Against Multiculturalism

Take a moment to think again about one of the most important sentences ever written:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the Founders set out a proudly universalist vision of natural rights. If all men are created equal, then preferences for one tribe, sect or class over another, whether in law or custom, are wrong.

This statement was a (literally) revolutionary rejection of the caste systems – and tribe-based identities – of other nations of the world. It spoke of universal natural rights...

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Abortion and The Role of Government

I really don’t think you care what I think about abortion and, for the most part, I’m ok with that. Most likely, either you think it is a morally neutral medical procedure and every woman’s natural right, or you think it’s murder, straight up. It is, ah, unlikely that a blog post is going to convince you to change positions.

Even so, I might be able to convince you to rethink the role of government as regards abortion and other matters of widespread and profound disagreement.

***

I recently had a conversation with someone who is terribly afraid that the new Administration will defund Planned Parenthood. I told her that I think that the government should defund Planned Parenthood – for the exact same reason, ironically, that I wouldn’t support an outright abortion ban; I also told...

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Under a Steel-Gray Sky

Two days ago I slipped in some mud while carrying my kayak up a hill. I caught myself, but in doing so I seem to have hurt something deep in my right shoulder. Since then the right side of my torso has ached.

This morning, at the suggestion of my Beloved Spouse, I went outside to sit in the hot tub by our pool. I am not really a hot tub guy – I have probably used it a dozen times in as many years – but she thought the heat and bubble jets might help lessen my shoulder pain.

So I sat in the steaming water under a steel-gray sky; to my surprise, my thoughts turned to an old friend.

***

Doug and I went to boarding school together. We got to know each other through rowing; he was a big, athletic guy – a gentle giant. Though we were two years apart, we became fast friends.

For we were n...

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Class Consciousness

There are sound reasons to fear the two principal candidates for the presidency. Both are of low character; each advocates policies that – to my mind – are terribly misguided.

Set all that aside. Let’s consider what’s really driving the passions of this election cycle: class.

(What, you think the voters care about character or policy this year?

Is there a Hillary supporter who thinks she is in the habit of telling the truth? A Trump supporter who doesn’t know that he has all the ethical sensitivity of a shark?

With the arguable exception of the proposed erection of a border fence and deportation of those who came in contravention of our laws, is there much evidence that real issues and contrasting policy ideas are at the heart of the campaign?

Nope...

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To All the Losers

The morning ride that Jack and I founded twenty-seven years ago is still going strong. Every dry weekday morning during the light/warm months a small group assembles in front of my home at 5:30 AM. The group rides together for an hour or so, returning in time for everybody to get to their more serious responsibilities.

Five or six riders will show up on any given day, out of ten or twelve who might. Irrespective of who is or isn’t there, the group departs at 5:30 sharp. Regular participants miss for many reasons – a late night, a breakfast meeting, personal or business travel – whatever. Whoever does show can count on having some friendly and competitive company...

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Babies, Cultures and Politics

Last weekend, the Beloved Spouse and I took care of our four month old grandson for about twenty hours. He is a beautiful, generally happy baby, but he is quite capable of letting everybody know when something isn’t right. It turns out that twenty hours is a pretty good while.

In the decades since we had babies of our own, I had forgotten just how needy and vulnerable they are. Caring for one is very nearly a ’round-the-clock activity.

Helping to take care of the young prince (well, to us) for even that brief period brought some thoughts to mind. The first was that it’s amazing that our ancestors in the hunter-gatherer days survived infancy. Their parents had to have been unbelievably tough and no less loving than parents are today. Indeed, arguably they had to be more so.

The second is ...

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A Possible Explanation

I generally write about things that I understand, or at least think I do. There are some things, though, that I have wondered about for ages without having come up with an answer that truly satisfies.

Many, perhaps most, of the posts on this site lament the obvious dangers of the leftward drift in our governance and, more fundamentally, our cultural moves away from a perspective grounded in individual rights toward one based on group-based grievances and claims. I have long pondered the underlying causes of the undeniable political and cultural shifts away from this country’s founding principles – but I have never really been able to explain why these changes are taking place.

Our government is taxing – and controlling behavior – in ways that would have been astounding to the colonists...

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Losing the Thread?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured a brilliant letter to the editor (http://www.wsj.com/articles/conservatives-must-show-moral-imagination-1453410372). In it, the writer posited that conservatives will not win elections with arguments about economic efficiency – we must inspire prospective supporters with the moral rightness of our ideas. I will not rehash the writer’s points – he did a better job of making them than I can, but I will try to do as he suggests in a broader context than the current electoral politics.

One of the animating impulses behind Civil Horizon is my view that our country is in real danger of losing the thread that holds us together. Increasingly we are divided into groups on the basis of race, class and entitlement status; we too often ignore the focus on in...

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To See America

1/11/16

Beginning three months from today, if I haven’t taken on a full-time a job or had some personal matter arise that prevents me from doing so, I will get on my bicycle in Los Angeles and begin to pick my way through the traffic, heading east. Six or seven weeks later I should reach Connecticut.

I will use the ride to raise money for a nonprofit that I support – the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program ( http://www.ctcyclingadvancement.org/). CCAP is a great organization, dedicating to building the sport of cycling by providing a well-organized alternative to kids who might not care for the usual school sports. In my view such children need something better to do than while away their time in front of screens. (We all do, but that’s another matter).

The truth is, though, that...

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I Don’t Want to Talk About It.

Is it possible to be thrown out of a tight-knit group that one was instrumental in forming? I have a chance to find out.

I am in a fabulous book club. I got the group rolling four or five years ago by recruiting a handful of close friends to the venture. On a rotating schedule, one person chooses a book, another cooks a meal and a third leads the discussion. We read all kinds of books, and our subsequent discussions are augmented by fine food and wine. We are just as competitive about the consumables as we are about the selections of, and our opinions about, the books.

Considering that the book club is small, and consists exclusively of people who are sociologically similar (we are all prosperous men, 55+) the points of view represented are widely divergent: our political and religious or...

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