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Saturday, January 24, 2004

A Girl Named Belinda

A lot is being made of Belinda Stronach's bid for the leadership of the New Conservative Party here in Canada. Belinda, until recently, the CEO of Magna International, the company which her father started, is now trying to forge into politics, something which she has no experience in. The new Conservative Party of Canada is the result of the merger between the Progressive Conservative Party (aka the PCs or "Tories") and the Canadian Alliance Party (which itself evolved from the Reform Party). (To all the non Canadians reading this... Confused? Now you know how we feel.) One of the issues that are being brought against Ms. Stronach which really bothers me is the fact that she is a very rich individual who headed a multi national corporation. Unfortunately, she has seemed to play along with this game by rebutting that she did not grow up in riches but had a "normal" upbringing, as if such a rebuttal means anything to those who would make such a charge. Why is it that wealth, even "extreme" wealth, makes someone unqualified for public office? Does it make them an ineffective leader? Some may respond that the very wealthy are out of touch with the common man, but that is not necessarily the case. Would a person who grew up poor be more effective? I would say, not really. There are plenty of politicians who were not raised in wealth who are out of touch. In short, there is absolutely no reason why Ms. Stronach's wealth should be an issue. Her lack of experience in politics, on the other hand, may be a valid complaint. And that is why I'm betting that Stephen Harper will end up being the new leader.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

No Passion for The Passion

It appears the controversy over Mel Gibson's The Passion will not go away. There are those who feel that the film, which shows Jews as having a hand in the death of Jesus, will spur some people towards anti semitism. I feel that such fears are unjustified. The people out there who are anti semitic, or who harbor anti semitic feelings are that way regardless of the movie. The movie itself will not turn anyone into an anti semite. In addition, regarding anti semitism, there are far greater worries in the world than the unlikely effect of movie. What is going on in Europe and the Middle East is far more troublesome than this. Besides, its just a movie, people!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The Clear Choice

The other day I was lying in bed thinking about euthanasia. (Yes, I know, sounds a little morbid.) In Judaism, the highest value is placed on sustaining life, even a life that is evident that it will expire soon, even if that life is one of severe pain. There is a law in Judaism that one is not allowed to touch someone very near death lest it hasten their death even one moment sooner. Of course, the subject itself is somewhat complex and is beyond what I plan for this blog post so I'll just point in the direction of a thoughtful essay on the subject, Mercy Refined. What I was wondering was what about those who do not share such a belief and are pro euthanasia, mainly because they desire to end the suffering of terminally ill patients. It seems to me, that such a view stems from a bit of arrogance. The reason is because such a view has to maintain that it is certain that it knows for a certainty that there is nothing beyond death and that death is a better alternative to a soon-to-end painful life. But how do they make that determination? The fact of the matter is they do not know. If they were honest, they would have to at least be agnostic about it and say they do not know if death is a better alternative. However, once one says that, then the logical choice would be not to opt for euthanasia. Why? Because then there are two possibilities. If one is wrong in believing that death is not preferable to a terminally ill life and thus is against euthanasia, then the worst that could happen is that they prolonged the suffering of a human being. However, if one is wrong about believing that death is preferable, i.e. they are pro euthanasia, then what that means is they are promoting murder (or if they are the "mercy killer" they are the murderer). Clearly, the choice should be prolonging the life of a human (albeit a painful one) over the murder of that same human.