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January 25, 2008

Comments

I encourage everyone to check out the LAT article. It was absolutely stunning. It was as close to an admission of pro-choice defeat as you're ever going to read in a major newspaper. It was almost a "waving the white flag" moment. (See a NewsBusters post on this.) I kept waiting for Kissling and Michelman to make their strong pro-choice case, but it never really came. Their new strategy essentially boiled down to, "We need to have a meeting, talk, and figure this out." Pretty weak! IMHO.

By the way, my copy of Steve's book arrived yesterday. (Wow. That was fast delivery.) I can't wait to dig into it. It looks good. Congrats, Steve.

DPierre: All I can say is, "wow!" Indeed, this is a tacit admission of defeat, at least at the philosophical underpinnings level. All they can say is, "we've gotta come up with a better case for choice."

They say some pretty silly things at the beginning, including claiming that a lack of blanket federal funding for abortion is, "some of the most restrictive policies in the developed world." How is the gov't not paying for something restrictive? That's a hoot!

We should be working harder than we ever have before. We are making progress!

Steve,

I have your book in my collection. Thanks.

How can I link to only (one) post? It does not seem to work.

This article should encourage all of us in the pro-life count to realize that we are making a difference. At the same time, we need to rethink some of our strategies.
Too much attention is given to legislation where abortion is concerned. Let's not forget that Roe vs. Wade was thrust upon the public by an activist judiciary. Legislative onslaughts by well-meaning pro-life groups and lawmakers have yielded precious few victories.
I think what Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson wrote in "Blinded By Might" is very true: Our efforts need to be put toward fighting abortion on the demand side. We further God's Kingdom more by supporting pregnancy support clinics and equipping young women, not by protesting or appearing on cable TV news shows to get attacked by the pro-choice media. The church does its best work when it concentrates on ministering to hurting individuals more than appealing to human institutes like our government for saving changes.

This is a classic case of getting what you wish for. Prior to Roe, the focus was naturally on the problems inherent with prohibition. Post Roe the focus naturally switched to the problems inherent with abortion being legal. Due to very real inadequacies in our public square each side gets off easy at some point.

The pro-choicers are paying the price for decades of inattention to the underlying issues as will the antiabortion folks should they eventually prevail.

The brain dead thinking of the pro choice movement in shown by the articles passing reference to, "Let's face it: Disapproval of women's sexuality is a historical constant. So our claim that women can be trusted still falls on deaf ears," and "The court's 2007 decision on so-called partial-birth abortions was an unprecedented infringement on physician autonomy." This should be a central issue in the debate. One has to question if Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman have actually read 18 U.S.C. 1531, Kennedy's decision and Ginsburg's dissent. There's nothing unfair about pointing out that, when the rubber hits the road, anti-abortion laws are more about protecting the ability of certain women to get abortions while putting others in their place and depreciating the status of all women. Why they use a throw away line with one of their best points is beyond me.

If the PBA bill and the thinking behind Carhart II accurately reflects the limits of the implementation process as opposed to the "lo, the noble fetus" boiler plate then one has to wonder where the duos' heads are at.

On the other hand, this will likely bite you folks at some point. One of the problems with analogizing the anti-abortion side to the Abolitionists is that a finality is implied that will never happen. Slavery and Jim Crow seem to be linear in that there seems to be no energy to reinstitutionalize either.

Abortion, on the other hand is likely a pendulum issue that will swing back and forth depending on who is prevailing at any given motive. The Irish are perhaps an example here.

"Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution was amended as follows: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.'"

http://www.ifpa.ie/abortion/hist.html

Adopted in 1983 by a referendum, there have since been court decisions and popular referenda weakening the provision. There is now a strong pro-choice movement in Ireland.

As the case against abortion has been almost entirely philosophical and theological with a total unwillingness to address the legal implications in the context of the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of the several states, I would expect that the actual overturn of Roe would leave the anti-abortion side somewhat unprepared for the opposition the absence of Roe would occasion.

Hi Heath as a side note I would refer you to this post on Mirror of Justice:

http://www.mirrorofjustice.com/mirrorofjustice/2008/01/abortions-and-s.html

(copy to here to link)

(After reading MOJ for awhile, I think I understand why Dr. Beckwith became an RC.)

Hi Steve, I read question 7 and found it a bit too contrived. How about a real case? I know personal knowledge) of a case where an intruder beats and rapes an 18 year old woman and ends the encounter by smashing a typewriter on her head and face necessitating a series of reconstructive surgeries. Is it hard to understand her desire to put all that behind her?

Excellent observations on the article - and they should be applauded for their admission, however keep your eye on them at all times.

What's the motivation, though? The premise of the article is that there is a pro-abortion moral high ground to be regained. This is deceptive for several reasons:

1. Elective abortion is really a sin (morality) concealment behavior at it's roots. Overwhelmingly, it is immorality that is being concealed. Given Planned Parenthood Golden Gates ads with the focus on promoting casual sex, (Such as the recent mile-high ad) it's disingenuous to portray themselves as even being morally good. There's a mound building and it doesn't smell good.

2. The death of approximately 50 million Americans from abortion is a moral outrage. In any other venue it would be considered a crime against humanity and the perpetrators would be subject to hanging. Yet the distributed nature of what has happened leaves so many hands covered in blood, the only way to demonstrate just retribution would be to hold those who knew better accountable for their efforts. Don't think this hasn't occured to many of the highly visible public pro-abortion leaders.

The game is one of concealment and deception played out over time before the truth becomes overwhelmingly evident. They've already had the discussions within - their greatest fear is that one day the dam will break and the nation will be flooded with tears first - then anger and what follows.

I sense self-preservation to be their new choice because they are just beginning to realize that too can be "aborted" - by society.

>>How can I link to only (one) post? It does not seem to work.

Kyl, if you right click on the title in the "Recent Posts" list, and then "open in new tab" or "open in new window," you'll leave the STR blog frame and see the Typepad address.

Alan,
You said you "would expect that the actual overturn of Roe would leave the anti-abortion side somewhat unprepared for the opposition the absence of Roe would occasion."
You failed to elaborate and explain what you mean by that. From my pro-life vantage point, people on my side must contend with why people have abortions in the first place. While many pregnant women can be assisted with hardships they face, there is one problem for which none of us has a fix: selfishness.
The greatest reason cited for having abortions is "I just don't want a baby right now."
That doesn't seem to stop people, however, from taking the precautions to keep from getting pregnant. You know, like practicing abstinence.
Many pro-choice people have this idea that it falls to all pro-lifers to solve all of society's ills before they concede that abortion is a bad thing.
At what point will the pro-choice community invest in a little responsibility and common sense where reproduction is concerned?
You know, if I didn't know that little lives are snuffed out with each abortion, if I thought abortion was just another medical procedure like a tonsillectomy, I wouldn't care. But as a former fetus, I feel a great deal of care and sympathy for the little underdogs whose lives are lost because of basic selfishness. Too bad sympathy for the underdog doesn't take root in all quarters.

"You failed to elaborate and explain what you mean by that."

Hi Heath, just as there are those who vote Republican because of the Party's plank on abortion so are there those who vote Republican because Roe acts as a firewall against that plank being actualized. Remove Roe and that changes.

Also it is easy to oppose abortion as long as one has it available because "my case is different and special from those others". When the availability of abortion is actually on the line as a realized reality folks' perceptions and voting patterns will change.

"Many pro-choice people have this idea that it falls to all pro-lifers to solve all of society's ills before they concede that abortion is a bad thing."

Not at all. The reality is that criminalization is a deal-killer for many folks. As long as the anti-abortion side is opposed to solutions that involve safety net issues, we will be at an impass.

Alan, I think your idea is that the pro-life movement is some Machiavellian attempt at power politics the way the pro-choice community typically plays. Put away the cracked lenses and realize that the pro-life community is concerned with women and their babies. It's not a strategy for winning votes, it's not a tactic for "keeping women down." Since half of all babies aborted are little girls, can you make the case that the pro-choice community cares about women? I mean, really?
Isn't abortion a perfect way for irresponsible men to get out of taking care of the lives they help create? How does that benefit women? You can appeal to rights and high-minded principles, but many women abort not because they want to but because they get no support from their baby's biological dads.
And by the way, Alan, it's "pro-life" -- not anti-abortion. Are you OK with being referred to as anti-life? How about pro-death? That sounds more like truth in advertising.
As far as safety nets go, if a woman's life is in danger because of a pregnancy, any doctor worth his salt will try to save both lives. If he can't, that's triage. Aborting because you decide you don't want a baby is, well, selfish. Let's not mix and mingle actual health risks and desperate need with people playing God based on their own selfish whims.

"Put away the cracked lenses and realize that the pro-life community is concerned with women and their babies."

Hi Heath, those who support universal health care are so concerned; others are either fooling themselves or have another agenda. The Schaivo case and the partial birth issue clearly showed that. As the record clearly shows the Schaivo case was a tissue of lies and distortions and PPA was a phony issue designed to raise money and gin up the troops. BTW, have you actually read the law (18 U.S.C. 1531)? Here is a link to the U. S. Code:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/

And the decision (GONZALES v. CARHART) and dissent? Here is the link:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=abortion&url=/supct/html/05-380.ZS.html

There is no way to read these as being other than designed to diminish the moral and legal status of women, as well as eliminating health as a consideration. BTW, show me an abortion law that isn't class based.

Besides you beg the question. It's fine to be concerned with women and their children. If your solution is laws as opposed to social safety net solutions then you need to justify that on a results basis. Criminalization is unacceptable to pro-choicers but other approaches usually aren't. It's the so called "pro-lifers" who, by their insistence on class based criminalization and, for Protestants at least, their ideologically and politically based opposition to effective, non-coercive use of the state to reduce abortions who have polarized the country.

Pro-choice means just that. The woman chooses, at least in the early stages. Anti-abortion is just that for those who seek to limit things to criminalization - i.e. using the power of the state to compel a women to carry a pregnancy to term regardless of the stage. I will allow that someone who advocates a serious social safety net (universal health care, etc.) regardless of their position on choice can claim to be pro-life, I guess - otherwise not.

"but many women abort not because they want to but because they get no support from their baby's biological dads."

And some women no doubt abort because they look at the jerk and the last thing they want is an 18 year tie to a moron.

"Aborting because you decide you don't want a baby is, well, selfish."

Our experiences sometimes make us realistic or even cynical. Sometime not aborting isn't so altruistic. Over the years I have known of several adoptions that turned into a living hell for the adoptive parents as the kids turned out to be as sociopathic as the biological father. Of course, not all men who produce children out of wedlock are sociopaths; it's likely a small minority - most folks are normal but I want to keep the state out of this and allow the mother to use her judgment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeBDCVm36jw

(copy to here to link)

Over at the Atlantic, Ross posted this:

http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/01/imagining_a_prolife_america.php

As he didn't consider the issue of personhood the discussion doesn't go there. Some of the comments are interesting.

Alan said: "others are either fooling themselves or have another agenda. The Schaivo case and the partial birth issue clearly showed that. As the record clearly shows the Schaivo case was a tissue of lies and distortions"

This is a good example of the opposite of the attitiude of Kissling and Michelman demonstrated in the original post. Alan consistently insists that those with concerns for the life of Terri Schaivo are dupes or dishonest but there is no proof. In my mind this tactic trys to gain moral high ground without actually engaging the arguments of an opponent seriously.

Similarly Alan says: "There is no way to read these as being other than designed to diminish the moral and legal status of women"

Once again the ulterior motive is justices suppressing women. There is only one way to understand this and that is Alan's way. What about the life, moral and legal status of a baby?

Alan said: "PPA was a phony issue designed to raise money and gin up the troops"

PBA? Once again no respect for the real concern about killing babies. Alan wants it to seem that its all about some other political agenda and presumably not a serious life issue.

Alan says: "Pro-choice means just that. The woman chooses"

Oh, now I understand, its all about ice cream flavors :). Again the the term pro-life is given no respect and an ignorance or distortion of the extent of its meaning is demonstrated.

These are examples of missing the whole point of Steve's original post.

This type of "reasoning" can sometimes be a last resort when the worldview of the individual lacks the rational power to justify itself.

It is not helpful in advancing to the truth. It can easily be perceived as rude or disrespecful particularly if it persists after being pointed out.

As Steve says: "We're ready to listen, understand, and build common ground first in order to really hear your concerns and perspective."

Its not easy but it is worth the effort and necessary if we expect ever to work together. As Christians we are called to make the effort.

Phillipians 2: 3-4
3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

2 Timothy 2: 24-26
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose him, if God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

Also see 1Peter 3:8-11, 13-17

Hi William, the autopsy clearly showed that Terri couldn't have had the responses that those around her claimed. I've provided many links over this.

Terri's wishes, as determined by the appropriate state courts, was not to be kept in the state which you wish to keep her. In this her wishes were the same as those of most Americans. Cases like hers are common; that she became an issue was pure political hype.

"Partial birth" abortion, as an issue, is the result of a single speech that a smart PR person glommed onto. Its effect was assisted by a lobbyist for a group of abortion clinics who was stupid enough to lie about the number of second trimester abortions and the inability of pro-choice folks to come up with a way to deal with the "issue". As always the media failed to provide real information unless one really dug.

Years ago when I first heard about PBA, my first reaction was "that sounds terrible." My problem was that I simply don't trust anyone on issues like this; you all sounded too emotional for my tastes and the pro-choicers sounded frankly moronic. I didn't have a settled opinion until I dug into it after Gonzales. I searched out the history, read the law and was appalled, read the decisions and the various briefs. It was then that I realized that the whole thing was, like Schaivo, a scam.

How you can consider a law that exempts the main instigator, fails to provide an exemption for health and allows the husband or parents of the "murderer" to sue the doctor civilly and whose constitutionality rests in part on the moral incapacity of the instigator as doing anything other than diminishing women as citizens and moral actors is a case none of you have ever made.

The point has been made in many places that 18 U.S.C. 1531 won't prevent one abortion even, I believe, on this blog.

As for common ground, take criminalization off the table, and we all will have plenty of common ground. BTW, I challenged you to show me an anti-abortion law that wasn't inherently class based; I'm still waiting.

Did you read the Douthat piece or the MOJ articles? It's obvious that folks can differ on things like PVS and abortion but I have a right to demand honesty on both sides of both issues. If you wish to be kept going after the thinking part of your brain is gone that is your right; hope you got that squared away should something happen. For my part I don't so I am sympathetic to the plight Terri and Michael were dragged into by cynical opportunists.

Look William, all I know is what I see. Intentions don't count when the net effect is counter those intentions. What is done with ones remains if one is in a PVS situation is up to oneself through prior directives or, lacking that, the desires of the next of kin. Please explain why that is a problem. Neither of our opinions is of any relevance except for our respective cases.

Likewise, if one wishes to reduce abortion without an expansion of the welfare state one is only going to inconvenience those of means and further emiserate those in need. All the pious boilerplate about "babies" isn't going to change that. If one puts conservative cant about social welfare issues above flesh and blood then one has made a choice and that choice isn't about the welfare of mothers and babies.

>>Alan: "Hi Heath, those who support universal health care are so concerned; others are either fooling themselves or have another agenda."

Forget it, Heath. Most people on the left are incapable of listening to reasons conservatives give for their positions and then actually taking them seriously and at face value, as Alan keeps reminding us with comments like the one above. Conservatives are bad by definition. End of story. Nothing you say will make a difference. I haven't yet found a way around this.

>>William: "In my mind this tactic tries to gain moral high ground without actually engaging the arguments of an opponent seriously."

Great point, William.

When someone chooses to make charges like "pure political hype", "a scam", "cynical opportunists", "pious boilerplate", "conservative cant" it can be reasonably inferred that they believe that this applies to or reflects on the reasoning of people who disagree, such as some who communicate on this site.

Doesn't this still imply dupes or liars?

Alan said: "the autopsy clearly showed".

This is after the fact and does not constitute a reason to put someone to death since that death has already occured! It should be obvious that loving parents could have hope that there was value yet to their childs life. Is it so impossible that they might reasonably believe that Terri was responding to them? Recent research on PVS indicates that this hope can be justified.

Terri's wishes were not known.

Alan said: "that she became an issue was pure political hype."

Not to her parents, or to me, or all the people that are concerned with end of life issues regardless of their point of view. The life issues, euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, etc. are all worthy of continued public debate.

Alan said: "I challenged you to show me an anti-abortion law that wasn't inherently class based; I'm still waiting."

Is it possible to create any law that is not subject to distortion by class? If so, demonstrate the requirements and then show how this cannot be done with abortion. But even if it was impossible, that does not mean that laws prohibiting abortion would be inappropriate.

Alan said: "I am sympathetic to the plight Terri and Michael were dragged into by cynical opportunists."

That would be Terri's family.

Alan said: "but I have a right to demand honesty on both sides of both issues. If you wish to be kept going after the thinking part of your brain is gone that is your right"

Where do all these rights come from?

Alan said: "take criminalization off the table, and we all will have plenty of common ground"

O.K. hypothetically it is off the table. Show me some common ground.

Alan said: "all I know is what I see".

Are you serious or is this just a figure of speech? I am not sure what you mean by it.

"This is after the fact and does not constitute a reason to put someone to death since that death has already occurred!"

Hi William, it confirmed what was already known from an earlier MRI, and if you look closely at the highly edited video, even that if you catch her eyes shows the :lights are on but nobodys home" gaze.

"Is it so impossible that they might reasonably believe that Terri was responding to them?"

Reasonably, after so many years and the MRI? Not at all. Understandable, perhaps but her husband was the decider and that had been well vetted by the state courts. I was always willing to allow for her parents being delusional, which is what you really have to call it in this case, given her condition and the length of time that had passed. That, however, still leaves the non-family members, for whom there is no reasonable explanation other than deception. Jesse Jackson and Randall Terry were clearly grinding their respective axes as were the President and the Congressional Republicans. Father Paul was clearly lying as he was describing reactions that, based on the MRI and the autopsy, clearly couldn't have been happening.

Were the rest of you duped? Of course, but why fire on me as I am merely the messenger. What has puzzled me is the lack of harsh judging on those who lied to you. They betrayed your trust and you labor to excuse that betrayal. I don't get it. On things like this it is entirely appropriate to rarely forgive and never forget.

An example. As you know I consider Mitt Romney to be a dog-abusing, plastic, phony. However, we still need to be honest. McCains recent attacks on Mitt over the timetable issue were lies plain and simple and it is proper to call McCain the liar he is. There are too many people in the public square who feel it is appropriate to lie, cheat, and steal if ones cause is just. There are also too many people will to turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior as long as it is on ones own side. This applies to liberals, conservatives, libertarians, socialists, Democrats, Republicans, Greens, you name it and we have a media that too often is too cowardly, lazy, and stupid to take the time to root out the truth.

"The life issues, euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, etc. are all worthy of continued public debate."

Absolutely but we need to be truthful and discerning. Phony, hyped-up issues that are crafted to tug on the heart strings do not make for a good debate.

"That would be Terri's family."

Jesse Jackson, Randall Terry, Tom DeLay, "Father Paul," Bill Frist, George Bush, Jeb Bush, et al are members of Terri's family?

"Where do all these rights come from?"

Ones right and the right of ones spouse to have first call baring extenuating circumstances is usually laid out in the relevant state statutes. One could, of course, argue a natural law right or some other grounding but that is immaterial as most of us agree that this is properly a personal matter.

I would urge you to start thinking in terms of the "how" of public policy instead of focusing on abstract philosophical matters like grounding. Actually considering how we get from here to there can help clarify the propriety of the journey.

"Is it possible to create any law that is not subject to distortion by class?"

We probably want to think in terms of Due Process, Equal Protection, undue burden issues and the like and the answer to that is certainly. For example, anyone, rich or poor, Black or white, Christian or Jew, male or female doesn't have an undue burden placed on them by being forbidden from taking my life (Amy dissents) or my property. Statutes that intrude on my personal and family life (Griswold, Roe, Lawrence, Troxel for example) are another matter.

Take criminalization off the table and we are looking at where do we draw the line as to where abortion transitions from a personal matter into an increasing state interest. We also could encourage adoption through subsidies, etc. In the early stages of pregnancy a woman should be able to not only get an abortion but free contraception and free pre-natal care. Universal health care solves all that. Family allowances, child care, end the War on (some) Drugs. Probably could come up with more.

"Conservatives are bad by definition."

Hi Amy, I don't know about that but the sad state of Conservatism in America is disturbing. It was actually surprising to many of us on the left that Conservatism has become merely a vehicle to power with absolutely no ability to formulate policy beyond endless tax cuts for the wealthy or to actually govern in a competent and constitutional manner.

>>I would urge you to start thinking in terms of the "how" of public policy instead of focusing on abstract philosophical matters like grounding.

This is precisely the problem, Alan. If you want to discuss public policy, go to a public policy blog. This is where we discuss philosophy. This is what we focus on. For some reason, you're always surprised and frustrated by this and feel you must waste your time and energy trying to turning this blog into something it's not (I guess this goes back to the listening issue). Then, when we don't change, you complain about us not being who you want us to be.

I don't understand why you bring this frustration on yourself.

Hi Amy sorry but that isn't entirely what the blog is about given the number of political posts. When Mitt was the annointed one there were all of a sudden a whole lot of things Morman popping up. You were perfectly willing to praise the decision in Carhart II; you just don't want to fully confront that which you praise. When a group of Evangelicals went off the reservation and started discussing global warming, we had posts on that. The Dover decision was a policy issue and I seem to recall posts on that. I could easily go on.

Is it being a responsible citizen to conduct discussions that will lead folks to vote in a certain way in a vacuum in which the actual results of that which you advocate dare not be mentioned? Would you be willing to put a warning label on the top that stated something like, "Warning, positions taken here are abstract in the extreme and the actual effects of attempting to implement those positions are of no interest to us. Readers basing their votes on positions taken here, do so at their own (and the nation's) risk."?

If you all are actually interested in reducing abortions wouldn't it be useful at some point to try to do the heavy lifting instead of the easy part of the equation?

There is another problem here and that gets us back to Steve's post on the Times op-ed. You are assuming a linear progression in which more and more folks come to agree with your position and then...what? This seems to be to be like the Marxist end point of the withering away of the state; things happen and we wind up with a workers' paradise.

At some point you are going to have to confront policy if your movement (and organization) are to continue being relevant. If you think I'm annoying, just wait until the realization hits the public square that abortion might actually be in jeopardy. All the philosophy in the world won't help you at that point.

Also you might consider that had our Marxist friends from the last century bothered to construct a feedback loop that adequately weighted policy actualities against theoretical dogma, we might have had a few million less bodies littering Europe and Asia.

Yet another problem with a philosophy uber alles approach that is too narrow is that William and I have been having a discussion concerning facts. An approach that doesn't equip one to discern when one is being played doesn't seem complete to me. Is not how one evaluates the information one comes about a philosophical question?

And speaking of philosophical questions, Carhart II, with its denial of facial challenges and its enshrinement of buyer's remorse as a higher value than individual moral responsibility raises some pretty significant ones.

However, I live to serve, so I shall refrain from inserting policy into areas in which it is inappropriate. That however would seem to not include Steve's post as the linked questions I saw seem to have policy implications. That you are uncomfortable dealing with the direction in which the discussion went would seem to me to make some of the above points worth a little consideration.

Hi William, speaking of philosophy, Larry Solum over at the legal Theory Blog has an interesting post on Virtue Ethics:

http://lsolum.typepad.com/legaltheory/2008/01/legal-theory--9.html

(copy to here to link)

Dupes and liars the lot of us. The point of this post continues to be missed by a mile!

Alan said: "William and I have been having a discussion concerning facts."

This is proof. This discussion is not about the specific facts of the Schaivo case or abortion policy which can be debated, it is about giving your opponent in a debate some respect and credit for reasonable intelligence, then addressing their arguments as they are, not as you choose to portray them. Only in this way can we advance together toward truth.

Is this at least common ground?

I am not going to go through Alan's last two posts and point all the instances out again since that amounts to nearly the entire text. Frankly that is a waste of my time and a job that I think he needs to work on for himself.

I will say that I think worldview can sometimes be an explanation for why someone might be inclined to interact in this fashion. I believe ideas do have consequesnces, philosophical grounding can make a qualitative difference in thought and behavior.

From my perspective an atheist/agnostic utilitarian is going to have a harder time dealing with human reality in a consistent coherent manner.


Alan,

Thanks for the link to the article on virtue ethics.

Alan, you still don't understand my point or the distinction I'm making. Sure, posts come up on political subjects, and sometimes specific policies or decisions are mentioned, but they're discussed from the angle of philosophy. Your Mormon example makes my point, which shows me that you still don't see the difference I'm describing.

This is what we do, and it's ridiculous for you to insult us for not doing what YOU do. Would you go to a philosophy class and tell the professor he's an idiot for not focusing more on economics? He would rightly tell you to go down the hall if you wanted that focus. My objection wasn't even about your always bringing up specific policy (although this often distracts from the subject at hand). But when you chastise us for focusing on philosophy when that's what we're here for, that's really going a bit too far.

It's our job as individuals to be well-rounded people and learn from people who are specialized in different disciplines. But it's not the job of this blog to focus equally on all disciplines. This, of course, has nothing to do with fear or being uncomfortable, or any of the other insulting motivations or deficiencies you mentioned. It has to do with time, focus, and expertise.

"We're ready to listen, understand, and build common ground first in order to really hear your concerns and perspective."

Hi Amy and William, First of all please understand that I intend no insults and apologies if I have seemed a bit harsh but I have shared real concerns on "life" issues and I don't see an interest in common ground but I guess i have learned a bit from poking around.

Speaking philosophically:

1. How does one find common ground with folks (and we are legion) whose philosophical outlook is influenced by consequentialist considerations if one is unable to consider consequences?

2. How do we find common ground if we can't even agree on a common fact base?

3. Michelman and Kissling are behind the curve in many ways. When you start getting questions about coverature and other anti-feminist and paternalistic elements stemming from Carhart II, how will you deal with them?

4. There appears to be a need on your side. Clearly the folks who gave us 18 U.S.C. 1531 are not up to the task. Perhaps STR should add a staff member who is oriented to policy and things of that nature.

No need to answer, just food for thought.

"Let's face it: Disapproval of women's sexuality is a historical constant. So our claim that women can be trusted still falls on deaf ears,"

I always find their dismay that simly saying, "Trust women" as a way of ending the argument almost amusing. They hold up what's at the very least a questionable behavior, and what is to many people an abominable behavior, as their evidence that women are unilaterally "trust"worthy. One might as well hold up Ted Bundy and Ed Kemper and a placard saying "Trust Men!"

>>Also it is easy to oppose abortion as long as one has it available because "my case is different and special from those others". <<

Actually, a lot of us women have either endured abortions or very narrowly avoided them ourselves, and it's the very threat of them hanging over other women's heads that makes us so adamant about abolition.

As Frederica Matthews-Green said, "Anything that claims to help women by killing their babies has got a lot of explaining to do." It's the rare woman that has any enthusiasm for abortion, who acutally wants it on the back burner for herself. And it would be a lovely thing indeed if abortion was limited to those who actually endorsed the practice and saw nothing wrong with it. If we could actually IMPLEMENT "Don't like abortions? Don't have one!" the mills would go bankrupt overnight.

How do we find common ground?

Steve suggests one way specifically to address the abortion debate but the method can be applied to most any topic.

In the link to his book go to Activities for Creating Dialogue then scroll all the way down to the bottom of page 10 to How pro-choice (pro-life) advocates can raise the level of dialogue.

That's a start.

Another helpful activity would be to study argumentation and logic.

Most important, in my opinion, is to seek truth, not victory. I think a Christian is commanded to take this approach as evidenced by the verses I supplied, there are many others that reinforce this view.

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