Sunday, October 26, 2008

No compromise on abortion?

James Howell, on Ben Witherington's blog, suggests otherwise.

I really and truly believe that the partisan, no-compromise positions taken on each side of the aisle on this issue result in more dead fetuses than necessary. I'm afraid that if I were strongly pro-choice, and I were to hear some of the Holocaust rhetoric that I have been hearing in the combox here, I would retreat to a firmer pro-choice stance than I would if pro-lifers were to say, "There are a bunch of you pro-choicers out there who really think abortions are bad things; let's see what we can do to reduce them."

But in an election year, it's easier for the Republican to yell "baby-killer" and the Democrats to yell "they're taking away your right to choose."

But, you say, Obama is a pro-choice extremist and won't listen? Try him (if he is elected). Appeal to the Christian conscience he says he has. If people try it and it doesn't do any good, and there isn't a reduction in abortions, you can come back to me and say "See, I told you so."

26 comments:

Ilíon said...

Should we compromise on cannibalism?

How about if the cannibalism is "victimless" -- that is, the main course is voluntary?

Obviously, we should compromise: else we are "intolerance" and "partisan" and "forcing our 'morality' down others' throats!" And Heaven knows that there is nothing worse than that!

Ilíon said...

Abortion is murder. And you, and all your fellow quislings, know it.

But you people value something else higher than you do either justice or truth, and so you are willing to lie continuously and be complicit in commercialized murder.

Evildoer Doing Good said...

Dr. Reppert,

But then we must look at the gamble we are taking. I understand your point of view, and it makes sense, but in regard to abortion (which seems to be a minute issue in this election), I don't think we can hardly afford to gamble on the issue of taking human life and an "I told you so."

That being said, and as pro-life as I am, this is an issue that is not specifically described in the constitution and should then be placed into the states' hands. (Please correct me if my information is incorrect.) That is how the United States is "supposed" to operate. I do not see how the issue of abortion should come into play in the presidency whatsoever.

Blue Devil Knight said...

It's a pragmatic choice. Do you want to reduce abortions or not? If you do, you will try to find common ground. Politics is compromise. Even Newt realizes that now. Even those that want all abortions from conception onward to be illegal without exception would presumably prefer a world with fewer abortions than character rigidity and more abortions.

The constitutional argument is that abortion restrictions violate the right to privacy, which is in the constitution. Of course, this is very controversial (I think it is something of a stretch, but I am no Constitution scholar). Slavery, the southerners argued, should also be left to the states. Also, if abortion truly is murder, then there would be a constitutional basis for making it illegal.

Brad said...

I am glad that America didn't compromise on the issue of slavery... our last major moral failure.

Also, Christ doesn't come across to me as someone who would have compromised on moral issues.

Ilíon said...

Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe

One fine summer day, Wicktor Ruppert, as is his wont on fine summer days, was hiking in the Arizona desert. On this particular fine summer day, Wicktor was enjoying the hike in his favorite area of the desert, marvelling at all the dried-up scenery at which he'd marveled so many hundreds of times before.

Hike, hike, hike! Marvel, marvel, marvel!

In the early afternoon, Wicktor chanced to see a path he'd never seen before, branching off from the main trail. Now, Wicktor knew exactly what dried-up scenery he'd see if he continued on the main path, for, after all, he'd hiked this trail hundreds of times before. But this new path, what wonders of dried-up scenery might it not reveal?

And so, of course, on this particular fine summer day, Wicktor took the promising new path.

An hour later on the new path, and after much marvelling at fine new vistas of drir-up scenery, Wicktor was about to turn back. He'd long since eaten the food he'd brought (but was hungry again), he'd drunk much of the water he was carrying ... Wicktor knows better than to be out in the desert without water! It really was time to return to the comforts of the city.

Just then, Wicktor saw that just ahead the path entered a cleft. Now, this was much too promising of more marvels of dried-up scenery, so Wicktor decided to stick with the hike for fifteen minutes more.

Entering the defile and rounding a bend, Wicktor suddeny came upon the sight of a wonder indeed: -- a tidy little building bearing a sign reading: Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe.

Now, Wicktor was very curious and intrigued at this new wonder. And, as Wicktor was also hungry (and a great lover of new ice creams), naturally he entered the shoppe.

Noìli: Good afternoon! May I offer Sir some fine Custom Ice Cream?

Wicktor: That sound marvelous! What have you got?

Noìli: Anything you wish, Good Sir. At Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe, we are here to serve!

Wicktor: Ah. Hmmm, I see only one flavor listed on the board.

Noìli: Yes! 'The Streets of New York City;' for that is our custom offering, carefully blended to Sir's exact specifications.

Wicktor: I'm afraid I don't understand.

Noìli: Oh, I see. This is Sir's first visit to Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe?

Wicktor: Yes. In fact, I've never before encountered one.

Noìli: Well, one expects that -- we are a quite exclusive franchise.

Wicktor: I see many tubs of ice cream in the cooler, more than I can count.

Noìli: Yes, any flavor one wishes. At Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe, if we do not already have the flavor of ice cream Sir wishes, we can whip it up almost instantly.

Wicktor: But there's only one flavor listed on the board?

Noìli: Yes! 'The Streets of New York City;' our custom offering. This is what we serve at Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe.

Wicktor: I'm afraid I still don't understand.

Noìli: I'll try to explain.

Say that one wishes to patronize Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe (and I certainly encourage Sir to do so). Well, the first thing to do is to decide which flavor of ice cream Sir wishes.

Wicktor: Ummm ... vanilla?

Noìli: A fine, fine choice. And how many scoops?

Wicktor: Three. Two!

Noìli: An excellent decision, I must say!

Wicktor: And then what?

Noìli: And then, Discerning Sir, I will transform the vanilla ice cream which you have chosen into our custom offering: 'The Streets of New York City.'

Wicktor: Which is?

Noìli: Which is somewhat like 'Rocky Road' or 'Denali Moose Tracks.' At least in concept.

Wicktor: Ah, I see. Well, no I don't. Aside from being your custom offering, what, exactly, is 'The Streets of New York City?' What is the concept which makes it like 'Rocky Road' or 'Denali Moose Tracks?' If it is not a trade secret to tell me so, just how will you transform the vanilla ice cream which I have chosen into 'The Streets of New York City?'

Noìli: Sir is indeed discerning!

Wicktor: Oh! Well, thank you!

Noìli: It is like this. I will take these two scoops of the vanilla ice cream, which is the flavor Sir has selected, and I then will carefully and tenderly, lovingly almost, blend it with these two scoops of dog shit.

Wicktor: That's disgusting!

Noìli: But, Discerning Sir! This is highest quality dog shit, carefully harvest in the most exclusive neighborhoods of New York City and only of known provenance. This is pedigreed dog shit!

Wicktor: But it's dog shit!

Noìli: Yes, indeed. Did I not state that Sir is most discerning?

Wicktor: But I don't want dog shit in my ice cream!

Noìli: One does understand the emotion. But consider: when I have completed the blend, there will be no dog shit in Sir's ice cream -- there will be only the ice cream Sir has ordered: 'The Streets of New York City!'

Wicktor: That's disgusting! That's not ice cream, that's dog shit!

Noìli: *sigh* I had such high hopes for one so discerning as yourself, Sir. *sigh* Please, allow me to explain: yes, there *was* some dog shit, but now we see before us only the 'The Streets of New York City' ice cream. Here, enjoy!

Wicktor: That's not ice cream, that's dog shit!

Noìli: Sir is being most narrow-minded. May we not compromise on this?

Wicktor: ... How?

Noìli: I will throw out this batch of 'The Streets of New York City' ice cream, which is clearly not what Sir wants -- please, do not concern yourself at the waste! At Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe, we are a stable enough organization that we are able to eat such a minor loss.

Wicktor: ... And then?

Noìli: And then I will whip up for Sir a fresh serving 'The Streets of New York City' ice cream. But this time, I shall use the two scoops of vanilla ice cream and only *one* scoop of dog shit! This is, of course, Sir's loss, for I cannot discount the price for Sir.

Wicktor: No! That's disgusting! That's not ice cream, that's dog shit!

Noìli: Ah, sir is still not satisfied?

Wicktor: No! I don't want dog shit in my ice cream!

Noìli: As I've carefully explained to Sir: here at Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe, we would never *think* to put dog shit in Sir's ice cream. In our fine establishment, we offer only the finest 'The Streets of New York City' ice cream!

Wicktor: I don't want dog shit in my ice cream!

Noìli: *sigh* I shall mix up a new batch of 'The Streets of New York City' ice cream. Say, two scoops of vanilla ice cream and one half scoop of dog shit?

Wicktor: No!

Noìli: Two scoops of vanilla ice cream and one quarter scoop of dog shit?

Wicktor: No!

Noìli: Two scoops of vanilla ice cream and an ounce or two of dog shit?

Wicktor: How may times must I say this: I don't want *any* dog shit in my ice cream!

Noìli: Two scoops of vanilla ice cream and I just wave the dog shit over it for a moment?

Wicktor: No! No! NO! I don't want any dog shit anywhere *near* my ice cream!

Noìli: Sir! Did we not agree to compromise? Whence comes this hateful, and quite frankly, bigoted stubbornness? Whence this binary, black-and-white, close-mindedness? Whence this irrational fanaticism on the matter?

*sigh* One becomes increasingly disappointed at the dimming prospects for men of good-will to compromise! *sigh*

Wicktor: I want pure ice cream!

Noìli: Sir, at Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe, we offer only the purest and finest of ice creams.

Wicktor: With dog ship in it!

Noìli: No, not at all, Sir! As I have so carefully explained to Sir, numerous times, when the blending is done, there is no longer any dog shit. Rather, there is only the finest 'The Streets of New York City' ice cream.

Wicktor: With dog ship in it!

Noìli: *sigh* Clearly, I was mistaken; Sir is not so discerning, after all.

Vanilla ice cream! Indeed!

Ilíon said...

Brad: "I am glad that America didn't compromise on the issue of slavery... our last major moral failure."

But the Founding Fathers -- and America -- did compromise on what they all by then knew was immoral. This is why their grandsons had to go to war with one another, brother against brother. And this is why we're still paying to price for their decision.

One understands why and how the Founders did what they did. But it was nonetheless an illogical attempt to pretend that black and white are not distinct and separable -- it was still intellectual dishonesty, it was still as attempt to lie to themselves.

Oakman said...

It should be noted that why Ilion claims that he opposes abortion, in fact he is a hypocrit and has said, "With abortion, there are very few instance in which killing the unborn human being is not murder, but there is one general case in which it is not: in which the mother's life honestly is endangered by the pregnancy." (http://www.codeproject.com/script/Forums/View.aspx?fid=2605&msg=2513996)

Ilíon said...

It should be noted that this "Oakman" is a constitutional liar who makes certain regulars here look like pikers.

Arnfinn Pettersen said...

Correct me if I'm wrong Ilion, but you are saying that you would prefere to eat two spoons of dog-shit, rather than half a spoon, merely to prove the point that dog shit is dog shit whatever?

If abortion is, as you state, murder, would you not prefer, say fifty murders, rather than two hundred? It is still a bad thing, but at least it is less of at bad thing.

Or would you prefer a hundred and fifty extra babies to be killed, simply to make the point that you do not do deals with murderers?

The problem with your ice cream analogy (funny as it is), is that you do not, at this point in history, have the choice of no ice cream at all.

Anonymous said...

The extreme view on abortion holds that a fertilized egg has the same intrinsic value as a six month old

I do not understand this view--if there is no brain, no empirical grounds for consciousness--what is the grounds for supposing it is "murder" *who* is being murdered if there is no 'there, there"


I also wonder why more abortion opponents are not also strong advocates of animal rights.

The abortion issue is a serious moral issue, but the "murder" rhetoric is utterly groundless.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Many here conflate political compromise and moral compromise. They are not the same thing. Indeed, you compromise your own morality by refusing to compromise politically.

This conceptual confusion has horrible practical consequences (at least from the pro-life perspective).

Sure, there are some instances when compromise would be a mistake. E.g., let Hitler kill half the Jews in Europe. Given the political reality, that Roe v Wade is the law of the land, and that many people don't view an embryo as a human with rights, you are being politically imbecilic, effectively trampling innocent fetuses as you ride about on your high horse.

Blue Devil Knight said...

To push the slavery analogy with a historical fiction, it is like people in 1800 refusing to endorse a '10 years to freedom' act in which a slave would be required to be freed after 10 years of servitude. If that were, realistically, the best you could do, and it was an improvement, why not? Of course you still fight against slavery, but such slight measures are better than nothing.

Instead you could trample on the lives of slaves with your high horse of uncompromise, where they wait 63 years before anything happens. I'm sure they'd thank you for not signing the bill.

Anonymous said...

Man, this ilion guys is a real jackass. Someone ring his doorbell and run.

Brad said...

BDK - Given the political reality, that Roe v Wade is the law of the land, and that many people don't view an embryo as a human with rights, you are being politically imbecilic, effectively trampling innocent fetuses as you ride about on your high horse.

Slavery was the "law of the land" and many people didn't view slaves as humans with rights.

it is like people in 1800 refusing to endorse a '10 years to freedom' act

I think most pro-lifers would support a law to legally limit abortions.

Our current option of compromise is similar to educating and subsidizing the slave owners so they have the means to make the best decision. This isn't compromise, this is rolling over.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Note by 'compromise' I don't mean give up the fight, but to fight for incremental progress. Unlike slavery, abortion is not clearly wrong in all cases, so the law will more slowly adapt to reflect the morals of the people while maintaining its legality in certain instances.

This is why you have to compromise. I know that to you it may seem even worse than slavery, and I understand why, but in practice pro-lifers must pick their battles more intelligently. Even drawing parallels between slavery/Holocaust and abortion doesn't serve your political aims very well. Finding common ground is the best way to find solutions to a problem like this.

Shackleman said...

anon: "I do not understand this view--if there is no brain, no empirical grounds for consciousness--what is the grounds for supposing it is "murder" *who* is being murdered if there is no 'there, there"

Some questions for you:

1) What is your definition of consciousness?

2) What about consciousness as you define it makes killing or murder wrong when one *has* is, but not wrong when one doesn't?

3) If when you or I are dreamlessly and without consciousness sleeping, would one be within their rights to kill either of us?

===========================

A few questions for all who are pro-choice:

Can you name for us, the precise point in space and time that *you* *personally* became exactly a human being? Can you name that point in time for someone else? Would it have been in anyone's right to kill you without your consent at anytime after the point in which you personally became exactly a human being, regardless of reason?

Anonymous said...

49 days. It takes 49 days after conception for a fetus to receive a spirit. This coincides with the emergence of the pineal gland in the human mind.

So 49 days. There you have it.

It also takes 49 days after death before a spiritual unit can become reincarnated here in this "reality" if that is it's next progressive step.

Victor Reppert said...

I think our founders made the right decision in going for independence even though Jefferson had to remove the anti-slavery passages from the Declaration, since they would have lost the South to the cause of independence otherwise.

Are all murders criminalizable? I understand the intuition behind the opposite view. Yes, the Bible proscribes murder. It also proscribes a lot of things, even in the Ten Commandments, that I would not want to be backed up by the criminal law.

Is life to be valued over all quality-of-life considerations in all circumstances? Is this biblical?

Jim Jordan said...

VR--Appeal to the Christian conscience he says he has.

That's right. That's all we have to go on, what Mr. Obama says. There's zero evidence otherwise.

VR, you've been playing with committing intellectual dishonesty on this issue of infanticide. You can be a "Democrat for Life". What's wrong with that?

Ilíon said...

VR: "Is life to be valued over all quality-of-life considerations in all circumstances? Is this biblical?"

YHWH: "I have set before you life and death. Choose life."

Ilíon said...

And even if "quality of life" considerations could ever begin to trump the absolute "You shall not murder," who gave *you* the right to decide that *my* "quality of life" doesn't measure up?

A lie seems always to need a friend to cover for it.

Ilíon said...

Arnfinn Pettersen: wrong. And perhaps the possessor or low reading comprehension skills.

Anonymous said...

Hello Shackleman,

You asked:
) What is your definition of consciousness?


I don't think one can define consciousness, but one can point to it. Thomas Nagel does as good a job as any when he talks about "what it is like" --there is a subjectivity, a perspective.
T.L.S. Sprigge, by the way, also provided the same understanding of Consciousness.
2) What about consciousness as you define it makes killing or murder wrong when one *has* is, but not wrong when one doesn't?

Well I think this is intuitively obvious. DO you think a Rock has interests (assuming it is not like something to be a rock?) When someone kicks a rock hard, we might worry about that person's foot. when someone kicks a deer hard, we worry both about the deer and the person--on the assumption that both are conscious and may experience something

3) If when you or I are dreamlessly and without consciousness sleeping, would one be within their rights to kill either of us?

This is a good question, and I see your point in raising it. The natural thing to say is that while I am asleep I am not conscious, I still have the potential to be conscious. But you may say: so too does the early fetus.

But the disanalogy here that the early fetus has never been conscious--it has a different sort of potentiality than I do when I am asleep.

The fetus is potential in teh sense of being the causal ancester (as also are sperm and egg seperately) When I sleep my potentiality is an actual capacity I have (not just a causal ancester to having that capacity

Victor Reppert said...

Ilion, I think you're proof-texting.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Ilion, I think you're proof-texting."

Listen to you!

Victor Reppert -- a man who imagines (or, at any rate, asserts) that in noting that Scripture contains more verses condemning injustice than sodomy he has made a Bibical argument showing that "conservative's" concerns about and opposition to "gay marriage" are misplaced, or at least disproportionate (*) to the seriousness of the matter -- imagines that he can brush off as mere proof texting actual references to actual Scripture showing that his definition of 'justice' turns justice on its head.

To protect your "liberalism," you would make Scripture contradict itself. Well, of course you would: you value something higher than you do truth and reason.


(*) Which is to say, according to Vistor Reppert, we "conservatives" need to surrender on "gay marriage" -- or, at minimum, ignore this threat to the very basis of society until after the leftist agenda has been imposed upon our nation.