[percy-l] "...to the gas chamber..."

Parlin, Steven PARLINS at culver.org
Sat Mar 8 10:48:13 EST 2003

Thanks for the link, Ken. 

However, after reading the article I still fail to see how the current war
rhetoric regarding Iraq can be likened to a "Christian Crusade" launched
against "Arabs" (as Jim stated and you agreed). In that regard, I reaffirm
my annoyance at any such implication. 

In that article, Weigle is historically contextualizing a moral stance --the
Just War-- on any kind of conflict (and he makes a good case, I think). His
focus was on understanding a moral response to a legitimate threat,
regardless of where that threat is seated. In fact, contrary to what you
seem to be implying, he actually criticizes the American churches for being
a little "forgetful" of all that must be considered in regard to a "Just
War". He states: 

"That forgetting has been painfully evident in much of the recent commentary
from religious leaders in the matter of U.S. policy toward Iraq, commentary
that is often far more dependent on political and strategic intuitions of
dubious merit than on solid moral reasoning. The fact of the matter today is
that the just war tradition, as a historically informed method of rigorous
moral reasoning, is far more alive in our service academies than in our
divinity schools and faculties of theology; the just war tradition "lives"
more vigorously in the officer corps, in the Uniform Code of Military
Justice, and at the higher levels of the Pentagon than it does at the
National Council of Churches, in certain offices at the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops, or on the Princeton faculty."

Regardless, the ALL of the discourse on Iraq which is pouring out from the
HOLY SEE is against war in Iraq, and the Holy Father has been meeting with
every world and national official he possibly can in order to influence a
peaceful resolution. Summarizing the Vatican's position, "it is imperative
to have "the force of law, and not the law of force" prevail in the Iraqi

Again, my point is this: This war isn't being mounted by Christians as a
crusade against Arabs, and any such implication fails to see --because of
the fog of sentimentality?-- what's really at issue.



-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Armstrong [mailto:armstron at ohiou.edu]
Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2003 8:07 AM
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: RE: [percy-l] "...to the gas chamber..."

At 03:07 PM 3/7/2003 -0500, Steve Parlin wrote:

>First things first: Is the Fist Things article available online?


  Apparently my definition of "current" needs updating. It is from the Jan. 
issue, catch it on-line at 
www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0301/articles/weigel.html .

The title is Moral Clarity in a Time of War.

  I must be off-
  Ken A   


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>From karey at charter.net  Sat Mar  8 10:53:02 2003
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Subject: Re: [percy-l] sentiment and death
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I understand your point, I think, and I agree.  This is also the idea of
Marcel's functional man (valued by his function in or use to or contribution
to society) vs. ontological man (valued for just being -- being itself is
sacred and valued).   The idea of theory and groups is this:   if it's a
theory, if it's a group, making the decision, then it is much easire to see
the human (animal) for its functionality; but if you know the particular
individual, it is much easier (though not always done) to see, value and
treat the being for merely "being" -- which is sacred in and of itself apart
from any societal or communal function the individual has.

Which is why "theory" leads "to the gas chamber," but particularity does

My point was that you, as someone intimately involved with the being in
question, whether an animal or a human, could better make the decision to
euthanize based on what the individual involved wanted, based on their
wishes, and their sacredness, and NOT based on their functionality, as an
impartial group of doctors or a state might decide.

(I still don't know if the decision should be made, even if the being
involved wanted to be released from pain; however, IF it should, it should
be made ontologically (which would be by a loved one) and not
functionally -- that's the danger.  That's the "Brave New World" warning.)


----- Original Message -----
From: Nikkibar at aol.com
To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: [percy-l] sentiment and death

on the contrary, this is supposedly where the whole thing starts, with the
euthanasia of supposedly valueless life. People do it without a qualm in the
case of beloved companion soft furry animals (where sentimentality is
apparently acceptable) but balk at making such a decision over one's own
terminality with an extremely painful cancer and criticize folks who do use
human euthanasia as being on the slippery slope to death via sentiment. It
has always seemed to me that it ought to be just the other way round -- but
for a different reason which is that when one is exercising the fiduciary
duty to the animal you ought to be more conservative, not being able to know
for certain what the animal would want, but in the case of oneself, one can
make the decision for oneself and with dignity and rationality -- Petronius
fashion so to speak.

And yes, of course I give them pain-killers as I would myself.



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