S. C. Gwynne’s “ Safe at Home” is not really about the children [April 2005]. It is about the parents’ need to be “the best.” By having their children compete for regional, state, and national titles, parents can feel that they have done a superior job of parenting. The fact that their children are running the risk of psychological burnout and injury to not-fully-developed muscles and bones and are subjected to the viciously competitive world of juvenile sports does not seem to bother them.
These are the formative years for a child’s character. The message that these children are receiving is that they are the center of the universe and that the whole family should be sacrificed at the altar of their “talent.” Truly gifted athletes have inner drive. All the “select” teamwork will not replace that. And as soon as that driven parent no longer has power over the child, the child will quit the sport.
In a word, brilliant! Michael Ennis has shown an admirable degree of journalistic chutzpah by (rightly) taking the citizens of this state to task for making “evolution” a dirty word [“ Dissing Darwin,” April 2005]. It’s high time we started calling a spade a shovel and recognized blind faith for what it is: ignorance dressed in its Sunday best.
No doubt the intelligent designers and biblical creationists will make their presence felt, spew their venom, call Mr. Ennis a sinner, a heretic, an atheist, or worse, and demand equal space for their superstitions. They’ll probably even whine that evolution is “just a theory.” Ignore them.
“Convictions,” wrote Nietzsche, “are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” Particularly religious convictions. Texans cannot expect to prosper in the twenty-first century C.E. while enslaved to the ideas of the twenty-first century B.C.E.
Oh, please. The correlation of Darwinism to state progress is one hardly worthy of noting. Michael Ennis’s claims of molecular “evolution” are laughable at best, downright deceptive at worst.
Stem cells aren’t the issue here; the very value of human life is. Non-embryonic stem cell lines have been shown to be by far the most promising avenues into developing new treatments. While in theory the embryonic stem cells do have much potential, until we better understand the human genome, ESC research is nothing more than barbaric reverse engineering of the human form.
Michael Ennis is an expert on science? What good does it do to raise our C in science to an A when we learn things that can’t be proven? Intelligent design can’t be proven either, but at least it gives us a philosophy that can be lived out in everyday life. We are creatures who have a creator that gives life purpose. Being just some grown-up “pond scum” leads to a meaningless end, not only here but also in the hereafter. Darwinism makes this whole discussion between Ennis and myself pointless. It can best be described by Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
An Officer and A Gentleman
It is easy for the media to insist that our country has not fully assessed responsibility and held people accountable for Abu Ghraib when they don’t get the story they want [“ The Buck Stops Nowhere,” April 2005]. There was no failure of oversight. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez put his trust in the men and women below him to diligently follow orders and plans that were given to him by the Army’s leadership. Understaffed by 50 percent and dealing with a lawless nation and insurgency, Sanchez did what he had been trained to do in war: assess and delegate problems and situations to staff members, whom he had no reason not to trust. Torture is never acceptable. Individuals who tortured Abu Ghraib prisoners have been and will continue to be convicted. These were not acts of Army policy but of an unstable few who felt above the law.
Schools of Thought
Paul, I am sorry to say that your political analysis of school finance gets a C [Behind the Lines: “ Disaster!” by Paul Burka, April 2005]. Our Texas “school community” is not a mandarin community but more like the orphans of a long-lost cousin. They are heard from occasionally, but they are not expected to lead or to make policy. “Haughty,” “unrealistic,” and “entitlement” are not words that describe this dissed, underpaid, and overworked community.
J. L. Howell
Gee, Paul, let’s review: Early in the last century, millions of people came to this country seeking better lives. Many of them could not speak English. Guess what? Without the benefit of special assistance, pupil weighting, or other assorted claptrap, they learned the language, worked their buns off, and made themselves and their adopted country successful.
My family and I came to this country nearly fifty years ago. We did have the advantage of speaking English. However, we had to be disease-free and have no background of “moral turpitude,” and we could be deported at once if we became public charges (meaning that we did not qualify for any government assistance). During the five-year residency to qualify for citizenship, we were voteless, liable for all relevant taxes, and subject to the draft.
My family, children, and grandchildren are all proud to be Texans, people known for their get-up-and-go. The whiff of implied guilt for not doing so much for recent arrivals is not welcome. These arrivals have the same need to succeed, the same determination. So stand back and watch them shine.
Give ’Em the Bird
As I read “ Sibling Ribaldry,” by Sarah Bird, I found myself laughing out loud [April 2005]. I am pleased with your newest writer, and Lord knows she is better-looking than the Texas Jewboy, and probably smells