Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, September 05, 2003  

From The Head Office Department: Why do the Ten Commandments -- the Decalogue -- matter so much? Simply because they are so much more than a set of rules posted on the wall.

The Decalogue is not an exhaustive summary, but a suggestive summary. It does not include all of our natural moral knowledge, but it either states, implies, or presupposes a good deal of it. For example, the First Commandment states that only God is to be worshipped as God, but it presupposes the knowledge of God as well as several principles of justice, including the principle of gratitude and the principle "Give to each what is due to him." The Sixth Commandment states merely that adultery is wrong, but it presupposes the institution of matrimony, and implies that there is something special about it, thereby suggesting a much broader norm of sexual purity. The Eighth Commandment states merely that one must not bear false witness, but it presupposes provisions for public justice, and suggests that we should seek to extend the truthfulness of relationships in general. To elucidate every implication and presupposition of the Decalogue would take more than a chapter, indeed more than a set of books.
From What We Can't Not Know: A Guide by J. Budziszewski.

You're likely to see a bit more about this book, and natural law, in this space, as I've just started reading this book.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:34 PM
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Thursday, September 04, 2003  

Tsunami Department: That smoke you smell is the Outland server trying to keep up with an Instalanche.

Something that surprised me was that, although I had close to a thousand visits yesterday when Glenn Reynolds linked to my post on the death-penalty protesters, only one of them added a comment. None of the others had anything to say?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:42 AM
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Wednesday, September 03, 2003  

What's Wrong With This Picture? Department: Speaking of Paul Hill, one of the details that I have not seen in the major network coverage is the anti-capital punishment angle. MSNBC does have some quotes from death-penalty opponents in this story, but some of them seem to be motivated more by concern that Hill's death will inspire further violence against abortion providers than by a moral opposition to the death penalty.

Death penalty opponents have also pointed to the prospect of violence as a reason to stop this execution in particular.
“We’re very concerned that Paul Hill’s call for violence may be picked up by any person to whom God speaks,” said Abe Bonowitz, the head of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. “That could be prevented. It should be.”
The stepdaughter of one of Hill's victims is also opposing his execution, and her opposition does seem to be straightforward.
“I’ve had these feelings for a long time, before he (Britton) was murdered, I’ve always been a proponent of nonviolence,” Catherine Britton Fairbanks told NBC’s “Today” show. “But then when he was murdered that brought it to the forefront.
"I spent a lot of time researching the elements of Paul Hill and his group, but since then I’ve worked against the death penalty, opposing it whenever I get a chance to speak out against it.”
Maybe my memory is selective, but it seems as though when your run-of-the-mill murderer is set to dance the Danny Deever, most news organizations give plenty of air time to the people protesting the execution. Other than the aforementioned bit at the foot of an MSNBC story, I haven't seen the like this time. Maybe I've just missed it (and that's possible, because I'm no news junky). Are the protestors avoiding Paul Hill, or are the networks just not talking to them? Hmmm. This looks like a job for Susanna Cornett.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:09 PM
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Corrections Department: On the radio this morning, AP Network News said that Paul Hill was to be executed this evening, adding that Hill would be the first person executed for "anti-abortion violence." That's not correct; it confuses the motive with the crime. Hill wasn't charged, tried and convicted of "anti-abortion violence." His crime was murder, and that's what he's being executed for.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:49 AM
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