Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Observation on Darwinism

The discovery in the mid-nineteenth century of the unbroken link between animals and the human species could have had one of two results. It could have caused humans to regard the animal kingdom with a new regard and respect as sharing in our dignity. Instead, it could be taken to demonstrate our own essential animality. But to believe that we are "no better than the animals" while retaining, in fact, our superior intellect and power to control our environment--that was the worst possible outcome, for by such a belief we reduced ourselves to moral brutes while remaining physical sovereigns.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Google Salute to Martin Van Buren

Great ad. It should be noted, however, that Van Buren was distinguished for more than his truly epic facial hair. As even most biographers of Andrew Jackson have to admit, it was his vice president who gave us the political system we live under today--for better or worse.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Edward Bates on Black Citizenship

Terrific blog post by Mike Vorenberg on the Times' "Opinionator" blog:

Attorney General Edward Bates
Though it is forgotten today, Attorney General Edward Bates's opinion in the Selsey case revolutionized American citizenship. Two weeks after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a headline in The Detroit Free Press asked, “Is a Negro Eligible to the Presidency?” The editorial that followed offered an unequivocal “Yes.” A fiercely pro-Democratic paper, The Free Press despised the fact that the presidency, along with “all official positions,” could now “be open to the nigger.”In the early weeks of 1863, such racist invective peppered the rhetoric of those disgusted by Lincoln’s edict of Jan. 1. But The Free Press was not talking about the Emancipation Proclamation when it declared “negro” eligibility for the presidency a “monstrous result.” Rather, it was talking about a document that history has tended to neglect, even though at the time many saw it as a critical adjunct to the Proclamation: the opinion of Attorney General Edward Bates declaring that free African-Americans born in the United States were citizens.

Read the rest here.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Have a little common sense!

Just because some people have nails driven into their skulls, should we ban nails? Just because some people are garroted with piano wire, should we ban pianos? Just because some people are plunged into boiling oil, should we ban olives? Just because some people have their tongues and teeth pulled out by the roots, should we ban pliers? Come on, sheeple!