Liberty & Power: Group Blog
The United States Imperial actions have always had a rather Orwellian tendency in the way in which its spinmeisters distort words, but the new definition of"Sovereignty" sets an even lower standard.
The Coalition -- that's us Folks, where even our private contractors, 15,000 at last count paid up to $1,000 a day, are almost double the number of British troops at 8,000 -- will keep control of a number of key areas of decision-making.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
Via Atrios (who draws from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and who provides an entertaining comments section), comes this little tidbit on President Bush, who threw out the first pitch on Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals:
BACK AT BUSCH: A somewhat hostile crowd complained mightily about the problems the presidential motorcade caused with regular fans trying to get into the park. A Cards employee tipped moi that the team was so concerned about Bush being booed that they piped in fake applause when he strode out to the mound. [Cardinals president Mark] Lamping flatly denied it. ...
Okay, so let's just say we believe Lamping that such fake applause was not pumped into Busch Stadium. The fact that anybody could think this is, itself, a desecration of the Great American Pastime.
Baseball fans can be among the most brutally honest in the world. Then again, honesty is not exactly a valued commodity in the world of politics, unless the honest feelings of the fans suit the politician's purposes.
When Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, back on October 30, 2001, he received what has been rightly described as a"thunderous cheer." That's because New Yorkers, who had been shattered by the experiences of September 11th, were still expressing their support for a man who, three days after that tragedy, had stood on the rubble of the Twin Towers to tell the world that"the people who knocked these buildings down are going to hear from all of us soon." That"King Arthur Moment," as Chris Matthews has described it, left an indelible mark in the minds of many. (Little did we know that, as Richard Clarke and others have testified, Bush, at that time, was already obsessing over Iraq, hoping to use 9/11 as a pretext for invading that country.)
The point is that baseball fans will cheer you when you deliver. But if you don't, they won't. And they'll boo you for the most mundane reasons. So, if your motorcade knots up traffic around the stadium, be prepared to be booed by honest"regular fans." It doesn't matter if your President or Pope. Even life-long Yankees fan Rudy Giuliani got used to the boos he received when he visited New York Mets' territory. Those boos turned to cheers in tribute to his humanity and leadership during a time of unimaginable horror. But Rudy actually valued the fans' honesty. Post-9/11, he remarked:"Things will be back to normal when I hear boos at Shea Stadium."
"We've got tough work there [in Iraq] because, you see, there are terrorists there who would rather kill innocent people than allow for the advance of freedom. That's what you're seeing going on: These people hate freedom, and we love freedom, and that's where the clash occurs."
Are the American people swallowing this swill served up by his Royal Smirkship?
"In Baghdad, anxiety over the turn of events was matched by unease over dozens of casualties in Baghdad's poor Shiite neighborhoods. In Sadr City, a slum of 2 million named for Sadr's father, hundreds gathered before Sadr's office, waving flags and chanting his name. Two U.S. tanks were parked a few hundred yards away, their barrels trained on the crowds. Residents reported clashes overnight, and an Arabic television station said fighting had renewed Tuesday evening."
In the best of circumstances, regime change most often goes astray due to unintended consequences, popular resistance and the almost inevitable tension between the installed regime and the regime-makers. In a foreign and complex culture, forced regime change seems to be a formula for disaster no matter what the underlying intentions.
Interestingly, Hannity has been one of the only commentators to ask why Ted Kennedy is making comparisons to Vietnam when his own brother was the author of that particular infamy. Hannity has gone so far as to raise the question of Mary Jo Kophechne. I say to fellow-FOX commentator..."That's water under the bridge!" Ouch. On that note of bad taste...
For more commentary, please see McBlog
So let’s get this straight, when gas prices are at an extremely high level not only is the Bush administration refusing to release some of the reserve to ease this burden on the American people but also they are going to create an additional 42,000-barrel a day demand.
Now I just got done looking at the income tax return prepared by my accountant and because I have a one-day a week delivery job for which I am paid a set amount I have to pay a self-employment tax because the government says my part time job is a business. Yet the income is also added to the family’s gross income. I am taxed twice then the Bush regime uses that money to artificially raise the price of the gasoline that I need.
And people sometimes ask me, why are you a libertarian? Why do you despise the government so very much?
Sadr saw his newspaper (his voice) suppressed, his right-hand man arrested, andhis own arrest imminent. Then, on Sunday, the Coalition appointed a list of Iraqi ministers to whom they clearly intended to hand over the previously mentioned faux authority. No Sadrists were included. At that point, Sadr had nothing political to lose and, perhaps, little time to make a move. Never one to despise violence, he called for a de facto jihad against the American occupiers and violence erupted in at least six cities. Sadr himself is holed up in one of Iraqi's holiest mosques in one of its holiest cities, Kufa, surrounded by hundreds of his armed zealots. It remains to be seen whether the US military will be arrogant enough to assault the mosque in order to serve an arrest warrant. But the US has to do something. Sadr is a clear challenge to their authority and every other group in Iraq is watching. The US has painted itself into an interesting corner: by referring to Sadr as a murder suspect and issuing a warrant for his arrest, they have left themselves no room to negotiate with him. They have utterly cut off even the possibility of political or diplomatic options.
Bush warns that violence will grow. It seems clear that more US troops will be sent in to relieve the overstressed and overextended military there. (BTW, the Sadrist revolt came at a time when US troops were undergoing a massive rotation out of the area -- a rotation home that may well be cancelled now. I've seen no confirmation of this latter possibility, however.) The latest news I've read comes from the New York Times,"On Monday evening, American troops appeared to be moving into the area around Kufa, where Mr. Sadr's followers have seized control and the cleric has taken refuge in a heavily guarded mosque. Mr. Sadr shot back a defiant message, saying he would"welcome" a showdown with the American forces he has pledged to drive out of Iraq.
For more commentary, please see McBlog
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
As a postscript to Wendy's discussion of Al-Sadr, I would like to point out a NY Times report that"Generals in Iraq" are considering"options for more troops." Since many current U.S. troops are National Guard or reservist in origin, I'm still counting the days before the administration decides that a military draft is going to be required because"failure in Iraq is not an option."
This same NY Timesreport also points out that while John Kerry, presumptive Democratic nominee for President, won't make"analogies to past conflicts," his chief supporter, Senator Edward Kennedy, has boldly declared:"Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new president."
It may be, Teddy, it may be. But, really, what will John Kerry do differently from George Bush? Will Kerry really want to go down as the President who"lost Iraq"? How many more (conscripted?) troops will he commit to the conflict because"failure is not an option"? Indeed: Remember Vietnam? The Vietnam war was institutionalized by the U.S. government, regardless of which party was in power. What difference was there between Republican President Richard Nixon and Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson? Yes, Nixon was committed to"Vietnamization" and gradual troop reductions, but not before he widened the war. Despite the Mantra that the U.S. needed"Peace with Honor," tens of thousands of U.S. servicemen came home in body bags ("transfer tubes" hadn't been invented yet).
We are now witnessing the institutionalization of the war in Iraq, where"failure is not an option." The institutionalization of that goal, regardless of the means by which the U.S. hopes to achieve it, is a sure prescription for catastrophe.
A year ago, I voiced my concerns about the consequences of a U.S. occupation of Iraq, being told by a number of pro-war advocates (many of them"libertarians") that such concerns were irrelevant because an invasion was"necessary" to topple a hostile Hussein regime in possession of WMDs and with ties to Al Qaeda. I never really doubted that the invasion itself would be a" cakewalk" because I believed that the regime was a paper tiger. But my understanding of integrated, long-term thinking went beyond the month or so that it took for"Top Gun" Bush to fly onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, which sported a now-notorious banner:"Mission Accomplished."
The mission could have been"accomplished" without an invasion and without the commitment of an occupying force and billions and billions and billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. The WMDs didn't exist. The ties to Al Qaeda didn't exist. And the concerns I expressed last year are the same concerns that I have expressed this year. Merely screaming"I told you so" won't suffice, so let me revisit my own words, written in March 2003:
Iraq is a makeshift by-product of British colonialism, constructed at Versailles in 1920 out of three former Ottoman provinces; its notorious internal political divisions are mirrored by tribal warfare among Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and others. ... For those of us bred on Ayn Rand's insight that politics is only a consequence of a larger philosophical and cultural cause—that culture, in effect, trumps politics—the idea that it is possible to construct a political solution in a culture that does not value procedural democracy, free institutions, or the notion of individual responsibility is a delusion. Witness contemporary Russia, where the death of communism has given birth to a society of warring post-Soviet mafiosi, leading some to yearn for the good ol' days of Stalin. Clearly,"regime change" is not enough. But even if procedural democracy were to come to Iraq, it may be no less despotic than the brutal dictatorship it usurps, for majority rule without protection of individual rights is no check on the political growth of Islamic fundamentalism.
That growth proceeds. With the Sunnis killing Americans and calling for the return of Baathist butchers in central Iraq, with the Kurds wanting an independent voice in the North, and with the majority Shi'ites pressing for a more fundamentalist resistance to the U.S. in the South, the situation is deteriorating.
I do not wish to see the mass murder of American citizens to score debating points; I am second to none in my own wishes that not a single American life should be snuffed out on foreign soil. I am second to none in my own hopes that Iraq will somehow embrace a free society. But that is not what the United States is bringing to Iraq, unless one considers" crony capitalism," grafted onto cultural tribalism, to be the embodiment of a free society. As I suggest here, the attempt to impose"democracy" as a means to pacify a region is misplaced. Ludwig von Mises cautioned the Wilsonian generation of World War I that the embrace of"democracy" without a similar embrace of"a system of private ownership of the means of production, free enterprise, and unhampered market economy," only serves to extend the system of statism. For"[w]here there is no economic freedom, things are entirely different."
The U.S. stands at the apex of a far more complex system of statist intervention than existed when Mises made those comments. Success will be possible only if there is a fundamental alteration in the current system of domestic and foreign intervention, a system that has bred anti-American hostility abroad. If failure is not an option in Iraq, then it is no more an option in the United States of America.
By Nancy Benac
WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department analyzes Sen. John Kerry's tax proposals and the numbers soon find their way to the Republican National Committee.
The Health and Human Services Department spends millions on ads promoting President George W. Bush's prescription drug plan. The House Resources Committee posts a diatribe against Kerry's"absurd" energy ideas on its government-funded Web site.
In the time-honored tradition of presidents past, Bush is using the resources of the federal government to promote his re-election. Some critics say the president is going beyond his predecessors in using government means to accomplish political ends.
"What this administration has done is taken trends from the past and then projected them into the stratosphere," said Allan Lichtman, a presidential scholar at American University."We've never seen a political operation like this White House does, and that includes the maximum use of government resources."
David T. Beito
For more commentary, please see McBlog
They are being taken for a ride.
The argument for contracting out is that jobs are done better when they are awarded competitively. There is lots of truth to this, and if this were all that was at stake, the case for contracting out would be powerful indeed. But there is another dimension as well.
As government employment grew, particularly under the New Deal, Congress required civil service status for the new employees. The reasons were complex, but one important purpose was to prevent the rise of a national political machine. Political machines in American cities used control over taxpayer financed jobs to get cheap campaign workers, who could be relied on the get out the vote for the boss in order to keep their jobs. City machines were corrupt and violent, but limited in their arbitrariness by their being subordinated to the Constitution and courts they did not control. Even so, one community college student of mine some years ago, while a high school student in Chicago, reprted the machine there hired him to break house and car windows of political opponents.
A national machine would not face either of these legal constraints, so the possibility of one being formed is very worrisome. Windows would not be all that are at stake.
The Bush administration is contracting out jobs, removing them from the civil service and shifting them to the corporate world. The companies getting these jobs know that the re-election of Bush will help them keep these lucrative goodies, and it is no surprise that campaign contributions to Bushg dwarf those to earlier republican preisdents. Part of the purpose of Civil dervice has been undermined.
From a classical liberal and libertarian perspective the rhetoric of contracting out has been empoyed to adopt a strategy that DEPENDS on big government. the bigger the governent, the more contarcting out that can be done, and the greater the camapaign contributions that follow.
How do I know that my interpretation makes more sense than the usual classical liberal/conservative one favoring limited governent? The best evidence beside the size of the campaign contributions flowing to Bush and the zooming level of spending are first, that many of the contracts are cost plus and no bid, so the market oriented logic of contracting out is undermined, and second, that even companies that have ripped off the government (meaning us) in the past are still getting these contracts, such as Halliburton.
No libertarian or classical liberal in his or her right mind would vote Republican in the next election.
Robert L. Campbell
The latest turn of events in the USM crisis should remind everyone of the weakness and duplicity of governing boards when university administrators are up to no good. But it should also remind us of the power of publicity in such cases.
Trouble had been brewing ever since Shelby Thames became President of the University of Southern Mississippi, back in May 2002. But the crisis was precipitated exactly one month ago, when Thames fired Frank Glamser and Gary Stringer for investigating the credentials of Angie Dvorak, Thames’ hand-picked Vice President for Research and Development.
On March 18th, the Mississippi College Board took up the USM crisis during its monthly meeting. Emerging from executive session, the Board President announced that the Attorney General’s office would appoint a lawyer to monitor the appeal hearings for Glamser and Stringer and “ensure a fair process.”This, we now know, was an attempt to mislead Glamser and Stringer, the faculty and students of USM, and the taxpayers of Mississippi. Jim Keith, the attorney who was selected by the AG’s office, came from a firm that was already defending Thames and the USM upper administration in 6 different lawsuits. His function was not to ensure a fair hearing but to look out for Thames’ interests.
Fortunately, the Fire Shelby Web site immediately began asking whether Keith might have a conflict of interest. It emerged very quickly that Keith wasn’t returning phone calls from Glamser and Stringer’s lawyer. Pretty soon after that it turned out that Keith’s firm, Adams and Reese, was representing Thames in other cases. Newspapers in Mississippi, despite a decent record of covering the crisis, failed to breathe a word about conflict of interest until the issue finally broke through in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, with Fire Shelby cited as the source.
It was pressure from Fire Shelby and a large number of letter writers that drove the Board to do what it had only pretended to do on March 18th.
The College Board held an emergency meeting on April 1st. Operating entirely behind closed doors, the Board called Thames back from Texas, where he had been on vacation. And they instructed the Attorney General to bring in a truly impartial arbiter. The selection of Reuben Anderson, who was the first African-American justice on the Mississippi State Supreme Court (he also served for 25 years on the board of Tougaloo College), takes control of Glamser and Stringer’s appeal hearing out of Thames’ hands.
The appeal hearing is now scheduled for April 28-29. The hearing will take place in front of the University Advisory Council. Whether it will be open or closed remains to be decided (Thames was eager to turn it into a show trial). And now three separate recommendations will be going up to the College Board: Thames’, the UAC’s, and Reuben Anderson’s. The Board will make the final decision.
What’s more, if there was any doubt about Keith’s true allegiance, his reaction to Anderson’s appointment let the cat out of the bag. According to the same Clarion-Ledger story:
Jackson attorney Jim Keith, one of the lawyers [Attorney General] Hood's office appointed to represent USM, said allowing Anderson to render a third-party recommendation takes away from Thames' ability to review the committee's deliberations and make a recommendation . The board"is going to have three recommendations instead of the two that are the standard procedure," Keith said."It sets a bad precedent for future cases."
It is also worth keeping in mind that Anderson’s recommendation will be coming to a College Board with 4 new members, who it is widely expected will be less favorably disposed toward the Thames autocracy.
At this point, supporters of Glamser and Stringer are feeling more optimistic about their prospects for reinstatement. Of course, the job will not be done until
- Thames is pushed into immediate retirement;
- Angie Dvorak is fired for lying on her vita;
- Jack Hanbury’s specially crafted administrative position (“Director of Risk Management”) is abolished; and
- The USM faculty manual is revised to exclude non-academic administrators from tenure and promotion decisions.
Angie Dvorak’s false claim to have been an Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky became an extra big deal because at USM the VP for Research plays a role in faculty tenure and promotion decisions. Yet Dvorak had never earned tenure at a 4-year institution. (Her Associate Professor position, which in any event came packaged with her job as President, was at Ashland Community College. It remains to be seen whether she ever actually held a tenure-track faculty job at a 4-year-institution before that. Meanwhile, her claim to be an Associate Professor of Economic Development at USM has now been quietly yanked from the university’s Web site.) Since the VP for Research, at a place like USM, is on the same level as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer, and controls a separate bureaucracy from the academic administration, such a person has no business being involved in tenure and promotion decisions. Otherwise, why not cut in the Chief Financial Officer and the VP for Student Affairs?
Stay tuned…and enjoy Marshall Ramsey’s latest cartoon.
The difference, Roderick, between Abraham and Mrs. Laney is the difference between day and night.
The difference between Abraham and Laney is that Abraham's action, whether true, myth or allegory, to remove Issac from the alter and replace him with the offering of a ram was THE decisive moment in the development of Judaism, and indirectly of Christianity, even taking into account the Christ mythology created by Paul and others.
First, and foremost, is that, unlike Laney, who killed her two sons, Abraham did NOT kill his son, Issac, but instead made a Covenant with Yahweh. Tit for tat, monotheistic worship and rewards as a Chosen people, in exchange for no more human sacrifice. The idea of the Covenant, of course, is central not only to Judaism but to much of Christianity as well. My favorite among comments on the idea, are those of Mark Twain in his insightful essay on anti-Semitism written after a trip in both Austria and Germany late in the nineteenth century.
It is important to understand that the Jews were on the periphery of several civilizations which stressed human sacrifice, especially Canaanite civilization which encompassed both Phoenicia and later Carthage. The Jews were constantly falling back into involvement with the corruption of this urban civilization, of which Delilah's hold on Samson was one illustration.
Archeologists have found the remains of perhaps 20,000 first-born males of the Carthaginian aristocracy, burnt to assuage the blood lust of Moloch-Baal, the most blood thirsty of all of the Gods of the Ancient World. It is thought the offerings were also meant to blunt the envy of the lower class masses in that commercial civilization, often called the first Capitalist one.
On a related point, Geneticists have long pointed out, as C.D. Darlington phrased it,"that people who don't eat together, don't sleep together." And, going back to earliest times, woman's control over what might be called"the power of the pot," has meant that the wife is simply NOT going to cook two separate meals, one for herself and another for her husband. The point is to develop a breeding group that has separated itself from others with cultural traits deemed harmful.
Diets, the more restrictive the better, therefore, become key factors in separating one group for another. Jewish dietary laws were meant for this purpose, to contrast with those of the Canaanites, not because of some sanitary purpose. If the fear was because the shellfish, pork, etc., might spoil, then the injunction would have been to eat it within an early timeframe. This is the real reason for such diets today among groups such as the Jews, Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists.
The important thing, ultimately, was to do everything to separate the Jews from the blood lust Moloch-Baal worshiping Canaanites.
To compare the significance of the important story of Abraham and Issac to that of the poor Mrs. Laney's murder of her two children, whatever her motivation, is, well, just plain silly!
The dietary laws have some interesting economic aspects as well as the in-group genetic ones.
Since the Mormons believe each Stake should have a year's supply of food stored up, they tend to buy in bulk with great savings. I ate better than most on my graduate fellowship because a Mormon friend allowed me to buy food at their prices.
The Jews, of course, have done well peddling Kosher foods, not only for themselves but to others. In high school I worked on a wholesale milk truck and used to take the old stamp with the rabbi's seal on it and stamp the heck out of cartons of cottage cheese as needed.
The Adventists, pound for pound, have done best with their health food thrust even into medicine where, ironically, for Fundamentalists, some of the most advanced work is done in their hospitals. Going back to Kellogg's, the companies they control have done very well, especially discovering uses and patenting of the soy bean long before the government became aware of its qualities. They have more medical people per capita than any group, and with tithing, for example, give several times more than other Christian sects.
David T. Beito
"The mission of the university is the discovery, improvement, and dissemination of knowledge. Its domain of inquiry and scrutiny includes all aspects and all values of society. A university faithful to its mission will provide enduring challenges to social values, policies, practices, and institutions. By design and by effect, it is the institution which creates discontent with the existing social arrangements and proposes new ones. In brief, a good university, like Socrates, will be upsetting."
Luker and O'Connor, however, neglect to mention the probably the most important reason for the relative freedom at the University of Chicago: term limits for academic administrators. Because of term limits, the University has precluded domination by the professional administrative class of bean counters who now dominate higher education. With rare exceptions, career administrations in higher education have little appreciation for the traditions of open debate and intellectual diversity. In an small way, the Alabama Scholars Association has worked to implement the policy of term limits in our state's public colleges and universities.
Looks more and more like national security has very little to with what gets classified. Instead, information that backs or backed the administration's case for war is deemed okay, where information that might hurt the White House is censored for alleged national security reasons. The most obvious example is Richard Clarke's original testimony to a House committe investigating 9/11 that was critical of the White House. That testimony was once determined to be too sensitive for release. Now that the White House sees an advantage in releasing it -- namely, discrediting Clarke by revealing reported discprencies in his two testimonies -- his original testimony is suddenly hunky-dorey for public consumption.
There are other examples, too:
To make its case for war at the United Nations, the White House also released recent audiotapes of intercepted conversations -- usually among its most highly guarded secrets -- between Iraqi military officers...The White House announced today that it will vet the special commission's 9/11 report"line by line" to be sure it doesn't reveal anything that might compromise national security.
... A 25-page version of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was released in October 2002. It made clear-cut statements about Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons capabilities in two pages of"Key Judgments."
"Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons. . . . [I]t will probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade," the section said, adding that"most analysts assess Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."
When a fuller, eight-page version of the key judgments section was released after the war, it contained lengthy, well-marked dissents by some in the intelligence community.
On the question of whether certain aluminum tubes were imported to Iraq for use in nuclear weapons programs, the first document said:"Most intelligence specialists assess this to be their intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs."
The second document included a dissent by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence Research (INR), which said it did not believe there was"a compelling case" that Iraq was working to acquire nuclear weapons. And INR and the Department of Energy questioned whether the tubes were well-suited for centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
The second declassification, said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a group devoted to declassifying secrets, showed the administration was not"protecting sources and methods. They were creating a document for public consumption that argued for the war."
Something tells me the White House will define"national security" broadly enough to include"anything that might hurt Bush's chances for reelection."
You try and teach your kids not to smoke. If you're going have people right around, second hand smoke is probably really bad as it is," says Port Orange resident Harry Eoulmegis.If I had kids, I would probably teach them not to smoke. But I'd also try to teach them not to grow up to be pissant, podunk, power-hungry small town city council members.
John Jackson, a former city council member, proposed the ordinance. He says this is about more than second-hand smoke. To him, it's also about setting a healthy example for children.
But how can I do that when every time I take them out in public, people like John Jackson might be around, needlessly exposing my vulnerable children to secondhand fascism?
We ought to ban people like John Jackson.
Roderick T. Long
In my last post I raised the question why Jews and Christians apply different standards to Abraham and Deanna Laney, praising one and condemning the other.
William Marina offers an answer:
unlike Laney, who killed her two sons, Abraham did NOT kill his son, Issac [sic], but instead made a Covenant with Yahweh. Tit for tat, monotheistic worship and rewards as a Chosen people, in exchange for no more human sacrifice.The fact that Abraham didn't go through with it is a difference, certainly -- but hardly a relevant one. The point is that Abraham was prepared to kill Isaac, and relented only because God sent a reprieve at the last moment. Presumably Laney too would have relented if she had heard a voice giving her different instructions at the last minute. The only difference between Laney and Abraham lies in what they were (eventually) ordered to do, not in their willingness to obey immoral orders.
Hence I cannot agree with the correspondent who wrote me to say:"God was testing Abraham; if He hadn't intervened, we don’t really know whether or not he actually would have killed him." The entire story loses its point unless we assume that Abraham was prepared to go through with it; otherwise how could he be taken to have passed the"test"? In the Bible, God, upon relenting, says to Abraham:"now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Unless God has been hoodwinked by Abraham here, the clear implication is that Abraham was indeed prepared to kill his own son.
This correspondent also writes that the two cases differ because Abraham, unlike Laney,"had three whole days with his son ... to talk about it, and it was with his son's consent." This correspodent must own a different version of the Bible from mine; in my Bible (the text is Genesis 22) Isaac is still clueless at the last minute ("Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"), and nothing is said about his consent.
Another correspondent points out that Abraham, presumably unlike Laney,"had a history of communicating with God and receiving the fruits of those actions." But when a voice you have reason to trust tells you to kill your own son, surely that's a reason to stop trusting that voice. The test of a message's divine origin is its conformity to the moral law; as one of Abraham’s descendants famously remarked,"by their fruits ye shall know them."
As for William Marina's" covenant" interpretation, I can’t find that in Genesis 22 either. God doesn't say"sign onto the following list of odd dietary practices, and I'll stop demanding human sacrifices." (When had he ever demanded them in the first place?) Instead God says:
because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:In short, a vast and flourishing progeny is Abraham's reward for being willing to sacrifice his son. Nothing is said about an end to human sacrifice being part of the reward. (And if it had been, how would that help? On this reading of the story, the crucial fact remains that Abraham was prepared to kill his own son, and I do not see how this can be interpreted as an admirable intent on his part.)
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.