If nowhere else, you have at least read it here. Well, now you are going to read it again.
I have not written anything about the terror inflicted by Dylann Roof via the slaughter of nine innocent Bible study participants at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, on 17 June. I found that my capacity for rational thought was paralyzed. For the most part, it still is. But that is perhaps as it should be. Perhaps there are crimes so vile that they render rationality itself indecent. Like certain sounds that the ear cannot hear, there may be certain experiences that only the id, only the reptile brain, only the limbic system, only the endocrine glands can process. I am old enough to remember an episode of All in the Family, back in the late ‘60s, when Archie Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor) a
For all the exuberant talk about the liberation of what is often called the “new atheism” as exemplified by people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, the late Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, and Saturday Night Live alumna Julia Sweeney – with the vast majority of which I heartily agree – there is one area, so far little remarked, where the “new atheism” and the “new atheists” simply cannot compete with conventional, theistic religion: comfort and reassurance. Yes, yes, to be sure, conventional, orthodox, theistic religion is, in many ways, a congeries of pathologies ranging from the comically absurd -- Neanderthal humans hunting t. Rex, anyone? -- to the violent to the downright evil. Their name is “Legion”, for they are many. I have criticized many of them in this space,
My reaction was pretty typical to the recent scandal about the racist slogans chanted by members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity at Oklahoma University (OU) at Norman and the companion video of the SAE house-mother repeating a racist slur: kick them out of OU, fire the house-mother, and dissolve the fraternity immediately. At that point, I was -- I freely admit -- feeling with my glands instead of reasoning with my brain. So I began to use the latter to think the issue through more dispassionately from a constitutional and First Amendment standpoint. In the end, my glands were vindicated ... sort of: my original reaction was right, just for the wrong reasons.
Regarding the recitation of the racist chant on the bus, there are two broad possibilities, each with somewhat diff