Ron Paul

The Friday Political Thread: Remember, Remember the Thread of November

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Not much to thread about today, as Guy Fawkes day was covered to death all week and I'll be joining Ron Paul supporters in Philadelphia tomorrow, with a full report (and some video) to follow.

The week in brief…

– Voters across the country (possibly not your part of the country) went to the polls, and with a few exceptions the Democrats came out looking good.

– Bush's attorney general nominee was confirmed, and for the first time one of his vetoes was overidden. Enjoy your water! Or, more accurately, enjoy your congressman's pet project!

– Hillary (and Bill) Clinton struggled to recover from attacks in the last Democratic debate, and the frontrunner fell in the polls for the first time since the spring. It got less notice, but Fred "the Energizer" Thompson sagged into a tie for second with John McCain. (Ron Paul is still running third in Intrade, though.)

– Bernie Kerik got indicted, and future President Giuliani might pardon him.

– Wyoming Rep. Barbara Cubin (R), who threatened to slap Libertarian candidate Thomas Rankin last year, is calling it quits.

Below the fold…

– The Prowler asks some good questions about Mike Huckabee's aw-shucks brand of secrecy.

– Brainy populist David Sirota labels Mike Huckabee and John Edwards the "Huey Longs of Iowa." He means this in a positive way, although when he points out that the last populist winner on the Democratic side was Dynamite Dick Gephardt, his thesis gets a little creaky. (He's stronger on the GOP side: the state where Pats Robertson and Buchanan pulled close seconds are clealy not wedded to Mitt Romney right now.)

Parents magazine asks which future leader you'd want to babysit your kids. What the hell does Mitt Romney have to do to win this?

This week's installment of Politics 'n' Prog is an inevitable visit from Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett with the first track from his first solo album: "Ace of Wands."

NEXT: I Am Superman, And I Can Do Anything

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  1. Somebody please tell me which primary Ron faces first?
    If it’s NH, I think he will do well.
    If it’s IA, I think he will do well also, but if Huckabee does especially well in IA too, that has got to be good news for Ron. It’ll divert a little national attention to the back of the pack.
    Life is good.

  2. There is and has been a great deal of discussion regarding Ron Paul’s huge support base that has yet to reveal itself in the young, internet site posting, etc. etc. And as a Paul supporter myself, who might as well be among them, I have never been contacted by a pollster over the course of this entire campaign. If we are to assume these poll numbers are a meter of anything at all, I might argue that they are at a loss to portray true numbers of anyone’s real support, certainly Paul’s. I would also say that given the “hidden” nature of the Paul base, it is most important that these people turn out to vote for him in the primaries, as it will only be then that the true strength of his message, campaign, and support be known, and possibly gain momentum. I only hope that New Hampshire’s … dare I resurrect the phrase “Great Silent Majority” speaks up when it is most needed.

  3. Peter,
    Isn’t it great to crack the cherry of a new thread before pettiness and sophomorics set in? (That will happen at comment number 11, if not sooner.)
    As to what you posted, I’m an anarchist. I don’t vote.
    Although I’m also an atheist, I must advise you to have faith in the “buzz” only.
    Buzz will see us through.
    Peace.
    Out.
    Faith.

  4. The increasing radicalization of the Bush presidency: first he was going to let you have wanter, just with arsenic, and now he doesn’t want you to have any at all.

  5. Below the fold…

    Heh. A useful if not anachronistic metaphor from those thrilling print-media days of yesteryear. OK, they ain’t dead yet…let’s just say I’m happy I rolled my Tribune stock when it was at 50.

  6. Two things:

    1)Bush’s attorney general nominee was confirmed, and for the first time one of his vetoes was overidden. Enjoy your water!

    And thank to Mukasey, enjoy your waterboarding as well!

    2) Ron Paul is finally being included on the RCP page? Pajamas Media will be getting a shitload more hits, as that should be good enough to get him back in the online poll.

  7. People need to do more than just register as Republicans if possible. Become a delegate and more.

  8. I have never been contacted by a pollster over the course of this entire campaign.

    Of course you haven’t. You live in a nation of 300 million people.

    I’m not arguing against the idea that traditional polls miss a significant portion of Paul supporters, but just this particular claim. I’m not an expert on the particulars, but isn’t there some statistical reason that, as long as you have a well-chosen representative sample, once you get past ~400 respondents there are rapidly diminishing returns in terms of increased accuracy for most polls? I’m sure there are some here who can fill us in on this, but “I’ve never been polled” is obviously anecdotal and irrelevant once you understand the math behind polling, I believe.

  9. Apropos of nothing, but Queen’s entire live concert at Wembley in 1986 is the greatest spectacle ever. The entire concert is on YouTube.

  10. Anonymo,

    What you say is correct, though the bodies are buried in the “well-chosen representative sample” criterion. If the speculation is correct, that people without land lines are likely to vote significantly differently than those who have land lines, then the sample is not truly random and all bets are off.

  11. crimethink,

    Agreed on the speculation about land lines and such — that’s the body I was burying, as you say, in “well-chosen representative sample”.

  12. On the landlines:
    IIRC this was the source of the “Dewey defeats Truman” headline. Polling on landlines skewed richer (and hence more Republican) because in 1948 telephones were not owned by everyone.

    But I think with the current situation, the “cell-phone only” demographic correlates highly with the “young and doesn’t vote at all” demographic and so the result is a wash and there is no net bias.

    A truly energizing campaign may change this, but everyone for nearly twenty years has been trying to ‘rock the vote’ and get under 30’s to show up, but to little effect.

  13. Here’s Wikipedia on the sample size issue I referenced.

  14. David,

    Semantics here, but the Iowa caucuses come before the NH primaries.

  15. Hillary (and Bill) Clinton struggled to recover from attacks in the last Democratic debate, and the frontrunner fell in the polls for the first time since the spring.

    I think this is the same effect as a “dead cat bounce”, but in the opposite direction. Around 50%, Clinton is at her max as long as other people are still actively running against her.

    The next interesting shift will be if either Edwards or Obama call it quits. I do not know if Clinton will be able to pick up additional support, or if Obama and Edwards are splitting the same vote. (I tend to think so). This will be the acid test of Clinton’s ‘electability’

    However, Obama has the money, and Edwards has the organization to last all the way well into next year, regardless of primary victories. So we may not see an actual coalesing around Clinton until the convention.

  16. Fun question: Huck is extremely vulnerable on one issue (not, of course, the one above). Is the MSM hyping him because they expect that issue to take him down later on as a way to dash the GOP’s hopes, or are they just clueless about how vulnerable that issue makes him?

    In other news, a supposedly mainstream MiamiHerald columnist said we might face a “LatinoIntifada” if we didn’t offer a MassiveAmnesty. In a business setting, something like that would be factored into the costs. For instance, the costs of uprisings are factored into the costs of doing businesses in foreign countries. Yes, for one reason or other, “libertarians”/crypto-corporatists such as those at this site just handwave those costs away, thereby supporting corrupt businesses that don’t pay the true cost for their labor but instead want subsidies.

    And, I believe I take Kos to the woodshed here: tinyurl.com/yp4ndn

    And, while searching for something good I ran across what I’m going to guess is some obscure prog: youtube.com/watch?v=xDiKq9Wf0UQ

    For those who are suffering from prog-related symptoms, here’s the antidote: youtube.com/watch?v=EI6DsCrvykc

  17. And as far as Friday threads go,

    this is indeed one of the funny collaborative pieces I have ever seen.

    Thanks to joe for showing this iin a thread earlier today, and to ProLib, Jennifer, Jaime Kelly and the rest of the cast.

  18. TLB, we are about 1000x as likely to suffer political violence led by anti-Mexican racists as we are to suffer a “Latintifada”.

  19. Does everyone agree with this statement:

    There is only one rule in Libertarianism. If you agree with it, then you are a libertarian. This one rule is the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). It states:

    no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, nor to delegate its initiation.

  20. iih,

    I don’t disagree with that statement…but applying it to real-world situations can be tricky, because the words “initiate”, “force”, “human being”, and “delegate” are quite vague…hence the disagreement among libertarians on such issues as foreign policy, abortion, immigration, etc.

  21. There is a rather significant dropoff in donations to Ron Paul today. It has been trending down all week (since the big push on Monday), but now has slipped below the average daily prior to November 5. It looks like the tide that goes out before the Tsunami hits. Hopefully something significant on 11/11.

  22. iih-
    I rememeber you bringing this up last week. I’m about to the 85th-90th percentile on this. I do not think the “under any circustances” is correct. I would say “under most circumstances.” But, I admit I am a very squishy libertarian.

    In the context of government initiated force, (the ‘delegation’ refered to by the Principle’) I think Jefferson and the boys had it right. That we need government, in order to ensure individual rights. I don’t see how a true minarchist or anarcho-syndicalist system will result in anything other than feudalism, even in the firearms era.

  23. Kenny, crimethink,

    The reason I posted that question is in relation to another (very more difficult) one that I will post shortly. But thought to pose this one first.

    Let me just say that NAP does not imply getting rid of the right to self defense, nor the right to preemptive wars, etc. In other words, it might be okay to carry out a preemptive war if one views the actions of others as cause to believe that the opponent is about to initiate war. Hence, preemptive wars may arguably not violate NAP (I am personally of the belief that preemptive wars are not legitimate acts of self-defense). So NAP is pretty general, I think.

  24. OK… so here is what has been preoccupying me literally all day long, and that which I will think about during the weekend (and probably beyond):

    I will try to figure out what the medical, philosophical and the different religious beliefs consider to be the time at which an embryo is considered “individual”.

    Your feedback would be highly valuable.

    I am thinking about this because I find Ron Paul’s stance on abortion a bit confusing.

    On one hand, being against abortion is understandable (from a religious and libertarian points of view) since no one would have the right to initiate force against an embryo, even if the initiator is the mother/father. Hence, it is important to ask (and try to answer) the question “when is an embryo considered a full individual?” (see my post at 11:15)

    On the other hand, one would think that a free-market point of view would say that the mother (and the father?) has the right to abortion. The “free-market” of ideas and beliefs would self-regulate the rate of abortions. If nothing else, people who are against abortion on moral grounds would feel compelled to improve their arguments against abortion and those pro-choice would compete against them to provide better arguments for abortion rights. (We really do not have a healthy and rational discourse on this issue right now, and I think there is a lot of room for competition among ideas in this regards.) Eventually people could arrive at a socially acceptable “norm” over time. As a free-marketer, one would expect Paul to support this “free-market” solution. One can probably come up with a libertarian argument (based on NAP) for the right to abortion, too.

    Paul clearly assumes the religious and a libertarian (one among others, of course, where an embryo is viewed as a full “individual”) stance of anti-abortion

    I personally am against abortion (I wouldn’t ask anyone I know to do it unless not doing it will cause severe physical harm to the mother). However, I do not feel like it is the right thing to ban the practice at all government levels except at the most local level.

    I dunno. In any case, any thoughts?

  25. It is actually getting late and it has been a long day. But I look forward to hearing peoples’ views on the issue.

  26. iih

    This lecture by Walter Block might be useful in your ruminations.

  27. tarran: Thanks. I already have it on my ipod, but couldn’t find the time earlier today to listen to it.

  28. It must just be late, and I’m crazy.

    It got less notice, but Fred “the Energizer” Thompson sagged into a tie for second with John McCain. (Ron Paul is still running third in Intrade, though.)

    I’m thinking that the order is actually

    1. Rudy
    2. Romney
    3. McCain/Thompson
    … RP/Huckabee/who else is left

    so Fred fell into a tie for third … unless Mitt has fallen dramatically in the polls and is now trailing the guy who can’t afford to take the bus to South Carolina.

  29. iih: Whether abortion is considered libertarian or not, and in consonance with the Non-Initiation of Force principle, depends on when you consider a developing fertilized egg has become a human being, in combination with whether you feel the mother’s right to not have something growing against her will in her body outweighs the human or non-human’s right to stay alive.

    There’s no way to definitively settle this using logic — it’s based more on ethical beliefs.

    I’m personally on the border between what is considered pro-life and pro-choice — I think at six or seven weeks, when a fetus has clearly defined fingers and toes, it appears to me to be a human deserving of protection. A one-day old fertilized egg, though, just doesn’t seem to me to be a human being. I guess I’m going by the thoroughly unscientific “ick” factor here — if it starts looking like a baby, I feel repelled by the thought of it being killed.

  30. iih,

    I don’t know if this helps or confounds the issue. Here’s my, very personal, take on abortion.

    I was born in 1966, a few years before Roe v Wade, but not during a time when abortion was a rarity. My mother was a 19 year old college freshman at the time of the pregnancy. My father was unaware of the pregnancy. My mother took a year off from school, had an illegitimate baby and gave me up for adoption.

    Here’s the point. It would have been significantly easier for my mother to have an abortion than to have a baby. Her sacrifice gave me life. Trying to discern WHEN, along the timeline of my pre-birth, I went from zygote to blastula to fetus is immaterial to me — if ANYWHERE along development there is an interruption, I cease to exist.

    Well, how do we fit that into a libertarian context? I guess we start with that it is really inconvenient that biology requires a host for the pregnancy. Is it unreasonable for society to expect, given that pregnancy does not occur in a vacuum, some consideration for the potential of life at the expense of some personal freedoms of the host? I think not, though, given my situation, I am somewhat biased. It is difficult for me to reconcile my nascient libertarianism with my ingrained anti-abortion stance. Here’s how I’ll leave it — with any philosophy, religion, or political position, there is never purity. You go with the best of the lot that hurts the least. Even if that means someone is inconvenienced for 9 months so that someone can live for 80 years.

  31. Does everyone agree with this statement:

    No. It’s an important principle, but it is often not very helpful in figuring out the right thing to do in many political situations.

    Furthermore, even as an ethical principle it can be improved upon: it says nothing about appropriate level of retaliation against the other person’s initiation of force, nor about reconciling conflict. I know from past conversations about this topic on this blog that some libertarians interpret the non-aggression principle as addressing those ethical concerns, but none of that is there in the literal statement of the principle.

  32. And you came up with exactly one of those situtations where the non-aggression principle isn’t very helpful. The non-aggression principle works best when analyzing scenarios involving fully-informed, independent actors, with no outside coercion being applied to them, and no history between them.

  33. Getting everybody to agree to the non-initiation of force principle seems about as likely as getting everybody to agree to the turn-the-other-cheek principle. Nice theory, wrong species.

  34. Ron Paul can indeed win the election. That is because primaries have abysmally low turnouts. But Ron Paul supporters are excited and ardent. They’re going to show up at a much higher turnout. If the leading candidates can’t get their base excited, that could mean a win for Ron Paul despite significantly lower polling numbers.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/muratore5.html

  35. James Donald:

    “A woman owns her body, and does not have to sustain her baby. The bible does
    not equate induced miscarriage with murder — there was one penalty for
    striking a woman, causing her to die, and another much lesser penalty for
    striking a woman and causing a miscarriage, and there was *no* penalty listed
    for inducing a miscarriage intentionally, even though a number of herbal
    methods for inducing miscarriage have been known for thousands of years, for
    example pennyroyal. The list of herbs traditionally used by witches and the
    list of herbs alleged effective in inducing abortion are remarkably similar,
    so it’s possible that the biblical prohibition against witchcraft was in fact
    a backdoor prohibition against abortion. However, there appears to be no
    biblical authority for using force to prevent abortion.

    “Abortion is clearly wrong, and more wrong the later it is performed. But
    using violence to prevent someone from having an abortion is also clearly
    wrong. No deep philosophizing is required — both of these propositions
    should be obvious to anyone. That’s why women find abortions disturbing, and
    it’s why everyone, including most of the Christian right, are backing away
    like mad from people who murder abortion doctors.

    “I could give a profound philosophical justification of both the above
    propositions, but anybody who disputes either proposition is just blowing
    smoke. Nobody in their hearts disbelieves either statement. It is right to
    use force to keep the peace. So it is right to kill murderers. Abortion,
    however wrong it may be, does not breach the peace.

    “No sane person would imagine that he personally had the right to go forth
    with a six gun and stop women from aborting — they merely imagine that this
    god like being, the state, has the right to do that. Yet everyone realizes
    that they have the right to violently stop a murderer with a six gun.

    “Thus, clearly everyone already knows in their heart that abortion is not
    murder. Indeed, believe it or not, that is the official position of the Roman
    Catholic church — that abortion is not murder. The Church reluctantly
    accepts, on the basis of the natural law arguments that I alluded to above,
    that abortion is not murder, but claims it is morally as bad as murder and
    should therefore be banned.

    “But the last conclusion does not follow. Even if abortion was in some sense
    morally as bad as murder, it is not equivalent to murder in that it is not a
    breach of the peace, thus however bad abortion may be, it does not follow
    that it is right to use violent means to prevent abortion.”

  36. iih-
    Not really going to answer the abortion question per se, because others have pretty much said what I would (it’s a ethical quandary with no satisfactory bright line answers, its probably best policywise for it to be legal for most of a pregnancy, because the actual reasons for abortion would seem to militate against there being a great number of late term ones.)

    But I did want to discuss your line of argumentation here:

    The “free-market” of ideas and beliefs would self-regulate … Eventually people could arrive at a socially acceptable “norm” over time.

    .

    From a cultural anthropology perspective this is always true, and descriptive of how cultural norms develop. But it does not follow that these norms will always be “moral”, at least in many quasi-equilibrium conditions. The obvious example is that slavery was a cultural norm in the Western world from ancient (Roman and Greek) times to the mid-19th century. Now, the other side of the coin is that it pretty much impossible to get an absolute standard of morality; indeed that’s exactly why you asked the question you did.

    So I do not think Paul’s stance on abortion is contradictory, in fact quite the opposite. His moral conviction, based on his personal philosophical and religious beliefs is that abortion is wrong in (nearly?) all circumstances. But, his political philosophy is content to let the “marketplace of ideas” decide the issue in the legislative arena, and at the state vice federal level.

  37. Brandybuck-
    There are good ways and bad ways to do back of the envelope calculations.

    Your linked site illustrates a bad way.

    Never assume more than one standard deviation from the mean, or an order of magnitude jump, for any variable for which you don’t have any empirical data.

  38. No sane person would imagine that he personally had the right to go forth
    with a six gun and stop women from aborting — they merely imagine that this
    god like being, the state, has the right to do that. Yet everyone realizes
    that they have the right to violently stop a murderer with a six gun. Thus, clearly everyone already knows in their heart that abortion is not murder.

    Ah, Ron Bailey’s favorite circular argument. We shouldn’t consider abortion to be murder, because it isn’t murder, because we don’t really consider it to be murder.

    By the same logic, blacks were obviously inferior to whites 200 years ago, since everyone knew in their hearts that blacks were inferior to whites.

  39. You left off an important politically related item.

    Why the hell is Arthur Bremer being let out of prison? The attempted assassination of George Wallace possibly changed the history of this country.

  40. The Democrats “came out looking good” according to the liberal media spin. You gotta look beyond Virginia and Kentucky.

    In Indianapolis, Republican Greg Ballard won a stunning upset on the property tax issue over the incumbent Democrat Mayor. Newcommer, Ballard was outspend 10 to a.

    In Livonia, Michigan, a Detroit suburb, Repubicans beat back the Jennifer Granhold machine to take the Mayorship and 4 City Council seats.

    In Mississippi, Haley Barbour easily won reelection. No surprise there. But Republicans picked up 6 out of 7 statewide offices.

    In New Jersey, the Repubicans actually picked up State Assembly seats.

    In Oregon, the Republican-backed initiative to stop more tobacco taxes went down in flames with over 60% voting against Dem Kulongowski’s proposal.

    Fred Barnes has a piece this morning over at RCP where he looks at all the races, and concludes that it wasn’t nearly as bad for the GOP as the media reports; and that the Republicans are well-positioned for 2008.

    Larry Sabato predicts that even Virginia will be solid Red Republican for 2008, if Hillary Clinton is the Dem Nominee.

  41. prolefeed, sistring, crimethink, and (even!) Edward:

    Thanks for your insightful feedback. I just thought to drop in this line, think carefully about your responses, and get back with more probably later in the day (that is, if I have something to add). I still have to listen to Walter Block’s talk as well.

    I have never spent long enough time to think of the issue. My (philosophical/religious) background says that abortion is not absolutely forbidden. If a doctor has choice of saving the mother or saving the child, then the mother’s life takes priority. Rape pregnancies, etc, are not legitimate cause for abortion, for how do we know that that child will be the cause of the mother’s delight and happiness? Pregnancies out of wedlock (even though extra-marital relations are considered immoral) would still not be a good enough cause for abortion. As prolefeed said, I think the criterion in Islam is a few weeks after conception, abortion would not be considered “illegitimate” (though I am not 100% sure when exactly).

  42. I also find it funny that many of the pro-choicers are left wing, with strong socialist leanings. How can they keep a straight face asking for the right of women to abortion and be against others right not to participate in government programs. I see it as very hypocritical.

  43. Larry Sabato predicts that even Virginia will be solid Red Republican for 2008, if Hillary Clinton is the Dem Nominee.

    Dondi, it all depends on how well Mark Warner does and if he has coattails or not. He will definitely win the Senate seat, but how much he will help the Dem nominee here is unknown.

  44. Regarding abortion I think the issue is blown out of proportion. Padagonian types would call me a sexist misogynist for saying this, but I don’t think its the most important issue ever like ardent pro-choicers and pro-lifers make it out to be.

  45. Cesar:

    I agree with you last statement. Are there any statistics? It is not like it (or demand for it) is that widespread, or is it?

  46. Hey Dave Weigel! My old buddy the Kosmik Kid will be in the City of Brotherly Shove Saturday for the rally as well. I think he chartered a bus for 50 of his closest friends to show up. You’ll know him right off, he’s the mouthy one in handcuffs on the wrong side of the barricades. Take pictures. His wife the Hit Babe will get a pass though because she’s related to some of the same New Jersey families that Nick is.

  47. “Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance of winning the GOP nomination?”

    This statement is likely made by either someone who:

    A) Would actually prefer a Ron Paul win but is skeptical.

    B) Doesn’t want Ron Paul to win.

    So the reply question is: “Would you prefer Ron Paul to win or not?”

    If the reply indicates the person is in the B) fold, then further discussion might reveal why they express that preference.

    If the reply indicates the person is in the A) fold, then the question for them is: “What are you going to do about it?”

    When it was proposed that the American colonies attempt to overthrow British, there were, no doubt, many who held that there was no chance of doing so. After all, the British were the supreme naval power of the day and were able to field armies of well trained and obedient personnel. There was no way a disorganized mob could resist such overwhelming force.

    Fortunately for us, those who believed in possibilities made it happen.

  48. Bush’s attorney general nominee was confirmed, and for the first time one of his vetoes was overidden. Enjoy your water! Or, more accurately, enjoy your congressman’s pet project!

    When he had the popularity and political capital to veto wasteful spending, he signed it. Now, when democrats see opposing him a positive, and even red state republicans are trying to distance themselves from him, he decides to ccontrol wasteful spending. How anyone with the slightest libertarian leaning can support this dumbass, accent on the dumb, amazes me.

    Full disclosure – I voted for him in 2000, I was wrong. Al Gore would have been a less objectionable president by any reasonable measure. Humble foreign policy, compassionate, fiscal conservative my ass!

  49. Thompson sagged into a tie for second with John McCain. (Ron Paul is still running third

    Even if accurate that would make Paul 4th, not 3rd.

  50. Regarding abortion I think the issue is blown out of proportion. Padagonian types would call me a sexist misogynist for saying this, but I don’t think its the most important issue ever like ardent pro-choicers and pro-lifers make it out to be.

    I don’t agree.
    1) Until the 1960’s there were draconian laws that were designed to prevent women (and to a lesser extent men) from controlling reproduction, by outlawing birth-control drugs and devices, and even by outlawing communicating the existence of such tools. There are still many people who wish to use the state to go back to those halycon days.

    2) Pregnancy carries significant health risks for the mother. These risks are much reduced in this day and age, but they are still there.
    Thus, for people who can get pregnant, having the option to evict the person respassing on their property, can be a matter of life or death.

    This is a very weighty issue, and it has great import.

  51. Its a weighty issue sure, but right now conservative, rural states like South Dakota don’t have many abortion clinics anyway. If it went back to the states and Roe v. Wade was overturned, how different would the situation really become?

  52. Why is there no typical Ron Paul supporter?

    “We all wear masks. Life creates them and forces us to find the one that fits.”—V

  53. “Parents magazine asks which future leader you’d want to babysit your kids.”

    Some valid answers:

    “I’d shoot the first one who tried, and a few more just to teach the rest a lesson”

    “I think rabid wolves would do a better job.”

    “Who here thinks a better question would be ‘which one of your kids could do a better job as President than these fucktards?'”

  54. Hey, I’m pretty regular to H&R, and see all the Dondero stuff quite a bit, but I finally stopped and read the post above, and boy does it demonstrate some looking at the world through red-state reality distorting glasses. So the Dems take back the Senate in VA (where they were on the quick decline ever since the 80’s but have now won two governorships and the most recent Senate race) and they win the home state of Mitch McConnel in a route, but this was really a good election for the GOP because they won the city council election outside of Detroit…If this is Dondero wisdom, maybe Ron Paul has a chance after all…

  55. “Dondi, it all depends on how well Mark Warner does and if he has coattails or not. He will definitely win the Senate seat, but how much he will help the Dem nominee here is unknown.”
    Cesar-with family in VA it strikes me that they could run Superman for Senate and Hillary could still not win there though hanging on to Supes cape. That state is getting purple, sure, but it’s far from blue enough to let Hillary slide through. Nationally, I think Hillary’s only chance is if the GOP candidate keeps beating war drums (which of course they are doing).

  56. Cesar-with family in VA it strikes me that they could run Superman for Senate and Hillary could still not win there though hanging on to Supes cape.

    Sure, Obama, Edwards, or Richardson would have a shot in VA though.

  57. HEY Tomorrow is Veteran’s day. A lot of us veterans will be celebrating by donating to:
    RON PAUL 2008
    You to can show your support for our troops by giving generously on November 11th

  58. Warren:

    Looking at http://thisnovember11th.com/ and Paul’s campaign website it feels like the quite before the storm (or at least I hope it to be a storm — a very big storm).

  59. Its a weighty issue sure, but right now conservative, rural states like South Dakota don’t have many abortion clinics anyway. If it went back to the states and Roe v. Wade was overturned, how different would the situation really become?

    I was a senior in HS when Roe v. Wade was decided. In Michigan, abortion was illegal. The abortion issue didn’t affect me at all, yet me and all of my peers were aware that abortion was legal in NY, thus only a Greyhound trip away. If South Dakota outlawed abortion, it should be noted that 6 different states border SD and, IMHO, at least 1 (Minnesota) wil opt to keep it legal. Still a short bus ride away. Is that a hardship for those seeking the procedure? Yes. Is it so difficult that it will “drive women into the back alleys for an abortion”. Get real NARAL. Scare tactics like that are obviously lies and do not help your case in the long run.

    Summary – Roe V. Wade is bad law and should be overturned. Abortion, like alcohol, prostitution, and age of consent is a state issue. Read the constitution and it’s hard to disagree with that. If Roe V. Wade were overturned, the effect on the availability on abortion would be minimal.

    On last item, If you’ve waited 1/2 a year, then decide to terminate a pregnacy, I doubt your morality and suspect your sanity. #-6 months of pregnancty seems a reasonable place to draw the line. I’m not going to do the research right now, but nervous system development might be a more logical starting point than the gut feeling or icky factor.

    One more, I promise, last item. I’ve given this issue a lot of thought over a lot of years. I’ve discussed/debated the issue all that time as well. It’s very difficult and moral people can disagree. The extremists on both sides disgust me and I refuse to even engage them on the topic anymore.

  60. Is it so difficult that it will “drive women into the back alleys for an abortion”. Get real NARAL. Scare tactics like that are obviously lies and do not help your case in the long run.

    I think even the states that will make it illegal will find enforcement so difficult and costly that they will eventually legalize it after a few years anyway.

    One more, I promise, last item. I’ve given this issue a lot of thought over a lot of years. I’ve discussed/debated the issue all that time as well. It’s very difficult and moral people can disagree. The extremists on both sides disgust me and I refuse to even engage them on the topic anymore.

    I’ mildly pro-choice and I couldn’t agree more. I’m sick of people calling each other amoral baby killers and misogynist women haters.

  61. #-6 months of pregnancty seems a reasonable place should read 3-6 months of pregnancy…

  62. I’ mildly pro-choice and I couldn’t agree more. I’m sick of people calling each other amoral baby killers and misogynist women haters.

    As I explain above, I am against abortion on a moral/religious basis, but I would be against making it law one way or the other. If I do change my mind, I would realize that taking an extreme position and starting calling the other side baby-killers or misogynist women-haters is certainly a logical non-starter. That may be why this issue is so stuck in this country –the extremists are dominating the field.

  63. And, it seems, that Ron Paul’s position is far from being extreme. It sounds like a good compromise. If one does not like the state’s law, then move to another state.

  64. J sub D:

    BTW, have you followed up on that discussion regarding Ron Paul and abortion at the Pandagon website? Did your comment get published? Bob Murphy, I was suprised/glad to see, also pitched. I think it is the Bob Murphy.

  65. 1) Until the 1960’s there were draconian laws that were designed to prevent women (and to a lesser extent men) from controlling reproduction, by outlawing birth-control drugs and devices, and even by outlawing communicating the existence of such tools. There are still many people who wish to use the state to go back to those halycon days.

    We were talking about abortion, not contraception. This is nothing more than a red herring.

    Pregnancy carries significant health risks for the mother. These risks are much reduced in this day and age, but they are still there.
    Thus, for people who can get pregnant, having the option to evict the person respassing on their property, can be a matter of life or death.

    Cases in which it’s a matter of life and death are extremely few compared to the number of purely elective abortions. I’ll admit that the pro-life position isn’t as clear-cut in the case of pregnancies resulting from rape, incest, or truly threatening the life of the mother. But the difficulties in those cases hardly justify allowing the other 99% of abortions, which destroy unborns conceived through consensual sex who do not threaten the life of the mother.

  66. On a lighter note, this was in my daily this morning.

  67. And the trespassing analogy is inapposite. Trespassers have to enter your property before they can trespass; an unborn doesn’t enter his or her mother’s body, but begins existence there.

  68. iih, they printed my post, but I didn’t discuss the abortion issue because, as you can see from my 12:02 pm post, I don’t think overturnig Roe v. Wade is going to change much in America.

    Damn those Patriots look good this year. My Lions, for a change, don’t suck. Still, there’s half a season to go. They can embarrass themselves yet.

  69. J sub D: Under what handle did you post as? “Gee”?

  70. The Patriots are indeed doing great. So are the Celtics. If it weren’t for a loss to Cleveland and the stupid Bruins, it would have been a perfect month for New England pro sports.

  71. Ron Paul in NH:

    “I don’t know how it happens that you’ve put my slogan on your license plates!” — Ron Paul, 11.7.2007

  72. Under what handle did you post as? “Gee”?

    J sub D
    November 4, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    If I can’t post under that anywhere, I use JsubD. It’d be too hard for this less than genius to remember otherwise.

  73. J sub D: Oh, I missed it and crimethink’s, too!

  74. iih,

    The strange thing is, when I looked after posting, I noticed they’d put up “PhoenecianRoman’s” post but not mine, even though that person had posted after me. So, I thought they were just censoring mine.

    The next day I looked, and my post was up…and it was placed before PhonecianRoman’s. Weird. I wonder if they only moderate new posters, while long time ones post immediately.

  75. crimethink:

    I think that you’re correct. My first post took a few minutes to appear (i.e., it was not immediately/automatically posted). I think because mine seemed benign/naive, they thought it ok to publish. Anyhow, it was entertaining posting there.

  76. J Sub, I lived in a house that was a toilet a few times.

  77. Just got off the phone with the Kosmik Kid from Philly. He said it’s cold but there’s a huge, enthusiastic crowd.

    He has not yet been arrested nor has he spotted Weigel.

  78. Mr. Nice Guy,

    they win the home state of Mitch McConnel in a route

    I know a lot about KY, living here. Mitch is the fluke (sort of), not this election. The 7 governors before Fletcher were all Dems. Fletcher lost because he was corrupt [but, speaking only for myself, I have preferred the last 4 years of republican corruption to the previous 32 years of democratic corruption]. No one, except hardcore dem partisans, was excited about this race. There was a lot of close your eyss and point.

    Of the 5 or 6 statewide races, The Rs won 2. The norm is zero, although they won 3 last time. The other 2 GOP incumbents (Sec of Ag and Sec of Treas?) won easily.

    Also, in Louisville, the Democratic mayor-for-life was thumped on his money grabbing, tax hike plan. 67-33 in a city that went for both Gore and Kerry and kicked out a GOP rep last year.

  79. I apoligize for the length of this post. Skip it if you want. I’ll only be mildly offended.
    Everybody who is running for president has a website. I just visited John Edwards’ campaign site. Some thoughts.

    Edwards has proposed a specific plan for truly universal health care that will take on the insurance and drug companies, cover every man, woman, and child in America, and get better care at lower cost.

    And it’s free. No downsides at all.

    Edwards has outlined an ambitious agenda to eliminate poverty within a generation.

    And I thought LBJ had already done that.

    We must also lead on the great challenges like ending the genocide in Darfur and the conflict in Uganda and fighting global poverty and diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

    Troops and money. But it’s for better casuses than Iraq!

    Edwards will restore our energy independence by asking Americans to be patriotic about something other than war and building a new energy economy based on clean renewable energy and energy efficiency.

    Because intervention in the energy business has produced such sterling results in the past! And if we just grow enough corn and build enough windmills, we’ll never need fossil fuels again. Note, NO mention of nuclear or hydroelectric power. Can’t piss off the Greens y’know.

    To give every child an opportunity to get ahead, Edwards will invest in our teachers, educate our children for the challenges of the 21st century, and make college more affordable through College for Everyone.

    From the link – It helps pay for the first year of tuition, fees and books for college students who agree to work part-time. Students must also complete coursework that prepares them for further education, stay out of trouble, and enroll in a participating public university or community college. Emphasis added.

    One year of tuition assistance for those that follow the rules. Revolutionary thinking there.

    Edwards will repair our sacred contract with America’s military families and veterans.

    I have no idea what that means. It sounds great though.

  80. J Sub, I lived in a house that was a toilet a few times.

    Haven’t we all?

  81. Haven’t we all?

    Yes, but one on mine didn’t have a handle. 🙂

  82. At the http://thisnovember11th.com/ website, the number of contributions is actually going down! It went from 1916, to 1915, to 1914 now. Hmmm!?!

  83. Yes, but one on mine didn’t have a handle. 🙂

    No offense, but I believe that is defined as a shit-hole. Been there,doner that. 😉

  84. Which candidate would I want to babysit my kids?

    Dennis Kucinich who came out lead in Democratic online polls. He has figured out how to run a low cost grassroots campaign. Now if only the grassroots would go to the polls.

  85. ….I believe that is defined as a shit-hole…..

    Yep. 🙂

  86. Which candidate would I want to babysit my kids?

    That’s too easy.
    Hillary.
    It’s women’s work.

  87. Which candidate would I want to babysit my kids?

    RP having 5 children, 17 grand children and one great grand child qualifies him for the job. You see, he THE candidate.

  88. insert “is” where you see fit.

  89. Which candidate would I want to babysit my kids?

    Sam Brownback…he’d have no trouble putting them to sleep. Of course, as Dan T would say, I’ll understand differently when I have kids of my own.

  90. Another data point: My family and I attended an evening with Salman Rushdie at San Jose State University the other night. As we were returning to our car around 10pm, we were approached by someone handing out fliers — for Ron Paul. I looked over the flier, looked to the RP Revolutionary, smiled, and said, “Go Ron Paul!,” as the light changed and we went on our way. He seemed cheered by that.

    What stayed with me was that the fellow wasn’t in the general vicinity of the lecture hall, where hundreds of people were gathered. Instead, he was directly on the path people would take, coming from the lecture as well as the nearby campus library, to emerge into the SJ downtown area in search of restaurants, bars, movies, shopping, or their parked cars. It was a spot that would maximize both city foot traffic and university foot traffic at 10pm: intelligently, strategically chosen. And the guy was moving those fliers as fast as he could hand them out. I didn’t notice too many people tossing them away. Go Ron Paul, indeed.

  91. James, I am just curious what was Salman talking about?

  92. Here’s a Dallas Morning News article about Ron Paul quoting Nick Gillespie using the word “bullshit”.

  93. The thought just occurred to me, and is more a chestnut for intellectual discourse as a matter of hypothetical, but if Ron Paul, by chance were to win the Republican nomination, something very interesting would happen. In the debate between the Democratic nominee and Paul, there would be roughly the same opinion on the direction the war needs to take (ROUGHLY). Now that both candidates would have a relatively similar view that an end would need to be brought to the war in Iraq, there would be a truly hard debate on domestic issues, and the conservative voice for the first time in a while being a sharp economic mind. It would be refreshing to see a debate that was free from the polarizing Hawk/Dove false dichotomy of today’s liberals and neocons.

  94. “It was a spot that would maximize both city foot traffic and university foot traffic at 10pm: intelligently, strategically chosen. ”

    James Anderson Merritt,
    You have hit upon why hopes should not get overly high about Ron Paul’s chances.
    When it comes down to it, democracy is a game played by the hoi polloi, and they will never take kindly to the intelligensia.
    Imagine trying to promote chess at a Bingo party.

    Look at what happens to the intelligensia time and time again throughout history, when the hoi polloi form mobs: France, Russia, Cambodia, China…

  95. Peter,

    That’s a truly fascinating observation. Ron Paul debating Clinton/Obama/Edwards would be a pure domestic debate, which might be exactly what this country needs to wake up from its slumber.

    Too bad it’ll never happen. I just don’t have enough $$$ to give to Dr. Paul (my $50 I gave on Guy Fawkes Day might be the extent of it).

  96. John-David and Peter,
    It’s the journey, not the destination.
    More people are enjoying the journey.
    That’s good enough for me.

  97. By the way, I’m going to throw out an insane idea here:

    Should (and can he, from a principled standpoint) Ron Paul accept matching public funding for the primaries? This idea has popped into my head, and the more I think about it, the more I think it could lead to Dr. Paul really raking in the cash, with every donor knowing that his donation would be matched by the idiots who check that little box on their tax forms.

  98. Now that I’ve investigated, I see the the question I asked has been written about already:

    Let us conclude by now directly addressing the questions posed at the outset. Should Ron accept government matching funds? He would be very unwise to do so, despite the fact that there is nothing in the libertarian legal philosophy that would be violated by such an action. Should the rest of us stop availing ourselves of government “services”? Not at all. The problem is not when the government returns wealth to us; the rights violation occurs when the state seizes our income.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block86.html

  99. So, the water bill override is supposed to be an example of Congress finally asserting its prerogatives contra the Executive Branch.

    But check this section of the passed legislation out:

    (Sec. 2004) Directs the Secretary [of the Army] and the Chief of [the Army Corps of] Engineers (Chief) to prepare a compilation of U.S. laws related to water resources development enacted after November 8, 1966, and before January 1, 2008.

    So I read this as Congress saying:
    “YEAH!!, SCREW YOU, UNITARY EXECUTIVE, RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!!…oh, by the way guys, when you get a chance, could you please tell us whatever the hell we’ve actually told you to do over the last forty years, because we have no frickin’ clue anymore. Can you please? you can? Great! Ok thx, bai!”

  100. Charles WT-
    Well your little quiz got me to this guy at 71% of my views.

    But being a Hokie alumn, I cannot possibly support someone who is objectively pro-tomahawk as his banner indicates, so I probably will continue to support Paul in the primaries.

    (Incindentally, while the list that spit out has Paul (64%) in second, it had John McCain (62%) in third, Bloomberg (60%) in fourth, and Dodd (5450 in fifth, so I am leary of its ability to pick politicians whom I actually agree with)

  101. Heh. I got Kent as my first choice (below “ideal candidate”) and Dr. Paul at second as well. Hagel came in at 3rd, with McCain (!) in 4th.

  102. 1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
    2. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (85%)
    3. Ron Paul (83%)
    4. Alan Keyes (69%)
    5. Chuck Hagel (not running) (62%)
    6. Tom Tancredo (61%)

  103. OT: n that California oil spill that has “killed” at least 60 birds, is that more birds or fewer than have been killed by electron pumping windmills?

  104. But for just as long, massive fiberglass blades on the more than 4,000 windmills have been chopping up tens of thousands of birds that fly into them, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and other raptors.
    […]
    The size of the annual body count – conservatively put at 4,700 birds – is unique to this sprawling, 50-square-mile site in the Diablo Mountains between San Francisco and the agricultural Central Valley because it spans an international migratory bird route regulated by the federal government. The low mountains are home to the world’s highest density of nesting golden eagles.

    Wind turbines taking toll on birds of prey

  105. Oh! the aviananity!

    Good subject as we approach Thanksgiving.

    I’m a bird watcher, but also a bird muncher.

  106. Wind turbines are a blight upon the land.

  107. Gratuitous self-promotion but: CNN interviews Ron Paul following the Philadelphia rally.

  108. I did a similar or possibly the same presidential candidate questionnaire and, IMAGINE MY SURPRISE to find out that I was a McCain Man.

  109. TWC:

    Thanks a lot. I was starting to wonder how things went at the rally and whether there has been good media coverage. The CNN interview was good.

  110. Is there a Heaven? How about Hell? Is the Devil real? When does life begin? These are questions for religion to ponder and propose answers, not government. People who oppose abortion should work like the devil (oops) to see that there are few unwanted pregnancies and do their best to provide support for those who do become pregnant and don’t want a child.

    If a woman (or couple) still wish to have an abortion, then it should be up to them to decide and take the moral consequences within their own heart.

  111. Where do you guys for your polling data? I look here:
    http://www.pollster.com/
    From their polls Paul doesn’t break 4% in any of the upcoming states…
    Don’t get me wrong, I think Paul has major momentum. In the last few days I have heard a NPR story on him, a CNN, and then saw quite a few bumper stickers/yard signs for him. I’m just unsure how he will do in the real voting…I think he is best to concentrate his efforts in NH which has been good to mavericks.

    Someone above said Roe v. Wade is bad law. Do they think Griswold is bad law? Because I think Roe naturally flows from it (as does Lawrence v. Texas).

    Lastly, do you think a Dem can win President in an environment in which the top news network is basically an appendage of the GOP? Surely Ailes and Co. can swift boat any Dem candidate…

  112. “If a woman (or couple) still wish to have an abortion, then it should be up to them to decide and take the moral consequences within their own heart.”
    I can understand the sentiment behind this, but I think it’s nonsense literally. We don’t let people make up their own minds about infanticide (actual, not pro-life rhetoric) or murder…Pro-life people think abortion is equivalent (and interestingly given the discussion on another thread many animal rights activists think the killing of some animals to be nearly as bad). That there is uncertainty on the issue among the public does not necessarily make it something the government should not bad (there was uncertainty on whether the government should step in and end slavery).

    Libertarians seems safer to me asserting something like the non-agression principle and then letting individual libs make up their minds as to whether abortion or animal rights falls within the principle…

  113. If a woman (or couple) still wish to have an abortion, then it should be up to them to decide and take the moral consequences within their own heart.

    I think that puts how I exactly feel about any abortion laws very well. As far as I am concerned, I do not think my heart can take the moral consequences of having my wife abort a potential. I think that with a country as diverse as the US, no laws governing abortion should be made (certainly not on the federal level). More homogeneous communities (district, or state levels) can come up with their own laws.

  114. MNG:

    Libertarians seems safer to me asserting something like the non-agression principle and then letting individual libs make up their minds as to whether abortion or animal rights falls within the principle…

    But you are now essentially saying exactly what rm2muv says above:

    If a woman (or couple) still wish to have an abortion, then it should be up to them to decide and take the moral consequences within their own heart.

    i.e., do not legislate (at least at a federal level).

  115. I just tapped out my credit card.

    Let’s do it again! :))

  116. CharlesWT:

    I was starting to get worried about the contributions. The numbers were pretty low today. Starting at midnight, the numbers are going up decently — just saw $500 on 1 minute. Good sign.

  117. Lastly, do you think a Dem can win President in an environment in which the top news network is basically an appendage of the GOP?

    I dunno, Reagan won in an environment in which the top three news networks were basically an appendage of the Dems.

  118. iih, the pleasure was entirely mine.

  119. I dunno Wino, were any of the presidents of CBS, NBC or ABC former Democratic Presidential Consultants?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Ailes#Political_consulting
    The journalists who work for the major networks lean left, but are all trained journalists rather than political operatives. Fox is simply an appendage of the GOP (not even “conservatism”).
    But of course to culture warriors, it’s all the same thing, right?

  120. I spoke up for Ron Paul on talk radio-Pointed out that he’s a vet who respects vets with his approach that they should only be deployed in response to a bonafide threat. A guy who was on after me called RP a “nut job” sans any explanation. After that, another fellow called in and defended Ron Paul.

  121. Lastly, do you think a Dem can win President in an environment in which the top news network is basically an appendage of the GOP?

    I sure don’t want the FOX’s foreign policy approach to speak for my GOP!

  122. iih,

    no laws governing abortion should be made (certainly not on the federal level). More homogeneous communities (district, or state levels) can come up with their own laws.

    Why allow the state government/the city council to intrude on this very personal choice when you recognize that the federal government has no business doing so?

    The idea of checks and balances works, partially, by having federal/central power balanced against federal power. In the case of abortion, a federal limit on the rights of local governments in this arena limits the intrusion of government in the lives of individuals.

  123. Oops,

    balanced against federal power should read…

    “balanced against state/local power”

  124. David Sirota is brainy now? Did I miss a memo or something?

  125. The journalists who work for the major networks lean left, but are all trained journalists rather than political operatives.

    I just cannot do that little smirky throat thing where you snort something like yeah right without opening your mouth, moving your lips, or rolling you eyes………..my kids know exactly what it means though.

    See that long hallway? Walk all the way back and you’ll find a ten foot oak door. Open the door. Inside you’ll find a really long oak bar. Tell the barkeep, Danny, that TWC sent you and that you really need a couple glasses of decent red. That’ll shape you right up.

  126. a federal limit on the rights of local governments in this arena limits the intrusion of government in the lives of individuals.

    Neu Mejican,

    I suppose this will seem like nitpicking to you and to others, but I would like to point out that strictly speaking, neither the federal government nor any state or local government has any rights under the Constitution; they have only powers. Powers are delegated to them and can be removed. I think it’s very important to remember that distinction.

  127. “Tell the barkeep, Danny, that TWC sent you and that you really need a couple glasses of decent red.”

    Can you ask him to set me up with some quality bourbon? Maybe some Pappy or Eagle Rare? I could use a drink.

  128. No sane person would imagine that he personally had the right to go forth
    with a six gun and stop women from aborting — they merely imagine that this
    god like being, the state, has the right to do that. Yet everyone realizes
    that they have the right to violently stop a murderer with a six gun.

    Clever argument, Brandybuck. Kudos. Now, if your neighbor was killing their six year old child, and the police were prohibited by the Supreme Court from interfering with said killing or prosecuting the killer, and the only one who could stop the killing was you, by taking a gun and stopping them — would you do it? If so, what if the child was a bit younger, say, one day before delivery? What if, instead of a neighbor you knew, it was some stranger you’d never met, committing the killing far away from your home?

    If not, do you then think it is a good idea for society to allow parents to kill their children without any legal repercussions?

    Were you finessed this, it seems, is equating personally defending yourself from being murdered — which everyone who is not suicidal agrees is your right, and something you’d almost certainly do — with personally defending your neighbor, or a random stranger, from being murdered, which people would be far less likely to risk their own lives to do. Which is why we hire professionals to stop such clearly wrong behavior, since otherwise the random stranger being murdered could be us — as sixstring pointed out from direct personal experience — and everyone else might sit around wringing their hands watching and thinking, I sure don’t like that, but I’m not gonna risk my life for a stranger.

  129. Ooops, that was Vlad Drac and not Brandybuck, who posted the pro-abortion quote above. My apologies.

  130. Which candidate would I want to babysit my kids?

    Unspoken premise: that a person really skilled at telling people with little or no judgment how they should conduct their life — who is literally a nanny to them and treats them like children — is precisely the sort of person who should be running the executive branch in this country, and so everyone subscribing to Parenting magazine should go out and vote for the biggest nanny-statist authoritarian possible.

    And readers of People magazine should vote for the biggest attention-craving publicity hound …

    And readers of Playboy should vote for whoever has the hottest trophy wife …

  131. On CharlesWT’s link to the SelectSmart quiz of presidential candidates, I got (after tossing people who’ve dropped out of the race):

    1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
    3. Ron Paul (80%) Information link
    5. Alan Keyes (64%) Information link
    7. John McCain (61%) Information link
    10. Mitt Romney (58%) Information link
    11. Tom Tancredo (58%) Information link
    12. Duncan Hunter (54%) Information link
    13. Fred Thompson (51%) Information link
    14. Christopher Dodd (49%) Information link
    15. Barack Obama (47%) Information link
    16. Bill Richardson (46%) Information link
    18. Mike Huckabee (45%) Information link
    19. Rudolph Giuliani (44%) Information link
    22. Mike Gravel (41%) Information link
    25. Dennis Kucinich (39%) Information link
    26. Hillary Clinton (37%) Information link
    27. Joseph Biden (36%) Information link
    28. John Edwards (36%) Information link
    30. Elaine Brown (14%)

  132. Mr. Nice Guy,

    Your comments on the news market are quite interesting. Apparently I have had it all wrong in thinking that people chose to watch what they like.

    Is your objection to this desire because FOX presents news in a manner that you do not agree with, therefore all those viewers must be stupid or is there some sort of secret plot where these viewers are being forced to watch, even if by trick?

    IF FOX is an arm of the GOP, like you assert, then there must be some basic appeal to that message if it is drawing so many viewers away from the message you wish them to get. Well, short of forced viewing of course.

  133. Amazing Ron Paul fact: As an Active and Reserve Air Force Officer, Ron Paul spent exactly the same amount of time in Vietnam that George Bush did.

  134. “Pro-abortion”

    You fail it.

  135. Saw THIS on Drudge this morning.

    I Guess Hillary is planting people in the audience to ask softball questions. Caution: I’ve never seen this website before, so check if it’s a hoax before you start spreading this…

  136. Someone needs to tell Alan Combs, Bob Bechel, Juan Williams and Mara Liassen that they are only GOP tools. At least FOX offers debate. The other channels rarely give you both sides of the issue.

    And since someone mentioned Dennis Kucinich, I thought I’d try this one: Of course Dennis Kucinich has seen a UFO. How else do you think he got to Earth?

  137. Guy Montag is a disgusting human being.

    Once you’re in the active duty military, Guy, you have no control over where they send you.

    There were guys stationed in Germany during the Viet Nam war, too, loser. Because the fact that there was a war in Viet Nam didn’t mean that NATO didn’t have to defend the West German border. Want to shit on their service, too?

    Joining the Air National Guard, OTOH, guaranteed that you would not be deployed overseas, for all practical purposes.

    And the people at Fox have the right to broadcast anything they want, and the people who watch it as their preferred news outlet have the right to watch anything they want. And I have the right to think they’re worthless dumbasses. And if you can’t determine for yourself that O’Reilly and Hannity are contemptible thugs, that tells me pretty much everything I need to know about you. Rush has many, many redeeming qualities, most of which will come to the fore again when he no longer views it as his job to defend an indefensible administration of slimebags every day, but the Fox guys are the worst kind of trash imaginable.

  138. I saw something about the Hillary campaign planting softball questioners on FNN the other day. Thank goodness for that GOP run outfit or we may never have heard about it! LOL IIRC, a several students were asked to ask a particular questions and staffers in the back of the room were pointing out who the candidate should call on next.

    Nice related comic strip here.


  139. I Guess Hillary is planting people in the audience to ask softball questions.

    In my business we call that “dog bites man”.
    What is the next sordid revelation?
    That she responds to criticism of her policy positions with an accusation of a vicious personal smear attack?

  140. Joining the Air National Guard, OTOH, guaranteed that you would not be deployed overseas, for all practical purposes.

    How is that? The unit GWB was assigned to had already been deployed to Vietnam and redeployed back to Texas before he got there.

    All I stated was a fact. Sounds like you need some rest if facts affect you in such an exagerated manner.

    I might have a few spelling and usage mistakes in there too.

  141. That she responds to criticism of her policy positions with an accusation of a vicious personal smear attack?

    If we hear about that from FOX it will be proof that Mr. Obama is a tool of the GOP too! LOL

  142. Someone needs to tell Alan Combs, Bob Bechel, Juan Williams and Mara Liassen that they are only GOP tools.

    Don’t forget Harold Ford Jr. (he is still there isn’t he?) and GEN (Ret.) Wesley Clark.

  143. Joining the Air National Guard, OTOH, guaranteed that you would not be deployed overseas, for all practical purposes.

    Bullshit

    You are talking out your ass Fluffy.
    The Texas Air National Guard was flying combat missions in ‘Nam while Bush was in training.

  144. I keep forgetting to add Reason’s own Radley Balko to the long list of GOP “tools” at FOX. Just check his bio.

    [scary music]The GOP, they live among us, they are the secret hand that controls all.* OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO![/scary music]

    *Volume 10, “The Protocols of the Elders of Reason”.

  145. Neu Mejican:

    Why allow the state government/the city council to intrude on this very personal choice when you recognize that the federal government has no business doing so?

    I said if enough social homogeneity exists.

  146. RP will be on Face the Nation today. FTN is on now where I am.

    And those donations are not going up as one would have hoped. Certainly not as high as those on Nov. 5th.

  147. Stacey David is showing how to make Biodiesel at home on SpikeTV. Did not know racing methenol was involved. At $2.50/gallon why not just run that?

    Two Guys Garage on SPEED is going over engine top-end stuff, valve jobs and such, looks like a big Xmax commercial too. Gonna spend more time with that one.

  148. correction:Zmax commercial

  149. I think it’s easy to address the trespass / abortion issue at the later end – preemies routinely survive now at 24 weeks (with often heroic support, granted). It is hard, to me, to find any principled libertarian support for a right to abortion after that time. And I say this as someone who is as squeamish about trampling women’s rights as I am about the entire issue of arbitrarily deciding when society and the law should consider protecting the rights of a fetus.

  150. Let me clarify – I mean to distinguish terminating a late-stage pregnancy by early delivery from terminating it by killing the fetus. I think this is an argument that has merit, and I fully expect it to be taken up at the state level in a Paul Administration.

  151. To the veterans, even the Coasties –

    Take the day off. Go to a tailgate party. Have a beer and some BBQ. Most Americans are grateful for your service.

  152. Smartass Sob,

    I suppose this will seem like nitpicking to you and to others, but I would like to point out that strictly speaking, neither the federal government nor any state or local government has any rights under the Constitution; they have only powers. Powers are delegated to them and can be removed. I think it’s very important to remember that distinction.

    Strictly speaking, you are not correct. You are conflating the concept of Natural Rights with legal rights. Powers, as you define them, are legal rights, even if not Natural Rights. It is true that the constitution uses the term “power,” but in the everyday usage patterns of the word “right,” a just/legal claim, it is simply incorrect to make a distinction between “right” and “power.” Think, for instance, of property rights. Property rights grant you “power” to control a possession. Likewise, in this discussion, to talk of a “federal limit on the rights of local governments” is equivalent to saying “a federal limit on the power of local government.”

    iih,

    I said if enough social homogeneity exists.

    How much is enough? 51%? 75%?
    I just don’t see how you can square your position that the only local government has an interest/right/power here.

    The federal government does not have laws “legalizing” abortion. Rather, it has a duty to protect the rights and freedom of the couple to make this difficult choice for themselves. That, in my view, is an important role of the federal government…to protect the individual against the tyranny of the local authorities.

  153. I think abortion-inducing drugs are eventually going to render the abortion debate moot, anyway. Its very hard (as good libertarians know) for the government to control the flow of drugs even if they are outlawed.

  154. Because it has come up a bit lately, I wonder about how the fuzzy concept of “collective” rights gets mixed up in the abortion debate.

    Does the right to decide on an abortion consist of an individual right of the women to control her body (a primary right if there ever was one, and, imho, the crux of the issue), or does it consist of a joint claim by the mother and father to control of their reproductive process (which also seems to be a pretty basic right)?

  155. I honestly believe that abortion after ~5months gestation is, in most cases, patently immoral. This may be a good place to start if you, like me, are conflicted about forcing women to bear unwanted children and the humanity and rights(?) of the fetus. Moral people can disagree on the issue, but neurological development should certainly be considered.

  156. And here’s a nifty headline…

    Intel official: Say goodbye to privacy
    By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON – A top intelligence official says it is time people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

    Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people’s private communications and financial information.

  157. BTW, I’ve agonized over this abortion conundrum for many, many moons, yet I still don’t have a black and white answer. I’m envious of those who have it all sorted out in their hearts. Or pity them.

  158. J sub D,

    I am stuck with an unwanted mortgage. Should I just abort it? I want to keep the condo and my lifestyle, of course, but that mortgage is so inconvenient.

  159. Guy Montag,

    I say again, “I’m envious of those who have it all sorted out in their hearts. Or pity them.”

  160. I tried CharlesWT’s link – I got:

    Ron Paul 76%
    Chris Dodd 54%
    Mike Gravel 54%
    Dennis Kucinich 51%
    I didn’t get another Republican until
    Chuck Hagel 50%
    The first “major” candidate on my list is
    Barack Obama 50%

    I’m a liberaltarian, apparently. I have no doubt that 4 years of Hillary would cure me of this. And I don’t know how Kucinich got so high on my list. (Is he anti-WoD?)

  161. Because it has come up a bit lately, I wonder about how the fuzzy concept of “collective” rights gets mixed up in the abortion debate.

    This ties into a more general ethical question I’m still struggling to answer: Is you interfere in some situation where someone is being victimized, are you obligated to stay involved in that situation?

    I may not have stated the question well, but I can give you lots of examples in our modern society/government where we step in to rescue some victim, but only do a half-assed job of it. For example, taking a child away from an abusive parent, but then consigning the child to a series of foster homes. Or you can scale that up to invading a country to liberate it, but not thinking about what happens after the war.

  162. Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says …the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people’s private communications and financial information.

    Neu Mejican, That would disturb me more if I hadn’t already figured out that’s what the US government thought about the rights of its subjects. Were I not so lazy, I would forgo the convenience of a bank account to have one less intrusion.

  163. Mr Penguin, fron On the Issues Dennis Kucinich

    Supports national ban on smoking in public places. (Sep 2007)
    Lower drinking age from 21 to 18; and voting age to 16. (Sep 2007)
    Medical marijuana should be decided by doctors & patients. (Aug 2007)
    Hasn’t smoked marijuana, but would decriminalize it. (Nov 2003)
    Emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration. (Sep 2003)
    War on Drugs benefits only the prison-industrial complex. (Aug 2003)
    Racial bias in drug enforcement is pervasive. (Aug 2003)
    Addiction is a medical and moral problem. (Aug 2003)
    Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
    Voted NO on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Oct 1999)
    Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
    Rated A+ by VOTE-HEMP, indicating a pro-hemp voting record. (Dec 2003)

    At your service,
    J sub D

  164. iih,

    re: abortion

    1. At conception, X has unique DNA.

    2. At conception, the natural and predictable development of X results in what everyone agrees is a human being. It’s called an “abortion” precisely because it aborts this natural and predictable development.

    To me, these are sufficient reasons to believe we are dealing with human beings at conception. And, to the extent we have a state protecting the right of human beings, X should be protected under the law, i.e., to the same extent as all other human beings.

  165. J sub D – thanks. Other than the smoking ban, I agree with all those. Along with how I answered the Iraq questions, that would explain it.

  166. Also re: abortion.

    I don’t understand what people, especially libertarians, mean when they say “the right of women to terminate unwanted pregnancies.” The problem is with the word “unwanted.”

    I don’t “want” to go to work tomorrow, but I do because the benefits I get from working exceed the costs of not doing so. Colloquially it’s fine to say you don’t “want” to work, but practically you do.

    Regarding abortion, the only real unwanted pregnancy is the one that results from coercion. Otherwise, people understand that having sex means there’s a chance they’ll get pregnant. Even birth control isn’t 100 percent effective. So by having sex — even using all available contraceptive methods — I’d say you’re accepting the small chance that a pregnancy might result, i.e., you consider the benefits to outweigh the costs. A resulting pregnancy is not “unwanted” then (in the practical sense of the word).

  167. x,y that’s like saying that people that are in car crashes “wanted” to be in the crash…Also, since very many conceptions end quite naturally in abortion I’m not sure that the human being is necessarily the natural and predictable result of that (you might say God is the ultimate abortionists given the vast number of natural abortions, he did design the machinery [if you’re into that sort of thing, which I’ve seen very few pro-lifers who were not]).

  168. re: abortion

    1. At conception, X has unique DNA.

    2. At conception, the natural and predictable development of X results in what everyone agrees is a human being. It’s called an “abortion” precisely because it aborts this natural and predictable development.

    x, y:

    1. Prior to conception, eggs and sperm each have unique DNA.

    2. After conception, about half of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted because of screwed-up, unique DNA that is not viable. Most of this occurs pretty early in development.

    We’re pretty close on this issue — at conception for you, about 7 weeks out for me — but I don’t think anyone can logically prove one of these POVs is absolutely correct. It’s a matter of moral values.

  169. @prolofeed

    If not, do you then think it is a good idea for society to allow parents to kill their children without any legal repercussions?

    Probably not, but if you live in a society where a substantial segment demands the right to self-destruct, the smart money is that the laws are going to accommodate them.

    The bottom line is, you have that substantial segment, and it seems to have decided it has other priorities besides propogating itself.

    The other side is, there’s still a substantial population that does have an interest perpetuating itself, and it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out which one of those populations will inherit the future.

    In other words, leave it alone, and the problem will eventually resolve itself.

  170. Some data on the impact of state-level abortion policies.

    When the CDC data are used, the regression indicates that the passage of an informed consent law reduces the abortion ratio by 11.69 and the abortion rate by 0.92. When AGI data are used, the results indicate that informed consent laws have an even greater effect, reducing the abortion ratio by 22.46 and the abortion rate by 1.57. All of these results are statistically significant. These findings are particularly interesting because over 20 states adopted informed consent laws between 1992 and 1999.34 It seems likely that these laws played an especially large role in the decline in abortions during the 1990s.

    How pregnant women feel about the issue…

    Most participants (92%) supported abortion availability. Half (50%) who were willing to consider an abortion would do so only in the first trimester. Among the gravid women willing to consider an abortion in the first or second trimester, 84% would do so after rape/incest or if their life was endangered and 76% would if their fetus had Down syndrome. Gravid women considering abortion were more likely to be white, older, have had a previous abortion, and to express distrust in the health care system. Women who would not consider abortion were more likely to be multiparous, married/living with partner, and to express greater faith and fatalism about their pregnancy outcome.
    Conclusion

    Although most pregnant women enrolled in prenatal care support abortion availability, about half would only consider a first-trimester procedure. These findings underscore the need for early prenatal genetic counseling, screening, and testing.

    from
    Abortion attitudes of pregnant women in prenatal care
    American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Volume 192, Issue 6, June 2005, Pages 1939-1945
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2005.02.042

    http://www.heritage.org/research/family/CDA04-01.cfm

  171. In other words, leave it alone, and the problem will eventually resolve itself.

    Pig, I seriously doubt that moral or political reasoning is genetically inherited. But hey, you gotta love an optimist!

  172. Although most pregnant women enrolled in prenatal care support abortion availability, about half would only consider a first-trimester procedure. These findings underscore the need for early prenatal genetic counseling, screening, and testing.

    Sound reasoning. I’m saddened that ~half would consider an abortion later than the first trimester. Is personal responsibility dying? You’ve been incubating a fetus for > 3 months and NOW you’re going to make a decision? I don’t know what to say.

  173. @J sub D

    Pig, I seriously doubt that moral or political reasoning is genetically inherited. But hey, you gotta love an optimist!

    I didn’t say they were. But genes aren’t the only way of transmitting information. You might want to consider this article by Phillip Longman.

    You might also want to take note of the fact that, while a majority of Americans still support legal abortion, it’s declined considerably from it’s peak 30 years ago, consistent with the demographic changes illustrated by Longman.

  174. My results:

    1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
    2. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (77%)
    3. Ron Paul (70%)
    4. Dennis Kucinich (56%)
    5. Christopher Dodd (49%)
    6. Michael Bloomberg (says he will not run) (49%)
    7. Mike Gravel (49%)
    8. Bill Richardson (48%)
    9. John McCain (48%)
    10. Newt Gingrich (says he will not run) (48%)
    11. Chuck Hagel (not running) (48%)
    12. Barack Obama (47%)

    So Ron Paul is the first major party candidate (no real suprise there), McCain is the first “major” Republican candidate (slight surprise, but not too much) and Barack Obama is the first “major” Democratic candidate (again, not much of a surprise). I was a little surprised with Dennis Kucinich’s Showing (not that it’s that high) until I realized it was mostly for my anti-Iraq tendencies and my anti-WoD postions (and possibly for the civil liberties arena, which I rated as very important, though I honestly don’t know where Kucinich is on those issues).

    I’m still planning to vote for “Theoretical Ideal Candidate” though. He really knows how to cater to my every whim.

    Theoretical Ideal ’08 – “Hey, we know he isn’t real, but most of those other guys are probably computer generated too.”

  175. JsubD,

    Recognize that it is not impossible (or even uncommon) to be unaware of the pregnancy until the end of the 1st trimester.

  176. I’m also surprised Colbert was so far down on my list – did he actually have positions?

  177. I didn’t say they were. But genes aren’t the only way of transmitting information.

    Pig Mannix, I agree that there are many ways to transmit info other than genetics. That said, offspring do tend to think for themselves as they age, else there would be no moral evolution in the species.

  178. Recognize that it is not impossible (or even uncommon) to be unaware of the pregnancy until the end of the 1st trimester.

    Not impossible, agreed. Not uncommon? 1%, 5%, 15%? Citing no research, I’d wager less than %5, with some of those being woefully ignorant. I’d be happy to peruse a credible study on the issue, though.

    I feared I might be pregnant but I didn’t get tested, doesn’t count.

  179. Instead of killing a fetus in which testing may indicate a defect, how about we wait until after birth to make sure. Infanticide is ugly, but it is a better option than terminating a fetus that might turn out to be fine.

  180. Sound reasoning. I’m saddened that ~half would consider an abortion later than the first trimester. Is personal responsibility dying? You’ve been incubating a fetus for > 3 months and NOW you’re going to make a decision? I don’t know what to say.

    If they found out the kid is going to have down syndrome or something else in the second trimester, there could be a reason for aborting.

  181. J sub D,

    I don’t have numbers handy (iirc, 5% is the closer estimate), but even at 1-5% of pregnancy, we are talking a lot of women.

    And among those that are likely to be in situations whereby they can’t take care of the baby if it is born (drug addicts, homeless, incest victims etc…) those rates are much higher. So the very population most likely to have legitimate reason to consider the abortion would be the most likely to miss the deadline if it is moved too early.

  182. James Ard,

    Many developmental disabilities will not be identifiable in a neonate. How long do you want to wait to make the decision?

  183. James/Cesar,

    The main problem with using potential handicap as an wrench to support abortion/infanticide is that it assumes that those with developmental disabilities have less legitimate claim to the right to life than those without. That is a highly problematic axiom to use in any moral calculus.

    If mothers have the right to an abortion, that right applies equally to healthy or handicapped children. If they don’t, then potential disability does not change the balance between the child’s rights and the mothers…imho.

  184. If they found out the kid is going to have down syndrome or something else in the second trimester,…

    I’ve only known one Down’s child and he was a delight to be around. Much extra work for his parents, yes. But a happier little person you couldn’t imagine. This is not a slam against people who agonizingly conclude that aborting a fetus with genetic defects is the right or best thing to do. As I posted earlier, it’s a difficult issue to grapple with.

  185. And among those that are likely to be in situations whereby they can’t take care of the baby if it is born (drug addicts, homeless, incest victims etc…) those rates are much higher. So the very population most likely to have legitimate reason to consider the abortion would be the most likely to miss the deadline if it is moved too early.

    No arguments here. I threw out for consideration ~5 months earlier today. IMHO, brain development is the linchpin if we’re going to set a developmental cutoff. Thanks for not getting all “I’m sure I’m right, have all the answers, and if you disagree…” on the issue.

  186. x,y that’s like saying that people that are in car crashes “wanted” to be in the crash

    This is exactly what I’m saying. Note that I effectively defined “wanted” as believes the benefits outweigh the risks. So just as people who drive know there is a chance they will be in a car accident, people who have uncoerced sex know there is a chance the woman will become pregnant.

    Also, since very many conceptions end quite naturally in abortion I’m not sure that the human being is necessarily the natural and predictable result of that (you might say God is the ultimate abortionists given the vast number of natural abortions, he did design the machinery [if you’re into that sort of thing, which I’ve seen very few pro-lifers who were not]).

    1. I’m not religious and my moral objections to abortion stem solely from the two reasons I cited above. I know that puts me in the minority of pro-lifers, but so be it. I don’t subscribe to their rationale.

    2. You’re right that many pregnancies end naturally before birth. But many people also die of natural causes. This doesn’t make wilfully killing them moral. If X is human life worthy of legal protection, the fact that some (or many) Xes die naturally is irrelevant.

  187. Neu, Tell me about it. My two year old is still undiagnosed, but she can barely roll over. My three other kids are going to see way less resources and opportunities because of what she is going to cost us. I could never hurt her, but way back when, the clan leader would have insisted I leave her behind. But he also probably would have insisted my wife have the baby. Necessity sometimes determines what is moral or not.

  188. 1. Prior to conception, eggs and sperm each have unique DNA.

    2. After conception, about half of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted because of screwed-up, unique DNA that is not viable. Most of this occurs pretty early in development.

    We’re pretty close on this issue — at conception for you, about 7 weeks out for me — but I don’t think anyone can logically prove one of these POVs is absolutely correct. It’s a matter of moral values.

    To me, there are only two logical points at which we can say life begins: at conception or at birth. We all agree that life must begin at some point. The question is when the point is.

    Prior to conception, eggs have the same DNA as the mother and sperm have the same DNA as the father. Each is unique to that human being. At conception, a third, unique DNA is created, i.e., the DNA of X. This suggests another, distinct human being.

    Regarding the “natural abortion” point you raised, I answered that in my post above.

  189. Hello again, I am back!

    Regarding collectivism and having the state involved: I have always looked at this as an individual right. But which individual takes precedence, the mother or the unborn? Only if there is some sort of absolute majority in a district/state (say 75%) should there be any laws on the issue.

    I guess, after deliberating this over one weekend (only one, more may be needed), I think that I would personally not advocate abortion (except if the mom’s own life is at risk or her health is highly endangered). And as J sub D said above 1t 3:17, how do we know that a child with a defect wouldn’t be the happiest of people. How do we know that a child that would otherwise be a financial “burden” or a that which would remind of a terrible rape would not be the ultimate source of delight and happiness to a family or a mother? Who gives us the right to deny the unborn’s opportunity to find out what life has for them themselves?

    However, with that said, the only proper “entity” that ultimately has the say over the unborn is the mother. How would society know or feel about that unborn better than the mother herself?

  190. However, with that said, the only proper “entity” that ultimately has the say over the unborn is the mother. How would society know or feel about that unborn better than the mother herself?

    What about the unborn itself? There are thousands (millions?) of people who are incapable of speaking for themselves, e.g., the mentally disabled. But the law provides them with legal protection because they are human beings. To say the mother is only proper entity that has a say is to miss the entire point of the discussion.

  191. x,y,

    To say the mother is only proper entity that has a say is to miss the entire point of the discussion.

    No. To say the mother is the only proper entity to have a say is to take a position on the issue.

    The issue, simplified, is about who gets to decide. Who has standing? One very reasoned position to hold is that only the mother has standing.

  192. NM,

    That’s a secondary issue. The primary issue is whether we’re dealing with a human being. Only if you answer yes to that (or agree that it’s not a human being but worthy of some legal protection) can you raise the secondary issue of whose rights are superior and/or who has standing to vindicate those rights.

  193. The issue, simplified, is about who gets to decide. Who has standing? One very reasoned position to hold is that only the mother has standing.

    True, unless society decides that abortion should be regulated (not eliminated, but regulated). How much regulation is the question. For example, an unintended pregnancy that results from a consensual teenage relationship may not be considered a good enough reason for terminating the life of a fetus.

    Only if you answer yes to that (or agree that it’s not a human being but worthy of some legal protection) can you raise the secondary issue of whose rights are superior and/or who has standing to vindicate those rights.

    That is exactly why I decided to quote the Non-Aggression Principle (which recognizes individuals’ rights) at 11:15 on Nov. 9 above. When is the fetus considered an individual?

  194. You see, I am torn apart exactly at the question of which individual has the precedence, the mother or the child, and at what fetus age. But I am prepared to say that the mother has full right to choose (as a libertarian), but also (as a libertarian!) thin that a fetus has the right to life as an individual.

  195. As others have noted, the NAP principle can’t be relied upon to cover all situations (though it does a better job than most moral principles) because people can’t agree on how to define some words used in the NAP definition. It does, however, provide a jumping off point for further discussion, and I think I’ve added my $0.02 already.

  196. You see, I am torn apart exactly at the question of which individual has the precedence, the mother or the child, and at what fetus age.

    For uncoerced sex, I think X’s rights are superior. This is because the mother knew (or should have known) her actions could result in her becoming pregnant.

    For coerced sex (or sex where the mother didn’t have the capacity to consent, either because of age, incapacity, etc.), I still believe X’s rights are superior. The mother’s physical inconvenience is temporary but the decision for X is permanent. I know that makes me a hardliner (and gives me a negative, visceral reaction), but it seems to be the most logical and consistent result.

    The only place I think the law should allow for an abortion is when the life of the mother is at risk.

  197. x,y: I definitely agree. In my last post I indicate that “libertarianism” can not answer that question simply due to the ambiguity in the definition of an individual. I have not heard Walter Block’s talk (mentioned above) yet though. May be he can help here. He’s good at addressing tough questions.

  198. But I am prepared to say that the mother has full right to choose (as a libertarian), but also (as a libertarian!) thin that a fetus has the right to life as an individual.

    Yeah, it’s a quagmire of competing rights, no doubt about it. That’s why the extremists on both sides of the issue, those who adopt an “I’m right, it’s black and white!” attitude irritate the hell out of me. The position that the fetus is of no account until birth (why not wait until the umbilical cord is cut?) and the life begins at conception so birth control pills are murder position are equally odious. Compromise, though distasteful, seems to be in order here.

  199. Geez, have you guys settled the abortion issue yet?

  200. J sub D,

    Why does taking a firm position irritate you? Even if it is a question of balancing rights, we do that all the time. Your right to swing your arm stops where my nose begins; unless you are acting in self-defense because I swung at you. See, a simple case of balancing interests and taking a firm position. Why is any compromise necessary (either in the example I gave or the abortion debate)?

  201. Geez, have you guys settled the abortion issue yet?

    Is it ever settled?

  202. Geez, have you guys settled the abortion issue yet?

    Almost. Give us ten more minutes decades and we’ll be done. 😉

  203. x,y
    Want and “knew there was a chance if you did” are two very different concepts. I guess most folks know that a fertilized egg can result from sex, but that does not mean they wanted that to happen. In that sense the pregnancy is truly “unwanted.”

    Your right that at conception there is the unique DNA, and the DNA is a human being. But we might say that a human being is not the same as a “person” (which would be what is deserving of protection). A dead human being is still a human being. A person in a persistent vegetative state is a human being, but I for one don’t know if I consider them to be a “person.” The same can be said of a fertilized egg.

  204. Why does taking a firm position irritate you? Even if it is a question of balancing rights, we do that all the time. Your right to swing your arm stops where my nose begins; unless you are acting in self-defense because I swung at you.

    Even that old canard isn’t accurate. If, while walking down the street, I screem angrily and throw a punch that I stop one inch from your wive’s face, is that not aviolation of her rights. Wouldn’t you be justified, morally and legally, to beat the crap out of me? No, there are shades of gray everywhere. IMHO, Terri Schiavo didn’t have rights because a lack of higher brain function. A fetus fits that description for a significant portion of it’s development. It’s not black and white.

    BTW I’m pro-choice with restrictions if you haven’t already figured it out. I’m also for overturning Roe v. Wade.

  205. crimethink:

    I am the culprit. It all started when all of a sudden the difficulty of the question hit me on Friday after watching a video of Paul’s discussion on the issue in NH. I thought I could find an answer in a weekend. Obviously, not 😉

  206. Mr. Nice Guy,

    I think we agree more than you realize re: “unwanted” pregnancies. A lot of things are “truly unwanted” — like me not wanting to go to work tomorrow or me not wanting to pay income taxes. But I do anyway because the benefits outweigh the costs. And just because a pregnancy is “unwanted,” that doesn’t and shouldn’t necessarily confer a right to an abortion. People should be responsible for their actions, especially when they weighed the costs and benefits of those actions. All I’m suggesting, in this case, is that people stop using the phrase “unwanted pregnancy” as if they bore no responsibility for their actions.

  207. BTW, from where I come (middle east), it may surprise many that the issue of abortion is not taboo. It has been depicted on many very popular movies, discussed in papers and in debates on TV. There is a concensus that unrestricted abortion is immoral and is not sanctioned by any religion (these would Islam and Christianity), but especially Islam, has some room for it. The issue has never been rape pregnancies, or pregnancies from premarital sex (both of these were very rare, but not any more today). The question revolved around economic considerations. Should a couple abort a pregnancy when the couple are sure not to be able to provide a good life for the child? The answer (in the movies at least) is to give a chance to the child, because the worst case scenario is to give up the child for adoption.

  208. J sub D,

    Regardless of whether that “old canard” isn’t accurate, you’ve made my point for me. You’re pro-choice with some restrictions. You also think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. You’ve just taken at least one firm position. But according to your earlier post, “extremists” who take firm positions irritate you. Do you irritate yourself?

    Please note that I’m not attacking any of your posititions substantively. I just think it’s silly that you’re irritated by people who take firm positions.

  209. iih,

    I myself have given up trying to convert the Reasonoids. Anyone who wishes to read my silver-tongued commentary on the issue (and more than a few tense stand-offs with the likes of Ron Bailey and Tim Cavanaugh) is urged to consult Crimethink’s greatest hits: Abortion edition.

  210. crimethink:

    One thing I am sure of is that I wasn’t trying to convert anyone. I just wanted a good source of views on the issue, and reasonoids have catered very well indeed.

  211. I think, btw, that this is the second weekend thread that I hijack for a topic that I am interested in. I remember doing that recently, but can’t remember the topic.

  212. iih,

    They must be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  213. Please note that I’m not attacking any of your posititions substantively. I just think it’s silly that you’re irritated by people who take firm positions.

    I may be wrong here, but I doubt it. The term I used, IIRC, was extreme positions. And as far as “firm” goes I’m amenable to discussion and compromise, which I’ve also iterated.

    Birth control pills do not prevent fertilization, rather they prevent implantation. Your thoughts, x,y?

  214. Great stuff by Steve Hackett. Hackett once said Steve Walsh (of Kansas) was the greatest white rock vocalist.

    I agree. Or at least I’d say he was the best white prog-rock vocalist. Emphasis on was because he’s lost a lot more tone and range than Geddy or Jon.

    Check it out.

  215. On a different topic, on Friday, the might greenback gain 2 cents (literally) against the Loonie. Now it is at $0.94.

    Friday evening, a vending machine returned a John Adams $1 coin. That was cool! It was golden (in color only 😉 ) What an omen!

  216. J sub D,

    Those pills cause abortions.

  217. x,y – Thanks, just wanted to know where you’re coming from. You’re consistent, I’ll give you that.

  218. Prior to conception, eggs have the same DNA as the mother and sperm have the same DNA as the father. Each is unique to that human being. At conception, a third, unique DNA is created, i.e., the DNA of X. This suggests another, distinct human being.

    x, y:

    Umm, eggs and sperm each have about half the DNA of their donor — but it’s not the SAME half for each egg and sperm. Twenty-three chromosome pairs, so right off the bat that’s 2 to the 23rd power — roughly 8 million combos. Then you have snippits of DNA being swapped between chromosome pairs, mutations, methylation issues, missing or extra chromosomes (Downs Syndrome is caused by having 3 copies of I think the 21st (23rd?) chromosome) etc. — in effect, there are a nearly infinite number of possible sperm and egg combos. Granted, a lot of these innovations are incompatible with life, hence a big chunk of the 50% or so aborted.

    Sorry about the pedantry, but I’m trying to point out why conception isn’t THE defining moment you make it out to be. I could go on at length about how birth isn’t THE defining moment, either (for starters, one hour before birth, one minute before birth, halfway out of the birth canal, etc.).

    There just isn’t a logical, non-faith-based point to say this is it, this is the point where life begins, no questions allowed. That so many politicians argue for either conception or birth is, I think, because they don’t want to weaken their claim of rightness by introducing all that messy gray fuzziness — you know, nuance and facts — that distress so many of their constituents.

  219. prolefeed, well said.

  220. Then you have snippits of DNA being swapped between chromosome pairs, mutations, methylation issues, missing or extra chromosomes (Downs Syndrome is caused by having 3 copies of I think the 21st (23rd?) chromosome) etc.

    The swappings between chromosome pairs happen during the formation of the gametes themselves, long before conception. The other factors you mention are either also over and done with before conception, or ongoing throughout life.

    Nothing you say here undercuts the idea that the entity existing after conception is completely different from the constituent parts existing before conception. That can’t be said of any other point in human life.

  221. J sub D,

    Huh? He doesn’t even address the issue at hand. He’s trying to snowball x,y with a lot of irrelevant biological jargon.

  222. iih — You can’t threadjack an OPEN thread, by definition. And you can’t force people to respond to your comments if they choose to ignore the bait. You should, if anything, be taking credit for one of the more civil and interesting discussions we’ve had on a weekend — assuming someone else wouldn’t have started the same topic if you hadn’t tossed in your verbal Molotov cocktail.

    I mean, it’s not like this is the first 200+ post abortion thread ever on Reason.

  223. prolefeed- I’ll take that as a complement.

    FWIW, RP just passed the $8,000,000 mark.

  224. Huh? He doesn’t even address the issue at hand. He’s trying to snowball x,y with a lot of irrelevant biological jargon.

    crimethink — You say snowball with irrelavancies, I say correcting a misperception that all sperm and eggs from a single donor are identical. Tomay -to, tomah-to.

    I agree that a fertilized egg is a whole different ball of wax than an unfertilized egg, but that doesn’t mean that conception is THE defining moment of life, no questions allowed. At the risk of being accused of snowballing again (and not the sperm-swapping between chicks thing, either, VM and other random pervs waiting to pounce) conception as most people think of it is subject to the same parsing as the one day before birth, one hour before birth, halfway out of the mother thing. You know — one second before the first sperm hits, you can have hundreds of sperm right there, all frantically trying to trigger the tricky sequence where the egg accepts one sperm and excludes all the others. You can have an unfertilized egg that is inevitably going to become fertilized tout suite — is that not a human being but a nanosecond later it is? If the fertilized egg doesn’t implant in the womb, was it still a human being while traveling down the Fallopian tubes? What if it implants IN the Fallopian tubes, and thus has no chance whatsoever of growing? We gonna charge doctors with murder for saving the mother’s life and removing that attached human being in the Fallopian tubes?

    Preemptive snark — biology major with too much time on his hands. Snowballing. Irrelevant. Wrong. Ruining a perfectly good argument by trotting out Teh Faks. Bad prolefeed! Bad! Sit, little dorgy!

  225. x,y — You come across as very logical, but I don’t get of whether you truly care about any of the people involved. Empathy is as important a factor in wisdom as logic. Have you or anyone you have known ever considered an abortion?

    This gets back to the point I raised about being willing to interfere in others lives, but not really get involved in those lives. To me, it comes across as the ethical equivalent of back seat driving.

  226. Crimethink – I’m not a biologist, maybe so. I was referring to his comment on political positioning by candidates. Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the drawing room. That is that nuance abounds in the issue. A zygote is a human being leads to birth control is abortion. It’s only a fetus, with no rights until birth leads to procedures indistinguisable from infanticide. But politicians do the soundbites because that is what brings in the extremists, who VOTE!

    What national politcal figure says either of these?
    A) Birth control pills are abortion and should be outlawed.
    or
    B) Killing the fetus/baby in the delivery room is OK if you get it before it exits the birth canal?
    No one running for prez has gone that far, but Pro-Choice leads to one, and Pro-Life to the other.

    I’m not trying to be gross, but nobody burns candles for the fertilised eggs depoited on tampons and thrown in the trash.

  227. crimethink — You raised an interesting point — what is life? You said that a sperm (OK, millions upon millions of sperm) and an egg aren’t really a human being, but upon conception, presto — human!

    A biology prof of mine once said, “A body is just a machine that an egg or DNA uses to create more copies of itself.” He was being a bit snarky, trying to make us think about what is life, but there are plenty of creatures where the stripped down DNA capsule is the dominant form, with rare bursts of the recombinant form. Then there’s viruses, which are basically just DNA with a capsule and a means of injecting themselves into a host body, which they then hijack.

    Point is, when you delve enough into all the bizarre forms and niches life has found to survive, it gets harder to write off sperm and eggs as not-living and not-human, but to rather view them as a brief stage in an oscillating lifeform that cycles between a 23 chromosome and a 46 chromosome existence.

  228. x,y,

    That’s a secondary issue. The primary issue is whether we’re dealing with a human being. Only if you answer yes to that (or agree that it’s not a human being but worthy of some legal protection) can you raise the secondary issue of whose rights are superior and/or who has standing to vindicate those rights.

    Tomayto – tomahto again…

    A child of 1yr is a human being worthy of some legal protection. Who has standing to represent that child of 1yr? Is it the government? Is it the mother? The father? In fact, the context will determine who has standing. When there is a conflict between those who may claim standing, the issue is primarily about who has standing to determine what is best for/what happens to the child. If the child is born with severe birth defects, but could survive with appropriate intervention, the issue is not whether the child has rights, but who has standing to make the decision to intervene or not. Does the state have standing to make the decision, or do they parents? Or is it only the mother?

    The primary issue, it seems, is whether the state has standing to decide in the matter…irrespective of the status of the fetus as human or bunch of cells. If it does, then the state can use some rubric of humanness to help guide policy. If it doesn’t have standing, the issue of when life begins is irrelevant.

  229. “A body is just a machine that an egg or DNA uses to create more copies of itself.”

    Can’t remember the source of the original, but I’ve always liked this twist on the selfish gene theory.

    A human is just a machine shit uses to create more shit.

  230. x,y
    I still think your are off base re:wanted, because we normally think of people as not nearly as “responsible” for something when they did not act with a purpose to achieve. It would seem bizarre to say to someone “well, I know when you had sex the last thing you wanted was a pregnancy, but as you knew there was some chance of this you must have wanted it.” If you want to say that people in that situation knew what they could have been getting into, then say that. It’s not the same as saying they “wanted” the pregnancy when they clearly did not want it.

    I do agree with your point about whether it was wanted, in either your or my sense, could not make abortion legit if the fertilized egg was a life. I’ve tried to argue this point on H&R plenty of times (and a similar argument for animal rights): if the fetus is a person, then abortion is murder and any government that did not prevent murder is lunacy. It all hinges on that. I still think they are not ‘persons’ (they may have become persons, but they are not until they develop certain neurological functions [btw-this standard would protect many fetuses]).

  231. “purpose to achieve” that should read (and I’m never sure about achieve, recieve, etc)

  232. arrgh, “purpose to achieve that thing”

  233. MNG. I agree with you that “personhood” depends on neurological functions. Terry Schiavo was not a “person” when disconnected, nor is a 4 week fetus.

    Get that subtlety to fit on a campaign button and you’re going places. Sadly, to most voters, you might as well be speaking greek. It’s just too much work to get informed. I’d like to blame 20th/21st century Americans but I think humanity has always been that way.

  234. if the fetus is a person, then abortion is murder and any government that did not prevent murder is lunacy. It all hinges on that. I still think they are not ‘persons’ (they may have become persons, but they are not until they develop certain neurological functions [btw-this standard would protect many fetuses]).

    Well, I think from a biological perspective, it’s an open and shut case. Biologically, a blastocyst is certainly human (what else could it be?) and alive (if it’s not alive, then how would describe it’s state?).

    But obviously, being a “person”, and a bearer of rights, isn’t merely a biological state, it’s also a social state. Clearly, the concept of “rights” doesn’t have any meaning if you live alone on a desert island, your rights won’t protect your life and property against tigers and tsunamis.

    Rights can only exist in the context of a community of peers capable of acknowledging them. So I think it’s germane to ask if a fetus is a “person” in the sense that it’s actually a participant in a human community. That is largely the distinction between the people I’m conversing with on this forum, and Terri Schiavo, who clearly was no longer capable of being such a participant, although she was quite clearly both “human” and “alive”.

  235. I’ll confess to lack of knowledge on the biology, chemistry, etc. involved with conception, but I stand by the assertion that at that moment something — though I can’t put it into the right scientific jargon — happens, and the X that results is biologically unique. I’m not sure of any serious commentators who think otherwise, but if there is information out there to the contrary, I’d like to read it (so please link to it).

    Mike Laursen,

    No, I don’t know anyone who’s had an abortion (or who’s admitted to it at least).

    But don’t confuse my position with a lack of empathy. I feel strongly about this issue, and my empathy rests with the aborted X.

    One of the problems I have arguing this issue is that there isn’t a convenient way to talk about the person/fetus/embryo as a human being deserving of legal protection. This is why I use “X,” though that’s often misconstrued as being cold.

    One of my friends from law school was adopted (which quieted much of the class during the Griswold, Roe, etc. discussion), and it’s when I meet people like him that I wonder what we’d be missing if he had been aborted.

    Do people who are pro-choice (I know there are many who post here) think about how, under their preferred legal regime, they could have been aborted? I’ve thought about it myself and it’s mind-numbingly cruel.

  236. Do people who are pro-choice (I know there are many who post here) think about how, under their preferred legal regime, they could have been aborted? I’ve thought about it myself and it’s mind-numbingly cruel.

    Well, my biological mother was 16 when she had me, and I’m also adopted. And my mother wasn’t bashful about letting me know that if the decision had been entirely hers, I’d probably have been aborted. I acknowledge she would’ve had a right to make that decision. If she had, it would be a matter of small consequence to me now, wouldn’t it?

  237. Pig Mannix,

    Serious (and personal) question: When did your biological mother stop having the right to make that decision? And why?

  238. Serious (and personal) question: When did your biological mother stop having the right to make that decision? And why?

    I’d say pretty much up to the point I was born. At that point, I ceased being merely “human” in the technical sense of the word, and became a “person” in the sense that I became a participant in a community of “persons”.

  239. What has to be factored in to anything now is the fact that the journalism audience has become so fragmented, anyone believes what they read based on who they listen to or chose to read.

    I am all for creating a new campaign to increase the quality of journalism.

    The reality is good journalism is compromised for resources and the Internet has diluted the value of journalism because technology gives everyone access and the ability to position a voice as dominant.

    The day I woke up to the fact that the people who scream the loudest and write the most on the web think they are portraying truth and often it can be untruth, I had to go back to thinking for myself and just work at doing what I can to be a excellent journalist when I can.

    So how will I vote? That remains to be seen. I am not a very good follower or heroes and heroines. What party do I favor? The Dems see me as a Libertarian, the Republicans view me as
    “a woman” and I view myself an independent.

    Now my vote is going to be based on who is going to get dollars out of war and back invested in education, health and building an economy where anyone can work for liveable wages and earn exceptionally well for innovation.

  240. Clearly, the concept of “rights” doesn’t have any meaning if you live alone on a desert island, your rights won’t protect your life and property against tigers and tsunamis.

    Your rights don’t protect you against tigers, tsunamis, or tuberculosis while participating in a human community, either. Alone on a desert island, you haven’t lost your human rights; you’ve just been thrust into an environment in which none of the actors respect human rights. Just because animals, microorganisms, and forces of nature don’t recognize human rights doesn’t mean humans shouldn’t.

    A zygote is a human being leads to birth control is abortion.

    How? If birth control is merely preventing conception, no zygotes will be harmed because no zygotes will come into existence. If you’re talking about “emergency contraceptives” that prevent implantation of an already-existing embryo, that’s a different matter, but that’s certainly not most contraceptives.

  241. Lavinia:

    You put your ideas very eloquently. Good luck with your vote, though RP sounds like you candidate (seriously). Regarding:

    The day I woke up to the fact that the people who scream the loudest and write the most on the web think they are portraying truth and often it can be untruth

    MM would certainly qualify.

    I have been to your web page. Very interesting, though some links do not seem work.

  242. Pig,

    So, if you’re flying over a desert island and see a lone guy running around, it would be moral to pull out a gun and shoot him? After all, he’s not participating in a community of persons, so he’s got no right to life, right?

  243. Close italics close!

  244. You say snowball with irrelavancies, I say correcting a misperception that all sperm and eggs from a single donor are identical.

    …which is irrelevant to your stated purpose: “I’m trying to point out why conception isn’t THE defining moment you make it out to be.” C’mon, admit it, you thought that by throwing out a few big words you read in a biology textbook somewhere you could create the impression that you knew more about the topic than he did.

  245. one second before the first sperm hits, you can have hundreds of sperm right there, all frantically trying to trigger the tricky sequence where the egg accepts one sperm and excludes all the others. You can have an unfertilized egg that is inevitably going to become fertilized tout suite — is that not a human being but a nanosecond later it is?

    I think the actual event takes longer than a nanosecond, but yes, what is not human becomes human very quickly. If anything, the concept of hundreds of different DNA combinations being possible until the moment when one sperm is accepted should highlight the stark difference between an unfertilized ovum and the zygote resulting from conception. That is a much more fundamental difference than that between the fetus an hour before birth and a newborn an hour later…they are the same organism, except for the detachment of the placenta and the activation of the lungs.

  246. Since I brought up the “person” argument, I’ll say that I don’t think being a person means to live in a community of persons, it has to do with some basic neurological functioning. That’s why I agree that Schiavo had ceased to be a person the moment she permanently lost all cognitive capacity. A one day old fertilized egg clearly lacks that too. It’s the cognitive functioning that makes a human being a “person.” This is somewhat implied, I think, in the pro-lifer’s oft heard comment that the fetus was “innocent.” Of course it was, it had never really lived…

  247. I do think there is a point, near viability, when the lil’ boogers are obviously possessing the capacity that makes them persons (they move, kick, huddle, “act”, much like a “person” does). They should be protected then as an infant is (or even a dog or pig should be)…

  248. David,
    In this post title, are you trying to sing, “Try to remember the thread of November…”?

    If you’re trying to spoof The Fantasticks, that’s the way to do it.

  249. Do people who are pro-choice (I know there are many who post here) think about how, under their preferred legal regime, they could have been aborted? I’ve thought about it myself and it’s mind-numbingly cruel.

    I don’t see it that way. That any particular one of us, and not someone else with different genes, is here is the result of tons upon tons of chance occurrences stretching back through eons and eons of history.

    You could go crazy thinking too much about how things wouldn’t have turned out the way they have if this or that hadn’t happened; our current reality is the result of uncountable alternative realities that didn’t occur.

    As for cruelty, I have sympathy for the viewpoint that it is cruel to kill an embryo that has developed some kind of nervous system and cognitive ability, but I don’t understand the viewpoint that there’s something cruel about killing a cluster of cells that hasn’t developed to that point.

    It was interesting to hear you say that you are not religious, because I’d never heard of anybody objecting to such extremely early stage abortion unless it was for religious reasons. Were you religious at some time in past? Excuse me if it’s none of my business. I’m just curious.

    Also, keep in mind that abortions happen regardless of whatever legal regime is in place. What we’re talking about is whether a woman should be punished after the deed has been done. If my mother had decided to abort me, I would not have wanted her to be punished for it. She’s a good woman and I’m rather fond of her. I’m being a little bit facetious, but notice how abortion is unlike murder of an adult, where there’s a presumption that the victim may have taken offense at being killed.

  250. By the way, I don’t identify with either of the extreme views on the abortion debate. I agree with Cesar when he says “I don’t think its the most important issue ever like ardent pro-choicers and pro-lifers make it out to be.”

    The abortion issue has been used by politicians to try to divide up all the voters into two easily-manipulated camps. If it weren’t for the extremists, the rest of us would probably have settled on a compromise like making abortion illegal in the last trimester, and moved on to other matters.

  251. I’d say pretty much up to the point I was born. At that point, I ceased being merely “human” in the technical sense of the word, and became a “person” in the sense that I became a participant in a community of “persons”.

    I don’t buy this at all because newborn infants can’t participate in a community of persons either — they are wholly-dependent upon the care of others (and will be for several years).

    As for neurological functioning, X has that before it’s born. And, unfortunately, there’s no clear line when it happens. Because I happen to favor bright-line rules, I object to using this a standard (though I’ll concede it makes more sense than other alternatives).

    Mike Laursen,

    To answer your questions:

    1. I was raised Catholic but never bought into it. I’d say I’ve been a skeptic since my early teens. And like I said before, I don’t subscribe to the abortion-debate views of the Catholic church or any other church or religion. By and large, I think people who believe in that stuff are a little off mentally.

    2. Just because abortions will happen regardless of the legal regime in place doesn’t make having permissible abortion laws the morally correct way to structure society. Murder happens regardless of whether it’s illegal. Rape and other clear violations of human rights too.

    3. FWIW, I would not maintain a friendly relationship with a woman I knew I had an abortion. And unlike the noncommital clowns at NRO, women who have abortions should be punished under the law (to what extent, I’m not sure).

  252. @crimethink

    So, if you’re flying over a desert island and see a lone guy running around, it would be moral to pull out a gun and shoot him? After all, he’s not participating in a community of persons, so he’s got no right to life, right?

    I’d say if he’s up and running around, he’s probably pretty capable of responding to and interacting with other people. If he was in a persistent vegetative state, that might be another story.

    Obviously, once he and I are in a position to interact (if I’m in a position to be shooting at him), we have “community”.

    @x,y

    I don’t buy this at all because newborn infants can’t participate in a community of persons either — they are wholly-dependent upon the care of others (and will be for several years).

    They can’t? Isn’t dependancy a function of community? When it cries, do people respond? Isn’t feeding it a participatory act? Simply, is it capable of a reciprocal relationship where it can respond to, and be responded to by other people?

    Perhaps I should clarify what I mean by “community” – that is, an ability to participate in reciprocal relationships with other persons, even if on a primitive level. That’s something neither a fetus or Terri Schiavo are capable of, which is why I use a social, rather than biological, delineator of “personhood”.

  253. It was interesting to hear you say that you are not religious, because I’d never heard of anybody objecting to such extremely early stage abortion unless it was for religious reasons.

    Mike, I am well acquainted with two people who are atheists and also are hard line pro-lifers. Both are libertarians. The really hard core pro-lifer is Randian.

    Interesting world we inhabit.

  254. Again, I will state my position that the personhood of the fetus is irrelevant to the discussion. The issue of whether or not the government should be involved has to do with whether the government has standing to protect the fetus by restricting a very basic right of the mother (control of her own body).

    There are fuzzy boundaries around any criteria that could be used to determine when a fetus has cognition, can interact/react, is a person (a fetus recognizes mom’s voice from the womb, for instance).

    The government has no standing in the decision because the government does not have standing/power to restrict a woman’s control over her own body. The personhood of the fetus is an interesting intellectual debate, but imho a distraction from the crux of the rights issues involved.

    If there are limits to where government power can reach, certainly a woman’s womb is well beyond those limits. If government has the power to tell whether or not you will reproduce, government can, logically, control pretty much every aspect of your life.

  255. Should we solve the death penalty issue next?

    I see them as involving the same basic issues of government’s standing to make life/death decisions.

    Government, imho, can limit your liberty if you do not respect the rights of others.

    But the most basic rights (e.g., the right to life) should be beyond the reach of government power to restrict/remove. So, if the government can’t kill you, nullifying your right to life, to protect my right to life, then I don’t see that the government has the right to take away another basic right (a woman’s control of her bodily functions) to protect the life of a fetus.

    Self-defense/defense of others, of course, create complications in the overly simplified formulation above, but I think the crux of the issue orbits around this point.

    The cognitive dissonance involved keeps the debate going, and will continue to do so.

  256. Have any of the commentors on this abortion topic been women? It’s not easy to tell with screen names being what they are.

    For what it’s worth, this is the most civil, well-argued abortion discussion I have ever witnessed.

  257. For what it’s worth, this is the most civil, well-argued abortion discussion I have ever witnessed.

    Thanks to me 🙂

  258. Oh, and Walter Block does provide a uniquely libertarian compromise. Not abortion, not abortion-prohibition, but BOTH! Evictionism is what Walter Block calls it. Here is the link to his talk (in mp3).

  259. The really hard core pro-lifer is Randian.

    Hmm, I’d count that as being religious. 🙂

  260. Should we solve the death penalty issue next?

    Maybe iih could save that for this coming Friday’s thread.

  261. Maybe iih could save that for this coming Friday’s thread.

    No, that one does not worry me too much. I’ll think of something else for you guys. I am starting to love threadjacking Dave’s Friday threads.

  262. # iih | November 10, 2007, 5:56pm | #
    # James, I am just curious what was
    # Salman talking about?

    It was a fairly wide-ranging talk, with anecdotes and tangential observations inside of anecdotes and tangential observations. He led off with a story about a 19th century writer who ended up dying shortly after a wildly successful lecture tour, with the moral being, “you can be good at something, but it can kill you.” This seemed a sly reference to the fatwa.

    He cited a quotation from my own son’s favorite Rushdie book so far, “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”: “What’s the good of stories that aren’t even true?” He talked about the power of story, but also how people can so identify with and see themselves in stories that they can postpone or forgo the development of an authentic self, or an authentic life.

    He talked about borders have once been drawn to keep people in, but now borders were being drawn to keep them out; in either case, the border enforcement defeats the dynamic synthesis that occurs in frontier regions.

    He even made fun of his own peripatetic manner, recalling a pretty girl who challenged him to sum up “the point” of one of his longer novels at a lecture event some years ago. “Can’t I have several?” he mused at first, but then ultimately agreed that he needed a good central point, in that novel and, we were left to infer, in his lecture that night.

    Perhaps the most contoversial thing he said that evening was a very quick, offhand suggestion that our southern border serves now to keep out those to whom this country rightfully belongs. I was really disappointed that the moderator didn’t make him stay with that thread of thought for a minute or two. I would have liked to hear him develop the idea a bit further.

    He spoke for nearly an hour, engaged in interview-style conversation with the host, and answered numerous audience questions. I just touched on some of the moments that came quickest to mind. If you were interested in any particular topic, name it and I’ll see if I can recall any relevant comments…

  263. James- Thanks. I have never heard him speak before and was wondering how it goes. The thread of thought regarding the southern border sounds interesting. I wonder what his thoughts were, as you say.

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