-- Today is the 96th anniversary of the Fatima children's vision of hell. Hell is a place filled with the souls of persons who did not believe that there is a hell.
-- The lower house of (formerly Catholic) Ireland's parliament has voted to legalize abortion in cases where there is a risk to the mother's life. Abortion supporters are thrilled but already saying the bill doesn't go far enough.
-- I have not followed the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, but I've followed it enough to see that it is a classic example of a trial that should never have taken place. How do you get a fair trial on charges that should never have been brought to begin with? This was manifestly a case of self-defense. The law simply does not favor the unjust aggressor; nor does it take the position that the right to defend oneself kicks in only at the point where one is too incapacitated to defend oneself. It does not even require that the person defending himself be upright and virtuous and of impeccable character. All it requires is that the defendant reasonably believe he was in immanent danger of bodily harm, and that the action he took was necessary to save him from the harm threatened.
-- Reading and listening to accounts of testimony by the state's witnesses in the Zimmerman trial, I would have thought I was getting an account of the defense's witnesses if I didn't know the state was still putting on its case in chief. Yet jurors, urged by prosecutors to call black white and white black, can still do the wrong thing. That is why it's unethical for prosecutors to press charges they know they can't prove. Let us not forget the Duke Lacrosse case, which resulted in the disbarment of the district attorney who brought those utterly bogus charges. How can the prosecution's request for idiotic lesser-included instructions on charges relating to the abuse of a minor be understood except as an acknowledgment that they failed to prove their case?
-- I am tired of having people who know nothing whatever about me tell me how much I hate minorities. I don't hate minorities. As a practical Catholic, I try not to entertain actual hatred for anyone, however much they may anger or annoy or hurt me. I doubt that there are very many authentic racists among American whites. But there are plenty of authentic racists among minority "leaders" and race hustlers of the sort that turned the Zimmerman case into a show trial. This is not the Reconstruction Era; but for these demagogues and their allies in the media and the Obama regime, Americans would mostly get along pretty well. Promoting strife and division and the pursuit of imaginary grievances is the devil's work. When are we going to stop letting him and his tools push us around?
-- Probably the most pitiful figure to emerge from the Zimmerman trial is the pathetic, illiterate, mendacious "star" prosecution witness, Rachel Jeantel. Thanks to the welfare state and the liberal-dominated public-school system of which she is a product, Rachel Jeantel is as much a slave in the 21st century as ever any of her ancestors were in the 19th. In fact, her spiritual penury makes her even worse off than they were. They were beaten, starved, racked with diseases, housed in hovels, separated from their families, overworked and used as concubines by their white masters; but at least they were under no delusions about their plight, or at whose hands they suffered. That is why, as soon as blacks were given the opportunity to fight for freedom on the side of the Union during the Civil War, they had the will to do so and nearly two hundred thousand enlisted. Do the Rachel Jeantels of the world have the will to fight and suffer for freedom?
-- And speaking of the welfare state, it seems that Michelle Obama's "healthy" school lunch program is generating a lot of food wastage and loss of money for school districts. School lunches have always been notoriously bad; but the First Lady has apparently discovered a talent for improving on badness. Still, the responsibility for feeding kids lies, it seems to me, not with the government but with their parents. Hey parents: why not do what my mother did, and pack lunches for your kids?
-- While the nation ogles the Zimmerman trial, the Obama regime's burgeoning scandals -- Benghazi, the I.R.S., the N.S.A. -- go unnoticed and un-dealt-with.
-- Which is an appropriate segue into Mark Levin's intriguing proposal for legal, constitutional recourse against our bloated, out-of-control federal government. Did you know that Congress does not have the market cornered on amendments to the Constitution, and that the states can also propose amendments? Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides (emphasis added):
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article [dealing with powers denied to Congress]; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Historically, all amendments to the Constitution have originated in Congress; the other method has been attempted on numerous occasions, even very recently, but although the threat of a constitutional convention has indirectly led to amendments, the method itself has never been successfully invoked. Yet the Founding Fathers included it in the Constitution, foreseeing a time when the federal government could become oppressive and intransigent. In an age in which the runaway regulatory state leaves virtually no aspect of our daily lives untouched, that time has surely come. The question may be raised whether a rogue federal government would really feel less free to disregard an amended Constitution than it does the current one; but I think we should consider it our duty to exhaust all legal and constitutional means of bringing the ruling class in Washington to heel. Levin has some proposed constitutional amendments in his forthcoming book, due out next month.
-- Still, I will see Levin and raise him. There is something else that must be done if we are ever to restore our country, and without which we can never get our freedom back even if we hold a hundred constitutional conventions. It is the one thing that few people are willing to try, even though it is the one thing that is certain of success. We ourselves must begin to lead lives ordered according to natural law and right reason. We must rein in our own passions and appetites. We must stop confusing the pursuit of happiness with the selfish and unbridled pursuit of sensual pleasures. We must resume the use of good manners and courtesy and consideration for others, and teach the same to our children. We must live up to our responsibilities, embrace traditional Christian morality and lead virtuous lives. Disordered individuals cannot help but create disordered societies.
-- And just in case you think I'm some kind of nut, the critical importance of cultivating virtue was not lost on the Founding Fathers. In a letter to a cousin, John Adams wrote:
Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.
And it seems well to close with these thoughts that Adams set down in a letter to his wife:
The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming in every part will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings. The people will have unbounded power, and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great.