Tarry for the Nonce

July 14, 2005

You May Live to See the Day

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 4:24 pm

In the first sign of the apocalypse, I have discovered Democrats for Life.

I may donate money to them. That would be the second sign.

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25 Comments

  1. Wow, a group with all the moral intrusiveness of the Republicans and economic ineptitude of the Democrats. Where is their mailing list?

    Comment by Mark — July 14, 2005 @ 4:44 pm

  2. Laura, people have all sorts of beliefs across the entire spectrum, but in this case, I’d be really curious to see where their money is coming from.

    One thing that fascinates me about the political climate today is the continued presence of what I like to call “dumb money,” i.e. how Republicans love to donate money for Al Sharpton to run for president and insult all the other Democratic candidates, just as Democrats like to do the same by propping up the likes of Pat Buchanan and David Duke.

    In either case, it really strikes of a sick and yet incredibly funny utilitarianism in which politics really devolves into theater.

    Just remember, it is possible to be pro-choice (i.e. abortion should be legal) and still be personally anti-abortion, so there are certainly plenty of Democrats who could easily be construed as personally anti-abortion while still legally pro-choice.

    Comment by Matt — July 15, 2005 @ 12:11 am

  3. Well, you did know that http://www.republicansforchoice.com/ exist, right?

    Comment by Kevin — July 15, 2005 @ 9:26 am

  4. Well, you did know that http://www.republicansforchoice.com/ exist, right?

    Naturally. “Catholics for Choice” also exist. Of course, I presumed that a Democrats for Life existed. I just had never looked for them before.

    Comment by laura — July 15, 2005 @ 10:31 am

  5. I’d be really curious to see where their money is coming from.

    I would trust that their money would (mostly) be coming from like-minded Democrats.

    Just remember, it is possible to be pro-choice (i.e. abortion should be legal) and still be personally anti-abortion

    I’ve heard the arguments for this, but – unless they come from a utilitarian viewpoint – they smack of hypocrisy to me. From a secular viewpoint, there are two issues to consider:
    (1) Is it a human life?
    (2) Is it a human life as valuable as the life of the mother?

    If the answer is “no” to (1), then there is no reason to be anti-abortion unless you are concerned about the psychological health of the mother.

    Answering “yes” to (1) and “no” to (2) is the utilitarian viewpoint. At this point, it’s simply an ideological divergence, but at least it’s a consistent one that I can understand with its logical extensions to the disabled, infirmed, elderly, etc. I just personally balk at the concept that one life is more “valuable” than another, which brings me to . . .

    If the answer is “yes” to both (1) and (2), I find it difficult to understand how an individual could not be completely and utterly against abortion as a form of murder, which robs a distinct individual of its right to life.

    That’s how I see it anyway.

    Comment by laura — July 15, 2005 @ 10:48 am

  6. If the answer is “yes” to both (1) and (2), I find it difficult to understand how an individual could not be completely and utterly against abortion as a form of murder, which robs a distinct individual of its right to life.

    I think that you can still be in favor of legalized abortion if you take into account that, legal or not, abortions will be done anyway. If they are done in unsanitary conditions, not only will the kid die but possibly also the mother. In that case, legalizing abortion mitigates an evil that can’t be stopped.

    Of course you can get into an argument about how many abortions happen when it’s legal versus how many mother’s deaths occur because of dirty or sloppy practices but I don’t know any numbers for that and I doubt it’s possible to know.

    Ultimately an unborn human’s legal status is still ambiguous and that’s where the controversy lies. Although, from what I know, rights tend to start after birth.

    Comment by Mark — July 15, 2005 @ 11:24 am

  7. I would write something deep, but I don’t feel like it today.

    Even from a secular, pragmatic viewpoint, abortion in any country that cares about its future should be illegal because it impedes the effectiveness of population replacement, and causes other social problems due to emotional and psychological impact on the women who have the abortions. The government’s main role should be to protect its citizens and preserve itself (and its citizens) for future generations.

    By allowing legalized abortion, we allow our population numbers to start to dwindle. In fact, if you look at the facts, the projections indicate that world population will peak by 2050, after which we will enter a population decline. (Factors include lower fertility rates (which is about half as much as it was in the 70s in this country), abortions, lower # of children/family, homosexual relationships that do not themselves contribute to the population (on their own), etc.)

    The whole argument that its the ‘woman’s right to choose’ is bullshit, because if that’s true, where’s my right to choose to smoke crack? Yeah, argue against me.

    That’s from a purely pragmatic point of view. I could go alot further from a moral standpoint, but I’ll leave it at that.

    Here’s a piece I wrote a number of years ago.

    Just as an aside…the # of illegal abortions was very very very small compared to the number of legal abortions we have today. It was something much less than 1000 / year in the country back before Roe vs. Wade, and the number of women who died on average? Somewhere between 0 and 40 / year from illegal abortions. I hardly call that a crisis (yes, I’m a cold hearted bass turd who really only cares about facts, population replacement, and staying the dominant super power…of course, that would be true if it weren’t for Christ 🙂

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 15, 2005 @ 11:55 am

  8. My Two Cents:

    “Just remember, it is possible to be pro-choice (i.e. abortion should be legal) and still be personally anti-abortion, so there are certainly plenty of Democrats who could easily be construed as personally anti-abortion while still legally pro-choice.”

    Where have I heard that kind of arguement before…hmmm…let me think. Let me think. Oh yeah! Nazi Germany! 😉

    – D

    Comment by Dave R. — July 15, 2005 @ 12:18 pm

  9. One could re-state it this way:

    “There were plenty who could easily be construed as personally anti- ‘Ideology of Race’ (as was the description of Hitler’s beliefs as define by his opponents, I.E. the “good guys”, at the time), while still legally on par with the sub-human classification that was given to the Jews by the German laws that were passed at the time.”

    But we all know how well that turned out, don’t we?

    Comment by Dave R. — July 15, 2005 @ 12:42 pm

  10. Goodwin’ed

    Good work Dave.

    Comment by Mark — July 15, 2005 @ 1:44 pm

  11. I knew I opened Pandora’s Box. I’ll post more later.

    In the meantime, enjoy.

    Comment by Matt — July 15, 2005 @ 2:54 pm

  12. I think that you can still be in favor of legalized abortion if you take into account that, legal or not, abortions will be done anyway.

    You could extend that principle to many areas of legislation, including drug use, sexual practices, seatbelt laws, etc. And I would agree with you.

    But I think there should be a different mindset for the protection of person and property (i.e., don’t extend the principle to murder, theft, etc.) Making such things legal because “people will do it anyway” could easily result in a barbaric “survival-of-the-richest-and-the-fittest” feudal anarchy. (Is there such a thing?)

    Because of the particular way I view the unborn, I place them in the “person” category, so I think their protection falls under that umbrella.

    Comment by laura — July 15, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

  13. I knew I opened Pandora’s Box. I’ll post more later.

    🙂 It’s good to see you post again, Matt.

    Comment by laura — July 15, 2005 @ 3:00 pm

  14. One of these days I’ll get my long since dwindled html skills back in line and figure out how to do things, but for now:

    Laura says:

    I’ve heard the arguments for this, but – unless they come from a utilitarian viewpoint – they smack of hypocrisy to me.

    Matt responds:

    I think you do tend to view things from a very stark black and white perspective sometimes. Some of us see many shades of gray where you tend to see black and white. You have training as an engineer, meaning that you deal in a very logical and structured world. I have training in literature and writing, so I deal in a world of complex, nuanced, and often confusing human behavior. Neither is right or wrong, they are merely different personality types. Of course, you are admittedly a much more strict Catholic than I am – my mother is very angry with the church right now over the election of Benedict XVI.

    One book on gifted education basically defined it as the difference between those who see the world as being composed of atoms, and those who see the world as being composed of stories. If you ask an accountant or an engineer to describe their day, they’ll say first I got up, then I did this, then I did this… all in a very logical progression. Likewise, if you asked that same thing to someone like me, I’d be more inclined to first and foremost mention the exciting things rather than define them one at a time. Again, neither is right but both are just basic personality types – the difference between the thinker and the feeler, although that’s really a false dichotomy – everyone contains essences of both.

    Laura says:

    From a secular viewpoint, there are two issues to consider:
    (1) Is it a human life?

    Matt responds:

    Yes, this is a very important question. You’re asking for a strict definition of when life begins, and the answer I give you is that there is a profound difference between the strict molecular, biological definition of life (e.g. a cell) and what we might consider to be the beginnings of “living.”

    By the first definition, a woman’s egg (or even the additional 3 polar bodies for that matter) constitute life in the most basic sense, but the question is one of when the first definitition begins to meet the second definition (or for that matter when the latter devolves into the former), and this is where I think the shades of gray really manifest themselves.

    One could make the argument that a fertilized egg becomes life (life begins at conception) but the problem with this argument is that any time a woman’s body for whatever reason removes the fertilized egg could therefore be construed as an abortion. Everyday, women lose fertilized eggs in their urine stream, the egg doesn’t attach to the wall of their uterus, or worse, it attaches to the inside of their fallopian tubes, creating an ectopic pregnancy. In all of those cases, these could be considered an abortion in the strict sense, and in the case of ectopic pregnancies, I think many of us would agree that it is entirely justified to perform an abortion on the woman/mother (terminology there can easily reveal one’s bias of course) because an ectopic pregnancy would kill both the child/fetus and the woman/mother.

    Secondly, there’s the fetus that for whatever reason is in fact spontaneously aborted (miscarriage) by the mother/woman, in which case none of us have any say – that’s really God at work.

    But thirdly, there’s the actual act of what most of us would consider abortion – like the partial birth abortion (which I think should absolutely be banned), and even abortions performed early in the pregnancy. Personally, this is where I say that I’m not an expert so I really don’t know. I think where you and I might find common ground is in the idea that abortion should absolutely not be a secondary form of contraception, though personally I don’t have a problem with morning after pills like RU-486 because I think they should absolutely be available for women who have been raped. Since I fully admit that I’m not a scientist (just a pretentious pontificator), I have absolutely no idea where to draw the line – and I think that’s the problem. So that’s why I say that it’s possible to be both pro-choice and anti-abortion, because I personally would never have an abortion (my mother angrily beat sexual morality into me as a teenager, and I think most people are really boring anyways).

    In the case of RU-486, a woman can take the pill without ever knowing that she’d become pregnant, and in the case of abortions, I think that it’s a question of degree as well – the later in the term, the harder it is for people to have the abortion, which is where I am basically saying that I place limits on my own personality morality and on my right to legislatively dictate morality to others.

    Laura says:

    (2) Is it a human life as valuable as the life of the mother?

    Matt responds:

    I think that’s a decision that each individual set of parents make, and even I as the bleeding heart liberal (though I am actually becoming more conservative) can’t personally save every single child in the world, and neither can any set of laws no matter how well enforced. This is where I think the extremely utilitarian Democrat argument that Republicans don’t care about children after their born does have some weight. The problem is also one of socioeconomic class as well, because there is an inverse relationship between literacy rates and children per family, meaning that poorer families are likely to have more children than affluent households, and therefore have less resources per child, so affluent households have access to otherwise medically unnecessary procedures like abortion and are informed about things like birth control, while those of lesser means often have many children without being able to provide for them – and that’s really just the way things have always been.

    Laura says:

    If the answer is “no” to (1), then there is no reason to be anti-abortion unless you are concerned about the psychological health of the mother.

    Matt responds:

    (1) being is it a human life.

    You’re making the “clump of cells” argument, and this is precisely the point – where do you establish a brightline wherein on one side it’s a clump of cells, and on the other side it is the beginnings of life, and equally important, who decides? This is where I’m saying that it is a decision that is best left to individuals, rather than having it dictated by courts and laws. This country is founded on the principle that people are reasonable and able to decide for themselves, so this is where I think there should be a basic presumption in favor of the individual rather than a societal dictate (government that governs best governs least). If we can’t be 10,000% sure, then why not trust people to decide for themselves?

    Laura says:

    Answering “yes” to (1) and “no” to (2) is the utilitarian viewpoint. At this point, it’s simply an ideological divergence, but at least it’s a consistent one that I can understand with its logical extensions to the disabled, infirmed, elderly, etc.

    Matt responds:

    (1) is it life = yes
    (2) does child = mother? = no

    So you’re saying that this logic is utilitarian, which I can agree with. This is the argument that says that so long as people are capable of being useful to society, we should have them around, but once they’re not, they’re gone. This would be the “culture of death” that Pope John Paul II talked about (brutally evidenced with China’s one child policy), wanting instead to promote a “culture of life,” and which President Bush talked about as promoting a basic presumption towards life.

    Here’s where I agree with you. I think that there should be a basic presumption towards life, but I still think that there should be a presumption towards individuals rather than governments to make that decision about what does and does not constitute life – the same is the case with euthanasia. We went through this with my dad and my two grandmothers, and it wasn’t easy, but in the case of the elderly and infirm, our science has made it possible for people to meet my original standard of the strictest biological sense of life, but to no longer be “living,” in which case I think it is only fair to use things like living wills to again trust that informed individuals are capable of making their own decisions, and that as their health declines and they are no longer capable of making those decisions that they should therefore have those wishes honored by physicians. This is where the arrogance of medicine seems to consistently supercede the wishes of individuals, and society is left with empty bodies devoid of souls who still continue to exist biologically though they wish they could’ve expired years ago, as they otherwise would have done so naturally.

    At the beginning of life, as with the end of life, I personally would put it this way…

    (1) is it life? I don’t know that one can strict define the boundaries, therefore:
    (2) does child = mother? I leave it to individuals.

    Why? I think in this case trying to differentiate between life and living is probably like trying to define obscenity, meaning that you can’t pin it down but you know it when you see it, and thus the Supreme Court tries to use local standards and controls, but that’s increasingly a problem in our globally interconnected world – trying to establish a uniform standard for morality and ethics. Personally, I think a lot of these arguments go back to one’s basic presumption towards the individual or society, and that attempting to legislate such incredibly important minutate is difficult if not impossible, for the simple reason that things that are considered moral today were not considered moral 100 years ago, and societies change back and forth over time. It’s just interesting now, because I think in many ways the pendulum is swinging towards a more conservative line, and thus we have the culture wars, ground zero being where I’m at right now.

    Laura says:

    I just personally balk at the concept that one life is more “valuable” than another, which brings me to . . .

    Matt responds:

    I think that all life is valuable and I absolutely support in principle President Bush’s idea of a culture of life, but again I think that the definitions at the fringes of life and living are where the problems are.

    Laura says:

    If the answer is “yes” to both (1) and (2), I find it difficult to understand how an individual could not be completely and utterly against abortion as a form of murder, which robs a distinct individual of its right to life.

    (1) is it life? yes
    (2) does mother = child? yes

    Matt responds:

    See all my analysis above. Depends on where you draw the line, and really, if you can. Thus, I default to the discretion of the individual, as our country historically always has.

    Comment by Matt — July 15, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

  15. Matt said:

    I’d be really curious to see where their money is coming from.

    Laura replied:

    I would trust that their money would (mostly) be coming from like-minded Democrats.

    Matt answers:

    Trust? In politics? Come on girlfriend, you know better than that. Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.

    Comment by Matt — July 15, 2005 @ 10:41 pm

  16. Dave said:

    One could re-state it this way:

    “There were plenty who could easily be construed as personally anti- ‘Ideology of Race’ (as was the description of Hitler’s beliefs as define by his opponents, I.E. the “good guys”, at the time), while still legally on par with the sub-human classification that was given to the Jews by the German laws that were passed at the time.”

    But we all know how well that turned out, don’t we?

    Matt replies:

    Apparently you are unfamiliar with the concept on the Internet that anyone who compares policies to the Nazi party automatically loses the debate.

    You lose.

    Comment by Matt — July 15, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

  17. You have training as an engineer, meaning that you deal in a very logical and structured world. I have training in literature and writing, so I deal in a world of complex, nuanced, and often confusing human behavior.-Matt

    This really does not matter in the argument at all. I know quite a number of people who have training in the same field as your own, who see the complexity and nuance in the world and agree 100% with Laura’s point of view. I would argue that it is more likely to be, first, the essence of your personality and second, your upbringing which form your approach to both decision-making and life. Not that this has anything to do with the argument, just my thought on your comment.

    This country is founded on the principle that people are reasonable and able to decide for themselves, so this is where I think there should be a basic presumption in favor of the individual rather than a societal dictate (government that governs best governs least). If we can’t be 10,000% sure, then why not trust people to decide for themselves?-Matt

    The decision was taken out of the hands of the people in 1973, with Roe v. Wade.

    the same is the case with euthanasia.-Matt

    The problem with your argument is that you only address the intrinsic value of the life, not the value of the life to others or in the greater scheme of society. The value of an individual’s life is not only that which has a value for himself. The value also has import in the lives of those around him. How many times have families attested to the lessons to be learned in the family from living the tragedy of a severely handicapped or the sadness of an elderly member? — Taking care of someone who cannot take care of himself is also an immeasurable value.

    I think in this case trying to differentiate between life and living is probably like trying to define obscenity, meaning that you can’t pin it down but you know it when you see it, and thus the Supreme Court tries to use local standards and controls, but that’s -Matt

    First of all, I think that in this oh-so-modern day & age, the problem is that we no longer know it when we see it — which is why in the area of morality (both in the pro-life/abortion debate and in the obscenity debate), we have such a fierce battle. The Utilitarian argument has been gradually winning especially in the last 150 years it has been fought. It remains to be seen if, in the end, the argument {Utilitarianism having been proven disastrous as state policy over & over again} will end with a victory over the Utilitarians.

    Secondly, it is not the job of the judiciary, it is the job of the legislative branch based on the proven wishes (ie: through voting, phone calls, letters, etc.) of its constituents.

    The problem is also one of socioeconomic class as well….-Matt

    Statistically speaking, over 30%of all abortions are black women, so it seems as if Margaret Sanger is having her way .

    Comment by auntlori — July 16, 2005 @ 8:34 am

  18. “Matt replies:

    Apparently you are unfamiliar with the concept on the Internet that anyone who compares policies to the Nazi party automatically loses the debate.

    You lose.”

    Dave Replies:

    I clain ignorance on this whole internet concept!
    But, if I lost, than I lost well!
    But hey, internet concept or not, all I’ve got to say is…if the Nazi policy fits…. 😉

    Comment by Dave R. — July 18, 2005 @ 9:09 am

  19. Not to change the subject but…
    In the first sign of the apocalypse,

    You might be more right than you realize… http://www.washtimes.com/upi/20050717-092844-7410r.htm

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 18, 2005 @ 10:10 am

  20. The locust has no known predator and the only insecticides which might make a difference are banned.

    And that is why government intrusion is undesireable. Tis a shame. Now they’ll have to import all of France’s crops…wtf does France grow besides grapes?!?!?! 😉

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 18, 2005 @ 10:13 am

  21. Even from a secular, pragmatic viewpoint, abortion in any country that cares about its future should be illegal because it impedes the effectiveness of population replacement

    This is the first time that I’ve heard this particular argument! 🙂 Is anybody out there actually suggesting that it is in everyone’s best interests to grow the population? I’ve always thought that population-control was a benefit of abortion. One man’s utility is another man’s …

    Comment by Troy — July 18, 2005 @ 10:17 am

  22. Actually, I suggested it.

    And the planet overpopulation myth was started in the late 19th century when our society started to move from agrarian to urban, and continued through the 1970s when it really hit mainstream with projected growth rates as one of the main reasons for birth control and abortions; however, the myth is just that, a myth. The projections turned out to be incorrectly calculated. In fact, due to the continually lowering fertility rates, the world will hit a population decline, assuming it stays on this path, by 2050 (as I stated previously). Most people were mislead because they didn’t think that our food supplies could keep up with our rate of replacement, our natural resources would dwindle, and there wouldn’t be enough room. However, the interesting thing is…our food production has increased to about 4x that necessary to sustain the world population (ooh, adaptation at its finest), our energy consumption has become very efficient in comparison to what it was, and we have tons of space…so much so that we could fit the entire world’s population in Texas (yeah, I couldn’t believe it either when I heard it) with approx. 1217 feet of living space / person. (Of course, the problem is people who live in heavily congested areas tend to think there’s a population problem because of piss-poor politicians and city planners who don’t see far enough ahead, and do not anticipate the problems with growth and congestion properly, mainly because they’re in it for themselves more so for society, but that’s another discussion)….

    It really depends on your goal as a society.

    I believe that up until recent centuries (give or take about 300 years), most societies’s goals were survival and expansion, which means replacing population (which is still very true today in this country), and conquering other countries to increase their resources, expand a society’s region, and, generally, because they believed themselves to be superior.

    I personally think that one of the main points of a society is to preserve itself. Long term thinking is something modern politicians do not tend to do, or do well. There are a number of factors that must be weighed when looking beyond yourself and your time. Unfortunately, we live in a very modern culture (hehe), which means the here and now is the most important. We might try to see maybe 20 or 30 years ahead, if we’re lucky, but we certainly don’t look down 4 or 5 generations to see how our decisions right now will affect those folks. That’s quite sad, considering we should be preseving ourselves and our way of life for the future. I once ran the numbers for the # of aborted children from the 70s who would be adults today, adding to the economy and tax base, and I think it was something along the lines of 20+ million adults 18 and older. Of course, I’ve had my argument that this would be helpful thrown in my face as well, but that’s another discussion.

    There’s something good to be said about women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery, and the freedom given to every man. Any society that openly promotes the slaughter of its replacement population, IMHO, is asking to be conquered and destroyed. In fact, I believe the second best way, next to replacement of population directly (which is ideal), is via immigration. However, this may not have the desired effect of preserving the societal culture. This may negatively impact a society if the new culture subverts or openly dismisses the old culture as undesireable, and slowly replaces it with its own culture.

    I’d elaborate more (you know, provide data and facts and more arguments and things), but I just borrowed my brother’s copy of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince yesterday, so I’ll be busy for another day or two. You may still be able to get it at Meijer for $14.99.

    I have a whole email (instead of those half-emails I usually send) that I sent to my extended family on this one (we have both sides of the fence in our family, so sometimes our political/religious email discussions get out of hand). I’ll post that later, once I’m done w/ the book, assuming I still have a copy of it (my hard-drive crashed about a month ago, and I’ve been trying to recover data from it before it takes the long, peaceful sleep in the dumpster by my apartment).

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 18, 2005 @ 12:55 pm

  23. It seems like people largely lost track of the less rabid but still interesting topic of this post – the position of minority beliefs within political parties. Obviously, these people are devoted to their party of choice, despite having a serious conflict with it (another example would be gay Republicans). A more interesting discussion (since the abortion one goes precisely nowhere) would be one that encompasses these people’s roles and effectiveness in changing their parties, what motivates them to remain in parties they disagree with, as well as what their existence and persistence really means for the party system in America.

    But I suppose that may be less interesting to some people than it is to me.

    Comment by Kevin — July 19, 2005 @ 12:49 am

  24. A more interesting discussion (since the abortion one goes precisely nowhere) would be one that encompasses these people’s roles and effectiveness in changing their parties, what motivates them to remain in parties they disagree with, as well as what their existence and persistence really means for the party system in America.

    It would be an interesting discussion indeed. To make a more philosophical point, I think dissent within a political party is vital to maintain the “checks and balances.”

    According to our history books, Democrats once espoused smaller government, Republicans wanted to raise taxes, and conservatives didn’t support American independence.

    It’s interesting how things change.

    Comment by laura — July 19, 2005 @ 2:52 pm

  25. Umm, just a thought that occurred to me the other day…. I know the governing document is the Constitution; but why is it that “All Men are created equal…” instead of “All Men are born equal…” in the Declaration of Independence? Hmm, makes one wonder if Jefferson had a bit more foresight than we may give him credit. I mean…abortion has been around for a long time…probably as long, if not longer, than the “oldest profession”.

    Oh, and originally I was going to point out that the Democratic party was affiliated with the KKK as late as the 1930’s….but of course, some argue the party shifted from the ‘Republican’ party to the ‘Democratic’ party during the civil rights period.

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 19, 2005 @ 4:54 pm


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