George Weigel comments today on the anniversary of the SCOTUS decision in Harris v. McRae which upheld the Hyde Amendment. Justice Potter Stewart wrote for the majority, saying “Regardless of whether the freedom of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy for health reasons lies at the core or the periphery of the due process liberty recognized in [Roe v. Wade], it simply does not follow that a woman’s freedom of choice carries with it a constitutional entitlement to the financial resources to avail herself of the full range of protected choices.”
George Marlin comments on the place and popularity of Hobbes’ Leviathon in modern political thought. “If Collins is right [that Hobbes has made “deep inroads” into our thinking], America is in deep trouble. That’s because Hobbes, the father of modern statism and the first advocate of totalitarianism, rejected the insights of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas that man by his nature is a social animal who forms society by the demands and impulses of his rational nature working through free will. Hobbes also dismissed the notion that human reason possesses the power to discover the natural law. … … Hobbesian man is vain, contentious, revengeful, and self-seeking; his primitive anti-social “state of nature” leads to a condition of constant warfare and hostility. … Due to their impulse for self-preservation and the realization of the incompatibility of competing interests, Hobbes holds men come together by compact (the general will) and cede their natural freedom to a sovereign who makes and enforces law.”
The so-called death of God and the sometimes heralded “end of human nature” (which means the end of natural law) is a frightful thing indeed.
Msgr. Charles Pope remarks on an atheist video blog (I think it is Pat Condell). The video is the sort of predictably angry, hateful, dismissive and arrogant crap one too often hears from atheists. But the atheist has a point (he is commenting on the slogan “God said it. I believe it. And that settles it”). Msgr Pope does a nice job of sorting out what we should and should not mean by that claim.
The 100 Things Challenge has been making some news of late. One is reminded of the parable in Luke 12. I am thinking of trying to do an inventory of my things, though I am not optimistic that I’ll be able to get down to 100. Still, for those of us convinced that excessive consumerism is behind many of the personal, social, and ecological maladies in the world today, it is an inspiring idea.
A few lighter notes:
Andy Martin writes on the ugliness of philosophers, and how philosophy might be a way to save us from our ugliness.
And a JetBlue flight attendant seriously freaked out after being badgered by a passenger. He cussed out the passengers over the intercom, then grabbed some beers and pulled the emergency slide for his getaway. Somehow he actually got away (what does that say about the runway security at JFK?). Cops found him at his house later. The articles on the incident are full of amusing understatements like “he finally ran out of patience” and reader comments like “we all have bad days”. And while I suppose it is the job of a mother to stand by her child, she understated things just a bit when she said, “I think he just had a very small meltdown, and I think he deserve to be able to have that meltdown.”