Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Patriot in Our Midst

Regardless of how the implementation of health insurance reform transpires over the coming years -- if indeed it withstands court challenges and potential shifts in the Congress over the next two elections -- I think it's safe to say that political scientists recounting the political maneuveuring required to pass the bill will long be writing about the pivotal role played by a single member of the House of Representatives.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Health Care Hysteria

Democracy is messy.  It's part of the essence of our system of government that we elect officials whom we think best represent our own political values and priorities, then empower them to go speak for us in the creation and implementation of laws that govern our nation.  That very basic principle guarantees that there will be ongoing debate and differences since so two Congressional districts, no two states and no two Americans are likely to have identical views on every issue facing the country at any given time.

So it's not the conflict of the past year regarding health care reform that troubles me; our system was designed for debates like this and it's the hallmark of America that we wrestle with these tough social issues in a vocal and public way.  What troubles me is the hysterical characterization of the various ideas on this issue, which has clearly reached a crescendo this month.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What is Arete and Why Should it be Pursued?

"Arete" is a Greek word that is most frequently translated as "virtue" or "moral excellence" in English, and in fact was the name given to the Greek goddess of virtue, excellence and goodness.  Although this sounds like something that would be reserved for discussions in graduate school classrooms or seminaries in 21st century America, arete was actually one of the most common values in ancient Greek culture.  Homer, Socrates and Plato all wrote about the pursuit of arete, but it was Aristotle who challenged his audience to consistently acquire more knowledge about what it means to be virtuous and to dedicate themselves to the infusion of arete into the public square.