| 2011 articles |
Sunday, 25 September 2011
For those of us committed to the fight of saving Western Civilization from collapse, stories like the one that recently emerged from West Palm Beach, Florida are not reassuring. It seems that Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana, the parents of a young disabled boy named Bryan Santana, have received a $4.5 million court victory over a doctor and ultrasound technician they accused of malpractice.
What makes this story uniquely disturbing is the alleged offense of the two medical professionals. According to the Palm Beach Post, "[The parents] claimed they would have never have brought Bryan into the world had they known about his horrific disabilities... the West Palm Beach couple said they would have terminated the pregnancy." In other words, since Bryan was born with only one limb, his life isn't woth as much as if he had all of them. Therefore, the doctor and ultrasound tech are responsible for Bryan being alive rather than in a trash bin, and so they should have to pay for him.
The $4.5 million decision is half of what the parents requested, allegedly to help pay for Bryan's lifetime medical costs. That two individuals could be so shameless as to even publicly attach their names to a lawsuit of this nature, that our court system would even hear such a case, and that a jury of citizens would disgracefully reward them with anything but a callous lecture on their own moral degeneracy, amount to a shocking commentary on how far our culture has fallen in terms of its respect for the value of human life.
Imagine for a second 8 years down the road when Bryan, bound to a wheelchair but otherwise functioning and interacting as a typical pre-teen boy, gets into an argument with one of his friends. Without thinking, his friend shouts out something like, "Yeah, well, at least my parents wanted me!" Perplexed, Bryan does a little digging and question-asking, and he eventually finds out that his parents were so upset at the thought of having to deal with him as he was, they would have preferred to kill him. How many of the left's cherished "self-esteem" classes will Bryan have to sit through to overcome that devastation?
For its part, the Palm Beach Post editorialized against the lawsuit. Andrew Marra wrote for the paper, "The problem with their lawsuit is its premise that their son is more flawed or somehow worse than a person with four fully formed limbs... Certainly, Bryan will face challenges that few have to consider, and that is tragic. Whether these obstacles mean his life is not worth living should be up to him to decide, not to Ms. Mejia and a jury of her peers."
While Marra is barking up the right tree, he doesn't take his condemnation of this case far enough. After all, there is nothing logically different about what Mejia and Santana are saying than what the left has said for years about the whole right to choose abortion. Why should we be surprised when two people say that their son's physical disabilities make him unworthy to live? For years we have been condoning the left's lie that an inconvenient child can be killed legally - so why not a handicapped one? Surely if the financial burden, emotional strain or psychological stress caused by an unplanned pregnancy is enough to justify abortion, the kind of grief provoked by finding out your child will face physical challenges should be as well, right?
What we are witnessing in this case is the logical end of the moral relativistic rubbish that our entire abortion culture is based on. Consider the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that saw the U.S. Supreme Court attempting to provide some moral clarity to the muddled mess that the infamous Roe v. Wade had left in its wake. Their pitiful effort shows that even when given almost 20 years to come up with a better explanation for the gruesome practice, the brightest legal minds can't offer anything beyond a self-defeating quagmire of personal preferences.
The Court opined that, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." And with as intellectually vapid and logically flawed as that mammoth definition of liberty is, it isn't difficult to figure out why we are experiencing the kind of moral decay that is represented by this "wrongful birth" case. Parents Mejia and Santana's "concept of existence" involves a sliding scale of humanity's worth: those who they define as "normal" are more valuable and worthy of life than those who aren't. They are merely "defining the meaning of human existence" to be predicated upon what an individual can do for society.
Therein lays the problem. We can and should recoil in disgust at such brazen acts of selfishness as preferring to kill your handicapped child than care for them. But until we eliminate the moral relativism that triggers those acts and replace it with the Judeo-Christian truth that life is valuable not for what it does, but what it is, we should only anticipate more of the same.
This column first appeared on The American Thinker.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
In recent years I had found myself warming up to the intrepid representative from Texas, Ron Paul. His rigorous devotion to fiscal restraint and the Constitution preceded the Tea Party movement, and his ability to motivate young people toward the cause of liberty is endearing. But for all the good that Dr. Paul has done in helping shift the focus of the Republican Party back to one of limited, smaller government, his fervent allegiance to a radical brand of libertarianism is nonetheless concerning.
Consider the dust-up he had with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at the recent Republican presidential debate. On the day after the 10th anniversary of the horrific attacks of September 11th, 2001, Ron Paul let loose with his mindless trope about how interventionist U.S. foreign policy was what brought the vile hatred of radical Muslims to our shores.
Regardless of whether you agree with Paul (as I do) that our military shouldn't be spread all over the globe, or whether you agree with Paul (as I do) that nation building is a quagmire waiting to happen, the idea that a few decades worth of American imperialism (as Paul would call it) provoked radical Islamists into violent actions they would not have otherwise taken is beyond absurd.
For him to even intimate as much reveals that Paul's rigid devotion to libertarian dogma (including strict military isolationism) arrests his ability to consider any other cause of anti-American aggression beyond, "we brought it on ourselves." It also demonstrates an embarrassing lack of understanding of the danger radical Islam poses to Western civilization. We already have one president who suffers from such delusion; we certainly don't need another.
In a column posted to his website, Paul suggests that the "real motivation behind the September 11 attacks," was American occupation of foreign, Muslim lands. Even if we grant that Muslim jihadists do not distinguish between American military presence and "occupation," this argument falls woefully short in diagnosing the problem.
Islamic scholar Ibn Warraq explained why, observing, "It is extraordinary the amount of people who have written about the 11th of September without once mentioning Islam. We must take seriously what the Islamists say to understand their motivation, [that] it is the divinely ordained duty of all Muslims to fight in the literal sense until man-made law has been replaced by God's law, the Sharia, and Islamic law has conquered the entire world."
That is precisely what al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden conveyed in his infamous 2002 open letter to the American people, where he wrote, "What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam...It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme." Of course, "reigning supreme" means an international, worldwide caliphate where Sharia is forced upon all resisting non-Muslim nations.
Paul's assessment of the cause of 9/11 then, is incredibly short-sighted. This war against Western civilization is something that has been going on for a thousand years - long before American troops ever occupied a square inch of the Middle East. And withdrawing every single soldier from that part of the world will not pacify those who believe it to be their historic, divinely inspired quest to subjugate all infidels under the banner of jihad.
If Ron Paul struggles to grasp that, he should consider the words of Mullah Mustapha Kreikar, the leader of a radical Islamist group known as Ansar al-Islam who confirmed, "The [Muslim] resistance is not only a reaction to the American invasion, it is part of the continuous Islamic struggle since the collapse of the caliphate." The operative words there are "continuous Islamic struggle;" words not conditioned upon the location of American military personnel. It is sad that a man who speaks so eloquently about the benefits of human liberty like Dr. Paul fails miserably to acknowledge the existential threat it faces from global jihad.
As much as Dr. Paul may firmly believe that U.S. foreign policy is responsible for the merciless slaughter of those innocent people ten years ago, he is embarrassingly misguided. Their murder had little to do with our global military presence, and much to do with the words of the Hadith of Bukhari, the text from which the hijackers drew their inspiration: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."
As long as our country continues allowing for the rights of conscience and freedom of religious expression, we will remain the targets of the radical Islamists who despise such liberty. Our next president must understand that.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Despite the left's self-assured predictions that Obama's reelection was inevitable as Osama bin Laden's body slipped beneath the brine, just about every reputable polling agency now shows the president up against history in his bid for a second term.
The internals of the polls are even more alarming for the White House. It seems that Republicans could actually dress up a mannequin from Sears to lead their ticket, and the soulless, inanimate, plastic creature would outperform Obama in the realms of jobs, economic growth, foreign affairs, health care, and national defense amongst virtually every demographic.
So to make this election a little more interesting for those of us who watch and observe politics, let me make a strategic suggestion to the eventual Republican nominee, whoever he or she may be: don't play Prevent defense in this campaign. Don't play not to lose, but rather imitate Obama in 2008: attack your opponent where he thinks he is strongest.
Granted, the president's narcissism may make it initially difficult to pinpoint which area he believes himself to be most gifted; but that vain conceit actually provides the answer. Make this election about intelligence...and not the kind that is measured by letter grades (that would be impossible anyway, given that for some reason our scholar president won't release his grade transcripts). No, I'm talking about working intelligence -- the kind of street smarts that history tells us is far more useful in a chief executive than a high verbal SAT.
Now, this suggestion may seem counterintuitive, given that George Clooney has recently declared Barack Obama to be "smarter than anybody you know." But I think the 2012 election is a perfect time for Republicans to remind the American people of the wisdom of Forrest Gump: "Stupid is as stupid does." And as Bret Stephens accurately confirmed to readers in the Wall Street Journal not long ago, "[t]he presidency of Barack Obama is a case study in stupid does."
Current Republican frontrunner Governor Rick Perry of Texas seems up to this challenge. After being the recipient of the left's typical playground taunts that he's too dumb to be president, Perry responded, "What's dumb is ... to put fiscal policies in place that were a disaster back in the '30s and try them again in the 2000s. That's what I consider to be the definition of dumb." In other words, if Obama's economic record is the epitome of "brilliance," and the Perry years in Texas have been the result of a "dumb" executive, those two words officially have no meaning.
But Perry isn't the only Republican who should be willing to take on the supposed intellectualism of this administration. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, also taking the brunt of the left's condescending jabs, has every right to engage the brain debate. After all, how intellectual is it to demand, as our current president does, that upper wage-earners pay "their fair share" of taxes when the top 50% of wage-earners -- which includes primarily middle-class taxpayers -- already shoulder 97% of the income tax burden? While that absurd definition of fairness may score high on the class warfare scale, it is far more intellectual to observe, as Bachmann has, that it is fundamentally unfair when more people are riding in the wagon than pulling it.
And should the sycophantic Obama media continue obsessing about how Bachmann's mistaking Elvis's birthday with his date of death, or confusing which Iowa town was John Wayne's home, are proof of her ignorance, Michele could always invite them to one of the 57 states President Obama claimed to have visited, and offer them an alcoholic breathalyzer like the kind Obama prescribed for asthmatic kids.
And this strategy will work for every other Republican presidential contender. Let voters compare the wisdom of Obama's war on business with Mitt Romney's understanding that those evil corporations the president is trying to destroy employ a lot of people.
Let them gauge the intellect of a president who demands that Israel continue to make concessions to foster peace versus Newt Gingrich's recognition that peace will never be achieved so long as one of the two sides is represented by a terror group, Hamas, that has as its sole reason for existence the annihilation of Israel.
Let the voters who are losing the health care plan they prefer, facing fewer options in their coverage, all while seeing their premiums increase to offset the massive costs of ObamaCare, choose between the intelligence of a man like Ron Paul (who predicted each of these consequences the night of the health care vote) and the president who told them to shut up and take their medicine.
And the list keeps going and going, from Rick Santorum to Herman Cain to Sarah Palin (should she run) to yes, even Jon Huntsman.
Surveying the uninhabited wasteland that just a few short years of Obamanomics has made of the American job market, and considering the monumental task that faces them in piecing together the shattered fragments of our once-envied economic engine, there are many things to intimidate the Republican field. Having to face off against the intellect of the author of this malaise, however, should not be one of them.
This column first published at The American Thinker.
Sunday, 04 September 2011
Just a year ago, the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog scolded Americans for apparently caring too much about President Obama's religious practices and beliefs, or lack thereof. In a piece rhetorically asking the question they were more than happy to answer, "Does Your President's Faith Matter?," Post writer Elizabeth Tenety opened by citing the left's favorite Constitutional clause: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States" (Art. VI, sect. 3).
It was the same refrain Americans heard during the 2008 presidential campaign when Sean Hannity went public with some revealing information about President Obama's spiritual adviser and minister of 20 years, the racist, anti-American radical named Jeremiah Wright.
Liberal commentators and leftist media types around the country fell all over themselves in an attempt to downplay any significance or relevance Obama's spiritual views might have on his character or leadership. In his movie "Media Malpractice," independent filmmaker John Ziegler hilariously exposed CNN's Anderson Cooper dismissing the importance of the Wright controversy 12 times in one short segment.
But fast-forward to today, introduce a handful of conservative Christians into the Republican primary, and be amazed at how relevant spiritual beliefs can quickly become.
Just one year after touting the constitutional prohibition against religious tests for federal officials, the Washington Post's "On Faith" feature was wondering if Texas Governor Rick Perry should be, "judged by the religious company he keeps." Daily Beast/Newsweek writer Michelle Goldberg took time to alert the country to the possibility that both Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann might subscribe to, "a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism." Yes, no doubt the man who recently proclaimed his desire to make "Washington, D.C. as irrelevant in your life as possible" will be instituting federally mandated baptisms in the National Mall's reflecting pond if elected.
But perhaps the most glaring example of the left's Damascus Road conversion on the issue of religious tests comes from the New York Times' Bill Keller, who actually produced a physical questionnaire for candidates (well, the Republican ones anyway) to fill out. After suggesting that a belief in Christian doctrine was equivalent to believing that space aliens walk among us, Keller attempted to justify his religious exam by writing, "This year's Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life -- and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans."
And though I do wonder where this spiritually inquisitive side to liberals like Keller was when Obama's ears were being filled with black liberation theology, I have little interest in merely focusing on the hypocrisy. There's just no sport left in pointing out the inconsistency of the left.
More importantly, I think this is an opportunity to find common ground. I actually agree with Mr. Keller and all these newly awakened, faith-conscious liberals: a person's religious beliefs do matter when they run for public office. Those beliefs tell us more about their judgment, values and integrity than perhaps anything else. Somehow pretending they are to be off limits for voters seeking to make an informed choice about who they want to lead them is, and always has been, absurd.
It's one reasons I have been so agitated by the contextual abuse of the "No Religious Test" ban by liberals for several decades. The point of the ban was never to bar the people from considering the spiritual merits of a candidate before casting their vote. Indeed, several of those who endorsed the ban had authored religious test oaths for their own state governments. The federal ban was enacted, just like so many other prohibitions in our founding documents, to prevent the encroachment of the national government into affairs belonging to the states or the people.
In other words, the job of judging whether a candidate's spiritual health is acceptable for them to hold office is yours, not the feds'. In the late 18th century, Theophilus Parsons, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, explained it this way, "No man can wish more ardently than I do that all our public offices may be filled by men who fear God and hate wickedness; but it must remain with the electors to give the government that security."
What that means is that Mr. Keller, Michelle Goldberg, Anderson Cooper, as well as you and I, can each have our own completely constitutional religious tests for candidates. If Keller denies his vote to someone because they believe in a literal 6 day creation of Earth, it's his right. And if you deny yours to someone because they worship Allah or embrace black liberation theology, it's your prerogative.
This has always been the appropriate understanding of religious tests. It's nice to see the left finally getting it.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.