I am learning – the hard way – to get knee-jerkingly suspicious every time someone mentions the phrase “moral equivalency” – and certainly when anyone attempts to employ moral equivalency in arguments. I suppose there are occasions when that term, and that rhetorical tactic, are justified, but I have not encountered any examples lately, least of all examples in real life. In fact, I would even make bold to say that at least 90% of the time – and I mean for that number to be interpreted quite literally – entities and acts that are said to be “morally equivalent” are anything but. Most of the time “morally equivalency” could be more accurately rephrased as “moral imbecility”. Two examples leap to mine immediately.
President Trump – two words that make about as much sense when us
I always read the Patheos web page with interest, usually agreeing, sometimes disagreeing. Once in a while, though, Patheos has a tendency to “view with alarm”, and thereby to give us one more item to worry about – which would not be a problem if the given item were worth worrying about it. Often the alarm being raised pertains to something that really is worth worrying about. But not always. In the “not always” column goes Patheos’ recent – well … not all that recent: 2014 -- “viewing with alarm” of Justice Clarence Thomas’s assertion that States probably do have the prerogative under the Constitution of establishing an “official” State religion. That assertion is (a) just true enough to engender alarm, but (b) not true enough to merit worry. Patheos’s heart is in the right place, bu
Over the centuries since the ratification of the Constitution in 1789 and the Bill of Rights in 1791, the principle of States’ powers and States' rights – that States enjoy certain rights and prerogatives upon which the Federal government may not intrude – has gained a bad reputation. One could reasonably date the origin of this bad association from 1948, when Strom Thurmond accepted the presidential nomination of the break-away Democrats constituting the States’ Rights Party (“Dixiecrats”). The Dixiecrats were tainted because they advocated a radical doctrine of States’ rights and powers in opposition to a Federal government they viewed as bent on coercive nationwide racial integration, in violation, they argued, of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the US Constitution. To this day,