March 23, 2004
And now for something even more disgusting than eating ice cream in public!
A blog by Joe Carter, called Evangelical Outpost" (via Glenn Reynolds -- whose views Mr. Carter characterizes as "radical libertarian") has taken issue with the criticism Leon Kass's ice cream quote has received in the blogosphere.
While Mr. Carter has as much right to his opinion as anyone else (including Kass), he seems to have a feeling that religion is implicated, and I want to address that.
First of all, let's not forget that Kass wrote what he wrote. I didn't, nor did any of the people commenting on it. To insinuate that it is playing dirty pool to quote what the man said strikes me as too extravagant a position to require a serious response.
On to "religion" (or what passes for it)....
Whether or not a view is religious in origin has nothing to do with its validity, and still less to do with whether other people should agree with it. Religion is personal, and if one does or does not do something for religious reasons that is not an argument for or against anyone else doing it.
In Kass's case, though, no argument was made by the doctor against ice cream from a religious perspective. But as Glenn Reynolds observes, even if he had done so, it would change nothing except possibly make him appear more ridiculous in light of his powerful position as head of a government commission (and his stated championing of the "yuck/disgust factor").
What I want to know is why a religious motivation should render an opinion or an action any more immune from criticism than the lack thereof. Do Islamic terrorists, because of their allegedly "religious" motivations become less blameworthy than Marxist terrorists? I see no reason why. Yet I see more and more people attempting to hide behind religion as if it immunizes them not only from all criticism, but from having to defend the logic of their positions.
What ticks me off about Kass is that, regardless of whether he's motivated by religion or philosophy, he wants his views made into laws enforced by the power of the state. To my mind, this heightens the duty to disagree or criticize him. Because if I don't, and his laws are imposed on me, the disagreement will morph into something quite different from a mere difference of opinion. The "opinion" that people should go to jail becomes a present threat once that opinion becomes the law of the land.
Not that I worry about criminalization of ice cream, mind you. But state power shaped by crazy opinions can lead to crazy laws.
Did I just mention "water"? This renewed interest in ice cream etiquette has reminded me that I am long overdue for Part II of Dr. Kass's star profile.
All who are disgusted by Astrology are hereby warned to stop reading now, or forever hold your disgust, your instinctive revulsion, or whatever you might call your feelings of outrage.
In a post last week I began with Dr. Kass's Sun/Moon combination, "The Dilettante." I promised to continue with the other major planets, so here they are.
MARS AND VENUS
Most people have heard about Mars and Venus as the male and female planets, which they are. I like to use Debbi Kempton-Smith's traditional (although compassionately humorous) treatise, Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook (Bantam Books, New York, 1982.), and the following are her observations. The following material is offered along with my standard disclaimer (see my previous post), and is based on the assumption that Dr. Kass was born on February 12, 1929.
Mars is known as the male planet, and Ms. Kempton-Smith calls it "How You Drive People Crazy", and here's a partial excerpt explaining why:
Mars likes war. Mars makes enthusiasm too, but it'll settle for trouble. Mars is your energy, what you put your energy into, your drive and your courage. Mars stands for lust and drive and passion. Mars burns for things. If someone has Mars on your Venus, they'll burn for you.Dr. Kass's Mars is in Sagittarius, and, on a point of personal privilege, I should state here that my Mars is also in Sagittarius, so anyone who thinks I am being mean to Dr. Kass here should bear in mind that the following can also be used against me!
MARS IN SAGITTARIUSOK, so much for Kass's Mars. (And so much for me!)
We now come to the planet Venus -- described by Ms. Kempton-Smith as the planet of "Sleazy Sex and Eternal Love." Dr. Kass's Venus is in Capricorn:
VENUS IN CAPRICORN
The planet Saturn is described as "What's Stopping You From Getting There?":
Saturn is the symbol of all living things that scare the living daylights out of you. Astrologers call it The Great Teacher, but they're jiving if they fail to inform you of the pain that comes with the lessons. Most of this pain comes from ignorance. Saturn shows what got distorted in youth. It shows the things we never got or what we got too much of. Worse still, if someone offers those things we want most now, we don't know what to do with the goodies. Psychologists and astrologers are constantly astonished at how human beings push away the very things that could make us feel secure. We're afraid to want the things of our Saturn, so we pretend we can do without them. We do do without them, but at a cost to our willingness to gently work on facing our fears.
There's more, but Saturn is called the "DON'T CROSS THAT LINE" planet.
And now, with compassion and understanding, readers may venture across Dr. Kass's "line."
SATURN IN ARIES, THE FIRST HOUSE, OR CAPRICORN RISINGMy sincerest apologies to all who are disgusted by Astrology (which, I suspect includes at least as many atheistic and secular libertarians as it does people with religious objections).
So much for another labor of love.
(As the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished....")
posted by Eric on 03.23.04 at 09:41 PM
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