SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Thursday, September 30, 2004

BUSH/KERRY DEBATE I: GLOBAL TEST?! I viewed tonights first Presidential debate with great interest, following the instant blogging by the folks over at The Corner. Regardless of what either candidate said, John Kerry's "global test" will echo throughout the remainder of this campaign.

President Bush isn't about fancy delivery, but about something far more importance: decisiveness. The Kerry crowd might claim their man gave some good delivery, but his continued emphasis upon the war that he voted for as a "mistake" and a "divergence" that he will bring to an ultimate victory reveals him to be the indecisive flip-flop we've come to know him as.

Now, back to this "global test." Kerry's has now OUTSOURCED the decision-making for America's national security to foreign elements. This is not only frightening and contrary to our Constitution, it is also a fatal mistake. He will live to regret showing his true colors on this account. It will do him credit with the blame-America-first crowd, but that crowd doesn't win elections. Regardless of what any of the candidates said at this convention. Hugh Hewitt is all over this already. I relish the next few days of commentary on this debate.

(Green Lake--Seattle, WA)
FUND LUNCH WAS FUN! The Puget Sound Federalist Society's luncheon with John Fund was a wonderful time for all, yesterday. Fund is an outstanding journalist, and so I was honored to introduce him to the audience and excited to hear him speak. That he knew of and gave props to me for my Amazon review of his latest book, Stealing Elections, made my week!

Fund spoke about the dangers that lie ahead should we fail to reform our election laws and vote-registration and vote-counting systems. He spoke of the "designed sloppiness" that persists in this area. That such sloppiness woudl be designed reveals his view that there is a conceited attempt to keep our election laws vague and ambiguous. A Q&A session followed his talk, which proved interesting.

If that weren't enough, I had the pleasure of running into Rob McKenna at the lunch event. I told Rob how excited I was about the lastest poll, which shows him ahead in the race for Attorney General. I predict a big win for McKenna!!!

Also, I had the good fortune of sitting at the same table as Justice Richard Sanders, whom I likewise expect will cruise to victory Fall in his re-election bit. Jim Johnson, who was present, also has a very good shot for the State Supreme Court in his respective race, and I'm really pulling for him. In fact, I made an online donation to his campaign following the lunch. BOTH campaigns are worthy of support!

Back to Fund. His September 22 column from "Fund on the Trail" deals with voter identification and election law politics. Fund has had a string of wonderful columns in September, and this one is worth checking out!

(Downtown Seattle, WA)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CLONE? There is a standout article in today's online edition of the Weekly Standard by Wesley J. Smith entitled "Constitutional Cloning."

Smith is responding to a recent article by Brian Alexander in the New York Times Magazine that argued for a constitutional "right to research" that would treat scientific experimentation as expressive conduct, and thus entitled to free speech protection.

Now, I am by no means at the forefront of all these bioethics debates and controversies, but upon reading Alexander's article I was struck by how ABSURD that proposition of a "right to research" is. It's ridiculous to me, but then again, I wasn't surprised to see it, given the all far-fetched thinking that goes on in academia these days. If cloning were to be considered speech, for all intents and purposes, then what on Earth would NOT be considered speech?

Smith rightly asks what the text of the First Amendment has to do with cloning. As a plain reading shows, the answer is: absolutely nothing. He rightly castigates an extreme sort of "philosophical scientism," which is very utopian.

For the record, I oppose utopianism of any kind. I am definitely an optimist and progressive in the sense that I think history has a direction and that progress and advances in knowledge and civilization takes place. However, all efforts that lead to utopianism are ultimately futile and completely disastrous. (Remember communism and fascism?)

One of the problems with utopianism is that it usually involves the propping up of a narrow constituency who will decide how the rest of society will live. Contra Smith:

Wisdom and prudence thus prescribe that we do not leave all of this to scientists, but instead erect reasonable checks and balances through democratic processes to ensure that the scope and breadth of research remain consistent with the moral values of society.

Indeed, Smith's closing paragraph is quite excellent, discussing such a constitutional "right to research." As Smith notes: "Not only would it craft a narrow constitutional right open only to a very narrow category of people, e.g., scientists, but it would imbed the amoral beliefs of scientism into the Constitution..."

(Downtown Seattle, WA)