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Further Reading


November 02, 2015

Weekly Salvo

True Tales of Halloween

Actress Lena Dunham announced in her e-mail newsletter that this year she'd found the perfect get-up for Halloween. "The most successful Halloween costumes are classic but topical, sexy but funny, not too ugly and not too obscure, perfect conversation starters and ideal photo-ops. . . . And this year, I think may have finally nailed it. I'm going as something newsy, sexy, and cool: a Planned Parenthood doctor!"

While Halloween may have given Dunham an opportunity to be tasteless and crude, it gave the PC police on college campuses another chance to broadcast their message, literally.

The University of Washington emailed a six-minute video to all students last week describing in detail what not to wear for Halloween. Representatives from the Pacific Islander Student Commission warned students that leis and island print shirts are offensive. The Student Disability Commission counseled against wearing straitjackets. The Queer Student Commission apprised students that drag is an art form and vehicle of self-exploration "deeply woven into the queer community" and therefore off limits. And a member of the Asian Student Commission announced that unless someone is an actual kung fu or karate master they shouldn't dress up as one.

We wonder if the university would have included an admonition from a pro-life student group against dressing up as an abortionist. Somehow we doubt it. •

Salvo has covered the culture of political correctness on college campuses extensively. We recommend "Hate Speech They Love", "The Illusionist," and "Lukianoff's Ashes."

• Further reading from Salvo on the abortion debate: Does Morality Exist? Conscience & the Problem of Relativism by E. Christian Brugger

. . . I am proposing what seems to me uncontroversial: that members of both sides in the abortion debate can see the point of the other side's position, even if they disagree with it. If this is the case, then we must admit that the moral point of things can be seen and debated. Although I may think someone else is wrong in calling an act unfair, I don't think the concept of unfairness has no meaning, is intrinsically unintelligible. Similarly, when I argue that abortion is an injustice, defenders don't argue that the term "justice" is nonsensical; rather, they disagree, saying that abortion is not unjust, or not always unjust. Their interpretation of what abortion is, and what justice demands, differs from mine in a way that changes the conclusions of their moral reasoning.

Do you see what I'm getting at? The very language we use when we argue over moral issues implies that there are standards outside that language. We are not merely saying that the other's behavior "does not happen to please me"; rather, we are appealing to a standard that we expect the other to know. Philosophy and theology have a name for this standard. They call it the natural moral law. . . .

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