In the Roman Empire, a mile was known as “mille passuum,” which is Latin for 1,000 paces. In this case, a pace consisted of “five sandal-shod Roman feet” and 5,000 “feet” was one mile. This worked because most of the known world was judged by Pax Romana. No measurement, law or judgment varied by province, country or continent, and all were enforced by Roman legions.
When Rome, which had ruled Britain, departed that country, the Brits were left with the Roman mile and the furlong, their agriculture measurement. A furlong, the distance a horse could pull a plow in a straight line before it needed rest, was used to measure farmers’ fields. This was used in the recording of deeds and legal transactions and was about 660 feet. A British mile, made up of eight furlongs, amounted to 5,280 feet. If a British farmer chose the Roman standard of 5,000 feet, he would lose 280 feet of land; not surprisingly, they adopted their own standard. (There has also been the UK Admiralty nautical mile, the Scottish mile, an Irish mile and an Arab mile. Today, we mostly measure in statute and nautical miles. There are also square miles, metric miles and, of course, kilometers.)
So, when is a mile not a mile? When there are no agreed-upon standards.
Without standards, there is inherent conflict. Standards provide agreed-upon absolutes that transcend time, culture, language and gender. Without standards, it is almost impossible to communicate effectively and, in fact, much would make little or no sense. The advantage of standards is the requirement that all agree to, or at least acknowledge, and submit themselves to same.
For example, on a recent speaking engagement in Connecticut, I noticed bikers on the interstate without helmets. (Hmm, no helmets; in Virginia that would get you a ticket.) Turns out, 28 states require some to wear helmets, 19 states and D.C. require all motorcyclists to wear helmets and three states require none.
Speed limits? In Europe, kilometers per hour is the order of the day. In America, it’s miles per hour. In America, we drive on the right side. In many European countries, they drive on the left. Just imagine the confusion arising if Europeans visiting America, and vice versa, failed or refused to adhere to these standards.
This is one of the reasons that many are concerned that our society is coming apart at the seams. Not because we are driving on the wrong side of a road, but because we are abrogating absolutes, slipping standards, and thereby rejecting the methods for judging and establishing moral clarity.
Not too long ago, a major TV talk-show host was extremely exercised in his defense of one’s right to “freely practice homosexual marriage as a civil liberty.” He was equally vociferous in his condemnation of the Catholic Church for refusing to allow priests to freely practice homosexuality. A federal appeals court in Boston recently declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Apparently, according to the court, “the law that defines marriage as a union between man and woman effectively denies federal benefits to married gay couples.” (Is that the new standard: qualifying for federal benefits?)
So, when is anything right or wrong? Or is it ever? Or today, is there any such thing as the apparently esoteric and archaic concept of right and wrong, moral or immoral?
This could bring up an interesting question since, according to evolutionary doctrine, we are all just animals: Will humans now be able to “wed” a different animal? Wouldn’t refusal to issue a license to marry Fido be a denial of the rights of animal lovers? Couldn’t any of the following be considered evidence of “true love”?
“Gunter,” a German shepherd dog was left $140,185,000 by his owner; “Kalu,” a chimpanzee, was bequeathed $62,304,000 by the daughter of a countess; “Tomasina,” an Italian stray alley cat, was left $15,576,100 in the will of its owner; “Trouble,” a Maltese terrier, inherited $9,345,000 from a woman who cut her grandchildren from her will. And, according to a news report, “In July 2000, Madonna sold her eight bedroom Miami villa for more than $7 million to agents acting on behalf of the dog.”
The aforementioned pro-homosexual rights TV talk-show host was properly incensed over the disappearance and possible death of a young girl in Florida, but he was, however, equally adamant that women should be allowed to exercise their pro-choice option: abortion. So, how does he vote on the following? Last week, we learned that Congress failed to pass the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or PRENDA, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. H.R. 3541 would have banned “pre-natal gender-determination” abortions. You know, gender specific, sex-selective abortions – sorry … “choices.” It is now legal in America to abort (choose) a fetus on the basis of its gender – in other words, “gendercide.”
Recent Fox News report: Unidentified female: “So then I’d want to schedule, try to schedule an ultrasound with an OB around then, and then I would still be able to come back here for a termination if it was a girl.” According to the report, that was from a video by the pro-life group Live Action taken inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. The report continues; “The woman went into the clinic allegedly posing as an expectant mother who only wanted to abort her baby if it turned out to be a girl.” (Hmmm, I wonder if the liberal, left-leaning, mostly Democrat feminists will view this as evidence that real progress is being made in America at last. Girls have finally been moved to the front of the line!)
Boy? Or girl? As you know, there is now a simple gender-specific blood test mothers-to-be can take to answer that question with a high degree of accuracy at about seven weeks. Incidentally, some reports indicate the test will not be sold at this time in China or India because of the Eastern families’ preference for boys. Contributing powerfully to their gendercide is the one-child policy in China and the high dowry rates in India. It is estimated that more than 100,000,000 baby girls are missing. One Indian mother laughingly described how she had eight pregnancies that were all girls and strangled and buried each one at birth. So, why not kill the girl baby early, instead of laboring through nine months only to discover you are on the hook for a large dowry to get rid of her later, or your one-child allotment has been wasted on a girl?
Is wrong always wrong? Right always right? So, if a “choice” is not “gender-specific,” is it OK? When is murder, murder? When an innocent dies, as the result of a deliberate act of violence perpetrated by another human being, that is murder. However, clothe the act with the political rhetoric of “moral equivalency” or call it “choice” and you change the equation.
From this perspective, if you clothe terrorists who kill innocents in Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel or New York City with the political rhetoric of moral equivalency, they become not “murderers” but “heroes” or “desperate freedom fighters.” And the mother (well, not a mother yet), girl, woman, female who exercises a “gender-neutral choice” is …? Are girls (even at seven weeks) human? Naah! A fetus? A pregnancy? Fetuses maybe, but certainly not human! (But wait! How did those women know it was a girl?)
A mile is not a mile until the term is defined. Without standards, a mile is not a mile, morality is nonexistent, a terrorist is not a terrorist and abortion is not murder – because without standards, the end justifies the means … always.