April 30, 2015

Olmstead, Walsh, and Argument

This morning, Gracy Olmstead of The American Conservative published a blog post entitled, "Have Conservatives Lost Their Compassion"? In it, she argues that too many conservatives, such as Matt Walsh have obvious contempt for the rioters (situation?) in Baltimore; that they "use the crimes of the rioters to excuse the crimes of the cops. And this is an atrocious double standard."

I have a bone to pick with Olmstead, and it the same one I usually have to pick with many progressive arguments. My main concern is with her logical approach in general, which I believe is flawed.

Let me begin with her characterization of Walsh. Olmstead begins not with what Walsh says, but who he is. This is generally considered to be a logical fallacy, called ad hominem. Olmstead seeks first to discredit Walsh, but in ways that have nothing to do with what is in his column. As noted in the link above:
Ad hominem attacks are popular in online discussions, especially when tempers flare. “Well, you’re wrong because you’re clearly an idiot!”
Well, Olmstead does not quite say this. Rather, she says that "Walsh is writing dogmatically about a situation in which he has little to no authority," which she fails to define in any way. However, perhaps one can guess based on her next lines:
Perhaps he grew up in Baltimore, but sounds like his growing up years were not all that difficult. His greatest personal complaint in the article is that his wife and kids were unable to go to the zoo on Monday, due to the riots, and that he had to stop frequenting the mall growing up, because of gang activity. Those tribulations seem relatively mild.
Walsh cannot speak because he has had an easy life, and therefore, he has no credibility on the issue. 

So, this is a classic circumstantial ad hominem attack. It's an attack on credibility of the individual, without linking in some way to the argument. If one reads Walsh's column, one should be able to agree or disagree with the ideas expressed therein without knowing anything about Walsh - as noted in the link, "arguments can and do stand or fall on their own merits." 

In other words, the ad hominem statements are completely gratuitous and unnecessary, unless they happen to bear directly on the argument being made, but that's seemingly not the case in this discussion. Why Olmstead uses them is up to interpretation, but perhaps she feels that she needs to establish a certain rapport with the reader, and bolster her own credibility. Because, after all, Olmstead could hardly go on to deal with the remainder of her own questions if she is similarly (or completely) unaffected by the riots. Her statement seems to be, "Well, Walsh has no bona fides to speak on the issue, and I do not have to provide any of my own because...." She later states, speaking for Walsh and herself, that it is too easy for those "who grew up outside such communities, to wonder and shake our heads at the unemployment and crime, the 'lack of initiative' demonstrated by its inhabitants." So...she undermines Walsh's credibility, then lumps herself in with him and his credibility, which seems quite curious.

Olmstead goes on to say that two excerpts she uses which were written by Walsh:
[P]rove what is perhaps most frustrating about many Republicans’ response to the riots in Baltimore, and to the police brutality situation as a whole: many use the crimes of the rioters to excuse the crimes of the cops. And this is an atrocious double standard.
Does Walsh's article fit Olmstead's complaint? Well, turning to his blog post (which is, indeed, an angry vent - not that there's much problem with angry rants, per se), I see that Walsh states:
We still don’t know the circumstances surrounding Freddie Gray’s death (but obviously we should assume, because our assumptions have always been proven correct in the past). We only know that he was arrested and while in custody he was fatally injured. It certainly seems possible, even likely, that something illegal happened on the part of one or two or several officers. If that is the case, the perpetrators should be brought to justice.
Walsh also later states:
If they prove anything, it’s that cops tend to get rough with guys who demonstrate a disregard for the law. Does that justify it? No, but it does take the racial component out of it.
Walsh also states that:
 And in a small minority of that minority, the cop is killing unjustly. When that happens, the cop should answer for it. 
 So, we know now that Walsh's article does not particularly evince a double standard, insofar as he is arguing that both sets of lawbreakers should be punished,  unless we are prepared to simply say that Walsh's statements concerning illegal activity on the part of the officers are some sort of pretext, and that Walsh simply wants to excuse the officers. And Olmstead agrees with this, saying "While it is true that violence and crime are deserving of punishment, it is also true that the rule of law must prevail." (Curious that she divides "violence" and "crime..." but it is true that not all violence is crime.)

Which is, of course, what Walsh appears to be saying. But Olmstead has another problem. Walsh "is certain that, merely by showing some initiative ( “Get a job. Get a vacation.”), the communities of Baltimore can quickly and easily fix themselves. " Now, the question is whether Walsh's article supports that point. That is, does it support Olmstead's point that Walsh believes in a "quick and easy" fix to their problems by showing some initiative, and that such a belief "seems to demonstrate an incredible lack of empathy and ignorance of life’s difficulties?"

I do not believe so. Walsh states near the end of his article:
You want to lash out against what’s happening in your neighborhood? Good. You should.
So get a job. Get an education. Get married before you have kids, and then stay and raise them. Move forward. Work for something better. Work.
Walsh's tone is not the best at this point, and Walsh is certainly being summary, and perhaps a bit pedantic. However, his summary is accurate and however he sounds, Walsh never says that change is easy, and does not suggest we should not show compassion.

Olmstead's major point appears down near the end of her article. She states:
But it seems that, despite all this, we often lack the imagination and compassion necessary to understand why people in our own backyard may riot in anger, why injustices may in fact be taking place next door, why people in our towns and cities may struggle to procure jobs or finish high school. We don’t seek to understand the difficulties that arise when strong communities deteriorate, when justice is obstructed, when violence is brushed over and ignored. We don’t seek to understand what it would be like to see a police officer and instinctively feel—not safety and comfort—but sheer terror.
So, for all of that, Olmstead seems to be saying that the problem that Walsh has, along with any others who argue like him, is that he simply refuses to exercise his imagination and compassion for those who experience daily injustices, who experience "sheer terror" when confronted with police, who fail to obtain education.

But Olmstead offers not her own ideas on change, only calls for greater understanding. She never offers to explain how she knows about experiencing police presence as "sheer terror," never really gets around to dealing with Walsh's arguments in and of themselves, but is content to condemn by association ("condemn and vilify, like Walsh and his commenters"), by station in life (see ad hominem, above), by imputation of cold-heartedness ("lack of empathy") and by lack of education ("ignorance").

Olmstead seems to be saying that, if only Walsh had these things, he wouldn't go around condemning the rioters and their destructiveness, but would instead...what? Have compassion? And this is Olmstead's final error - this false dichotomy. But there is no dichotomy here - it is perfectly acceptable to both have compassion and understanding, and yet still condemn the actions of both the officers and the rioters. Furthermore, it behooves conservatives not only to  have compassion for the victim, but the officers who pay the price for maintaining order; not only for the rioters, but for the church shelters burned to the ground. 

CathCon Daily - 4/30/2015

There is a sort of enthusiasm in all projectors, absolutely necessary for their affairs, which makes them proof against the most fatiguing delays, the most mortifying disappointments, the most shocking insults; and, what is severer than all, the presumptuous judgement of the ignorant upon their designs. - Edmund Burke

Discrimination and Freedom in the Marketplace - Jonathan Newman, Mises

Are Feminists Insane? - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

America's Mid-Sized Metropolitan Areas - Wendell Cox, New Geography

Fools or Liars? - Anthony Esolen, The Catholic Thing

Paul Krugman And The Necessity Of Always Being Right - John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

April 29, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/29/2015 (Extra)

Lawlessness at the Office for Civil Rights - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

A Problem with a Return to the Land - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

The Shire and the Free Society - Peter Wilkin, Liberty Law Blog

It's Society's Fault. It Always Is - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

SSM, Religious Exemptions, Tax-Exempt Status - Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice

FIRE on the GWU Suspension - Eugene Volokh, Volokh

PunditFact: A Case Study In Fact-Free Hackery - Sean Davis, The Federalist

Questions and Remarks From the Supreme Court Oral Arguments - Ryan Anderson, Daily Signal

Obama Administration...Hasn’t Learned From the Ebola Crisis - Daniel Kaniewski, Daily Signal

CathCon Daily - 4/29/2015

It is likely … that human society cannot exist without some source of sacredness. Those states which have sought openly to remove it have tended in the end to assume divinity themselves. - Richard Weaver

The Unraveling of the Common Good - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Vote Loony, The Time Is Now - Michael Greve, Liberty Law Blog

Bloodless Moralism - Helen Andrews, First Things

Non-Profit Status ‘Going to Be an Issue’ for Religious Schools - Ryan Anderson, Daily Signal

One Man's Riot - Matthew Hennessey, City Journal

When Is “the Law” Violated Under the Constitution, Anyway? - Donald Devine, Liberty Law Blog

Property Seizure in California - Melissa Quinn, Daily Signal

Iran's Dangerous Calculations on the Sea - J. Matthew McInnis, AEI

Federalism as a Catalyst for Beneficial Social Change - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Baltimore in Flames - Heather Mac Donald, City Journal

7 Exciting Education Reforms - Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

A "War" Between Science and Religion? - Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing

WH Opposition to "Conversion Therapy?" - Mark Yarhouse, First Things

Should We Fight the Culture War? - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

The Paradox of Dogma - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

Redefining Marriage Would Erode Religious Liberty - Carl Esbeck, Public Discourse

April 28, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/28/2015 (Extra)

It is though we had wanted to add to the already existing proofs of God's Existence, a new and finally convincing one: the universal destruction that follows on assuming God's non-existence. - Wilhelm Roepke

Conservatives Need Anti-Poverty Agenda - Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

Hillary, Mudsill Theory, and Abortion - Dover Beach, Ordeal of Consciousness

Haddock and Polsby On How Riots Occur - Walter Olson, Cato

Understanding Riots - Haddock & Polsby, Cato

Best of TAC: Gay Marriage - Editors, American Conservative

Did the NYT Break the Law? - Gary Schmitt, AEI

Justice Kennedy's Choice - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

CathCon Daily - 4/28/2015

Yet if the only form of tradition, of handing down, consisted in following the ways of the immediate generation before us in a blind or timid adherence to its successes, "tradition" should positively be discouraged. We have seen many such simple currents soon lost in the sand; and novelty is better than repetition. Tradition is a matter of much wider significance. It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour. - T.S. Eliot

On Sustainability - James V. Schall, S.J., The Catholic Thing

Justice Department’s War on Texas’ Voter ID Law - Hans van Spakovsky, Daily Signal

California’s Water Problem - Walter Williams, Human Events

Bring Back The Distinction Between Public And Private - Joshua Lippincott, The Federalist

The Policing Baltimore Needs - Matthew Loftus, American Conservative

Gender-Diverse Marriage Laws and Liberties - David Upham, Public Discourse

Will Vegas Values Take Over the GOP? - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Anti-Trust Law and Lawlessness - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

Canadian Law Doesn’t Prohibit Donor Disclosure - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

Citizens...Should Determine Future of Marriage - Ryan Anderson, Daily Signal

Right to Refuse to Print Gay-Pride T-Shirts - Eugene Volokh, Volokh

Clinton Foundation...10 Percent Of Its Budget On Charitable Grants - Sean Davis, The Federalist

The Heretic We Need - Katherine Ernst, City Journal

We’re Addicted To Judgment Porn - Hans Fiene, The Federalist

Coercion and Euthanasia - Stephen Greenhut, Human Events

The Hyped Dangers of Free-Range Parenting - Mark Hemingway, The Federalist

Lego-block Hopes and Reign of Terror Dreams - J. Bottum, Liberty Law Blog

April 27, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/27/2015

By watching the master and emulating his efforts in the presence of his example, the apprentice unconsciously picks up the rules of the art, including those which are not explicitly known to the master himself. These hidden rules can be assimilated only by a person who surrenders himself to that extent uncritically to the imitation of another. A society which wants to preserve a fund of personal knowledge must submit to tradition. - Michael Polanyi

Paul Krugman’s Love Affair with France - Louis Rouanet, Mises

Weekend with Mitch - Richard Reinsch, Liberty Law Blog

Jurisprudes, Ideologues, and Partisans - John O. McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Hillary and Christian Dhimmis - Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing

Hadley Arkes: The Right Stuff - Marvin Olasky, World

Silence on Religious Persecution - Kirsten Powers, USA Today

The Birth of Right and Left? - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative

History and the Path of Liberty - Paul Gottfried, Nomocracy in Politics

What Bruce Jenner, Diane Sawyer, and You Should Know - Walt Heyer, Public Discourse

April 25, 2015

Let the Spleen Venting Commence

With the coming of the evening and my cessation of work for the day, I encountered this lovely article, courtesy of the inestimable Patrick Deneen. I almost always find things posted by Patrick to be edifying, and his commentary intelligent.

Patrick has ruined my evening. But, nonetheless, I thank him.

To set the stage, borrowing from the above article:
A crowdfunding campaign that had raised more than $109,000 for the Christian-owned bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon was removed Saturday after complaints from gay-rights advocates.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries proposed a damages award Friday of $135,000 against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the [Sweet Cakes] bakery, after they were found in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination law in February.
"Lisa Watson of Cupcake Jones started her own campaign to contact GoFundMe and report the campaign as being in violation of their terms of service,” said the website GoLocalPDX in a Saturday post.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa has since closed its doors, although the Kleins are still providing baked goods from their home. The Kleins, who have five children, have said they are now struggling to make ends meet. 
I apologize to you, those who read this blog. I am going to vent my spleen here. If extreme language or emotional hysterics bother you, stop now. This post may not last long - get it while you can. (Update: See here for a new donation site for the Kleins.)
Dear Ms. Watson and all those others who cheered the closing of Sweet Cakes, the shuttering of the GoFundMe campaign, and hope for the utter ruin of Aaron and Melissa Klein:

You are a horrific, nasty, and small people. Your glee in the ruination of a business and lives of a family and your pride in their downfall reeks of self-righteous invincibility. Your hearts are corrupted by your own self-bestowed perfection.

What does it take? What does it take to rejoice in the destruction of a way of life? How can you stand there and cheer as those who attempt to ameliorate the way of life of pain that the Kleins now experience are blocked? Nay, how can you help it along? What sort of inhumanity now lodges in your souls that this is an occasion of glad tears for you? Dr. King may have said "Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. [...] when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe.." But you are better than he; you are more perfect and more wise and more knowledgeable, and your own counsel is far better than his.

Do you find such happiness in thinking of the Klein's children paying for this? It is not enough that the parents suffer, is it. Their children must be made to suffer as well, and if we can reach their children's children, we will rejoice.  If they are homeless to the Nth generation, their property forfeit, their businesses reduced to ashes, their education denied, and be they driven from enlightened lands into darkness, then we will have only just begun to rectify their error. We would happily support a fund to provide legal defense for proven criminals, but these bigots receive no such love.

For you have turned these Kleins into a symbol, you have placed them on a pedestal of shame, you have made them a target of rage far beyond any action they have taken, and you have made them into scapegoats for your own dissatisfied feelings. For how could one action - ONE ACTION - not involving any fighting words, any threats of harm or physical attack cause two people to experience "emotional suffering" - to experience feelings of "mental rape." It beggars the mind.

I am a Christian. I am not a great, nor even usually a good, Christian. I have a great deal of work to do. You make that much more difficult - but that is my problem, not yours. It is also my problem that I must pray for you. Very well. Here, I do so.

May this prayer find you immediately, and give you no ease. May you be now stalked by an Angel of the Lord, who twists a fiery sword in your conscience, and may you know no peace or sleep. May you experience an opening of your eyes and and understanding of every pain and suffering you and your allies visit upon the Kleins and those like them. May the Lord soften your heart so that, unlike Pharaoh, you have a direct, intimate, and true vision of the end intended for those who inflict pain upon others for their own emotional and financial gain. May you come to a true understanding of the depth of charity which the Lord showers upon us, and the nature of the charity we are called to distribute in turn, and the nature of justice and of peace. May God bless you in this, and in all good work.


CathCon Daily - 4/25/2015 (Weekend Edition)

Those who are filled with concern for the lot of humanity as a whole, especially for the less fortunate portions of it, are wont nowadays to call themselves idealists. We should at least recognize that ideals in this sense are not the same as standards and that they are often indeed the opposite of standards. It would be easy to mention institutions of learning in this country that are at present engaged in breaking down standards in the name of ideals. - Irving Babbit

The "Living Wage" Mistake - Ryan McMaken, Mises Daily

Are Liberals Finally Rallying to Save Liberty? - Mike Gonzalez, Daily Signal

Elementary Indoctrination - Larry Sand, City Journal

The Revolution Devours All - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Bakers Should Pay $135,000 for Refusing to Bake Cake - Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal

Science Books for Non-Scientists - Chad Orzel, Forbes

Divorced / Remarried: An Update - Fr. Gerald Murray, The Catholic Thing

Fantasy Films and Obliteration of Imagination - Dwight Longenecker, Imaginative Conservative

Scaling Back Privileges of Big Labor - James Sherk, Daily Signal

Gulf Coast Rebound - Stephen Moore, Daily Signal

April 24, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/24/2015

In the ages of faith a very inadequate grasp of religion would pass muster; in these searching days none but the humble and pure could stand the test for long, unless indeed they were protected by the miracle of ignorance. - Robert Hugh Benson

Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights - Dawn Stefanowicz, Public Discourse

“No Differences” No More - Jamie Bryan Hall, Heritage

“Teachers Cannot Teach What They Do Not Know” - Mary Grabar, City Journal

Don’t Tell Women They Can Reverse Chemical Abortions - Mailee Smith, The Federalist

Legal Education Better Call Saul - Peter Lawler, Liberty Law Blog

Chelsea Clinton Dodges Questions - Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard

Marchant to Eliminate Crony Tax Provision - Brian Darling, Human Events

End the Personal Bribes Members of Congress - Michael Cannon, Cato

The Bravery of Chen Guangcheng - Ellen Bork, Weekly Standard

The Myth of Hamiltonian Big Government - Carson Holloway, Daily Standard

Reading Shakespeare in America - David Bahr, Weekly Standard

Justice Scalia’s Worst Opinions - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

The First Dystopian: Robert Hugh Benson - Bradley Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

April 23, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/23/2015

Either fraternity is spontaneous, or it does not exist. To decree it is to annihilate it. The law can indeed force men to remain just; in vain would it would try to force them to be self-sacrificing. - Frederic Bastiat

A Return to Classical Monetary Policy? - Brian Domitrovic, Imaginative Conservative

A Genocide Remembered and Denied - Andrew Doran, First Things

The Lost Republic? - Edward Lopez, Nomocracy in Politics

Angie’s List CEO Resigns - Kate Scanlon, Daily Signal

Spreading Imagination & Creativity - Stephen Masty, Imaginative Conservative

Marriage, Self-Government, and Civility - Kyle Duncan, Public Discourse

Harvard Students and Fossil Fuel Divestment - Belica and Kreutzer, Daily Signal

Frederica on Gay Marriage - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Where Did This "Feel Unsafe" Thing Start? - David Bernstein, Volokh

America Should Say No To War Against Iran - Doug Bandow, Cato

Sacred Rhetoric and Political Discourse - Daniel Dreisbach, Liberty Law Blog

Relationship between Affirmative Action and Diversity - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

The Death of Moore’s Law - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Poverty, Child Rearing, and Government Incentives - Adam Vass Gal, Mises

Toward a Better Conservative Rhetoric - Carl Eric Scott, NRO

April 22, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/22/2015

The inflexible integrity of the moral code is, to me, the secret of the authority, the dignity, the utility of History. If we may debase the currency for the sake of genius, or success, or rank, or reputation, we may debase it for the sake of a man’s influence, of his religion, of his party, of the good cause which prospers by his credit and suffers by his disgrace. Then History ceases to be a science, an arbiter of controversy, a guide of the Wanderer, the upholder of that moral standard which the powers of earth and religion itself tend constantly to depress. It serves where it ought to reign; and it serves the worst cause better than the purest. - Lord Acton

The Fall of Fertility - Schumm & Carroll, Public Discourse

The Shunning of Ryan T. Anderson - Damon Linker, The Week

Rule of Law in the 2008 Financial Crisis - Philip Wallach, Liberty Law Blog

The Latest Attack on San Francisco’s Archbishop - Randall Smith, Crisis

A Great Rabbi Passes - Phillip Mazurczak, The Catholic Thing

Clausewitz: Dead at Last? - Williamson Murray, Hoover

An Almost Godly Green - John Murdock, First Things

"Wolf Hall" and Upmarket Anti-Catholicism - George Weigel, First Things

Why Conservatives Dislike What Passes For The Liberal Arts - David Patten, The Federalist

Chaos in the Primaries - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

Freedom From Choice? - Ed Feser, City Journal

Harmonizing Gay Rights and Religious Freedom - Robin Wilson, Liberty Law Blog

Lord Acton and Superman -

Gay Marriage and the Miscegenation Analogy - Noah Millman, American Conservative

Thomas More, Villain - Mark Movsesian, CLR Forum

Language Improves Your Experience of the World - Chase Padusniak, Intercollegiate Review

Against Strunk & White’s ‘The Elements of Style’ - Eugene Volokh, Volokh

Constitutional Rights of Parents - Ilya Somin, Volokh

April 21, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/21/2015

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief. - Edmund Burke

Government Spending: Accounting and Economics - Chris Edwards, Cato

Religious Freedom Is Not Dangerous - Matthew Cochran, The Federalist

Civilians Stopping Mass Shootings? - Eugene Volokh, Volokh

Children May Do Worse When Same-Sex Couples Marry - Gene Scheaerr, Daily Signal

Why Can’t Ryan T. Anderson Be Friends? - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

A Lesbian’s Daughter Speaks Out - Brandi Walton, The Federalist

Judicially Mandating Same-Sex Marriage - Wardle, Clark, Durham, Public Discourse

Why We Need Physical Books - William Giraldi, New Republic

Walmart’s Not The Bad Guy This Time - Daniel Payne, The Federalist

What Our "Best Minds" Can't Understand - Hadley Arkes, American Conservative

Alexander Hamilton and American Progressivism - Carson Holloway, Heritage

Dealing with the California Drought - Peter van Doren, Cato

The Philosophy of Governance in Game of Thrones - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

Rand's Libertarian Lecture in NH - Michael Warren, Weekly Standard

No Such Thing as Consensus Science - Mark Perry, AEI

NYT on the Child Support-Jail Cycle - Walter Olson, Cato

April 20, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/20/2015

A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of Renown and Bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven. - James Madison

College Debate Should Allow Debate - Rebekah Curtis, The Federalist

The Roots of Reforming Conservatism - Yuval Levin, Intercollegiate Review

The End of the Republic - Tom Rogan, Washington Free Beacon

Myths About Attending College Debunked - Christopher Nelson, Imaginative Conservative

St. Anselm: Man of Premises - Brad Miner, The Catholic Thing

The Accidental Benedict Option - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Sir Martin Gilbert, Historian of Hope - William Doino, Jr., First Things

The New Architecture of Legal Education - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Free Speech in Peril - Myron Magnet, City Journal

How Britain Became So Rotten a State - David Conway, Nomocracy in Politics

April 19, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/19/2015

Marriage is therefore not an ordinary contract, since in terminating it, the two parties cannot return themselves to the same state they were in before entering into it. And if the contract is voluntary at the time it is entered into, it can no longer be voluntary, and almost never is, at the time of its termination, since the party which manifests the desire to dissolve it takes all liberty from the other party to refuse, and has only too many means to force its consent. - Louis de Bonald

Will Pope Francis Break the Church? - Ross Douthat, The Atlantic

Blue States...Residents Are Fleeing - Stephen Moore, Daily Signal

Wisdom and Wickedness of Women - Joseph Pearce, Imaginative Conservative

Left's Moments of Revelation - Arthur Milikh, Daily Signal

Pope Benedict, Divorced Catholics, and the Eucharist - George Johnston, The Catholic Thing

Biblical Literacy and Higher Education - Peter Lawler, NRO

Five Ways to Run Away From Marriage - Gracy Olmstead, American Conservative

Liberal Education is for Everyone - Peter Lawler, Imaginative Conservative

Reinstate SNAP Work Requirements - Angela Rachidi, AEI

The Hysterical Hate for Ryan T. Anderson - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Walker Percy's Questionnaire - Matthew Murphy, Intercollegiate Review

Why Do Some on the Left Believe in Income Equality? - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

Everyone’s an Esoteric - Jeffrey Weinberger, City Journal

Inflation, Central Banks, and Business Cycles - Jonathan Newman, Mises

Walker Shines in New Hampshire - Stephen F. Hayes, TWS

April 17, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/17/2015

The art of concluding from experience and observation consists in evaluating probabilities, in estimating if they are high or numerous enough to constitute proof. This type of calculation is more complicated and more difficult than one might think. It demands a great sagacity generally above the power of common people. The success of charlatans, sorcerors, and alchemists — and all those who abuse public credulity — is founded on errors in this type of calculation. - Benjamin Franklin

The Empire in Denial - Joao Terrenas, Cicero

A New Wrinkle in Time - Jennifer Maloney, WSJ

Justice Scalia’s Worst Opinion - Michael Stokes Paulsen, Public Discourse

Indiana Is Now The Most Hostile State To Religious Freedom - Dennis Saffran, The Federalist

What It Would Take to Prove Global Warming - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

Sexual Counterrevolution - Laura Hollis, South Bend Tribune

The Promise And Perils Of Reform Conservatism - William Voegeli, The Federalist

Why the Death Tax Is All Economic Pain, No Gain - Stephen Moore, Daily Signal

Debunking a Misleading Report on School Choice - Jason Bedrick, Cato

Turkey, the Pope, and the Renewal of Malice - David Warren, The Catholic Thing

Where Have All the Start-Ups Gone? - Michael S. Greve, Liberty Law Blog

Is It Time to Sell Google? - John O. McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

In Today's Social Science, Wishing Makes it So - Charles Murray, AEI

Love the Newlyweds, Hate the Wedding - Dale Carpenter, Volokh

Inconvenient Truths for Liberals - Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Marketwatch

April 16, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/16/2015

On doctrinal points the Catholic faith places all human capacities upon the same level; it subjects the wise and ignorant, the man of genius and the vulgar crowd, to the details of the same creed; it imposes the same observances upon the rich and the needy, it inflicts the same austerities upon the strong and the weak; it listens to no compromise with mortal man, but, reducing all the human race to the same standard, it confounds all the distinctions of society at the foot of the same altar, even as they are confounded in the sight of God. - Alexis de Tocqueville

What If Religion Were Like Advertising? - John Breen, Mirror of Justice

Outlawing Psychotherapy For Trans-Kids - Walt Heyer, The Federalist

A Nation of Noise - Anthony Esolen, The Catholic Thing

A New Birth of Fusionism - Donald Devine, American Conservative

More Technology Requires Better Literacy - Peter Lawler, The Federalist

With Amici Like These, Who Needs Enemies? - Micah Watson, Public Discourse

Meet The Real Abortion Extremists - David Harsanyi, The Federalist

April 15, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/15/2015 (Extra)

Motherhood Is a 'Wage Penalty'? - Jeryl Bier, Weekly Standard

The Reconstruction that Might Have Been - Philip B. Lyons, Liberty Law Blog

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Poverty Voyeurism - Michelle Malkin, Human Events

A Political Tool to Silence Christians - Raymond Ibrahim, Human Events

Rubionomics and the Flat-Tax Critics - James Pethokoukis, AEI

The Early Church & Emperor Worship - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Minimum Wage, Adulthood And Choices - Elise Hilton, Acton

Let's Help the Middle Class - James Pethokoukis, AEI

Overreach with Equal Pay Day - Diana Furchtgott-Roth, MarketWatch

Foreign Policy for Americans, Not Foreign Liberals - Doug Bandow, Cato

CathCon Daily - 4/15/2015

Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies. - John Adams

Put Kids of Heterosexuals At Risk - Gene Schaerr, Public Discourse

Conservatives Rally Against DC ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Bills - Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal

Balkinizing the Constitution - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

How Much Do the Top 1 Percent Pay of All Taxes? - Curtis Dubay, Daily Signal

Executive Power...Important Issue in the Presidential Campaign - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Self-Interest Is Not Selfishness - Gary Galles, Mises Daily

Rape Does Not Justify Abortion - Daniel Payne, The Federalist

The Constitution We Don’t Understand - Mike Lee, The Federalist

Tragedy, Not Pattern - Heather Mac Donald, City Journal

Is There a Real Wage Gap Between Men and Women? - Romina Boccia, Daily Signal

Can Inequality Get Worse If Poverty Gets Better? - Alan Reynolds, Cato

A Separation of Church and State - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Maryland Seizes Kids (Again) For Walking Home From Park - Walter Olson, Cato

Genius and Ambition: The Lyceum Address - Abraham Lincoln, Imaginative Conservative

April 14, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/14/2015 (Extra)

 A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. - James Madison

IRS Rewrites Tax Credit Provisions - Jonathan Adler, Volokh

Defending Dropping Live Babies in Dumpsters? - Holly Scheer, The Federalist

The Obama Doctrine - Patrick Buchanan, Human Events

California’s Drought of Common Sense? - Steven Greenhut, Human Events

John Kasich Doesn’t Practice What He Preaches - Sean Davis, The Federalist

Equal Pay Day...Women’s Choices - Rachel Greszler, Daily Signal

More Thoughts on Equal Pay Day - Mark J. Perry, AEI

The Left’s Hidden Plan to End Free Speech - Justin Haskins, Human Events

Christian Millennials Work to Redeem Capitalism - Elise Amyx, The Federalist

Was Richard Hays Eich’d at Duke? - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

A Vernacular Far from Miami - Richard Reep, New Geography

Why Marco Rubio Is Probably The GOP’s Best Hope - David Harsanyi, The Federalist

More on Krugman’s Missing Libertarians - David Boaz, Cato

The Utah Compromise - Stuart Adams, Liberty Law Blog

State Spending v. College Prices - Neal McCluskey, Cato

Donations vs. Translations? - Jeryl Bier, Weekly Standard

CathCon Daily - 4/14/2015

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. - John Adams

Four Good Roman Lessons - Carl Eric Scott, NRO

The Jujitsu of Same-Sex Marriage - Hadley Arkes, First Things

The New Inquisition - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

Reality May Be Optional - Walter Williams, Human Events

The "Declaration" of Voluntarism - James V. Schall, The Catholic Thing

Our Incoherent Morals - Jean Porter, The Catholic Thing

Obama Cuts Loose Old Allies - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Who Needs to Read Anymore? - Vic Sizemore, Good Letters

SSM Not Good for Kids - Katy Faust, Public Discourse

April 13, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/13/2015 (Extra)

The barriers to the kind of power Napoleon wielded as emperor are not individual rights so much as the kinds of rights associated with autonomy of local community, voluntary association, political party. These are the real measure of the degree to which central political power is limited in a society. Neither centralization nor bureaucratized collectivism can thrive as long as there is a substantial body of local authorities to check them. - Robert Nisbet

Common Core: Depth over Breadth - Alan Miller, Sac Bee

Political Straight Talk About Religious Liberty - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Learning to Love Conservative Books - Lee Edwards, Daily Signal

How Pre-Determined Narratives Are Ruining Journalism - Chase Padusniak, Intercollegiate Review

The Federal Reserve’s Inequality Problem - Matthew Schoenfeld, Weekly Standard

Saying "No" to Federal Funds Work? - Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice

"There Are No Abortion Cakes" - Rick Garnett, Mirror of Justice

U.S. Intervention Most Threatens Mideast Stability - Doug Bandow, Cato

The Scummiest Clients on Earth - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

The Confines of the New Moral Consensus - Richard Samuelson, Liberty Law Blog

“Equity and Inclusion” at Connecticut College - David Bernstein, WaPo

CathCon Daily - 4/13/2015

It is hard to say whether the doctors of law or divinity have made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery. The lawyers, as well as the theologians, have erected another reason besides natural reason; and the result has been, another justice besides natural justice. They have so bewildered the world and themselves in unmeaning forms and ceremonies, and so perplexed the plainest matters with metaphysical jargon, that it carries the highest danger to a man out of that profession, to make the least step without their advice and assistance.  - Edmund Burke

Democracy is Dead - Anthony Esolen, Crisis

Media's Theologian, Not the Pope's - Matthew Schmitz, First Things

Bernanke’s Latest Defense of the Fed’s Failures - Brendan Brown, Mises

Law Firms, Marriage & Moral Accountability - Rob Vischer, Mirror of Justice

Venn Diagram Sunday - Mark J. Perry, AEI

CA's Salad Days Have Wilted - Joel Kotkin, OC Register

Why I Oppose Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage - Dawn Stefanowicz, Daily Signal

The Coming Combustion - Jonathan Newman, Public Discourse

How to Make America Disappear - Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

30 Great Opening Lines in Literature - Editors, The Telegraph

Let The First Amendment Do Its Job - Donna Carol Voss, The Federalist

April 12, 2015

Facebook and Photos

I came across a blog post recently, entitled "I'm Not a Liar, but Facebook sure is." The authors point in the post is that, while the series of happy photos she posted to Facebook seem to indicate all is well in her world, in reality, what's happening in the background is far less sanguine, such as her husband being out of town on work, or the adoption that she and her husband hoped for would take longer than they initially thought. She calls Facebook a liar because "you and I put up our very best moments on social media to show our friends, family, and acquaintances, it paints a picture about our lives that just isn’t true."

I beg to differ.

This is not about whether Facebook lies, or whether photographs lie, or what have you. Rather, this is about completeness and complexity. Whether on Facebook or in one's hand or on Instagram or in one's phone, a photograph (and even a movie) can only show a snapshot of time. That is their purpose - to show the smiles, or the happy moment, or the wedding cake, or even the frowns and fights. The moment they show is that of the shutter speed of a camera - perhaps 16 milliseconds or even less time. They can show the fantastic kick in soccer, a moment of grace, beauty and fluidity...that seconds later was blocked, resulting in that kicker's team losing. They can show the beauty of a wedding cake shared between two couples, who will later experience miscarriage, loss of jobs, financial ruin, happy grandchildren, a long life together, or sudden death.

I wonder sometimes if, in our modern life, we place so much importance on photographs, videos, etc., because we no longer invest the time in interpersonal (and intergeological) communications - of sitting at dinner with family and neighbors, of gardening, of letter writing and extensive phone calls. So, therefore, the Facebook update, the Instagram, and the Tweet become our most critical method of gleaning information about others. And all of these methods are limited to a moment in time, limited by the necessarily short and "sweet" posts that our harried lives permit us to broadcast. So we are tempted to consider those as the whole of another's life - we wish to think we know other people, so we create our image of those Facebook friends from their posts and photos.

So, we take these momentary pictures, image and words, as the whole of another's life. We must remember, however, that the pictures are simultaneously true and incomplete. They are moments of the present, showing only the present - only we can infuse them with the idea that they represent more than that moment, or that the image we see stands for more than it does. So...they cannot lie, so to speak, but nor can they speak the whole truth of a life.

April 11, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/11/2015

Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety. - Edmund Burke

Stewart's Prison Diaries Released - Editors, The Federalist

Republicans Are Poised to Raise Spending - Nicole Kaeding, Cato

Doing Time with John Hughes - Lauren Weiner, Liberty Law Blog

Curry on Worry - Michaels & Knappenberger, Cato

A New Rendition Of ‘Christianity On Trial’ - Louis Markos, The Federalist

Rule by ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter - Walter Olson, Cato

How Not To Communicate With Millennials Like Hozier - D.C. McAllister, The Federalist

The Dead Constitution - Myron Magnet, City Journal

What American Bureaucracy Really Looks Like - John Goerke, Intercollegiate Review

NYT Lying About Guns at NRA Convention - Sean Davis, The Federalist

Monetary Standards: An Introduction - Gerald P. Driscoll, Jr., Cato

Changing Millennials Minds About Big Gov - Tyler Miller, Intercollegiate Review

The Case for Monetary Independence - Lucas M. Engelhardt, Mises

Balanced-Budget Amendment to the Constitution - Chris Edwards, Cato

NM Abolishes Civil Asset Forfeiture - Adam Bates, Cato

Patricia Jannuzzi Wins - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Will We Surrender on Religious Freedom? - Ed Feulner, Daily Signal

Memories Pizza: Haters? - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

April 10, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/10/2015

Video games are a waste of time for men with nothing else to do. Real brains don't do that. - Ray Bradbury

American Christians Need Protection from Gay Marriage? - Mathis and Boychuk, Island Packet

Jurismania - Mark Pulliam, City Journal

Postal Service Privatization - Chris Edwards, Cato

Deferred Action for Federal Government Accountability - Michael Greve, Liberty Law Blog

Shiffrin on Speech vs. Religion - Marc DeGirolami, Mirror of Justice

Yes, Laws Are Coercive, Even When You Happen To Like Them - Sean Davis, The Federalist

Baltimore Police Admit Thousands of Stingray Uses - Adam Bates, Cato

Exorcising the Public Square - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Bipartisan Push to Sunset the Tax Code - Kevin Mooney, Daily Signal

Business Owners Who Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Weddings - Kate Mooney, Daily Signal

California Drought: The Rest of the Story - Knappenberger & Michaels, Cato

Drought and Big Government - Ryan McMaken, Mises

Letters to a Young Catholic Writer - Daniel McInerny, The Catholic Thing

The Long Retreat in the Culture War - Patrick Buchanan, American Conservative

Longing for Insight? - Eva Brann, Imaginative Conservative

April 9, 2015

CathCon Daily - 4/9/2015

Property is not the sacred right. When a rich man becomes poor it is a misfortune, it is not a moral evil. When a poor man becomes destitute, it is a moral evil, teeming with consequences and injurious to society and morality. - Lord Acton

Marijuana Plants Soak Up...Water in California - Ethan Epstein, Weekly Standard

The Logic Of Economic Discrimination - Jordan J. Ballor, The Federalist

Don’t Re-Inflate the Housing Bubble - John Ligon, Daily Signal

The War Against Religious Liberty - Richard Epstein, The Federalist

Paul Exposes Media’s...Abortion Double Standards - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

RFRA and My Wedding Ring - Maureen Mullarky, First Things

One True Story? - Ann Coulter, Human Events

Dishonest Attacks on Philosophy Professor - David Bernstein, Washington Post

Obama’s State Secrets Overreach - Philip Giraldi, American Conservative

I Scream Therefore I Am - Dwight Longenecker, Imaginative Conservative

Easy Money Drives the Stock Market - Frank Shostak, Mises

Foreign Law [and] the Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

The Active and Contemplative Life - Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing

Searching for Pluralism in a Postmodern Age - Anthony Deardurff, Nomocracy in Politics

Piketty’s Logic Gap - Nicole Gelinas, City Journal

Why Higher Education Needs Religious Liberty - Joseph Knippenberg, Liberty Law Blog

Choosing Pleasure Over Kids? - Peter Lawler, NRO

Why Conservatives Should Be Wary of Big Business - Joe Carter, Acton

April 8, 2015

Incapable of Discrimination?

      The recent spat (and then some) over the Indiana RFRA has proven to be an occasion for a great deal of consideration (and reconsideration...and reconsideration) as to the state of religious freedom in our country. On one side, the promoters of RFRA considered it as nearly a mirror of the model passed by the federal government and some 19 other states, and hardly controversial in that aspect. Opponents of the law termed it, in essence, legalized discrimination, which would permit people such as pizza shop owners (to name a notorious instance) to refuse to serve gay weddings, or as the more worked-up opponents hinted, to permit doctors to refuse to treat homosexual patients. So forceful was the "anti" response that the Indiana legislature and governor ended up dismantling the law in part (or "fixing," depending on your feelings about the law) and potentially moving the State of Indiana further along the road to gay "rights" than prior to the RFRA's original passage. Many intelligent comments have been made about aspects of the controversy, including by Ross Douthat (here), Rod Dreher (here and here), and R.R. Reno (here). 

      What can I hope to add to this chorus of intelligent discussion? Well my hope is that I can place at least some of this outcry against Indiana's RFRA in a new light. So, I claim not complete originality, but at the very least, I hope to stimulate some thought about where we find ourself.

      The catalyst for my ruminations is a letter excerpted in one of the Dreher pieces, linked above. The writer, a Catholic theologian in Philadelphia, mentions three scenarios regarding baking cakes for homosexual couples. I reproduce the parts of this letter I find important below:
Imagine a gay male couple who have been together for 20 years. They live nearby. You know them well, having a friendly non-political neighborly relationship. You borrow the odd egg, watch each other’s pets when somebody is on vacation, maybe chat at the annual 4th of July party.You are an orthodox Christian who runs a bakery business. Now apply the following scenarios:
          A) One of the gay guys has a birthday. His partner asks you to bake the cake. Would you?
B) One of the gay guys dies. His partner asks you to bake the cake for the reception after the funeral. Would you?
C) Marriage is suddenly legalized in your state. They marry and ask you to bake the cake. Would you?
Seems to me that if the answer is no, no, and no, then you ought to examine yourself for homophobia.
But if the answer is yes, yes and no – that’s my answer – then you are arguably simply being principled. I can say “yes” to A and B because I can honor their friendship and loyalty to each other, their faithful service to each other over years. However, I say “no” to C because marriage is not an institution that can be defined entirely in terms of affection, loyalty and service. Or even eros or heartfelt private romantic feelings. Marriage includes all those things, but it exists is a social institution because the fertility of male and female potentially creates uniquely public consequences (children).
The left disputes my premise for saying no to C. Fine, let’s have that debate. People of goodwill can disagree.
But we are not even allowed to have that debate. My side’s case is dismissed by the liberal elite because they think people like me are haters.
      The question is, often, why are people who draw the above distinction considered to be "haters," rather than "principled"? I posit several, interrelated, cultural trends which I think must be considered in approaching this gulf between "principle" and "hate."

      I think that any discussion must start with Jonathan Haidt's moral foundations theory (nicely summarized here), specifically that we, as political beings, have certain moral systems upon which we rest our political decisions (and eventually, our party choice). He posits that there are two systems which are important to both the liberal and conservatives, namely: Care / Harm and Liberty / Oppression. However, there is another which is important to conservatives, but somewhat less important to liberals (fairness / cheating), and three others which are important to conservatives, but matter very little to liberals (loyalty / betrayal, authority / subversion, and sanctity / degradation). Now, briefly summed, what this means is that "liberals value Care and Fairness much more than the other three moral foundations whereas conservative endorse all five more or less equally," as noted in this Scientific American discussion of and with Haidt.

     My own theory, having not read enough of Haidt's writing to flesh it out fully, is that people who invest heavily in one or two of those areas and give little important to others view alliances to the other areas to be, essentially, irrational, while viewing only the two to which one gives allegiance as "rational." In other words, those focused heavily in Care and Fairness (which may be seen at the heart of the anti-RFRA outcry - summary: "it's unfair to deny to homosexuals the same right to marry as anyone else, and it's hurtful to say or act in that manner"), will invest those with sacred qualities in subsuming the other qualities to Care and Fairness, and will view those with commitments to Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity as, in essence, irrational or even "evil."

      This, then, results in the view that those who also place sanctity in other areas of life (marriage, child-rearing) and authority (in tradition, in hierarchy, in God, etc.) as having no rational basis upon which to oppose gay marriage and gay childbearing / adoption. I submit that the modern mind, especially as seen among millennials on the gay marriage issue (and interestingly, on abortion, where growing opposition, seemingly out of sync with support for gay marriage, likely finds support in values of "fair" and "harm"), is heavily, and almost entirely, invested in the Fairness aspects of Haidt's framework, and little understands, nor seeks to understand, other commitments which vie for loyalty in the mind of the conservative and (perhaps) classical liberal.

      The modern mind dislikes discrimination so much because, in the end, any discrimination requires drawing lines, requires making distinctions. But, our whole system of education, growing out of the similar culture, has for years been focused on whether any given is "unfair" to some person or group, and makes that person or group "unequal." Moreover, to that mind, since no person wants to be unfairly treated, does not want to "be unequal," it cannot be the fault of any person that they are not "equal" with another - therefore, it must be an external oppression that is producing the inequality. There is no room in such an analysis for any commitment to tradition or religious scruple that can overcome claims of equality and fairness, and therefore, there is no need to analyze or understand the arguments making such claims, because ipso facto, such arguments do not exist. In addition, though people arguing for religious or traditional commitments are using language which should be familiar in argument, such language is assembled in ways which are incomprehensible to the equality mind. Therefore, no matter what argument is so made, it cannot communicate, cannot contribute, anything of value to the discussion, and must be ignored. Any argument with a premise that results in unequal treatment of persons, for any reason or purpose, is dead out of the starting gate, whether rooted in biology, psychology, or any other science or statistics. Hence, the responses to studies, such as that of Mark Regnerus showing problems with gay parenting, consisting of "biased" or "hateful," which simply seem ad hominem. The study itself does not support the "everyone is equal" worldview, and therefore, is either biased, or shows a temporary state of things before society adjusts to a new, enforced, morality.

      Finally, the theologian quoted above is at the mercy of those completely unable to discriminate. A mind which comprehends Haidt's six values and places some importance on all of them is capable of understanding different sides of an argument, and is also capable, then, of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of such arguments. But a mind fully trained and cultured in the traits of equality and fairness, ignoring all others, is incapable of distinguishing, in discriminating, among good and bad arguments, good and faulty premises, and is, therefore, wont to accuse all arguments not premising absolute equality as existing only in unfairnesshatred of equality, and etc. To this mind, there is no difference between status and conduct (see the theologian's distinction above), and no possible way for loyalty and tradition to compete with equality in any given scenario. To this mind, also, there is no hierarchy of good, no distinction among art or music, because of this similar lack of discrimination. While there can be absolute goods (the environment, guilt-free, consequence-free, sex, etc.), these goods, and the ways in which they can be achieved, are not up for debate. There can be no debate - there can be no lines drawn...for there is no discrimination.