The essay would have value if there were absolutes. Never have been, never shall be. Our standards of behavior are devised by us, and used or misused by us. We decide which is good and which is evil, and in every case we are right and wrong at one and the same time.

Each of our rules and regulations is enforced through agreement, and through coercion. The wise among us agree to follow the laws because it makes for a calmer, safer life. The fools among us must be made to follow those same laws because they haven't the wisdom to see the necessity. And this speaks of those ordinances that do make sense.

Those that do not have to be enforced through coercion more often than not because they really don't make any sense. And there are times when our rules make more or less sense than other times because circumstances differ.

We are responsible for our laws, and for our adherence to them. Our legislation being wise is to our credit. Our legislation being cruel is to our shame. Nobody else can remove that charge from our shoulders.

Posted by Alan Kellogg at August 4, 2008 6:05 AM

"Castle Rock, Maine."

That's what modern Western society is starting to remind me of: the fictitious town created by Stephen King as a setting for a number of his most memorable horror books.

In Castle Rock, certain of the children see the evil that is around them, but the others -- and especially the morose, beaten-down adults -- pretend that nothing is wrong. We are asked to pretend so much that we may soon have a pretend President.

Posted by Roderick Reilly at August 4, 2008 3:27 PM

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