Both Marc Thiessen and his critics have misunderstood an important moral distinction on the question of torture.
Author: Christopher O. Tollefsen (Christopher Tollefsen)
Are There Harms of Home Schooling?
Critics of home-schooling need to be tutored about the nature of education and the family.
Duty and Disability
Having spent 20 years wrongly diagnosed as in a persistent vegetative state, Rom Houben reminds us that disabled persons are capable of many more substantive opportunities for human fulfillment than we are initially inclined to believe. But is bodily life just as such worth preserving? Can care-givers rightly remove hydration and nutrition?
What Makes a Woman a Woman: The Case of Caster Semenya
Sugar, spice, and everything nice or snaps, snails, and puppy-dog tails? A controversy over a South African runner makes us ask what boys and girls are made of.
What Is Public Discourse?
If citizens and politicians believe that victory is to the loudest, or to the most dramatic, then loud and dramatic they will be. The process of public discourse, by contrast, is often deliberative, difficult, and slow. Its participants must, on occasion, “dare to be boring.”
Philosophy and the Embryo
Pragmatic and moral considerations should not be allowed to distort science, nor should they distract philosophy from its pursuit of truth.
Health Care Reform and the Public Option in Theory and Practice
Those who favor providing health care to all shouldn’t necessarily oppose the “public option,” but they will be unable to support a bill if it endorses and entrenches the taking of innocent human life through abortion.
Infidelity and Its Implications
As recent polls and recent events show, Americans remain morally opposed to sexual infidelity in marriage. At the same time, Americans show broad acceptance of premarital sex. But an examination of the reasons why infidelity within marriage is detrimental to human flourishing reveals sexual infidelity prior to marriage to be just as harmful.
Hypocrisy and Public Life
Revelations about the infidelities of prominent social conservatives like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada Senator John Ensign have led many to mock advocates of public virtue who nonetheless succumb to personal vice. But what’s so bad about hypocrisy?
Is There Value in Religious Pluralism?
If religious traditions, belief systems, and moral frameworks are the result of a genuine commitment to and search for the truth, then disagreement of truth claims among adherents must be taken as a sign that some, or even all, of the searches have failed. How can this be a good state of affairs?
Torture: What it is, and Why it is Wrong
The recent publication of the Torture Memos and of the International Red Cross report on the treatment of high-level detainees in the aftermath of 9/11 has returned to national prominence the discussion of the morality of torture and “enhanced interrogation” techniques. It is important to be clear, as a moral matter, on what boundaries should be accepted in interrogation of human beings; a responsible and non-politicized discussion is essential on this difficult issue.
Should the Obama Conscience Rules Seek to Protect Persons or Provide Benefits?
The state is required to protect persons not just from physical harm but from being forced to violate their limited but definite freedom of conscience.
Liberty, Authority, and the Good of Religion
Religious liberty and religious authority are frequently seen in tension, but they need not conflict. In fact, a proper understanding of both shows that they are equally necessary for full human flourishing.
An Absolute Liberty of Conscience?
Freedom of conscience is an important, though limited, right. In some cases a state may prevent someone from acting on her conscientious judgments. But in other cases—such as those in which a pro-life doctor is required to perform an abortion—the violation of conscience is intrinsically unjust.
What We Should Do About Natural Embryo Loss
While abortion opponents decry the deliberate destruction of human embryos, as many as half of all embryos are lost naturally. How should pro-life advocates address this problem?
Welfare Rights vs. Welfare States
Welfare rights really do exist, and are usually best provided for by voluntary associations. Still, even if states aren’t always the best solution, they do have a role to play.