Cutting to the current semester, my Ethics and Values students will be contributing posts to a course blog. (Sorry--this will be a private, students-only blog not available on Blogger or anywhere else.) To give them some idea of what I had in mind, I drummed up the following. It runs on *much* longer than what they're expected to do, but it hopefully establishes some parameters.
For those who find this stuff interesting, please add a comment. Before you get angry, though, do remember here I'm blogging for a student audience.
If you want something done right....
do it yourself. Or at least show folks what you have in mind.
So here goes. Curious about this blog assignment? Read through this once or twice and then construct your own. My first post (because who knows? maybe I'll post a couple more...) will be longer than your 150-250 word requirement.
First, a couple things: a) social media--if you're on Facebook and/or Twitter, feel free to connect at www.facebook.com/pages/Spiritual-Diabetes/ and @SpiritualDiabet. I have another blog at http://spiritualdiabetes.blogspot.com/. You are not required any of these. Just FYI... b) keep the old 1980s song in mind: "Show me, Don't Tell me"; work on weaving together your argument with the sources you use. Embed your link (so we can access it) and then start commenting. That's the "show"; if it's just a rant, then you're merely "telling."
Second, OK, so much in the news to discuss and so little time and space. Sorry, there will be no discussions of Taylor Swift's switch to pop music or comments about the Kardashians. (Hint--you shouldn't either.) Here are two article to mull over. First, Dr. Tim Muldoon at Boston College muses about the new semester's beginning, and particularly so at a Catholic university. "Catholic education," broadly speaking and, this is important, regardless of major, should do more way more than make us employable. It should make us free. Free from:
- Popular opinion
- The myopia of the “now”
- Slavish dependence on technology for happiness
- [The student's own] undisciplined desires
- Approval of others
- The hope for wealth
To be clear, there are plausible prudential arguments against the United States involving itself directly in a military capacity against ISIS. But the idea that pacifist strategies are sufficient to stop berserkers like ISIS strikes me as crackpot. I can only imagine how this sort of thing sounds to refugee Christians in the region.
Sometimes, war is the answer. It may not be the answer for the United States in this particular situation — I am not convinced that it is; Pat Buchanan has some wise words about US policy on this matter — but there will be no stopping ISIS without somebody taking up arms and shooting them all. War is the answer when all other possible answers have been tried and failed, but there really is such a thing as just war. If war against ISIS is not a just war by Christian standards, then what on earth is?
Now this is not the time or place to start a long argument about American military involvement since Vietnam. Rather, Dreher's argument represents one (and only one) attempt to do what we're studying in our ethics course: look at a current situation (in this case, a particularly frightening and violent one) and, with the benefit of our own experiences plus the insights from several traditions, discern (there's Muldoon again) a plan of action that makes sense to ourselves and others. Sometimes the conclusions, you see Dreher admitting, will assuredly result in death. Still, something, something effective, must be done.
And that's it! Remember you need only post about 150 to 250 words. Just remember, to be polite and prudent...and cite your sources!