Why I Won’t Participate in the Ice-Bucket Challenge – via Front Porch Republic

From Jeffrey Polet:

The idea is strange at its core. You pour water on your head in order to avoid donating, but more than that, you do it in a very public way. While the challenge may have the tertiary benefit of drawing attention to the disease, what it really draws attention to is the self. This is why it’s an effective approach in the age of social media, the major advantage of which is self-promotion.

The chain effect operates essentially on the principle of shame. “I have performed this good deed, and I challenge you to do likewise, and if you don’t, everyone will know.” It has the scent about it of a kind of mass hysteria: people engage in the act because it seems good, without having to do an actual good deed, or think seriously about the consequences. Attributing motivation to any human action is often tricky, and rarely are motivations pure in the sense they are absolutely good or absolutely bad. Generally speaking, any action has about it a hint or a tint of self-interest.

But that self-interest is simultaneously heightened and occluded by the complexities placed upon action by publicizing and pressuring. To resist the highly-publicized demand to pour water on oneself is to draw attention to the fact that there is some sort of serious deficit in your character. What kind of person doesn’t want to rid the world of ALS, or of evil altogether?

via Why I Won’t Participate in the Ice-Bucket Challenge – Front Porch Republic.

After Hobby Lobby by Dennis Saffran, City Journal 8 July 2014

The ACA contraceptive mandate requires that the 20 covered birth-control methods be provided without “any cost sharing requirements.” This means they must be covered at 100 percent of expense, with no copay or deductible. Cancer drugs, on the other hand, are subject to copay and deductible requirements under Obamacare. This discrepancy epitomizes the deterioration of American liberalism from Hubert Humphrey to Sandra Fluke—from a focus on life-and-death struggles of ordinary working people to a preoccupation with sex. From the time Humphrey and Harry Truman first proposed some form of national health-care system, Democrats have spoken movingly, and with some justification, about the plight of those hit with the catastrophic costs of a serious illness or injury—middle-class Americans sitting up nights, worrying about how to pay their medical bills. But no one is worrying about how to pay for birth control pills—not when a month’s supply costs $9 at Walmart.

via After Hobby Lobby by Dennis Saffran, City Journal 8 July 2014.

Vegetative patient communicates with doctors for first time | News.com.au

Be VERY careful before you pull the plug.

MORE than a decade after a car crash left him in an apparently vegetative state, Scott Routley has been able to tell scientists he is not in pain.

Researchers have recorded the Canadian man’s responses to “yes” and “no” questions, as an MRI machined scanned his brain activity.

It’s the first time someone who is uncommunicative and severely brain damaged has been able to give answers related to their care and treatment.

Professor Adrian Owen, the study’s lead researcher at Canada’s University of Western Ontario, said 39-year-old Routley was clearly not vegetative and the text books needed rewriting.

Vegetative patients emerge from a coma into an “awake” state in which their eyes are open, but lack any perception of themselves or the outside world.

Technological advancement … researchers recorded Routley’s brain activity with fMRI scanners. Picture: BBC News Source: Supplied

“Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is,” Prof Owen told BBC News.

“Asking a patient something important to them has been our aim for many years. In future we could ask what we could do to improve their quality of life. It could be simple things like the entertainment we provide or the times of day they are washed and fed.”

via Vegetative patient communicates with doctors for first time | News.com.au.

To Have or to Be? by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal Spring 2014

I hesitate to quote Karl Marx, but he was surely right when, in “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon,” he wrote: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”

This truth, however, which is so obvious that it ought to be, if it is not, a cliché, does not mean that choice does not exist. The inevitable existence of circumstances does not mean absence or abrogation of choice. To know the circumstances of a man is not also to know his future actions.

via To Have or to Be? by Theodore Dalrymple, City Journal Spring 2014.

Why I am not having kids | Opinion | The Seattle Times

It’s too bad. Seattle is a great place to live, but I wish there were more kids around.

On our last vacation, my husband and I mulled over this question: “On your deathbed, what will you regret not doing?” We listed our answers at dinner on the last night. Neither of us mentioned children.

We have decided we have other things to give to the world. We won’t be having kids. We choose to be childless in Seattle.

We are not alone here. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates, children make up 15.3 percent of Seattle’s population. We are the second-most childless U.S. city behind San Francisco, which stands at 13.4 percent.

Observers say our childlessness shapes public attitudes toward education and quality-of-life issues, such as parks and playgrounds. I’ll be voting yes for Seattle’s $1.2 billion school levy measures on the Feb. 12 special-election ballot anyway.

I’m lucky. I live in a time and place where I have the freedom not to have kids. But that doesn’t mean society has fully accepted me.

Feminism empowered women to talk about motherhood as a pursuit that deserves as much attention as men’s work. In the past 20 years, women have bravely spoken about struggles to conceive, which helped educate a generation about fertility. But society rarely hears from women who decide not to have kids.

“Do you have children?” My friend’s standard answer is, “No, and it’s not for medical reasons.” I’m cribbing it.

Will I regret it?

via Why I am not having kids | Opinion | The Seattle Times.