January 12, 2009

Patrick McIlheran, tinpot philosopher

Common Council President Willie Hines, Jr. contributed a thoughtful piece to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on the weekend.

It concludes:
Far too many of our children are maturing into adulthood without even engaging in a scholarly discussion of ethics. They are losing out — and so are the rest of us. When we ignore what is moral, we are not being amoral. We are being immoral.
And along comes "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran to debase it:
Frankly, I think it would be hard to teach morals and ethics without some reference to God, however understood. That’s why I send my kids to a school that’s free to mention Him.
Well, bully for McIlheran.

It's anyone's guess why it should be difficult to discuss ethics and morality without invoking God. Many of us do it all the time. McIlheran fails to explain why that is, but he does claim to understand the reason why we mustn't:
[Eighty thousand Milwaukee public school students], because of a certain narrow-minded secularity in American political culture, can’t mention God.
McIlheran goes on to bemoan the lack of "Judeo-Christian" curricula in government schools which, last I checked, are available to children (and adults) of any and all ethnic and cultural persuasions.

That public school students "can't mention God" is both complete nonsense and absurdist "right-wing guy" paranoia, obviously.

And the only certain narrow-mindedness in evidence is Patrick McIlheran's woeful inability — at contraposition to Alderman Hines's sensible pragmatism — to conjure an ethic free from alleged supernatural commands and threats of otherworldly damnation.

(Indeed, one searches the criminal statutes of Wisconsin in vain for even a single "Thou shalt not" or a Misdemeanor Class H for Hell.)


Anonymous said...

Every bit as depressing as PM's kind of religiofapping is the number of dupes who find it compelling.

krshorewood said...

My father hated to step foot in a church yet he was one of the most moral people I knew. Never heard the "N" word in my house, which was commonly dropped in Port Washington in the 50's and 60's.

Think of all the immorality committed by the "Christian" Bush administration.

AutismNewsBeat said...

Does Zeus count? The ancient Greeks had quite a bit to say about morality.

Anonymous said...

The best comfort can be said about those that are so narrow minded in their understanding and application of ethics, is the reassurance that their also narrow minded offspring will be just another conservative minority defending themselves in a federal district court on an ethics charge.