Republican Convention 2008

Infanticide-Loving Feminists Against Palin Because She Should Be Home with the Kids

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I have no idea if Gov. Sarah Palin is going to turn out to be a Tom Eagleton or Dan Quayle type of veep nominee. That is, the sort of Badluck Shleprock who actually manages to drain a half-point or so away from the ticket's vote totals.

More important, there seem to be little or few reasons for libertarians to cheer her choice. Sure, she's smoked pot back when it was legal, but opposes re-legalization because of the message it would send her kids. She was apparently for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. She's not a Rick Santorum-style gay hater, but she's got the standard position (for both Dems and GOPpers, alas) of being against gay marriage. She's for teaching both evolution and creationism in public schools, which is arguably marginally better than insisting on just creationism [note: see comments below; Palin doesn't believe creationism should be part of the curriculum but that it can be a topic of debate); she is anti-reproductive choice anti-abortion but "pro-contraception."

I've got no idea of her views on immgration just yet, or free trade, or federalism, etc. And I must admit to a bias against folks from freedom-loving states such as Alaska, who tout their independence from Washington, D.C. and ability to catch fish with their bare hands and live in igloos and celebrate their frontier spirit all the while sucking in way more money from the feds than they kick into the till. (According to the Tax Foundation, in 2005, Alaskans received $1.84 from the feds for every $1 they sent in; such high-tax, high-income blue states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California all give much more than they get.)

However all this plays out, to get a sense of Palin's use to the McCain ticket, look no further than this blog post by liberal Washington Poster Sally Quinn, who confesses to "shock" and then "anger" over the pick:

It is a cynical and calculated move. It is a choice made to try to win an election. It is a political gimmick.

Sen. McCain, have you no shame? You have taken an election and injected…politics into it. Continues Quinn:

This is nothing against Palin. From what little we know about her, she seems to be a bright, attractive, impressive person. She certainly has been successful in her 44 years. But is she ready to be president? And as the mother of five children, including an infant with special needs, does she have the time?…

She is the mother of five children, one of them a four-month-old with Down Syndrome. Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make? I'm the mother of only one child, a special needs child who is grown now. I know how much of my time and energy I devoted to his care. He always had to be my first priority. Of course women can be good mothers and have careers at the same time. I've done both. Yes, other women in public office have children. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has five children, but she didn't get heavily involved in politics until they were older. A mother's role is different from a father's.

This is an argument worthy of a Phyllis Schlafly or a Pope Benedict or a Bob Dylan. That it comes from a liberal journalist with a long career is pretty stunning—and testimony to the effectiveness of the pick as a way to short-circuit all sorts of bizarre identity politics in the election. The short rejoinder to this is to note that the choice to stay in the kitchen really is Palin's to make.

Elsewhere, Quinn lays into Palin's puny experience, which underscores another strength of the choice:

How can McCain call Barack Obama unqualified, inexperienced, not ready from Day One, not able to be commander in chief, and then put someone like Palin in a position that is a heartbeat away from the pesidency?

If anything, the Palin pick throws the experience question directly into the minds of voters at Obama's and the Democrats' expense. He and Palin are the same age; they both have relatively the same level of experience (which in the end really probably doesn't dictate presidential success in any case). And Obama is actually running for president, so his experience level is clearly more relevant.

More here.

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  1. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make?

    What is it with Democrat women and the phone ringing at three in the morning? How come no one asks what McCain does at three in the morning when the phone rings but his diaper is full?

  2. That it comes from a liberal journalist with a long career is pretty stunning

    And so is the cognitive dissonance of some women’s condescension towards other women. But you’re going to see plenty of it.

  3. So . . . feminists hate housewives . . . except when they don’t? Nothin’ new.

  4. I heard the same argument the other night by a pastor who has a local radio show. He couldn’t believe that a woman with a special needs child would consider an “all-consuming job” like VP.

    Personally, I think VP’s are like children; they should be seen and not heard. But if it’s an issue with her being a VP, why wouldn’t it be an issue with her as a Governor? Being the Governor of a small (population wise) state like Alaska has got o be at least as demanding as being the veep. Probably more.

    We’ll see how it works out. There’s no hint of what the living arrangements will be like. The whole family might just stay in Alaska while she works in DC. Or for that matter, she could probably teleconference.

    Wonder what Dan Quayle did all day…

  5. “Anti-reproductive choice”? Give me a fucking break, Nick.

  6. Amen to texas libertarian. Hate when abortion becomes a litmus test of any political philosophy, for what ought to be very obvious reasons.

  7. “Wonder what Dan Quayle did all day…”

    Whatever his brain told him to do.

  8. Right on you guys. I think being pro-life is central to being a libertarian: anti-war, anti-abortion, anti-death penalty, anti-torture. Saying you’re a pro-life libertarian is redundant.

  9. I originally wrote that Palin was anti-reproductive choice because I thought she was not only anti-abortion but anti-contraception (a position held by various folks). I found and linked to a 2006 article from the Anchorage Daily News where her positions are clarified.

  10. If anything, the Palin pick throws the experience question directly into the minds of voters at Obama’s and the Democrats’ expense.

    I don’t think so. Barack Obama has been running a national campaign for two years, during which the public has been able to see him discuss issues and events, and go toe to toe with political heavyweights and get the better of them.

    During this time frame, Barack Obama was measured against Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden, George Bush and the like. Now, he gets to be compared to Sarah Palin. Maybe Palin will do well enough between now and election day to overcome the perception that she’s not ready, like Obama did over the course of the last year and a half. She’s got two months, and oh, she gets to debate the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on national television.

    Obama and Palin are both rookies. He’s a rookie that won a starting position in training camp, held it all year, and is the frontrunner for ROY. She’s a rookie who started the year in Double A ball, and got called up when they expanded the rosters in September.

  11. Nick – you should be fair to her position on evolution too. She is fine with creation coming up as a classroom topic for discussion but she has said that she does not think it should be part of the curriculum.

    See here where she says:

    In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

    “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

    Members of the state school board, which sets minimum requirements, are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

    “I won’t have religion as a litmus test, or anybody’s personal opinion on evolution or creationism,” Palin said.

    Still not much for libertarians there, but it’s not wanting to put creationism in the curriculum.

  12. I was excited about this pick for all about two days. But I just can’t stomach people from a state who sponge off everyone else.

    And so is the cognitive dissonance of some women’s condescension towards other women. But you’re going to see plenty of it.

    I am always amazed at how vicious women can be to other women. I don’t know why. Women are no better than men when comes to violence whether it is domestic violence or Janet Reno storming Waco.

  13. What kind of a twit risks pregnancy in her mid 40s and then knowingly brings a child with Down Syndrome into this world?

    This is the thing that should make everyone question her reasoning abilities.

  14. Prediction: Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy helps her in flyover country.

  15. From Obama: Barack Obama on Palin: “Back off these kinds of stories.”

    “I have said before and I will repeat again: People’s families are off limits,” Obama said. “And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor and/or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18 and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics.”

    I’d forgotten that last part. This is personal to him.

  16. This is how I see the experience card. If Obama wins, despite the lame ass fact that he can run a campaign, he will be learning on the job.
    Where as if Herr McCain wins, Palin will be allowed to shadow him, be tutored, and learn from his mistakes…..that is until Herr McCain has his stroke.

  17. Thanks, Steve, for the clarification.

  18. Well, at least she is pro-gun.

    What I want to know does this mean that in the future will there be no more tickets with two white (straight) guys?

    We’re practically guranteed already to have a woman or a minority on at least on ticket in 2012.

    Of course, I am only talking about the major parties. I am sure the LP will have no problem producing tickets with 2 white guys for years to come.

  19. You know my mother had me when she was 18

    I bet Hillary wishes Mrs. Obama had had a safe, legal infanticide abortion.

  20. Still not much for libertarians there…

    Huh? She doesn’t want to smack down children in class who question what’s in the textbook, and that’s “not much for libertarians”? Would you rather she went all statist on their asses and send them to study hall for the crime of holding contrarian religious views? Send them to the principle for daring to utter the words “intelligent design”? Doesn’t sound tolerantly cosmopolitan to me!

  21. I am amazed at the 12th-century Catholic crap that has fallen out of so-called “elite and informed” liberal mouths the past couple of days.

  22. Those of you who would like to send flowers, cards, or to sign the online guest book in memory of No Star’s daughter, Jessie, may click on the name above to do so.

    Peace.

  23. I know, let’s pretend there’s no difference between putting something in the curriculum and answering questions if students raise them.

  24. I bet Hillary wishes Mrs. Obama had had a safe, legal … abortion.

    If abortion was legal when Obama was born, his mother probrably would have aborted him. Today, have of all black pregnancies end in abortion.

    Question: If you believe in a woman’s right to choose abortion, then doesn’t that mean you would have supported your mother’s right to abort you? You can’t pick and choose which women should have the right to abort.

    Just some food for thought.

  25. Uh, yeah. There were no abortions back when it was illegal, so most women “probably” would have had them.

  26. Still not much for libertarians there…

    Huh? She doesn’t want to smack down children in class who question what’s in the textbook, and that’s “not much for libertarians”? Would you rather she went all statist on their asses and send them to study hall for the crime of holding contrarian religious views? Send them to the principle for daring to utter the words “intelligent design”? Doesn’t sound tolerantly cosmopolitan to me!

    Sorry, the referent wasn’t clear. I meant that Palin *overall* is not anything remotely libertarian, whatever her views on the creationism issue.

  27. This whole thing is taking away McCain’s best chance for victory–making the election a referendum on Obama.

  28. Brandybuck,

    The principal is your pal. I can only deduce that you went to a school where students spent English class “questioning” the dictionary and debating alternative spellings.

  29. If you believe in a woman’s right to choose abortion, then doesn’t that mean you would have supported your mother’s right to abort you?

    Yes. Why is that a problem?

  30. Yeah, I don’t see why that would be a problem. It’s not like I would ever know what happened to me.

  31. And Obama is actually running for president, so his experience level is clearly more relevant.

    So is his intelligence. I’m not sure, but I’d be willing to bet that Obama at least has a rough idea of when the pledge of allegiance was written. He more likely than not understands what a vice president is supposed to do, and I’d put good money on him supporting something a little more results oriented than abstinence only education.

    The experience question isn’t nearly as important to me as the question of who you surround yourself with – the cabinet question. And second to that is the question of whether or not you’ll listen to what those around you are telling you.

  32. Episiarch & BDB

    Maybe it’s not a problem. I just find it odd that you think it is okay for your mother to deny you your right to exist. The fact that someone’s life should be in the hand of someone else is antithetical to libertarian ideals. After all, the right to live is the first inalienable right. Whithout it everything else is meaningless.

  33. A guy has called Palin a “stalking horse;” I still prefer “Judas goat.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/carson/carson27.html

    Nonetheless, criticism aimed at Palin herself, rather than at McCain’s use of Palin, has been totally misconceived.

    Episiarch,

    I like the way you squarely face the issue. For my part, I actually think it would have been a loss for the world if your mother had exercised her “choice” on you.

    “What kind of a twit risks pregnancy in her mid 40s and then knowingly brings a child with Down Syndrome into this world?”

    I don’t know . . . maybe someone who is pro-life and is wiling to “impose her views” even on herself?

    What kind of twit holds it against someone that she *didn’t* kill their own child?

    “[Sally Quinn’s stay-at-home Mom argument] is an argument worthy of a Phyllis Schlafly or a Pope Benedict or a Bob Dylan.”

    Did Pope benedict or Bob Dylan say anything against mothers presiding over the U.S. Senate and attending foreign funerals? I certainly haven’t heard about such things.

    As for Phyllis Schafly, here’s a statement from her organization, Concerned Women for America:

    http://www.cwalac.org/article_751.shtml

    Would Quinn have criticized a female politican who killed her baby so she would have more time for politics? We all know the answer. So Quinn’s position is that it’s better for a child to be dead than to have a mother who’s in politics.

    “I am amazed at the 12th-century Catholic crap that has fallen out of so-called ‘elite and informed’ liberal mouths the past couple of days.”

    The Catholic Church . . . is there anything they can’t be blamed for?

  34. I just find it odd that you think it is okay for your mother to deny you your right to exist.

    Because it’s her body and I have no claims on it, especially when I was a clump of cells.

    I like the way you squarely face the issue. For my part, I actually think it would have been a loss for the world if your mother had exercised her “choice” on you.

    You don’t know me.

  35. You know, as pretty much a Ron Paul guy through and through, I’m quite sure I don’t agree with Nick on everything, but I appreciate his willingness to go back and strikethrough and accurately represent Palin’s positions in a way that I certainly don’t see anywhere else.

  36. Angie,

    The life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness claptrap goes both ways.

  37. “You don’t know me.”

    I know that the world would be a more depressing place without your posts in it.

  38. Naga Sadow

    Of course life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness goes both ways. All I’m saying is that life should be given the benefit of the doubt in all circumstances.

  39. Epi,

    I think Max has a crush on you.

    Mad Max,

    Do not sully the namesake you have chosen. Max: I’m just here for the gasoline.

  40. Angie,

    Think about that second sentence a little bit. That’s why Epi and BDB disagreed.

  41. I think Max has a crush on you.

    It was a very nice thing for him to say, so you leave him alone.

  42. You tell him, Epi!

    Maybe later, we could go and watch some Mel Gibson movies. If you don’t like *Mad Max,* there’s a more recent one that all the H&R commenters simply love. . . .

  43. Angie-

    I don’t believe an embryo is a life in the same way an actual human is. I think it is more on the level of an animal, until the last trimester.

  44. I should also ad that, like an animal, an embryo/fetus shouldn’t be made to feel undue pain when it is aborted (which is why partial birth abortion ban is OK).

  45. Sorry Daddy Epi, I’ll play nice . . .

    *hangs head in shame*

  46. Naga Sadow

    Okay. The right to EXIST should be given the benefit of the doubt. At conception–when you become a distinct member of the human species, complete unto yourself–you have the right not to be aggressed against. However you see the preborn child–or “clump of cells”–abortion is an act of aggression.

  47. I’d forgotten that last part. This is personal to him.

    Damn straight it is personal. The internal polls show his campaign taking a real hit off of this.

  48. Now she is hiring a lawyer for troopergate.

    What’s next?

  49. Angie,

    There’s your problem. When do we become “human”? Refer to BDB for any debatable points.

  50. At conception–when you become a distinct member of the human species, complete unto yourself

    Angie, come on. You cannot just blandly state something like that as if it is absolutely inarguable.

  51. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make? (from Quinn’s article)

    Being married does make child raising easier. When the phone rings at 3 am, you can hand the baby to your husband and focus on the nuclear standoff.

  52. Naga Sadow

    There’s my point. We should give the humanity of the fetus the benefit of the doubt. I think that’s better than saying, “Whenever the mother decides it’s a human worthy of living.”

  53. The Angry Optimist (love the name btw!)

    When the sperm fertilizes the egg, a distinct member of the human species comes into existance that is geneticlly and biologically different from its parents. Are you denying this scientific fact? It is not when life begins that sparks the debate, but when it is entitled to legal protection of the law.

  54. If people would use contraception we wouldn’t even be having this debate.

  55. Now, with news that Palin’s 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant, McCain’s pick may not even find support among “family values” voters.

    I want a VP who shares my policies and can run a government well. She isn’t going to babysit any kids of mind, so her daughter’s pregnancy won’t affect my vote. Can you imagine the outrage if a newspaper fired a columnist over her daughter’s preganancy?

  56. If the feds didn’t have more of Alaska locked up under federal control than the rest of the country put together, we wouldn’t need all those extra tax dollars. You want to keep it ‘pristine and pure’. Then pay us for the lost revenue when we can’t extract our resources. THAT’s in the Constitution, see the takings clause Amendment V.

  57. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, a distinct member of the human species comes into existance that is geneticlly and biologically different from its parents.

    1. Tumors have the same profile
    2. Would you outlaw The Pill? It sometimes acts as an abortifacient.

    The Angry Optimist (love the name btw!)

    Thanks! Today everybody’s nosy-parkerism and gossipy sides are turning me into the Pissed-Off Super-Pessimist.

  58. TAO

    Whoa, a tumor is a distinct member of the human species?

    When does a [insert name you wish to call the unborn baby] stop being tumor-like with respect to rights and start becoming human-like?

  59. Marc,

    Last I checked parents weren’t teaching their kids alternate spellings as a matter of belief. But if they were, I would support the right of the parents not to have government agents counteract their preferences.

    Libertarianism is not about using the state to stamp out religion, it’s about letting people live their own lives without your interference.

  60. Mad Max – the presumption was is that the fertilized ovum has now become “biologically and genetically distinct”, thereby making it a human being. My point was that tumors are “biologically and genetically distinct”. So are viruses.

    As to your second question, I’d be a millionaire if I could figure that out.

    Here’s what I do know, though: a potential human is not an actual human, no more than a seed *is* an actual tree. At what point during the growth we can say that this is a rights-deserving being, I cannot say.

    What I can say is that I see both sides and we could argue this until the cows come home.

  61. The Angry Optimist

    1. Tumors do have the same profile. As do all mammals. But tumors and animals aren’t humans and should not have legal protection.

    2. The Pill does indeed sometimes act as an abortifacient. This gets very tricky. In my ideal world, I would make everything that prevents implantation illegal. But then what about IVF, or the sale of eggs and sperm, or embryonic stem-cell research? Honestly, I don’t know, but I would be happy with making all surgical and medical abortions illegal–exept for the life of the mother. I know that may sound very anti-libertarian, but oh well. We’re all about principle, right?

    Pissed-Off Super-Pessimist. I think that’s too scary!

    P.S. How do you italize your posts?

  62. angie – type this without the spaces

    < i > text you want to italicize < /i >

  63. A human embryo is defined unambiguously by the Encyclopedia Britannica (1991) as a human being, namely, a child, from conception/fertilization.

    (To that definition, which is my brief of another work, my understanding of twinning might lead me to the following awkward but presumably grammatically sound change: “…as a human being[s], namely, a child[ren]….” Twinning seems to be philosophically the most difficult problem for pro-life libertarianism, but I think it can be successfully addressed through a strategy of “plus-and” thinking rather than “either-or.” For a negative of the kind of thinking I’m advocating, see the punctum saliens of the movie “Chinatown” when the main female character says “She’s my sister!” [Jack Nicholson’s character slaps her], then “She’s my daughter!” [slap], and finally, “She’s my sister AND my daughter!” It also might be the case that one individual human being can for a brief time of days or weeks at most simultaneously be two or more individuals. But just because it is both, does not mean that it is neither–quite the opposite.)

  64. Yeah, I don’t see why that would be a problem. It’s not like I would ever know what happened to me.

    So it’s OK if someone kills you in your sleep, ensuring you won’t know what’s happening.

  65. the Encyclopedia Britannica is not an authoritative source in this regard.

    This gets very tricky. In my ideal world, I would make everything that prevents implantation illegal.

    I mean, even diet? The thing is, too, the law needs to be *good* and able to be pragmatically implemented.

  66. TAO, for starters an ovum that’s been fertilized isn’t an ovum anymore. “Fertilized ovum” is a misleading term used to imply that the blastocyst/embryo/etc is just part of the mother’s body, which it clearly isn’t.

    As for the “potential life != actual life” thing, the life of the conceptus is actual. What is potential is its possession of human faculties etc. But that is true of an unconscious or comatose person as well.

  67. The thing is, too, the law needs to be *good* and able to be pragmatically implemented.

    Libertarians are never about pragmatism. We’re all about principle. Just look at Reason or the ACLU.

  68. The abortifacient capability of the Pill is very unlikely. A person trying to procure an abortion via the Pill is almost certainly not going to succeed anyway.

    Saying that anyone who thinks abortion should be legally restricted must also support banning the Pill is like saying that anyone who thinks homicide should be illegal must support banning driving.

  69. I also want to try my libertarian chops at the abortion pill controversy. It shouldn’t be illegal to own an agent that can be used to cause an abortion, and it certainly should NOT be approved by the FDA or prescribed by doctors. It should be illegal for a demonstrably pregnant woman to ingest. That should be considered as murder, but when the tiny child is unknown to everyone but the mother and she wants to fall off a horse, jump from a hayloft, take pennyroyal, etc., in an attempt to dislodge or poison her child, then it is solely on her conscience, and she ideally should have to keep such a secret to her own grave, in my opinion. But at that moment of knowledge by others, of news, the abortion becomes a public issue precisely because whoever knows has their conscience implicated in either a wonderful and normal (life; no “choice” necessary) or a horrible and unnatural (induced abortion; the so-called “choice”) way, whether they know it then or not.

  70. A person trying to procure an abortion via the Pill is almost certainly not going to succeed anyway.

    The Pill does–although rarely–prevent implantation. That is an early abortion.

  71. Angry Optimist wrote: the Encyclopedia Britannica is not an authoritative source in this regard

    Please explain why not and what would be an authoritative source in your opinion.

  72. because the assertion on the part of EB is question-begging.

    “you know how I know embryos are human beings? EB says so! And why does EB say so? ‘Cause embryos are human beings! Duh!”

  73. If we’re talking on strictly secular terms, I don’t think there are any authoritative sources on this issue, period.

  74. Quinn’s only child is profoundly deaf, and her career has been slipping for years and years. I’d say she’s a little jealous. Of course, being married to Ben Bradlee might do that to a woman.

  75. Angie, the point is, no one is going to intentionally try to abort the conceptus using the Pill. The “success” rate is far too low. Like I said, driving sometimes causes deaths, but that doesn’t mean if you oppose murder you must also oppose driving.

    I thought the point was to prevent people from intentionally destroying blastos/embryos/etc, not ensuring that no accidentally-induced miscarriages ever happen.

  76. Angry Optimist, thank you: I’m not sure about whether the question begging (will have to look that up b4 commenting) to which you are objecting is my use of the EB (in which case its validity as a source is not disproven) or the EB itself (in which case any statement of fact therein would be similarly flawed). Let me also reiterate my second question to you: what text source (if any) would you say is authoritative in this regard? Thanks.

  77. I thought the point was to prevent people from intentionally destroying blastos/embryos/etc, not ensuring that no accidentally-induced miscarriages ever happen.

    A woman who takes the Pill is taking it to prevent pregnancy. So when it does prevent implantaion it is not an “accident” because it is the Pill that causes the “accidentally-induced miscarriage.” An induced miscarriage is an abortion. Most women who take the Pill, however, do not realize that it does cause–rarely–an early abortion. But just because they are ignorant of this act, does not make it an accident.

  78. Angie,

    You are very entertaining. Your “ignorance is no excuse for the act” type reasoning makes me wanna watch a Clint Eastwood movie. Hang em’ high! (sound of whip cracking) Raw hide!

  79. I love Clint Eastwood! He’s a libertarian ya know.

  80. to which you are objecting is my use of the EB (in which case its validity as a source is not disproven) or the EB itself (in which case any statement of fact therein would be similarly flawed).

    Both. Asserting EB as an authoritative source is question-begging, because the definition in EB also begs the question.

    I’m with cuntivore: there are no authoritative sources here. Any abortion position staked out by anyone (the whole range of them, btw…from Angie’s to the law’s to pro-abortion rights libertarians…yadda da…)is subject to decent criticisms and will have flaws.

  81. Angie, I hate to belabor the driving analogy, but miscarriages can happen rarely as a result of auto accidents. Does that mean a pregnant woman who is in an auto accident and has a miscarriage is guilty of having an abortion?

    I don’t know if you realize that your opponents are actually trying to get you to daisy-chain abortion and contraception together. Connecting the two — and thus implying both are equally deserving of prohibition — makes your position weaker.

  82. Thank you angry optimist. I will look up question begging. But note (i) that the statements from the EB are not a prohibition or allowance of abortion. They are simply scientific, science-based, or what-have-you statements of the fact that human embryos and fetuses are human beings, namely, children; (ii) the scientific question is nonetheless likely relevant to the moral question, as evinced by such language as “a clump of cells” being used to cast a certain tint of inconsequentiality onto a complete human being (you and I are equally validly describable as such, whether to a large or only a small degree); and (ii) the range of soi-disant serious abortion rights positions goes further than you outline in one direction, all the way into neonaticide.

  83. The point of driving is not to prevent pregnancy. The point of taking the Pill is to prevent pregnancy. I’m not supporting prohibition of all contraception. I’m just saying that some forms of contraception do in fact act as abortifacients. And in Angie’s perfect world all abortifacients would be illegal. I realize that my expectations are unrealistic, but I’m no realist.

  84. So if driving is as effective an abortifacient (ie, it is just as likely to cause the death of the embryo) as the Pill, it gets banned?

  85. Angie,

    What if I’m speeding in my car with my one month pregnant girlfriend with the intention of wrecking to get around the direct abortion problem. Would that fulfill Angie’s perfect world law?

  86. Damn! Forgot to throw in the Death-Proof reference!

  87. Naga, my point is actually that even if you drive perfectly, and in complete accordance with all rules of the road, with no intention of getting in an accident, a person could still be killed by the fact that you were driving. There need be no ill intent — just like there is no intention to kill embryos by women who take the Pill.

  88. So Angie and cuntivore are the same person?

  89. You’re good, cuntivore, you’re real good.

    I think you have to look at the intent. The intent of EM is to prevent implantation (to abort/kil). The intent of RU-486 is to chemically–or medically–kill the fetus. The intent of a surgical abortion is to manually suction/dismember/kill the fetus. Your hypothetical situtation is very untenable. So would I ban driving? No. But the intent of driving will never be to abort children.

  90. Whoops! Sorry cuntivore. As I explained to Elemenope on a different thread, I’m stuck in Gautier, MS and bored out of my mind. Wasn’t paying attention. Sorry.

  91. They are simply scientific, science-based, or what-have-you statements of the fact that human embryos and fetuses are human beings, namely, children

    The thing is, is that for EB to “declare” that “science” has decided that embryos are “human beings” is to shortcut the entire debate we’re having.

    What if EB said they are NOT human beings? Would you accept them as authoritative then?

    Secondly, it is not entirely in the realm of science to answer this question.

  92. But the intent of driving will never be to abort children.

    Yes, but the intent of taking The Pill is never to abort a child, either…because as you said, it would be a pretty stupid thing to actually try to have an abortion with The Pill.

    Angie, another question: to what extent should pregnant women take care of themselves? Should their activities and diets be either limited or dictated to them?

  93. Angie,

    Inanimate objects don’t have intent.
    Abortifacients are morally neutral.

  94. To what extent should pregnant women take care of themselves? Should their activities and diets be either limited or dictated to them?

    I would make a distinction between something that is merely unhealthy (i.e., bad diet) and a pregnant woman shooting heroin. The former shouldn’t have penalites but the latter should. (I know some libertarians will cringe at that idea.)

  95. If this were a judo match, The Angry Optimist would get a point for turning the intent argument back on Angie. Nice.

    BTW, that point about intent and the Pill goes for Plan B as well.

  96. SIV

    Inanimate objects don’t have intent, but the person using them does. A knife doesn’t have intent, but if I were to cut your throat with it, the knife would remain morally neutral, but my intent and the outcome (your death) is morally repugnant.

  97. The thing is, is that for EB to “declare” that “science” has decided that embryos are “human beings” is to shortcut the entire debate we’re having.

    The lack of scare quotes around “embryos” is curious: “human beings” is as real a category as “embryos.”

    What if EB said they are NOT human beings? Would you accept them as authoritative then?

    There are too many implied layers of counterfactuality to give a cogent reply to this, other than that it would depend on what others were saying, and if thought and speech were still free. I’m not truly monomaniacal on this EB thing; the EB is not just the EB, but its reputation, and it is made of its authors’ interaction with other scholars. BTW, Wesley Smith points out that Peter Singer himself wrote the EB article on “Ethics,” so there can be no thought that the EB is covertly anti-abortion ideologically (I am not saying that you’re saying that).

  98. You’re good, cuntivore, you’re real good.

    You’re not the first woman to say so.

    joe, the intent of taking Plan B is to prevent implantation if conception has already occurred. That is not the case with the Pill.

  99. Regarding the choice of Palin: one of the interesting things is not just how easily the leftists have fallen into the “why didn’t she abort her five babies trap” (I’m surprised we haven’t heard Global Climate Warming Change Cultists attack her carbon production), but also how quick Stewart and Colbert attacked her looks. After years of saying women should be judged by their abilities and not by their looks, leftist feminists now belong to a party that freely attacks women for looking like “librarians”. I guess Palin should let her hair down, lose the glasses and show more cleavage. I guess that would make her much more acceptable to the left.

    I also guess librarians will now be voting for McCain.

    Also, regarding experience: remember that half of Obama’s senate experience has been spent trying to get a new job.

  100. Say what you will, but for sheer entetainment value, McCain-Palin is the best…ticket…ever.

    Consider: You have a short-tempered, slightly off-kilter POW/Navy pilot who took over Goldwater’s seat from Arizona … and a gun-toting, moose-eatin’, snowmobilin’ hockey mom of five (with grandchild No.1 on the way) evangelical governor from the key swing state of Alaska. Plus, she totally has the “hot librarian” thing down, too.

    So I might vote for McCain-Palin because although I might not get good government from those two, I will definitely get interesting government.

  101. You really don’t see anybody – I mean anybody – talking about what a great pick Palin is, who doesn’t also write things like “Democrat Party” or “Global Climate Change Cultists.” Picking her has obviously made the Kathryn Jean Lopezes of the world happy.

    It’s September 1. John McCain has had the nomination sewn up for five months, and he is still making major campaign decisions to satisfy the base of his party. Because he has to.

  102. cuntivore,

    Emergency contraception works primarily by preventing fertilization. As I understand it, it is questionable whether it even works to prevent implantation.

    The intent of those taking it is to prevent fertilization

  103. joe, that’s a mixed bag. ECPs *can* be taken to prevent implantation. Of course, no credible scientist would say that he could tell that soon.

  104. SIV, would those “internal polls” be a poll of the voices inside your head? Given that the story only broke today, you’re full of shit if you’re claiming to already to know what the campaign’s internal polls show.

  105. … but also how quick Stewart and Colbert attacked her looks.

    I don’t know about Colbert, but Stewart makes jokes about politicians’ looks at every opportunity.

  106. joe,

    You really don’t see anybody – I mean anybody – talking about what a great pick Palin is, who doesn’t also write things like “Democrat Party” or “Global Climate Change Cultists.”

    You pay too much attention to the concern trolls.

    The only people actually talking about it are the ones who see a problem with it. I know that may sound wrong to you, but we can’t all summon up a tingle like those TV show hosts. For some people, the political left is not our religion.

  107. Well this is one of the more interesting debates on abortion I’ve seen in quite some time. Kudos to everyone for being so civilized. If nobody minds, I’d like to jump in (If you do mind, please do skip the rest).

    Here’s a challenge for the folks making a libertarian case for prohibiting abortion:

    Can you state a principle that requires us to respect an embryo as having the full suite of natural rights generally accorded to human beings, and therefore requires us to prohibit abortion, without also entailing the prohibition of anything that knowingly kills any mammal or other “advanced” organism (I’m thinking cephalapods)?

    Essentially what I am asking is what makes a human being different from a raccoon or a cat or a mouse or an octopus.

    Difficulty: No appealing to theology. We live in a pluralistic society and not everyone can be expected to abide by any one group’s untestable opinions as to what happens when we die.

    Remember: Appealing to “The potential for X” opens up the possibility for morally eliminating any person who cannot posses that faculty (think of the developmentally disabled, people with brain injuries that impair certain functions.

    I’d also like to offer my opinion on the issue for criticism:

    I think that Kant got it just about a good as it gets when he pegged it as the power of moral reasoning. Unfortunately it is fundamentally hazy as to when that power comes into being.

    We can definitely say that an embryo that is indistinguishable from a similarly aged chicken embryo doesn’t possess the power of reason. Sometime between then and college most human beings seem to pick up the ability to act as moral agents. Since a baby can’t speak we can’t really grill it as to its understanding of its moral agency. It seems unfair to take its silence as testimony against it.

    My point is that the only principle I’ve seen that would settle the issue doesn’t lead to a clear bright line.

    I think Angie raises a very good point saying:

    The fact that someone’s life should be in the hand of someone else is antithetical to libertarian ideals.

    The problem is that it isn’t the actions of human beings that causes life of an embryo contingent on a woman’s willingness to carry it. Moral appeals carry no weight with nature.

    However, in the case of prohibiting the abortion of a zygote or blastocyst, there is a very clear case of force being used to stay the hand of the potential mother. Her will is being thwarted, and her standing as a moral actor is not in dispute. Unless some principle can be stated which makes a zygote the moral equivalent of an adult human being without disastrous consequences for the rest of natural law theory, I think the libertarian position must be to allow a woman to chose whether or not to continue a pregnancy.

    Now there is still the question of where we draw the line as far as using the force of law to protect a developing child. I offer that babies are a lot more sophisticated than they are generally given credit for, and It isn’t possible to say to what degree they’ve developed an identity and the rudiments of moral reasoning. I think it is reasonable, therefore, to use the capacity to live outside the womb as a proxy. This is erring way on the side of not killing a moral actor.

    The gist is that I favor prohibiting only the destruction of a viable fetus. This is a tad fuzzy and probably requires some exercise judgement on the part of the doctors involved, but I think it strikes the best balance between respecting the will of the woman and protecting what might potentialy be moral actor.

    A note: I’m not aware of the relative health risks for a woman being induced to deliver a 7 or 8 month baby versus having the same aborted. If there is a marked difference between the two I might be convinced to change my position re: aborting a viable fetus. I suppose I should look that up at some point.

    For the record, I don’t have any problem with the fact that my position would have given my mother the chance to abort me. Actually, given her situation, I think she probably would have been wiser to. I’m glad she didnt, but had she, I wouldn’t be in a position to be too upset about it, so I don’t worry about it too much.

  108. Sorry for writing a novel above, but it is late and i figured I’ve missed the opportunity for a good back and forth tonight.

    Hopefully I Haven’t completely missed the discussion :/

  109. BrianTerrel,

    The problem is that it isn’t the actions of human beings that causes life of an embryo contingent on a woman’s willingness to carry it.

    It sounds like you’re saying that human actions don’t make babies. Could you rephrase?

    However, in the case of prohibiting the abortion of a zygote or blastocyst, there is a very clear case of force being used to stay the hand of the potential mother.

    The same goes for the force involved in physically preventing someone from bludgeoning someone else. That is irrelevant. What is relevant is the question of whether the child “has rights,” not whether the mother is thwarted.

    However, in the case of prohibiting the abortion of a zygote or blastocyst, there is a very clear case of force being used to stay the hand of the potential mother.

    I disagree on which side you’re erring. And do you consider a false womb a “womb”? And do you take a man to the desert for three months in order to decide if he is a man? What if he’s in a coma, or severely retarded, or requires routine insulin shots to survive? That is to say: technology currently and will continue to make up for failing flesh, and neither factor can be quantified.

    The gist is that I favor prohibiting only the destruction of a viable fetus.

    I get that, and I might agree, though there is some grand weasle-wording that goes on with some of the humanity-should-die cults that perverts “viable”.

    I’m glad she didnt, but had she, I wouldn’t be in a position to be too upset about it, so I don’t worry about it too much.

    As mentioned upthread, this line of reasoning invites a painless murder while unconcious as morally acceptable. Why? Because you’re no longer talking about human life — that is, the definitive human definition for potential sentience — but rather of human conciousness. I think that is a grave mistake that leads to bad compromise.

  110. BRIAN TERREL

    Check out Libertarians for Life (www.l4l.org). They explain everything better than us loser bloggers.

  111. Palins throwing her 17 year old daughter into the national spotlight for her own political aspirations will anger Rep and Dem mothers alike.

    Voting block = “BIG”

  112. Essentially what I am asking is what makes a human being different from a raccoon or a cat or a mouse or an octopus.

    That’s a dicey question to answer, but you should realize that it doesn’t just undercut the idea of a right to life of an embryo, but of all humans, including those already born. Rather than proving everything from nothing, it seems sensible to assume from the outset that humans have the right to life.

    Appealing to “The potential for X” opens up the possibility for morally eliminating any person who cannot posses that faculty (think of the developmentally disabled, people with brain injuries that impair certain functions.

    Not necessarily. That may be one of several sufficient conditions for human rights, it doesn’t have to be the only one.

  113. Palins throwing her 17 year old daughter into the national spotlight for her own political aspirations will anger Rep and Dem mothers alike.

    Uhhhh, I don’t think Palin wanted her kid to get pregnant as a way to improve her political chances. Interesting theory, though.

    “Bristol? Daddy’s bringing your boyfriend by while we take the rest of the family out moose hunting for the week. There’s plenty of champagne in the fridge if you kids get thirsty. Also, feel free to use the hot tub and waterbed.”

  114. “Bristol? Daddy’s bringing your boyfriend by while we take the rest of the family out moose hunting for the week. There’s plenty of champagne in the fridge if you kids get thirsty. Also, feel free to use the hot tub and waterbed.”

    Hey, did you guys hear that Palin is being investigated for prostitution of a minor?

  115. Creationism as debate topic? waht next Astrology versus astronomy,

    reading bumps on head versus MRIs?

    She backtracked on ORIGINAL stand to teach it to debate it – but both are signs of a STUPID and/or religious nut !

  116. I understand why the feminists disagree with some of Sarah Palin’s views, like abortion, and I understand their disappointment at loosing Hillary as the first female President, or Vice President. But, now they have a real chance to elect the first ever female Vice President. A woman who exemplifies so many amazing qualities, including her successes and 85% approval rating as Alaska’s governor, mother of five, and the whole nine yards. In addition to breaking the glass ceiling, Palin can finally bring about tremendous reforms for women.
    As International abuses keep coming to light regarding women’s rights, including everything from burkas, to white slavery, to honor killings, you would certainly think that women would be tripping over themselves to elevate one of their own to such a high position. What a shame the feminists are so petty that they can’t see the big picture, set aside their conflicting grievances, and make a couple of concessions, in order to progress in such a big way.

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