Filling in Ms. Grabar’s Middle Terms…

Obama’s Pointy-Headed Non-Clinton Leftover Intellectual Dreamteam:

The Dogcatcher

The Enforcer


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    I'll give you the Handyman. The Dogcatcher and the Enforcer, I thought, provided pretty fine rebuttals. Animal cruelty is already illegal, as the article notes, and even prior to the Enforcer's denials, the article says the book discussed policies, not endorsed them.

    But even if you could fill in Ms. Grabar's middle terms, it wouldn't make her article a good one. She has to show her own work.

  2. Matthew,

    So if a conservative edited a book that "discussed" killing minorities as a possible public policy solution to crime without actually endorsing it, you'd give him a pass too, right?

    Also, this seems – since we're going to be charitable with these folks – I'll say at least curiously coincidental:

    "Somewhat more broadly, I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law."

    And if I kick a stone, rather than refuting Bishop Berkeley as Johnson did, I could very well wind up in court for violating the rights of minerals (if not mineral rights)….

    And so the crisis continues….


  3. Matthew Lickona says

    No, you couldn't. Because there is no law on the books regarding cruelty to minerals. There are, however, laws on the books regarding cruelty to animals. The measure, outlandish as it sounds, is suggested for the sake of preventing violations of current law. If someone is guilty of animal cruelty, it is the animal who is the offended party. In a lawsuit, it is the offended party who brings suit. The charge is not damage to the animal owner's property, which is one thing. It is cruelty to animals, which is another.

    As near as I can tell from the article, the reference came as part of a survey of various approaches worldwide to population management. So yes, if a book were providing a survey of various methods employed worldwide, I would expect it to mention all such methods.

  4. Matthew Lickona says

    To clarify: is it silly? In some ways, sure. But it's hardly "animals are people, too."

  5. Matthew Lickona says

    To clarify further: the animal already receives protection under law. You may think that this amounts to affording animals the same rights enjoyed by humans, and you may find this problematic. But that's another discussion. This discussion starts from the fact that animals receive protection under law, and proceeds from there. It's an academic, theoretical discussion – legal theory. Lots of fun things get floated in such contexts. It is worth noting that this suggestion was not made in the context of actual policy-making by an appointed official.

  6. Matthew Lickona says

    One more on the "discussed" front: my understanding is that if you are caught smuggling drugs into Singapore, you are given the death penalty. I would therefore expect any book which provided a survey of worldwide techniques for dealing with drug smuggling to include a discussion of this practice, whether or not the authors approved of it.

    The man said, under oath, that he did not approve of the forced-abortion policy. What more do you require of him?

  7. Matthew,

    You dismiss Sunstein's arguments as silly. I say they are some not small cause for alarm.

    Indeed, tending to agree with Sunstein's logical contortions and legal gymanstics, Pete Singer contributes "Ethics beyond Species and Beyond Instincts" to Sunstein's book of essays "Animal Rights.

    And you'd agree, I think, that if anyone should get the "Nazi Intellectual in Training Award," it's this bird Singer.

    So, as you correctly point out, legal theorizing is a wild and wooly proposition – but keep in mind that these same higgedly-piggedly proposed theories do occasionally – and rather fatally for the general populace – become law itself. Google "personal privacy" and "abortion" and you'll see what I mean.

    As for Holdren, I still wonder at the coincidence of his being hired on a mere FIVE DAYS before the Obama administration funded the UN – $50 million-worth – for a program which includes an unquestioning attitude toward policies spelled out among the "suggestions" of Holdren's textbook – including forced abortion.

    And Holdren never refuted or recanted the following statement he and Erhlich made in the textbook QUA EDITORS (i.e. It was editorial comment and not some farflung suggestion which for the sake of objectivity they thought they ought include in the book.)

    "The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential if a decent life is to be provided for every human being."

    And apparently elsewhere in the same book he says that this program ought to be before anything else "largely political" in nature (as opposed to being left to private or religious charities) although he ostensibly denied (under oath) that the government has any place in estlablishing how many is too many people (I'm assuming here, he means only Americans).

    And let's dispel the notion that Holdren and Ehrlich were looking at all the "solutions" presented in their textbook dispassionately.

    Again, citing the editorial comments in their textbook:

    “We find ourselves firmly in the neo-Malthusian camp. We hold this view not because we believe the world to be running out of materials in an absolute sense, but rather because the barriers to continued material growth, in the form of problems of economics, logistics, management, and environmental impact, are so formidable.”

    Is it really so far-fetched to think that someone who has planted a flag so firmly among the Malthusians would not be drooling to enact some of the ideas proposed in the textbook of which that same someone served as editor?

    At what point do we start calling the birds a flock?

    And at what point do the leftist feather-headed intellectuals not dictate policy?

    And at what point can we start drawing the historical parallels, an unsatisfying editorial notwithstanding?


    p.s. I was wrong, by the way, about Holdren on one account: he was a low level hack in the Clinton administration. But he was far from being the kind of "holdover" I took you to mean in the original post.

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