Sunday, June 19, 2022

Biden and his pro-life critics

 On the face of things, there is no conflict between thinking something is wrong, such as divorce and remarriage, and believing that we ought not to impose this as a restriction as a matter of law. There are many things I think are wrong that I oppose legislating against. I think you're a real slimebag if you lie to a woman in a bar in order to go to bed with her. But I don't think people who do that should be arrested. 

The argument that is thrown back at people like Biden is that abortion, on the Catholic view, takes the life of an innocent human person. And, they argue, even the most minimal of governments ought to protect the lives of innocent human persons. 

What Biden seems to think is that even though he as a Catholic has good reason to believe that every fetus has a right to life, he doesn't think that he has good reasons that he can provide to people who don't share his religion that every fetus has a right to life. The Jewish tradition, for example, seems for the most part opposed to the idea. 

However, Catholics who disagree with Biden think that the beginning of life at conception isn't a matter of faith, but is rather a scientific fact. In other words, they not only think that abortion is in fact the taking of innocent human life and therefore unjustified, they think that good reason can be given to show people who aren't Catholic that abortion is that taking of innocent human life and therefore unjustified. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, argued that even though the Catholic Faith teaches that God exists, there are good reasons (five of them) that can be given to show everyone that God exists. The belief that the Universe had a temporal beginning, however, was something he thought you couldn't prove to the satisfaction of everyone, and so that was an article of faith that couldn't be proven. 

Biden thinks the Catholic view of abortion is a matter of faith. His pro-life opponents think it is supportable by reason. 

60 comments:

bmiller said...

"The Jewish tradition, for example, seems for the most part opposed to the idea."

Depends on the Jew and their interpretation of tradition.

https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/ben-shapiro-debunks-abortion-myths-at-focus-on-the-familys-pro-life-event-seelife-2022/

Victor Reppert said...

I said "for the most part." There are supporters of the pro-life position in the Jewish community, to be sure. Michael Medved would be one significant example also.

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/abortion-in-jewish-thought/

bmiller said...

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Starhopper said...

In the spirit of "Be careful what you wish for," this nation's right wingers may soon rue the day they successfully overturned Roe v. Wade.  For decades they held a death's grip over single issue voters who were 100% ready to sacrifice every other issue on the bloody altar of abortion. The environment? Voting rights? The bloated "defense" budget? Infrastructure? Health care? Immigration? Care for the stranger in our midst and the least among us? All tossed under the bus, as long as Roe v. Wade is overturned.

So I say hurray for today's Supreme Court decision! It is the best thing that could ever have happened to all the causes that actually matter. We will now see candidates who genuinely care for all the issues listed above win races in both red and blue states because their stand on choice will no longer matter to voters, who will from here on feel free to vote in their best interests.

bmiller said...

Democrats haven't been so mad since Republicans freed the slaves.

Starhopper said...

But they (the Democrats) will end up ecstatic once they see their agenda roll over the reactionary opposition, now that the right wing has lost its single issue hold on voters.

In the meantime, what is bmiller going to post about now, now that he can't turn every conversation into a rant over abortion? How can he call people he disagrees with "baby killers" once no babies are being killed? He might have to come to grips with (shudder) real issues.

bmiller said...

Never would have happened except for Trump.

Victor Reppert said...

What this decision does is make abortion a matter of democratic choice at the state level. If, as polling data shows, pro-lifers are in the minority even in red states, then pro-choice candidates will start winning in state legislatures and governor's mansions, and abortion rights will help Democratic candidates in Congress as well. So long as outlawing abortion was a pipe dream it just motivated a range of pro-life voters while people on the pro-choice side weren't so motivated. Now that abortion restrictions are going to be a reality, there will be people who weren't politically motivated who will be motivated now.

By the way, how do people vote who are pro-life, but also believe in universal health care, paid family leave, contraceptive availability and education, affordable or free childcare, a less restrictive immigration policy, oppose the border wall, support ending capital punishment, ensuring safe and affordable housing for everyone, etc. What are people like this supposed to do? Move to a country where they don't have our two-party system?

Starhopper said...

Victor, you just described me in your last paragraph. Just add pro environment, pro science, anti gun, and anti bloated "defense" budget" and slap my picture next to the description.

bmiller said...

What this decision does is make abortion a matter of democratic choice at the state level.

Constitutionally, it always was and both liberal and conservative legal experts always knew it. Reality has a way of re-asserting itself in the course of time despite the best efforts of leftists.

By the way, how do people vote who are pro-life, but also believe in universal health care,....What are people like this supposed to do? Move to a country where they don't have our two-party system?

I don't get it. Starhopper won't vote any different than he did before and conservatives won't vote for a socialist America.

Starhopper said...

In 2016 I knew at least a dozen people who sided with Hillary Clinton on nearly every issue, but couldn't bring themselves to vote for her solely because of her pro choice stance. And that very small number is just people I knew personally. Now there will be no impediment to such people voting for their best interests rather than for politicians who oppose everything they hold dear on the basis of this single issue.

So yes, expect voting patterns to swing dramatically against Republicans over the next several elections.

bmiller said...

More importantly, abortion defenders will have to try to convince voters why it should be legal to intentionally kill innocent human beings. Ultrasound is now common and people can see videos of the people abortionists want to kill.

Starhopper said...

You haven't woken up yet, bmiller, to the new reality. The issue is now dead. Abortion is illegal. There is nothing left for the anti-abortion movement to fight for, and after a few well earned victory celebrations the coalition will soon evaporate. Voters will rapidly move on to more important issues, such as the environment, health care, voter rights, sensible gun laws, anti racism, and income equality.

bmiller said...

Starhopper. I doubt you were ever awake at all. Abortion is not "illegal" unless you live in Missouri.

Protesters are surrounding Chuck Schumer's house now to protest that he didn't pass federal laws to legalize abortions when Dems have 2 houses and the Executive. The issue is now open season for elected officials to either oppose or promote. No more, "personally I oppose it but it's the law of the land" excuses to hide behind.

Having said that, abortion was never the #1 issue for most voters, although Dems hope it will somehow save them in the mid-terms, there are bigger fish for the ordinary voters to fry, especially at the moment.

bmiller said...

However, I am gratified that 2 Roe defenders have now seen the light that it is better to leave this decision up to the voters rather than have the SCOTUS override all state laws without legitimate legal reasoning.

I can't remember. Didn't anyone ever present this argument to you two before?

Victor Reppert said...

I didn't say it was better, or worse. I was just pointing out what the decision is. No, abortion is not illegal in America. They did not concluded that fetuses are persons, or that abortion is murder, or anything like that. They just said that the Constitution doesn't support the right to abortion.

bmiller said...

If, as polling data shows, pro-lifers are in the minority even in red states, then pro-choice candidates will start winning in state legislatures and governor's mansions, and abortion rights will help Democratic candidates in Congress as well. So long as outlawing abortion was a pipe dream it just motivated a range of pro-life voters while people on the pro-choice side weren't so motivated. Now that abortion restrictions are going to be a reality, there will be people who weren't politically motivated who will be motivated now.

Dunno. This appears to be an argument about how you, as an abortion supporter and a Democrat, will come out better now that Roe (which was just a clump of words) is dead.

bmiller said...

Also, Ghislane Maxwell didn't kill herself

Victor Reppert said...

The fact that I oppose certain methods of stopping abortion does not make me a supporter of that procedure. Is a person who agrees that abortion is murder, but thinks abortion should be legal, a supporter of abortion?

bmiller said...

People who routinely support (via voting etc.) legislators that support abortion effectively support abortion. It's called remote material cooperation with an evil. So I disagree that you are not a supporter.

Regarding the question. I would conclude the person is a supporter of murder since he doesn't want to pass laws against it.

Starhopper said...

So. I personally despise rap "music" (sic). I believe it to be anti-music. But I would not favor making it illegal. Does that make me a supporter of rap music?

bmiller said...

Do you want to decriminalize murder?

Starhopper said...

Stop deflecting and answer my question. If I am opposed to criminalizing rap music, does that make me a supporter of it, despite the fact I can't stand it?

bmiller said...

I'm not deflecting. The answer you give to my question should also give you the answer to your own question if you're honest.

Starhopper said...

No. You're making the fallacy of assuming that since Benjamin Franklin is a man, then all men are Benjamin Franklin. It's not a matter of honesty, but of poor reasoning on your part.

Starhopper said...

Besides, why can't you answer my question? Probably because by doing so, you will blow holes in your own argument.

bmiller said...

On the contrary. The reason you refuse to answer my question is because it exposes the irrelevance of your question wrt laws against murder.

Starhopper said...

Well then, I guess we are at an impasse. You refuse to answer my question, and I believe yours is a deflection.

By your reasoning, unless you think something should be made illegal, you are supporting it. By my reasoning, you are confusing apples with oranges.

bmiller said...

Why do you consider it a deflection? The topic is "should murder be legal and if not, why not?"

Unless Rap musicians intend to use their music as an instrument to directly kill innocent people it is not the same as murder. So it is irrelevant to the topic.

However, if you know someone is going to commit a murder and you don't call the police, you are considered an accomplice.

bmiller said...

You should re-read "The Abolition of Man".

Starhopper said...

Your problem is that you are confusing abortion with murder. I am 100% opposed to abortion, but I in no way consider it to be murder.

But my question is supremely relevant, and your objection to it is a category error. So let's hear it. If you are opposed to making something illegal, are you necessarily supporting it? Yes or no.

I am the opposite of a football fan (the game bores me), but I have no desire to make playing it illegal. By your logic, that means I support football (which I do not).

Starhopper said...

I've read The Abolition of Man at least 4 times. It's a great book.

And Lewis would see right through your illogic in a nanosecond.

bmiller said...

Starhopper,

Your problem is that you are confusing abortion with murder.

You should read the context of the previous discussion before you accuse people of things. Victor's hypothetical person did equate abortion with murder and that was what I was responding to. If abortion is murder and you want to legalize abortion you thereby want to legalize murder.

Murder has been illegal in all places at all times in human history. The prohibition has been part of the Tao that Lewis speaks about. I've been given no reason to think someone who wants to decriminalize murder is not a supporter of murder and good reason to believe he is.

Starhopper said...

No. Now answer my question.

bmiller said...

No, I don't think we should criminalize Rap music merely because you don't like it. There.

Now why don't you want to decriminalize murder?

Starhopper said...

Why should I want to?

bmiller said...

Because you don't want to criminalize Rap music.

You've implied they these 2 things are morally equivalent and so if one shouldn't be criminalized why should the other?

Starhopper said...

There are tons of things that are sinful but not illegal. Marital infidelity is a sin, but is not illegal. (In my opinion) gambling is a sin, but within certain constraints it is legal. Suicide (absent mental illness) is a sin, but if a person survives a suicide attempt, they are not prosecuted for attempted murder. Are you of the opinion that all sins ought to be legislated against? Good luck with that!

bmiller said...

But I asked you about murder specifically. It's a sin, right?. Why shouldn't it be legal if all those things you listed should be?

Starhopper said...

I don't understand your question. I've already made it clear that not all sins (for example: blasphemy) should be made illegal, and some things that are not sins (for example: zoning violations) should nevertheless not be legal.

We do not live in a theocracy. Morality and legality are separate, overlapping (but not identical) spheres.

bmiller said...

I'm not sure how I can make the question more clear.

You say not all sins should be illegal. OK. You also say that some things that are not sins should be illegal. OK.

Then you say murder, (let's disregard whether you think it's a sin or not), should be illegal.

What is it about murder that should make it be illegal?

Starhopper said...

I'll turn your (rather weird) question around. What is there about murder that would make a case for it not being illegal? Until you can answer that, your question is meaningless - semantically null. It's like asking "Why is up not down?" or "How come there's not more red in Beethoven's 9th Symphony?" Such questions (to include yours) are unanswerable.

bmiller said...

What a strange response.

I know what my reasons are and I've given them many times. I was wondering how leftists reasoned. I didn't figure this simple question would seize up the machinery but it does add weight to one of my working theories.

Starhopper said...

"I didn't figure this simple question would seize up the machinery"

Whereas I anticipated from the start that you would do everything in your power to deflect, and thus avoid answering my very simple question (which you still haven't).

I'll clarify it even further, so maybe you'll be able to respond:

If I am opposed to criminalizing X, does that necessarily make me a supporter of X?

bmiller said...

I haven't disputed that some sins should not be criminalized and I've been assuming for the sake of argument that you are not a supporter of those sins. Here:

You say not all sins should be illegal. OK. You also say that some things that are not sins should be illegal. OK.

Looks like you can't explain why murder should be illegal. I assume then that you can't explain why anything should be illegal. Am I correct?

bmiller said...

Is this the position? "Some sins should be legal so all sins should be legal"

Starhopper said...

"correct?"

True. That is the case with practically everything in this world. Cosmologists, when searching for the "initial conditions" for the so-called Big Bang, admit that they cannot reach back to the Beginning, but rather are stymied by an unscalable wall just before the event. Biologists, tracing the path of evolution back, and back, and back.... find themselves unable to say anything definitive about the origin of life itself.

I suspect it will be that way for all eternity. Faced with the infinity of God, we finite mortals will be forever learning (and experiencing) more and more and more about His nature, yet never arriving at that ultimate "explanation" of things.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Starhopper said...

Is this the position? "Some sins should be legal so all sins should be legal"

No. that is crude reductionism. The correct position is that some sins should be legal and others not.

bmiller said...

Well since you've confirmed that you don't have any reasons for making these kinds of distinctions then it seems to me that it's rather pointless to nitpick.

It also seems to be pointless to be disputing these distinctions with people when you have no reasons to support your positions. Must be a leftist thing.

Starhopper said...

"Must be a leftist thing"

Must be. it also must be nice to avoid actually defending your positions by just punting to an undefined word... in this case, "leftist".

Bmiller's definition of "leftist": anything I disagree with. How wonderful! No need to reason, no need to engage with facts that upset your apple cart, no need to think at all. Just label any unpleasant reality of the world "leftist" and go back to sleep.

Ya know? Odysseus encountered a whole nation of bmillers, in The Odyssey, Book 9, lines 91-118.

bmiller said...

No need to reason,

I know it's useless to point out to you the irony that you just admitted you can't give reasons for your position but I can't help myself.

Victor Reppert said...

I am thinking of someone who thinks, as a matter of faith, that abortion is unjustifiable homicide, but also thinks that society as a whole is invincibly ignorant of that truth, so legislation against abortion is not feasible.

If you define murder as unjustifiable homicide, I am not sure it's perfectly obvious that it all instances of it ought to be criminalized.

https://place.asburyseminary.edu/faithandphilosophy/vol19/iss2/2/

Victor Reppert said...

I'm not happy with either party from the standpoint of concerns about life. Republicans seem to think it is sufficient to be anti-abortion in order to be pro-life, ignoring such important life issues as capital punishment and unjustifiable war. They also seem to think the only meaningful way of reducing abortion is access restriction through law, babies saved because their mothers could get the health care they needed, or could take time off from work without wiping out their paychecks, do not apparently count as saved babies. Only those saved by legal access restrictions count. Ones who were not aborted because they were never conceived because their mothers got good contraceptive information don't count either.

https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/how-to-reduce-abortions

But I am not happy with Dems who refuse to consider the deep tragedy of abortion, who defend it as, basically, backup birth control.

bmiller said...

I am thinking of someone who thinks, as a matter of faith, that abortion is unjustifiable homicide, but also thinks that society as a whole is invincibly ignorant of that truth, so legislation against abortion is not feasible.

So the Spanish shouldn't have outlawed human sacrifice?

Republicans seem to think it is sufficient to be anti-abortion in order to be pro-life, ....

It is fallacious reasoning to tell us that since there are evil Republicans that have alternative solutions to poverty than Dem solutions we therefore have no choice but to encourage poor people to kill their offspring. Regardless of posturing, abortion just is a backup to birth control which just is a way of intentionally thwarting one of the natural outcomes of sexual intercourse. If you don't believe demons are anti-life, just look at the protesters this last week.

Limited Perspective said...

I don't think Biden thinks deeply anymore about anything important. He used to have interesting comments, mostly wrong, but interesting. I feel bad for our country that his administration is such a disaster for the country.

bmiller said...

I think leftists are simply anti-life.

They tell us that we must do everything in our power to allow people to kill their offspring because there are politicians that oppose policies that are family/child-friendly. But any country that actually makes laws that are family/child-friendly are attacked by the left.

Just ask Hungary.

Starhopper said...

Thank you, bmiller, for that clarification.

Since I am most definitely not "anti-life", I must not be a leftist.

Never considered myself as such anyway, but I'm glad to learn that neither do you.

bmiller said...

Leftists also think that if they self-identify as something they are not, that somehow makes them something they are not.

It's an anti-essentialism, which plays into their justification for abortion also.

bmiller said...

I think this is a good background for how mainline Protestant churches became pretty much secular institutions and how that philosophy has infected some within the Catholic Church too.

https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3749

For instance the acceptance of certain aspects of existentialism tell us that you don't really ever exist (you are "becoming") until you're dead (when you stop "becoming")and then you don't exist either. It's where the "person" excuse for killing people comes from. It's anti-life.

However, for hard-line existentialists of the Sartrian, and more recently the "Christian" type, the mere passive reception of experience does not confer true existence, A man only exists in a real sense by continuously making free and conscious acts of will.

Perhaps we can make sense of what is being said here by returning to the image of reality as an extended treacle or soup. The human will is pictured as an eddy of energy making a hole or space in the treacle or soup of Being. Man is this empty space created in the continuum of reality by the whirlpool of his free will. If he stops exercising his free will, the hole closes up and his existence is swallowed by the treacle. He is, essentially, a free will and nothing else.

These notions may seem to you abstruse and ridiculous, but they make it clear why people now "become" persons, rather than are persons. You become a person insofar as you are able to act consciously, make decisions, and realize your possibilities. If, through poverty, failure of bodily or mental faculties or their lack of development, you are wanting in any of these things, you cease to be a person and can be dealt with accordingly.

Abstruse notions have a way of producing far-reaching public consequences.

bmiller said...

To a leftist existentialist "Dialogue is chiefly an exchange of experiences" since the only reality you have is your own private reality. I suspect that is why non-leftists get frustrated when talking to leftists. Non-leftists think leftists, like themselves, believe in an objective reality.

In this way, existentialist man breaks out of the lonely private world of his personal experience. The "other" is usually men, but in the case of Jaspers and his followers could be God, who, however is rarely called God; the preferred expressions are "Transcendence" or "Transcendent Being." Dialogue is chiefly an exchange of experiences. It can generate fellow feeling and lead to joint decisions in practical matters. But it is never a discussion of ideas undertaken in the hope of reaching agreement about truth of a serious kind since that would be impossible. As we have seen, the worlds of our personal experiences are not the same. Of its nature, existentialism is the enemy of human unity, because it rejects the preconditions for it: a common nature and a common understanding of things.