Daily Archives: 09/13/2007

Scrambling for the mantle

Defending a proposed Aurora, IL, “woman’s health center” yesterday, pro-choice clerics said they mean to reclaim the moral mantle from pro-lifers.

Rev. Larry Greenfield, exec minister of Metro Chi’s American Baptist Churches, said to deny access to abortion is to deny “moral standing” to people who want one and those who approve that. 

He spoke in a press conference at Chicago Temple (1st United Methodist Church), across Washington from the Daley Center.  American Baptists are known by some as Northern Baptists, i.e., not Southern.

The health center in question is what many would call an abortion mill, which is by definition bad for the health unborn child and arguably also for that of the mother.  Hence the quote marks. 

Choice is a matter of social justice, said Mr. Greenfield and eight other ministers.  He criticized members of “the religious right,” who claim to hear “the voice of God” and “try to impose their hearing of it on the rest of us by law.”

He added, “To deny somebody choice is contrary to what I believe to be the teachings of Jesus . . .”

However, Mr. Greenfield did not address the objection (not put to him but lurking in the minds of some) whether courts have imposed by law on Illinois voters a denial of choice whether to permit abortions. 

Nor was he asked to define social justice, a seemingly all-purpose category which F.A. Hayek attempted to expose as meaningless.  Newspaper and blog readers may decide if he succeeded by reading his Law, Legislation and Liberty, vol. 2, The Mirage of Social Justice.

Or go to the Winter 1997 issue of Critical Review, which offers pro and con on his thinking.

Or a sock-‘em-bust-‘em Front Page defense of his social justice critique, see FP for 2/27/04.

Progress and its discontents

Yearning for the good old days, Thomas Love Peacock’s Mr. Escot, “always looking into the dark side of the question,” finds in material progress “only so many links in the great chain of corruption” and in its attendant multiplication of wants and desires only what leads to decline from “the primitive dignity of [man’s] sylvan [woodsy] origin.” 

It’s in Peacock’s funny, funny 1816 novel, Headlong Hall

At breakfast in a roadside inn, Escot rails against the beef on the table: “The natural and original man lived in the woods: the roots and fruits of the earth supplied his simple nutriment: he had few desires and no diseases.”  Once hunting of “the goat and the deer” became the norm, however, and fire was invented [sic] to cook them, “luxury, disease, and premature death were let loose on the world.”

Egad, the man was a vegetarian, which is to be classified for rhyming if nothing else with Lerner and Loew’s Eliza Doolittle’s discovered dancing with a Hungarian.

Progress and its discontents, etc.

* Yearning for the good old days, Thomas Love Peacock’s Mr. Escot, “always looking into the dark side of the question,” finds in early-19th-century material progress “only so many links in the great chain of corruption” and in its attendant multiplication of wants and desires only what leads to decline from “the primitive dignity of [man’s] sylvan origin.” 

Sylvan as in Pennsylvania, William Penn’s woods or woodsy land — silva means forest in our mother tongue of Latin.  It’s in Peacock’s funny, funny 1816 novel, Headlong Hall

At breakfast in a roadside inn, Escot rails against the beef on the table: “The natural and original man lived in the woods: the roots and fruits of the earth supplied his simple nutriment: he had few desires and no diseases.”  Once hunting of “the goat and the deer” became the norm, however, and fire was invented [sic] to cook them, “luxury, disease, and premature death were let loose on the world.”

Egad, the man was a vegetarian, which is to be classified for rhyming if nothing else with Lerner and Loew’s Eliza Doolittle’s discovered dancing with a Hungarian.

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