Friday, October 12, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Serious stuff first. Bret Stephens discusses the "moral bullying" from the New York Times and the Economist in their argument for a strict definition, and outlawing of, torture. WSJ, Oct. 9.

Taken seriously, it says that the civilized world would be better off sustaining a nuclear 9/11 than tarnishing its good name, that righteous victimhood is a finer thing than an innocent life saved through morally compromised methods, and that self-preservation is not the most fundamental requirement of democratic life.

For fun, three suggestions:

Eugene Volokh, also at the WSJ on Oct. 9, responded to B. Hussein Obama's decision to cease wearing the flag lapel pin. His question, "What if Barak Obama told his wife he wouldn't say "I love you" anymore?"

...if you used to say this and then you stopped, the symbolic message is pretty powerful. And that's true even though many people say "I love you" without meaning it (just as there are some who wear the flag pin but are just opportunists, not patriots). Even if this abuse of the phrase weakens its symbolism, an outright renunciation of the phrase retains its symbolism just fine.

Same paper, same date: James Taranto, our hero, had this gem when comparing the 100 Iranian students that chanted "Death to the Dictator" during a recent Ahmadinejad speech at Teheran University to America's 'protestors':

It's a reminder, too, of just what phonies and blowhards our American "dissenters" are. They know it takes no courage to oppose a democratic government that holds freedom of speech sacrosanct. So they spin lurid fantasies of authoritarianism in order to convince themselves of their own bravery.

And last, Ann Coulter lectures her fellow conservatives about losing focus in the presidential election in her Townhall article, "Fred Sawyer and Huckabee Finn".