- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2002

Top choice

"I tuned in to CNN and saw Ted Williams' daughter complaining that her half-brother has frozen Williams' body and hopes to sell his DNA.

"That seemed so eerie. Maybe reproductive cloning should be banned outright. But then I thought, wait a second just because something makes you briefly nauseous doesn't mean it's wrong. So I started to try to articulate a good, rational argument against selling Williams' DNA to women who want a son with 20-10 eyesight and quick wrists. So far I haven't gotten very far.

"How different is this act of female reproductive choice from the act of choosing an athletic husband with whom to procreate? OK, pretty different, I guess but what exactly is bad about the way it's different?"

Robert Wright, writing Tuesday in the Slate Dialogues at www.slate.com

Vive la Islam?

"France has a problem with its Muslim population that may be too multifaceted to solve. The government now estimates its Muslim population at 4 million to 5 million. These numbers underestimate the weight of French Islam, since the population is concentrated and thanks to a birthrate that, while falling, remains a multiple of the native-French one extremely young. In parts of Paris, Marseilles, Rhone-Alpes, and Strasbourg, between a third and half of people in their teens and 20s are Muslim. [T]he word jeunes (or 'youths') has come to be used as a euphemism for 'Arab thugs.'

"As far as Islam is concerned, France has had a tendency to avoid looking at problems until they rear up on several fronts. First, France now has an underclass, made up of jeunes issus d'immigration. Second, there is an ongoing problem of racial discrimination, which is both a cause of Arab/Muslim poverty and an effect of Arab/Muslim crime. Third, there is Islam itself, which has confounded every governmental attempt to assimilate it into France's sternly secular constitutional order. Fourth, there is the rapidly increasing influence of conservative Islam in France, in the context of a global terrorist war that certain schools of conservative Islam have declared on the West.

"[A]ccording to a poll taken in 2000 63 percent of French people think there are 'too many Arabs' in the country. This may be evidence of racism, but not of knee-jerk racism: Only 43 percent of Frenchmen say the same of blacks, only 21 percent of Asians, and only 19 percent of Jews."

Christopher Caldwell, writing on "Allah Mode," in the July 15 issue of the Weekly Standard

Outmoded sport

"The World Cup has given rise to yet another surge of pro-soccer propaganda. Like the Communists and the Third World despots of the 1970s, soccer partisans claim to represent the wave of the future and see the United States as the decadent, wheezing past.

"If this line sounds familiar, it's because we've been hearing it for more than 25 years. Growing up in the '70s, all of us kids played soccer. But when we got old enough, everybody started playing football, and by high school soccer was largely relegated to shaggy athletic misfits. In most of the United States, soccer is a sport for younger children who then progress on to other sports. Assuming the sport of the next generation is soccer is akin to assuming the drink of the next generation is apple juice.

"Also like the Communists, soccer's fellow travelers routinely smear their opponents as rabid right-wingers. What the soccer elites don't grasp is that Americans, not unreasonably, associate soccer with weakness. In football, the kicker is the smallest, wimpiest player on the field. When Americans see soccer, they see a game consisting entirely of kickers.

"Yes, soccer hatred has a certain socially retrograde element. (My high school football coach would not even deign to utter the word 'soccer' he called it 'communist, homosexual activity.') But the simple truth is that no football-playing nation has ever lost a war to a soccer-playing nation."

Jonathan Chait, writing on "Kick Stand," in the July 8 issue of the New Republic

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