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Jewcy Opinion Digest

Jewcy selects the smartest arguments from opinion-makers on the Internet. On what it means to be a "pro-Israel" candidate Gershom Gorenberg in the American Prospect Although many Israelis are "allowed" to have complicated opinions on regional issues, American politicians hesitate … Read More

By / January 24, 2008

Jewcy selects the smartest arguments from opinion-makers on the Internet.

On what it means to be a "pro-Israel" candidate Gershom Gorenberg in the American Prospect

Although many Israelis are "allowed" to have complicated opinions on regional issues, American politicians hesitate to voice any nuanced positions, argues Gorenberg, who believes that supporting Israel really means letting our friend know when it bites off more than it can chew.

Related: The Israel Lobby

On religion being ineradicable Ian McEwan in the New Republic

The author of Atonement discusses the New Atheism. It is "[q]uite heartening" that Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have had success and encouraged so much debate in America, but religion will never vanish because it "seems to be fairly deeply stitched into human nature." However, freethinkers have richer lives because the "little spark that we do have becomes all the more valuable when you can't be trading off any moments for eternity." He also says that while 21-year-olds delight in the pending destruction of the human race, the older we get the more we care about the success of the "human project."

Related: Sam Harris and Dennis Prager debate the existence of God.

On the myth that Mike Huckabee is a new kind of fundamentalist Jeff Sharlet in the Revealer

Conventional wisdom says that Huckabee is an iconoclastic evangelical because of his environmental and economic liberalism. Sharlet argues that Huckabee is no different than other evangelicals who are obsessed with amending the Constitution to reflect their religious beliefs. Sharlet also believes that Huckabee's liberal positions are vastly overstated and his "man of the people" populism is a sham.

Related: Huckabee Vows Theocracy

On the relationship between economics and marriage Betsy Stevenson and Justin Wolfers in Cato Unbound

This essay paints a somewhat heartless portrait of marriage — that it is primarily an economic institution — but Stevenson and Wolfers share interesting insights into how marriage changes with society. Before the government provided insurance and financial assistance, spouses had greater financial responsibilities to one another. "Before modern credit markets arrived, access to capital was often facilitated through family ties," write Stevenson and Wolfers, but today we are primarily looking for mates who share our own interests instead of financial security providers, and therefore "increasing the financial stability of these households will lead to marriage rather than marriage leading to financial stability."

Related: Is Marriage the New Dating?

On pro-choicers' desire to lower the abortion rate William Saletan in Slate

Previous generation of pro-choice activists would never concede that abortion is a morally questionable choice (even if it should remain legal), but Saletan predicts that pro-choicers' new language — that sex education is vital for reducing the abortion rate, which is a noble goal — will advance their cause. Religious fundamentalists will always resist sex education, but the new pro-choice rhetoric will appeal to moderates who are uncomfortable with abortion but recognize the inevitability of intercourse.

Related: Premature Education?

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