Reason Writers Around Town


At Tech Central Station, Jesse Walker searches for the real party of tolerance.

NEXT: Correction of the Month

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Jesse Walker,

    As usual, great article.

  2. That was as good as a dark roast grande from Starbucks.

  3. I love the bit about French Fries. Very nice.

  4. Let me know when a state starts putting people in jail for cooking fatty foods. Or votes on such a thing. Or has a single public official actually suggest it.

    Until the authoritarian liberal courts stepped in, Texas and other states were imprisoning people for gay sex. About half the states in the country would, if given the chance, imprison women and execute doctors for performing abortions. And no, you can’t just “step outside,” as in a smoke free bar, to get away. And by way of comparison, you have french fries? Please.

    It’s a great line to feed to righties who are determined to view themselves as victims, regarless of their actual power, but it bears no resemblance to the real world.

  5. joe-

    I won’t deny that the right may frequently be more punitive in its proposals for correcting human behavior, but I still thought it was a good article. It’s quite clear that liberals don’t trust people to make their own decisions any more than conservatives do. The only debate is over which decisions to not trust them with (bi-partisan compromise on “none”, perhaps?) and how stiff the sanctions should be.

  6. As much as I agree with the gist of the article, I still don’t see a good reason why a top down legislation of freedom and individual liberty is a bad thing – and by extension for example, why a woman should not have reproductive freedom.

    just a party that wages its crusades in the name of Christ and a party that wages its crusades in the name of Four Out Of Five Experts Agree

    And if libertarians came into power, we’d be waging our crusade in the name of freedom and individual liberty. Would we be as ham handed as the current parties in being intolerant of attacks on those two fronts by state and local governments?

  7. Jesse,

    I’d chalk this one up to just another in in a series of satiric proposals.

    Reduce the scope of the federal government voluntarily? You call that realistic? Hahahahahahahahah LOL

  8. Metalgrid said:
    “And if libertarians came into power, we’d be waging our crusade…”

    This is why all librarians should burn their cards and declare themselves anarchists.
    Not that I want company.
    Anarchists don’t like company.

  9. Joe,

    Until the authoritarian liberal courts stepped in, Texas and other states were imprisoning people for gay sex. About half the states in the country would, if given the chance, imprison women and execute doctors for performing abortions. And no, you can’t just “step outside,” as in a smoke free bar, to get away. And by way of comparison, you have french fries? Please.

    In a free-market system, people would select and move to the states that have these freedoms – to engage in consensual sex, practice reproductive control, etc. It’s the equivalent of “stepping outside” in the sense that you could move to another state to do these things.

    I think one of the biggest problems with many gays and women is that they have become complacent in the incrementalist progress that they make(have made), that they don’t really see state/community selection as playing a large role in their quality of life. If the federal government did allow states and communities to criminalize birth control and non-missionary sex acts, we would see a larger influx of people interested in avoiding jail time into other communities. As it is, people are too complacent and don’t take advantage of their freedom to move and vote with their feet nearly enough. On the other hand, maybe the polarization between the south + midwest and the northeast + west is due to people voting with their feet and moving to areas where they are less likely to be persecuted.

  10. Good stuff Jesse.

    The threat from and power of the religious right is vastly overrated. I’m a lot more worried about the influence of public school than of the Bible thumpers.

    It would also be interesting to find out just how many doctors performing illegal abortions prior to Row v Wade (actually a fishing controversy) were executed for doing a Dustin’ and a Cleanin’.

    Joe makes an interesting point about what might happen if we ended up in the WAY BACK circa 1965. Maybe Joe or someone should take a look and find out just how many death penalties were meted out in the bad old days when states actually did have the right to set punishment for the crime of abortion (not me, dude, I’m busy and I think the answer is prolly one guy somewhere in Texas).

  11. TWC, Oklahoma just elected a Senator who has called for the death penalty for doctors and their patients. The same nutjob who had the great quote about schools only letting one girl at a time go into the bathroom, what with dem gettin all lesbian up in dere.

    But OK, let’s say I’m overstating the case, and a more likely outcome would be 15 year sentences to scare the patient into turning states witness, and 60 year sentences for the doctor. You could hand out $5 fines for every cigarette in Manhattan, and it would still take centuries to reach the equivalent level of oppression.

  12. BTW, TWC, GOP figures talk openly about going back to earlier periods when discussion morals legislation and women’s rights.

  13. On the other hand, maybe the polarization between the south + midwest and the northeast + west is due to people voting with their feet and moving to areas where they are less likely to be persecuted.

    Heh, makes me think of a Crispin Glover movie called The Orkly Kid (based on a true story) about this kid in a small rural town who likes to dress up as Olivia Newton-John. He faces derision all movie long for being a wimpy nerd but thinks he’ll wow ’em all when he reveals his passion at the town talent show, which of course turns out disasterously. All movie long I wanted to scream at the character, Move to San Francisco!!! Finally at the end, he does.

    If you ever want to check this flick out (my spoiler doesn’t really effect appreciation of it), it’s now part of the Beaver Trilogy, Beaver, UT being where the true story took place.

  14. “About half the states in the country would, if given the chance, imprison women and execute doctors for performing abortions.”

    Others would allow a child to get an abortion without a parent’s knowledge.

  15. metalgrid,
    I don’t know. On one level, I agree with you, but on another…that’s why my family came here to begin with. (my earliest ancestor was born here in 1744). It seems that if I keep moving, never standing up for my rights, just move when my neighbors decide it’s time for some lynchin’, well, down right pussified. Now understand, I’m merely talking about freedom “from” persecution, not freedom “to”, for instance freedom to have state sanctioned gay marriage.

    I don’t know, protection of my liberty seems to be one of the few reasons I can even stand government, I’m not sure a million scattered dictatorships is better than one unified one, except that it is easier to fight little ones than big ones.

    Personally I consider myself a libertarian because I believe in personal liberty. So little anti-liberty governments are as distasteful to me as big ones. That said, I liked the article, I think it makes the point that, in the end, neither dominant political party in the US is really all that interested in my freedom.

  16. Was execution really the sentence for abortion before R v W made it legal? I’m skeptical of that until someone with evidence steps forward, but OTOH, I wouldn’t be so cavalier as TWC, I’ve always had the impression that while illegal abortions could be had, they weren’t exactly routine or surreptitiously tolerated. On the other other hand, R v W may have caused the kind of backlash where you get politicians like this jerk from Oklahoma. My leftist-lawyer former brother-in-law once tried to convince me that the abortion legal situation was actually much worse now than it was in the 60’s. Well, maybe he was right, and maybe R v W is partly responsible for that.

  17. “About half the states in the country would, if given the chance, imprison women and execute doctors for performing abortions.”

    Others would allow a child to get an abortion without a parent’s knowledge.

    Thank you for proving my point about authoritarism coming mainly from the right.

  18. fyodor,

    I remember in the 1970s and 1980s a aphorism in S.F. that goes something like this: “I moved to S.F. to be with freaks just like me.”

    Anyway, I think that its apparent that we (homosexuals) aren’t quite as complacent as metalgrid argues. Gay culture proceeds apace and becomes more part of the dominant culture every year. We’ve shoved issues like adoption, marraige, etc., into the mainstream discussion. Homosexuality is becoming less of a burden on individuals in their daily lives. We have our own TV shows, a primary indication that we have fucking arrived! 🙂 And of course, as more people are come in contact with people who are gay, the more it forces them to re-assess their ideas about gay people. I still remember when my father was confronted with the fact that two of his best friends from his HS football team had divorced their wives and moved in together to consumate a gay relationship.


    I guarantee you that there are gay bars and clubs in OK City.


    Like this article, in it, it describes a pharmacist that refused to fill a scrip for the pill, I think that’s idiotic, but I’m not gonna get my undies in a bunch.

    But, what does really get me, is that he held the scrip hostage to prevent her from getting it somewhere else. The left may want my french fries, but the right wants my balls. Personally, I’m more attached to my testicles.

  20. Others would allow a child to get an abortion without a parent’s knowledge.

    Thank you for proving my point about authoritarism coming mainly from the right.

    You do have a point Joe, which is why I’ve always said that it would probably be easier to get drug legalization out of the left than the right. Although both parties seem to be about control, the left exerts this control in the form of licensing and taxing. You can get married if you are licensed by the state. You can smoke cigaretts if you pay the cig tax. etc.
    The right exerts their control via authoritarian decree. You smoke pot – you go to jail. You have an abortion, your doctor gets put on death row and you go to prison for life.

    I think Jesse got it a bit mixed up when he said which is worse: to rename a french fry or to take it away? If it were the liberals, they wouldn’t take it away, they’d just tax you on it. If it were the theocrats and the fries were shrimp, they’d throw you in jail because the

  21. woops, sorry for letting the hyperlink run away there.

    Bible forbids consuming shellfish now points to where it should.

  22. Skeptikos-

    Scary story. For the record, I support all of the following:

    1) The right of any pharmacist to not fill a prescription that he or she objects to
    2) The right of any pharmacy manager to fire said pharmacist (let’s face it, birth control pills are pretty popular and I doubt many pharmacy owners are eager to miss out on that business)
    3) The right of any customer to demand the prescription form back (it’s the property of the patient, given to the patient by the doctor)

    So in the case you describe I’d say that the pharmacist should be free to refuse, the patient should be free to go elsewhere, and the boss should be free to say “You idiot! Do you have any idea how many people get birth control pills? And do you have any idea how many customers on birth control pills will go elsewhere for all of their purchases if you don’t agree to sell birth control pills?!?!? You’re fired!”

  23. Funny, I’ve been browsing liberal blogs for a while now (being a liberal and all) and somehow I must have missed all those posts and articles calling for the banning of fatty foods and tougher laws against smoking. And the smoking issue, in any case, is largely based on people’s concerns about their own health, rather than forcing others to live healthier lives (whatever the merits of the second-hand smoke argument may be in reality).

    Also, whenever the question was asked, “What do you most agree with conservatives on?” the number one answer was guns.

    I don’t think these authoritarian impulses you speak of resonate much with most liberals.

  24. fyodor,

    In the 19th century, post-quickening abortions were a capital crime in England (I can’t say whether this was the case in Scotland, Wales or Ireland) according to statute. This reflected the common law, which for most of its history in England, considered abortion a felony, which meant that it was a capital crime.

    For 19th century English law on the matter see: Lord Ellenborough’s Act

    In the U.S., before the codification of criminal laws that became common the early 19th century, states/colonies followed the English common law on the matter. Thus it is safe to say that it was a capital crime at least until movement to codify the criminal came about in the 1820s and 1830s. You’ll find that when these codifications did occur, they took after Lord Ellenborough’s Act (1803) regarding the issue of an abortion performed post-quickening being a capital crime.

    Between the 1860s and the start of the 20th century restrictions on abortions at all stages of development were implemented, however, it was no longer a capital crime as far as I know.

    In the 1960s many state laws – for example NY State – were liberalized so as to make abortion legal; much of this followed the efforts of the creators of the Model Penal Code.

  25. “Thank you for proving my point about authoritarism coming mainly from the right.”

    I don’t get it.

    Are you saying that it’s not particularly authoritarian when the state, without the knowledge of parents and, indeed, often over their objections, makes a decision about the health and well being of a child, or are you saying that you don’t think this form of authoritarianism is coming from the left?

  26. Both major American political parties desire to control individual behavior. The only difference is the behaviors. Liberals have a taste for the “stick.” Hate crimes provide a neat example… as if the punishment for rape and murder should be more draconian if we can divine an “ism” somewhere in the dark heart of a criminal.

    The punishment for violations of the speech codes on campuses is not simply a fine or term of imprisonment. It is reeducation. Violators must undergo public atonement for transgressions.

    Conservatives are a bunch of mean bastards. So are liberals.

    Click it or ticket, Joe?

  27. Skepticos,

    The article discusses a so-called “right to refuse” service, which is absolute non-sense. What should be seen as a right is the right to fire their ass for refusal to undertake the lawful requirements of their employer.

  28. Mark Borok,

    It’s true, as thoreau pointed out, that the left doesn’t want to ban fatty foods so much as tax them (or, I would add, institute other coercive measures to discourage their popularity, such as requiring restaurants to publish nutritional info on their menu).

    OTOH, protecting workers’ health is a rationale I’ve frequently heard to back smoking bans. Maybe it’s just a selling point for people who are really looking out for their own health, but I’ve certainly heard that argument plenty of times.

  29. “Let me know when a state starts putting people in jail for cooking fatty foods. Or votes on such a thing. Or has a single public official actually suggest it.”

    Blech. Don’t forget the fat tax, which would be enforced under penalty of fine or imprisonment, and don’t forget the loverly “4th Branch of Government” that legislates through punitive damage awards. Imagine me making the argument that conservatives weren’t authoritarian about what you do in your bedroom if conservative lawyers had persued class action after class action on behalf of offended communities whose tragic loss of community standards was worth at least a hundred million dollars per community.

  30. Metalgrid: They wouldn’t take away the whole batch of fries, but a few fries would come out in taxes… 🙂

    Mark: I didn’t say “the liberal,” I said “the authoritarian liberal.” The gun-loving fry-eaters are off the hook. I’m criticizing Henry Waxman and Chuck Schumer, not Nat Hentoff or Matt Welch.

    Joe: Abortion is in a different category, isn’t it? If you believe a fetus is a human being, the topic is less like gay marriage and more like child abuse. And if you don’t believe a fetus is a human being, you can at least understand that the people on the other side of the issue are arguing from more than a desire to impose their view of Right Living (or Healthy Living) on other people.

  31. Metal, the rub with the abortion-for-minors question is the blatant hypocrisy.

    Judged as a child by law, the minor can’t even quit high school without her parent’s consent but if she’s knocked up she miraculously acquires the wisdom of Solomon and is presumed fully capable of carefully weighing the abortion v adoption v mommyhood question.

  32. thoreau,

    Actually I showed that link, to demonstrate that there are those on the right who want to go quite a bit beyond the right of refusal(which I resevedly support), the pharmacist who held the scrip hostage. I do worry about the left and thier authoritian tendencies, I have encountered too much of that in the last 20 years….but most of the danger I have found myself in the last 20 years as I have traveled around this country came not from the left, but from the right. When I went dancing with a black woman in a little town of Lakeview FL, it was a local republican sheriff who stuck a gun in my face and told me race traitors weren’t welcome (really, Aug 1995) When I was staying at a friends in the black part of New orleans in 98, it was a church going white skinned cop who did the same (in that case it was my black gay friend that offended him), only in NO it was a different part of my anatomy that he actually threatened.

    None of those things have ever happened at the hands of liberals. I loathe the Demo’s, but they rarely threaten me with physical voilence. And none have ever threatened to imprison me for french fries the way that GA has over “sodomy” (that occured last summer, and there it was a cop with a knife…weird). All I’m saying is the left is full of ninnies, and the right is full of, well something a tad bit more voilent (of course I really kind of encourage this kind of stuff, you can’t imagine the adrenalian surge you get when you tell a cop pointing a gun at your head to F…Off)

    The solution to lack of liberty is more liberty, not partialed out liberty.

    But wait, I forgot, Big “L” Libertarians don’t admit any of this kind of stuff still happens, do they.

  33. Joe, I think you’re using a nom de plume (did I spell that right?) to disguise the fact that you really are my friend Chris. Or maybe not.

    Anyway, I’m not arguing that no nutcases exist, I’m arguing that they have far less power and influence than you imagine. Secondary to that is the point that Jesse and Hood are both making, the religious right didn’t elect GWB. The chick who bags your groceries did. And her brother, the mechanic. It was the regular people who haven’t seen the inside of a church since they got married but think Toby Keith is right and the Dixie Chicks are way off base.

  34. Jesse,

    Good article, but when it comes to downplaying the culture war based on the fact that religious-based votes were statistically the same as in 2000, I have to take issue. You’re missing the entire point.

    In 2000, the only bits of information these voters had were candidate Bush’s personally history and his promises. What matters is that in 2004 their numbers didn’t dwindle in the face of a unarguably terrible post-war situation in Iraq, prisoner atrocities, civil rights abuses, completely fiscal irresponsibility past that of any Democrat and, yes, terrible job performance. Their cultural views beat everything. Either you have to admit that, or admit that they’re criminally underinformed.

  35. TWC,

    A few years ago a local peace officer and a judge in I think Kansas nabbed a girl who was about to have an abortion (which had been approved by her parents) and forced her to remain in custody until she had the kid. In other words, there are those who don’t even respect the decisions that parents and their children come to.

  36. Mark,

    Have you tried lighting a Marlboro in a bar in New York, Hawaii, or California lately?

    The other problem that lefties have is one of definition. If the left acts in an authoritarian way it doesn’t count, because, for example, speech codes aren’t authoritarian at all. They’re just tools to preserve civil society on campus.

  37. Metal, the rub with the abortion-for-minors question is the blatant hypocrisy. Judged as a child by law, the minor can’t even quit high school without her parent’s consent but if she’s knocked up she miraculously acquires the wisdom of Solomon and is presumed fully capable of carefully weighing the abortion v adoption v mommyhood question.

    The point I was making was as someone who hopes his children will never need an abortion, but in the event that they do, it is a safe one. Even if they don’t get my permission to do it, I’d still want her to have a clean, safe abortion rather than a dangerous one. I’d much rather she survived such an event due to easy access to abortion rather than died due to complications from getting an abortion on the black market. I don’t particularly teach my children that something is good or bad – I try to show them that actions have consequences that are either beneficial to you or are not. As a result I don’t expect them to hide from me whether they are pregnant, would like an abortion, etc. But I still worry about their safety.
    I’d say that if my child is old enough to consent to intercourse or birth control, they are old enough to decide for themselves whether they want an abortion or not. Of course, if it’s non-consensual sex, there’s a whole nother can of worms to address there. Either way, they won’t need the Wisdom of Solomon to address that issue – it’s a pretty straightforward question, especially if you’re not weighed down with doctrinal baggage handed down by some sky pixie.

  38. Jason B, almost impossible to imagine. How the hell could he hold her until she had the baby? Dude that’s a long time, even in Kansas.

  39. Metal, I figured as much, just as my point isn’t really about abortion for minors but about the lunacy of the legal system.

    Course if I was king the age of consent would be somewhere between puberty and fourteen. For everything. Let ’em vote, let ’em buy guns. Biologically that’s been the standard for millenia and only changed at the beginning of the 20th Century.

  40. TWC,

    As I understand it, she was in her second tri-mester (4-5 months) and they held her long enough to have the kid. One the story angles was that she had been impregnated by the cop’s son (or perhaps the son of the judge).

  41. I’ve been chewing over whether taxing behavior and introducing regulations on business is as authoritarian as directly criminalizing victimless behavior such as sodomy, since I know that the former pair is every bit as coercive.

    So I turned to my old friend,


    1. Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom: an authoritarian regime.
    2. Of, relating to, or expecting unquestioning obedience. See Synonyms at dictatorial.

    One could make the point that the left is less authoritarian per se because they want to influence behavior rather than dictate it, even if they fail to recognize that their means amount to the very same thing. OTOH, one would still have to say that the left (that is, the portion of the left that would advocate said measures) is attempting to forcibly influence behavior, since these measure are distinctly different from merely pointing out that some foods are worse than others. So…it’s a subtle difference, if it’s a meaningful one at all.

    Skeptikos, I’d say your interesting and disturbing experiences say more about personality type differences than political policy differences.

  42. Mr. Walker, may God and four out of five experts bless you and your article.

  43. The banning of fatty (or high carb) foods begins in schools.

  44. And here’s a liberal New York State legislator proposing a “fat tax” on the Today show.

  45. TWC,
    Yeah. If you pick the right bar, it’s not a problem. I’ve smoked illegally in San Fran, Orange County and Manhattan. It’s kinda cool, makes me feel like I’m in a speakeasy in the 20s.

    Honestly, as a smoker, I prefer no smoking in bars. Granted, this is because I live in temperate California. If I lived in Boston or NY, I would probably change my mind.

    Note: I still prefer free market solutions to smoking in bars versus a state mandate.

  46. fydor,

    You are just so very, very cute. But the only personality difference is that I like my freedom, and most law and order types don’t like my freedom. You probably remember seeing something like this on tv, you know, back when they used to sick dogs on blacks. Not disturbing really, just SOP. Of course they have learned to stop doing it (mostly) in front of TV cameras.

  47. Skeptikos,

    You are just so very, very cute.

    Thanks but you’re not my type.

    Not sure what your point is or what your beef is. Of course I think what happened to you is fucked. Maybe even more than you do since you admit partly liking it. But these are fringe types and don’t especially represent mainstream Republicans nor mainstream Republican politics, at the risk of belaboring the obvious.


  48. Skeptikos,

    Maybe you misunderstood me. The personalisty “difference” I refered to wasn’t supposed to be between you and the assholes who harassed you, it was supposed to be between right-wingers and left-wingers. More specifically, stick-a-gun-in-your-face (or whereever) types are more likely to be attracted to right wing than left wing politics, but that doesn’t mean that Republican policy is more authoritarian. Artists are more attracted to left-wing politics, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently more artistic about Democratic Party policy.

    If you still think I’m very, very cute, well, my sig other agrees and I won’t argue.

  49. You know, throwing your butt in jail, or even pumping you full of lead, is an expense for the State.

    It occurs to me that a tax or a fee or a fine, just as much the prison cell or billy club, is based on the idea that the State can imprison or hurt you if you disobey — but it gives you the option to pay off the State instead.

    So maybe the crucial difference between conservative authoritarians and liberal ones is that the conservative worries about your soul (no — actually, the impact or influence of your behavior on other people’s souls — they’ll kill or imprison you to make an example of you), and damn the expense, while the liberal is more concerned about getting your money.

  50. Curiosity question:
    Some things that are being brought up amount to social pressure not legislation. Others do amount to legislation in a municipality, institution, and commercial levels, but not at the state level.

    The responses make me wonder if control is acceptable at any level of society?

    I have a co-worker who likes to say things like, “, but I can’t say that because I’ll get called a…..” In most instances he can say what he wants he just can’t say it without social repercussions. Expecting otherwise seems foolish. Expecting to not be jailed, seems eminently reasonable.

    I guess my point is that there are some things I don’t like such as laws banning smoking in a commercial establishment. In Colorado, that means Boulder. It isn’t an issue in Centennial where I live. Is there a level of government where such laws are acceptable? The local public wants them. The individual is inconvenienced, but may escape them by going to neighboring towns.

  51. Stevo,

    I’ve occasionally wondered about the economics of being an asshole. Seems like it would be so much easier not to be, yet some go to such great lengths and make such great sacrifice to be the biggest asshole they can. I guess they get…something out of it……

  52. “I guess they get…something out of it……”

    Girls like them. Haven’t you noticed?

  53. Looking at this thread again, I find that I have little interest in figuring out which type of social engineering is worse. I have my own tentative opinion on it, but at the end of the day I don’t think it’s all that much of a compliment to conclude that one side or the other is slightly less draconian on social engineering.

    Really, joe, I frequently sympathize with your points, but the basic point of the original article was that both sides were pretty bad with their desire to control your life in some way. It wasn’t about trying to precisely quantify how bad each side is so that an exact moral equivalence could be established.

  54. deron,

    I would think that anytime someone threatens to (and has the power to) deprive you of your rights for doing something other than depriving someone of their rights yourself, then it’s wrong. But even when someone has wrongly deprived someone else of their rights, the question arises of jurisdiction. Now, people differ on the significance of jurisdiction and when and how it applies. But to acknowledge the limits of one’s jurisdiction is to acknowledge that what goes on outside it is beyond your power to do anything about it, regardless of whether it were right or wrong.

    I believe Jesse’s political philosophy includes the notion that the smaller the jurisdiction, the better, just as a principle that stands aside all other applicable principles. Thus, one might say that a municipality is wrong to ban smoking in public places, but allowing the municipality to make its own laws is still, in general, a good thing. Just as we (or at least I) would allow employers to hire people based on any reason they liked, even though at the same time we would hold someone who based his hiring decisions on the applicants’ racial profile in low esteem.

    I’m not sure how important I think localism is myself, though on the face of it, it does seem like a good thing.

  55. thoreau,

    At the hazard of trying to speak for someone else, I believe joe would say that Democrats are just not interested in controlling others’ lives while Republicans are, so that his disagreement with Walker is substantial and not a nitpick. I would venture further to say that he believes that because the forms of control which he supports just make so much sense to him (perhaps because he believes they have the effect of enhancing liberty) that he does not recognize that they still amount to controlling others’ lives.

    But I shan’t try to speak for him beyond that.

  56. Stevo,

    I’ve occasionally wondered about the economics of being an asshole.

    Oh, trust me — it can get expensive. But if I budget carefully … Thanks for asking. 😉

    Seriously, there is such a thing as “psychic income” in recompense. The worst asshole is the self-righteous asshole — much worse than the just-grumpy-today asshole or the too-stupid-to-know-just-how-big-an-asshole-I-am asshole. Some people like nothing better to do than to wave placards, push people around, and generally behave in what normally would be consider anti-social ways for a “good cause.” I am sure on some level, dressing up in black and smashing up a Starbucks feels really good.

    And as Ken said, chicks dig ’em.

  57. I am sure on some level, dressing up in black and smashing up a Starbucks feels really good.

    At some level?? 🙂

    I should point out that there’s not nearly so much sacrifice in that particular example as there is when being violent to people who have the potential to be violent back, but still, your point is well taken! (And Ken’s too!)

  58. JESSE,
    Seems like I read that somewhere before. Nice to know you think of us as your personal unpaid editors. I notice you used the Record-Eagle link I GAVE YOU after a two minute Google search. If you had spend fifteen minutes or so of your own, you could have linked to an interview with Governor Granholm making the same points, and pleading with her constituency to vote it down.

  59. Heh. Don’t worry, Warren, you’re still credited for the correction in the old Hit & Run thread. And the link you gave me was quite satisfactory, thank you very much.

  60. For a pretty concise look at the history of abortion law in the U.S. go here:

    At common law, abortion was not a crime until “quickening,” which occurs roughly at 4 mos. We inherited this from the Brits along with most of the rest of their corpus of common law doctrine.

    Abortion law began to change, however, in the mid-19th century, after modern medical science debunked the idea that the entity in the womb was inanimate before it could be felt by the mother, i.e., the quickening test. Interestingly, abortion at all stages became criminalized due in great part to a crusade led by, believe it or not, the 19th century AMA.

    It is pretty ironic that the older common law was more “liberal,” and that emerging modern medical science helped, uh, midwife an abortion policy now seen as unenlightened.

    I do not believe, however, that the offense in this country was ever capital, at least not after it became a matter of cofified as opposed to common law. The women were virtually never prosecuted, only the abortionists.

    And oh yeah, nice article, Jesse.

  61. TWC: “if I was King the age of consent woould be somewhere between puberty and fourteen.”

    I have been actually actually trying to figure out if a non-arbitrary distinction between childhood and adulthood could be made. Perhaps some kind of mental competence test could serve as the legal basis for capacity to consent rather than a specific age. Of course precautions would have to be taken to make sure children aren’t coached into taking the test and memorizing what they should say ; thereby passing the test without actually having adult mental capacity.

  62. Mona,

    I already dealt with the subject; and no, that take on the common law is flat wrong. Some states recognized such a distinction and others did not (it depended on when they were founded and what the nature of the common law in England was when the colony was founded – for example, Henry Bracton (“Father of the Common Law” and 13th century Jurist) thought that pre-quickening abortions should be a capital crime, while Blackstone thought that even post-quickening abortions were not capital crimes). Anyway, it is far more complicated than you let on, and certainly far more complicated than your URL lets on.

    Indeed, even in the realm of the context of criminal statutes, the issue of “quickening” and its relationship to the law is one of the most misunderstood and mythologized areas in the history of abortion. For example, New York’s statutory scheme (1828) made pre-quickening abortions a misdemeanor, which clearly conflicts with the “quickening” myth being the dividing line for legal prosecution in the criminal codes that blossomed in the 1820s and 1830s.

    And yes the offense was a capital one in this country at one time, since the common law in England provided that it was, and that is the legal regime that the American colonies/states adopted initially on the matter; furthermore, when American states adopted Lord Ellenborough’s Act, as some of them did, they also adopted its capital crime provisions.

    In other words, your source is a faulty one.

  63. Yes Gary, you already dealt with it. And you are largely wrong. But you law students are always eager to show what you can dig up on Westlaw to superficially impress.

  64. Mona,

    No, you are the one who is largely wrong, for the reasons and examples I stated. See Mona, you are the one always claiming that others are factually incorrect without a shred of evidence to back up such a claim. Now, if you had an ounce of credibility, you would have pointed out claim by claim where I am supposedly incorrect; instead you’ve attacked me with this general and rather silly statement. As such, I need not take your statement seriously.

  65. Mona,

    And I didn’t dig this up on Westlaw (you forget that I am an ex-historian you knucklehead), but even if I did, your comment strikes me as a rather lame and silly criticism that is more about hiding from reality than confronting it.

  66. you forget that I am an ex-historian you knucklehead

    Um, I don’t recall Jason Bourne stating that he is a former historian. I don’t read every thread, but I read quite a few.

    I do recall at least one person posting under a different name referring to such a background. I used to post my thoughts on the true identities of various posters. I don’t anymore. Now I take posters at their word.

    So I’m mystified how anybody would be expected to know that Jason Bourne is a former historian. I do know that today Jason Bourne hinted that he had experienced some events in Paris first-hand.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.