzy paths.... Thus it is that we ... too, have in the depths of our hearts our faith. We cannot do otherwise: no man can fashion world-history or the history of peoples unless upon his purpose and his powers there rests the blessings of this Providence.
Sadly, it was written by Hitler.

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