Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Olivia Judson Takes a Position!

That was the lede (or part of it anyway) at the NYT website today for an essay by biologist and science writer Olivia Judson. Since it will disappear soon, here's the whole lede for reference purposes:
Olivia Judson takes a position on a proposal in Britain that would permit the merging of the DNA of two different species.
This lede is linked to her essay, called Enter, the Cybrids.

The essay is a relatively harmless account of the very harmful legislation that has been percolating in Britain of late. In particular, we're talking about legislation that will, among other things, move the terminus post quem for legal abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks, allow the creation of "savior siblings" (children created in vitro for the purposes of tissue harvesting), and permit experimental work involving the creation of "cybrids" for medical research. A "cybrid" is a human-animal hybrid created by replacing the DNA in the egg cell of some non-human animal with real live human DNA (interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer, a kind of cloning). The legislation is "harmful" for two distinct but related reasons. First, it makes abortion more readily available by allowing abortions to be carried out earlier. Empirical evidence shows that the willingness to procure an abortion is inversely proportional to the length of gestation. Second, it allows the use of human subjects in medical experimentation without the granting of consent by the subjects of the experimentation. Since the "subjects" in this case are just "clumps of cells" (as the proponents of such experiments like to call them, just as the Nazis called Jews a "viral infection of the German Volk"), they cannot give consent, so presumably their parents, or some suitable surrogate (perhaps a Big Brother), will give the consent for them, and all will be hunky dory in scienceland, where anything and everything is permitted in the name of progress.

In addressing her concerns about the possible moral worries raised by this sort of research, Judson write:
I think a tiny clump of cells in a dish does not have equal standing with a person. Moreover, if that tiny clump of cells can potentially lead to treatments that improve peoples’ lives, it seems to me that the sanctity of human life is better respected by following that potential, not preventing it.
Well, if Olivia Judson says that "a tiny clump of cells in a dish does not have equal standing with a person", I guess that settles things. No need to offer anything like an argument that would give the rest of us some sort of compelling reason to think that she is right. No need to offer anything like an account of what a "person" is and what the precise line of demarcation is between a "person" and "a tiny clump of cells in a dish". In short, Olivia Judson has adopted an ontology of her own, and thanks to that convenient ontology, any possible moral qualms about this research simply vanish! What could be more congenial?

I'll tell you what: adopting, in addition to said ontology, a moral framework that goes along with it: utilitarianism. Even if that "clump of cells" had any kind of moral standing, "if that tiny clump of cells can potentially lead to treatments that improve peoples’ lives, it seems to me that the sanctity of human life is better respected by following that potential, not preventing it." In short, if the payoff is great enough, you can do pretty much whatever you like.

One has to respect her reason for maintaining this position: "it seems to me." What could be more persuasive than that? It seems true to Olivia Judson. Wow, that's a real deal closer. It might "seem" differently to her if someone decided that their own interests were best served by harvesting her organs prior to her own natural demise, but she probably thinks of herself as a "person" and protected against that kind of thing by her "rights". The philosophical chutzpah is palpable.

In her peroration, Judson pulls out what, for her, would appear to be all the rhetorical stops:
When, a couple of years ago, I first imagined putting a nucleus from one animal into the egg of another, I found the idea unsettling. But that was because I was imagining something different: I had in mind the growing of animals, not the creation and swift destruction of a clump of cells. I worried that animals produced this way might not be normal. But then I learned more about the procedure and how it is done. Also, in the course of making a television program about biotechnology, I visited laboratories working with stem cells, and I was impressed by what we have already managed to achieve.

Now my discomfort has gone away. It’s been replaced by wonder. We’ve already learned a great deal about the ultimate construction of life as a result of the experiments done so far. But more than that, the fact that it’s possible at all to put one creature’s DNA into another creature’s cell and have the two work together at all is amazing — and another sign of the common evolutionary heritage of ourselves and the other beings on the planet.
The strategy here is to try to set the minds of her simplistic readers at ease. I am a scientist, and believe me, I was worried too, just like all you little people--but now I'm not worried anymore! Don't you see? It's all really quite beautiful once you open your minds and use your imagination (try not to think about Spongebob Squarepants as you read that bit).

If only the rest of us could make television programs, I'm sure all of our discomfort would go away, too. No need to engage in any argumentation, offer any reasons, or think more deeply about the moral foundations of our views. All we really need to do is carefully craft a world view in which the conclusion that we want to get falls naturally out of our self-serving presuppositions and ontological attitudes.

Come on, everybody! Just take a position! Don't bother to argue for it! Just assert it, and all of your worries will go away!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Time to Get Crackin'!

I've obviously become something of a pussy cat lately--how else to explain this:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?


Hmm. I wonder how the phrase "pussy cat" gets counted?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moral Imperatives

Kant, famously, argued that we have a duty to help those who are unable to help themselves whenever they are in a situation in which we ourselves, mutatis mutandis, would have a reasonable hope of being helped by others. Hadley Arkes, the redoubtable Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions at Amherst College, developed this idea at some length in his excellent book, First Things: An Inquiry into the First Principles of Morals and Justice (Princeton, 1986). On Arkes's account, there is a moral duty to vindicate the rights of others when they are unable to vindicate their rights themselves. This is an idea that is congenial to Catholic moral theory, which holds that, at the very least, it is never wrong to vindicate the rights of others, whether or not they are able to vindicate their rights for themselves. The question whether it is in fact a duty to vindicate the rights of others whenever they are unable to vindicate their rights for themselves is a rather more complicated question, but it seems to me that there are certain rather prime examples of times when it has seemed at least reasonable to think that there is such a duty (putting a stop to the Nazi genocide, for example, or bringing about the end of slavery, seem like such cases, though one may dispute the means by which the particular duty was carried out).

I mention all of this because I listened with great interest this morning to Sunday London Times correspondent Simon Jenkins argue that there is a moral duty to "intervene" in Myanmar, given the obstreperous refusal of the government of that country to do the right thing with regards to allowing foreign aid into the country (he has an article on this topic at the Huffington Post posted on Monday). He noted, with some reason, I thought, that although there were interventions in Kosovo and Iraq that went ahead without the approval or backing of the United Nations, the debate over whether the Iraq intervention had been justified/worth it was obscuring the need to intervene for humanitarian reasons in Myanmar. He's not talking about an intervention of the same sort that was made in either Kosovo or Iraq, however. He's claiming only that there are military resources ready and waiting off the coast of Myanmar that are prepared to deliver humanitarian aid into regions where the Myanmar authorities aren't even bothering to show up, and so there is no excuse not to take the relief supplies into these areas. And it seems to me that he has a very good point.

Ideally, of course, the Chinese, who seem to be rather more chummy with the idiots in charge of the ruling junta in Myanmar, would be the ones to look to for this sort of intervention, but they, famously, don't like to "intervene", even when it's the right thing to do, and, of course, they have problems of their own right now (apparently the Chinese military were sent into areas hit by the earthquake without even basic supplies such as masks and rubber gloves, which were supplied by citizens on site). Since the cool thing to do right now is snub the United States, perhaps somebody else could be found to volunteer for this job, but one way or another it is a job that has got to be done.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Single Issue?

DarwinCatholic has an excellent post up about what would be involved in supporting a candidate who is pro-choice in today's electoral mix.
However, it seems to me that in discussing the upcoming election, several Catholics in public and intellectual life (Kmiec very much among them) have attempted to make the case that one should support Obama not despite his stand on abortion, but rather because an Obama administration will be able to make progress towards a more truly pro-life society in a way that recent Republican administrations have not been able to. I disagree with people who take the former position, though I can certainly respect them, but I take serious objection to those who take the latter, and this post is intended to address them.
There follows a remarkably clear-sighted analysis of what it is these people are really saying, and why it is morally banal. Highly recommended reading.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Finally

Archbishop Joseph Naumann has done the right thing. According to a story at Catholic.org he has instructed Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas to stop presenting herself for Communion, because she has scandalized the faithful in her support of abortion. She is, it seems, latae sententiae excommunicate. This is good news for the real Catholics out there, who have been wondering when somebody in a position of authority was going to stand up for those of us who are powerless to prevent our secular leaders from making a mockery of our religious beliefs. It's bad enough when the pagans do it, but when people who claim to be Catholics do it as a matter of "principle", evidently regarding positive legal principles as higher than moral and religious ones, then things have really gotten out of hand.

There are some who hold the (mistaken) view that religious scruples should play no part in the formation of public policy. As laughably naive (not to mention banal) as this view is, there is nevertheless a solution for those who hold it. They may take a lesson from their buddies who put bumper stickers on their cars that read "Against abortion? Don't have one!" and adopt the position of "Don't think religious views have any place in politics? Then get out of politics!" Sebelius's duty is quite clear. If she seriously believes that she has no right to defend the human lives she claims to govern, then she should either stop receiving Communion, or resign her position as governor of Kansas. I predict she will do neither, thus forcing Archbishop Naumann to take further pastoral action on her behalf.

Those of us who have been waiting for this day, however, have some small cause for celebration.

Via Squalida

Among the many pleasant diversions here in beautiful southern Ohio are the various street parties that crop up around Athens in May and June. This past weekend was the occasion of one such party (really, parties, for many different streets were involved) known locally as Palmerfest, named for Palmer Street, where it had its humble origins God knows how many years ago (it has been an institution here since before I was hired in 1996). I almost always forget that these things are going on until too late. In this particular instance I had no idea that Saturday evening was the beginning of Palmerfest until I tried to drive over to Christ The King Parish, one of the local Catholic Churches, for Confession. Getting there requires driving down Palmer Street, which I did without pause, only to find myself navigating through the Athenian version of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Hundreds of already intoxicated students (well, sure, it was nearly 4:00 in the afternoon, after all, and I suppose anybody would be well into their cups by then) were wandering aimlessly about in the street, which is all of 300 feet long. Fortunately I did not have any new sins to add to my Confession after arriving at my destination, even though many of these students were very scantily clad.

When I got to Confession I found that my usual Confessor was not there, and the substitute was a priest from another city. It was then that I remembered that it was Pentecost, and the Bishop was in town for Confirmation. All of the local priests were up at Saint Paul's, the other Catholic Church in town, getting ready for the 6:00 Mass. I went home by a different route and reminded my wife about Confirmation, and we decided to go to the Vigil Mass because the daughter of one of my colleagues was being confirmed at that Mass.

Now, my most tenacious fans may remember reading this post from October of 2005, in which I noted that the two Catholic parishes in Athens are only a couple of blocks from each other, both on Mill Street, which runs orthogonally to Palmer Street. Palmer Street is closer to Christ the King than to St. Paul's, but it basically bisects Mill Street and, hence, the Fest really ought to be called PalmerMillFest or something like that, because all of Palmer and most of Mill Street are student rental housing, and it's just one Big Party pretty much all of the time, but especially during PalmerFest. At any rate, because of the Fest I couldn't find any place to park near St. Paul's, and we wound up having to park in a parking structure in downtown Athens. As we walked over to the Church we were passed, in all directions, by many scantily clad party-goers, many of them staggering as they waddled about in their spiky shoes or dirty sneakers.

The Mass itself was absolutely beautiful (though, like any Mass at which a Bishop is presiding, the Homily was both dreadful and forgettable at the same time--the only thing I remember about it now is that it was too long), and I literally got tears in my eyes watching my friend's daughter get Confirmed. The place was packed, and my family and I had to stand at the back, but in a way that gave us something of an advantage, because standing around back there gives one a pretty good view of what's going on everywhere else. After Mass we waited out in front of the Church to say hi to my colleague and his family, and, of course, a lot of other people were doing the same thing (well, mutatis mutandis, of course--they weren't all waiting to greet my colleague and his family). I expect that many of these people, having come to see their young relations/friends getting Confirmed, were from out of town, which is why it was particularly unfortunate that Pentecost occurred on the same day as PalmerFest (I'll bet those liturgical types really regret getting rid of occurrences and concurrences now!). One of the first things I saw, upon emerging from the Church, was a young man lying with his back up against a telephone pole, listening to two young girls saying such things as "I thought Church was on Sunday" and "What is all this shit?" When the Bishop emerged, wearing his bright red Pentecost vestments, there were peals of derisive laughter all around (the irony was, of course, totally lost on the bumpkins who had come into town dressed as though for a high school prom when in fact all they were going to do was get blasted and soil their thongs).

I didn't learn until later that, as bad as this scene was, it had actually been much worse earlier in the afternoon. Remember how I noted that St. Paul's is up Mill Street from Christ the King. In my post from 2005, linked to above, I described a Eucharistic Procession from St. Paul's to Christ the King, lead by this self-same Bishop right down Mill Street. That was on a Sunday morning, however, when most of the locals are still sleeping it off. It turns out that on Saturday afternoon, when things were just getting cranked at the big Fest, there was another procession, this time of Confirmands from Christ the King up to St. Paul's. As one parishioner recounted the event:
I had a long talk by phone with Mayor Wiehl this morning regarding the general sense that the 'fests' are growing into a much larger problem. My family personally experienced this on Sat. night before (6pm) and after (7:45pm) at St. Paul's Church which was located too close to Palmerfest. Our 35+ kids to be confirmed actually walked from CTK up Mill to St. Paul's before the service. It was an embarrassingly surreal experience and out of town relatives who aren't desensitized as we are were appalled.
Some people sure are testy about a few moonings and boob displays on the way to Mass. Get over it, people, hedonistic pagans have rights too, you know.

Talk about running the gauntlet. The thought of parading past house after house overflowing with debauched immoralists while all dressed up as for Church rather than for prom at the age of 15 is something that I hope does not come to haunt my dreams. I suppose some of the kids may have thought the whole thing was a hoot, but my experience has been that other kids find such things rather distasteful, and most parents certainly do too (or ought to). Ohio University has little control over such things, and I doubt that there's much that city government can do, either. But Ohio University has been working pretty hard to overcome its reputation as a "party school", and one hopes that embarrassments such as this will provoke an even great effort to find ways to maintain some sort of decorum, at least when people are looking.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nuts to You, Boys!

When I was coming up as a budding classicist, it was still traditional to take a term during one's studies of the Latin language for the reading of Catullus, a perennial favorite among schoolboys because of his capacity for making even the raunchiest ideas seem learned and urbane. One of his poems, in particular, was especially popular when I was in school, because it was filled with exquisitely nasty invective against a pair of men whom Catullus singled out for some of his best abuse. All of my Latin-savvy readers out there already know that I'm referring to poem 16, which reads:
Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo,
Aureli pathice et cinaede Furi,
qui me ex versiculis meis putastis,
quod sunt molliculi, parum pudicum.
Nam castum esse decet pium poetam
ipsum, versiculos nihil necesse est;
qui tum denique habent salem ac leporem,
si sunt molliculi ac parum pudici,
et quod pruriat incitare possunt,
non dico pueris, sed his pilosis
qui duros nequeunt movere lumbos.
Vos, quod milia multa basiorum
legistis, male me marem putatis?
Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo.
What could be more beautiful than that, I ask you. Let it not be said that Latin is not the language of God himself (an old joke has it that some Enlightenment Pope or other averred as to how "I speak Latin when I am speaking to God, I speak French when I am speaking to a lady, I speak Italian when I am speaking to a gentleman, and I speak German when I am speaking to my dog.") nor that Latin poetry is not the finest aesthetic achievement of mankind. Note, in particular, that first line:
Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo
That means, basically, "I will fuck you up the ass and make you suck my cock", and it is every bit as raunchy in the Latin as I have made it in English.

Needless to say, that's not the sort of thing that's going to make muster in one of those classically oriented homeschooling schemes, but Back in The Day when everyone had to read Catullus in order to pass one's O-levels there was something of a quandary as to how to translate this poem for the use of the tenderhearted young boys who needed a crib to get through the thing. If you look up the words in the old Latin dictionary that was long standard among scholars (Lewis and Short) you will find that, rather than translating the terms they give instead such phrases as "Membrum virile in os inserere." One early 20th century translation, found in the old Loeb edition of Catullus, began with the line:
Nuts to you, boys, nuts and go to hell!
That's telling them! Why didn't Catullus write that to begin with, I wonder? Deucedly more devastating than the original, after all!

Well, all of this intellectual enlightenment is intended as background for the reference that I really wanted to pass along to you. The verb in that first line up there (irrumabo) has a related noun, irrumator, the meaning of which can be rather easily inferred from my translation of the verb (since this is a family blog, I'll leave it to the reader to make such inferences for himself). With all of that in mind, have a look at this story about Eric Lu, a senior at West Geauga High School in Ohio. It's a rather nice photo of Eric, but I wonder whose idea it was to superimpose that Latin text on it, leaving the lascivious label right above the poor fellow's head? A disgruntled classmate? A frisky editor at The Plain Dealer? Somehow I doubt that either possibility is very likely, since I doubt that anyone really knows enough Latin to put together such a howler. One thing I'm sure of, though: as soon as somebody with any sense is made aware of the thing, it will be taken off the net, so be sure to check it out soon.

But don't worry, I've saved a copy to my computer, just in case.

Bob the Builder for President

Last week James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal poked fun, in his online column Best of the Web Today, at one of Hilary Clinton's little campaign slogans ("We're going to knock balls out of the country's park for the home team, which is America"), comparing it (rather unfavorably) to past pronouncements of Democratic Party Personages ("Ask not what your country can do for you...", etc.). The very next day he did the same thing with one of Bill Clinton's little speeches.

Continuing in the fine tradition of Bill and Hilary Clinton, Obama for America sent me a mailing yesterday with a slogan proudly printed in huge letters right on the front of the envelope, for all the world to see: "Yes we can." In smaller print, right underneath that, was the citation: "Barack Obama, January 8, 2008", as though the bon mot were a significant utterance that would be remembered for years to come as an Obama original, to be esteemed right up there with "I shall return" and "I have a dream".

Well, it will certainly be remembered, but mostly by toddlers, who hear their buddy Bob the Builder saying it every day on TV. The rest of us are mostly going to scratch our heads and wonder, "We can what?" The banalification of American politics continues apace.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Ivory Tower

I was struck recently by an exchange in the online review Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews between Lowell Edmunds, on the one hand, and David Fitzpatrick on the other. Edmunds is a professor of classics at Rutgers University, Fitzpatrick a professor in the history department of Trinity College, Dublin. The occasion for the exchange was a review that Fitzpatrick wrote of Edmunds's recent book, Oedipus: Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World, published by Routledge in 2006. While it is not exactly a glowing review, it is, in the main positive, and concludes with:
Notwithstanding my misgivings on certain points, I think Edmunds' Oedipus is a good contribution to series. The volumes are all presented very attractively: a casual bookshop browser could be tempted to pick up a copy. There is enough depth and breath in Edmunds' offering for such a customer to be happy with his/her purchase.
This apparently did not satisfy Edmunds, however, who felt moved to write a response to the review in a subsequent issue of the online journal (BMCR is one of the few review journals that prints responses to its reviews). The response is decidedly more prickly than the review had been, with such comments as the following:
His estimate of the intelligence of this readership [those to whom the book is addressed] is clearly lower than mine was....

Fitzpatrick seems to know something that even the experts, whom I cited, don't know, and I wish that he had told us what it is....

In order to grasp the relevance of the illustrations, one must first grasp the peculiarities just referred to and second look at Figs. 6 and 7. In writing as I did and in using these illustrations (which are quite remarkable), I had not thought that I would overtax anyone's intelligence....
I wasn't the only one to find Edmunds's response "prickly", for Fitzpatrick wrote a further response to Edmunds's response in which he, too, thought that somebody had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed:
His prickliness is due, perhaps, to an unfortunate conflation of two distinct points: a supposed difference of opinion between us about the level of intelligence of the intended readership and my (footnoted) comments on the handling of illustrations and iconography in Oedipus.
There follows a measured, if pointed, reply to Edmunds's criticisms. He was unable, however, to resist the temptation to conclude his response in this way:
Towards the end of his response, Edmunds declares that he makes "some original points". If I were to adopt, momentarily, the condescension towards the general reader which Edmunds imputes to me, I wonder would the general reader identify the points in question as original ones. We'd have to consult the general reader here, but I think the declaration betrays that Edmunds had another level of readership in mind too.
Well, such is life in the rarefied air of academia. The exchange came as no surprise to me, really, because I worked with Lowell Edmunds in the classics department at Rutgers during his first year there, 1988-89. I was there for a one-year position working for Project Theophrastus, fresh out of grad school (well, relatively fresh, anyway); he had just been hired in as full professor with tenure. We got along fairly well at first, and he even rented me a room in his condo, which was literally right next door to the department. Since I was only there for the academic year I had not moved much of my stuff to New Brunswick, and Edmunds kindly allowed me to use the computer he had in his office to read my email and write my papers.

During that academic year, the department was engaged in a search for a new faculty member with an interest in feminst approaches to classics. Since I was just a visiting appointment, I had no role in the selection process, other than to attend the colloquia that the candidates gave during their campus visits. One evening, after all of the candidates had visited, I was working late in my office and Edmunds came into the department with William Fortenbaugh, who was chair of the department at that time. They were talking rather loudly about the candidates, and even after I closed my office door I could still hear what they were saying. Now, Fortenbaugh was something of a curmudgeon, and the prospect of him hiring someone with interests in "feminist approaches" is already something of a hoot. When he hired me, for example, he explained my low salary by telling me that the college was being run by a "feminist lesbian dean" who did not like him and punished him by not supporting his projects. This was my very first day on campus, and he had never met me before, so arguably he didn't care what my own views of such matters might be. When he came into the department with Edmunds that evening, Edmunds was attempting to sell him on one of the candidates and, perhaps knowing his audience, Edmunds said about the candidate "She's a good feminist, and, unlike most feminists, she's actually attractive."

Well now. Strong words, even by the Cro-Magnon standards of 1989. In the end, they hired the "attractive" candidate. No surprise there. What was surprising, however, was my last interaction with Edmunds. As I said, he was very kind to let me use the computer in his office. On one occasion I left some papers on his desk when I left, and he brought them to me the next day and told me that it was OK for me to use his computer, but please don't leave anything in his office. I explained that it was just a mistake, and I wouldn't do it again. Then, about three weeks before the end of the academic year, I was in his office printing out a paper I had written. I wanted to put some paper in his printer to replace what I had used, so I fetched one of those bundles of 500 sheets of paper that are often stacked in the vicinity of copier machines, and I refilled his printer. Then I left. Apparently I also left the bundle of paper on his desk, because the next day he came up to me in the middle of the department, with several colleagues standing around, and he brandished the bundle of paper (now containing a mere 450 sheets, approximately, but still rather hefty). He yelled at me in a rather loud voice, "I told you not to leave any of your fucking crap in my office!" and he then threw the bundle of paper at me. It did not hit me, but I decided to maintain a low profile around him anyway, just to be on the safe side.

Life isn't always that exciting in classics departments, but the "attractive" feminist eventually quit working at Rutgers before coming up for tenure, and I've often wondered whether there weren't more things flying around that department than just bundles of paper. At any rate, if BMCR is any indication, academics will always find ways to irritate one another. It beats working for a living.

Steampunk!

I am so there!

Read the article at the New York Times.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

So Why Not Do Us All A Favor?

I was browsing through the Oxford University Press philosophy catalog, and I came across this description of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence by David Benatar:
Better Never to Have Been argues for a number of related, highly provocative, views: (1) Coming into existence is always a serious harm. (2) It is always wrong to have children. (3) It is wrong not to abort fetuses at the earlier stages of gestation. (4) It would be better if, as a result of there being no new people, humanity became extinct.
It's difficult to know whether the guy's just angling for a chance to get himself interviewed by Bill Maher, but the description raises some rather delicious possibilities. If it's always a "serious harm" when a new human comes into existence, perhaps the elimination of one of these harmful beings--say, David Benatar--would be a serious boon. One wonders whether David Benatar practices what he preaches: if it is wrong not to abort fetuses, perhaps there is a duty to abort them oneself by force when one finds women stubbornly attempting to carry their fetuses to term. If David Benatar is not out there right now poking pregnant women in the stomach then he's a hypocrite.

While I can't agree that it would be better if humanity as a whole became extinct, books like this make me heartily agree that it would be better if certain elements of humanity became extinct. Sadly, my own Weltanschauung prevents me from working to bring about such an end.