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January 24, 2008

Dear Tabasco

Congratulations! You've managed to create the single most unappetizing food-related advertisement I've ever seen. Why watching a sweaty, pudgy, dirty guy eating greasy pizza would make people want to buy your product is a mystery that will last the ages.

Thought you'd like to know!

Posted by David Mader at 10:25 PM | (2) | Back to Main

January 17, 2008

A Thought on Free Speech

"I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. Assuredly we bring not innocence into the world, we bring impurity much rather; that which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contrary. That virtue therefore which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her whiteness is but an excremental whiteness. Which was the reason why our sage and serious poet Spenser, whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas, describing true temperance under the person of Guion, brings him in with his palmer through the cave of Mammon, and the bower of earthly bliss, that he might see and know, and yet abstain. Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read. . . .
If every action, which is good or evil in man at ripe years, were to be under pittance and prescription and compulsion, what were virtue but a name, what praise could be then due to well-doing, what gramercy to be sober, just, or continent? Many there be that complain of divine Providence for suffering Adam to transgress; foolish tongues! When God gave him reason, he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing; he had been else a mere artificial Adam, such an Adam as he is in the motions. We ourselves esteem not of that obedience, or love, or gift, which is of force: God therefore left him free, set before him a provoking object, ever almost in his eyes; herein consisted his merit, herein the right of his reward, the praise of his abstinence. Wherefore did he create passions within us, pleasures round about us, but that these rightly tempered are the very ingredients of virtue?
They are not skilful considerers of human things, who imagine to remove sin by removing the matter of sin; for, besides that it is a huge heap increasing under the very act of diminishing, though some part of it may for a time be withdrawn from some persons, it cannot from all, in such a universal thing as books are; and when this is done, yet the sin remains entire. Though ye take from a covetous man all his treasure, he has yet one jewel left, ye cannot bereave him of his covetousness. Banish all objects of lust, shut up all youth into the severest discipline that can be exercised in any hermitage, ye cannot make them chaste, that came not hither so; such great care and wisdom is required to the right managing of this point. Suppose we could expel sin by this means; look how much we thus expel of sin, so much we expel of virtue: for the matter of them both is the same; remove that, and ye remove them both alike."
- John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)

Posted by David Mader at 11:28 AM | (0) | Back to Main

January 12, 2008

To Clarify

I know Warren didn't mean to suggest that my post was a defense of Mulroney, but because his comments can be read that way, let me say the following:

I fully support all efforts to determine the nature of Mr. Mulroney's wrongdoings, whatever they were. And I condemn those wrongdoings, whether or not they were illegal. We have become cynical about politics in the west, but it remains true that little is more corrosive to democracy than a public perception that our politicians are corrupt or dishonest. Accordingly, it is wholly appropriate that we hold our politicians to a high ethical standard, that we condemn them when they act unethically, and that we prosecute them when they act illegally.

I think my earlier post speaks for itself, but for the sake of clarity let me repeat that I am quite content to see Mr. Mulroney investigated and, to the degree necessary, punished for his actions. My surprise - and my exasperation - is over the disparity between the gravity of the offense in the eyes of the law and the gravity of the offense in the eyes of observers like Mr. Kinsella (and Mr. Coyne, I should note).

Maybe the problem is with the law - maybe a Section 41 offense should be more heavily punished. But maybe the problem is with those observers who have allowed decades of antipathy to Mr. Mulroney to cloud their judgment of the affair.

Or - perhaps the most likely - the problem may be with me. I know people who know and admire Mr. Mulroney; I know people who know him and don't admire him quite so much. I don't know him; I have nothing invested in his fate; and his political legacy plays no role in my own political philosophy.

Most importantly, I never voted for him; he left office when I was eleven. So when I see a lot of politicos who cut their teeth fighting Mulroney Conservatism in the '80s acting like the Schreiber affair is our own northern Watergate, I can't help but wonder whether some part of the mania is the product more of score settling than law enforcement.

Kinsella characterizes me as a conservative blogger, and I can hardly argue with that; but in this respect I'm probably better characterized as a young one.

Posted by David Mader at 07:19 PM | (2) | Back to Main