Respect For Life

There are many things about the culture of the United States that I’m proud of. But, the continued imprisonment of Jack Kevorkian is a source of deep shame.

I think that The World gets it right when they say that people denied the right to die, and now (ironically) Kevorkian himself, are being “ritually tortured to death.”

And, all this is done under the cover of an avowed desire to promote a “Culture of Life”.

What does it make more sense to respect?: Beating hearts, or the informed choices of people about how (and whether) to proceed with their own lives?

I’ve posted on this before, but I won’t agree that we talk about it enough until these obscene laws are repealed, and people’s right to make their own choices is upheld.

God Damn Them Everyone

Apropos my post below, take a look at Christopher Hitchens’ Christmas column in Slate. An excerpt:

Our Christian enthusiasts are evidently too stupid, as well as too insecure, to appreciate this. A revealing mark of their insecurity is their rage when public places are not annually given over to religious symbolism, and now, their fresh rage when palaces of private consumption do not follow suit. The Fox News campaign against Wal-Mart and other outlets—whose observance of the official feast-day is otherwise fanatical and punctilious to a degree, but a degree that falls short of unswerving orthodoxy—is one of the most sinister as well as one of the most laughable campaigns on record. If these dolts knew anything about the real Protestant tradition, they would know that it was exactly this paganism and corruption that led Oliver Cromwell—my own favorite Protestant fundamentalist—to ban the celebration of Christmas altogether.

No believer in the First Amendment could go that far. But there are millions of well-appointed buildings all across the United States, most of them tax-exempt and some of them receiving state subventions, where anyone can go at any time and celebrate miraculous births and pregnant virgins all day and all night if they so desire. These places are known as “churches,” and they can also force passersby to look at the displays and billboards they erect and to give ear to the bells that they ring. In addition, they can count on numberless radio and TV stations to beam their stuff all through the ether. If this is not sufficient, then god damn them. God damn them everyone.

Happy Holidays

I just got back from my weekly secular humanist meeting where we’re all conspiring to destroy religion by getting people and businesses to say “Merry Christmas” less frequently.

What a great plan, huh?

Too bad the really shrewd observers, like Bill O’Reilly, are catching on. But, I think it’ll probably work anyway.

Gay marriages will destroy marriage, too.

I figure final victory is just around the corner. Maybe if we can get people to stop mentioning the Easter Bunny, the last traces of religion (and all other traditions, probably) will disappear forever.

Yeah, it’s a good thing most people don’t realize just how fragile their institutions are.

Great Moments in Life

I went to a concert with my family Friday night (Lynyrd Skynyrd…very enjoyable).

After the opening band played, some roadies were setting up the stage for the main act. One of them had the task of cleaning up with a vacuum cleaner, and the lady sitting next to me commented about what a terrible job that must be.

Without too much hesitation I managed to come back with:

“Yeah, it really sucks!”

See You Next Wednesday

A long time ago, I noticed that several John Landis films contained references to the phrase “See you next Wednesday” (often as a movie title). I never thought much about the source, but assumed it was some sort of inside joke.

Well, this evening, my son and I finally watched all of 2001: A Space Odyssey and saw that it contained a video transmission to an astronaut from his family ending with “See you next Wednesday.” We instantly looked at each other and agreed that that was the source of the reference.

Obviously, if I had really cared, I could have easily found this information on the internet (It’s in the Biography for John Landis on IMDB, has a Wikipedia entry, and there’s even a seeyounextwednesday.com!).

On the other hand, there’s something cool about stumbling across the answer the old-fashioned way.

Cato Unbound

Looks like the Cato Institute has begun a new and interesting web site that will invite great thinkers to address big ideas.

In the first essay, Nobel Prize winner James M. Buchanan (the father of public choice theory) recommends three amendments to the Constitution.

They all seem like good suggestions to me.

Of course, Buchanan doesn’t quite rise to the challenge of trying to write the amendments themselves.

I don’t think any wording would be safe from determined politicians or judges, but some wordings would certainly work better than others.