Saturday, December 30, 2006

On Instantaneity

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds recommends several quotes for bloggers. Among them this one: "There is no inherent virtue to instantaneity."--Joseph Rago.

This reminds me of Richard Weaver's discussion of what he calls the "quest for immediacy" in modern life and thought in the introduction of Ideas Have Consequences:
It is characteristic of the barbarian, whether he appears in a pre-cultural stage or emerges from below into the waning day of a civilization, to insist upon seeing a thing "as it is." The desire testifies that he has nothing in himself with which to spiritualize it; the relation is one of thing to thing without the intercession of the imagination. Impatient of the veiling with which the man of higher type gives the world imaginative meaning, the barbarian and the Philistine, who is the barbarian living amid culture, demand the access of mmediacy.

The most apparent form of the "quest for immediacy" is the lack of patience with formality of any kind. You'll know what I mean if you have attended a church service lately. About the last place you can be formal anymore is at weddings and funerals. But now even those ceremonies are being fast deconstructed and evacuated of ritual--and, consequently, of meaning.

Friday, December 29, 2006

On Kentucky's victory over Clemson

Could this be the one day you wouldn't rather have Tommy Bowden than Rich Brooks as your coach?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Who is for Fairness?

The British Daily Mail ran an article recently about two elderly sisters whose appeal to avoid inheritance tax when one of them dies was thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights. The two sisters were simply asking for the same rights as same-sex partners have to avoid the tax. But the court ruled that even though the sisters had lived together their entire lives, their relationship did not warrant a hearing.

"If we were lesbians," said one of the sisters, "we would have all the rights in the world. But we are sisters, and it seems we have no rights at all. It is disgusting that we are being treated like this."

Now cross the Atlantic (due West) back across the Appalachias to Kentucky, where we are debating domestic partner benefits at our state universities. Anyone want to wager on what would happen in a similar circumstance under the kinds of plans UK, UofL and NKU are discussing (and that UofL has already implemented)? Would two sisters who had taken care of each other their entire lives be eligible to receive benefits under these plans that give such benefits to live-in sexual partners?


One of the arguments used by proponents of these plans is, ironically, equity. Exactly what is equitable about a benefits plan that gives benefits to live in sexual partners, but doesn't give them to a live in blood relative who has lived with and been cared for by the employee their whole life?

Maybe would could found a group promoting "fairness" for these situations. Wait a minute, I guess that name has already been taken.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Judges, heal thyselves!

There is an interesting debate going on in the past few days between the Intelligent Design people and the Darwinists. It started when John West, Jr. at the Discovery Institute pointed out that Judge John Jones, who struck down an attempt of a Pennsylvania school district to teach Intelligent Design (saying it was not science) lifted whole sections of his opinion from the ACLU brief against the school district when wrote his opinion.

According the Discovery Institute's press release, "'Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling,' said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy."

The Darwinists fired back that it is common and accepted for judges to do this, and that West was betraying his ignorance about how the legal system worked by criticizing the opinion.


West's point was not that the judge was engaging in the illegal act of plagiarism. Rather, he was pointing out the irony that a ruling that had been hailed as "masterful" and the product of an "outstanding thinker" was actually, in large part, the product of someone else. Surely the advanced primates at places like Panda's Thumb can understand West's point and distinguish it from charges of plagiarism.

It may, in fact, be perfectly acceptable in the legal trade to copy sections of opinions, but over 90 percent of an entire section? Surely a judge has an intellectual and moral, if not a legal obligation to think (and write) for himself.

And by the way, while we're talking about ironies, has anyone noticed the glaring one here? That the very people who are given the job of deciding whether others have engaged in plagiarism are apparently allowed to engage in it freely themselves?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Domestic partner policy debate now available on the web

My Nov. 27 debate on domestic partnership benefits at state universities last week is now available on a video stream at KET's website. State Rep. Stan Lee and I argued against these policies, while and State Rep. Jim Wayne and Christina Gilgor, head of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, argued in favor.