Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
October 29, 2012 - October 22, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012


A List I Wish I'd Written.

DOORWAY REVISITED. Democrats keep looking for ways to bring abortion into the presidential campaign because they are sure it's a winner for them whenever it does. Today, Laura Ingraham is coming to the defense of Richard Mourdock, a senate candidate in Indiana who made the mistake of opposing abortion in cases of rape and is now being thrown under the bus by other Republicans who know very well he was expressing nothing more than basic Catholic pro-life theology. Well, that's politics. But what follows really isn't. It's so good that I'm going to deviate from my usual practice of trying to observe fair use limits on quoted text. I'm going to quote the whole thing because I believe the sponsoring site, The Gospel Coalition, is more interested in its message than its copyright.

 10 Questions a Pro-Choice Candidate Is Never Asked by the Media

Debate moderators and reporters love to ask pro-life candidates hard questions about abortion. Curiously, they don’t do the same for pro-choice candidates.
Here are 10 questions you never hear a pro-choice candidate asked by the media:
1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?

I know we have many readers who would be anxious to oppose any arguments put forward by something called The Gospel Coalition: libertarians, objectivists, atheists or at least anti-Christians, agnostic rationalists, garden variety cynics (much ado about nothing, right?), and the obsessively ambivalent.

I'm asking you to answer all 10 questions, not flippantly but clearly and thoughtfully (which is not an invitation to logorrhea).

Just interested in what you have to say when the pro-choice/pro-life divide becomes more than a yes/no answer. Beware. Inconsistency is more of a bane for the rational mind than the spiritual mind.

I'll add an eleventh question of my own: How would you like your own mother to have answered these questions when YOU were a tadpole inconvenience to "a woman's body"?

UPDATE: Brizoni here. I'll bite.

1. Yes.

2. I'll come back to this one in number 5.

3. Yes. We can quibble about the cutoff age-- 16, 17, 18-- but it's proper that the rights of minors are constrained. Particularly in monumental life decisions like this.

4. THE question, of course, but I'm starting to think we're asking it wrong. "When does a fetus become a human being" is a subset of a larger question: What makes a human being a human being? If we could answer that, we could simply look at the fetus and see when humanity physically develops.

My answer: The mind is what makes a human human. What gives a human being a self. All the other things, like hands, lungs, a beating heart, are great to have, but they're great because they serve and facilitate the mind.

The cerebral cortex (responsible for most of the conscious-y stuff of consciousness) develops during month 5. This is when humanity begins, and when, in my judgment, abortion should logically be prohibited. Before month 5, the fetus is just parts.

Look at this another way. Say the mind never physically develops. Just a little stem that can regulate the automatic functions but do nothing else. No consciousness of any kind, no self. Everything else in the body develops just fine. Is that a person? No. The heart beats, the mouth wheezes, the legs twitch every now and then, but nobody's home.

I have to acknowledge there's a particularly, virulently stupid notion going through objectivist communities right now: The Life Begins at Birth theory. The rationalization for this is tortured and convoluted in the extreme. Here's a concise version:

An embryo or fetus is not an individual with rights, but a potential individual who will acquire rights only if and when it is born—for that is when it becomes a separate, individuated person and enters a social context.

Imagine Ayn Rand's white hot fury, if she heard her so-called advocates claim humanity is created by "a social context." Shameful.

5. Knowing exactly humanity begins makes this issue easy. Before Month 5, it's not a person, so do what you want. After Month 5, it has rights and you don't get to kill it. I am absolutely in favor of genetic testing pre-Month 5. No parent should have that added burden forced upon them.

Remember, there's no self pre-Month 5. Genetic testing just tells how the self-in-progress would turn out. It's not eugenics. Eugenics involves taking lives that already exist, or violating people's reproductive rights (conceptive, not just abortive).

Month 5 would also render the gendercide question moot. Which I'll admit is lucky for me, because gendercide is a hard problem to solve. Is it even possible to legislate against? Any parents truly committed to the gender of their preference will contrive some other excuse to abort. How can that be prevented? A cap on female abortions? "Sorry, too many girls have been vacuumed out this month, you're stuck with her." That's the kind of thing we want the state enforcing?

6. No

7. At this point in American history, minorities are responsible for the state of their own cultures.

8. If there's no brain yet, nothing tragic about it. It's wistful, maybe, thinking about the potential child who won't come to be.

9. If there's a developed brain, it has a right to live whatever its location.

10. Yes, even pre-Month 5. Mmmmmmaybe make an exception if the defense can prove beyond any doubt that the mother intended to abort. But the burden of proof there would properly be enormous.

11. I'm being philosophical, not glib here: I wouldn't feel anything. As it stands, I'm very happy to exist. In principle, I can't begrudge my mother's right to have aborted me if she had chose. Her life matters too.

Beware. Inconsistency is more of a bane for the rational mind than the spiritual mind.

That's a bug, not a feature, of the spiritual mind.

I hate a-rationality and worship. Not necessarily God or religion (though in practice, that Venn diagram is almost a single circle). When it comes to abortion, the pro-lifers are the only ones asking the hard questions. They're the only ones giving it real thought. The pro-choicers' answers are all evasions of varying cleverness. They flat-out don't want to think about it. Which makes abortion rights a religion for them. I'll take thought, real thought, no matter where it comes from.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Rescue.

Skip ahead to 1:04:30 thru 1:12:00 for the relevant content. Webb.
Watch longer if you want. It gets bloody, the way politics works.

REREAD THIS POST. This should decide the election. The email record shows that the White House Situation Room received word of the Benghazi attack about 20 minutes after it began That was at 4:05 pm EST on September 11. White House logs show the president in the Oval Office at 5 pm. Forget everything else. The attack went on for seven hours. We had a drone watching the action live. Yet nothing was done to rescue an American ambassador or the three Americans with him. Against this, the cover-up is small change.

Hopefully, this will ensure Obama's defeat. If it doesn't, we're embarking on a long embarrassing road to his impeachment and removal from office early in the second term. I warned of this. The thumbsucking defeatists ignored it. Quit ignoring it. This country doesn't need Watergate times ten.

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