Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Only Eight

How many times will we have to hear that Obama was only eight years old when Bill Ayers committed his crimes before someone asks what that has to do with anything? No one thinks that Obama participated in Ayers bombings so why does his age at the time they happened matter? Would it be exculpatory if someone friendly with German nazi war criminals during the 1960s was only eight when the crimes were committed? Would we be saying that it doesn't matter that the man associated with nazis decades later since he was only eight when the nazis were perpetrating their evil?

It's an indication of the weakness of the case that is made in Obama's defense that he and his supporters have to grasp at such an inane and irrelevant excuse.

Meanwhile, the candidate pretty much admits he's a Marxist socialist:

From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.


Prelude to <i>Without God</i>

Recently, I wrote a trio of posts titled Hurtling Toward the Cliff in response to an article by physicist Stephen Weinberg titled Without God. Over the course of the next two weeks or so I'd like to elaborate on this theme in a series of posts which will examine a number of facts about the world and human existence and consider these facts in the light of both atheism and theism. The series will borrow for its title Weinberg's Without God.

It'll be my contention in the series that theism offers a far superior account of these facts, that it makes better sense of them, than does atheism and that the theistic view of the world is therefore more intellectually satisfying and more rational than is it's opposite. Seventeen facts or phenomena about the world and human life will be considered:

  1. The fact that the universe had a beginning
  2. The fact of cosmic design
  3. The fact of biological information
  4. The fact of human consciousness
  5. The joy we experience in an encounter of beauty
  6. The fact that we believe our reason to be reliable
  7. Our sense that we have free will
  8. Our desire for answers to life's deepest questions
  9. Our sense of moral obligation
  10. Our sense of guilt
  11. Our belief in human dignity
  12. Our belief in human worth
  13. Our belief that there are basic human rights
  14. Our desire for justice
  15. Our need for meaning and purpose
  16. Our belief that we have an enduring self
  17. Our desire to survive our own death

In what follows it will be argued that theism provides an easier, more comfortable explanation for each of the above than does atheism. When taken together they add up to a powerful case for the proposition that it's eminently reasonable to believe that a personal mind, a mind similar to that imputed to the God of Christian theism, undergirds the world.

The first installment of the argument will be posted tomorrow.


More on the Right to Health Care

A few days ago I made the comment that Senator Obama's view that people have a fundamental right to health care/insurance strikes me as ill-considered. A couple of readers thought this sounded a bit callous and uncompassionate, but I think it's Obama's view, though no doubt well intentioned, that is the less compassionate. Here are a few reasons why:

1) A right held by one person entails an obligation owed by another. By conferring a right to health care on one person we obligate everyone else, including others who may be struggling to make ends meet, to fork over even more of their income to the person with the right. In other words, we give people who may or may not be in genuine need a claim on your wallet. That may seem compassionate to the recipient, but it's decidedly uncompassionate to the person who must hand over his purse rather than be allowed to use his resources to help his own family.

2) When someone feels they have a right to receive a benefit from the state it stifles gratitude. They expect the taxpayer to pay up, indeed they come to believe they're owed the benefit and are aggrieved if the taxpayer resists. Rather than fostering gratitude for the sacrifice others make on their behalf the right cultivates instead a sense of entitlement in the recipient.

3) Since a right to health care puts the taxpayer in relation to the recipient like a debtor stands in relation to the person he owes, the taxpayer tends quite naturally to feel resentful at the transfer of his resources to people who demand that he do so. This not only serves to foster bitterness between classes but, to the extent that the classes break along racial lines, it nurtures a seething racial animosity.

4) When people feel the government owes them a benefit it stifles their initiative. People who know that others will provide for their needs are much less motivated to work to provide them for themselves. If we didn't learn anything else from Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs we should have at least learned that dependency destroys the work ethic.

5) When charity becomes a government function it harms the church. Churches which have robust charitable ministries are often strong and vibrant, but churches which have had their outreach to their communities co-opted by the state often grow flaccid, weak, and cold. Charity should be the role of the church and people should turn first to churches when they're in need of help. Churches are then in a position to help these people not only with financial assistance but also to teach them how to manage money, how to parent, and instruct them in many other of the virtues necessary to rise out of poverty. When the government takes over this role, however, recipients have no expectations placed upon them and thus often fail to rise above the station in life to which they were born.

Marvin Olasky's Tragedy of American Compassion should be required reading for anyone who thinks that government "compassion" is the only way, or even the best way, to help people.


Losing Faith

Edward Heathcote Amory of The Mail Online summarizes David Freddoso's book, The Case Against Barack Obama, and declares that it has disabused him of his infatuation with the Illinois senator. Somewhat amazingly, in light of what Amory reveals about Obama, he still hopes Obama wins. Oh well.

Read the column at the link. You'll learn some things about Obama you probably didn't know and they're not pretty.