Thursday, March 13, 2003

Today Dennis Prager focused on the apparent rise of antisemitism in his first hour, proceeded to talk about the importance of marriage to society and its members during the second hour and concluded his program with an interview of Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard.

I think I shall keep my comments brief. I am somewhat worried about rising antisemitism in the world but less so in the US. I think the fact that the US is neither racially nor religiously homogeneous prevents anything untoward from happening here. My own experience in this regard has fortunately been limited to only one incident in college where I recall a conversation that ended with the claim that the Jews control the media. Other than that I don't think I have really encountered any antisemitism. Nevertheless, the increasing number of antisemitic voices on the Left in the US, as well as a few definite voices on the Right are worthy of keeping an eye on.

On the issue of marriage I agree with Prager with the the usual provisos. I also believe marriage is important and signifies a public declaration of commitment. As he says it is certainly a contract but in many ways more than a contract. I cannot agree with his view that a religious ceremony is necessarily superior to a secular one. A religious ceremony is certainly usually more elaborate but whether it means that the individuals involved will take their vows more seriously depends on their integrity and rationality (and the rationality of the vows themselves). Of course, if one religiously believes that divorce should never happen (as some Catholics still do) then one will stay together for life regardless of the consequences. I don't consider such an outcome superior to a secular divorce.

Finally, the interview with Mr. Kristol reviewed some of the arguments for war with Iraq and some of the positions that Mr. Kristol's publication took over the years with respect to terrorism and other issues. In general, I like Mr. Kristol's positions in the area of foreign policy far more than his stances on some social policy issues. However there are exceptions in both cases.

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