Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I'm sorry, but it's not all about abortion

For many Christians, it seems to me that politics is all about abortion. They insist that because there are fetuses out there who are being killed, we must subordinate all other considerations to this one issue. Even if the President enlisted the help of a hostile foreign government to get himself elected, even if the President they elect and the Supreme Court Justice that he nominated committed sexual assault, even if the President plays on unjustifiable fears of foreigners and in order to keep his party in power, even if that same President says a federal judge cannot be trusted because he's Mexican, even if he makes fun of a disabled reporter and even removed Braille from the elevators in Trump Tower (I mean, who does that?) even if his party's  policies would rip health insurance away from millions of Americans, such as those with pre-existing conditions, even if the President is prepared to deny evident facts and the universal consensus of the intelligence community, even if opposes even reasonable attempts to keep what are basically machine guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people, even if he put someone in as Secretary of Education whose stated purpose it is to destroy the public education system, even if he got into the political arena by raising unfounded and racist aspersions about the duly elected President's birth certificate, even if he called countries in Central America and Africa, countries of course consisting of mostly black and brown people "shitholes," even if the President pretends to be a self-made who only got a small loan of one million dollars (which he had to pay back) when in fact he was constantly propped up by his wealthy father, even if he and his father had to commit massive tax fraud in order to receive money from his father without paying a hefty tax bill, even if he refuses to let the public see his tax returns, so that the people can see who he might be beholden to when he takes office, even if he disrespects our traditional allies but kisses up to every dictator on the planet, even if a journalist for an American newspaper is brutally murdered by one of those countries run by one of those dictators, even if he began his campaign by supporting a ban on people in virtue of how they worship God, we've got to, as Tammy Wynette would say, "Stand by our man" since he is going to put in enough "pro-life" Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, and then we can get laws against abortion.


Now I realize most Trump supporters will disagree with large parts of the above description of our beloved President. But in so many discussions I have gotten into, the bottom line for many people is abortion, and they imply that even those who disagree with everything else that Trump does should nonetheless support him because he supports pro-life. (He declared himself "totally pro-choice in 1999, so either he reflected on the matter carefully in the interim, or he decided that supporting the pro-life position would be helpful to him in his political career. I suppose it is only the incorrigible cynic in me that leads me to think it's the latter, not the former).


When you mention evidence of Trump's wrongdoing and manifest unfitness for the Presidency, his defenders, almost every time, either start rehearsing all the things Democrats (particularly Hillary Clinton) have done wrong (Benghazi, the e-mails, the Clinton Foundation, Monica Lewinsky, Juanita Brodderick, Paula Jones) or else they play the abortion card. If Trump were to shoot five people to death on Fifth Avenue, they would just say, "But at least he's pro-life." As for the Hillary strategy, they don't seem to understand that the question of the President's fitness is a separate question from anyone else's fitness. If the worst happens to Trump and he is impeached and removed, Mike Pence, not Hillary Clinton, will become President.


But as a Christian I have to argue that, no, the end does not justify the means. What sent Communism, in many countries into a moral black hole is the idea that there is some great good to be accomplished, and whatever bad things we do in order to bring in the Great Kingdom of the Socialist Paradise will all be worth it because that kingdom is so great.


My own abortion position is complicated, and many would accuse me of making something complicated that ought to be simple. I am not happy with either party's treatment of the issue. I think abortions are always bad, most of the are wrong, but I have qualms about using the criminal law to discourage them (while not using other means at our disposal), and I completely reject the Originalist Argument against Roe, which means I think that abortion laws are constitutionally possible only if there is a constitutional amendment, or an legal argument that it is provable that fetuses are persons. That is not the basis on which Roe has traditionally been challenged. (I'll be happy to cover this in detail in another post.)


My biggest political issues are:




1. Presidential accountability. I want the President, of whatever party to be held accountable for what he does, to be investigated to the fullest extent necessary for any wrongdoing that might show him to be unfit for the Presidency.


2. Health Care. There must  be no returning to the old system that, in the name of capitalism, discriminated against people who earn their living by part-time jobs, and those who have pre-existing conditions.


3. Education.  Supporting, not undermining the public education system.


4. Gun control. Surely there are things we can do to keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of people who are likely to harm innocent people.


5. Religious Freedom. This could be higher, I suppose, but those who have religious views that are not politically correct should be allowed to express them, and they should not be forced to engage in activity that praises relationships they don't agree with. On these matters, I tend to side with Republicans rather than Democrats, and depending on the candidates it was conceivable that I could have voted for the Republican in 2016. The nomination of Trump fixed that but good, for me.


Voting would be tough if I had to vote on abortion alone. But I didn't have to.  As a Christian, it is wrong to have tunnel vision. All political parties are coalitions, which accept some things that we as Christians can believe in, and others of which we have doubts. We never were, and never will be, the moral majority. There are people in the Democratic party who don't just believe that abortion should be legal, they think abortion is good. This is very, very wrong. There are people in the Republican party, including our President, who think that greed is good. I am sorry, it isn't. Many Christians have tunneled in on a few moral issues, when there are many. This is, I think, tragic, and harmful to the credibility of Christianity.

51 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

Talks about harm to Christian credibility while condemning a man as being guilty of sexual assault without a shred of evidence.

Beams and motes.

SteveK said...

I think I made it to about the 5th deranged sentence. Lol

SteveK said...

Check your meds, Victor. Seriously.

Starhopper said...

Well said, Victor. Clear, rational, and succinct. I wish more of our political discussion was could meet such a high standard. Two thumbs up.

bmiller said...

NPC's on parade.

SteveK said...

@bmiller
What does the Catholic Church say about abortion?

bmiller said...

@SteveK,

Thanks for bringing that up. Now that it is related to the topic let me elaborate.

It's a big NO-NO.

Did you get that Starhopper?

bmiller said...

They insist that because there are fetuses out there who are being killed, we must subordinate all other considerations to this one issue.

Makes it sound like the defenseless innocent human beings who are being killed are rather like insects. Maybe some religions think it is wrong to kill insects, but not Christianity. Christianity however, does consider it wrong to kill innocent human beings.

Victor,

You have made absolutely no case what-so-ever for why you think a "fetus" is not a human being worthy of the same protection as any other human being.

I have to assume then that regard the unborn as inhuman. Your 5 "biggest political issues" make it clear that "My own abortion position is complicated" is not complicated at all. The unborn are only a concern to you because Christians keep bringing it up to thwart your own political religion.

Joe Hinman said...

My own version of CA I know I'll get a long drawn out pile of BS from "I am skepical" Im hoping for more intelligent input, it promises to be a long logomonchy.

Cosmological Argument:from Contingency

Starhopper said...

NPC? What does that expand to?

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
Talks about harm to Christian credibility while condemning a man as being guilty of sexual assault without a shred of evidence.

What would said person have been condemned to? Returning to a lifetime appointment on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals? The horror!

Again, when did eyewitness testimony become something that was not evidence?

One Brow said...

bmiller said...
Your 5 "biggest political issues" make it clear that "My own abortion position is complicated" is not complicated at all.

I have to admit that, as long as women have a lesser status than the fetuses they carry, it's not complicated at all.

Hal said...

NPC=a nonplayable character in a video game

Several months ago, users on 4chan and Reddit, the online message forums, started using the term NPC to refer to liberals. These people, they said, join the anti-Trump crowd not because they are led by independent thought or conscience to oppose President Trump’s policies, but because they’re brainwashed sheep who have been conditioned to parrot left-wing orthodoxy, in the manner of a scripted character.

As a Reddit user, BasedMedicalDoctor, explains in a thread about the appeal of the meme, NPCs are “completely dependent on their programming, and can’t do or think on their own.”

Source:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/us/politics/npc-twitter-ban.html

Hal said...

One Brow,
Again, when did eyewitness testimony become something that was not evidence?

That has been correctly pointed out several times in previous discussions. Not sure why Legion of Logic continues to make such a false claim.



Legion of Logic said...

So an accusation is corroborating evidence for itself? Yeah, I'm not sure you know how this works. But go in, keep pretending to know what you don't know.

Starhopper said...

Thanks, Hal.

Don't know who bmiller is referring to, then, since neither Victor nor I are "liberals".

Legion of Logic said...

Apparently in my original post, at some point I edited out "corroborating", which was what I was talking about. But even with that error on my part aside, I do not "believe women". That is a garbage standard for justice.

The proper standard is to take all accusations - of any crime, from a man or woman - seriously while also maintaining the presumption of innocence for the accused, and seeing what the evidence shows. Ford had a very, very weak case when it came to the evidence. Thus, no reason to assume Kavanaugh is guilty except for progressive ideology dictating it must be so. Rather pathetic.

But go on, pretend to have some sort of moral or factual high ground. It's the written equivalent of watching blooper videos, which I enjoy.

bmiller said...

Don't know who bmiller is referring to,

Because my programming does not allow me to make the connection. :-)

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
But even with that error on my part aside, I do not "believe women". That is a garbage standard for justice.

Do you disbelieve all victims, or just women?

If Ford had been some sort of rejected girlfriend, someone who had made spurious accusations in the past, etc., then I understand the disbelief. However, Ford had nothing to gain, and a great deal to lose, by her testimony. Why disbelieve her over a man who lied during his testimony?

Hugo Pelland said...

Victor,
That was well written actually. I doubt your detractors would read it all, as one confirmed already, but I did and the points are all well structured, even if I personally don't 100% agree, just like with anyone else obviously.

Victor Reppert said...

To clarify, the one-issue abortion argument implies that even if, for the sake of argument, all of the anti-Trump claims are true, one should still stand by him because he will stop abortion. Many of the points I put up there are evident facts, but I realize that some are debatable. But I have heard people say that if Kavanaugh did what he is said to have done, it should not be disqualifying. Franklin Graham said that it shouldn't be disqualifying since, after all, he didn't actually rape her. Someone I know who was raped in high school has told me there is no way you could mistake the identity of the person who attacked you.

Scientific evidence suggests that people do remember the salient features of traumatic events, as Ford was pointing out during his testimony. Other features of the experience may not be so well-remembered. On the other hand, I find the claim that the large amounts of alcohol that Kavanaugh admittedly consumed during the time in question never erased his memory of what might have happened to be totally unbelievable. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/19/health/kavanaugh-hearing-alcohol-memory-explainer/index.html
https://www.alcohol.org/effects/on-your-memory/

Of course, nobody went into the science of memory, nor did they investigate the matter in more than a cursory way, so if there was evidence that this did take place, it is understandable that it was not found and analyzed. The Republican rush to a vote guaranteed that.

I find that people who say that there is no evidence for Ford's accusation sound a lot like im-skeptical when it comes to God.

Victor Reppert said...

I should add that while I think that it is more likely than not that he did what Ford says he did, it is of course not proven that he did, so that he should not be put away for attempted rape. But I actually think that a Supreme Court Justice should be above reasonable suspicion. It is true that, for any nominee, you could find some liar to come forward and make an accusation against them, if they were strongly enough motivated politically or paid enough by either the Koch Brothers or George Soros. But Ford seems to have paid an unusually heavy price to make this accusation, and had to have seen this coming after what had happened to Anita Hill years ago. I don't think she's lying, (though some do make this case), I don't think she has a mistaken identity problem, so what is left?

SteveK said...

“I find that people who say that there is no evidence for Ford's accusation sound a lot like im-skeptical when it come”

You’re misunderstanding. What people are saying is the evidence that would lead to a conviction isn’t there. The American ‘jury’ has judged the evidence and found it to be lacking.

Victor Reppert said...

Even on the assumption that fetuses are persons and that all differences between them and infants are morally irrelevant (a case can be made for that, but it is disputable in various ways), passing laws against abortion would not protect them in the least. In some Central American countries abortion is illegal, and the abortion rate is higher there than it is here. After so many years of legal abortion, no one would obey laws against abortion, and such laws would be totally unenforceable. There are so many other ways of discouraging abortion within the framework of choice, such as ultrasounds, moral exhortation, and spiritual guidance, not to mention insuring health care for children and making sure that workplaces do not discriminate against pregnant mothers and mothers of infants, providing easy access to birth control, and insuring that all mothers and their children have health insurance. Insisting that people not confuse the legal right to an abortion with moral justification for one would be another big step, because lots of people in our society are confused about that. Abortion is bad, not good. Passing laws against it, however, would be to oppose it in the worst way.

Victor Reppert said...

SteveK: You shouldn't need evidence that would lead to a conviction. a Supreme Court Justice, as I indicated, should be above reasonable suspicion. Kavanaugh is certainly not.

Starhopper said...

"The American ‘jury’ has judged the evidence and found it to be lacking."

That statement is completely false. The senators who voted for Kavanaugh's confirmation represented approximately 40 percent of the US population, while those who voted against it represented about 60 percent. By any standard, the "American jury" voted a resounding NO to Kavanaugh.

SteveK said...

The American ‘jury’ disagrees with you and that’s okay. They think he has met the standard, probably because he’s proven himself to be an excellent judge.

SteveK said...

Starhopper
The senators on the committee are the jury. They have more information than anyone else.

Hugo Pelland said...

SteveK,
What you call 'The American Jury' is just White Men, and I would add older, more conservative leaning. I guess you only see "your side" as being relevant. Not surprising...

"Women oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation by 55 percent to 37 percent.

However, men as a group support his elevation to the high court, by a margin of 49 percent to 40 percent.

White voters support Kavanaugh's nomination by a margin of 51 percent to 40 percent. Black voters, on the other hand, overwhelmingly oppose him, with 81 percent saying the Senate should not confirm him. Just 11 percent say he should be confirmed.

And Hispanic voters oppose the nomination by 65 percent to 30 percent, the poll found."

SteveK said...

Lol, Hugo. Are you saying white men are incapable of doing a proper evaluation? Do tell.

Starhopper said...

"Are you saying white men are incapable of doing a proper evaluation?"

Let's just say that a "jury" which equitably represents all constituents, and not just a single subset of them (white men), is more likely to do a proper evaluation - especially when the subject matter affects all groups and not just white men.

They're not incapable of doing a good job, but I wouldn't blindly trust them to do so.

SteveK said...

Since they are capable then there’s no need to make changes. Saying there should be changes means you think they are somehow incapable. Explain how being white makes you incapable.

Starhopper said...

Do you not understand probabilities? I am capable of winning the lottery, but I wouldn't count on it.

An all white male jury is "capable" of rendering a fair judgement on an issue that involves more than just white males, but I wouldn't bet on it. The odds are against them doing so.

bmiller said...

Victor,

passing laws against abortion would not protect them in the least.

Nonsense. When abortion was legalized in the US there were more abortions, just as in every other country.

In some Central American countries abortion is illegal, and the abortion rate is higher there than it is here.

First, how could you possibly know the real abortion rate in countries where it is illegal?
Second, it is simply a non-sequitor to say that "some" Central American statistics are different than the US even if you could know. Murders in "some" Central American countries are higher than in the US also. So what?

After so many years of legal abortion, no one would obey laws against abortion, and such laws would be totally unenforceable.

This is empirically false. Take Poland for example. When they were under communism abortion was legal and public sentiment wrt abortion was more or less favorable. When abortion became illegal public sentiment wrt abortion became unfavorable. Most people will follow the law.

There are so many other ways of discouraging abortion within the framework of choice,
such as ultrasounds, moral exhortation, and spiritual guidance


Except that the "framework of choice" is really about only one choice and that is *not* to discourage abortion. Or are you claiming that Planned Parenthood provides moral and spritual guidance to discourage abortions?


Abortion is bad, not good. Passing laws against it, however, would be to oppose it in the worst way.

Now try this:
Murder is bad, not good. Passing laws against it, however, would be to oppose it in the worst way.

Because you said this:
"Even on the assumption that fetuses are persons and that all differences between them and infants are morally irrelevant?"

Please reconcile.



SteveK said...

How does skin color affect the probability of rendering a fair judgment? Does this phenomenon only affect people with white skin?

Hugo Pelland said...

SteveK,
Everybody has some form of bias. The challenge is to try to figure out what's right/true despite our biases. Therefore, when white men, who have historically always been in a position of power in this country relative to women/poc, have a different view of some issue in which they are almost never the victim, as it is the case with sexual assault, it is only fair to point out that they are indeed sticking to their biases instead of looking at the situation objectively.

By arguing that the 'American Jury' agrees with you, you showed how you're not questioning your own biases nor those of others in your group. Being part of the majority, the one in power, it's lazy and intellectually dishonest to claim that 'most' people agree with you. It's only the group that is the most biased toward your position that agrees with you...

I.e. nothing to do with white men not being abke to judge, but your "lol" was very telling of your misguided opinion and lack of empathy for those who hold, and have held, less power over time.

SteveK said...

“I.e. nothing to do with white men not being abke to judge”

You brought it up and now admit that skin color has nothing to do with it. Progress!!

Hugo Pelland said...

Wow, you're being extra stupid on this thread. You asked Victor about his meds... projection much?

You're the one who was too dumb to understand that I was not implying white men cannot judge. You were wrong. I tried to explain to you what it meant but you don't give a dam, obviously.

And you actually proved my point. People like you, and that happens to be quite a lot of old white men very often, don't stop to think about what supports their opinion on certain topics. Here, regarding what people think of Ford, you just went with your gut, with the simplest explanation possible.

Me Steve, me right, me part of majority, majority agrees with me. Yeah me right! LOL!

What an idiot...

bmiller said...

Do you not understand probabilities? I am capable of winning the lottery, but I wouldn't count on it.

An all white male jury is "capable" of rendering a fair judgement on an issue that involves more than just white males, but I wouldn't bet on it. The odds are against them doing so.


I see what you're getting at. You're saying that the odds of a judge of Mexican descent ruling in favor of Trump are small. Better tell Victor to fix his list.

SteveK said...

Your objection referenced the fact that they are “just white men”. Why? If it was a mistake to mention skin color or that it’s irrelevant, okay. Progress either way.

Hugo Pelland said...

SteveK, no, that's not what I said. Your reading comprehension is lacking today.

It's not that they are "just white men", it's that it's "just" that 1 group that agrees with you. They happen to be white men. There are also other sub-group that agree, such as Republicans women, but not as much because women are more likely to have witness or suffered from sexual abuse themselves and are thus more sympathetic.

The one group that believed Fors the least is the one that is the most likely to be detached from the situation and least likely to even consider they might be wrong, because they also happen to have had the most power and influence.

SteveK said...

I’m having a hard time making sense of your argument. You seem to be relying on generalized probabilities that may or may not apply to the specific situation. Saying ‘believe women because they are probably telling the truth’ has been shown to destroy innocent lives so that simplistic way of thinking doesn’t work for me.

Starhopper said...

bmiller,

Are you truly this dense, or are you just trolling us?

A judge of Mexican ancestry is perfectly capable of judging a case involving Trump. There is no position of privilege for either side in this case.

For an all-white male Republican majority of one in the judiciary committee to fairly judge Dr. Ford (or any woman) is likely to be a bridge too far. Not because they are incapable of objective judgement, but because they occupy a position of privilege and power, which stacks the deck against objectivity. They will, consciously or unconsciously, defend their hold on power and privilege.

But in the case of the judge with Mexican ancestry, what privilege is there to defend? None!

Legion of Logic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Legion of Logic said...

Victor: I don't think she's lying, (though some do make this case), I don't think she has a mistaken identity problem, so what is left?

For you, nothing. For those of us who value the concept of justice based on presumption of innocence, and for those of us who don't share your assessment of the situation, then there are certainly alternatives.

As someone whose reputation and relationship with my son was damaged by a false accusation for years, I happen to require more than an accusation to condemn someone. If you don't, you oppose justice, simple as that.

Those of you trying to hide behind "IT'S NOT A CRIMINAL COURT" when the stakes include a man's reputation, are also the first to cry about him not acting like a sitting justice when he wasn't a sitting justice. You abandon and apply standards for political expediency. It's sickening.

Starhopper said...

So then Legion, which it is? Was she lying, or was she the victim of mistaken identity?

"there are certainly alternatives"

Such as? Let's hear 'em.

bmiller said...

@Starhopper,

Are you truly this dense, or are you just trolling us?

A judge of Mexican ancestry is perfectly capable of judging a case involving Trump. There is no position of privilege for either side in this case.


Then maybe I'm dense.

I always thought a judge is in a position of power and privilege to determine the fate of those brought before the court. You say I'm wrong. Please explain to me how Trump can equally issue a ruling that determines the fate of the judge.

bmiller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bmiller said...

And BTW, why should I pay any attention to a privileged old white guy like you in the first place? You are insisting you are right only because you consciously or unconsciously assume your own privileged superiority.

Hugo Pelland said...

Guys,
Watch this: https://youtu.be/Gs0KuwInuxM
This is what it feels like to have these conversations here.

I'm David Pakman.
We're children of the lie!

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
Those of you trying to hide behind "IT'S NOT A CRIMINAL COURT" when the stakes include a man's reputation, are also the first to cry about him not acting like a sitting justice when he wasn't a sitting justice.

At the time of the hearing, he was a sitting judge on the DC Circuit.