t is time to return to the ancient craft of thinking.
We have handed over so much of our thinking
to remembering devices and calculating devices, and instead of freeing up our
brains for more lofty endeavors, have mindlessly given over that time to other
devices that whittle away life for us while we put thinking on hold aside from
wondering who might get kicked off of the island next.
As a counter to this a book was recently suggested to me:
Peter Kreeft’s, “Socratic Logic; A Logic Text Using Socratic Method, Platonic
Questions, and Aristotelian Principles.”
There’s a winning title.
And I will admit, as admirably as Mr. Kreeft tries to make
it a fun exercise, it is a lot of work learning how to think. But the pay offs are magnificent. Like learning another language, if you can
put up with the long fuse, the boom at the end is well worth it.
I would love have a course like this taught in our parish
school and even open it up to the rest of the parish.
(We shall see.)
This is for two reasons: first, it would
prevent people from embarrassing themselves writing mindless drivel as Mr.
Richard Kunkel did in his letter to the editor in the Akron Beacon Journal on
Wednesday, August 14th
concerning abortion, and second, it would
help students to see mindless drivel when it appears before them.
There is so much to write about in this letter I doubt I can
do it in one post but here are some high – er – lowlights. After stating that a recent letter to the
editor really made him think, he wrote, “Suppose Honda had a bad model, and it
was recalled. Should we make a law
forcing Honda to close? Or how about a law
that would close every automaker in the state?”
Is this a fair comparison?
To begin with, Honda does not design anything that is
intended to kill anybody.
are supposed to be convenient and safe.
Therefore, if something goes wrong, we make them fix their product and
make them safe once again.
not designed to keep a person safe but to kill them.
If we don’t want people killed, then yes, we
do shut them down.
Further, the product that Honda makes does not affect the
morality of a nation, the family structure, religious freedom, or health
care. It is a false example. A better one would be independent brain
surgery clinics (if such a thing existed.)
If they were in violation should we keep letting them perform brain surgeries
and work with them in eventually coming around to being a safer clinic? No. I
would say stop all surgeries now.
Mr. Kunkel also states that the only problem here is that
one group doesn’t want abortion so therefore it should be legal.
There are (essentially) three groups out there: those who want abortion,
those who don’t, and those somewhere in between.
In a democracy such as ours that is always
the case and we vote to see what we should do.
For example, there are a great number of people out there who enjoy
There are those who think it
should not be done in public, and the somewhere in between group.
I could use his same argument to say that
only one group wants there to be no smoking in our country – therefore the rest
of us should be able to smoke next to him at his favorite restaurant.
Bet he doesn’t buy it.
(All of a sudden his call for tolerance disappears.)
Ah! See? I’m already going too long. But I can’t stop. “If you don’t want abortion, don’t have one,”
is another tired and silly diatribe. He
likens it to, “If you don’t like alcohol, don’t drink,” as if it were an equal
case. How about this better one: If you
don’t like racial prejudice, don’t use racial slurs, but don’t trample on the
rights of those who want to use them or burn crosses on public property as long
as they have a permit. But that hardly
solves the problem. (And really, there
is only one group that wants us to get rid of racial inequality – right???)
And he calls this a “war on women.”
Switching the conversation to women’s health
and rights is a clever way of covering over what is at the center of this
debate: another innocent human being.
is a war on humanity and the rights of the weakest and least politically
connected among us.
And as we become a
nation that takes the throwing away of human life more and more easily, we
become less human, appreciate all
life less, and take another step backward in the advancement of human dignity,
worth, and love.
Last point and then I will try to stop. Mr. Kunkel states that we should be able to
do whatever is legal and not be unfettered “by my or anyone else’s dislike.” The tyranny of tolerance. Of course what I want to do may be in direct
contradiction to what you want to do. Who
gets to win? My Aunt had a neighbor who
put in a chimney that met code but only caused smoke to be trapped between the
houses and forcing smoke into her house, leaving an odor and making a
mess. Yet it was legal. Was the neighbor therefore morally in the
right because the city said they had their hands tied because he was up to
And once again (I know, I said I would stop) we forget the
idea that there is a human person in the womb.
He was a human person at conception, as he develops he is a human
person, and he will only ever be a human person as he develops. He struggles for life and will be born and
grow if we let him. I would say these
are signs of what this human person
wants. But we silence him so that he
does not have a say and we can do away with him without giving him any real
consideration. It is legal after all and
therefore must be morally right and good for us as a nation. Right?