- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006

Philosophy trek

“The conundrum of free will and destiny has always kept me dangling. Everything in the universe follows concrete rules: the galaxies move in predictable ways. Stars are formed within definitive parameters. Viruses mutate. From the highest to the lowest, physics shows us that everything works according to rules we can observe.

“The only fly in the ointment is man’s free will. I could go down those stairs and leave right now, right in the middle of this interview, and I could do so by my own free will, alienating Esquire magazine. But I choose not to alienate Esquire magazine, and I stay. I think I’m operating under free will. But am I? That’s the dilemma. God is either in the destiny or the free will. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer this morning.”

William Shatner, interviewed by Mike Sager, in the February issue of Esquire

Yeah, yeah, yeah

“The Beatles released ‘Let It Be,’ the last of their 13 albums, 36 years ago. Today there is no one musical group or soloist capable of commanding the attention paid to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr between 1964, when they first appeared on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ and 1970, when McCartney announced that the group was disbanding. Just as there is no longer a common culture, so there is no longer a common style of music to which most English-speaking people listen. …

“[B]etween the late ‘60s, when rock became the lingua franca of the baby boomers, and the late ‘90s, when the disintegration of the common culture brought its stylistic hegemony to an end, the best rock groups had much to offer the serious music lover.

“Without the Beatles, this might not have been the case.”

Terry Teachout, writing on “The Beatles Now,” in the February issue of Commentary

‘Witch hunters’

“When I lost my column with the Scripps Howard News Service, I knew many liberals would be dancing in the streets. I knew they’d take the charges against me … false as they were, and distort them further to make a ho-hum story (the mainstream media virtually ignored it) into ‘The Scandal of the Century.’

“What I didn’t know was that the most malicious and false attack would appear on [National Review Online]. …

“I reported that, after Doug Bandow lost his column albeit for reasons having nothing to do with his right-wing beliefs, leftist groups ‘realized they might eliminate more of their critics by simply accusing them of being paid corporate shills, and then siccing the media on them to see what they could dig up.’

“Lefties will be automatically passed over, as was New York Times ‘economist’ Paul Krugman’s ‘extra-curricular paychecks over the years.’ … Just as blacks can’t be racists, we’re told, liberal writers can’t be corporate stooges. …

“This is a time to band together against the witch hunters, not to succor those who aid them. The ultimate purpose of the hunt is not to remove individuals but to weaken the entire conservative and free-market movement. As my case shows, innocence is no defense. We either present a united front or we watch as, one by one, we’re each led to the stake.”

Michael Fumento, writing on “Seipp’s Snipe,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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