A few odds and ends on the culture trail:
* How many of you read this quote in the New York Times Magazine from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, or heard any coverage of it: “Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe v. Wade was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” No mention of whether or not she approves of eugenics or condones abortion as a primary means of controlling “undesirables”. Of course, eugenics has a long history in the U. S., having been supported by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in a famous case before the Supreme Court, and it was a major factor in Margaret Sanger’s rationale for founding Planned Parenthood as well as those who supported approval for RU-486, the abortion pill, in the early 1990’s. The abortion on demand for any reason crowd doesn’t like to be reminded of this inconvenient history. Incidentally, Hillary Clinton was in Houston recently to receive Planned Parenthood’s highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award.
* Last month I mentioned that Houston Mayor Bill White has been dealing with the police officers’ union over the implementation of the new “287g program” that calls for specialized data and training in screening for illegal immigrants among persons held in detention by municipal authorities. This will no doubt be a significant issue in Houston’s upcoming city election. Meanwhile, The Houston Chronicle takes issue with the use of this program “in a city with hundreds of thousands of undocumented residents, most of them law-abiding………..whose only crime is to be here illegally”. Am I missing something here? Thankfully, Congressman Lamar Smith, co-sponsor of the bill creating 287g, has written the Chronicle to make clear that legislative intent is definitely not to be selective in enforcement.
* I was very disappointed to see the announcement that David Boies and Ted Olson have taken the case to challenge California Proposition 8, the law approved by the voters to ban same sex marriage, particularly in the case of Ted Olson, for whom I had the utmost respect as a rule of law traditionalist until now. In their explanation, it seems that these two high-profile attorneys can offer no reason other than bigotry or fundamentalist religious doctrine for opposition to same sex marriage, a tactic that would define all traditional morality under natural law as mere prejudice. More on this later; I will only suggest that if Messrs. Boies and Olson believe that the right to marry is as fundamental as they allow, what is to prevent more than two individuals to form a marriage union? And from there the imagination proceeds unchecked.
* Finally, I was struck by a recent letter to the editor from a Houston woman protesting the reference to abortion in a previous letter as “immoral”. She suggests that it is not up to the writer to define morality, and that “a choice that a woman makes about terminating her own pregnancy is not a matter for society to judge. It is her own personal decision and morality doesn’t enter into it.” If this isn’t very close to the ultimate in nihilism and moral relativism, I hope I don’t encounter what is.