Monday, June 26, 2006

The world cup passes America by

Whilst the rest of the world follows the world cup, the United States looks on with bemusement. This article in the Weekly Standard pretty much sums up the parochial attitute of many Americans.

There are many theories as to why football (or soccer as the Americans call it) has never taken off. One theory is that the TV networks didn't see any commercial viability in a game that goes on for 45 minutes without a commercial break.

That being said, there is a major soccer league, the sport is popular amongst schoolchildren and university students, and there are soccer summer camps all over the country. I was counsellor at Camp Ramah some years back, and we used play co-ed soccer regularly. Not only were the players very good, the women were even better than the men!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Should we be prosecuting people for what they believe in?

Melanie Phillips writes about the British government's equality law that could see religious schools prosecuted if they teach that homosexuality is sinful. In fact, they could be prosecuted just for failing to promote gay issues. (and this in a country where the Prime Minister is a religious Christian).

You can prosecute people for their actions, but it's both illiberal and dangerous to prosecute people for their beliefs. After all, the best way to tackle bigotry head on is to debate it. But Britain's MPs have already made their mind up, there's nothing to debate. It reminds me of the saying: Liberals are all for tolerance and understanding, so long as you agree with them.

The Nanny State rules!

The Times reports that an increasing number of British MPs support a total ban on smacking.

I have no interest in debating the rights and wrongs of smacking, I'm not even sure that I approve of it, but that doesn't mean that I believe in banning it. And that's the difference between Europe and America. Whilst US politicians believe in leaving people to their own devices (smacking is legal in all 50 States), European legislators have an innate distrust in people's ability to take care of themselves (or their children) without the government supervising them. That's why Europe is often referred to as a "Nanny State".

As Mark Steyn once put it: The US Constitution begins with the words "We the people..." The starting point for the EU constitution is "We know better than the people".