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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Environmentalism and abortion

Consider the extraordinary position of the liberal. Most liberals are environmentalists; and most liberals pro-abortion (at least in the sense of favoring a law that, in effect, permits abortion with impunity).

Now, most liberals are, to their credit, not the sort of environmentalist who openly regards human beings as a cancer upon the earth. That hard-core anti-humanist is to all appearances confined to a fringe of lunatics.

Accordingly, liberals usually ground their environmentalism on some notion of obligations to posterity. Almost no liberal preachment neglects to feature prominently appeals to the welfare of “our children and grandchildren.” We are told must preserve the natural resources available to us, and reduce their extraction, refinement and disbursement, in order to provide for future generations.

Thus (though the premise is not frequently propounded in full candor) the usual liberal prescription for environmental policy is to make that extraction, refinement and disbursement more expensive. Make these things more expensive and we’ll get less of them. The President himself was once heard, in an unguarded moment, talking of energy prices that would “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies. His Energy Secretary has spoken with even more startling, impolitic frankness.

The environmentalists have also undertaken a divestment campaign. They are agitating, how effectively I know not, for endowment funds, pension funds, and other institutional investors to divest themselves of stock and other holdings in firms in the extractive and energy sectors. This will, it is supposed, weaken and eventually extinguish these firms as going concerns, with the ultimate consequence as a dramatically more straitened (i.e., expensive) energy industry.

A policy designed to make raise energy prices, and subjugate the fossil fuel companies, is perforce a policy designed to make Americans poorer, with the burden of this austerity resting proportionately more on Americans of lesser means who must dedicate a larger share of their income to energy.

But here is my point: Often the selfsame liberal who refuses to grant even already-conceived members of future generations a right to life, asks us all to embrace drastic austerity programs in deference the claims of future generations. It is very difficult to perceive how this liberal expects to be taken seriously. Human beings, though already conceived into natural life, exert no claim to the legal protection of that natural life, which anyone else is bound to respect; meanwhile, prospective future human beings, not yet extant at all at any state of development, can lay claim to a portion of our resources sufficient to necessitate some very austere policies indeed.

It is divestment of a particularly bizarre and lethal sort. Claims of obligation to future generations perdure right up until those generations are conceived as actual human beings, rather than abstract conjectures of future life suitable for props in a lecture about dire environmental consequences of fossil fuel use.

It is as if the very conception of a new and unique human life precisely divests that particular human being of the rights claims which a moment before were strong enough to bind all his predecessors to his prospective interest. And the divestment is severe enough that that particular human being is, at his conception, subject to death for any reason whatsoever. Perhaps he turns out to be a she. That is reason enough. Perhaps he turns out to be an inconvenience. Reason enough. Perhaps he turns out to be of diminished mental capacity. Reason enough and more.

Personally, I’m going to insist that liberals manage to resolve this conundrum (which is purely of their own making) before I find the patience to hear their fulminations on climate change. Basically, I’ll respect only environmentalists who are pro-life; for those who favor liberal abortion laws undermine any claim they make to true concern for future generations.

Comments (90)

Here is the liberal form of justification: In their mind, overpopulation is a big issue. No, of course we shouldn't have mass genocide of (born) humans, but abortion is okay because ultimately the human race will be better off in the future if we curb the population crisis.

Get it? If there aren't as many people in the future it will be better off for those people who are there, a sort of ends-justifies-the-means thing. And of course with the overpopulation crisis solved in this magical liberal future we naturally will need to solve environmental crisis too, to create the wonderful perfectly populated liberal future with the picture-perfect woodland creatures scampering around in harmony. A magical time.

In a sick sort of way it makes sense if one accepts certain premises.

Liberal here. I take it most liberals feel that an aborted fetus (in the very early stages, of course) is better thought of as a collection of cells rather than as a "person" or "human being." Contrast this with the "next generation," which will uncontroversially be made up of human beings. If this is the case - and I mean this not in the sense that it's true or compelling but that a liberal holds these two positions - then the problem you identify falls away for them: there is no contradiction in being pro-choice (since what is terminated is not a human being in the full sense) and also advocating climate change in the name of intergenerational justice (since we do owe duties to the unborn who will be human beings in the full sense).

The problem you've identified, then, strikes me not as a contradiction in the liberal position but a conflict of worldviews between liberal and other positions (i.e., whether to think of the aborted early fetus as a human being in the same way that we do in the case of future generations).

I take it most liberals feel that an aborted fetus (in the very early stages, of course) is better thought of as a collection of cells rather than as a "person" or "human being."

Not so, else they would not support a law that allows a woman to get an abortion at any stage of pregnancy.

...then the problem you identify falls away for them: there is no contradiction in being pro-choice (since what is terminated is not a human being in the full sense) and also advocating climate change in the name of intergenerational justice (since we do owe duties to the unborn who will be human beings in the full sense).

If every pregnant woman in the world wanted an abortion, the liberal would have to say "Okay." Intergenerational justice is at her mercy. Problems don't really fall away for the liberal; he just thinks they do.

Bill Luse is exactly right, Alex: it's absurd to narrow the definition of "liberal" on abortion to folks who favor only very early term abortions. That would entail, among other things, positing that most liberals favor overturning the legal regime erected by Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, and that they grant the right to states to proscribe abortion except "in the very early stages" of pregnancy. In our politics, people who favor these reforms of abortion law are emphatically classified as opponents of abortion.

Also, the declaration that the "next generation" is "uncontroversially be made up of human beings" remains problematic because a goodly portion of that next generation is right now composed of the unborn, whom the liberal declines to grant any right to life.

I don't suppose that Paul wants this to be a debate on whether the liberal is remotely rational or scientific in believing that an aborted fetus, even in the "very early stages" (when developmental name for the stage of development is "embryo" rather than "fetus") is a mere "collection of cells" rather than a human being.

However, the "very early stages" thing is more than a tad annoying, because no one who identifies himself as pro-choice on the abortion issue is merely pro-choice regarding the "very early stages" of pregnancy. It is the most blatant bait-and-switch, yet it gets done all the time. The late first trimester and second trimester of pregnancy are the periods many a pro-choicer simply doesn't want to talk about. He just wants to sort of zoom from, "Haha, look at that zygote, it doesn't _look_ like a human being, does it?" straight on to, "Well, I'm opposed to late-term abortion." Even the latter ignores the fact that late-term abortion is fully allowed under Roe v. Wade, which the pro-choicer doubtless supports, but what he _says_ allows him to feel that he has a nuanced position. The 8-week-old fetus with his little fingers and toes, the 15-week-old doing somersaults, they are all inconvenient for the narrative, so they get dropped down the memory hole.

If every pregnant woman in the world wanted an abortion, the liberal would have to say "Okay." Intergenerational justice is at her mercy.

That seems like a probable scenario, since it has happened so many times before. Also, any woman who has an abortion cannot have other children. On the other hand I did find this treasury of extinction level hazards, so there could be some new reasons for abortion to become more common in the near future.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risks_to_civilization,_humans_and_planet_Earth#Future_scenarios

Strikingly, Step2 made precisely zero effort to contradict Bill's logic, which was plainly not presented as a likely scenario but rather a proceed-from-liberal-premises elucidation.

One thing that has never happened before but is happening now is a worldwide derangement of the human sex ratio because so many little girls are aborted simply because they are girls. As I said in the OP, liberals have left themselves no ground to even criticize this horrifying practice. Or again, if a white woman were impregnated by a black man, she could, with full endorsement from liberals like Step2, kill the child simply because he's half black. Murderous racism, authorized without demurral.

Margaret Sanger was a despicable racist, but I do agree with her on abortion, which she called a "disgrace to civilization."

I wonder to what extent the liberal position on environmentalism is shifting from being based on our duty to our posterity to being based on a strictly anti-human premise: Humans are a cancer on the planet; humans are killing the planet. It would be better if humans went into negative population growth or even disappeared altogether. This would be a consistent position, or could be, in the way that most insanity can be made consistent by its own mad logic. In that position, of course, abortion would be a kind of sacrament. How many environmentalists does one meet nowadays who aren't rather negative about people who have a lot of kids? Not much concern for "posterity" there. Rather, a more radical position according to which no animal is allowed more than its "fair share" of earth's resources and space, human animals (who are no better nor higher nor more important than other animals) are taking up more than their "fair share," therefore the numbers of human animals need to be reduced drastically.

As I said in the OP, liberals have left themselves no ground to even criticize this horrifying practice.

Her choice can be criticized, the only thing liberals like me have "no ground" to do is make it illegal.

A girl in class the other night told me we have an overpopulation problem. Here in the U.S. I asked her which of her classmates she thought ought not to have been born.

Her choice can be criticized, the only thing liberals like me have "no ground" to do is make it illegal.

That's true, Step2, as long as her choice is of little significance. But if it is, why would you criticize it? (And why do I bother?)

That's true, Step2, as long as her choice is of little significance. But if it is, why would you criticize it?

Are you asking why would I criticize motives of gender or racial prejudice, even for insignificant cases? Or do you think legal rights should be protected from all criticism?

Motives like wanting to save the planet by not having another one of those little greenhouse-gas-creators, on the other hand, would be pure motives, and for that she wouldn't even be open to "criticism for insignificant cases."

Step2, forgive me, but if you ' criticize motives of gender or racial prejudice' in these situations, but claim you have "no ground" to make it illegal, you are simply behaving like Pontius Pilate. Certainly if those who campaigned against slavery had taken a similar attitude, it would never have been abolished.

As for Alex, I just cannot get my head around a person who would defend the rights of a non-existent human being,'(since we do owe duties to the unborn who will be human beings in the full sense)'. Does he not comprehend, that even according to his own mistaken view that an unborn child is not a human being in the full sense, that he should also similarly have a duty to the foetus who will certainly be a 'human being in the full sense', if left alone, and indeed a good deal sooner? How does he justify favouring future beings who will be 'human beings in the full sense', over present ones, and how does this tally with the beloved 'equality' of the liberal world-view? Please enlighten me, because my poor brain is over-heating trying to reconcile these views.

Liberals "refuse to grant already formed fetuses the right to life"? This is putting it the wrong way. Pro-choicers like myself have absolutely no desire or intention to force any woman to have an abortion .
We are merely realistic enough to realize that trying to force women to bear children against their will is both futile and disastrous . We don't LIKE abortion ,nor are we happy that abortions happen . Every pro-choicer wants to prevent as many abortions as possible, and there are only a tiny handful of them who want to increase the number or abortions .
Rather, we want to prevent abortions by making sure that contraceptives are always available and making sure that the government provides more help to poor pregnant women .
These are the only ways to prevent abortion . Merely making it illegal simply does not work. This only makes abortion more dangerous for women, and threatens their lives and health .
Right to life?" What about the right to decent food, shelter, medical care, education and job opportunity when children are grown ? As long as there are so many women in the world who are unable to provide these basic necessities for their children, born or unborn, abortion will remain common .Trying to stop abortion by making it illegal is like trying to stop a forest fire by pouring gasoline on it .

Robert Berger, a similar argument could be made about any crime, particularly ones entrenched in culture and personally wrenching. And of course no law ever written was expected to end the practice forever and without fail. After all, the Thirteenth Amendment and its enabling legislation makes it rather dangerous for anyone wanting to hold people in bondage or involuntary servitude.

The absurdity of "every pro-choicer wants to prevent as many abortions as possible" is exposed by every move of the pro-abortion organizations to shield from regulation, scrutiny, or oversight, the abortion industry, and by the indefensible usurpation of the Supreme Court to prevent the operation of self-government on this question.

Finally, the common argument that contraception prevents abortion has been addressed at length in recent months at this blog; suffice it to say that the data is far less conclusive than your assumptions indicate.

@ Robert Berger:

"Merely making it illegal simply does not work.":
It worked for most of human history, until a very short time ago, and most, if not all, these prior eras were far harder and more deprived than the present. I take issue, also, with your assertion that pro-lifers are trying to 'force women to bear children against their will'. All that is being demanded is the ending of a service. Force is something that is used when an unborn child is killed by a lethal saline infusion, or by crude dismemberment. That is force.

Democrats at least offer a positive vision of the State. The Republicans only have a cult of rich men. Their only message is You too could be a rich man.

The State exists to make extra-market responses. This reflects man's rational nature that allows him to plan for future. That some men are better at this than others causes a division of people into rulers and ruled.

The State is an entity in its own right and can not be reduced to individuals. The rulers are fully justified in looking after the State interests, irrespective of the individual interests.

But Republican pretend to forget all these commonplace observations to maintain the fiction that America is independent of the laws that apply to other nations.

Gian, you're not exactly connected to the same cyberspace on which Paul's post appeared, are you?

Democrats at least offer a positive vision of the State. The Republicans only have a cult of rich men.

Gian, that's just plain wrong. It's wrong about 16 different ways. But the bigger problem is the way you just posit these claims, without any basis, any reasoning, any attempt to persuade anyone to agree. You are kludging up the combox with inane remarks that don't promote conversation, they attempt to kill it.

The State exists to make extra-market responses.

So, the raison d'etre of the state is market-oriented? It is defined by "not leaving the market alone?" Of course, that begs the question: what is the point of the interventions? Does ANY INTERVENTION AT ALL satisfy the "exists to make extra-market responses? Obviously not. And so, it is NOT the market that defines the object of the state, it is some other good.

The State is an entity in its own right and can not be reduced to individuals. The rulers are fully justified in looking after the State interests, irrespective of the individual interests.

It is funny that you should say that, because from where we conservatives sit, you liberals and progressives are hell-bent on gutting the very idea of the "common good" that was, until progressives started ruling so much of the time, the understood object of government, and which is one of the central themes of conservatism. It's just that conservatives don't think that the common good can be determined as "everyone gets exactly the same goods out of life as everyone else, even if that means everyone gets almost nothing." Which latter notion, by the way, is the atomistic preference of the individual is everything liberals, the liberals who would break down every level of community other than the state, in favor of a version of "individual rights" that destroys the family, the neighborhood, the church, the school, etc.

When liberals mock the military mentality of the man who volunteers for the Marine Corp so he can defend "God, country, and family", those liberals are mocking the very idea of putting your life on the line for higher goods, an idea that EXPRESSLY puts country above personal and family goods ( and both of those ordered by something still higher).

Why not this: environmental problems are caused, almost always, by small effects of lots of people. So your environmental responsibility is to 'people' in general, including the abstract 'future generations'. On the other hand, with respect to abortion, or procreation in general, your responsibility is to your own progeny and them alone. There's no sense in which you can contribute a small amount to aborting everyone else's children.

your responsibility is to your own progeny

Well, it's true that you have a major responsibility to your own progeny. The first such responsibility is to NOT KILL THEM. After you fulfill that basic, primary responsibility, you can talk about the others.

There's no sense in which you can contribute a small amount to aborting everyone else's children.

That's not even remotely true. The person who contributes to Planned Parenthood (sic) is contributing to abortion not only for the specific deaths of the abortuaries it helps out, but they are also contributing to the message that abortion is good that PP promotes which in turn is partly responsible for abortion being legal and thus for all the abortions going on legally. The Chinese official who caters to and supports the one-child policy is contributing to the abortion of everyone else's second child. More remotely, but still valid: the judge, the congressman, the talking head who promotes the culture of death contributes to all of the abortions that take place under the principles they espouse.

Why not this: for the environment, we are stewards of it. Stewardship does not mean handing on the world untouched, it means taking account of the purpose of the object put into our hands as stewards, and ensuring that such purpose is pursued in how we use it. God put us in dominion of the Earth not so we could destroy it, but so we could promote human development, and that human development includes an expansion of the human race under the command and blessing

Increase and multiply and fill the earth, and make it yours; take command of the fishes in the sea, and all that flies through the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.

Our obligations toward future generations implies first generating them (something the culture of death has a hard time remembering), and then

providing for them in such wise that they too may participate in dominion of the Earth. It does not imply that using (or even using up) one specific resource or another violates their rights.

I was thinking more of tangible effect, rather than moral support. There isn't any sense in America (I hadn't even thought of illiberal abortion regimes like China, but then they don't care about the environment either so no inconsistency there) that one can contribute in a tangible way to aborting other people's children. You can donate to Planned Parenthood all day, but if all the women suddenly decided to stop going to PP then that's the end of that. Your donations were for naught, and the effect is entirely dependent on others with a much more defined responsibility than to 'future generations' (i.e. mother to child, doctor to not-kill-people--side question: Is an abortion provider a "doctor" at all in the case that abortion makes up the whole or the centerpiece of their business?) On the other hand, you can't really stop breathing or drinking water in the case that the air or water is polluted, and those things have some tangible effect on your health and presumably the health of future generations.

This is how I think most liberals are going to see it, and I hope so because otherwise the hypocrisy would drive in the other direction and I would be forced to become some sort of environmentalist because I am anti-abortion. But I hold no particular environmentalist viewpoints beyond the belief that one ought to take care of their own property. I suppose that comes as partly a defined benefit to posterity, as one reason for not ruining your property is because your children will inherit it one day.

I've seen "be fruitful and multiply" portrayed as a commandment, where it is literally a sin not to have children provided you are capable, but I'm not so sure. Not to sound like an Episcopalian, but sometimes things do change, and the Earth filling up is one of those things. At some point, whatever command is inherent in this would be outmoded--or maybe not, again I'm not so sure. In any case though, if we have an obligation to the abstract 'future generations' to produce them, then couldn't we also have an obligation in the abstract to be environmentalist to some degree?

I ask because I think most conservatives would disagree that we have these abstract obligations, and because it seems to me that all of the "work" of those obligations could be taken care of with lower-order incentives, e.g. don't pollute because it isn't your property/your children will inherit it, mothers shouldn't kill their children because duh, etc.

because otherwise the hypocrisy would drive in the other direction and I would be forced to become some sort of environmentalist because I am anti-abortion.

Depends a great deal on what you mean by "some sort." After all, there are huge amounts of empirical disagreement involved in being or not being what is usually called an "environmentalist." Plenty of people who are not environmentalists have made the case that the policies promoted by self-styled environmentalists are based on faulty scientific claims and hype, are in many cases actually _bad_ for the environment and, even more importantly, are extremely bad for mankind, both present and future. The idea that being an environmentalist means something like "being in favor of not polluting the water for future generations" is just an uninformed cliche.

I think most conservatives would disagree that we have these abstract obligations,

Well, 2 founding members of modern conservatism thought differently: Richard Weaver, in "The Southern Tradition", as quoted by John R. E. Belise in "First Principles":

[T]he attitude toward nature…is a matter so basic to one’s outlook or philosophy of life that we often tend to overlook it. Yet if we do overlook it, we find there are many things coming later which we cannot straighten out…. [N]ature [is] something which is given and something which is finally inscrutable. This is equivalent to saying that…it [is] the creation of a Creator. There follows from this attitude an important deduction, which is that man has a duty of veneration toward nature and the natural. Nature is not something to be fought, conquered and changed according to any human whims.

And Roger Scruton in "AN ENGLISHMAN LOOKS AT AMERICAN CONSERVATISM IN THE NEW CENTURY" :

Conservatism, as I understand it, means maintenance of the social ecology. Individual freedom is a part of that ecology, since without it social organisms cannot adapt. But freedom is not the sole or the true goal of politics. Conservatism and conservation are in fact two aspects of a single long-term policy, which is that of husbanding resources. These resources include the social capital embodied in laws, customs and institutions; it also includes the material capital contained in the environment, and the economic capital contained in a free but law-governed economy.

but sometimes things do change, and the Earth filling up is one of those things.

Which is exactly the limit expressed in the blessing to be fruitful and "fill the earth". When we get there, we won't need to have continued growth overall, but that doesn't have to mean exactly 2 kids per family, 1 per parent. For those who are not intended to marry, it would be 0 kids, and for others, more than 2 kids would be possible. In any case, we aren't there yet. The obligation of parents to society in general to have children is real. It is also not the only obligation, so other needs and duties may pre-empt that obligation either for a time, or (in very rare instances) entirely for a given couple. This general obligation was often preached upon, and was accepted so broadly as to not even constitute a terribly controversial topic. These general obligations are nonetheless real for not having a definitive terminus: the general obligation of American citizens of being civically active such as promoting good candidates and voting for them when available is real even though the obligation does not land on us to participate in each and every possible political drive in which we might do some good. A general obligation of this sort leaves open the particular fulfillment of it to us in our own prudential considerations.

Despite all their talk about the environment, I don’t think the left’s advocacy of abortion rights has much to do with saving the earth. I think it has to do with their inviolable, divine principle of “choice” i.e. individual autonomy. In particular, equality of individual autonomy. A baby, whether born or unborn, is a limit on a woman’s autonomy.

Step2, forgive me, but if you ' criticize motives of gender or racial prejudice' in these situations, but claim you have "no ground" to make it illegal, you are simply behaving like Pontius Pilate.

That's rich, compare me to Pontius Pilate and request forgiveness in the same sentence.

Certainly if those who campaigned against slavery had taken a similar attitude, it would never have been abolished.

Not every moral issue is slavery, but you were smart enough to dispute the description of forced labor because that is a correct description from the perspective of a woman's autonomy.

It's not even close to correct, except in the case of rape. (Or, should I say "involuntary rape" to distinguish it...nah.)

When liberals mock the military mentality of the man who volunteers for the Marine Corp so he can defend "God, country, and family", those liberals are mocking the very idea of putting your life on the line for higher goods, an idea that EXPRESSLY puts country above personal and family goods ( and both of those ordered by something still higher).

Really now? One could mock the "military mentality" because it primarily serves the interests of an imperialist political and economic elite who use propaganda to give the masses pretexts for conducting war. The current military activities could not reasonable to considered to be conducted for the interests of national security, since the probably for one to be victim from a terrorist attack or military invasion is nugatory. Such military activities do not benefit the material interests nor grant security to the average citizen, but such wars are often justified for national pride.

Also, one could simply oppose war on the ethical grounds of pacifism.

I also do not see the US as a Winthropian shining city on a hill, nor do I think God privileges (or once privileged) this nation; it is just another country with its own "national interests" and culture that happens to have superpower status now. I would not conflate the US' interests with divine providence or a sense of righteousness. To me, God cares just as much about the US' geopolitical interests and domestic policy as he does care about the Dodgers' win-loss record next season. As faithful pilgrimers, we should focus on our internal piety and assisting both the spiritually and economically impoverished, as opposed to pledging our allegiance to an amoral, self-aggrandizing, bellicose Leviathan. (That is why I consider myself to fundamentally be apolitical in the practice of my faith.)

I am not a Social Democrat and I am not heavily invested in that political philosophy, but why wouldn't a citizen accepting higher taxes for a more comprehensive welfare state also be laudable attitude, just like the man who voluntary risks his life for the welfare of the nation?

Of course, we could both argue our respective positions on how the welfare state fails to enrich the lives of its citizens or how the military's activities are not intended to benefit common citizens. But it is the motivating ideal that I am interested in.

===
I do not think it is a religious responsibility to regard my fellow citizens or the founding principles this country was founded on to be outstandingly moral or righteous.

I am not a Social Democrat and I am not heavily invested in that political philosophy, but why wouldn't a citizen accepting higher taxes for a more comprehensive welfare state also be laudable attitude, just like the man who voluntary risks his life for the welfare of the nation?

Just like? Just like, for goodness sake? Black-Rose, thank you for confirming yet again the perceptive blindness of those who love to deny traditional ethical standards. Willing to pay more in taxes is just like willing to die for protecting others. Why, that's probably just exactly why the people in the old days who paid off no-names to serve in the army on their behalf were viewed as just as noble, just as praiseworthy, just as high in integrity as those who volunteered in their own right.

Tony,
While I am not a Leftist, I note that the idea of common good is throughly ditched on the Right. It is the people of the Right that mock Kennedy's noble words about what you can do for the nation. It is the Right that has embraced libertarian economic ideas.
Can you point me to a single non-libertarian economic thought on the Right?
All the Thomism disappears once economics is brought into play.

What, you mean that you don't realize that Weaver, whom I quoted above, is not an economic libertarian? And ignoring my own humble self (given that I have pointed out flaws in libertarianism - including economic theory - for a long time here)? And the essays here in which our own contributors have roundly castigated certain aspects of unmoderated lassez faire free market, such as usury? Well, then go read the postings in these pages by former contributor Edward Feser, who used to be a libertarian and left that behind to become a conservative. In other words, get educated.

Oh, and for the record, a great many rightists don't mock Kennedy's noble words, but rather the common leftist sentiment that "what you can do for your nation" is to be found primarily in wealth redistributions from the rich to the poor at the hands of government. When it doesn't consist in driving out those very virtues and customs under which that wealth was first generated.

Amplifying Tony's fine comments:

While I am not a Leftist, I note that the idea of common good is throughly ditched on the Right.

Gain, unless you can provide me, to substantiate your steady, exasperating, terse, ill-argued accusations, with chapter and verse where the contributors at this website have "thoroughly ditched" the common good as a principle of life and politics, kindly take your shadowboxing with ghosts to another forum.

We're not here on this earth to answer for The Right (as understood by Gian).

Can you point me to a single non-libertarian economic thought on the Right?

Yes, a little blog called What's Wrong with the World has run lots of them. Some examples: 1 2 3. There are many more.

And Gian, this isn't a suggestion: your entire contribution to this post has been a threadjack to indulge your monomania.

Black Rose has also been dealt with effectively enough by Tony. The elision from "accepting higher taxes for a more comprehensive welfare state" to "voluntarily risking life for the welfare of the nation" is so extraordinary as to call into question the reasoning capacity of its author. Whether for good or evil, does the gentleman see no difference between inactive and active?

Fortunately, the asininity appears to us as a question, leaving open the possibility that the author was just being provocative or lazy. So we can put the whole thing to rest quickly. The answer is no: in terms of "laudable attitudes," liberalism is not "just like" military service.

Let's note, finally -- and even granting the premise of horrible American imperialism* -- the obvious point that our Noble Taxpayer is, you know, funding the imperialism that the Marine effects. So actually it's not possible, on Black Rose's own terms, to stand pristinely aloof from our "amoral, self-aggrandizing, bellicose Leviathan." Unless you'd like to try your hand at tax evasion.

______
* Here is another threadjack that can be headed off if our commenter would just embrace education. Homework assignment: what is the general view of the contributors to What's Wrong with the World towards the following events or trends: (a) the 2003 war in Iraq, (b) the bellicosity of American-style democracy promotion by force of arms, and (c) the regime of torture erected on the heels of September 11?

Black Rose has also been dealt with effectively enough by Tony. The elision from "accepting higher taxes for a more comprehensive welfare state" to "voluntarily risking life for the welfare of the nation" is so extraordinary as to call into question the reasoning capacity of its author. Whether for good or evil, does the gentleman see no difference between inactive and active?

No it's not. While I did acknowledge that both sacrifices can indeed be perverted and fail to contribute to the "common good", the commonality is that both involve sacrifice, although the degree of that sacrifice is what differs. If one respects "sacrifice for the the common good", then one should commend those willing to accept higher taxes for social programs intended to benefit the economically disadvantaged. Predictably, conservatives would irrationally and ideologically reject "the welfare state" out of principle, perhaps because it allows the normally impoverished to live dignified lives through the munificence of the state without involvement of traditional hierarchical institutions such as the Church and private benefactors. Why are conservatives so loath to sacrifice on an admittedly lesser magnitude by simply accepting higher taxes?

So actually it's not possible, on Black Rose's own terms, to stand pristinely aloof from our "amoral, self-aggrandizing, bellicose Leviathan." Unless you'd like to try your hand at tax evasion.

No, that wasn't my point at all. My point was an admonition to the ubiquitous American conservative: because of the character of the state, one should not embrace the sentiments of patriotism and nationalism since the US is not uniquely righteous and just among nations as it primarily pursues its geopolitical interests intrusively and selfishly and do not perform exceptional on various domestic social and economic metrics, and instead focus on internal, spiritual matters.

And no, I also revere, at least in principle, those who are willing to sacrifice their time and life, in the actual defense of a just nation.

What you asked, Black Rose, is

why wouldn't a citizen accepting higher taxes for a more comprehensive welfare state also be laudable attitude, just like the man who voluntary risks his life for the welfare of the nation?

"Accepting higher taxes" is such a low bar to earn praise as to beggar belief in the context of military service. We might as well say that putting a "support our troops" sticker on your car ought to earn praise "just like the man who voluntary risks his life for the welfare of the nation."

Peaceably complying with tax law is hardly a sacrifice worthy of laudatory recognition. It can be accomplished even if you are personally opposed to the particular tax regime.

Predictably, conservatives would irrationally and ideologically reject "the welfare state" out of principle, perhaps because it allows the normally impoverished to live dignified lives through the munificence of the state without involvement of traditional hierarchical institutions such as the Church and private benefactors.

Your mask is slipping. This vehemence is hardly compatible with the statement that "I am not a Social Democrat and I am not heavily invested in that political philosophy."

And I see that you have unwisely neglected my homework assignment. Alas. I'll go ahead and attach another question, in the (perhaps vain) hope that you will remedy your ignorance: what is the general view of the contributors to What's Wrong with the World towards ... (d) the Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden bombings, and the general Allied war policy of indiscriminate aerial bombardment?

Your mask is slipping. This vehemence is hardly compatible with the statement that "I am not a Social Democrat and I am not heavily invested in that political philosophy.

I intended to be tacit political orientation here for the purposes of this discussion; one could easily figure it out via a Google search since I used the handle elsewhere and explicitly stated my ideology. Nor am I really embarrassed by it. But I am most certainly not a social democrat under an apolitical guise; and "apolitical" does not mean devoid of coherent political philosophy, but a detachment from political issues in one's personal life (by voting, being devoted to a particular political cause, or being attentive to mainstream political discourse from the media) although one can still be active in the intellectual realm. An advantageous aspect of my political philosophy is that it compels me out of prudence to avoid being entangled in potentially acerbic political disagreements of my fellow parishioners, who like most Americans have political positions and platforms that lie on the mainstream of the political spectrum. Even within the political mainstream, there is a divisive tribalism between the conservatives and liberals that is fomented by the media, the political system (Madison himself actually encourages factions), and individuals within those respected factions. And my behavior really does not fit the negative stereotypes of people who hold my political philosophy; I am just a meek and pious autistic young woman who can discuss political issues on a historical, abstract, and theoretical level when I believe the occasion is appropriate.

(Hopefully, you may understand that within the context of my remarks, "conservative" does not mean a rarefied conservative and may not apply to the conservatives here, but this blog engaged in mainstream political advocacy by arguing that Catholics should not vote for Obama. As for myself, I believed Obama would won and my small personal investment in his victory was due to a point I made with my father when he predicted Obama would not be reelected due to the alleged destructive nature of his "far-left" policies. My argument against that supposition, while I still considered myself a social democrat in her early 20s, was that the Republicans have nothing tangible to offer people, similar to what Gian said, just tribalism and supply-side nostrums. Besides that I was apathetic concern the outcome of the election.)

I will admit that I am biased against most forms of conservatism in general, and my comments reflect that (and my comments on this thread were not intended to be apologia for any leftist political position or policy)

Also, have I actually endorsed a Scandinavian welfare state here? I did acknowledge its potential benignant impact, but I did note that it is a legitimate position that it "can perverted and fail to contribute to the "common good".

And I see that you have unwisely neglected my homework assignment.
I never accused anyone here of being an apologist for imperialism; I used "imperialist" to characterize the US' foreign policy and to criticize typical conservatives for uncritically supporting it for reasons of patriotism and jingoism, even when "imperialist" policies do not advance their material welfare or benefits their social and spiritual lives. I apologize if I implied that anyone here is a "typical conservative".

"Accepting higher taxes" is such a low bar to earn praise as to beggar belief in the context of military service. We might as well say that putting a "support our troops" sticker on your car ought to earn praise "just like the man who voluntary risks his life for the welfare of the nation."

Accepting higher taxes is a sacrifice, admittedly of smaller magnitude than permitting one's life to be placed in perilous situations. The welfare state may be a dubious or inefficient use of economic resources, but the willingness to contribute to it is indeed a sacrifice, and it can be motivated by a sense of noble goodwill and camaraderie among one's compatriots.

Laws against murdering BORN people can be enforced . However, laws against abortion cannot . No country has ever been able to enforce them or ever will . And yes, pro-choicers DO very much want to prevent as many abportions as possible. Anyone who thinks that pro-choicers hold their views because they like abortion and want abortions to happen, and that they want to increase the abortion rate is totaly deluded .
More abortions hapen in countries where it is illegal than ones where it is legal .
And large numbers of women die every year ,leaving children motherless because of this .
Since Roe v Wade, only a tiny number of women have died from legal abortions . Fewer than die in one month in countries where women are not permittied them .
In order to enforce the law in America , it would be necessary to appoint a huge force of anti-abortion agents to scour every corner of the 50 states 24/7 . This would not even be effective and would waste billions of dollars a year . It would also turn America into a totalitarian police state with the government keeping women under constant surveillance
in case they might be seeking an abortion . Remember Orwell's 1984 ?
It would be far better if our government would just provide poor pregnant women with the kind of financial help which would enable them to feed, shelter and educate their children better, as well as making sure that every child got good medical care ,not to mention prenatal .

I'm getting the feeling that our liberal friends are living in a world quite different from ours.

A world where abortion being illegal means we're on the path to 1984? What? The country was LESS totalitarian before Roe v. Wade. That is some bizarre logic.

Indeed. Some of us should put down the bong and the copy of The Handmaid's Tale and back away slowly.

Scott W. wins the thread.

I've told Robert Berger on other threads that, as a survivor of my biological mother's pre-Roe crisis pregnancy, I'm a living counterexample to his repeated statements that no laws against abortions prevent abortions. He never listens. So why should I repeat the story?

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade the abortion bans?

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade the abortion bans?

Probably, to an extent. And professional athletes often get away with, with no or little consequences, any number of serious crimes that other people would be thrown behind bars for. What's your point

Let's try:

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade drug laws?

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade tax laws?

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade import laws?

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade securities laws?

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade labor laws?

And yet I highly doubt that you recommend that we liberalize all law in these areas.

My point was the laws are intended to control the behavior of ordinary people while a more privileged class can still possess the liberty to do what they want.

The laws are intended to prevent the murder of children, B.R., deal with it. If our culture accepted murdering five-year-old children in clinics, it would be a stupid, stupid, stupid "argument" of any sort against punishing people for murdering five-year-olds that "The wealthy can take their five-year-olds abroad and murder them." So what? We're talking tearing the arms and legs off of unborn infants and crushing their skulls. If we can stop that from being done to the unborn infants of "ordinary people," great. Every life saved from heinous murder is worthwhile.

By the way, those who have the money can travel to Thailand and have sex with children, too. Should we therefore liberalize American pedophilia laws?

This is an utter irrelevancy. The laws are "intended to control the behavior" of people within the jurisdiction to the fullest extent of the laws. Period. If the behavior is evil and should be outlawed, as murder is and should, then we should have the law, regardless of whether some people evade it or not.

Stop mouthing dumb, irrelevant liberal cliches.

It's not even close to correct, except in the case of rape.

To the surprise of nobody, you and I have very different notions of autonomy.

(Or, should I say "involuntary rape" to distinguish it...nah.)

Go right ahead, or better yet please proceed, Governor, that Akin comment was an election windfall for the Democrats.

Do you deny that the wealthy can evade tax laws?

The wealthy write most of the tax laws, they don't really need to evade them. How many women are writing these newfangled abortion laws?

I suppose. I suppose you could argue purely on consequential grounds that anti-abortion laws are ethical, if one assumes that saving the unborn, regardless of the method, is good. But I still cannot ardently support such laws even if they affect abortion rates. Nihilism and despair sometimes manifest themselves as powerful emotions within me, but these feelings reflect the dour reality that I observe. Still, I sometimes see how human life and the economic system are more cruel and callous than an abortion doctor "tearing the arms and legs off of unborn infants and crushing their skulls". I do not see how legislation would make these children be loved and valued by the world after their birth or palliate the harsh reality of life. And it would see that mere legislation are just barriers to be circumvented by those with the means to do so.


But this is your war and your strategy seems quite simplistic and myopic as it primarily promoting restrictive abortion laws. And I am not going to let myself be defined politically and philosophically on solely my stance on abortion or other positions that it is tightly correlated with.


I respect sidewalk counselors because they try to convince the mother that there is hope for the mother and her child's lives, although due to my disposition, I am unsuited for this due to my sentiments of despair and pessimistic view of the human condition so I doubt I would leave a positive impression on the mother if I were just behaving as my frank self. They do not try to coerce or compel the mother from procuring an abortion, but treat her personally as a dignified rational agent who is appreciated. It seems that the counseling not only saves the life of the child, but would also affects the bond between the mother and child. I do not think convincing them of the immorality of abortion is an effective strategy, since passions (don't deny that despair is a powerful emotion) can overwhelm the conscience. And again, laws can be circumvented.

I gravitate towards assisting the poor materially, but I do not see what specific monetary assets, material resources, or interpersonal skills that I can offer, other than my ability to write analytically (which is the only talent that I have). I do have an extremely nonjudgmental, sympathetic, and kind demeanor, but what can I do with that with a lack of political power and financial resources.

I do not see how legislation would make these children be loved and valued by the world after their birth or palliate the harsh reality of life.

And this is the worldview difference. They're already alive. For them, abortion IS the harsh reality of life. Are you seriously suggesting it's better to kill-as Lydia said, *dismember*-the unborn than risk them having a tough life?

Abortion doesn't solve the problem. It's a symptom of the children not being loved, not a solution.

Are you seriously suggesting it's better to kill-as Lydia said, *dismember*-the unborn than risk them having a tough life?

My post above implies that sometimes my feelings subject me to those thoughts and hence why I admitted I could not be an effective sidewalk counselor. These are my feelings and not the consequence of my exposure to utilitarian ethics.

This might help your melancholia Black_Rose:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf3BNRF9ICc

I do not see how legislation would make these children be loved and valued by the world after their birth or palliate the harsh reality of life.

The legislation doesn't even propose to do that, any more than a statute against robbery proposes to bring prosperity to honest men. C'mon now.

Step2, something tells me you're fine with downplaying rape if the larger subject is, say, self-defense with firearms.

In that case, Black_Rose, I at least need to admire your honest.

...Bleh, should be "honesty", not "honest".

For them, abortion IS the harsh reality of life.

That's very well-put.

And again, if we were talking about clinics for killing five-year-olds, it would be seen for the grotesquerie that it is that we can't just *shut down* those clinics, that the very existence of clinics for enabling and facilitating murder is seen as a necessary condition for giving respect to parents (of unwanted children) as "rational agents."

Step2, something tells me you're fine with downplaying rape if the larger subject is, say, self-defense with firearms.

It helps to know a little crime statistics before you simply assume firearms are the best defense against crime. Of course for those at higher risk I think carrying a weapon responsibly is prudent. A review of the Dept. of Justice website shows:

For single offender crimes, 12% are committed by relatives, 40% by friends and acquaintances, and the rest by strangers.
Crimes committed by strangers are more than twice as likely to involve a firearm.
Females are 50% less likely to be the victims of violent crime by strangers compared to males. Females are 50% more likely to be at least casually acquainted with their attacker than males.
Urban dwellers are about 50% more likely to be the victims of violent crime compared to suburban dwellers.
Living in an area less than six months doubles the chance of being a crime victim compared to 1-4 year residency.

And again, if we were talking about clinics for killing five-year-olds, it would be seen for the grotesquerie that it is that we can't just *shut down* those clinics, that the very existence of clinics for enabling and facilitating murder is seen as a necessary condition for giving respect to parents (of unwanted children) as "rational agents."

It is unreasonable to compare abortion to killing five-year olds. No one, not even a personhood utilitarian would even condone killing them. There is no reasonable ethical position that permits killing five-year olds.

If one respects "sacrifice for the the common good", then one should commend those willing to accept higher taxes for social programs intended to benefit the economically disadvantaged.
The welfare state may be a dubious or inefficient use of economic resources, but the willingness to contribute to it is indeed a sacrifice, and it can be motivated by a sense of noble goodwill and camaraderie among one's compatriots.

The willingness to allow any "soaking the rich" among the actual rich is nearly always a complete boondogle. They almost always count on ways to get out of the tax. And they usually succeed.

However, I stopped listening to the tax & redistribute liberal mantra a while back, and will continue to ignore it until some rich liberals meets my challenge. Bill Gates & Warren Buffet are on record supporting higher tax rates (at least some taxes, I don't know about all). But a rich person need not wait for the tax law to change - they can donate directly to the US Treasury. When I find that 80 of the richest 100 liberals are annually donating large amounts of their money to the government, I will listen to the "tax & redistribute" talk again. Until then, it's all baloney.

Heck, they don't even have to actually donate. They can simply refuse to take deductions for half the things that they can take them for. Bill Gates donates a billion to his foundation? Great, don't take a deduction for it. Just pay tax on it as if it were ordinary spending.

But they don't do that, do they? No, just like the rest of us, when they put money into helping others, they put it into activities they are confident will use the money well, and virtually always that means they do it privately, not through government. Which tells you something about rich liberals real feelings about government redistributing wealth.

Predictably, conservatives would irrationally and ideologically reject "the welfare state" out of principle, perhaps because it allows the normally impoverished to live dignified lives through the munificence of the state

Yes, of course doing it out of principle is "irrational and ideological", even if the principles happen to be rightly grounded in a proper understanding of human nature, in accordance with right reason. I am at a loss to understand why you think of yourself as less ideological when you imagine that principled conservatism is irrational. Judging by your comments here, you really don't even know WHAT PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM stands for. In the least.

Oh, and that "live dignified lives through the munificence of the state" is always at least in part at the expense (for some portion of the current poor) of losing an opportunity for their having far more dignified living through the betterment of their own energy and work in business and industry, instead of through handouts.

through the munificence of the state without involvement of traditional hierarchical institutions such as the Church and private benefactors.

There you go again, with the liberal ideology. How can you even imagine private benefactors are to be normally associated with "hierarchical institutions", other than by a baseless stereotype? Take, for example, one of my recent activities: a friend on hard times was about to lose her car through a title loan. My family and a couple dozen more that we know all pitched in to get her car out of hock. That's "hierarchical"? Or, the Catholic city hospital that neither limits service to Catholics, nor even expects to proselytize patients in any definite degree (much less expect them to receive Catholic instruction)? You have a funny idea of what constitutes acceptable forms of munificence. Apparently, you are one with the liberals who would tax charitable hospitals out of existence so the state can run all the hospitals instead. On the other hand, fully half the "hierarchical" entities (in the sense of your "benefactor" institutions) are left-nut-wing foundations, like the Ford Foundation, etc, with their own set of priorities set by their own ideology and agenda. So there is nothing special to the right wing's hierarchies that makes them different in terms of having agendas that drive how and to whom they give.

And, other than liberal stereotypes opposed to human nature, what is the problem with hierarchical institutions? Humans are designed with many, many things being "good" for them, but they are not all of equal weight. Some are more critical to human happiness, more necessary to fulfillment. That's hierarchy for you. Institutions that recognize order in distinct human goods and recapitulate that order in their priorities are to be shunned for that very reason? Only if you despise human nature.

and "apolitical" does not mean devoid of coherent political philosophy, but a detachment from political issues in one's personal life (by voting, being devoted to a particular political cause, or being attentive to mainstream political discourse from the media) although one can still be active in the intellectual realm.

I don't know what that describes other than a political dilettante. To be fully human, to be fully engaged in a society as a complete member, is to be political in due measure, as well as being industrious, being familial, being religious, etc in due measure. Being disengaged "personally" is to eschew membership personally - which is the only way you can be fully in society.

Mr Cella,
To a liberal, though I am not one, your arguments carry no weight whatsoever, since he does not share your premises. His premise, that you ever ignore, is that a woman may choose to abort her pregnancy.

You are worried that Americans might become poorer. I answer are not Americans sufficiently rich already? Is poverty such a critical problem in the most wealthy nation ever?. Why are you so worried if the GDP growth slows to 2% for a few years? Slows down that is, not even reversing.

The liberal President may craft a policy for the interest of the State. Oil is becoming scarcer-four-fold increase in price over the last decade has not increased the global oil supply significantly.

The State is also a steward of the earth and its fullness-the animals and the plants, even from a Catholic perspective. And stewardship you can not expect from the giant owner-less corporations. And this has again nothing to do with personhood debate.

Where do you stand on stewardship?. Do we leave it to private enterprise or does state has a role?

I regret the misunderstanding. I was not making any aspersions on this site and the authors therein but a observation that there exists no economic theory on the right that deviates from libertarian assumptions. Edward Feser has, to my knowledge, only one paper on theory and that too not rising to the level displayed in his philosophical writings.

The writings on usury on this website are also not developed to the extent of a theory. This I say with concern, the libertarians are winning, they have won the battle for the right.

The economists universally assume either that man works to his self-interest or to satisfy some unease. I have not seen any other assumption and yet both these assumptions are very questionable to the conservative ideals. But where is the conservative effort to discuss the political economy from other assumptions?. Scattered observations hardly do the job otherwise the battle of ideas is lost. To my observation, virtually all on the Right regard State as an necessary evil and State interference as positively undesirable.
This is the premise.
The question is Can you capture the State while you deride it?

Paul Cella,
You had this valuable insight: the reduction of property to mathematical abstraction. But was it developed and applied to other contexts?. A lot of modern economical thinking might be critiqued on the basis of this observation alone.
Indeed, only yesterday I read Krugman arguing for minimum wage increase on precisely this ground that people are not commodities that we simply apply supply and demand to them and their labor.
I did think that there was weight in his argument. But on the Right, Krugman is routinely derided.
So would you apply your own insight to the issue political economy of minimum wage?

I was not making any aspersions on this site and the authors therein but a observation that there exists no economic theory on the right that deviates from libertarian assumptions.

In case you were having trouble understanding, this thread is about environmentalism and abortion. Not about general economic theory. Thread-jacking is not productive. If you want to talk about general economic theory in your own blog, that's fine, you go do that. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Gian, if you haven't noticed, conservatism is getting its tail kicked on most fields of political combat. Yes, economic reductionism is rampant; but its of a piece with the profound materialism of the age, which is hardly redeemed on the Left because they worship the State over there. Nor am I inclined to embrace the Statism (your capitalization) of a commenter possessed of so low an opinion of the American political tradition.

Your point about "your arguments carry no weight whatsoever, since he does not share your premises" cuts both ways, of course. Your wholesale rejection of the political tradition to which I am loyal amounts to, by your logic, a presuppositional incommensurance between us*. (How's that for a neologism?)

In other words, in the battle for the Right, if my party must lose, I'd frankly rather the libertarians win than the State-worshippers.

The writings on usury on this website are also not developed to the extent of a theory.

Sorry to have so disappointed you! My work remains incomplete, since I can only fit it into the interstices of a life of mean economic toil which finds it springs in wicked self-interest. A former contributor at this site has, actually, developed a theory of usury argued from Thomist principles. I hope that rises to the level of theory. Now reflect that he is one of my most important influences on the subject.

As for the question of stewardship -- this one, Gian, is for once a fair, thoughtful and ON-TOPIC comment. Real progress.

Oil is becoming scarcer-four-fold increase in price over the last decade has not increased the global oil supply significantly.

The sentence is difficult to untangle, but if I'm reading it right it's flat-out wrong. The picture of energy production, especially North American production, has massively transformed in recent years. The world has been turned on it's head.

So it looks like we're proceeding from differing sets of empirical facts, and which is the more accurate set will eventually be known.

That said, you will struggle in vain to find any writing of mine suggesting no role for the state in stewardship or sensible regulation of industry. More Gianic shadowboxing.

We can hardly hand over all responsibility for stewardship to the state. Private enterprise plays an enormous role. Personal virtue in private life plays an enormous role. How responsible are the state corporations of the Gulf states and China? From the perspective of stewardship, on the whole I'd rather American and Canadian companies, under the scrutiny of free peoples, extract the oil that has been made available. Some thousands of Americans freely protested this past weekend, against US energy policy (ironically appearing in denunciation of global warming on one of the coldest days of the year); perhaps Gian can point me to similar public castigation of government policies in China or Saudi Arabia.

Finally, note that I referred above to personal virtue. Here we circle back to the point of this post: anyone so blinded by materialism, self-interest or a need to "satisfy some unease" (is that an echo of Hobbes?) as to suppose that the virtue of stewardship need not include bringing every conceived human being, no matter how inconvenient or underprivileged, through to natural birth**, is not someone I'll have any respect for, or inclination to be instructed by, on environmental preservation policy.

________
* For the record, I regard presuppositional apologetics as useful in it's place, but I am not so enamored of its spread into all arguments in all contexts. Basic facts of science (like the biological beginnings of human life) and ethics (that the taking of that life is wrong) need not be irretrievably muddied by gestures toward unshared premises, etc. Everyone who uses his mind properly can discover these truths.


** Note for B_R and other liberals: unless a child is indeed protected through natural birth, all the hand-waving about welfare policies designed to "palliate the harsh reality of life" is, strictly speaking, nugatory. You have to be born first before anyone can undertake for you to, in Robert Berger's words, "provide ... the kind of financial help which would enable [food], shelter and [education]."

BR, you think Peter Singer's ethics is "reasonable." I don't. Not even remotely. It may have a sort of mad consistency, but that does not make infanticidal ethics reasonable. Yes, it does make sense to compare the murder of unborn infants that goes on in an abortion clinic to killing five-year-olds. But I made the comparison deliberately: To show that it is the nature of the unborn child that matters, not whether people can evade laws against killing the unborn child. All that stuff about people's evasion of laws is merely a red herring for the position that the unborn child ought to be killable or at least significantly "more killable" than other human beings. Once grant that and we can maunder on about law evasion, because killing unborn children becomes the equivalent of, oh, I dunno, doing something mildly distasteful. When one doesn't grant that, the subject-changing involved in talk about how some people can evade laws against abortion is merely obscene. Shall we then be conscientious to have socioeconomic equal opportunity for murder? Heaven forbid that we might "only" stop the murder of poor children! So there's no point in having you or Robert Berger or any other pro-choicer (and, yes, functionally you are a pro-choicer since you regard the pro-choice position as "reasonable" and the comparison of unborn children to older children as unreasonable) wasting our time with such red herrings.

yes, functionally you are a pro-choicer since you regard the pro-choice position as "reasonable" and the comparison of unborn children to older children as unreasonable

If functionally "pro-choice" means I didn't vote for Romney (and I didn't vote at all because I am not a liberal) in the hopes he would appoint some anti-Roe judges or to thwart the evil Obama, then I am a pro-choicer. I have no desire to curtail abortion by altering public policy.

I guess it was admitted here by the "pro-lifers" that the laws have no personal or moral content; they are just statutes that prevent people without the resources to go to another jurisdiction from having abortions. I cannot support that, not because I am a "utilitarian" or "liberal" (which I consider an insult, but I suppose it is the price I pay for my reticence), but simply because it is difficult for me to see on a secular and material perspective, the mere value of human life. A positive intrinsic value of human life is derived supernaturally without reference to its material aspect and prospects, but only "persons" can subjectively add value to their lives above its intrinsic value, which is zero from a materialistic perspective. But even as a secular person, I was always kind and sought to ameliorate the negative aspects of the human conditions for others.


I have no idea what it means to say that laws have no "personal content." Do laws against rape have "personal and moral content"? How about laws against torture? Child abuse? I could go on and on. Yet people could find ways to evade all of these, if they had enough resources. Whether some people can evade a law against an evil act is irrelevant to whether we should have a law proscribing an evil act of violence against an innocent human being.

Nobody said anything about voting for Romney. I didn't vote for Romney myself. I voted third-party. I said you are functionally pro-choice because you say it's reasonable to be the infanticidal Peter Singer and unreasonable to take the personhood of the unborn child seriously enough to compare the child dismembered in an abortion to a five-year-old.

If you want to be "kind," and since it seems that only your previous "secular person" values are the ones you want to apply, now, to public policy, try not supporting the legality of ripping children to shreds. Because that's not, y'know, kind.

Good grief. You're becoming quite the time-waster, BR. If that makes you feel a little unwelcome, cool. I don't mind in the least.

I still believe it is reasonable from a secular perspective to possess Singer's ethical views, which are quite well-argued and reasonable. He most certainly is not a lunatic or mentally incompetent. But based on my understanding and acceptance of secular ethical principles and my own emotions, the implications of that leads me to be functionally "pro-choice" by your definition. But "pro-choice" is a misnomer since my secular views, whether analytical, as that manifests itself in utilitarian reasoning, or emotional, lead me to believe abortion is permissible not because of the primacy of the rights of the pregnant women, but due to the negligible intrinsic value of human life.

Still, what do you think about the proposition that the intrinsic value of human life is zero from a materialistic perspective?

I am not using an analytical tone to articulate my positions on abortion in this thread, but I am relying on my passions although one would agree they are somewhat congruous with reality and is not entirely irrational. I see little hope in the human condition; only despair. This despair eclipses any imagery of "ripping [the unborn] to shreds", so even emotionally I am insensitive to that. The emotional element, that of despair, is a powerful sentiment that would lead one to believe human life itself (from its potentiality) has no intrinsic value. I don't see how legislation would even address the despair.
---
My reference to politics was appropriate since you are concerned with reducing the prevalence of abortion by any means especially public policy, and some consider the Republican Party as a vehicle to accomplish that or at least counterbalance the legislative and judicial influence of "pro-abortion" Democrats. Those who have little concern with the impact of public policy in reducing abortion can be considered "pro-choice" in this sense. But you seem to be quite dismissive of offering succor and emotional and economic support for pregnant mothers considering abortion, and prefer simply public policy to restrict access to abortion as the consequences of preventing abortion regardless of the means (as you seem to believe that it is more expedient than appeasing pregnant mothers and reasoning with them)trumps all.
----
I am kind because I do not judge the economically disadvantaged and am quite sympathetic towards them. I don't invoke canards about personal responsibility. But I feel like I have little to offer in my talent and financial resources; this sense of futility also fuels my sense of despair.
----
The "liberal" remark did not make me feel unwelcome, but it is naturally consequence of not declaring my actual political philosophy and espousing positions and objections that can easily be construed as "liberal". No need to apologize.

Still, what do you think about the proposition that the intrinsic value of human life is zero from a materialistic perspective?

It illustrates the pernicious absurdity of the materialistic perspective.

I don't invoke canards about personal responsibility.

B_R, you're very quick make assumptions and jump to conclusions. You basically admitted to simple prejudice against Republicans, conservatives and pro-lifers. Big whoop. There are 40 million where you came from. You insinuated falsehoods about various things because you cannot do us the kindness of learning our views, much less understanding them. Lydia, it is implied, is a tool of the Mormonized GOP or something. You made ill-mannered gestures at imperialism and aggressive nationalism when the US Marines were mentioned. When called on these rhetorical abbreviations, you retreat into artifice. Now you lay it on thick with despair, futility, ennui and repeat your determination "not [to declare] my actual political philosophy."

What then is the purpose of your comments? Your paper on Singer? (In the interest of reciprocity, I'll state mine clearly: My purpose in writing this post was to take "pro-choice" or "liberal" orthodoxy, in light of environmental principle, and wring it's filthy neck; and to thereby establish a defense for my disdain for liberal sermonizing on environmentalism.)

I really wanted to elaborate on nominalism, which I doubt Singer covered in any of his works, but the thread became inactive.

But there are two distinct aspect of my secular position on abortion (that I once possessed): the analytical and emotive. Most of my remarks here are admittedly unfocused.

I do not have a clear position on environmentalism though.

You made ill-mannered gestures at imperialism and aggressive nationalism when the US Marines were mentioned. When called on these rhetorical abbreviations, you retreat into artifice.

Do I really need to recount current US foreign policy (in Libya, Syria, and Iran) and the history of the CIA's intervention and support of anti-communist regimes in the Cold War (such as intervention in Afghanistan, Columbia, Iran, Iraq, Korea, Nicaragua, Chile, Indonesia etc.) to demonstrate the US is imperialist? I mentioned "imperialism" to rebut the notion that military participation is especially noble.

You basically admitted to simple prejudice against Republicans, conservatives and pro-lifers

I do apologize for my expressed contempt for the mainstream right, but it is a natural tendency for those who possess my political philosophy. The author's here contemn the left as you are also disdainful of the left or liberal orthodoxy. The reason I am apologizing because this distaste seems too partisan and specific: I dislike liberals (who frequent the Daily Kos and read Paul Krugman) and social democrats too. As a person who professed being "apolitical", I cannot sound particularly partisan by having my remarks asymmetrically target the mainstream right. But I did moderate this by acknowledging one can legitimately hold the position that the welfare state can be inefficient.

I also apologize to Lydia if my comments implied she was in cahoots with the "Mormonized" Republican Party. But naturally Lydia would prefer Republican social policies over Democrat social policies, even if we discount the correlation between one social policies preference to one's economic policies preference. It would seem that if one wants to affect public policy regarding abortion, it would be imperative to support Republicans over Democrats to some extent, and those who are averse to political participation or supporting the Republican Party cannot be considered "functional" pro-lifers since their tendencies and positions do not result in a reduction in the abortion rate via public policy. Political pro-life advocacy is therefore inherently partisan.

As one who is explicitly apathetic, from a materialistic perspective, I can honestly say I prefer neither party's position on abortion, and utilitarians do not believe in the Democratic rhetoric about a "right to choose" (Singer said he rejects the rights-based premises of Judith Jarvis Thomson's "Defense of Abortion".)

===
I concealed my political views here out of good faith, and my insistence that I am not a liberal or social democrat was honest. Here's an exercise: assuming that I what said about myself not being a "liberal" is correct, and taking into consideration my remarks about US foreign policy and expressed economic views, guess what I really am. Please take about two minutes for this. You will not be surprised if you consider the clues.

Now, in the interest of openness, since I consider my secrecy to be too divisive now, I fell impelled to reveal them here. Look at the comments section:

http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/social-democracy-soviet-socialism-and-the-bottom-99-percent/
http://gowans.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/do-publicly-owned-planned-economies-work/

I really do not want to discuss the entirety of that political philosophy here, since I admitted that I am currently lukewarm about it.

I still believe it is reasonable from a secular perspective to possess Singer's ethical views,

You speak as if a human being were composed of 2 distinct persons, one a "secular" person (thus with a secular perspective), the other a spiritual person. Which is even more cartesian than Descartes, I think. But either way, it's just wrong. Whatever you imagine about "perspectives", Peter Singer's philosophical meanderings require the denial of self-evident principles, and thus have NO claim to reasonableness. It matters not that he has managed to construct a semi-lucid account of the Dali-esque landscape you get when you deny those basic self-evident truths, it's still wretchedly bad philosophy. He is a leader of the silly-clevers.

but I am relying on my passions although one would agree they are somewhat congruous with reality and is not entirely irrational.

Nope. We wouldn't say that. We would say that you are relying on your passions and that those are irrational and are NOT congruous with the reality that even persons who are birth-challenged have definite, positive claims on the protection of the state.

I do apologize for my expressed contempt for the mainstream right, but it is a natural tendency for those who possess my political philosophy.

Yes, thereby retracting the apology and re-iterating the offensive behavior: contempt for the right is natural for those like you because those like you are anti-rightist ideologues - and that's reason enough.

But naturally Lydia would prefer Republican social policies over Democrat social policies, even if we discount the correlation between one social policies preference to one's economic policies preference. It would seem that if one wants to affect public policy regarding abortion, it would be imperative to support Republicans over Democrats to some extent, and those who are averse to political participation or supporting the Republican Party cannot be considered "functional" pro-lifers since their tendencies and positions do not result in a reduction in the abortion rate via public policy. Political pro-life advocacy is therefore inherently partisan.

You speak as if partisan was an evil condition. Being partisan on behalf of God is not bad. Being partisan in favor of human happiness is not wrong. Being partisan on wanting human good is not evil. Being partisan in favor of the TRUTH isn't bad, it's RIGHT.

I concealed my political views here out of good faith...

Now, in the interest of openness, since I consider my secrecy to be too divisive now, I fell impelled to reveal them here.

Good faith in what? Oh, never mind, I don't want to know. Let me guess, your party is: incoherent communistic narcissism. See, it's all about you, even when it isn't, and you are far leftwards of Obama but are not social democrat (read: socialist), and you haven't made a lick of sense so far. I would go check, but then I would be granting you what you want - to make the discussion about YOUR pet theories on YOUR terms from YOUR essay, which hasn't much (or anything) to do with abortion and environmentalism.

I am not Stephen Gowans.

I consider myself to be like Dorothy Day. She didn't even vote or endorse any political candidate (and was definitely critical of US foreign policy) and she cared for the poor, not for political reasons but they were created by God. I am not here to political indoctrinate anyone.

Good faith in what? Oh, never mind, I don't want to know. Let me guess, your party is: incoherent communistic narcissism. See, it's all about you, even when it isn't, and you are far leftwards of Obama but are not social democrat (read: socialist), and you haven't made a lick of sense so far. I would go check, but then I would be granting you what you want - to make the discussion about YOUR pet theories on YOUR terms from YOUR essay, which hasn't much (or anything) to do with abortion and environmentalism.

That's why I concealed it; to prevent caustic language such as that.
====

Whatever you imagine about "perspectives", Peter Singer's philosophical meanderings require the denial of self-evident principles, and thus have NO claim to reasonableness. It matters not that he has managed to construct a semi-lucid account of the Dali-esque landscape you get when you deny those basic self-evident truths, it's still wretchedly bad philosophy. He is a leader of the silly-clevers.
...
We would say that you are relying on your passions and that those are irrational and are NOT congruous with the reality that even persons who are birth-challenged have definite, positive claims on the protection of the state.

As a self-identified conservative, you are dependent on natural law and essentialist arguments against abortion, since you do not want to admit the ONLY (and I repeat only) credible reason to oppose abortion, at least philosophically, is that the unborn has some greater purpose than what can be discerned materially. My defenses of personhood theory and appeals to my sentiments of despair are only subtheses that support that primary thesis; it does not mean I am pro-abortion. I do not accept the premises of natural law and an essential human nature from a secular perspective and others do not, so they are not compelled to accept the "conservative" "logic" about the immorality of abortion. Personhood theory and social contract theory are secular alternatives to "natural law". You do not want to invoke revelation and the numinous, and it is perfectly consistent for me to argue that abortion is morally permissible from a material, secular perspective while being philosophically and spiritually opposed to it.

I also found this: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/why-natural-law-arguments-fail/

Here's an appropriate quote from the link:
Denounce him, if you wish, for the perversity of his convictions. Still, after all hypothetical imperatives have been adduced, and all appeals to the general good have been made, nothing would logically oblige him to alter his ideas. Only the total spiritual conversion of his vision of reality could truly change his thinking.

Essentially this supports what I have been arguing here: one's needs a "total spiritual conversion of one's vision of reality" in order to oppose abortion.

I said this earlier on Half Sigma:

I still believe it is almost impossible to be coherently pro-life, narrowly defined here by the acknowledgment that killing unborn humans is morally wrong in most circumstances, without concurrently believing in the value of human life given by God himself. Essentially, due to the despondent and cruel nature of the material human condition, this requires one to believe that the ultimate teleology of human life is extra-material: we are created beings of God, intended to serve him faithfully and enjoy his fulfilling and perfectly loving presence, the beatific vision, for all eternity.

BR, in case you haven't noticed, you're starting to spam the thread with narcissism. Please, stop wasting our time. It really isn't all about you.

Here is a blog post captures my views on being "apolitical" and please don't accuse me of saying that it is MY essay.

http://shirtofflame.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-i-avoid-both-catholic-left-and.html
http://lovethepossibility.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/dont-try-to-convert-me/

An armistice:

Black_Rose STFUs until Saturday (and hopefully longer since I believe my time here is not fruitful, mostly due to my inability to focus). No more comments from me, since I believe it is quite a vice, since it has degenerating into unproductive personal attacks and, although I feel compelled to participate, this exchange is not benefiting me at all.

I do hope you do look at the two links and comment, but for our mutual interests, I will not respond.

Even if I might have bothered with Rod Dreher, his title gives the game away and I won't bother, because he is ignorant on the subject matter. Furthermore, anybody who thinks that the main reason to support natural law arguments is because they win in the public square doesn't begin to understand natural law anyway.

I do not accept the premises of natural law and an essential human nature from a secular perspective and others do not, so they are not compelled to accept the "conservative" "logic" about the immorality of abortion.

Yes, we see it all again. You don't like the tenets of natural law because they don't agree with your preferred version of the world, and so you "are not compelled to accept" them, as if truth were a smorgasbord from which you can pick and choose your own set untrammeled by any constraint. Nowhere in this modernist claptrap is there any nod to the notion that you are compelled to accept truth simply because it is true, because (as Anthony Kennedy indicated in the religion of modern me-ism) it's all a matter of will, choice. You don't "have to accept" what you can manage to distort yourself into rejecting by force of will, no matter how manifest it is in itself. Just as modernist skeptics manage to opine momentarily that they think the law of non-contradiction isn't true (not noticing their own nonsensical use of "true" in the very statement). Good luck with that.

In any case, your trollish behavior has gone on to excess.

Rod Dreher was actually quoting David Bentley Hart that has an article at First Things. And Hart actually cites Weaver:
Every man participating in his culture has three levels of conscious reflection: his specific ideas about things, his general beliefs or convictions, and his metaphysical dream of the world.

There was another article at First Things a couple of months back that pronounced against Natural Law from a theological point of view that post-fall man is so depraved that he lacks a nature. Everything is possible to him.

I do think that there is strength in these arguments. For contra biological determinism, it is culture and thus world view all the way in. Culture does not superimpose on an underlying biology. To believe the opposite would be to believe in Noble Savage type of thing.

Lydia,
functionally you are a pro-choicer since you regard the pro-choice position as "reasonable"

I would say that pro-life movement, by entering into political process about the legitimacy of abortion, implicitly assumed the reasonableness of the pro-choice position.
Since only views deemed reasonable within a polity can enter the political process and also that the loser of a political process must accept the outcome.

Black Rose point is simple enough. It is not the laws that would ban abortion nor Anti-Roe from Supreme Court. There must be individual conversion. And thus there is no political hope for the pro-life movement.

Paul Cella,
First I thank you for the considered reply. I appreciate Zippy's work on usury but I do not know if the understanding of usury as binding of the creditor for a for-profit loan is correct.

I neither argue with the Left nor for the left. It is pointless. But I take issue with being called a State-worshipper.
All I have done is to describe the mode of State action, very commonplace observations in themselves, but expressed in a slightly unfamiliar language, because I am not an American, though much of what I have learned is from Americans.

To a libertarian indeed, one is a State-worshipper if one approves of capital punishment or conscription. But what State-worshipping have I done beyond that?

I would say that pro-life movement, by entering into political process about the legitimacy of abortion, implicitly assumed the reasonableness of the pro-choice position.
Since only views deemed reasonable within a polity can enter the political process and also that the loser of a political process must accept the outcome.

Do you suppose it is in the power of conservatives, Christians, traditionalist, reactionaries, or another conceivable coalition of the Right, to drive the pro-choice position from that "implicitly assumed reasonableness" which undergirds public debate over abortion?

Your perversity is unfettered. You would raise the bar of success in normal political action for pro-lifers and then scoff at their failures to succeed at political action, in order to establish grounds for your judgment that "there is no political hope for the pro-life movement."

But you cannot say that pro-lifers are making no progress, because the hysteria of Leftists illustrates the unease of the defenders of this abominable regime. Poor Step2 thinks no women are pro-life, or have any influence on pro-life strategy and legislation. But at the same time that more women have come into politics, and more women into conservative politics, most of the US states have improved their abortion laws: by maneuvering within that range of free self-government left to them by the tyrants of the Supreme Court, state legislators (of both parties) have sent to governors, who then regularly signed them into law, legislative actions designed to reduce abortion and obstruct its expansion. (Leftists answer that opinion polls demonstrate majority support for Roe, neglecting to reckon with the fact that the same poll-derived majority doesn't know what Roe even did. And they answer, class acts that they are, by conflating normal medical treatment for any pregnant woman with rape.)

But in the end, Gian, you are more concerned to lecture pro-lifers for the terrible error of even operating in the same political realm as their opponents -- which thereby, by some magic, grants those opponents public legitimacy in the State -- than you are concerned to reduce the number of innocent babies slaughtered in the womb.

This is a tangled and tiresome sophistry, which can only demoralize the good guys and strengthen the bad guys.

Boiled down, your politics are those of unilateral political disarmament. Conservatives and pro-lifers should empty their revolvers, eject their magazines, clear their chambers, and hand over their weapons. They should not vote, should not line up with a political party; nor should they work to persuade persuadables, or to discredit and weaken unpersuadables; they should, instead, harry and harass those among their erstwhile allies who think differently on the matter of voting and persuading.

Naturally, then, you come to the defense of one of the most confused commenters we've had here in a long while, claiming her orotund cogitations are "simple."

If you are not a State-worshipper you are certainly an abettor of those who do fall into that error. The problem was identified by Belloc. Consider for just a moment how much the machinery of the Welfare State empowers the Garrison and Imperial State. (I find it hilarious that B_R, after all my honest attempts to remedy the ignorance, is still spouting anti-imperial bombast as if she were in a comment thread at The Weekly Standard.) Consider how much the dependency of the Welfare State fortifies that power of favored corporations. But that is all okay, because after all at least Democrats offer a positive vision of the State.

A libertarian who opposes capital punishment and conscription does not bother me in the least. Under the right circumstances I approve of both, but my suspicion about current circumstances is considerable. I know a lot of the work has been done by liberals, but nonetheless there are ample reasons to be skeptical that justice has been done in many, many of the capital cases in the US. Likewise with conscription, where our insanity has apparently reached the level of (theoretically) drafting our sisters, daughters and mothers into war.

Whatever you've learned from Americans, Gain, I apologize for, because it looks for all the world like you've learned all the wrong lessons.

Poor Step2 thinks no women are pro-life, or have any influence on pro-life strategy and legislation.

Oh my goodness, that was bizarre. You were making a point about the wealthy evading tax laws so I brought up the fact that many of those laws are written by the wealthy or are heavily influenced by them. Noticing the scarcity of female legislatures, especially among Republican, is simply pointing out the obvious difference between the two situations. You can't honestly think I've been reading Lydia for seven years and believe there are no pro-life women. The point I'm clearly making is concerning the majority of women and their influence.

At this point I wish Jeff Culbreath was still here so you could demonstrate your deep respect for conservative sermonizing on environmentalism. Because every environmental sermon that isn't a total sham is going to include a policy designed to raise energy prices and restrict the fossil fuel companies. A conservative sermon will also likely include a policy of preference for local, organic agriculture. I suppose you would support those policies if it came from Jeff, right?

Why does one have to agree with the accuracy of a given claim (about oil or the environment or anything of the kind) or the wisdom of a given policy proposal just because it comes from a fellow pro-lifer? As I pointed out above, a great deal of the controversy regarding actually being an environmentalist comes from differences of opinion regarding both background empirical issues and economic issues--about the good or harm that is actually going to be done by the policy.

However, if someone like Jeff proposed such a thing, he would *of course* not be subject to the criticism Paul is making in the main post, because he's whole-heartedly pro-life.

That all should be pretty obvious.

Rod Dreher was actually quoting David Bentley Hart that has an article at First Things. And Hart actually cites Weaver: Every man participating in his culture has three levels of conscious reflection: his specific ideas about things, his general beliefs or convictions, and his metaphysical dream of the world.

Yeah, this is one of the places Weaver just runs off the rails. It is rooted in his highly conflicted fundamentals, which he never was able to sort out properly. Waddya know, ideas do have consequences. When you don't understand the fundamentals, you make errors down the road. He doesn't grasp the right metaphysical basis for knowledge, and that messes up his "three levels" turning them into a subjective nightmare. Subjectivism isn't going to correct the errors of the leftists.

There was another article at First Things a couple of months back that pronounced against Natural Law from a theological point of view that post-fall man is so depraved that he lacks a nature. Everything is possible to him.

I do think that there is strength in these arguments. For contra biological determinism, it is culture and thus world view all the way in. Culture does not superimpose on an underlying biology. To believe the opposite would be to believe in Noble Savage type of thing.

Yeah, there always has been a general theme in some Protestant (and, to lesser extent, certain Catholic) circles that man's total depravity makes it impossible to say he has a nature. That theme is WRONG. If man has no nature, then no act is a bad act. And then Genesis, the Gospels, St. Paul, St. James, and most of the rest of the Bible are impossible to retrieve from complete nonsense. I have far more respect for atheist metaphysics that says that the world itself is not constructed in such a way as to have natures (and thus no animal, plant or anything else has a nature) than a theist, a supposedly Christian thinker, who admits that natures exist in the world but deny that man's nature exists.

And no, denying that it is "culture all the way in" does not imply accepting the Noble Savage notion. Not in the least.

A conservative sermon will also likely include a policy of preference for local, organic agriculture. I suppose you would support those policies if it came from Jeff, right?

I'd certainly listen to the argument. Other former contributors have been sympathetic to these concerns as well.

Mr Cella,
Do you realize that your first para
Do you suppose it is in the power of conservatives, Christians, traditionalist, reactionaries, or another conceivable coalition of the Right, to drive the pro-choice position from that "implicitly assumed reasonableness" which undergirds public debate over abortion?
implies
there is no political hope for pro-life movement.

The libertarians erroneously identify State with the monopoly of coercion. But the State is the state of laws. a rational structure and thus the kind of arguments that are permissible in a given State, the public reason, they define the State. And in America now, natural law is excluded from the public reason.

Roe was the declaration of American independence from Christendom. It is indeed praiseworthy that some laws have been passed, though I wonder how many would stand judicial scrutiny.

There were other possible ways. The policy of individual attention might have worked but the confusion of the pro-lifers about the ends and means of politics precluded all that and now it is too late.

And as for wholesale rejection of the political tradition to which I am loyal, I don't know precisely what tradition you mean. Meanwhile the theologians at Orthosphere are considering secession, county by county and

Tyranny is felt when one's basic worldview is rejected. Now, the conservatives will begin to talk of popular tyranny.

Essentially, our dispute is you believe that the Constitution will keep peace between you and your atheist neighbor (alas he tends to disparage the constitution and reinterpret it to suit himself).
You don't think there is any limit to the political process. Alas, only if they reasoned in good faith! That is, only if he was not an atheist!

Libertarianism is the discourse of national suicide. It says that all distinctions between a citizen and a non-citizen are immoral. Thus, the state can not be limited thus can not be defined.
They define property in a way as to exclude any notion of nations and national territories. And then they say who are you or the Govt to restrict me from inviting a person over? Thus, they beg the very question.

The libertarianism is no friend of subsidiarity. It progresses by destroying local institutions with Federal cooperation. When the time comes, the libertarian always sides with the progressive.

implies
there is no political hope for pro-life movement.

It does not. I reject this reasoning as faulty. The presupposition is, again, that political action must either capture and dominate the State, to such an extent that it can drive opposition from the realm of public reason, or the pious man must leave off engaging in political action. Hogwash. The fact is that pro-choice opinion will undoubtedly maintain the cachet of public reason, even if conservatives succeed at overturning Roe and drastically restricting abortion. How Gian gets to his preachment of hopelessness still eludes me.

As Lydia has pointed out ceaselessly, your whole narrative rests upon a tissue of ignorance or elision concerning the fact that emancipation of abortion has been government by judicial dictation. It is not popular will that has done this; it is dictatorial. That subsequent popular will has acquiesced in this outrage is, of course, a mark against popular government; fair enough; "man, the beast, gets used to everything." But this grand denunciation -- "the declaration of American independence from Christendom" -- which lays authorship at the feet of the American people themselves, is a calumny.

Two more points concerning Gian presuppositions, which I suggest anyone sympathetic to his peculiar teaching should consider with care:

(1) The assumption that men are invincible to the arts of persuasion. Rhetoric has been through down and all effort to convince is idle. We're all colliding incommensurables, succored by our Mother, the State. But language is sermonic; and the difficulties with differing worldviews is but a challenge to craft better sermonics.

(2) The assumption that the non-Christian is incapable of civic good faith. I have on occasion indulged in a certain thrill of provocation by flat-out announcing to some unexpecting liberal that I would not vote for an atheist. Gian turns such sociable provocation into anti-social principle of division. We must be at war, even with our neighbor. In truth I would unquestionably vote for an atheist who is pro-life over a Christian who is not.

Then we're back to the demand that W4 answer Gian's charges against conservatives as such:

Now, the conservatives will begin to talk of popular tyranny.

Begin? Why, that is a very interesting verb choice, ain't it?

Finally, When the time comes, the libertarian always sides with the progressive.

If true, the libertarian certainly has something in common with Gian.

That I ignore persuasion
I have repeatedly written that while individual conversions go on, the political program, mainly that of voting in a president who would appoint SC judges who would issue Anti-Roe is at an impasse.

That I ignore the original act of judicial imposition.
Many answers I could give. First, if it was an act of judicial tyranny, why did and pro-life
movement treat it as a normal political act, to be countered with normal political means.
What is the proper response to tyranny?. First indeed one petitions, but for how many years?
The actions belie the rhetoric.

Second, the Constitution provides for a tyrannical act by a branch of Govt by a system of checks and distributed power. But if all branches concur, the only thing left is a Peasant's Revolt.

Third, if the main complaint against Roe is that it violated State rights, then did the states protest against their rights being usurped?. Was there a call to impeach judges?

Fourth, When a people accepts contraceptives, it is ready for abortion. When it accepts quick and easy divorce, it is ready for gay marriage.

Fifth, Judges on their own could not have perpetrated an enormity. The ruling element, the mind of the State decided it. The ruling element, popularly called the Cathedral now, is what counts. Popular opinion is nothing, public opinion is what matters. Popular opinion in most Western countries is overwhelmingly for capital punishment but public opinion does not allows it.

political action must either capture and dominate the State, to such an extent that it can drive opposition from the realm of public reason

This is what political victory means. Segregation, communism, imperialism, slavery are now unmentionable.

The matters are stark enough. Either you would be dhimmi or they would. It is being discussed more frankly elsewhere, Dreher's for instance, where presuppositional incommensurablity is widely recognized.

I count at least five errors of fact in those two comments, Gian. The thought of describing each just fills me with fatigue. I'm done with this.

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