The wheels on the bus go round and round

Mark Levin, whom I admire, was complaining on Thursday about Glenn Beck’s (though Levin did not mention Beck’s name) focus on Van Jones, the President’s Czar for “Green Jobs.” I paraphrase Levin, “Yeah he’s an avowed Communist. Yeah, he said white people are poisoning black people. Yeah, he has an agenda to destroy capitalism by incremental environmental regulation. Yeah, he’s a despicable twit. But the only reason Van Jones in in government is Barack Obama! Focus on the real problem, people!”

Levin noted it was long ago obvious to sentient beings that people like Van Jones would be appointed by Barack Obama. Levin thinks detailing Jones’s radical stupidity is a distraction. Well, yes, for him and for me, but not for most people. Otherwise, they’d have been protesting Obama’s nomination instead of excusing his inexperience by saying he’d surround himself with good advisers.

Let us review. Jones is an avowed Communist. He excuses playing the race card because of environmentalism. He wants to destroy capitalism. (Is that redundant or just banal?) Charles Krauthammer is right that his Communist sympathy is sort of “ho, hum.”

He’s also right that Van Jones as a Truther, is not “ho, hum.” Van Jones also thinks cop killers like Abu-Jamal Mumia should be free. That is not “ho hum,” either.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign Barack Obama told audiences, ‘Judge me by the people who surround me.’ OK. Then Mr. Jones is relevant, especially to those who didn’t understand during the campaign that Obama’s associations were distasteful.

Mark Levin is right: It isn’t Van Jones, Carol Browner, Ezekial Emmanuel, “Skip” Gates, Harold Koh, Cass Sunstein, Sonia Sotomayor, Eric Holder, Steven Rattner, John Holdren, Arne Duncan, Steven Chu, Susan Rice, Regina M. Benjamin, Mark Lloyd, Valerie Jarret, or any of the other official Presidential advisers who subscribe to the philosophy of Karl Marx, the ethics of Peter Singer or the tactics of Saul Alinsky who are the issue – any more than it was Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Frank Marshall Davis, Tony Rezko, Louis Farrakhan, Bernadine Dohrn, or Rashid Khalidi, who were an issue during the campaign. No, they are important because it is by listening to them we find out what Barack Obama thinks is reasonable discourse, if not precisely what he believes.

Yes, it is Barack Obama who is the issue. But since he never says what he thinks, we only find out what he really believes, as he has invited us to do, by listening to the people who surround him.

I think Jones will soon be free to pursue other employment. Obama has to be greasing the wheels on the bus. I certainly hope so.

If that’s true…

Joe Biden:

I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception.

Then how can you not think abortion is murder, Joe? Fetuses are alive but are not human, and therefore are not required to be protected by the State? Is Peter Singer going to be Surgeon General in an Obama administration?

Applied statist ethics

Peter Singer is a well-established Princeton University professor of bioethics, whom The Other Club has earlier mentioned here and here.

This is what his ethical code prescribes: Allow ‘active euthanasia’ for disabled babies, doctors urge:

…The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology has put forward the option of permitting mercy killings of the sickest infants to a review of medical ethics.

It says “active euthanasia” should be considered for the overall benefit of families who would otherwise suffer years of emotional and financial suffering.

Deliberate action to end infants’ lives may also reduce the number of late abortions, since it would allow women the chance to decide whether their disabled child should live.

I guess the good news is that we can reduce the number of partial birth abortions simply by sanctioning state murder.

This moral state is also a logical conclusion of the principle of affirmative action. If the State can make the judgment that others must lose property and freedom in order to make your life fair, it can also judge that making that life fair is too much trouble.

Liberal Epiphany

Sam Harris, writing in the LA Times, may be mistakenly obsessed with the idea that the rise of jihadism has as much to do with Christians as it does with Islamists. I have yet to hear about Christians rioting over Madonna’s cruci-fiction or the burning of the Pope in effigy, for example. No beheadings in Rome or in South Carlina have come to my attention. I’d say Harris is trying to salvage some of his earlier work after passing too near an epiphany, if he’ll excuse my use of the term.

Whether he has every quacker in line or not, he presents some powerful criticisms of his fellow travellers. He’s almost got it, and that is a hopeful thing. I present some extracts, but read the whole thing.

On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.

This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that “liberals are soft on terrorism.” It is, and they are.

…This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy.

Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have better-than-average educations and economic opportunities.

Why should their university educational system be any less radical than ours? Where do Juan Cole and Peter Singer and Ward Churchill come into sustained contact with impressionable rich kids? Imagine the equivalents in Iran. It’s the religious fervor of those American “educators” Harris is missing. Harris thinks it has to do with G-d.

Here, he comes close to recognizing what it actually has to do with:

…At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government “assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;” 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.

Many of the people who believe this have been educated in American Universities, and 99% of the rest have been subjected to the tender mercies of the public school system. … “It’s a wonder they can think at all.”

Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.

Took you a long time to recognize this, Sam. Liberalism has been declining precipitously since WWII and dragging Western Civilization with it.

It isn’t Christians, Sam, or any particular instance of a supreme being that has been preserving Western Civilization. It is, or was, an educational system informed by judeo-christian values.

It’s the values, stupid. You guys wrecked that long ago. Maybe you’ll come out for school choice next?

Peter Singer and Ayn Rand

Peter Singer, Princeton University Professor of Bioethics, speaks out.

Would you kill a disabled baby? [asked by] KAREN MEADE, Dublin

[Singer:] Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman’s right to have an abortion. One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby.

Well, he’s right about one thing. The only remaining piece of the puzzle is whether the State has a responsibility to prevent murder.

This is the question upon which Objectivism founders. It purports to base its moral code on the intrinsic value of human life, but labels fetuses as “parasites.” The failure to assert an inherent human sanctity precludes a moral code built on valuing human life.