Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Liberal Education Should Include the History of our Constitution

NYT -- Thomas L. Friedman

A few years ago, the leaders of the College Board, the folks who administer the SAT college entrance exam, asked themselves a radical question: Of all the skills and knowledge that we test young people for that we know are correlated with success in college and in life, which is the most important? Their answer: the ability to master “two codes” — computer science and the U.S. Constitution.

Real Clear Politics -- Peter Berkowitz

Mission statements provide organizations the opportunity to present considered opinions about their primary goals. Yet little recognition is found within the mission statements of our institutions of higher education that among their chief responsibilities is conserving the wisdom of the ages and of our civilization in particular — for its intrinsic merits, as essential to the pursuit of truth; for guidance in understanding the nation’s fundamental principles and constitutional order; to grasp the diversity and unity of the world’s cultures and peoples; in the name of liberty of thought and discussion; as an antidote to the conceits and blind spots of the age; and to orient sensible reform.

From Moral and Political Philosophy by James Rutherford

The Moral Foundations of United States Constitutional Democracy was written for students of Western civilization and teachers of ethics, law, history, and government. It develops a framework for understanding moral and political philosophy. The framework takes into account several different aspects of human nature and the world in which we live. This provides a basis for understanding several different aspects of universal equality, the unifying “central idea” or primary moral concept of our form of government. The several aspects of universal equality are also traced historically as they developed in different ethical and legal systems of Western civilization. Constitutional democracy in the United States attempts to integrate and balance the several aspects of universal equality as they apply to the coercive powers of government.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Intelligencer -- Andrew Sullivan

  Yes, it is now confusing.  Andrew Sullivan has a thoughtful
perspective about this in his blog.  Biology and culture, Trans and
Cis are discussed in challenging way to all sides of the debate.

  “The proposed Equality Act — a federal nondiscrimination bill that has been introduced multiple times over the years in various formulations — would add “gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, rendering that class protected by anti-discrimination laws, just as sex is. The TERF argument is that viewing “gender identity” as interchangeable with sex, and abolishing clear biological distinctions between men and women, is actually a threat to lesbian identity and even existence — because it calls into question who is actually a woman, and includes in that category human beings who have been or are biologically male, and remain attracted to women. How can lesbianism be redefined as having sex with someone who has a penis, they argue, without undermining the concept of lesbianism as a whole?”

  Studies of identical twins separated at birth tend to indicate that genetics and culture both contribute about evenly as to how we develop into adults. Usually, however, we can separate a respect for the dignity of all persons from making a judgment about their behavior.  When it comes to sexual preferences and “gender identity”, however, this familiar framework is complicated because the sexual preferences are presented as essential to who the individual is an not just a matter of behavior or choice. Yet at other times the claim is made the all values are only about the individual or social will. The confusing issues are thus likely to persist.