Bill Buckley used to warn against “slippery slope-ism”: the belief that, if they ban violent porn today, they’ll be banning D. H. Lawrence tomorrow.
This sort of thinking is to be guarded against. And yet, some slopes are a little slippery, aren’t they?
I think of New York City’s recent ban on “sugary drinks,” of a certain size. Okay. But whaddaya want to ban tomorrow? Because there’s always tomorrow, with a new gleam in your eye, isn’t there?
Not very long ago, civil unions were the extreme pro-gay position. Critics worried, “Well, won’t ‘gay marriage’ be next?” Advocates said, “Oh, come on, nobody’s talking about marriage. Don’t you think a person has a right to be in the hospital with his loved one when he’s dying, for cryin’ out loud?”
Two seconds later, if you didn’t support gay marriage, you were a bigot, a “homophobe,” the Klan.
What’s next? What great social injustice exists today that must be righted in the future? (Abortion on demand is not what the Left has in mind.)
In the last week, I saw this headline: “Breakthrough surgery removes tennis-ball-sized tumor from unborn baby’s face.” It seems like just yesterday that people were talking of unborn babies as “meaningless blobs of protoplasm.” Do they still?
Queen Elizabeth II has now shaken the hand of Martin McGuinness, the IRA leader. (He is now deputy first minister in Belfast.) That is one blood-soaked hand. Was the British government right to have the queen shake it?
I have read reams of commentary on this question: commentary saying, “Right and necessary,” commentary saying, “An abomination.” I agree with all of it, I’m afraid.
In a sense, I wrote an entire book on this subject: a history of the Nobel Peace Prize. What do you do for peace? What compromises do you make for peace? What lines do you draw?
I can tell you that, in my view, the 1998 Nobel prize was one of the best ever given. That’s the prize that went to two Northern Irish politicians, John Hume and David Trimble, for the Good Friday Agreement. Hume and Trimble were practical, sensible, and useful men.
I love something Trimble said in his Nobel lecture (actually, I love the whole lecture). He said, “What we democratic politicians want in Northern Ireland is not some utopian society but a normal society.”
Let me quote a bit from my book:
Many years ago, the American political writer George F. Will said that there were two “intractable” problems in the world: Northern Ireland and the Arab-Israeli conflict. And he said this well before the Cold War wound down, and the Soviet Union expired. The Arab-Israeli conflict is still with us — but the intractability of Northern Ireland seems to have been cracked.
The headline read, “Suu Kyi holds no grudges against jailers.” The article began, “Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday that she holds no grudges against the military regime that kept her under house arrest for some 15 years and considers them people to work with toward reform.”
I am reminded of another Nobel peace laureate, the late Kim Dae-jung. His first act on becoming president of South Korea was to pardon the generals who had sentenced him to death.
The Associated Press article I have quoted says something curious: It says that ASSK refers to her country “by its colonial name, Burma.” Funny, but my understanding is that all Burmese democrats call their country Burma; and that the dictatorship and its supporters and apologists call it Myanmar.
A final note: The article mentions that Paris made ASSK an honorary citizen. Fine. But it made Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia cop-killer, an honorary citizen too, so . . .
In our offices the other day, we had Rep. Tom Price of Georgia (though a Michigan boy). He’s chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. Smart cookie: thoughtful, reasonable, articulate, informed to the gills. He should appear on television more.
But would the “MSM” welcome him? Or would they rather have people who make Republican and conservative points less well?
Price is a doctor, and almost all the doctors in politics are Republicans. There’s a smattering of Democrats (Howard Dean, as our publisher Jack Fowler pointed out). This would make a good subject for an article, a good subject for a little study.
Maybe it’s been done already. What hasn’t?