Physician-assisted suspense. Wal-Mart disses American history. What’s so great about 1973? Once in love with Sarah. Plus more.
Re: Larry Thornberry’s The Dean of Suspense:
Larry Thornberry’s description of bioethics as “a phony branch of elite philosophy whose principle purpose seems to be to justify allowing badly ill or disabled people to die” (“The Dean of Suspense,” July 8) displays a profound lack of knowledge regarding a fascinating and important field of inquiry.
The actual purpose of bioethics is to educate the public regarding the implications of developing scientific and medical technologies so that our society can make informed choices. What makes the field so robust is that it embraces a wide swath of intellectual and political viewpoints. Contemporary bioethics is as much the product of the writing of traditionalists such as Leon Kass and neoconservatives like Francis Fukuyama as it is of progressive utilitarians who admire Peter Singer.
As a professional bioethicist who happens to favor
physician-assisted suicide, I can assure Thornberry that many of
my colleagues do not share my outlook. This diversity of
opinion—and the vigorous debate it generates in the marketplace
of ideas—is precisely what makes the enterprise that he dismisses
— Jacob M. Appel, MD/JD
The Mount Sinai Hospital
New York City
I am an avid reader of mystery, suspense, and some fantasy
novels. Dean Koontz has always been one of my favorites and you
are correct in saying that most writers take a decidedly cynical
and left wing view of traditional morality. In their novels,
acceptance of abortion and homosexuality without reservation is
the hallmark of morality. Such things as personal integrity,
sexual morality, loyalty, etc. are treated with cynicism and
disdain. Koontz has a style unique in today’s world of fiction
that is refreshing, uplifting, but entertaining and not preachy.
King’s earlier work was good but his later works, with few
exceptions are not very good. His need to be “hip” overshadows
his work and as a result now lacks moral compass. The
Stand was a good work but he no longer lives up to that
— Gary Beauchamp
PROTECTING OUR PAST
Re: Ben Stein’s Wal-Mart in the Wilderness:
As a conservative, I see Wal-Mart as a great American success story — one that provides many benefits to employees and communities. As a consumer, I shop at Wal-Mart every week. Also, as a consumer, I have this love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart because items I have bought every week for months may disappear from the shelves for months.
Again, as a Conservative, I strongly dislike having the government telling landowners what they can and cannot do with their property. Property rights should trump the designs of the State most of the time, but not all the time.
Indianapolis and the surrounding counties have seen their fair share of store closings and abandoned, empty strip malls. Yet, in spite of this considerable stock of unoccupied commercial structures, developers continue to build new buildings and strip malls while potentially waiting months and years before anyone moves in. It makes little sense; but then that’s the developers’ problem.
The needs of property owners and the State are important; but the needs of the country are greater. “America” is an almost un-definable conception. It is its people. Its creed. Its land and spilt blood. It is about the individual and it transcends the lone person. It is about the present and it is trans-generational. America is an idea; yet it is historical, particular and concrete. This is why as a people we need to preserve our past. We need our cemeteries, monuments, and our battlefields. To some, graveyards, monuments and protected battle sites are a waste of good land that could be used to the benefit of the present generation in the here and now. But the “here and now” has a past. The past is much of who we are now — and the past is never really over. We have a shared memory.
Of course, memory often can be no more than dry facts and dates.
The crucial memory, however, is a matter of the heart. It is
where we came from and who we have become. It is the real flesh
and blood sacrifices of those who came before us. Cemeteries,
monuments and…yes…battlefields are visible, concrete and
tangible remembrances that we stand on the shoulders of those who
came before us. It is not a bad thing to be daily baptized in our
patrimony and to know it isn’t all about us.
— Mike Dooley
Is Wal-Mart still trying to build a store on the site of the
Battle of Fredericksburg??
— Alfred Post
WAS IT REALLY THAT GOOD?
Re: Mark Falcoff’s It Was a Very Good Year:
The anecdote about Henry Kissinger wanting Israel to let the defeated and surrounded Egyptians keep their tanks so that a deal could be negotiated in the future is utterly typical of the misguided, muddled thinking that has crippled the GOP and America for years and years. It isn’t smart, we know it doesn’t work, but generations of policymakers have proved incapable of doing anything else. The shining exception was Ronald Reagan, with his confidence in America and his will to win and defeat the enemy. Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War and destroyed the Soviet Union without firing a shot and he did it by refusing to compromise — he took pleasure when the Russians complained about his attitude. Letting them keep their tanks and survive to fight another day was not on his agenda. Henry Kissinger never could have achieved what Ronald Reagan did because he was always looking for a compromise that left the Russians with their tanks, in the hope of achieving a deal in the future — deals that either never happened or that proved to be only transitory or worthless. The Russians saw Kissinger coming; he was their get-out-jail-free-card. Henry Kissinger prolonged the Cold War and kept the Soviet Union in power, but Ronald Reagan ended both of them — there is no possible comparison between these two outcomes. Why is it so damn hard to remember this important lesson?
Barack Obama is traveling the same old, muddy, discredited road to failure as Henry Kissinger: he has no will to win and no understanding of why winning is important. Like Kissinger, Obama sees stability, negotiation and compromise as ends in themselves, there is nothing he is prepared to fight for and all the benefits of his negotiations are always in the future and never today — I have never seen anybody so willing to accept payment with a post-dated cheque!
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?