Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things April 10, 2013

Sandra M. Schneiders, in Women and the Word

Jesus’ parable about the father actually constitutes a radical challenge to patriarchy. The divine father, who had been understood as the ultimate justification of human patriarchy, is revealed as one who refuses to own us, demand our submission, or punish our rebellion. Rather, God is one who respects our freedom, mourns our alienation, waits patiently for our return, and accepts our love as pure gift. In the parable God tries to educate the older brother, and through him all disciples who prefer the security of law to the adventure of grace, to the true nature of the God who is love. Not only does Jesus say plainly that God is not a patriarch but he definitely subverts any attempt to base human patriarchy on an appeal to divine institution. The power God refuses to assume over us is surely not given by God to any human being. Since the revelation of God to Jesus the claim of divine sanction for human patriarch is blasphemy.

Hillary Clinton: “Helping Women Isn’t Just a Nice Thing to Do”

Too many otherwise thoughtful people continue to see the fortunes of women and girls as somehow separate from society at large. They nod, they smile and then relegate these issues once again to the sidelines. I have seen it over and over again, I have been kidded about it I have been ribbed, I have been challenged in board rooms and official offices across the world.

But fighting to give women and girls a fighting chance isn’t a nice thing to do. It isn’t some luxury that we get to when we have time on our hands to spend doing that. This is a core imperative for every human being and every society. If we do not complete a campaign for women’s rights and opportunities the world we want to live in the country we all love and cherish will not be what it should be.

Benjamin Franklin on taxes, letter to Robert Morris, 1783

All Property, indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.

David Badash: “Surprise! Rand Paul Is Just as Uninformed on Same-Sex Marriage as He Is on Everything Else”

The problem with the libertarian mindset is it starts with the “get off my lawn” old man and elevates his hermit-ness into a political philosophy. While it might, in certain circumstances, be nice to have the local, state, and federal governments  — get out of our business — that position requires that the other actors, say, your neighbors, or the oil companies, or North Korea, all act with the same largess and all come from humanitarian positions.

But then the real world shows up and you’re left with the BP Oil “spill” or fraud or other bad actions and you’re left undefended.

Russell Brand: “I always felt sorry for her children”

The blunt, pathetic reality today is that a little old lady has died, who in the winter of her life had to water roses alone under police supervision. If you behave like there’s no such thing as society, in the end there isn’t. Her death must be sad for the handful of people she was nice to and the rich people who got richer under her stewardship. It isn’t sad for anyone else. … What is more troubling is my inability to ascertain where my own selfishness ends and her neo-liberal inculcation begins. All of us that grew up under Thatcher were taught that it is good to be selfish, that other people’s pain is not your problem, that pain is in fact a weakness and suffering is deserved and shameful. Perhaps there is resentment because the clemency and respect that are being mawkishly displayed now by some and haughtily demanded of the rest of us at the impending, solemn ceremonial funeral, are values that her government and policies sought to annihilate.

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