— How goes it?
— Well, I will admit that I wasn't looking forward to seing you here today.
— Thanks a lot! How so?
— I found out that my son has been looking at pornography on the Internet.
— And you expected me to what, be glad about it?
— Well, you're such a fan of nudism . . .
— Wait. I said that every argument that can be advanced against nudism can be applied to the wars overseas, and I said that every argument in support of what the TSA does at airports can be applied to nudism, but if you remember, that was my way of saying that the wars and the TSA are immoral, not that nudism is moral. If either of us was saying that nudism is a good thing, it was you, by rejecting my argument.
— Well whatver, I don't think looking at pornography is good.
— I might surprise you and think it's not good too. But is there anything to be thankful for here?
— We're supposed to rejoice evermore and in everything give thanks. So what's there to rejoice and give thanks about?
— Help me here.
— No, seriously. Could he have been looking at anything worse than what you think he was looking at, or doing something even worse?
— Oh, yeah. I'm sure there's worse out there.
— Can you tell what his favorite stuff is?
— Yeah, he'd fit in with you. He says he doesn't want to see sex. Just nudity.
— Be careful what you accuse me of. So he's into chicks, but nothing kinky.
— Well, see there's something to be thankful for. He could be looking at baseball.
— I wish he had been looking at baseball.
— What I meant was it would be worse if he were looking at baseball.
— Looking at baseball is worse than looking at naked women? You're out of your mind. Wait. Don't tell me. Let's see if I remember. Doctors and TSA agents look at naked women all the time, so they're inured to it, so it's not a sin, and if my son looks at enough naked women he'll get inured and everything will be hunky-dory. I'm supposed to believe that?
— If he were inured to it, he wouldn't do it for fun, would he?
— No, he'd move on to other things. But those other things might be worse. Like kinky sex. Like sadomasochsim. Like mass murder, the way Ted Bundy went. Bundy said he started out with pornography and went on to mass murder. I don't want my son to go that way.
— I don't want your son to end up a mass murderer either. That's why I say you don't want him watching baseball.
— The blogger from hell won't have a post until you tell my why, so I'll be a good straight man here. How is it that baseball leads to mass murder?
— It does perhaps more often than pornography, but not always.
— And the connection is . . .
— It's right here. The San Diego Padres' Sunday home uniforms. That is a stylized combat outfit, right?
— It is. So what?
— Professional baseball players are glorifying people who go off and murder innocent people.
— You're assuming what you need to prove, that the US Army is guilty of murder.
— Ever heard of My Lai? Or Najibian? And if Eisenhower and MacArthur were right, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mass murder on a scale Ted Bundy wouldn't have undertaken if you'd offered it to him. Do you think Jesus is a hundred percent OK with how the west was won, or Sherman's march through Georgia, or the killing of a quarter million Filipinos after the Spanish left?
— Those were exceptions.
— So was Ted Bundy. The number of people looking at naked women is greater than the grains of sand on the seashore, but we can pretty much count the people who have gone from there to becoming mass murderers. The number of people involved in those wholesale slaughters runs into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
— Sheesh. Even if you're right, that still doesn't involve baseball.
— So you don't think that the Padres and Major League Baseball are at all complicit in the "collateral damage" our military is creating overseas.
— It's up to you to prove that they are.
— How about if I show you that baseball is an arm of the government? Would that help make my point?
— Yeah. Like drinking extract of peach pits "helps support" good health.
— So what would convince you?
— I don't know what would, but I can't seem to shut you up. How is baseball an arm of the government?
— Of the thirty stadiums in the major leagues, twenty-nine were built with government money. Every Little League I know of plays on government property, either a government school yard or a park. Almost every baseball program between Little League and the major leagues is played on government property, the exceptions being private schools that have baseball programs. How'm I doin'?
— So the government generously provides these things. So what?
— The government generously takes my money against my will and provides these things.
— That's just "sour grapes." Besides, that's local government, not the feds.
— Taking my money to build baseball stadiums is of a piece with taking my money to kill innocent people.
— Says you.
— Why do you think Congress has held hearings to prodsecute the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for steroid use?
— Because those men are in a position of influence, and what they do to their bodies can influence children, and protecting children is the government's business.
— So the government needs to control them.
— Who controls this arm?
— Oh, so because the government controls it, it's an arm of the government.
— Who else's arm would it be?
— I'm still not convinced. And I still would rather have my son watching baseball than looking at pornography.
— Depending on your definition of pornography, I would too. If pornography is the graphic representation of extramarital sexual activity, I certainly would say he's better off with baseball. But you said that's not where he's at.
— Do you really think it's better for him to be looking at naked women than watching a baseball game?
— I've never heard of nudists blowing up innocent people and then being proud of it the way the people who unfurl the flag, sing the national anthem, and salute the military flyovers at baseball games are proud of those who kill thousands of people overseas and then deny their victims' humanity by calling them collateral damage. There's something to be said for having the goal of living in peace and asking only to be left alone.
— But—good grief!—they run around naked!
— But—good grief!—baseball players steal other people's money to build their stadiums! I don't know how accomplished you are at taking other people's property, but I suspect you've been naked with no one objecting. You might even have been naked in the presence of other people who didn't object. When was the last time you heard of someone taking other people's property against their will without those people being unhappy about it, let alone bombing their houses or killing their family members?
— These are just the tragedies of war. They can't be helped.
— Who would you rather have fora neighbot? Someone who runs around naked, or someone who would blow up your house and kill your family with no regrets if he thought it were the best way to protect his interests?
— Nudism is just wrong. And besides, these people get kids hooked into that system.
— Collateral damage includes children dead and maimed. Do you think flyovers and honor guards and other connections of baseball with the military, and government in general, has no influence on getting kids to join the military, let alone to accept government programs like schools and parks that are financed by theft?
— Come on, those stadiums were built with bond issues, or through the decisions of elected officials. That's not stealing!
— So if five people decide to take what belongs to one other person, or four other people, it's not stealing?
— Not if it's government.
— So if a government agency were to open a nudist resort, it would be OK for them to tax you to support it?
— No, it wouldn't. Nudist resorts are inherently immoral. Schools and hospitals and baseball stadiums aren't inherently immoral.
— And neither is killing innocent people?
— Not if we aren't targeting them. Bad things happen in war. That's why it's so important to fight them over there: so we don't have to fight them over here.
— Is there any limit to the number of innocent people you can collaterally damage before it becomes immoral?
— Not if the alternative is that we lose the war.
— And it's also OK to tax people to build baseball stadiums, but not nudist resorts.
— And there's no moral limit to the amount of taxation as long as people benefit from what the government does with the revenue.
— If the end of a nudist resort can disqualify taxation as a means for acquiring revenue, doesn't that mean the the end of a baseball stadium, or even a school or hospital, justifies that same means of taxation? Aren't you giving me an end-justifies-the-means argument for all taxation?
— So when does the end justify the means and when does it not?
— The end never justifies the means, but it can disqualify it.
— So if the end is good, taxation is OK, but if the end is bad, it's not.
— But that doesn't mean that the end justifies the means.
— Right. Look, this hasn't been any help at all. I think there are better things my son can be doing with his time than looking at naked women.
— Really? Like what?
— Like reading the Bible, or the classics, or praying, or meditating on Scripture, or getting in touch with people who need company, or volunteering somewhere. Or learning a musical instrument or a foreign language, or woodworking, or painting, or writing poetry or hymns.
— I notice that . . .
— Or watching baseball. You can look at naked women all you want, but I don't want him doing that.
— I don't want me doing that either. Everything on your list is better.
— Even the baseball?
— No, but since I still watch it occasionally, I guess I'd better shut up.
— It's about time.