Nostalgia

Remembering when “liberals” used to be opposed to anti-semitism. Also, Helen Thomas’ Weimar moment is a reflection on “progressive” America.

And you’ll be as shocked as I am to learn that the rabbi who outed the woman who expressed her vile views at a Jewish-History event has received hate mail and death threats. I’m sure they’re peaceful hate mails and death threats, though. Because these people are all about peace. Or so they tell us.

[Update a few minutes later]

A blast from the past. Tony Snow: “Thanks for the Hezbollah view, Helen.”

I miss Tony Snow. I disagree with the title, though. Helen Thomas has never required anyone’s assistance to look like a fool.

You First, Pete

Lileks, on Peter Singer and other misanthropes.

I don’t believe that there’s any inherent good in having people on earth. We’re fond of ourselves, but that’s about it.

Uh huh. Well, here’s a question I find more interesting than Singer’s threnodies: if there was no sentient life on Earth, would Nature still be beautiful? Everyone loves the beauty of Nature, after all. Everyone agrees it’s a Good and Wonderful Thing, although some think some spiritual experience can be distilled from its contemplation. I don’t – I sense the inconceivable depths of time, the wonders of natural systems, and find aesthetic pleasures if they mesh with my own preferences, i.e., I like the colors of a sunset, but do not like the face of a spider. There is no moral component to beauty, no ethics in a great forest. I like them, but they are not my Brother or Mother anymore than the bear considers me a distant relative. I prefer a certain amount of distance from Nature, as in the form of walls and roofs and clothing and medicine and so on, and if this makes our lives “disconnected” from Nature, then talk to the beaver, who gnaws down trees and dams streams. But we cannot disconnect with Nature; we’re part of it. We’re just the clever part that figured out how to arm ourselves against its indifference.

We pay Nature the compliment of being Beautiful, but that’s a hard-fought luxury. Nature requires the application of judgment to be beautiful. It requires people.

That’s just as true off planet as on.

A Simple Question

I don’t have time to expand on this right now, but I assume the point is obvious to intelligent readers (as opposed to Obama koolaid drinkers).

Why is it that the president would talk to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions, but he thinks that, in the middle of arguably the biggest domestic crisis of his presidency, it’s a waste of his time to have a conversation with the head of British Petroleum?

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!