Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: November 2012

BBC News – Vegetative patient Scott Routley says ‘I’m not in pain’

More of the stories we tell to make ourselves feel better in difficult situations, or to relieve us of responsibility, are stripped away every day. –JBH

A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain.

It’s the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give answers clinically relevant to their care.

Scott Routley, 39, was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine.

His doctor says the discovery means medical textbooks will need rewriting.

via BBC News – Vegetative patient Scott Routley says ‘I’m not in pain’.

The Sun Sets on American Empire | The American Conservative

If the American Century is at an end and the contributors are performing a postmortem, what do they identify as the patient’s cause of death? One answer is that American economic and political strength have been abused and run down through mismanagement. As Emily Rosenberg discusses in her chapter on consumerism, America’s culture of mass consumption cultivated habits that have sapped American wealth and power through the accumulation of enormous private and public debt, while the spread of the consumerist ethos around the world has further eroded America’s earlier economic advantages.

American economic and political strength are also victims of the American Century’s own successes. As Jeffry Frieden explains in his chapter on globalization, the success of the United States in leading the rebuilding of the global economy in the wake of World War II produced a competitive economic order that has hastened the end of American preeminence. Viewed this way, the American Century ended because it is no longer needed. Likewise, Akira Iriye argues that the world has become so integrated economically and culturally that the global order that is replacing the U.S.-led one will not be dominated by any one nation.

Proponents of continued U.S. hegemony sometimes attempt to scare Americans with visions of a world led by Russia or China, but what comes after the American Century will be nothing like that. According to Iriye, “it will not be a Chinese century or an Indian century or a Brazilian century. It will be a long transnational century.” This is a useful reminder that it is extremely unusual for any one nation to be hegemon over the globe, and it is not something that will be quickly or easily repeated.

via The Sun Sets on American Empire | The American Conservative.

How Does a Traditionalist Vote? | The American Conservative

The election is over, and as a traditionalist conservative, I had a heck of a time figuring out how to protest vote this time. Not that it mattered much in the end given the deep red complexion of Tennessee or the fact that GOP reaped the effects of failing to advance immigration reform under Bush, as well as the disdain the rhetoric of some in the party caused among those who prefer their politics without the reminder of the Know-nothings. This article lays out the issues pretty well.

I’ve said on Facebook that I’m tempted to cut out the middleman this November and write in a vote for Goldman Sachs. But if you’re a traditionalist conservative and you want to accept one of the offerings officially on your ballot, which do you choose?

For partisans, this is a no-brainer. For conservatives in the vein of, say, Russell Kirk, it’s anything but. Faced with the non-choice between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Thomas Dewey in 1944, Kirk said no to empire and voted for Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party candidate. There was no Fox News to tell him a conservative couldn’t do that.

For all that Kirk didn’t like libertarians — “chirping sectaries,” he called them — if he were in search of a peace candidate today he might well consider the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson. Or, closer to Norman Thomas, the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

via How Does a Traditionalist Vote? | The American Conservative.

*The same author wrote a good piece on “High Church Conservatism” a few years ago.

Our Dangerous Obsession with ‘Health’ | First Things

This Tuesday, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to legalize assisted suicide, an agenda against which I have advocated energetically since 1993. During much of that time, I often asked myself the “why now?” question: Two hundred years ago, when far more people died in agony, few argued on behalf of mercy killing. Yet today—a time in which medical science can substantially alleviate most pain and end-of-life care works miracles of palliation—the notion that a “good death” comes from committing suicide resonates with large swaths of the public.

via Our Dangerous Obsession with ‘Health’ | First Things.

Obligatory Election Post

I originally posted this in 2008 and indicated that it was more fitting for the 2000 election.  It may be applicable again come Tuesday:

While it was certainly much more applicable in 2000, I always like to share this selection from my fellow Ashevillan Thomas Wolfe‘s O Lost (the original, longer version of Look Homeward Angel) during election season:

“Oliver Gant had cast his first vote in Baltimore.  It was for Ulysses Grant.  Now he rode southward under the threatening mutter of a new civil war.  Two men named Hayes and Tilden had contested the Presidency with a spirited exchange of vitriol.  Mr. Tilden had been given the most votes, but Mr. Hayes had been given the Presidency.  And the rabble whose large intelligence had ordained this miracle now stood shirtily around with opened mouths, or went bawling through the streets by torch light in pursuit of the lucid simplicities of democratic government.” (O Lost, p27 )

O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life – Google Book Search.

O Lost

Look Homward Angel


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