The Illusion of Moral Neutrality–Robert George on Marriage

In the flood of words published each year, relatively few are worthy of notice, and even fewer deserve lasting attention. Regrettably, some of the more worthy books, essays, and articles are simply lost in the tidal flow of literary output. From time to time, a work comes to new life and renewed relevance. Such is the case with “Marriage and the Illusion of Moral Neutrality,” an essay by Princeton University professor Robert P. George.

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The Self-Esteem Myth

A mixture of often contradictory ideas frames the popular imagination and, to a great extent, the contours of the American mind. One of the most cherished of these ideas is of fairly recent vintage, though its philosophical roots go far back into the American experience. This idea can be called simply the “self-esteem myth”–the idea that an individual’s self-esteem is central to success, happiness, performance, and behavior.

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The Cause of Life–Where We Now Stand

From our vantage point in the year 2005, we can now see that the twentieth century was a time of tremendous contrasts. Great advances were made in the fight for freedom. The century ended with millions liberated from enslavement to communism, fascism, and other ideologies of terror that marked the last one hundred years. Yet, at the same time, we recognize that the twentieth century was among the most barbaric epochs in human history. Millions were slaughtered in two world wars, in the ovens of death camps, in the killing fields of genocide, and on the altar of convenience.

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The Case of the Cloned Kitten–An Ethical Challenge

Just before the end of the year, headlines across the nation announced that a Texas woman had received delivery of a newly cloned kitten–an exact replica of the pet she had cherished for 17 years. The woman, identified only by her first name in press reports, declared herself ecstatic about the kitten and pleased to have paid the $50,000 required for the carbon copy of her beloved dead cat, “Nicky.”

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The Post-Truth Era–Welcome to the Age of Dishonesty

Have we now reached a stage of social evolution that is “beyond honesty?” That fascinating question is raised by author Ralph Keyes in his new book, The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life. “I think it’s fair to say that honesty is on the ropes,” Keyes observes. “Deception has become commonplace at all levels of contemporary life.”

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Civilization at the Brink–New Assaults on Human Dignity

Civilization is an achievement, not a fact of nature. In order for civilization to exist, certain convictions, structures, traditions, and patterns of life are necessary. As a matter of fact, civilization cannot exist without trust, an affirmation of human dignity, honesty, order, and a high view of human life and its value.

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America’s Aborted Conscience–The Sin of Moral Indifference

“Indifference in questions of importance is no amiable quality,” observed the inimitable Samuel Johnson. Always given to eloquent understatement, Johnson understood the deadly danger of moral indifference. Sharing his concern, we should now ask: Have Americans grown indifferent to abortion?

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Gambling With Abortion: America’s Seared Conscience (Part 2)

As “partial-birth abortion” emerged into America’s consciousness, an Oregon woman named Jenny Westberg made a series of simple pen-and-ink drawings of the procedure. Those pictures–striking in their simplicity and devastating in their clarity–would change the trajectory of America’s abortion debate. Evil flourishes in the darkness, and Westberg’s drawings brought the murderous abortion procedure to light.

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Can We Be Good Without God?

The greatest moral question hanging over America’s increasingly secular culture is this: Can we be good without God? That vital question–though almost always unasked–is the backdrop for most of the issues aflame in the media, the schools, and the courts.

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‘Beyond choice’–Alexander Sanger ‘s New Case for Abortion

Alexander Sanger wants the pro-abortion movement to get over its legacy of shame and move boldly to claim that abortion is actually a positive moral good. If this shocks you, consider that Mr. Sanger is the grandson of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and he is on a crusade to transform the abortion debate.

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Controversy and Credibility–The Scandal at CBS News

The scandal and controversy at CBS News continues to unfold, even as the network announced a two-person panel appointed to review its now discredited report on President George W. Bush’s military record. The full extent of the damage to CBS’s reputation and credibility is yet unknown, but the Dan Rather-led “Memogate” scandal is certain to become a landmark case in journalistic ethics. Beyond this, it may very well be the final blow to the credibility of CBS News and to network news coverage itself.

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Not a Moral Issue? Judicial Nonsense in Washington State

When Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks struck down Washington State’s ban on same-sex marriage, the nation was presented with yet another reminder of the real and present danger posed by an activist judiciary now out of control. In his decision, Judge Hicks declared that Washington’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman was unconstitutional because it denied a “fundamental right” to some persons that was available to others. His decision, handed down on September 6, follows another Superior Court ruling similarly nullifying the state’s prohibition on same-gender civil marriage, and will be reviewed by the state’s Supreme Court.

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Christian Morality and Test Tube Babies, Part Two

The usual practice in IVF calls for the fertilization of numerous embryos, which are then frozen until needed for implantation in the womb. The high costs involved in these procedures, along with the risk of embryos failing to implant and thrive, means that doctors usually insist on fertilizing and implanting several embryos at a time. Though several embryos are implanted in most procedures, several more generally remain frozen and in a state of biological suspension.

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Christian Morality and Test Tube Babies, Part One

Questions of human reproduction inevitably define what it means to be human, and the moral issues which arise in connection with sex and reproduction are among the most divisive controversies of our time. The development of “test tube baby” technologies presents us with moral issues which demand answers, and require our most careful thought and reflection.

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Another Angle on the Culture War: Robert Reich’s ‘Reason’

America is now under siege by a band of radical conservatives who wish to overthrow personal liberty, return the culture to the Middle Ages, and enforce their morality on the entire nation–right down to the smallest detail. That’s the vision presented by Robert B. Reich in his new book, Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America.

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Oprah Winfrey: Agent of Moral Insanity

Oprah Winfrey, widely cited as one of the most influential and admired women in America, showed herself to be an agent of moral insanity when she featured a program celebrating young children who are seeking sex-change procedures and transgender identities. In one episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the true nature of our modern sexual confusion was made clear, and the broadcast should long be remembered as one of the most frightening hours in television history.

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Dangerous Knowledge: Is There Anything We Should Not Know?

Are there things we should not know? This question runs against the grain of our highly technological society and offends those who worship knowledge at the expense of truth. In the final analysis, that may turn out to be one of the most significant questions raised by the twentieth century–and one of the most pressing issues we will face in the century to come.

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