All sorts of critically important things go on, out of sight of most of us: dredging operations on the Mississippi; rail freight operations; undersea cable maintenance. Here’s a mostly-live map that tells where ships are all over the world. Seen here.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two stooges, “Never said anything bad about other religions. But he was angry that the world pictures Islam as a violent religion.” In other words, “Islam is a religion of peace! Say it or die, infidel!” Moreover, he was on welfare, after the US let his family come here as refugees. He was no loan wolf, just an easily manipulated loser. (Seen here).
It’s encouraging that some Mosques have refused to hold his funeral, possibly reasoning that his actions showed him not to be a Muslim.
UPDATE: “Boston bombing suspects’ mother regrets emigration to US“. A lot of other people also regret her emigration to the US.
~a prayer for Boston, by Scott Poole
is to rise above the weak spirit
is to take on pain
is to push pain in the chest
with both palms
stumbling over garbage,
gravel, fragments of life,
is to say I will take you
on in the street.
Every breath of mine
is a battering ram,
swinging a hammer of air.
I am a body of fast moving blood
taking you in like a tank.
I will consume your hate.
I will run straight into you
as if you were a finish line of joy,
picking up the fallen along the way
and you will never stop me,
you will never
–To Run, by Scott Poole
Everyone but a few nutty extremists is appalled and nauseated by infanticide. No reasonable person is calling for it to be legalized. Is it possible that infanticide is the coming battle? Sure it is. To see thirty years forward, remember thirty years back, and recall what used to be unthinkable. People have become comfortable, and are getting comfortable, with surprising things. As people get comfortable with euthanasia, infanticide will increasingly be promoted. Of course it won’t be called “infanticide,” but
“Already we have seen a vast array of philosophical arguments put forward for it by Peter Singer. Last year there was a big hoopla when two Melbourne academics advocated that new born infants are not persons and infants are not therefore not entitled to the protection that personhood conveys. More recently, the spate of ‘post-birth abortions’ performed in Philadelphia has provoked outrage, though much of the media has deliberately muted their response.[see Balance and Bias] Added to that, Planned Parenthood has recently defended infanticide: If you pay money, you are owed a dead baby! I think infanticide is a logically consistent corollary of abortion. If you are going to terminate a child in utero, then let’s be honest, going six inches down the birth canal can hardly change the infant’s legal rights or ontological status. So infanticide is just a logical outworking of abortion. But a cruel, bastardly, and barbaric logic is still cruel, bastardly, and barbaric regardless of how internally consistent it is.” — Infanticide: The Coming Battle, by Michael F. Bird
There comes to be a slippery slope when the logic that got you to one point takes you to the next point. There really is no bottom. It’s just perpetual decent.
The situation isn’t hopless. Seeing it coming, there are things we can do to get ahead of the “Barbarians with Law degrees from Harvard.” The first thing, and maybe the most difficult, is to clearly understand, and reject, the logic that’s been driving us downhill.
People who support traditional marriage often say gay marriage will lead to polygamy. This fails as an argument not because it’s false, but because it will not persuade anyone who does not already agree. Sure, a gay marriage supporter may dismiss polygamy as a slippery-slope argument, or say that no one is calling for that, or may simply deny that it will lead to polygamy; but those replies are only for appearances. There are essentially zero supporters of gay marriage who have any objection to polygamy or anything else, as long as it only involves consenting adults. Now, polygamy may not become widespread enough that poly rights activists demand the right to marry, or the state may refuse to let people with multiple partners have insurance benefits, but that won’t be out of respect for the sanctity of marriage.
Contemporary civil marriage is like Poland; it doesn’t have a defensible border. No-fault divorce was the end of civil marriage as an institution. Gay marriage is just the enemy forces occupying the capital. Over the last hundred years marriage as understood in the US has changed so much that it has ceased to mean anything, except religiously or personally. People for years have been able to get married, or not, and stay married, or not, or cohabit with any person or people who will have them; it makes no significant social or legal difference. The only lifestyle choice that draws a hostile eye is non-Muslim religious fundamentalists practicing polygamy, and that’s only because people suspect minors are being coerced.
UPDATE: A point I haven’t heard elsewhere, from 3 Non-religious Reasons to Oppose Gay Marriage
“Not too long ago, we were told (about once ever 20 minutes or so here in the Bay Area – YMMV) that marriage was just a piece of paper at best, and at worst was a the perpetuation of misogynistic patriarchal hegemony, nothing more than institutionalized rape. Homosexuals, in particular, made constant hay over the stupidity of ‘breeders’, specifically and pointedly mocking those of us married with children. We got the point: Marriage, in the opinion of vocal homosexuals and other enlightened thinkers, was stupid and vile, and not getting married was a primary *positive* feature of the gay lifestyle.
Well? Where is that Greek chorus now?
A man in injured by a negligent driver:
“In the euphoria of my anger, I neglected to take her licence number.
“This, incidentally, was a moral error on my part. As Socrates explains, rather warmly to the smart Callicles, in the Gorgias, it is better to suffer wrong than to perpetrate wrong. But having done wrong, it is better to be punished than to escape punishment. And this is universally true. By failing to record the licence number (though I had a notebook & pencil on my person) I had let this woman escape punishment. By doing so, I had wronged her. It was my moral duty to see that this woman received the punishment she deserved, for her own sake, & for my own sake as a just man. “Forgiveness,” in the heart, is quite another thing; & injustice is an impediment to that forgiveness.” — Bystander syndrome, by David Warren
Some men say there is no universal objective standard of right and wrong; that values are constructed by society, varying dramatically with time and place; that only a barbarian thinks “the customs of his tribe and island are laws of nature.”
If I could just sit down for coffee with a man who doesn’t believe in objective morality, and then punch him in the face whenever he tries to articulate his position, I think we could really make some progress toward mutual understanding.
“In The City And The City, Mr. Mieville has created two separate cities, Beszel and Ul Quoma. The two cities occupy the same physical space, and may even share buildings and streets. Each ‘city’ has its own airport and port district. Citizens of each city can dimly glimpse, at times, residents of the other city or the outlines of buildings. However, to admit to this is to commit Breach, risking arrest and incarceration. Citizens of both cities have been strictly trained since earliest childhood to disregard all evidence of the other city. The narrative of Mr. Mieville’s book unwinds as a policeman in the less wealthy city, Beszel, is investigating a murder of a young woman which implicates a well-connected functionary in the corresponding, wealthier city of Ul Quoma. His distress increases as he realizes that the wold in which he grew up does not correspond to the world as it actually is.” — Fantasy And The “Dushevni Diet”
“It would seem, based on the records of population growth, that concern for overpopulation is an effect, not a cause, of falling fertility rates,” says Joseph Moore in The Appeal of Childlessness; an informative and short article worth reading. I’d never heard, or had forgotten, that Augustan Rome had a problem with declining fertility.
“It was next proposed to relax the Papia Poppaea law, which Augustus in his old age had passed subsequently to the Julian statutes, for yet further enforcing the penalties on celibacy and for enriching the exchequer. And yet, marriages and the rearing of children did not become more frequent, so powerful were the attractions of a childless state.” — Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome
I knew human populations had declined at various times, but thought those had been the result not of choice, but of plague, war, and famine; or maybe lead poising, in Imperial Rome.
Forced abortions in China
“The NGO All Girls Allowed estimates that ten percent of abortions in China are coerced. According to its own statistics, the Chinese government performed 13 million abortions in 2008 and 400 million abortions since the policy was inaugurated in 1979. That means that the government may force abortions on 1.3 million women annually, and that the total number of forced abortions could be at least 40 million. Other human rights abuses (1,484 cases of political and religious prisoners, 4,500 executions, 40,000 committed to psychiatric hospitals, 80,000 evictions) affect far fewer people and yet they’re reported much more frequently.” — The West’s Deafening Silence on China’s Forced Abortions, by Rick Santorum
Old people “hastened to their deaths” in England
“In England, thousands of terminally ill people were hastened to their deaths by the Liverpool Care Pathway. It was meant to be a national hospice program that provided palliative care to the terminally ill in their final days. What ended up happening, of course, when the National Health Service started running out of money is that thousands (even tens of thousands) of elderly patients who were terminally ill, but weren’t anywhere near death’s door, were hastened to their deaths. They had become too expensive or just too difficult to manage.” — When it comes to end of life decisions, the state does not love you, by Bookworm
That last link says it: The State does not love you.