Our Changing Times
To the editor: Beginning in the 1950s, we decided as a country that mental institution abuse of patients was unacceptable, and since effective behavior-control drugs were becoming more available, we began to close the mental hospitals and wards within regular hospitals and rely on the patients to self-medicate.
And, driven by similar concern for public welfare, we decided that we would designate and enforce schools and other public facilities as “gun-free” zones, and allow private businesses to do likewise. This in spite of history; the fact that in the days of chivalry, exaggerated practices of public courtesy were the norm. We laugh at all the bowing and “My dear sirs” in costume dramas, but we don’t notice that other feature of the time — that nearly all men were considered not dressed without a dagger or sword at his side.
If Oregon had been settled at the time, we suspect that its mentally ill would have been in 24-hour care, not shooting up the community college.
The Quantum State of Consent
Posted: 10 Feb 2018 04:34 PM PST
56% of younger millennials identify as Christian. 2% as Jewish or Muslim. 1% as Buddhist. And 36% as nothing. That's double the number that made up the "nones" among baby boomers. Being a "none" often means having no sense of purpose, except to seek personal happiness and make the world a better place by recycling, opposing Trump and calling out racism. It also means a moral code based on academic analysis of power relationships between races, genders and sexual orientations.
"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom," Benjamin Franklin cautioned more simply.
These aren't abstractions. Nor are they measured on some vast scale of civilizations. They define how we live our ordinary lives. They are why this debate is taking place.
Free people consent. But freedom comes from virtue. Freedom without virtue is anarchy. And anarchy ends in brutality and tyranny. That outcome isn't only expressed in riots in the streets. It emerges in smaller and more intimate matters, like the debate over consent.
Freedom of consent is failing. The left wants to replace it with brutality and tyranny. The brutality of online smear campaigns and the tyranny of campus kangaroo courts. But a secular right has no replacement for it either except the more libertarian brutality and tyranny of the individual.
What we forgot is that we don't truly have freedom of consent, until we have purpose.