Obama on Abortion

Judith Jarvis Thomson, near the end of her well-known article “A Defense of Abortion,” writes, … while I am arguing for the permissibility of abortion in some cases, I am not arguing for the right to secure the death of the unborn child. It is easy to confuse these two things in that up to a certain point in the life of the fetus it … Continue reading Obama on Abortion

“The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be Infringed”

The Supreme Court upholds the Second Amendment: Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession. Although times have changed since 1791, Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority, “it is … Continue reading “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be Infringed”

Steyn in Vancouver—One Time Only!

Wretchard quotes Mark Steyn, speaking in Vancouver before he goes on trial: What we’re up against is not primarily defined by what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are still essentially military campaigns and we’re good at those. … it might be truer to say that this is a Cold Civil War – by which I mean a war within the west. The real … Continue reading Steyn in Vancouver—One Time Only!

John McCain and Edmund Burke

Jonathan Rauch argues that John McCain is a true conservative, in the mold of Edmund Burke–and that “movement” conservatives aren’t. Rauch starts with a nice precis of an aspect of Burke’s thought that influenced, among others, Freidrich von Hayek: Burke is the father of modern conservatism, and still its wisest oracle. Tradition-minded but (contrary to stereotype) far from reactionary, he believed in balancing individual rights … Continue reading John McCain and Edmund Burke

Locke v. Rousseau

Jonah Goldberg captures the political half of the course I’m now teaching precisely: I think the fundamental difference, the difference that defines the difference between American, Anglo-American conservatives and European welfare states, leftists or liberals, is Locke versus Rousseau. Every philosophical argument boils down to John Locke versus Jacques Rousseau. Locke holds that we have natural rights, rights that inhere in us as human beings … Continue reading Locke v. Rousseau

Arkes on Brown v. Board of Education

I recently attended a talk by Hadley Arkes on jurisprudence in which, among other things, he criticized the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark school desegregation case from 1954. The Court declared the unconstitutionality of segregation on the basis of Kenneth Clark’s social science research on the self-esteem of black children, contending on that basis that “separate but … Continue reading Arkes on Brown v. Board of Education

“Relating to the Legal System”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, holder of the office once held by St. Cuthbert, St. Dunstan, St. Anselm, St. Thomas Becket, and Robert Kilwardby, says that British adoption of certain aspects of sharia is unavoidable: Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4’s World at One that the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do … Continue reading “Relating to the Legal System”