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 so valuable.
-- 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 standard.
-- 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!
America's enemies have as little reason to fear Obama as they did Henry Kissinger -- he will let them get away with murder, he would never dream of doing what they most fear and bring them down. Barack Obama may well be another Henry Kissinger, but he sure as hell is no Ronald Reagan.
-- Christopher Holland
IGNORANCE WON'T BE SO BLISS
Re: Peter Ferrara's Cap and Trade Dementia:
If ignorance can be better used than this, I don't know what can! People had better wake up to what this president is doing to us all. Thanks to the Obama news organizations -- ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN.
Like Forrest Gump said: Stupid is as stupid does!
President Bush II was an optimist; the trope that a Republican president is less than the brightest crayon in the Crayola box is as well worn one of the Moronic Mass Media. Senator’s Kerry’s intelligence was a major selling point for many pundits, but he displayed no more intellectual prowess, nor was he any less gaff prone, than W. Further if the same flawed policies were the products of a Kerry administration, the pronouncements of the press would have been much more forgiving. That is not to say Bush did not make numerous mistakes and miscalculations in his foreign policies; he did, but his core beliefs were based on an assumption that all humanity would follow their better angels if given the chance. (This belief flies in the face of history, but Bush did state Jesus Christ was the philosopher he followed most closely.) President Bush, for all his faults, was a patriotic leader who clearly loved and honored his country.
President Obama is not naive either. He is quite the opposite of naive. The One is highly cynical and manipulative. He has spoken from the center and pushed America hard to the left. The Titan of the Teleprompter repeatedly used this weapon of mass distraction (the teleprompter) to apologize for America on foreign soil. (I might be of another generation, but I was taught that family issues were to be kept with the house and not put on the street.) For reasons that will keep historical psychologist busy for years, Obama feels the need to be applauded by the world. Unlike Bush, Obama puts the adoration of the world ahead of the interests of America.
Bush was highly (and often correctly) criticized for seeing the world unrealistically. The press has been slow to make the same pronouncement of Obama. Bush may have seen the world through rose colored glasses, and this did lead to dire consequence, the Democratic messiah sees the world only through the rearview mirror: color, not character, is the main defining characteristic of a person (e.g. Sotomayer and affirmative action); bi-lateral disarmament ignoring the reality of a multi-national nuclear arms club) and a Keynesians stimulus package reminiscent of FDR’s New Deal. The consequences for Obama’s backwards looking views will make the consequences of the Bush years seem as light as the dust on a fairy’s wings.
One lasting and positive legacy of the Bush years is The Bush Doctrine. Naive or not, it has helped transform the Middle East. One shudders at the thought of what might be Obama’s legacy for the world.
-- I.M. Kessel
GIVE 'EM HELL, SARAH!
Re: John C. Wohlstetter's Palin and the Politics of Familial Destruction:
Personally I think you critics totally misread it all. "Meandering," another said, "Rambling," and "Bizarre."
It was none of those things.
You guys did not listen. She is a tough lady. She meant what she said about not putting her beloved Alaska through this garbage. She is going to be out there and she is going to be able to fight back and win. Maybe even the White House in '12. Remember what they said to Harry Truman, "Give 'em H---, Harry" Well that's what Sarah Palin is going to do.
Poughkeepsie, New York
We need to get something straight about what we are dealing with and not get wrapped around the axle with labels and today's gutter tactics. If you don't know your enemy and act accordingly, then the fight is already over.
If you understand the social makeup and workings of an Ant Colony or Bee Hive, then you understand all you need to know about Marx's teachings and the forces of darkness descending upon this Nation. It takes less than 5 minutes of study to comprehend that humanity is the polar opposite of what an insect collective is and that nothing contained in Marx's Utopian vision for humanity is compatible with the nature of mankind. Academic nitwits or Liberals find merit in the "distinctions" between the various phases of Marx's grand plan for perfecting the Human hive but the ash heap of history is piled high with the bodies of his grand vision and ultimate level, Communism. At last count, the body count was over 150,000,000 world-wide. I don't think free Health Care would have done much to reduce this.
Where his intermediate Socialism was tried, it both lowered prosperity and spread miserly over the landscape until the victim state collapsed fiscally or reached the point of bankruptcy and paused to see if there was a safe way off the cliff. The jury is still out on those brave Western European Socialist States standing dangerously close to that edge. That they think they can continue down that path and not destroy the patient is another matter entirely.
Liberalism, being the junior version of Socialism exists only because some Marists like their comforts more than others and have less of the spinal fortitude to put themselves at personal risk to accomplish their ultimate goals. Nothing new there. Cowards got to live somewhere.
At the end of the day, regardless of which one of Marx's devilish flavors you chose, including the various forms of Fascism thrown in for spice, all roads end at the same place. At the most basic level, Marx's ideas destroy Human dignity, self worth, individuality and any motivation to strive beyond the normality of the herd-like existence. The lowest common denominator sets the standards of society at large. California comes to mind for some reason. There is nothing at all uplifting about Marx and like all collectives, the faceless masses that serve the hive never ever see the rewards promised by the Princes and Princesses at the top of the Bee Hive. In effect, Marx delivers what the followers of Marx rail against, equal misery for the 97% that compose the drones and unlimited power and comfort for the self-appointed 3% that make up the intellectual nitwits at the top of the hive. Lenin and Stalin weren't the sharpest tools in the shed but they were ruthless enough to make up for that short coming.
So to all those that proudly call themselves "liberal" keep dreaming that Marx Lite (Obama's current flavor of choice) is somehow separate and distinct from Marx Heavy. But to Marx, all flavors of socialism are a means to the same end. Make no mistake, the forces of Marx's and similar collectives and the forces of individual freedom and dignity are on a collision course that isn't going to be resolved at the ballot box. Fools believe otherwise but Angels know better than to trust a fool.
Liberalism and all the misery it has spread throughout the land have both a fiscal and human cost. The bill's coming due on 70+ years of fiscal Liberal buffoonery. The Human cost won't be far behind. Every attempt at perfecting the human condition has resulted in the use of force and the consequences that brings. Won't be any different here.
The following quote is right out of the play book of Liberal Democrats, central to Marx's grand plan to bring down Capitalism, practiced by every Marxist regime on the planet and written by a man that lived well before Christ:
"Break the will of enemy to fight, and you accomplish the true objective of war. Cover with ridicule the enemy's traditions. Exploit and aggravate the inherent frictions within the enemy country. Agitate the young against the old. Prevail if possible without armed conflict. The Supreme excellence is not to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles. The supreme excellence is to defeat the armies of your enemies without every having to fight them." -- Sun Tzu.
Liberalism as personified by Obama is Marx underneath and a thin layer of ice cream on top. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
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