"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008



On the energy front, President Bush is calling, as we speak, for Congress to lift its moratorium on offshore drilling. Senator McCain made a similar call a day ago, and I'm curious to see how much popular support they can garner around the country for it; I imagine quite a bit, what with gas prices approaching $5 a gallon. ANWR still appears to be off-limits, however, despite the presence of large deposits of oil and the ability to exploit it with minimal environmental impact (Jonah Goldberg goes into some detail on the warped thinking that seems to infect politicians when they start talking about ANWR, especially considering no one lives there and the area that would be drilled consists not of glorious mountain ranges but tundra that turns into fetid swamp in the summer). Obama opposes new drilling in all its forms, and I'm sure much of the Democratic Congress will as well; but this is a classic case of the perfect becoming the enemy of the good. In a perfect world, which Obama and his friends want to live in, we would have a green energy sector providing for all our energy needs without a drop of oil required. That's nice; that's also decades down the road, if it's even possible to find a renewable energy source as versatile and powerful as oil. In the meantime, while we're researching that source, we have a real economic and security issue at hand in the form of high oil prices. And while a perfect solution may not be at hand, we can at least pursue a good one in the form of exploiting domestic oil reserves. That would have quicker positive effect on the economy, as well as take oil profits away from repressive regimes. There is no good reason not to do this.

In happier news, the Celtics won championship number 17 after what Bree - who will claim she thought of this first - called the "Boston Massacre". I came home after flying to find the Celtics up by 30 points at the end of the third quarter. I then giggled through the fourth quarter after each three-pointer they sank, with the Lakers looking on and not even trying anymore. So, now that virtually every Boston sports franchise has won a title in the last few years, what's your excuse Bruins? Time to man up.

Finally, on the recommendation of pretty much all my male college friends, I used my Father's Day present to buy season one of Battlestar Galactica and threw in disc one on Sunday night, waiting to be impressed. I didn't have to wait long; the pilot mini-series was absolutely outstanding. I wasn't sure what to expect from yet another rehashing of the "man-makes-machine-machine-overthrows-man-man-fights-for-survival" story, but I don't think any other movie or television show has given that subject so much emotional gravity. You witness the worst day in human history - its virtual annihilation - not with mind-blasting special effects and a deafening soundtrack, but little vignettes that cut much deeper. One scene in particular brought this home to me. The newly minted president of humanity (forty-second down on the list of succession; she's the secretary of education before everyone from the president on down to her is nuked) is trying to rescue ten of thousands of refugees stranded on ships in between planets. The Cylons (bad robots mankind invented which turned on them) don't know where they are, but in the midst of the rescue operation a Cylon scout cruises by and then vanishes into lightspeed to report their position. The president realizes the Cylons will quickly return to mop them up, and there's not enough time to transfer all the refugees to faster-than-light ships. It's a question of saving some of humanity, or losing everything that's left. She chooses to save what she can, and orders all ships to jump to lightspeed immediately. Radio calls start pouring in from the ships that can't escape, begging for help. The president's aide then tells her that he's learned a girl she met earlier, whose entire family was wiped out in the Cylons' initial attack, is stuck on one of the ships that won't get away. She simply says "thank you", and then when alone sort of collapses in on herself with the weight of the decision she had to make. Those ships that can escape do; seconds later the Cylons arrive and launch a barrage of nuclear-tipped missiles. The girl left behind clutches her doll as the missiles get closer, and is then washed away in a blinding light. All this is done with a minimum of dialogue and no music, and it's utterly heart-rending to watch. If the rest of the series matches this, and apparently it does, I can't wait for the ride.

1 comment:

Bree said...

Your giggle is cute. And not just a little girly. But I still lurve you :)