Now, perhaps someone in the position of the Commissioner of the FDA or the Secretary of Health and Human Services, faced with these circumstances, ought to resign rather than approve Plan B. Perhaps, but I think not. People in the pro-life movement need to keep their heads and realize that there are legal and political realities that limit an officeholder’s freedom. “In a commonwealth and in the councils of princes,” St. Thomas More writes in Utopia, “if ill opinions cannot be quite rooted out, and you cannot cure some received vice according to your wishes, you must not therefore abandon the commonwealth, for the same reasons you should not forsake the ship in a storm because you cannot command the winds. … You ought rather to cast about and to manage things with all the dexterity in your power, so that if you are not able to make them go well they may be as little ill as possible.”
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
This gives the lie to the central promise of the religious conservatives: that they will provide a solid foundation for morality. Subjectivism, they point out, unleashes men to commit any atrocity, while religion offers men the safety of unquestionable moral rules. But what protection is really offered by moral rules backed by faith--rules on which men cannot ever agree? History offers the answer, recent history most particularly. The headline of a brilliantly conceived satire from The Onion captures it nicely: "War-Torn Middle East Seeks Solace in Religion." The Middle East, and especially the Muslim world, is famous for the intensity of its religious belief--and also infamous for the intensity of its bloodshed and suffering.
Religious conservatives warn that a morality based on reason and observation is not sufficient, because men will not all agree on what reason and the evidence proves. But when have men ever agreed on religion? And without reason and evidence to settle the argument, they usually resort to force.
The real alternative to secular subjectivism is not religious faith, but observation of the natural world--the world that can be seen and understood through reason. Despite a confused dismissal of "natural law," Heather Mac Donald is correct when she suggests that "reason and a commitment to evidence provide ample grounds for leading a moral, responsible life." But she seems to have something of pragmatist view of morality, arguing, for example, that marriage should be encouraged because sociological studies say that children are better off with two parents.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
There were even sharper attacks. Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone. Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hezbollah as "one of the worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time." He accuses Mr. Nasrallah of risking Lebanon's existence in the service of Iran's regional ambitions.
Maybe deep down, beyong all the theatrical hand-ringing, they really do begin to get it.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
It's about 5 mins...and was originally shot in film...in fact--it's probably the last time I shot in film and not video...but I didn't edit it for years, until Final Cut Pro came along.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Will must have a short memory.
It's worth asking Mr. Will: does he believe what is needed in the Middle East is more repression, more violence, more mass graves, more Saddam Husseins, more Hafez al-Assads, and more Yasir Arafats? Would these things lead to more "stability" in the Middle East? Would they advance American interests? Would they advance human rights or human liberty or the common good?
2. Here is some of what Mr. Will wrote about the Middle East during those peaceful, sedate, tranquil "years of stability" he now longs for:
"The existence of Israel, and of 'the Palestinian question,' usually has precious little -- and often, as in this case, nothing -- to do with the largest and most dangerous doings in the Middle East. Today it is especially apparent that Israel is the all-purpose but implausible alibi for the various pathologies that convulse many Arab nations and relations between them." (August 3, 1990)
"There are 21 nations in what is called 'the Arab world,' but no real democracy. In recent years, political pluralism and popular government have been sprouting green shoots in previously stony ground from Latin America to Eastern Europe. But the Middle East has remained a region riven by political primitivism that is fueled by religious fanaticism and tribalism masquerading as nationalism. A sense of falling further and further behind other modernizing nations exacerbates Arab feelings of cultural inferiority. Those feelings are deepened by the sterility of the truculence and militarism that are supposed to assuage such feelings." (January 18, 1991)
"The Palestinian Authority has comprehensively violated the Oslo agreements, including the undertaking to stop antisemitic propaganda. On Friday, Palestinian Authority television aired a Gaza imam's harangue telling the faithful that it is their duty to kill Jews wherever they find them. In President Clinton's final months of office, the Middle East is more aflame than when he began ministering to it." (October 19, 2000)
"The Middle East is one coup (in Egypt or Jordan) away from a convulsion radically inimical to Israel. However, as Netanyahu said Wednesday by telephone from Jerusalem, Islamic radicalism regards Israel as Nazi Germany regarded Belgium -- as a small steppingstone toward a much larger conquest." (September 14, 2001)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
He was indeed an old style newsman.
Dan Kennedy, Jay Fitzgerald and others were so kind enough to post about my father (with several local commentators expressing interest in his prospective book) that I thought I would give you a little taste of what's in the archive:
Here's David J. Farrell with Ted Kennedy during Ted's first senatorial campaign.
Next is dad with Marlene Dietrich when she stopped in Boston.
My favorite is this shot, taken from 16mm film of my dad with JFK on his presidential campaign.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Funny thing was, just before my sister called me at 5:45 AM with the news, my little daughter had woken up from a bad dream. I put her back to sleep and lay down again: I was dreaming myself: my dad and my brothers all dressed up at dinner in what seemed like a fancy hotel restaurant. My dad turned to me and said, "John, where are the girls? Bring the girls down, too." I started to tell him that my two daughters were still asleep upstairs when I looked down and noticed that both were climbing into my lap.
Then I woke to the phone ringing and my sister who told me he had just passed away.
Twenty years ago, for his 60th birthday, I wrote this for him:
Those early years were marked at onceHe was a great teacher and mentor. And although 80 years is a long life, I wish it could have been longer.
By knowledge great and journeys mild.
A knowledge that - at father's call -
Gave birth to suns and tides and shooting stars,
And all the worth of heaven's store
To my wide and fearful eyes.
And journeys mild -
For in my fright he took the care
To ease the flow of Nature's gifts,
Which else would sure have overwhelmed
My shocked and awe-struck mind.
Thus on morning walks through sandy dunes
In fits and starts - but more than that
My bare and buckling legs could never take -
The world he introduced to me.
And year by year my place grew strong
Until at last the world could speak
To me alone. And though alone
I often walk the shores these days,
When in the deepest thoughts of life
And all its chores - I must recall
My father, as he was when I was young,
Knee-deep in salty waves as he stood before the sun,
And began, when least I knew, the learning of my life.