On conscience, morality, and Theodore Parker in part. "Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." -Theodore Parker, 1853.
Previously on Metafilter, a lively discussion followed news that Attorney General Mukasey collapsed during his speech last week to the Federalist Society in which he was defending the Bush administration against "the casual assumption among many in media, political, and legal circles that the Administration’s counterterrorism policies have come at the expense of the rule of law." Just before his collapse, however, an unknown heckler yelled "tyrant!" at him. After some speculation, that person has been identified. [more inside]
Ripples of Genocide. Journey through Eastern Congo with Angelina Jolie, commentary by John Prendergast, photos by Ed Parsons and Laura Engelbrecht.
"Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others." Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, and the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket. On June 1, 1950, she gave her Declaration of Conscience speech against McCarthyism on the floor of the Senate, and much of it is relevant today.
It is high time that we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques--techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.[more inside]
"In every existing government we find clamor, abuses of power, newspapers with triumphant, lying headlines, lies of every kind in public life. This being the case, someone like me, who understands nothing of politics, is compelled to think about politics and despair of ever understanding it, is compelled to envision something entirely different." Natalia Ginzburg, Member of the Italian Parliament, writer, and critic.
Conscience Clauses and Health Care --"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.