The Thinking 

Why the Culture War is a Religious War

February 24, 2010


THE DEMOCRATS could have their health care reform. They could summon the votes if they abandoned the hope of government-funded abortion. Why don’t they concede on an issue ancillary to the goal of nationalized medicine?

On the Stupak amendment, Lawrence Auster writes:

It’s fascinating that the campaign to nationalize health care, which Stupak otherwise supports, is crashing in a heap because most of the liberals who demand the state funding of health care also demand the state funding of abortions. The lesson is that liberalism is unable to stop itself from driving over a cliff, because its inherent egalitarian logic compels its votaries to seek not only material equality, meaning in this case the equal provision of medical insurance, but moral equality as well, meaning the elimination of moral standards and the state subsidization of immoral behavior.


Tending the Dead in Haiti

February 24, 2010


IN THIS EXCELLENT piece by Matt Labash, Father Rick Frechette buries the dead of Haiti. Labash writes:

Haiti might be the only place where death with dignity entails being buried five-to-a-cardboard coffin. But it is moving and beautiful. Yet, I suggest to Frechette, it seems futile. Why do this? However horrible their lives were, this isn’t going to change that. Why spend so much time and energy serving people who’ll never know they’ve been served?

Frechette thinks about it a long while, then says, “If the dead are garbage, then the living are walking garbage.”

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Our Legislative Philistines

February 24, 2010


JOHN LOFTON, a former Republican advisor who hosts the American View radio show, attended a question-and-answer session with Maryland lawmakers and grilled them on their understanding of the Constitution and oath of office. The ensuing exchanges are a disturbing glimpse into a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

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February 24, 2010



The 1995 film version of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, directed by Frédéric Mitterand and filmed in Tunisia by Martin Scorcese, is haunting and beautiful. The Chinese soprano Ying Huang does not look Japanese and her singing is not powerful but she is unforgettable, her character changing from a romantic girl to a mature and principled woman. If you have never watched a full-length opera, this famous tale of the geisha who is bought by an American soldier as his temporary bride is a great place to start. On her wedding day, the fragile geisha realizes she has left her people behind and she enters a lonely realm.

Some people complain that Butterfly is anti-American, but one could just as easily say it is anti-Japanese. Cio-Cio-San is sold to the soldier, Lieutenant Pinkerton (Richard Troxell), by a Japanese procurer.