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Friday, May 24, 2019

What Do You Really Want?: Abortion Reflections, Continued

We must ask, "What is an abortion?" The reason we have to do this is because the nature of any action determines the licit range of solutions or responses to it. In general, if an action is by its nature immoral, (that is, intrinsically evil) then it falls to every person to oppose it, to understand why it is evil and to show others the truth about it. This means of course that intention or circumstances might change the culpability of a person who participates in the evil act, but an intrinsically evil act can never become a good act, no matter what good is intended from it, or what difficulties surround the commission of the act.

Therefore, I propose this definition: "An abortion is the deliberate taking of the life of a human person at some stage of development before birth." Consider also this definition: "Murder is the deliberate, unjustified killing of an innocent human person." The definition of "murder" rules out self-defense, justified killing in war, accidents, and perhaps other situations. Notice also that our definition of abortion rules out a time after birth. An unjustified killing after birth is called, "infanticide."

Now, please consider the following argument:

Murder is always wrong, by its very nature. That is, murder is intrinsically evil;

Abortion is a species of murder;

Therefore, abortion, by its very nature, is always wrong.

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This is the heart of the pro-life argument. It rests philosophically on the first principle that good is to be done, and evil is to be avoided.

We are not ignorant, any of us, of extremely difficult cases, and of the sheer terror that leads women to think they have no other option. We absolutely can and should do more as a society to support the forming of families, to counteract economic pressures that militate against life. Indeed, we ought to recognize that our economy itself is disordered with respect to the telos of the human person.

However, it is a grave mistake to argue that because we cannot stop every attack against human dignity, we have no authority or responsibility to speak on behalf of the unborn. Yet this is precisely what many people argue. To charge people with hypocrisy in the absence of evidence, or while actually holding a pro-abortion position, is flatly contradictory. Or stated another way, my objections to the inconsistencies in someone's political philosophy, no matter how trenchant, do not alter the nature of the ethical question with regard to abortion itself. It is hard to believe that such an argument [that an incomplete or hypocritical worldview renders moral judgment on abortion moot] could hold sway, especially when completely elective abortions comprise roughly 95 percent of all abortions.

In short, if someone opposes any restrictions on abortion, it is highly unlikely that the objection to a pro-lifer's general political philosophy is offered in good faith. If we claim to want fewer abortions, even to the point of accusing others of not acting in good faith, we have to support those things that actually reduce the incidence of abortion. One cannot coherently claim to oppose abortion while fighting to keep the current regime in place. If reducing abortions are a goal, reduce them. If one does not intend to reduce abortions, the blindness or hypocrisy of one's putative opponents is actually irrelevant.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

"If Pro-Lifers Really Wanted To Lower Abortions..."

Let me stop you right there, because I do. You don't have to wonder, or speculate. So you can stop the ad hominem. If we are discussing the deaths of vulnerable people for dubious reasons, I have no other motive, but to make it stop.

It's a tactic, you know. It's not really a discussion about the prudent way to solve the problem. Hundreds of thousands of children potentially died yesterday, and the person I'm talking to doesn't favor any restrictions on this practice at all. I'm not the one who feels guilty, and we both ought to know it. But if this person can make you feel like any sort of ethically flawed person, they'll do it. They're participating in a genocide; I don't think who I may have voted for in the last few elections compares with that. But in case it comes up, I didn't vote for Trump, and I can't in the future. I find him so appallingly unqualified to be president that doing anything other than not participating in that decision would violate my conscience.

But then, they want to know if you care about all the vulnerable like they do. They'll look for (or assume) anything they need to to make this discussion go away. When they want to find out if you're a good democratic socialist or something, again, they don't really want to know. What they don't get is, I absolutely can out-liberal them. I'll just go, "I'd turn this place into Sweden, if you'd give up your support for killing defenseless children." Watch. No dice, every time.

It's about judging you and me, the Dirty Right-Wingers, not about any perceived injustice in our society. If we as a group cared about it, a massive semi-pro-life consensus would have already formed.

One final thing: The contraception advocacy as a way to lower abortions gets tossed about, but it's dumb. It's like saying, "If you want to end the death penalty, you should support firing squads." We do realize that ethically, it's the same thing? And even if it weren't gravely immoral to interpose these chemical mutilations between ourselves and our partners, oral contraceptives kill unborn children, anyway. Read the box. If it doesn't prevent ovulation, it makes the uterus hostile to new life. A human being still dies horribly, in many cases. We'll never know how many. So no, I don't support handing out free contraceptives.

I'll lower abortions by making it illegal. We know this will work. Then we'll be arguing about hard cases related to enforcement or punishment, which is fine, because the bad PR will NEVER approach the 60 million kids killed, or the 150 or so million who were never born, because the first generation never lived and had children.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Notes For The Dense, I Guess

Some secularists are constantly worried about Christians, and other religious believers, calling down a Dark Cloud of Theocracy over everything. I've seen this for a solid 25 years. It hasn't happened. In fact, it's only some poor beleaguered nuns and other unfortunates in court, fighting not to be told how to live, by the government.

At the risk of being glib, I'll say this: Revealed religion doesn't tell you that killing a child in the womb is wrong; revealed religion tells you that you will burn in an unending torrent of flames, for eternity, for disregarding that dictate of conscience. If you wish to ignore the frame story of death and judgment, be my guest. We're still accountable to reality, even if it were safe to ignore what God had purportedly revealed.

Which is to say, a great many people are engaged in reality-denial, and somehow need to blame the Jesus people for their troubled consciences. After all, if everything about abortion were perfectly acceptable, why shout about it? We know bloody well it's different from going to the convenience store for some snacks. There is no stigma attached to that kind of trip, unless you like authentic licorice, and then you're just a weirdo. I digress.

I never once quoted a Bible verse, or said the Name of Jesus, when I wrote to the women's basketball writer at ESPN about their celebratory fawning over Sheryl Swoopes, who left a husband and children for a woman. I humbly suggested--if you will pardon the category confusion--that we would crucify any man who committed adultery, abandoned his family, and "started over" with another woman. Is it a double-standard? I report, you decide. You don't need a church to figure out the good right here, do you? We applaud old people for being married to each other for their whole adult lives; comedians don't get unironic applause lines for Aunt Sally, who's been married and divorced 4 times. Why not? Because we know that Mom and Dad, who sacrifice their wants and desires for each other (to some extent) and for their children, end up becoming pillars, a safe resting place, for everyone, in some way or another. You don't need a church to figure that out, either. She still had me pegged as a Bible-thumper. Oh, well. If the Jesus freaks are the only ones unwilling to play Calvinball with reality, words, and truth itself, I'll take them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Control Is An Illusion, You Infantile Egomaniac!"

One of the great quotes in any Tom Cruise movie, spoken by Nicole Kidman, trying to convince his character that driving 200 MPH in circles with 42 other infantile egomaniacs isn't maybe the safest career choice. Man, I love Tom Cruise. I just do.

Anyway, they say we want to control women's bodies. In fact, we argue that a woman is rational enough to control her own body, up to the moment where she becomes a parent. I don't know why this is so hard for people. Well, I do know why. A disordered sexuality leads people to do almost anything in service to it, including murder. "Uncle Tony" is right this time.