Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Argument is Over

Some of you may have heard of the Journal called "First Things." It is a mostly Christian, conservative, intellectual journal discussing all things political, cultural and moral. You need to be fairly conversant with social and political issues, and you probably need a bit more than a sixth grade reading level, but it is very thought-provoking and informative. The editor, and real personality of the journal, is Richard John Neuhaus, a former Lutheran pastor who converted to Roman Catholicism. He writes a major article for every issue, and always writes a number of what I would call blog posts (called The Public Square) attached to the end of his article.

In the April 2007 issue he writes a very good article called "Christ Without Culture, etc." He follows that up with a number of comments on the current atmosphere of anti-intellectualism prevalent - not in the church - but in the current politically correct way of discussing issues. In the Public Square section he posts this little tidbit.

“The argument is over,” announced former Vice President Al Gore. The subject was global warming. The television interviewer then asked, “You mean there is no argument about global warming?” Gore solemnly nodded and said again, very much like a judge pronouncing the final verdict, “The argument is over.” When and where, one might well ask, did the argument take place? Who was invited to take part in the argument? There are many very reputable scientists expressing skepticism or disbelief with respect to global warming. Never mind, they’re too late; the argument is over. As the presumed moderator of public discourse, Mr. Gore declares that the argument is over and that his side won.

Writing in the Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman goes further, comparing global-warming skeptics with Holocaust deniers. They are not only ignorant, they are culpably ignorant. In fact, they are evil. One detects a growing pattern of refusing to engage in argument by declaring that the argument is over. It is not only global warming. Raise a question about the adequacy of Darwinian theory, whether scientifically or philosophically, and be prepared to be informed that the argument is over. Offer the evidence that many who once coped with same-sex desires have turned out, not without difficulty, to be happily married to persons of the opposite sex and you will be told politely—or, more likely, impolitely—that the argument is over.

The Public Square
by Richard John Neuhaus
Copyright (c) 2007 First Things (April 2007).

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