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Michael Morgenthau

The Assault on Rights: A Response to The Assault on Life

Russell Sitrit-Leibovich is wrong in his assault on a woman’s right to choose. His argument depends on specific religious beliefs, misses the mark on individual rights, makes philosophically untenable pronouncements, and fails to properly understand the issue at hand.Nonetheless I commend him for publicly promoting a position that many seek to silence.I was thoroughly disappointed, in fact disgusted, looking through the comments bellow Russell’s article. Russell was called a “S#$T” and a “racist.” That is entirely inappropriate.As well Russell’s points were ignored because he is a “white man.” If he were a man of colour would that make his points any different? If he were a woman would that make his arguments any truer? How can one argue that men should not weigh into the abortion debate? That is akin to saying that women should be barred from comment on fatherhood, male-homosexuality, and the biographies of historical male figures. Remember, men are also effected by the issue of abortion…there is such a thing as fatherhood.Despite these extreme left assaults on the pro-life movement, there is a need for a moderate analysis of the issue. That is why I have set out to write a moderate defense of a woman’s right to choose, going through and refuting Russell’s arguments.The crux of Russell’s argument is that in the 5 books of Moses “man is described as being created in the image of God.” Or in other words, he argues that God does not like abortion, so it should be illegal. Such an argument has no place in a secular society, but let’s engage with it for a moment anyways. Did not God give mankind freewill? Is this not the origin of the right to choose? Furthermore, noting that God is not a fan of death, he certainly must be more concerned with… Read More

Egypt Proves: Freedom Not Invented By the West

All countries should be liberal democracies. Liberal democracy entails both free and fair elections, as well as constitutional protection of civil liberties.The supremacy of this form of government is based in the philosophy of John Locke. Locke asks: why is there government in the first place? In the state of nature there is personal freedom. However, this freedom is unprotected. So, people unite, turning to governments, to protect their personal freedom. If a government breaches this mandate, “The People have a right to remove it by force” and “to resume their original Liberty.”Do any of the premises in this philosophical argument mention race or nationality? No. Ergo, the principle of liberal democracy is not bound by race or nation. It belongs to all peoples.Unfortunately, there are many who disagree. They say liberal democracy is fine for the west, but not necessary for the rest of the world.Harvard professor Amartya Sen gives the following impression of his students: “Is it right, the question is often asked, that non-Western societies should be encouraged and pressed to conform to “Western values of liberty and freedom? Is this not cultural imperialism?”I have often encountered a similar perspective here at McGill. If any readers were at Press Café a week last Friday, you might have heard me arguing with a friend of this particular view.Often these democratic naysayers hold deeply anti-Western views. They discount liberal democracy because they see it as a product of the West.Yet, the Egyptian protests prove that the West did not invent freedom. Liberty, and the liberal democratic system which upholds it, belongs to all mankind.The Egyptian protesters are fighting for these very liberties on which liberal democracy is based. “What are [your demands]?” Al Jazeera asks a group of three Egyptian protesters. “Freedom of political participation, religious freedom, removal of… Read More

Confessions of a “Test Taker”

Am I becoming a test taker?Many of my friends and professors think we, McGill students, are all test takers.A test taker is a student that learns how to take tests, instead of learning actual information or analytical skills. Their goal is a high GPA. Information goes in one ear, and out the other.If I become a test taker it is because McGill has made me one. I came to McGill and I found a lack of learning, but still needed to keep up a high GPA. Test taking seems like the only way. A lack of learning…. what a crazy assertion. But where, I ask, is there true learning?Certainly not at lectures, which combine zombie graveyards and movie theatres. Students, the undead, stare as a person talks for an entire hour. Many students just don’t go to lecture, and those that do are on Facebook. What about readings? Readings are too long and too plentiful. To do all of one’s assigned readings would take 25 hours a day. The result: students don’t do them. This brings us to conferences. Conferences are good. In contrast to listening and reading, discussion taps into a whole other part of our brain. It is the best way to have an “ah-ha!” moment. Alas, many classes at McGill don’t have conference discussions. The ones that do devote less then one third of class time towards them. These conferences usually have up to 30 kids…hardly an intimate discussion. Yet despite this lack of enlightenment, I still need good grades. After all, I don’t want to end up at an online university for grad school.  So, if not by learning, then how to get those grades?The answer has always been right in front of me: joining test taker nation.How does one engage in test taking? Every evaluation has a… Read More

Sustainability Needs to be Cool

Do you double side your printed work? Do you turn off the lights when you leave a room? Do you bring bags to the grocery store? Do you recycle all your plastics? Do you use a reusable water bottle? Chances are you wouldn’t get a 4.0 when it comes to answering these questions. The truth is most people wouldn’t and neither would I. Humanity will continue to abstain from many of these simple tasks. At least that is until environmentalists convince us that sustainability is cool. Understanding that these things are easy is not enough. Understanding that they are important is not enough. I understand how easy and how important it is to double side my printed work.The world produces over 300 million tons of paper a year. The result: deforestation and all its consequences. Those consequences range from global warming to the depletion of medical resources.Paper amounts to 20% of deforestation. By double siding we can reduce deforestation by nearly 10%.Such a small task can make a huge impact. Yet, despite this understanding, I have stopped my double sided printing. I embraced double sided printing for about two years. As soon as I changed printers I stopped. All the small steps mentioned above can make a big impact, but most of us don’t follow these steps.My challenge for environmentalists is this: get us to do these things. Guilt isn’t working. You need to try something new. Government can use economic incentives. Toronto instituted a five-cent bag tax on shopping bags. Everywhere I go in the (great) city I see reusable shopping bags to spare. This was the principle behind the policy wise, yet politically mishandled carbon tax. Tax carbon, and people will use less of it. As pointed to, there is an even more powerful incentive then economics. People do things when they… Read More