The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


'To these from birth is Belief forbidden'



Readers of the blog know how much I like Rudyard Kipling's "Sons of Martha." One phrase from the poem was bouncing around in my head when I was thinking back on the Rolling Stone UVa alleged gang rape story: "To these from birth is Belief forbidden."

Kipling, of course, was writing about engineers, not about journalists; though both are "concerned with matters hidden," they are concerned in different ways, and they worry about different things. (Engineers rarely need to deal with physical laws lying to them, or even physically laws innocently forgetting vital details.) But both need to be primarily skeptics, rather than Believers.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the poem before, read it—you're in for a treat.