This "Skeptic's Collection" column was first published in October of 2014. But in light of the recent mass shootings in, e.g., Las Vegas, NV, Sutherland Springs, TX, and Parkland, FL, it seems appropriate to reprint it now, especially given that the bravery, eloquence, and conscience of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the latter city seem to have eventuated -- at least so we may hope -- a kind of moral conversion of the public debate on gun control. This column may well also be published as an essay in the Be-Zine, the other e-periodical for which I write. That is quite all right. To quote Mao Zedong: "Let a hundred flowers bloom". I want to add my modest impetus to the newly "woke" consciousness regarding the Second Amendment.
A well-regulated militia,
I am re-publishing this post from February of 2015 on former Chief Justice Roy Moore, now that he may succeed to Attorney General Sessions' old Senate seat, amid the controversy of his alleged sexual peccadilloes regarding underage women. The question I would invite you to ponder as you read it is Is this really the best the Republican Party -- the Party of Lincoln, the Party of Emancipation, the part of Reconstruction -- can do?
The inimitable Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court – the same Judge Moore who in 2003 attempted to retain the marble monument of the 10 Commandments in the Alabama judicial building – is in the news again, this time asserting the Augustinian roots of his preference for theocracy over secular, constitutional, religion-neutral republican gove
To unmask them, to knock them off the pedestal they have hoisted themselves on, to hold them up to scorn is a campaign no one should remain indifferent to. For at any price, we must keep those who have too clear a conscience from living and dying in peace. -- E. M. Cioran, "Thinking Against Oneself", in The Temptation to Exist
One of the more painful effects of the presidential Election of 2016 is that I was impelled by considerations of personal integrity to terminate about a dozen friendships, about half on Facebook and about half in real-life. In each such case, the reason for the break was that the people whose friendships I chose to end were people who were determined to vote, either directly or by default, for Donald J. Trump for President. This, for reasons of conscience, I could...