Sane conversation about abortion

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Here's another of the female gender. I admit to the XX status in my genetic code.

I doubt people will ever agree on the issues of morality surrounding abortion, and we can go on debating or fighting over that for ever and ever.

To me the real issue is: who you give the power to make that decision. Anti-abortionists think they should, through a law that would make abortion a crime. This places the life of the fetus above that of the mother carrying it. So apparently, pregnant women have no value at all, since a fetus is not yet a person, may not survive to independence, and can not be asked what their choice would be.

So go right ahead and continue to debate the issue, but please, please keep the government out of it. Leave the decisions to the people involved.

dulcimerbird
Joined:
Aug. 16, 2010 12:06 pm

Discussions on this forum are such a waste of time! I really don’t know why I bother (ok guys; bring on the ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out’ comments). Every time I post an opinion that is not, as I previously stated, in lock-step with what you guys think, you label me a conservative plant!!! Then you inevitably set up the criteria for me to prove that I am not; criteria that of course can never be satisfied thus making YOU correct in your assertion that I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As I said, a waste of time!

I posted this thread in reaction to Thom’s smug comments during his news break about protecting zygotes. I posted this thread because as a progressive, I’m often baffled as to why my opinion on this issue is the exact opposite of those, like Thom, who I find myself in agreement with 95% of the time. Also, the liberals/progressives that I come across don’t seem to have an intellectual opinion about why they are pro-choice and I just wanted to see what the intellectual progressive opinion was for supporting a woman’s right to choose. My hope was that you guys would give me something to consider, something that would strongly oppose what I think so that I could clarify my position (to myself) and possibly, if presented with a compelling viewpoint, be willing to accept another position and even be willing to admit that I was wrong or misguided. The biggest gripe I hear from other progressives is that "only if I (we) had the opportunity to explain my (our) position(s), 75% of the country would be progressives! Well, when (some) of you had the chance, look how you handled it.

Some of you did offer compelling reasons for why a person should support a woman’s right to choose and, whether you take me at my word or not, whether you want to mock my civility with smug comments, I do honestly appreciate that you took the time to even bother with this discussion. But those thoughtful and compelling arguments were almost always followed up with people projecting personal animosity towards typical pro-life/anti-choice people on to me, assuming that I supported a whole host of positions that were not even mentioned in my original post. Your “questions” about my positions did not seem like mere questions. At best, they seemed like distractions from the real discussion, and at worst, straw man accusations meant to discredit my original position. If they were not and I misunderstood the intention, than of course I apologize. But in some cases at least, I don’t think that I was mistaken.

And to that agent provocateur idea that many of you seem to bring up, why would it even matter? Wouldn’t it just help you to strengthen your position if an opposing viewpoint was presented? ESPECIALLY considering the minds that are present here in this forum!

Finally, the reason that I did not immediately respond with detailed explanations for all of my positions (Ulysses) is BECAUSE I HAVE A LIFE! Fortunately for me, I HAVE A JOB! I also have a family and cannot spend large amounts of time on message boards. I shouldn't even be spending time posting this! If you have the free time to do this, awesome! I wish I did. And when every post presents me with ten to fifteen additional questions, it’s impossible to keep up (which, I would imagine, is the point for some of those who responded). And when those ten to fifteen questions are well thought out, well formulated, and extremely intelligent, I don’t want to just respond with some quick, half-assed remark.

But alas, it seems that this discussion, like so many others here on Thom’s message board, is going to amount to a waste of time. I can respond with answers to everyone's questions, I can spend half my day outlining the issues that I support and why I think that my support for these positions qualifies me a progressive, but what is the point? When some people want to use the message board not as a forum for ideas, for discussions, for opposing viewpoints, but to build themselves up by mocking and judging other people, what is the point? When some people want to, like their conservative brethren, shout down opposing viewpoints, what is the point? This is almost as much of a waste of time as responding to all of the nosensical, often racist comments posted by conservatives on virtually every news website in existence. Well, almost!

Have fun everyone!

PJProgressive's picture
PJProgressive
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

PJ, if you want to respond to the real posts instead of complaining about the fact that many people have strong personal reactions to a lot of nasty moralistic anti-abortion actions and rhetoric; and if you can appreciate the political threat to the rights of women to choose being implemented today, maybe you would find better use for your time here.

I think I gave you all the reasons you need to abhor the politics of conscience and protect the right to choose whatever your conscience says to you. I think the politics of conscience are vile and the establishment of dogma is religious warfare. Abortion is a theological issue, not something obvious in ordinary human life like murder or assault. The opposition to abortion is a nasty piece of theocratic displacement with no rhetorical or behavioral limits and no serious interest in lowering the abortion rate in America by lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies.

I have no problem with individuals whose conscience opposes abortion. For themselves. I would like a child-friendly world as well. I think any Progressive ought to be able to find a place in this picture, and any real Progressive would appreciate why the anti-abortion crowd gives "Pro-Life" a bad name.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote PJProgressive:

Discussions on this forum are such a waste of time! I really don’t know why I bother (ok guys; bring on the ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out’ comments). Every time I post an opinion that is not, as I previously stated, in lock-step with what you guys think, you label me a conservative plant!!! Then you inevitably set up the criteria for me to prove that I am not; criteria that of course can never be satisfied thus making YOU correct in your assertion that I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As I said, a waste of time!

Expecting anything short of very strong opinions on abortion is pretty unrealistic, isn't it? You have made your points, I have made mine and others, theirs. This subject matter is not a simple "what is your favorite flavor of ice cream" discussion. People have deep seated beliefs and feelings on this matter. I do not think you wasted your time.

I've voiced my opposing viewpoint to some of the same people in this thread as I have in previous abortion threads just as I have on religious threads. I'm comfortable in my skin and you should be as well. I'm sure there are people here who think I'm a fool because I go to church on Sunday. It is what it is. Did you expect to win people over to your way of thinking? If so, you can't take your ball and go home. Otherwise, call it a day.

I don't see you as a conservative plant any more than I see the others in this discussion to be in lock-step on this issue or any other. Sure, people with similar views will create alliances. That's life. Don't put too much stock in what others think of you, but more importantly don't overthink it and make assumptions about what others think of you. You can win people over by being deceptive, but being honest will not only attract like-minded people, it will repel those you could do without.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I would like PJ to make an attempt at showing us what an acceptable —to him— pro-choice opinion would look like. It seems to me that many here have presented quite good examples of what "the intellectual progressive opinion was for supporting a woman’s right to choose," buy you appear to reject all. What is it you need to hear? Isn't it that you're only willing to discus whether a fetus is a person, a life, leaving out all other framing of the issue?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I would like PJ to make an attempt at showing us what an acceptable —to him— pro-choice opinion would look like. It seems to me that many here have presented quite good examples of what "the intellectual progressive opinion was for supporting a woman’s right to choose," buy you appear to reject all. What is it you need to hear? Isn't it that you're only willing to discus whether a fetus is a person, a life, leaving out all other framing of the issue?

Maybe the problem is in assuming "the intellectual progressive opinion was for supporting a woman’s right to choose" is some clearly defined policy. To hell with the label "progressive". It's foolish to think that every person claiming to be progressive must be in lock-step on every issue. This ain't the GOP. I've voiced opinions on issues that many self-identified "progressives" would say puts me clearly on the wrong side of the issue.

"One man's ceiling is another man's floor" - Paul Simon

Don't think of yourself as being ostracized by the progressives PJ. Think of yourself as a pioneer who is exploring uncharted territory. However, blazing trails requires a lot of hard work. Following others is much easier.

Even is somebody lays out a clear definition of "progressivism" and states that one of your views is no in synch with it, what of it? Is it really so bad to have a few views that are truly your own and not subject to scrutiny by someone elses definition of what group they feel you should belong to?

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Laborisgood, the operative word there is "pro-choice" opinion, not "progressive" opinion. And I still would like to know what and how a pro-choice person might discuss their position in a way that would not be rejected by PJ.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote PJProgressive:


I don't see how there can be a debate about defining life. Corporeal life is a binary state. You are either alive or you are not! Once an egg is fertilized, it is a life. Any attempt to define life by establishing an alternate time frame, e.g., the third trimester, is simply arbitrary! Why not define life as a person who is able to procreate? Why not define life as a person who is able to comprehend written and/or oral language? Why not define life as a person who meets specific criteria for anatomical beauty?

And to the scientists who are debating this issue, human life is in a constant state of motion guys! Every step in a person’s physical life is determined by the previous step. Therefore, a person cannot exist as a fully-grown adult unless he or she has once existed as a just-fertilized egg. If you are going to say that we can terminate a just-fertilized egg whenever we feel it is necessary or convenient than you must say the same about a fully-grown adult.

I've never heard a sound argument for supporting abortion (barring the whole rape/incest/mother's health scenarios) and I’m posting this in order to hear some sound, informed, respectful opinions from pro-choice people. So PLEASE, let us not allow this conversation to devolve into an expletive laden, name calling, waste of time. And for those who respond, please read my ENTIRE post.

Hope everyone is well in Thomland!

To begin with your premise is biased and false. According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, life doesn't begin with a fertilized egg, but rather with the sperm. A sperm enters an egg, and that sperm develops into a person. Your attempt to form a moral position that starts on the basis of a lie is what leads to your wrongful, immoral position.

Why is it you think it is acceptable to allow with each sex act for the death of 100's of millions of humans through masturbation, use of condoms, other methods of birth control or gay sex, but abortion will only kill 1% of that each year!?

This is the teaching of the largest Christian Church in the world, and the largest single denomination in the US, and that view is shared by other Christian Churches, but you have somehow crafted the terms of the debate to allow for the legal murder on a scale of 100,000,000 to 220,000,000 with each and every immoral (non reproductive) sex act.

Science supports this view, and every rational person will see the truth of it.

But, the difference is, men are responsible for the creation, use, and spread of sperm, and having a law that makes non-reproductive sex illegal and subject to criminal penalties is pretty much a non starter for the Phallacrocy of the conservative movement.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

As for what the moral progressive argument in favor of abortion rights for women is, it is simply that all people have the right to their own body, health choices, medical decisions and reproductive decisions.

If a person were to choose to get a tattoo, on their own body, or not to get a tattoo, that is their choice that they are making for their own body.

If a person chooses a healthy lifestyle, or an unhealthy lifestyle, that is their choice.

If a person decides to use a condom when having sex, use birth control pills, use morning after pills, use spermicide foam, or have an abortion, that is their choice over their body, for their medical and reproduction.

I won't support the govt telling a group or individual they must get an abortion. That should be that person's choice.

I also refuse to support the govt telling a group or individual they cannot get an abortion.

The anti-freedom and anti- choice crowd will only support half of that.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm
Quote PJProgressive:Discussions on this forum are such a waste of time! I really don’t know why I bother (ok guys; bring on the ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out’ comments).

You said it, not me. Would you like some cheese with the whine?

Every time I post an opinion that is not, as I previously stated, in lock-step with what you guys think, you label me a conservative plant!!! Then you inevitably set up the criteria for me to prove that I am not; criteria that of course can never be satisfied thus making YOU correct in your assertion that I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As I said, a waste of time!

This pretty much confirms my opinion on you about that. I even suspect who you are under another name, but I'm not tipping my hand yet.

I posted this thread in reaction to Thom’s smug comments during his news break about protecting zygotes. I posted this thread because as a progressive, I’m often baffled as to why my opinion on this issue is the exact opposite of those, like Thom, who I find myself in agreement with 95% of the time.

Why are you "baffled?" Usually when people have strong opinions, those opinions are arrived at after some serious thought, meditation, and/or experiences that, together, constitute a calculus out of which a strong opinion emerges. So, again, if you have a strong opinion, why are you "baffled" about it? If you did none of the things I listed, I'd be interested to know just how you actually did reach that strong opinion.

Also, the liberals/progressives that I come across don’t seem to have an intellectual opinion about why they are pro-choice and I just wanted to see what the intellectual progressive opinion was for supporting a woman’s right to choose.

You were given plenty.

My hope was that you guys would give me something to consider, something that would strongly oppose what I think so that I could clarify my position (to myself) and possibly, if presented with a compelling viewpoint, be willing to accept another position and even be willing to admit that I was wrong or misguided. The biggest gripe I hear from other progressives is that "only if I (we) had the opportunity to explain my (our) position(s), 75% of the country would be progressives! Well, when (some) of you had the chance, look how you handled it.

Please. If you have a strong opinion, you've already heard all of the arguments, pro and con. As it stands, you were given strong, substantive reasons why pro-choice people hold their opinions, but you obviously came to the table a priori convinced you'd dismiss anything but what you already believed. Thus, my point that you probably didn't come for discourse at all, but just to take up space, waste people's time, or annoy people. There's also the outside possibility that if you are a con plant, per my opinion, you were fishing for converts who are not well-versed enough on the issues to recognize nonsense when they read it.

Some of you did offer compelling reasons for why a person should support a woman’s right to choose and, whether you take me at my word or not, whether you want to mock my civility with smug comments, I do honestly appreciate that you took the time to even bother with this discussion. But those thoughtful and compelling arguments were almost always followed up with people projecting personal animosity towards typical pro-life/anti-choice people on to me, assuming that I supported a whole host of positions that were not even mentioned in my original post. Your “questions” about my positions did not seem like mere questions. At best, they seemed like distractions from the real discussion, and at worst, straw man accusations meant to discredit my original position. If they were not and I misunderstood the intention, than of course I apologize. But in some cases at least, I don’t think that I was mistaken.

Ah, but you didn't answer any of them either, did you?!... And when I called you out for being evasive by saying you'd "try" to answer them later, you still didn't answer any of them, did you?

And to that agent provocateur idea that many of you seem to bring up, why would it even matter?

It matters because agents provocateurs are time sinks and nuisances, and many of us have better things to do than to waste energy bantering with them. So it's usually better to scrape them off of the shoe ASAP.

Finally, the reason that I did not immediately respond with detailed explanations for all of my positions (Ulysses) is BECAUSE I HAVE A LIFE!

And you still haven't. And I doubt you will -- as I suspected.

Fortunately for me, I HAVE A JOB! I also have a family and cannot spend large amounts of time on message boards. I shouldn't even be spending time posting this!

Just thought you'd drop a stink pellet and be on your merry way, huh? I notice that despite your previous protestation that you couldn't respond until the weekend, you managed to do so on Friday. That tells me you read my response quite early-on because your ego demanded that you check out the effects of the stink pellet. Then you dropped a follow-up by providing a long but evasive answer, thus confirming that you were never short of time in the first place, but, rather, only short of bona fides.

If you have the free time to do this, awesome! I wish I did. And when every post presents me with ten to fifteen additional questions, it’s impossible to keep up (which, I would imagine, is the point for some of those who responded).

Yeah, life can be tough, all right, when people ask for detailed explanations on complex and controversial opinions that you've presented unsolicited and requested feedback on -- especially when you find their questions and feedback disagreeable to your cherished a priori and philosophically tenacious positions.

And when those ten to fifteen questions are well thought out, well formulated, and extremely intelligent, I don’t want to just respond with some quick, half-assed remark.

Yes, and?

But alas, it seems that this discussion, like so many others here on Thom’s message board, is going to amount to a waste of time. I can respond with answers to everyone's questions, I can spend half my day outlining the issues that I support and why I think that my support for these positions qualifies me a progressive, but what is the point?

Escape and evasion... Let's all provoke discussions and then run like raped apes when they go south on us.

This is almost as much of a waste of time as responding to all of the nosensical, often racist comments posted by conservatives on virtually every news website in existence. Well, almost!

That does it! Who the hell is holding that gun to this guy's head to make him waste his time here?! Whoever it is, stop that! Right now!

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Laborisgood, the operative word there is "pro-choice" opinion, not "progressive" opinion. And I still would like to know what and how a pro-choice person might discuss their position in a way that would not be rejected by PJ.

Upon further review ..... PJ is a deceptive, non-committal ass. Whether it's driven by troll motives or a lack of gumption, I don't know. This thread stands on it's own merits as exactly what PJ requested at the outset. PJ's input (i.e. monologues) are clearly not engaged in the discussion.

As pointed out earlier, PJ can't even go on the record as supporting abortion in rare cases of rape, incest or health even though there is a thinly veiled support alluded to. The same feigned support of "life" after gestation is offered as a possible bridge to a reluctant but conscious support of safe and legal abortion. But, again no decisive stance taken. PICK A LANE PJ or quit pretending to have any real concern!

Your conscience can provide both an aversion to abortion in your personal life as well provide an acceptance of safe and legal abortion in your society. These are not mutually exclusive. If you disagree with this premise PJ, please do so. Your lack of solid committment one way or the other in your posts is an obnoxious waste of space in this otherwise useful thread. It's as if you want to win people over to your side, but you will never actually define what your side is.

Once PJ can commit to an actual stance on safe and legal abortion and possible limiting factors in extreme cases, he would have to first get that neatly squared away in his conscience before he can go to battle with the outside world. Which leads me to conclude that either PJ's conscience is working overtime to determine his path or his path was solidified long before he ever started this thread and he realizes he can't battle the outside world to defend it.

I find it hard to believe that Thom's zygote reference instigated the progressive PJ to take up arms against his own people to defend the unborn. Thom chooses his words well and does not come off as callous as some do on abortion. I didn't hear it, but it's likely the zygote reference was framed within a broader context of right-to-life hypocrisy. It seems much more likely that Thom's zygote reference was seen as an opportunity to sow seeds of discontent in Thomville, but it didn't pan out.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Phaedrus had me worried for a moment, when he wrote, "According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, life doesn't begin with a fertilized egg, but rather with the sperm," but then he ended that comment with a reference to the conservative "Phallacrocy," and I had to laugh out loud. I'd never heard that one before, but, how apt it is! Imagine, "life begins with the sperm." What could be more phallocentric, or more ridiculous. But there it is.

My guess is that PJ's quest seems driven not, as he claims, by an interest in an "intellectual" defense of the pro-choice position, one he can respect, but by a wish for release from his delusions. This is something nobody here can do for him, most likely because it, his delusion, feeds not on reason but on emotional content we cannot possibly address.

Quote PJ:

Finally, the reason that I did not immediately respond with detailed explanations for all of my positions (Ulysses) is BECAUSE I HAVE A LIFE!

And he has a job and a family and blah blah blah. Interesting how his having a life, precludes his taking the time to engage in detail with us here, but he is unable to grasp how a woman's life might preclude her having the wherewithal to take on the burdens of an unwanted pregnancy. He has a life; he does not choose to think a woman has a life too. Apparently, to PJ, the fetus has a life with the same importance and status as his own. The fetus is the treasured pearl implanted within the insignificant, utile mollusk. He cannot bring himself to consider the woman, her life.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Phaedrus had me worried for a moment, when he wrote, "According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, life doesn't begin with a fertilized egg, but rather with the sperm," but then he ended that comment with a reference to the conservative "Phallacrocy," and I had to laugh out loud. I'd never heard that one before, but, how apt it is! Imagine, "life begins with the sperm." What could be more phallocentric, or more ridiculous. But there it is.

Zen, I'm using the "absolutist" truth of the Catholic Church's teachings. If PJP demands a true pro life position, I am fine with that. So long as I get to draw the line. Allowing for the murder of billions weekly by the average American teenage boy, but making a woman a criminal for one death seems the height of absurdity.

And all of conservatism is about the phallacrocy. Taking power from those without a penis, and stopping those with the wrong color of penis sums up 98% of their positions. Wait, I can't think of a single thing conservatives pursue that isn't covered by those two motivations.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

Thanks, Phaedrus. Your reference to the metaphorical "penis," that is, power and what George Lakoff refers to as "strict father ideology," helps to skewer the absurdities we're discussing here.

This brings me to PJ's bewilderment as to why the "pro-life" position should not have a place within "progressive" morality. To me it's clear, if you know the difference between the conservative and liberal/progressive mind-set. And Lakoff offers the best, most accessible discussion I've seen of such in his book, "Don't Think of an Elephant!" Although he too assumes all decisions to have an abortion to be painful —wrong!— he does hit the bull's eye well, where the underlying mind-set is concerned:

Quote George Lakoff:

...Pregnant teenagers have violated the commandments of the strict father. Career women challenge the power and authority of the strict father. Both should be punished by bearing the child; neither should be able to avoid the consequences of their actions, which would violate the strict father model's idea that morality depends on punishment.

I have to assume his reference to "career women" could also apply to married women who have simply decided not to be mothers; or married women who already have more children than they can afford; or single, working women whose lives cannot accommodate children for whatever reason, and there are more reasons than one can count.

The notion of punishment informs much of the anti-choice position, consequences, and behind that what has to be a certain pride-of-penis surrounding impregnation —"You're nailed; live with it"— and a felt insult to such pride, when a woman chooses to be free. "How dare you not submit to his power to determine your life!"

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

Kerry, to underline my point about the politics of conscience, I totally support the woman's right to choose and our duty to support her in her conscience. That said, I also believe that conscience is less rational than intuitional in many ways, so I avoid trying to prescribe "choices" and also arguments that trivialize life. "Choice" is a funny partner to grace, and guilt/innocence is a distraction. Not wanting a pregnancy can be a very sound moral choice, but it can also be tinged with tragedy and foreclosed options. My point is that no one who holds the life of another in her hands has more invested in "the victim" than the pregnant woman. The fetus gets the best consideration of any victim of socially sanctioned killing.

DRC, I see 'individual rights' as rationally acknowledging each conscience to act on its own (and against any governmentally, or politically, impositional, or, more to the point, 'lack of impositional', manner). While you say that each one's conscience is more 'intuitional' than it is 'rational', the point of the political position in such cases as abortion is not what motivate each one to act (or not), but what political incentive should be placed on that (or not)--and the motives behind that. And, I strongly suspect if such motives are not cased in such politically rational terms (especially with respect to 'rights' for each individual), then whatever was supposedly an 'intuition in personal conscience' can be easily turned into a 'passionate cause to socially impose'--in fact, I think the analogies that I give to war's 'causes' are in line with how this can work.

Similar to the Nazi Field Marshall Hermann Goering quote from the Nuremburg trials that I often use with Goering saying how 'it's easy to get the people to go along with war by claiming them to being attacked by the enemy and, then, disclaiming all the naysayers as being unpatriotic', this 'war on abortion' can be used to claim how this is 'victimizing our future generations and anyone who claims otherwise is without concerns to the plights of the innocent and a response is an act of conscience'. In fact, just like one 'not supporting the war' is being 'unpatriotic', one 'not supporting the life of every unborn child' in this 'war on abortion' is being 'unconscientious'. To not rationally see this as a matter of choice (and 'rights) in its political (and governmental) context is to lend it to a matter of no choice--with the impositional claim as in war that to think otherwise is a strike against patriotism and social conscience.

You speak of 'arguments that trivialize life'--but you seem to have no problem with 'trivializing individual conscience' by not, once and for all, claiming such as a right to each individual. Now, politically, when can it not be considered an individual's right to act on their own? Why, of course, when the one they are acting on has their own rights. See how this all gets back to the justification to impose or not on someone else? In any communal, social or personal context? I do think that 'rights' get down to an obligation not to impose--or, at least, not to impose against. And, if that isn't a rational consideration in its political context, just like the issue of abortion indicates to me, its emotional context socially imposed can be just as oppressive and dogmatic as any irrational social imposition--as is war in most cases.

The only thing that I think needs to be considered is exactly what I've said--when does a human life with rights begin? While I like some of what Zenzoe says, I cannot agree to the idea that 'all animals have rights as suffering beings' in a human political context. If that were the case, we'd have to outlaw eating meat--and I'm not in agreement with that.....now, we can all agree that, in certain cases, some animals are treated horrendously--but, I think that such issues are best judged on a case by case basis and to extrapolate that to approaching this as if animals have 'political, and individual, rights' sort of trivializes rights to me. Exactly, by the way, in the same line that, if we are to see fetuses having 'rights to life at conception' but, then, allow abortion, that 'trivializes the right to life' to me. If that is really going to be the decision this comes down to, there is no choice...as Roe vs. Wade oral arguments point out, if the 'right to life at conception' is the case, then all elective abortions should be illegal.....and I don't think any form of intuition can preempt that very rationally important point about 'individual rights to each individual'--especially considering it in the context of the reasons to give for government to impose against any individual's actions....however, with that being said, I think I have already given several rational reasons why a 'right to life' is NOT 'a given' from conception from both a natural and an historically social (or 'communal') perspective....

Now, when it comes down to each individual 'judging another's abortion' ('rights' or not--but, again, I rather it be 'rights' always), the only contention I would place on that is whether that individual can imagine themselves in a situation where they could be pregnant with a child that they may realize is 'more a burden than a blessing'. If that is the case, and you agree that a human life with rights does not begin at conception, then, removing such a choice for someone else is, as I've said, a hypocritical lie (since you can envision it for yourself)--and, as many of the Christians here that have read the Bible should recognize, the only person that Jesus--a man of God, love, and community for your fellow man (or woman)--spoke against was the hypocrite....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:

To begin with your premise is biased and false. According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, life doesn't begin with a fertilized egg, but rather with the sperm.

Well, I have read that it was also assumed that, once sperm were able to be seen at all by the microscope, theologians speculated that each one of the sperm represented a homunculus--or miniature and exact replica of a human body. While that may hold some credence with the 'poetry of the pious' as a rather coarse analogy to the 'propagation of human life', its factual nature is, of course, absolutely wrong--and, while they knew it took a woman to 'complete the propagation', it was quite a while later in natural history (and such encompassing 'scientific explanations') that man gained the notion that the sperm was actually only 'half the picture of the propagation'--the ovum, or egg, from the female was just as important (in fact, in nature, exactly so).

As far as with respect to 'right to life' being at conception or birth, as my discussion with that lawyer from California brought out years ago, we had discussed just when it was considered the case when, if one were to believe in such concepts, a soul entered the body (with the idea, then, being 'as a soul', it had 'the right to life'). Was that in its cellular stage or sometime later? In that discussion, I do remember reading one source that said that even the Catholic Church doctrine did not have a soul entering a body until 'quickening'--or the first time that the mother could feel the fetus move--which is about 20 weeks (or half-way through a normal pregnancy). As I've stated that lawyer from California, a devout Catholic, disagreed--and not only had the souls entering at conception but, also, if the fetus died before birth, had them go to heaven and even have their parents (who would have never seen such fetuses in life) be able to recognize them when the parents got to heaven.

Of course, concurrant to the difficulties involved in mixing religious doctrine (especially Original Sin) with either natural science or political motives, one of the posters those many years ago suggested that, since people always proved their individual potential to be and do evil in this world when they get here, maybe aborting these children before they had the opportunity to express such potential is doing them a favor. That way, they can always be guaranteed a seat in heaven instead of the permanent condemnation of them in hell once the 'trials of this life' prove them unworthy of the placement in heaven....might as well thwart the effort before they prove themselves wrong....so, in line with miscarriages being 'God's abortions', elective abortions could be seen as 'abortions for God'.....an interesting take on a political-theological dilemma that I think points out that 'the call to grace' (that you, DRC, say Original Sin is to represent) really doesn't belong in real theory of natural science or what I see as the best basis for any potential political imposition to be rationally discussed against its negating 'individual righs' perspective, DRC.....even as I will acknowledge that it can belong in any consideration of what 'God' is--or what 'God' is to mean......in that context, a 'call to grace' is a poetic reality of the divine potential....however, the human judgment and actions in, and of, Original Sin (especially in its natural or political context) does NOT match that potential.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

The only thing that I think needs to be considered is exactly what I've said--when does a human life with rights begin? While I like some of what Zenzoe says, I cannot agree to the idea that 'all animals have rights as suffering beings' in a human political context. If that were the case, we'd have to outlaw eating meat--and I'm not in agreement with that.....now, we can all agree that, in certain cases, some animals are treated horrendously--but, I think that such issues are best judged on a case by case basis and to extrapolate that to approaching this as if animals have 'political, and individual, rights' sort of trivializes rights to me.

The notion that an ethical stance granting to animals rights, or recognizing the interests of animals from the perspective of the animals, "trivializes rights" implies human chauvinism, a mind-set long-overdue for extinction. Where is it written that the interests of human beings exceed all others in significance, weight and importance? It is written in the Bible, yes, an old, man-made rant flawed by human and male chauvinism. Isn't it time to flush such human-centric notions from our systems, given that they inform so much of what ails the planet, our ecosystems, our economic systems and the rest?

When I mentioned animal rights, I did not suggest banning meat. Rather, I suggested a look at the perverse, poisonous nature of the industrial system that produces meat. If we are to ban anything, it would be to ban animal torture in the service of human consumption. I also question the consumption of a "product" obtained by the abuse of animals. Perhaps, you, Kerry, as a libertarian type, see no ethical dilemma surrounding support for an unethical industrial system via your diet, but I do. I have decided I cannot in good conscience benefit from such evil. Given that my vegetarian diet choice presents no danger to my health, it is more than satisfactory for me to make that choice; in fact, it is a highly healing and healthy, happy choice.

I see no point in discussing abortion as an ethical issue in a how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin manner. For one thing, it excludes participants, is elitist and reduces the discussion to a two-person event. My approach is a utilitarian one, utilitarianism being an established ethical theory where "the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome." I'm not being absolute about it at all (I am not a philosopher), but when it comes to "when does a human life with rights begin?" or whether animals have self-interests worthy of our concern, I go there; that is, I say, when does suffering begin, and who/what suffers the most by our choices? It's not about who is superior, necessarily, and who has status in the equation; it is about the question of looking at all considerations of suffering and deciding, no matter how difficult it may be, what our most ethical choice should be.

Of course, at a certain point of a pregnancy, specifically in the 1st trimester, a woman can rightly be insulted to be told her suffering must take second fiddle to that of her fetus. After the 1st trimester, or when a fetus grows beyond the insensate protoplasm stage, the picture grows more complex too, and a woman, her doctor and a humane community must consider the life within her as well, not to give it supreme importance, but at least to consider it.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Isn't it time to flush such human-centric notions from our systems, given that they inform so much of what ails the planet, our ecosystems, our economic systems and the rest?

I think that there are a whole lot of things that 'ail the planet, ecosystem, and economy' outside of 'concerns to animals' (as if that were the same as 'concerns for humans'), Zenzoe. Perhaps in the Biblical context of Jesus' 'if you do it to the least of these, you do it to me' concept, you might could argue how humans treat animals correlates to how humans treat any life--however, I would much rather first be concerned more with how humans can treat their own children--then, and only then, can you go on to claim 'treatment of animals (or fetuses)' as a primary part of a discussion on the woes of human behavior. I don't see that position as much 'chauvinistic' as I do morally and ethically practical, also. Plus, I was raised on a ranch. If I'm going to have to consider how farm animals are treated with respect to how humans should be treated, I'm going to think that 'the bar has been raised beyond any rational consideration' as to any appropriate code of conduct considering 'treatment of animals as if human'. And, Zenzoe, you are talking to a man that has never liked to hunt--but, does like to eat meat (which I guess does appear to be a little disingenuous and hypocritical to some--did I say that I was absent any potential to hypocrisy? I'm not perfect and I like to eat meat. I would see it as more hypocritical if I ate meat and was 'so concerned over the rights of animals' as if human. I don't eat humans--even though I acknowledge that humans may 'naturally' contain a rather cannibalistic potential in many ways...especially in groups or tribes....).

Quote Zenzoe:

If we are to ban anything, it would be to ban animal torture in the service of human consumption.

I guess that depends upon your concept of 'torture'--is all death 'against the animal's will' 'torture'? Or, is it just the method of killing them?

Quote Zenzoe:

Perhaps, you, Kerry, as a libertarian type, see no ethical dilemma surrounding support for an unethical industrial system via your diet, but I do.

Oh, I see. Here comes that 'condemnation of libertarianism', again. Have you been talking to Ulysses?....8^).....

I'll say it, again, my concept of 'libertarianism' means 'prioritizing individual rights' in its political and governmental context. If you are claiming something else superceding such an incentive for government, I would like to hear its description. Things like 'new paradigms' and 'community spirit' don't register in my 'libertarian thought' as preemptive political concepts of a political structure that I at least once thought meant 'rights granted by the Creator (ie. naturally present)' in which 'good government was to secure and guarantee'. Is that to now include such 'rights' to (or 'concerns for') 'animals' as a 'new paradigm thought'? And, for the record, I think I have shown in the years that I have been in thomland that I am as much against 'prioritizing in government the processes of industry' as anyone else here....

Quote Zenzoe:

Given that my vegetarian diet choice presents no danger to my health, it is more than satisfactory for me to make that choice; in fact, it is a highly healing and healthy, happy choice.

Good for you. However, am I to get from that that you would impose on another that feels just as much about their 'happy choice' that they do eat meat? Along that same line, if it's a 'happy choice' for you to have the child you are pregnant with, would you impose that will on 'the choice' of another who may not feel in lockstep with such conditions in their pregnancy? Again, if that's what you feel is the preeminent moral and ethical principle of human society, then, yes, you need to grant 'animal rights' just as others may grant 'fetal rights' as if in line with 'rights of human life'--and get government to impose in that fashion. I disagree with that in context and content on both counts--and I don't think it's because I am a 'chauvinist'.

Quote Zenzoe:

I see no point in discussing abortion as an ethical issue in a how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin manner. For one thing, it excludes participants, is elitist and reduces the discussion to a two-person event.

I don't see human rights as an 'how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin' matter. Although I'm guessing that you must have gotten that idea from my discussion of 'souls' with that California lawyer--in that particular conversation, I was just trying to place the matter in a context that I thought this devout Catholic--admittedly male--person could relate to in discussing 'individual rights'--by the way, we came away from that discussion in agreement that what he may deem as a 'religious context of personhood' is NOT the same as what can be gained as a 'political context of personhood'--and I believe both of us were comfortable--from a politically ethical, if not a piously moral, perspective--as we both agreed to the premise of 'separation of church and state' in the issue of what political rights to humans meant....

As far as with respect to this being a 'two-person event', I believe all decisions about a mother pregnant with her child that she may be considering aborting is a 'two-person event'--and I think that's a very practical, truly realistic, and primary incentive, to such a predicament (unless, and until, you grant fetuses 'the right to life at conception' by law--and, then, there are going to be some of us that still question that). The only other people that I think should be involved in that decision-making process are that pregnant woman's loved ones (if she asks for such assistance) and that pregnant woman's doctor. But,. maybe that's 'too libertarian' for this board.....

Quote Zenzoe:

My approach is a utilitarian one, utilitarianism being an established ethical theory where "the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome." I'm not being absolute about it at all (I am not a philosopher), but when it comes to "when does a human life with rights begin?" or whether animals have self-interests worthy of our concern, I go there; that is, I say, when does suffering begin, and who/what suffers the most by our choices? It's not about who is superior, necessarily, and who has status in the equation; it is about the question of looking at all considerations of suffering and deciding, no matter how difficult it may be, what our most ethical choice should be.

OK, Zenzoe, I'm not in disagreement with much of your concerns of such 'suffering'--but, when it comes to 'ethical choices', if there are no such things as 'rights' (with the point of 'rights' being having no authority to impose against another's 'choices'), how are you ascertaining that those who claim to be 'imposing for the sufferers' are managing to 'remove suffering' as they impose--or in their manner of imposing? What type of imposition--or reason to do such imposition--removes all 'suffering', Zenzoe? In fact, from such a practical aspect as yours, what's your definition of suffering that preempts the choice of the one you are imposing against? Don't be quite so dismissive of what 'rights' mean in this equation.....like DRC, in abortion's case, it appears that you will be offering excuses that can be used against your very own 'anti-abortion' position if 'rights' (to not be imposed upon or against) have nothing to do with it....

Quote Zenzoe:

Of course, at a certain point of a pregnancy, specifically in the 1st trimester, a woman can rightly be insulted to be told her suffering must take second fiddle to that of her fetus. After the 1st trimester, or when a fetus grows beyond the insensate protoplasm stage, the picture grows more complex too, and a woman, her doctor and a humane community must consider the life within her as well, not to give it supreme importance, but at least to consider it.

Case in point to exactly what I am talking about, Zenzoe. And, even as you say you don't like this being a 'two-person event', especially with respect to a mother considering her responsibilities in raising a child that she may not want, what's a 'humane community's' response to such a dilemma? Force her to have the child anyway--and, then, feel guilty about her own thoughts and feelings on the subject (I think 'the philosophy' of Original Sin permeates a lot of 'social thought' on this as well as other issues of 'community')? Raise that child for her as a 'community'? Despite what Hillary Clinton may have said in this matter, what 'community' can actually do that without a person taking the responsibility in place of that mother (or 'parent-raiser' if you think that 'too chauvinistic') and call it 'humane'? Are 'we' now going to say it is 'humane' to raise children in herds like animals?

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, by a "how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin" discussion, I meant a convoluted, pseudo-highbrow discussion, stated in dense terms without the sort of clarity which would welcome all who come here to read, resulting in a "two-person" discussion. However, no offense intended; do as you please, of course.

I get the impression you're ignorant about our meat production system. And I am not in a mood to describe it to you. But, until you know what goes on there, what's the point of arguing the issue with you? All I see resulting from that is futility. Let me know when you've educated yourself.

Btw, I have no problem with meat-eating, if the animals in question were raised and slaughtered humanely, and if the system of raising and caring for animals did not create environmental degradation and pollution, as well as contribute greatly to global warming. As it is, though, we have quite a different reality.

I'll be back. Gotta go.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I get the impression you're ignorant about our meat production system. And I am not in a mood to describe it to you. But, until you know what goes on there, what's the point of arguing the issue with you? All I see resulting from that is futility. Let me know when you've educated yourself.

I know of Upton Sinclair's book, The Jungle, if that's anything to you. And, like Thom Hartmann points out in his book(s), Unequal Protection, I know how 'governmental regulators' in many cases come from the very industries that they are 'regulating'. My brother, a Ron Paul-supporting libertarian, has also informed me how Monsanto has 'patented' its genetically-modified grains and, then, used such 'patents' to oust any small farmers in costly court proceedings whose fields might have become cross-pollenated with their 'patented grain'. I know how it works. Maybe you missed this point:

And, for the record, I think I have shown in the years that I have been in thomland that I am as much against 'prioritizing in government the processes of industry' as anyone else here....

But, I know how people like to address labels without addressing what the people who even use those labels have to say (about the issues at hand--as well as the labels--since I have now explained what I mean by 'libertarianism').

Quote Zenzoe:

Btw, I have no problem with meat-eating, if the animals in question were raised and slaughtered humanely,

As I've asked, what does 'slaughtered humanely' mean to you?

'Rights' seems to be too much of a 'libertarian concept' for you to consider--but, how does a 'humane community' impose against another person 'humanely' if they don't want such impositions? Not to mention how a 'community' raises a child without someone taking responsibility.....and care.....are you into 'herding humans' in a 'humane (communal) way'? Or, is that 'too libertarian' for you? Too 'two-person event' for you?

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Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, I don't know what you mean by 'prioritizing in government the processes of industry." Does that mean "government policies favor industry?"

You ask, "what does 'slaughtered humanely' mean to you?" To respond, let me ask you this: if you had to be slaughtered, what method do you think you would prefer; which manner of being slaughtered yourself would feel humane? Would you choose to be knocked unconscious before having your throat slit? Would you like to be taken by surprise, while going about your business among your friends, and be the first to die so that you don't have to watch others being slaughtered? Or would you prefer to be crushed to death by a massive mechanical smasher, along with several other humans, all whom are screaming in terror and pain, then sent out a shoot all tidily pressed dead and prepared for butchering, as is done to pigs in pig factories every day someplace in the United States of America? (See Food, Inc., the documentary.)

I put it that way, because we have to understand that animals have much the same anatomical systems and nervous systems as humans (they too have a temporal lobe, an insular cortex, i.e., emotions), thus, we have to understand that they feel pain and experience discomfort, both physically and emotionally, in much the same way as we do. Also, many, that is, most, mammals have consciousness, as Peter Singer explains it here (and this is a good place to start): The Ethics of What We Eat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHzwqf_JkrA&feature=related  What I am saying is that you cannot put animals in a separate category from humans and ask a question that assumes their suffering is somehow less than ours, and so it is okay to cause their suffering, because "they don't really suffer like we do," and we're so superior, we're entitled to satisfy our taste for animal fat and flesh any way we like, without considering the ethics of our choices.

I'm afraid I don't understand your last paragraph at number 71. First, I don't get why you say, "'Rights' seems to be too much of a 'libertarian concept' for you to consider..." What does that mean? When did I say I wouldn't discuss rights? And the rest...you seem to imply that a "community" doesn't have a collective interest in the behavior of individuals, or have a right to impose community standards on individuals. But I am just guessing. Surely, you cannot realistically believe in anarchy, in living without laws, or regulations, or legal protections against abuses of all kinds, or traffic lights, or laws against drunk driving, or laws for the protection of children from child sex abuse? That is, why would laws prohibiting injury to individuals be against individual "rights?" Can we talk about balance, about reason? Or is this an absolute question?

I'll leave it there, because I'm only guessing as to your meanings.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Well, I have read that it was also assumed that, once sperm were able to be seen at all by the microscope, theologians speculated that each one of the sperm represented a homunculus--or miniature and exact replica of a human body.

In your case, it was most certainly true, because, you see, intellectually and epistemologically speaking, you are indeed a homunculus, a half-formed little manchild whose ability to reason rationally has obviously been destroyed by absorption of chemicals pumped into the Texas watershed by those wonderful Libertarian maquiladora industries.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
I'm not perfect

You don't mean to say!...

I don't eat humans--even though I acknowledge that humans may 'naturally' contain a rather cannibalistic potential in many ways...especially in groups or tribes....).

What is the Law? Not to eat humans! What is the Law? Not to kill humans! What is the law? Not to run on all fours! Back to the House of Pain with him!

I guess that depends upon your concept of 'torture'

It's kinda like Justice Brennan's definition of obscenity. You can't succinctly define it, but you'll know it when you experience it.

Oh, I see. Here comes that 'condemnation of libertarianism', again. Have you been talking to Ulysses?....8^).....

None of the sane people here have to rely on talking to me to figure out that you're a halfwit. That's self-evident by the content of the drek you pump out, page after page after page after page...ZZZ! ZZZ! ZZZ! ZZZ! ZZZ! ZZZ! ZZZ! I know you can't help yourself, but you really ought to give humanity a break and either remain calm and quiet or stay inside of your home at all times, or, preferably, both. (And why did you misuse ellipses and put that stupid number eight at the end of your question?)

I'll say it, again, my concept of 'libertarianism' means 'prioritizing individual rights' in its political and governmental context. If you are claiming something else superceding such an incentive for government, I would like to hear its description.

That's "superseding," Old Boy!

I don't see human rights as an 'how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin' matter.

Odd. That's how you belabor everything else. Although in your case, I must say that the discussion should not revolve around "fetal matters," but rather, "fecal matters," and you should know that if anybody in this thread, to which you've parasitically attached yourself, wants any fecal matter from you, they'll simply squeeze your head.

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Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

...it appears that you will be offering excuses that can be used against your very own 'anti-abortion' position...

Kerry, when did you come to the conclusion I am "anti-abortion?" My agreement with laws regulating abortion after a fetus reaches viability does not make me anti-abortion; nor does it mean I would agree with taking the decision from the woman and her doctor and hand it over to an impersonal court (I am against "partial-birth abortion" bans, for example.). My understanding of such regulations is that "after fetal viability, the state has acquired a 'compelling' interest in 'potential life' and could prohibit abortion altogether 'except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.'" So, you see, viability is important, because not only can the fetus survive separate from its mother, but it can experience pain. Thus, we would wish to preserve the life and health of the mother, first and foremost; but, at a certain point, it becomes unethical to willy-nilly terminate pregnancies based solely on whim.

Naturally, in the best of all possible worlds, access to birth control and abortion would be available to all and not represent undue hardship, cost, fear or shame. Thus, as soon as a woman, or child, realizes she is faced with an unwanted pregnancy, she can choose to have an abortion right away, before it's too late. As it is, however, access has become more and more difficult, given right-wing craziness, lack of funding and the rest; also, a young teen might not have the mental and emotional wherewithal to come to terms with her situation in good time; she might have a strict parent, as well, one she might be fearful of confiding in. Such realities argue for a liberal approach to the timing of abortions, so that the law does not become a draconian instrument for the punishment of "sin."

Quote Kerry:...

...what's a 'humane community's' response to such a dilemma? ... Raise that child for her as a 'community'? Despite what Hillary Clinton may have said in this matter, what 'community' can actually do that without a person taking the responsibility in place of that mother (or 'parent-raiser' if you think that 'too chauvinistic') and call it 'humane'? Are 'we' now going to say it is 'humane' to raise children in herds like animals?

Hillary Clinton's meme, "it takes a village" makes a lot of sense in this context, so I don't know why you would dismiss it. Certainly, only an inhumane community would leave a woman deprived, poor and alone to raise an "unwanted" child. Not only do children have the right to be loved and cared for, but a child's family also has the right to support from a humane community, so that the family can provide love and care for their children. If the law ensures that a viable fetus be brought to term, then the law should provide for that child after it is born. But that's just my personal opinion on the matter.

I too consider our current "community" inhumane, in so many ways. I don't think I need to count the ways.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Kerry, I don't know what you mean by 'prioritizing in government the processes of industry." Does that mean "government policies favor industry?"

Yes, it does. There seems to be an assumption among some here that my claim on libertarianism means no government and pro-industry. If that is what they assume, they haven't read much of what I have written here in thomland. I suspect they are taking the word 'libertarian' and then prejudging me on their preconceived notions of that. I'll say it, again--the word 'libertarian' to me means 'prioritizing individual rights'--and, until that is simultaneously 'everyone's priority', it will take something like government to secure and guarantee it--even define it (but that also takes in structures in government that allow the common man's input such as jury review and jury nullification).

Quote Zenzoe:

You ask, "what does 'slaughtered humanely' mean to you?" To respond, let me ask you this: if you had to be slaughtered, what method do you think you would prefer; which manner of being slaughtered yourself would feel humane?

I like your tactics in having the person define it in and of themselves--that is one basis I use to individually determine moral and ethical principles. But, if I'm 'having to be slaughtered', do I get a choice? And, would it be more 'humane' if I did? For someone who claims to be 'practically ethical', I think that's missing a lot of reality out of being 'slaughtered'--are you implying that a 'pain-free slaugtering is more humane'? I would rather face it for what it is (and prevent it in those who have rights to life in a civil setting--but realize that its civility is quite limited in settings where it occurs--and may be warranted for other reasons) than try to coat it with an incentive that it does not have...

Quote Zenzoe:

What I am saying is that you cannot put animals in a separate category from humans and ask a question that assumes their suffering is somehow less than ours....

I can if I condone killing to eat animals but don't condone killing to eat humans....not in a typical civil setting....

Quote Zenzoe:

First, I don't get why you say, "'Rights' seems to be too much of a 'libertarian concept' for you to consider..." What does that mean?

When you said this, Zenzoe:

Quote Zenzoe:

...Perhaps, you, Kerry, as a libertarian type, see no ethical dilemma surrounding support for an unethical industrial system via your diet, but I do. I have decided I cannot in good conscience benefit from such evil. Given that my vegetarian diet choice presents no danger to my health, it is more than satisfactory for me to make that choice; in fact, it is a highly healing and healthy, happy choice.

I see no point in discussing abortion as an ethical issue in a how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin manner. For one thing, it excludes participants, is elitist and reduces the discussion to a two-person event. My approach is a utilitarian one, utilitarianism being an established ethical theory where "the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome." I'm not being absolute about it at all (I am not a philosopher), but when it comes to "when does a human life with rights begin?" or whether animals have self-interests worthy of our concern, I go there; that is, I say, when does suffering begin, and who/what suffers the most by our choices? It's not about who is superior, necessarily, and who has status in the equation; it is about the question of looking at all considerations of suffering and deciding, no matter how difficult it may be, what our most ethical choice should be.

I got from that reading that you don't seem to believe rights to humans--especially when does a human life with rights begin--was the whole point of the abortion issue, Zenzoe. In fact, it appeared to me that you were even brushing off the concept of rights as you profess to determine the 'practical nature of suffering'. In abortion's case, Zenzoe, who gets to determine that? You don't seem to like the 'two person event' of it--so, again, it appears that 'rights' is not the basis of how you think the abortion issue should be resolved. Seems like you are making it 'libertarian' to be 'so cold' as 'to think in rights'--maybe I'm overreading what you are saying but that seems like what you are saying.

Have you heard about Initiative 26 in Mississippi being decided today? Do you realize what that initiative is trying to do? It's trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade by making the state of Mississippi define 'life' as 'beginning at conception'. If that is passed, that will establish it as an individual right--and, as the oral arguments of Roe vs. Wade noted, if the 'right to life at conception' is the way to see these rights between pregnant mother and fetus, then, all laws allowing abortion anywhere in the nation will have to be knocked down. Individual rights preempt any state or federal agency from being able to impose against them--and, as Roe vs. Wade noted, 'the right to life' preempts all other 'rights' (you cannot have any other right if you don't have 'the right to life'). In the time of the deliberation of Roe vs. Wade, it was noted that the fetus did not have 'the right to life' at conception in any scientific (or, as far as I'm concerned, any natural or historical cultural) manner--and, since that was the case, then, since California and New York already allowed elective abortion all the way to term at the time, the right of the pregnant woman had to be considered and, if noted as a right, allowed in all states in the United States--and you know how they 'split the decision' then....but, if one state like Mississippi gives the fetus the 'right to life at conception', now the Supreme Court will have to decide if that is, indeed, an individual right that will preempt any state or federal government from imposing upon it by allowing elective abortions at all. Don't disregard how important 'rights' are in a legal context...at least, in the context of a form of natural-law legality (vs. the claim that 'rights' only exist if states or federal governments 'grant them'--which, of course, goes directly against the Declaration of Independence's point that such 'individual rights' are to be 'granted by the Creator'--or, in other words, already exist 'naturally').

Quote Zenzoe:

And the rest...you seem to imply that a "community" doesn't have a collective interest in the behavior of individuals, or have a right to impose community standards on individuals.

They do if the individual does NOT have a right to prevent that community from imposing. In abortion's case, up until now, that 'right' was granted the pregnant woman in any state in the nation to have an elective abortion in the 1st trimester--regardless of 'community standards'. Are you saying that you now want 'community standards' to decide this issue? Contrarily, Roe vs. Wade left any potential 'fetal rights' up to each state and do not grant the fetus any rights to life until birth--however, after the 1st trimester, 'community standards' could impose against the pregnant mother on behalf of the fetus. However, now, if Initiative 26 in Mississippi is passed, there will be one state that establishes 'fetal right to life at conception'--if that occurs, hide and watch, and see what the Supreme Court could do with 'abortion rights' all over the nation with that--and remember what I am saying about 'rights' right now....especially 'individual rights'....

Quote Zenzoe:

Surely, you cannot realistically believe in anarchy, in living without laws, or regulations, or legal protections against abuses of all kinds, or traffic lights, or laws against drunk driving, or laws for the protection of children from child sex abuse?

Is it 'anarchy, living without laws, or regulations, or legal protections against abuses of all kinds' to grant individual rights (to real individuals), Zenzoe? It's those very 'individual rights' that prevents the abuses of government impositions even if claiming a 'community standard' to do so. The whole issue of abortion makes that abundantly clear to me--I'm not quite sure what you are claiming with 'community standards' (unless you also claim it takes local, state, or federal, laws to 'grant' them--which, of course, negates the whole point against being abused by such regulations if they can be seen to oppress an individual right as 'granted'--whether you see that as improperly preventing a woman from getting an abortion if she wants one that is prevented by law, or improperly preventing a fetus from life by artificial means even if allowed by law--if you don't see that point, then you and I have a different idea on what 'individual rights' means....).

And, while you are claiming how much 'I' am so 'libertarian' about this 'individual rights' thing as you claim 'community standards', all I need to say to you, Zenzoe, is Initiative 26 in Mississippi--if that passes, hide and watch, just like Roe vs. Wade, 'rights' on the elective abortion issue will be 'front and center' in the Supreme Court--but this time, 'fetal rights to life at conception' not the 'mother's right to an elective abortion in any state during the 1st trimester'. 'Individual rights' preempt any state or federal government to impose upon them--regardless of 'community standards'--and, frankly, I think that is exactly the way it should be....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Kerry, when did you come to the conclusion I am "anti-abortion?"

You're right, that was a misstatement on my part. Let me re-write it:

Don't be quite so dismissive of what 'rights' mean in this equation.....like DRC, in abortion's case, it appears that you will be offering excuses that can be used against your very own 'pro-abortion' position if 'rights' (to not be imposed upon or against) have nothing to do with it....

And, if you'll read my post above this, maybe you can see why I say this....maybe not....are 'rights' to be considered 'too libertarian' for your 'community-standard' position?

Quote Zenzoe:

Thus, we would wish to preserve the life and health of the mother, first and foremost; but, at a certain point, it becomes unethical to willy-nilly terminate pregnancies based solely on whim.

Texas has always outlawed elective abortions passed 20 weeks--and I have no problem with that. However, I think it a rational approach to any potential 'right to life' for the fetus because it is the earliest that a fetus has survived outside of the womb. I really don't think that you really need to get to the 'feelings of the fetus', otherwise, on this for the same reason that I don't really think that you can 'humanely slaughter' in any respect. How do you know a fetus cannot 'feel' at any time during the pregnancy? And, if that fetus has a 'right to life', you should be considering not just from 'the feeling' perspective, you should be considering it from a 'rights' perspective. If you think I'm wrong with that, wait and see what happens if Initiative 26 passes in Mississippi.....

Do we 'humanely kill' anyone in war, Zenzoe? Where's the civility and 'feeling' there? Even for innocents? Are you claiming as many 'rights' for our human enemies in such circumstances of war as you are animals? Should you? Can you? Some things in reality just aren't 'humane'--the issue is to determine which ones should be--'slaughtering' is never 'humane'.....I guess, in a 'feeling' manner, you could argue that there should never be 'slaughtering'--but, then, I thought you said your ethics was practical and based on what does happen in reality? 'Feeling' to me doesn't address the issue as well as 'rights' do to me....I have a lot of 'feeling' for suffering that I cannot control, otherwise....Can I really get others to 'feel' that way? Can I believe them even if they say they do? 'Rights' is a more practical and pervasive issue to discuss politically, I truly believe. I would rather have someone talk to me in terms of 'proper rights' than 'proper feelings' in a political context--'proper rights' can have 'proper feelings'--but 'proper feelings' may not have 'proper rights'....especially if the 'feelings' aren't mutual and empathetic......it all depends upon who gets to define 'proper' as far as 'feelings' go--and they might not be the same. We are more able to come to an agreement on 'proper rights' in a political context...

Quote Zenzoe:

Certainly, only an inhumane community would leave a woman deprived, poor and alone to raise an "unwanted" child.

Yeah, but 'community standards' (that may relate to 'proper feelings for the fetus') certainly may prevent the woman from having an elective abortion if they decide the woman has no right to an abortion and the fetus does have a right to life at conception---and still do nothing to help raise that child and still 'feel good' about it. And, that might go right along with your 'slaughtering humanely'. That's why I would rather talk in terms of 'rights' when it comes to political actions--not 'feelings'--and, sorry, I don't give animals the same rights.

Quote Zenzoe:

Not only do children have the right to be loved and cared for, but a child's family also has the right to support from a humane community,

Yeah, but you can grant one person a right to decide whether that fetus will have love and care the needs--and act accordingly. You CANNOT give a 'whole community' the duty to care for that child as if that child had that 'right'. You can try and impose it--but, if it takes imposition, it's not going to be very good care....

Quote Zenzoe:

If the law ensures that a viable fetus be brought to term, then the law should provide for that child after it is born. But that's just my personal opinion on the matter.

And, a good opinion it is. But, you cannot impose 'care for a child' in the community or the mother--and, if the potential mother doesn't feel it enough to offer it voluntarily, you're going to have to respect that mother's feelings and opinion and allow 'the slaughter' (unless Initiative 26 in Mississippi preempts this with a new 'right to life at conception'--and, if that happens, watch how 'rights' will return to the Supreme Court--front and center). And, that's just my opinion on the matter.

Quote Zenzoe:

I too consider our current "community" inhumane, in so many ways. I don't think I need to count the ways.

No argument there--now, how can we practically handle such an ethical and moral dilemma as the issue of 'unwanted children in the world'? Knowing that you cannot 'make them be wanted'--by the community--or the mother.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Even in the Babble Belt, sanity occasionally wins through. The majority of voters in Mississippi found the wisdom to reject the so-called "Personhood Initiative." Outstanding! It's amazing what can be achieved when the Republicans are unable to rig the vote counts.

Ulysses's picture
Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well, it will come again...does anyone here believe 'rights' have to be determined by 'community standards'? Not, 'naturally existing'.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Ulysses:

Even in the Babble Belt, sanity occasionally wins through. The majority of voters in Mississippi found the wisdom to reject the so-called "Personhood Initiative." Outstanding! It's amazing what can be achieved when the Republicans are unable to rig the vote counts.

Yay Mississippi!!!

Kerry, just off the top of my head, in reading your responses, it does appear you're pushing an either/or option: EITHER "rights" determine our standards and choices surrounding ethics, OR "feeling." What you don't seem to allow for is the possibility of considering both, and more.

It looks to me like we agree, in fact. You have no problem with laws restricting abortion after 20 weeks; me too. You do not see a problem with abortion before 20 weeks; me too. So, what's the problem? Those angels dancing on a pin?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

I'll say it, again--the word 'libertarian' to me means 'prioritizing individual rights'--and, until that is simultaneously 'everyone's priority', it will take something like government to secure and guarantee it--even define it (but that also takes in structures in government that allow the common man's input such as jury review and jury nullification).

So when, for you, do community standards take precedence over individual rights? I do believe you have mentioned a few. But, for example, say a private property owner’s actions create pollution or threats to the community’s rights to a clean environment; will you side with the community over the “individual rights” of the property owner to be free of government intrusion into his private affairs, or his “privacy?” I will side with the community, even though I share your love of individual rights, whereas a true libertarian will not.

Quote Kerry:
...if I'm 'having to be slaughtered', do I get a choice? And, would it be more 'humane' if I did? ...are you implying that a 'pain-free slaugtering is more humane'? I would rather face it for what it is (and prevent it in those who have rights to life in a civil setting--but realize that its civility is quite limited in settings where it occurs--and may be warranted for other reasons) than try to coat it with an incentive that it does not have...

Yes, I am saying pain-free slaughtering is more humane.

The first reality we have to face is that humans are in fact omnivores, are in fact a dominant, predatory species, and will turn to animal protein for sustenance, if given the opportunity. The issue for humans is more complex, however, than for other predatory species: We have a highly complex brain and nervous system; we recognize, and have knowledge of, other sentient beings; we comprehend our prey in a way that other predators do not; we have both the capacity to engineer vast systems for the raising and slaughtering of massive numbers of animals, but we also have the capacity for empathy, for thought, for a critical look at the ethics of those systems. We have a choice, but in the case of the current system of factory farming, the choice has been made: The human appetite for animal flesh takes precedence over animal liberation from suffering. While it is entirely possible to create a food system free of cruelty to animals, humans have chosen brutality. That is to say, the mere fact of your taste buds justifies animal torture. Animal torture is supposedly okay, because of your taste preferences.

Quote Kerry:

...I condone killing to eat animals but don't condone killing to eat humans....

You’re a human chauvinist, that is, you believe humans have higher status and value than animals, and that we have no ethical or moral reasons for regulating our behaviors on behalf of other species and the planet. Human exceptionalism, others call it. Human entitlement.

This is important right now, because the time has come for us to recognize we are not a separate, all-powerful creature of the world, but, rather, that we are a part of the web of life. Unless we get over ourselves, Kerry, we’re going extinct, along with all the other species and ecologies on the planet we’re determined to destroy. It’s that very notion, of our superiority, that is killing the planet.

The food issue, and how we obtain food, or how we produce it, represents an important place for us to change our habits, our mind-set. Withdrawing our support for factory-farmed animal products makes sense right now, as a first step.

Quote Kerry:

...you don't seem to believe rights to humans--especially when does a human life with rights begin--was the whole point of the abortion issue, Zenzoe. In fact, it appeared to me that you were even brushing off the concept of rights as you profess to determine the 'practical nature of suffering'.

For me, the abortion issue definitely concerns rights—the right of women to equality under the law. A society that denies abortion rights to women, denies women equal status with men, denies women equal access to education, that is, essentially, denies women the right to pursue happiness. It’s not so much superior rights over zygotes; it is equal rights with men, to live in freedom from slavery.

However, in any community, whether it is a community of two, three or more individuals, one’s personal, civil rights only extend so far as they bump into someone else’s rights. And that’s where reason comes into play, and where one compromises, thinks about choices and their consequences, and where all concerned must consider the notion of harm and where harm weighs most heavily on individuals, or on the community. In the case of a viable fetus, one must hesitate: not only would an abortion cause “harm” to what is now a sentient being, but one must consider the health-provider as well—any doctor aborting a viable fetus will require a damn good reason for doing so, and I believe they usually do have a good reason, such as the threat to the mother’s life and health the pregnancy represents.

Quote Kerry:

... I really don't think that you really need to get to the 'feelings of the fetus', otherwise, on this for the same reason that I don't really think that you can 'humanely slaughter' in any respect.

Why do you suppose, Kerry, torture shocks the conscious so? Do you think it is because of some abstract notion of rights, such as the right of the individual to be secure in their person? No. It shocks us, because we EMPATHIZE. We know and can imagine such suffering, the actual pain, the terror and horror of it. It’s not some soft-headed, girlie notion about “feelings.” Pain hurts. Suffering hurts. And that’s why it is wrong —immoral and unethical— to inflict it on others, whether the Other is human or animal.

As I said earlier, we cannot do this on an either/or basis. All considerations —individual rights, community standards, ethical standards, consequences and responsibility— all must be part of any conclusion. It’s not easy. It’s not black and white. But common sense has to prevail too, as it did in Mississippi yesterday.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

So when, for you, do community standards take precedence over individual rights?

When it's a 'right', Zenzoe? Without a rationale that addresses such 'rights'--and, then, provides, openly and up front, the reasons and purposes to suspend, or interfere with, such 'rights'--never. In fact, the only reason I would accept as a 'community standard' in 'taking precedence' over individual rights is when it is contending with the individual rights of other people--and doing so openly and up front.

And, there's another aspect of this issue of 'rights' that I think has to be addressed and provided--government cannot 'play favorites with rights'. If there is a context where government is granting some 'rights' but not others, that, itself, tends to oppression--and the whole point about 'rights' is to avoid government (or, as far as I'm concerned, any authoritarian--including corporate) oppression. In the context of the application of medical care in the United States, this I believe is the main point of contention as American medicine is applied today. Why do some get it for free upon demand as if a 'right' and others have to risk bankruptcy for the same service? Government should never be able to 'pick and choose the application of rights' in a democracy supposedly based on 'equal rights'.....either 'all' get it--or it's not a 'right'.....I do believe that was the basis behind the Supreme Court's idea that if a woman is allowed abortions in one state, should she be allowed abortions in all states---in the same manner that if the fetus is granted the right to life from conception in one state, should the fetus be granted the right to life from conception in all states. As I've stated before, note that 'individual rights' are gradated--with the primary 'right' being 'right to life' (without it, no other 'rights' can exist) before any other right. So, if your owner's pollution could be seen as killing some people, that owner's 'right to pollute' is suspended due to the others' 'right to life' being imposed upon by such pollution. By the way, that's another important point of 'rights'--the fact that such 'rights' cannot be imposed upon without specific--open and up front--qualifications (best in my opinion done by comparing how such an imposition is done for others more substantial rights in the gradation of rights--and, as I've described before, abortion offers a perfect example of that).

And 'community standards' should never hold precedence over 'individual rights' as a 'community standard'. Some Supreme Court events concerning personal relationships from real individuals interfered with by 'community standards' prior to Roe vs. Wade I think point this out directly. In some states, it was the law and 'community standard' NOT to allow whites and blacks to intermarry--Loving vs. Virginia stated that interfered with the rights of those to decide who they can marry individually. In some states, it was the law and 'community standard' to prevent women from using birth control, Griswold vs. Connecticut (notice that's not a Southern state) removed the 'community standard ability' of a woman to determine for herself when and what to use as birth control. But, these were all Warren Supreme Court decisions based on 'prioritizing individual rights' to real natural persons--not, as the present Roberts Supreme Court loves to do, claim 'rights' to this artificial concoction called 'corporation' (which, if you can see it this way, just creates an 'impositional standard'--perhaps even statistically determined--against any and all other 'individual rights' in the place of 'community'). Roe vs. Wade goes right along in the context of NOT allowing 'community standards' interfere with a proposed 'individual right'--starting with preventing 'community standards' from interfering with who to marry, when to use birth control, and, now, when to have a conception go all the way to term and birth--extending 'individual rights' to real individuals against any and all 'community standards' to the contrary. Today's consideration of Initiative 26 in MIssissippi is an attempt to establish the 'individual right of the fetus to life from conception' to use, as is always the case when such rights are appropriately gradated, against the pregnant mother's 'right to the pursuit of happiness' against an unwanted child. In that way, the 'community' is reaching into the uterus to 'speak for' the potential life of an entity against someone that is already here that is still responsible for the production of that life. When is that appropriate for 'the community' to do so? If it's 'right to life at conception', it is right at conception--Roe vs. Wade even said that. But, if it's not, 'the community' has no authority to impose against the pregnant woman's decision against having the child. That's the point. The question gets to when does a human life with rights begin. And, to prevent government from being able to 'pick and choose who gets rights and who doesn't' (which is much more likely to be oppressive since it is a defacto implementation against 'equal rights for all'), once it is decided for one, it is decided for all.

Quote Zenzoe:

Yes, I am saying pain-free slaughtering is more humane.

I think 'pain-free slaughtering' is oxymoronic and has nothing to do with humane-ness. Besides that, there is absolutely no objective way to measure the existence of pain--nor how much 'another' is in pain. Some animals could be like some humans and be quite stoic despite the pain--some may be as hysterical as some humans and scream bloody murder over a stumped toe. There is no way to 'objectively measure that'. Those against abortions argue that how can you know that an aborting fetus at any stage in which the fetus is already formed doesn't 'feel the pain of the curette scraping them out'--or the suction unit sucking them out--or the needle injection slowly removing their life before being prematurely induced out. You really want to go there? Be my guest--but, don't be surprised when another Initiative 26 gets passed and, suddenly, 'rights' become the issue with even the Roberts Supreme Court. Some things just aren't 'humane'--and some of those things are judgments and actions done by humans. But, in my opinion, the most politically 'IN-humane' thing to do is have authority impose upon someone who has a 'right' not to be imposed upon--even if done 'for the best of reasons'--even if done by those 'in a community who feel good about it'. I guess I am taking Jesus' point to heart when the only person that Jesus ever spoke against was the hypocrite....the only time you can make a judgment as 'absolute' is if you cannot imagine yourself performing the same action for a good reason....and 'rights of conscience' does take 'an obligation of personal responsibility'--leave it at that when it comes to 'rights' unless you can see it interfering with others 'rights'.....then, a specific judgment needs to be made.....

Quote Zenzoe:

Animal torture is supposedly okay, because of your taste preferences.

And, fetal suffering and death is OK because of the inconvience of the pregnant mother to have this child. Do you really want to go there, Zenzoe? If so, as I said before:

Don't be quite so dismissive of what 'rights' mean in this equation.....like DRC, in abortion's case, it appears that you will be offering excuses that can be used against your very own 'pro-abortion' position if 'rights' (to not be imposed upon or against) have nothing to do with it....

Leave your feelings out of it--unless you plan on raising that child--or that animal. Otherwise, I don't grant animals or fetuses the same rights as humans already in this world....

Quote Zenzoe:

You’re a human chauvinist, that is, you believe humans have higher status and value than animals, and that we have no ethical or moral reasons for regulating our behaviors on behalf of other species and the planet.

I don't grant animals rights as humans--just like I don't believe fetuses have rights over their mothers in pregnancy. Then, I allow the 'feeling' (if there is any) to be expressed by those responsible for the outcome--and I do think that is the most practical thing to do (while I can have 'feelings' for a lot of things--I cannot be responsible for everything I have 'feelings' for--I do believe 'rights of conscience' still takes 'an obligation of personal responsibility'). Now, as many of the naysayers against 'individual rights' tend to do, you can point out all sorts of 'horrendous exceptions' that some do--and they do--and point out 'see what individuals can do' (without, simultaneously, pointing to war and saying 'see what groups can do'). But, that doesn't raise either the animal or the fetus to the level of 'rights' to me--that needs to be decided on a case by case basis....if that is really chauvinistic to you, so be it. I see it as realistic--and moral and ethical at the same time. I see what you are offering as not addressing many pertinent issues in reality....such as animals are eaten and some children aren't wanted.....

Quote Zenzoe:

Unless we get over ourselves, Kerry, we’re going extinct, along with all the other species and ecologies on the planet we’re determined to destroy.

If you think that 'granting and acquiring individual rights (to real humans--not corporations or animals)' as the primary purpose and proper motive of a democratic government based on securing and guaranteeing 'equal rights' (to real humans) is something we 'have to get over', you and I have a different idea on what is 'destroying us'. And, just like your other argument, the idea that 'we are going extinct' could be used AGAINST allowing 'elective abortions'--I've even heard it be used in discussions like this. Since our country is 'aborting itself out of the next generation', and other countries, like Mexico, are 'expanding their population with more and more babies', and democracies are based on 'majority rule', guess who's taking over because 'we' are 'killing our next generation' with abortions...and 'they' are gaining 'more people to vote'....you need to be a little more specific on what you mean by 'going extinct'--but, please, don't introduce it into an abortion discussion as some contention with the abortion issue--unless you don't mind it being used against your position of 'pro-abortion'....if you like animals, why don't you like fetuses--at any stage--to 'be alive' and 'not suffer'....if you are against the 'inhumane killing of animals' why do you allow the 'inhumane killing of fetuses'.....do you really not understand why 'rights' is an important issue in this? And, despite how 'chauvinistic' you think it may be, human rights.....and when does a human life with rights begin.....

Quote Zenzoe:

For me, the abortion issue definitely concerns rights—the right of women to equality under the law. A society that denies abortion rights to women, denies women equal status with men, denies women equal access to education, that is, essentially, denies women the right to pursue happiness.

Aw, there you go--the right to the pursuit of happiness. No problem at all with that one. However, you have to realize that such individual rights are gradated, Zenzoe. Do you not understand that 'the right to life' must preclude 'the right to the pursuit of happiness'? After all, if you don't have 'the right to life', you don't have 'the right to the pursuit of happiness'. So, again, the whole point behind the abortion issue is when does a human life with rights begin. If we all don't squarely address and resolve that issue within ourselves, then, in its political and legal context, there will be another Initiative 26 that is going to try to vote on 'the right to life at conception'--and, then, if ever passed by one state, a Supreme Court is going to have to decide is that a 'individual right' that no local, state, or federal government has the authority to impose against by allowing the pregnant woman to abort such a life with rights? And, since the 'right to life' does preclude any other 'right', all other 'rights' of the pregnant woman not wanting this child be damned.....when does a human life with rights begin.....

Quote Zenzoe:

It’s not so much superior rights over zygotes; it is equal rights with men, to live in freedom from slavery.

That may be how you see it--but, if there is ever established a 'right to life from conception' law in any state in the nation, that is NOT how the courts are going to see it. Hide and watch if that ever happens--and remember this discussion we are having over 'rights'. Do you not think 'rights' hold priority over any 'community standard'? Think of that issue a bit, Zenzoe, and you will see why that is such a large part of the moral, ethical, and legal, history of American society--still is despite how much many here seem to think 'community standards preclude individual rights'. If that IS the case, then, you shouldn't mind when such 'communities' tell you who to marry, when to use birth control, and when to have a pregnancy go all the way to birth--some (probably politically powerful men--but some women like Sarah Palin, also) will say 'it's all for the community'.....and many 'in the community' will 'feel good' about it--despite how the ones they are imposing upon 'feel about it'....

Quote Zenzoe:

However, in any community, whether it is a community of two, three or more individuals, one’s personal, civil rights only extend so far as they bump into someone else’s rights

Absolutely. But, you also have to realize that, while all 'individual rights' are to be administered by an authority like government equally for there to be anything like 'equal rights', the list of 'individual rights', themselves, are not 'equal'--and are gradated with respect to priorities. The 'individual right' of the property owner to 'be left alone to pollute' is met up against the 'individual right of those who suffer from such pollution--perhaps even to the point of dying over it'. Which 'individual right' has the greater priority--the owner's pollution under the 'right to have liberty and be left alone to pursue happiness' or those who suffer from the pollution to have a 'right to life'? Once you see that point, you'll see why the most distinctive rational issue with respect to abortion is when does a human life with rights begin. There will be those 'in the community' that say 'at conception'.....that, as you say, have no responsibility to raise that child....but, may 'feel good' about saying it, anyway....

Quote Zenzoe:

In the case of a viable fetus, one must hesitate: not only would an abortion cause “harm” to what is now a sentient being, but one must consider the health-provider as well—any doctor aborting a viable fetus will require a damn good reason for doing so, and I believe they usually do have a good reason, such as the threat to the mother’s life and health the pregnancy represents.

What do you mean by the term 'viable'? Most fetuses are 'alive' before they are aborted. If you are having such fetuses have to be 'dead' before they are aborted, I guess you are going to have to give the mother something to kill the fetus before aborting it--would that be 'more humane'? Or wait for a 'natural miscarriage'--which happens to fetuses whether the parents 'want them or not' in some cases (is that 'more ethical and moral'?). If you mean 'viable outside of the womb', Texas has made that stand since elective abortions were made legal by the Roe vs. Wade decision--and, due to many issues related to how the fetus developes and requires a uterus to do so, that is not going to get any sooner than 20 weeks anytime in the near future. But, Roe vs. Wade didn't even offer that as the solution--Roe vs. Wade didn't offer the fetus any 'rights to life' until birth--and allowed that to be up to the 'community standards of each state' to decide--and some, like California and New York, still had the 'community standard' of allowing abortions all the way to term. Is that a 'proper community standard' to you--or does a fetus have a 'right to life' before that despite any 'community standard', otherwise? The more recent federal law against 'partial birth abortions' now claims that the fetus does have a 'right to life' at some point before birth--some may claim that should be 'at conception'....

Quote Zenzoe:

Why do you suppose, Kerry, torture shocks the conscious so? Do you think it is because of some abstract notion of rights, such as the right of the individual to be secure in their person?

You say 'abstract notion of rights' as if it doesn't have real consequences to real people when I see it as the very onus of how people are to interact with each other in any 'politics of community' manner--'granting rights to others as acquiring rights for oneself'. Would I allow a mother (or doctor) to treat a child in the same manner as I am allowing that mother (or doctor) to treat a fetus? Absolutely not. But, then, that gets to when a human life with rights begin. If you are going to start claiming the idea of 'getting rid of all torture to all living things', why allow elective abortion at all? I suspect that many people could rightfully claim that any elective abortion killing the fetus is killing a living thing--and is 'torture' and 'slaughter' no matter how 'humane' you claim 'the process' as being. And, if that fetus has 'a right to life at conception', then, they would also be absolutely right (just as Roe vs. Wade pointed out), no elective abortions should ever be allowed.

Now, as far as 'torture of animals' is concerned, since I, in my 'chauvinistic' position, don't grant animals 'rights' in the same order as humans already in this world, that, as I've said, will have to be judged on a case by case basis--even considering 'community standards'. Is it 'inhumane' to Kosher kill an animal by slicing its throat 'wide awake' and allowing it to bleed to death? Or, does it matter how the animal 'reacts' to that? A sheep might just hang there and 'take it' until unconsciousness and death occurs in a calm repose. A goat might bleat and writhe all over the place slinging blood everywhere resisting its fate to the bitter end. Which is 'more humane' and 'less torture'?

Quote Zenzoe:

As I said earlier, we cannot do this on an either/or basis.

With 'rights' we can. And, as far as I'm concerned, with 'rights' we must. Otherwise, allowing any 'authority' the privilege of determining who gets 'rights' and who doesn't is a sure set-up for oppression by that authority (even if claiming a 'community standard' in doing so)--and I believe it is the best set-up for oppression if it gives itself the authority to 'pick and choose the application of rights'. Why do you think I have such a problem with the way American medicine is applied today with some getting it as if a 'right' at no cost to them and others having to risk bankruptcy for the same service? That should never be allowed to happen in a country based on 'equal rights'....it is 'either/or'--either everyone should get such a right or no one should get such a right.....

Quote Zenzoe:

But common sense has to prevail too, as it did in Mississippi yesterday.

I truly believe that unless you resolve it in yourself where this issue of 'rights' belongs in the case of elective abortion (and stay steadfast to such a resolve), thanks to the 'priority of individual rights' precedence in courts, if one state decides 'the right to life begins at conception', then, your 'common sense on this matter' will mean nothing and the Supreme Court will have to once again decide 'whose rights are being imposed against' and gradate 'which right is to supercede the other'. Unless you are now saying that, like 'community standards', 'common sense' is somehow to be opposed to 'granting and acquiring individual rights' as the utmost in a democracy of 'equal application of rights'. Is that what you are saying? What are you offering as a 'community standard' (or even 'common sense') in its place? I've been asking Ulysses and DRC that question on the other thread ('Atheism') for quite a while now.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

I've been asking Ulysses and DRC that question on the other thread ('Atheism') for quite a while now.....

Yes, and that same repetition makes you a fool. You and all the other Libs who want to have infinite circular arguments about Libertarianism and "rights" don't understand the myriad answers that have already been given to you in huge volumes. One sure sign of fools is that they expect to get different answers every time they repeat nonsensical, logically flawed questions, never realizing that their problems of knowing lie not in the truthful and valid concepts they've already been offered but can't understand, but rather, in their endless repetition of questions and propositions that are logically, conceptually, and intellectually flawed, to a degree that infinitely rehashing them amounts to nothing more than different spin on literally unanswerable chicken-or-egg questions. But, they insist on continuing to ask until they get the answer that fits their a priori conclusions as to what that answer should be. Often, that answer never comes, but they can't bring themselves to jump off the treadmill. Pathetic, but also bad for the rest of society, because these people are allowed to vote and procreate.

OR, they understand the concept of community and simply reject it; if/when this is the case, it would at least be intellectually honest of them to admit that rejection up front, rather than attempting to intellectually dissemble about it and waste everybody's time in the process. I suspect that many of them dissemble in this way to cover up the fact that their baseline values include anarchy and lawlessness, which are antithetical to community, but they don't want to state that overtly because they don't want people to realize that they're sociopaths.

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What would you have said if Initiative 26 had passed and the Supreme Court was having to decide the issue of 'rights' again on the point of elective abortion, Ulysses? That Roe vs. Wade's consideration of 'individual rights' was wrong with respect to the present court--or the present Supreme Court's consideration of 'individual rights' was wrong with respect to past court decisions? You have never adequately addressed this issue of 'individual rights' as you spout all this bullshit you say represents 'community'. I'm beginning to believe you have no idea what you are talking about...

What about all the other examples that the Warren Supreme Court deliberated on in the interest of 'individual rights' against 'community standard impositions'--like preventing interracial marriages in Loving vs. Virginia or restricting birth control in Griswald vs. Connecticut? Do you have any 'community standard' answers to that? Of course not. All you claim is how much you've answered it. But, have you? Where's those answers?

Perhaps the Supreme Court should have made a 'community standard' decision here with abortions (Roe vs. Wade did when it came to the fetus--but, that's because the decision did not grant the fetus any 'individual rights'--but, such issue on 'individual rights' will be a turnabout in any decision in the Roberts Supreme Court if and when any state decides that 'the right to life begins at conception'). And, some Supreme Court decisions did make 'community standards' the issue over 'individual rights' in some cases--like Bowers vs. Hardwick. In that case, Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist did say 'community standards' preempted 'individual rights' in 'deciding issues of morality'--even claimed that the Bible could be used to determine such 'morality' as 'the community standard'.....and, of course, like you like to imply, anyway, 'individual rights' be damned when 'community standards' should prevail.....but, that's not in my idea of America.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, you seem to restrict "community standards" and "individual rights" to very specific compartments in your mind, with very specific associations and meanings attached there. In short, I don't think we're talking about the same things. However, I'm guessing we do share an antipathy toward "community standards" that arise within very conservative, narrow-minded communities, such as those in the South that would insist upon God's Will, or Biblical ideas, as the standard that must inform all law. Where those "community standards" are concerned, I agree with you. But that doesn't make me reject the whole notion of community rights; I can be flexible and realize some standards fit within our Constitutional values, while others do not.

My notion of community standards has to do with collective rights —and I do think such exist— such as the right a general population has to clean air, water, food, and etc. I don't have to say the "general population" consists of many individuals, each with individual rights to such benefits, in order for my community standards to have merit. They have merit as a grouping of individuals, as an entity worthy of consideration.

Whole, entire peoples have brought law suits against governments and corporations. Whole, entire populations have been granted restitution for crimes against them as a group, a tribe, an ethnic minority.

I have more to say, but that's it for now. Just a reminder in parting: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." —Emerson So, I don't have to be consistent in all my arguments; context is important.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Community standards, as imagined by many on the right, is a fantasy. While true that it localizes power, which is generally a good thing, in the case of human rights it is folly to allow the moral landscape of your nation to be so uneven. Going from one town to the next, you might be kidnapped (arrested), ransomed (bailed) or imprisoned interminably if you don't know and adhere to the current, local human rights standard. The community standard, if you will.

Don't try to buy condoms in Shelbyville, someone might say, or they'll lock you up and make you assemble car parts for no pay. And you should see what they do to female citizens who go out of the city to seek an abortion. They have to have sex with all of the councilmen. Thank god for freedom.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Kerry, you seem to restrict "community standards" and "individual rights" to very specific compartments in your mind, with very specific associations and meanings attached there.

Maybe. I suspect that some here have no idea how to separate a 'community standard' that oppresses from one that offers enlightenment.....even though I have heard that is exactly what 'community standards' are for--enlightenment--from many here in thomland that wouldn't dream of condoning 'individual rights' because 'those people' are 'libertarians'--and, well, 'they' are all for 'selfish individualism', anyway--as if an enlightened experience has no selfish component to it.....

My brother (the Ron Paul-supporting libertarian) and I discussed that prejudice towards libertarianism with some in thomland this evening--he reports having read on these boards something about how libertarian economics is what's ruined this country--and added that he believes that there is no such thing as 'libertarian economics'--and, those that are claiming that the 'libertarian cause' is, somehow, to support the 'individual rights of the top 1%' are missing what most of us who do claim 'individual rights' as being a 'libertarian cause'--it's NOT just for the 'top 1%'--it is for 'every individual' up against oppressive 'communitarian standards'--the economy is secondary to that. Now many libertarians do seem to make two mistakes as I see my idea of 'libertarianism'--they do NOT discredit 'corporate personhood' enough and they do seem to bash all forms of government intervention--which, as I've tried to discuss with my brother before, is the only thing that can counteract 'corporate personhood' in a manner that could make any difference. But, I'm not for throwing the baby out with the bathwater--and 'getting rid of corporate personhood rights' does not, to me, mean 'getting rid of all personhood rights'. In fact, that is my point--if 'real personhood rights' were endorsed over any and all 'corporate personhood influences', we would have a government that isn't colluded with corporations like we have today--and I am not sure how such a removal of such a collusion with corporations and government could be done, otherwise....

Quote Zenzoe:

In short, I don't think we're talking about the same things.

I don't know. Are we?

Quote Zenzoe:

My notion of community standards has to do with collective rights —and I do think such exist— such as the right a general population has to clean air, water, food, and etc. I don't have to say the "general population" consists of many individuals, each with individual rights to such benefits, in order for my community standards to have merit. They have merit as a grouping of individuals, as an entity worthy of consideration.

While you may hold such generalizations as being valid, my problem in such generalizations is getting down to the nitty-gritty of actually applying your premises. If that is done without some consideration of the affect it can have on the rights of the ones it is being applied against, I am not really sure how you are distinguishing that behavior from any imposition of government that disregards such rights against being imposed upon. I'm not saying it's not possible--however, I am saying that if it does not profess its cause considering the rights of the individuals it is acting against--and for--in a manner that at least acknowledges such rights, it can be just as oppressive as any government action--no matter how 'good' the cause.....I'm not for that. Never will be. As I keep stating, I'm all for every legislator starting the proposal of a potential legislation with 'this law will endorse individual rights because.....' or 'this law will supercede individual rights and should do so because....'. I am not for any legislation that preempts 'community standards' against any and all 'individual rights'--I think I have gained the perspective on this with my knowledge of American history, court precedences, and priorities of our form of representative democracy, to base that on. It's not a position that I have considered lightly....

It might inform you some about me for you to know that when I was in ethics class in medical school forming my ideas on this (at a time when I had been an avid atheist that 'converted' after a major carwreck), one mentor whom I respected quite a bit and went to him in helping me through some of my most trying tumultuous states with this said once to me, 'You have never been a member of society, have you?' That set me back a bit because I had never thought of myself in that manner--but, after thinking a bit on it, I replied, 'No, I haven't.' He addeed, 'You should talk to the doctors, they can be quite friendly.' I remember saying something to the effect, 'Of course they can, they have been given a position in which to be able to be friendly with....or not, as the case may be....' And, the older I get, the more I 'resemble' my old mentor friend's remarks....8^).....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, what does your 8^) mean? I'm thinking it could be a guy with glasses, a pointy nose in profile, and a smile?

Also, what kind of doctor are/were you, and how is it you have time to do this? Are you retired? This might help me place your opinions in context better. As it is, I'm still not sure where you are along the spectrum.

Just this, for now: Can you agree that the U.S. Constitution is tantamount to community standards, that is, the "community" that is America?

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What a magnificent, respectful, and thorough response to the first poster. Thank You.

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jxmckie
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm trained as a family practitioner. I got started in this field doing what I thought a general practitioner was to do--take care of a community from the cradle to the grave. I did that for a bit. I've told my story here in thomland before (even the part about the carwreck to ren once). What I figured out in my brief stint with general practice is that I was in a part of the profession that was being litigation-threatened and payment-piecemealed out of existence (and basically has been--there are very few solo primary care private practitioners left in America today--especially coming out of medical school now).

As circumstances in my profession had it, I wandered into a position in ER (most of that is primary care--not 'life and death emergencies') near the Mexican border of Texas about 20 years or so ago--and I have been working in ER ever since. You must have missed my explanation to Ulysses when Ulysses accused me of not being a doctor (how could I have time to talk to you people if I was, right?). I work in shifts (weekends, nighttime, and holidays are the worst times for an ER doctor)--therefore, I have times when I'm not working. I've been writing on this board for over 4 years--and writing on boards like this for a dozen years or so (starting with Pathfinder and, then, going to worldcrossing before coming here--in fact, I had an ongoing discussion about abortion for quite a few years on worldcrossing with a Canadian who taught philosophy in a Catholic high school in Canada). I guess I could probably do better for myself if I were monitering the stockmarket or hobnobbing with the rich and famous in this area, but I've decided on boards like this, instead. I'm not real satisfied with ER work because it's basically been 'corporate-policied into standardized care'--but, for my form of training, it's the most money that I can make (with the least amount of time involved in it)--and I have a lot of family dependent upon that income. When that's not the case, as my wife and I have talked before (she's a nurse manager at one of the hospitals I work at), we'll probably go back into a primary care setting somewhere and I won't have time to talk on boards like this (and, thanks to some new legislation, the malpractice risks have changed dramatically in Texas over the past few years--just in time for much of the corporate-government take-over of primary care from solo private practitioners--I've talked about that in thomland before, also). Ulysses doesn't believe a word of this--but, then, Ulysses is a pompous ass.....

Quote Zenzoe:

Just this, for now: Can you agree that the U.S. Constitution is tantamount to community standards, that is, the "community" that is America?

Are you speaking from the perspective of the U.S. Constitution being the 'written standard' and, despite how past Supreme Court decisions have used it, the Declaration of Independence has no point in law because it is not 'written as law'? If you are, I disagree with your above conceptualization as you make it--both in context and content. I see the Declaration of Independence with its promotion of 'good government securing and guaranteeing' such individual rights as listed (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, etc.) as being part and parcel to the spirit of all American law--a 'natural law' intent on making the priority of all 'community standards in government' the 'securing and guaranteeing of individual rights'.

I have made this 'natural law' distinction against the 'postivist law' assertion that 'written law' is 'the only law to follow'--and, I disagree with the 'promotion of positivist law only' from both a 'community' and an 'individual rights' position--and I think there is a lot in Supreme Court judgments and American legal history to back me up (such as jury review and jury nullification). The definitions for 'natural law' vs. 'positive law' I have used many times on this board--and it comes from my wife's West's Business Law--8th Edition (the only law textbook I own). However, I do think it sums up the distinctions quite nicely. Here it is one more time:

You might think that legal philosophy is far removed from the practical study of business law and the legal environment. In fact, it is not. As you will learn in the chapters of this text, how judges apply the law to specific disputes, including disputes relating to the business world, depends in part on their philosophical approaches to law. We look now at some of the significant schools of legal, or jurisprudential, thought that have evolved over time.

The Natural Law School.

An age-old question about the nature of law has to do with the finality of a nation's law, such as the laws of the United States at the present time. For example, what if a particular law is deemed to be a "bad" law by a substantial number of that nation's citizens? Must a citizen obey the law if it goes against his or her conscience to do so? Is there a higher or universal law to which individuals can appeal? One who adheres to the natural law tradition would answer this question in the affirmative. Natural law denotes a system of moral and ethical principles that are inherent in human nature and that people can discover through the use of their natural intelligence.

The natural law tradition is one of the oldest and most significant schools of jurisprudence. It dates back to the days of the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.), who distinguished between natural law and the laws governing a particular nation. According to Aristotle, natural law applies universally to all humankind.

The notion that people have "natural rights" stems from the natural law tradition. Those who claim that a specific foreign government is depriving certain citizens of their human rights implicitly are appealing to a higher law that has universal applicability. The question of the universality of basic human rights also comes into play in the context of international business operations. Should rights extended to workers in this country, such as the right to be free of discrimination in the workplace, be applied to a U.S. firm doing business in another country that does not provide for such rights? This question is rooted implicitly in a concept of universal rights that has its origins in the natural law tradition.

The Positivist School.

In contrast, positive law, or national law (the written law of a given society at a particular point in time), applies only to the citizens of that nation or society. Those who adhere to the positivist school believe that there can be no higher law than a nation's positive law. According to the positivist school, there is no such thing as "natural rights." Rather, human rights exist solely because of laws. If the laws are not enforced, anarchy will result. Thus, whether a law is "bad" or "good" is irrelevant. The law is the law and must be obeyed until it is changed--in an orderly manner through a legitimate lawmaking process. A judge with positivist leanings probably would be more inclined to defer to an existing law than would a judge who adheres to the natural law tradition.

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Kerry, what does your 8^) mean? I'm thinking it could be a guy with glasses, a pointy nose in profile, and a smile?

That's a smiley face. I can't figure out how to get a real one on here. It's my attempt to be humorous. I'm still 'not a member of society'......8^).....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, I certainly don’t wish to take sides between you and Ulysses. Apparently you two have a track record I know little about. I have a bit of a track record with Ulysses, and, despite our occasional disagreements and his having told me one time to “go play in traffic” (I now find it funny, btw, Ulysses), I appreciate his writing, his ability to be clear, direct and well-spoken. Anyway, I have no animosity toward either of you. I think Ulysses, though I can’t speak for him, objects to what both of us receive as obfuscation on your part; that is, sometimes your paragraphs seem overly convoluted, with all due respect. Perhaps in my case it’s just that I’m too dumb for you. But I don’t think it would hurt if you were to be more concise. Just a suggestion, with acute awareness of my own flaws. (I have the same problem with others here, believe me.)

Just this, for now: Can you agree that the U.S. Constitution is tantamount to community standards, that is, the "community" that is America?

Quote Kerry:

Are you speaking from the perspective of the U.S. Constitution being the 'written standard' and, despite how past Supreme Court decisions have used it, the Declaration of Independence has no point in law because it is not 'written as law'?

My answer would be No to that, given that I agree with your position on natural law.

However, my question did not address the issue of natural law vs. positivist law, or the Declaration of Independence. Even though I understand the relevance of those things to this discussion, your response did not answer my question. My question is this, essentially: (let’s include the Declaration) Does the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, taken together, represent the ideals of our society, i.e., the standards by which we all agree to live?

I ask this, because I want to know if you can acknowledge the notion of community in a way that does not bring up for you the imposition of oppressive and unjust rules by an unconscious or bigoted majority “community?”

Also, this: Is your individualist perspective informed at all by the Ayn Rand school? If not, where do you make exceptions to the rights of individuals?

Another point of departure, possibly: It appears that you and others here put the question of life, specifically human life (for some, innocent human life), at the top of your hierarchy of values. This is why you are so insistent on resolving the issue of when life begins. I do not have this problem; that is, I do not have human life, necessarily, at the top of my hierarchy of values. For me, while I place great value on human life, and innocent human life too, sometimes other values rise above the value of human life. Sometimes other considerations force one to come to a conclusion that allows for the taking of a human life—for example, considerations surrounding the issue of euthanasia.

Incidentally, it seems odd to me that you, as a doctor, would not come to the reasonable conclusion that animals, especially mammals, experience pain in much the way we do, given your understanding of anatomy and physiology. Given the similarities between homo sapien bodies and other mammal bodies, one can reasonably assume stimuli to affect both similarly. Also, given an animal’s lack of human comprehension but superior senses —hearing, smelling, taste, feel— one can see how an intelligent pig might suffer even more than a human would to being crushed by a pig smasher. At least a human being has the opportunity to say a prayer. In any case, they are sentient beings, and worthy of being treated as such.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Let me see if I can clarify my positions on issues like this as well as relating my methods to you a little better. Awhile back, ren got this point about me on Antifascist's Neoliberalism thread in one of my many discussions with DRC--while I do see myself as being able to see 'bigger pictures' as they are being discussed, I also have training and experience as a problem solver. What I mean by that is that if you cannot visualize a method in which your 'bigger picture' can be put into a practical solution, what does your 'bigger picture' really mean? In a practical manner, and perhaps some 'bigger picture' proponents believe this to be 'too simple' for their austere pronouncements, what that usually means in my form of problem solving techniques is that I pinpoint down what I see as issues that bring out 'opposing solutions'--the broader context of 'community standards' against 'individual rights' is one of those distinctions. I can go into all sorts of ways as to how those two components practically applied lead to conflicts in their respective resolutions but I think most of my writings point that out--and perhaps you can visualize some of the problems for yourself....with that said, let me see if I can respond more directly to your last post.

Quote Zenzoe:

However, my question did not address the issue of natural law vs. positivist law, or the Declaration of Independence. Even though I understand the relevance of those things to this discussion, your response did not answer my question. My question is this, essentially: (let’s include the Declaration) Does the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, taken together, represent the ideals of our society, i.e., the standards by which we all agree to live?

Yes--with qualifications. And such qualifications will contend with which priority you are basing such standards on--'community standards' or 'individual rights'? The best answer I can come up with that resolves such issues is the one that I have said:

I see the Declaration of Independence with its promotion of 'good government securing and guaranteeing' such individual rights as listed (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, etc.) as being part and parcel to the spirit of all American law--a 'natural law' intent on making the priority of all 'community standards in government' the 'securing and guaranteeing of individual rights'.

I will adhere to any 'community standard' that bases itself on some potential promotion, or opposing content resolution, of individual rights--I will not agree to, or adhere with, any 'community standard' that has some form of 'community priority' that doesn't explain its function in those terms. That is too vague for me to 'visualize a solution' on--and, I'm sorry, I suspect anyone that promotes it as having an agenda in it that can go against the 'rights to individuals' that I think is tantamount to all rightful authoritarian actions to be done by government.

Quote Zenzoe:

I ask this, because I want to know if you can acknowledge the notion of community in a way that does not bring up for you the imposition of oppressive and unjust rules by an unconscious or bigoted majority “community?”

If it doens't acknowledge 'individual rights' in some way, no. Perhaps you don't understand what 'I' mean by 'individual rights' in some of the contexts in which I use it. Apparently not by the next question you ask:

Also, this: Is your individualist perspective informed at all by the Ayn Rand school? If not, where do you make exceptions to the rights of individuals?

No, I have never read anything by Ayn Rand--although I have heard Thom Hartmann and others here talk about her a lot. My idea of 'individual rights' extends into 'opening up opportunities for choices to be made in life'--which, like Thomas Jefferson promoted, includes extending public education and, in its modern context, offering universal health care with a truly universal method of paying for it--not this corporate-government mix that just extends the costs because it compounds the bureaucracy involved in covering for it.

Quote Zenzoe:

Another point of departure, possibly: It appears that you and others here put the question of life, specifically human life (for some, innocent human life), at the top of your hierarchy of values.

I only give 'rights' to humans already in this world--and I try to be specific about that point of 'rights'. I mean it directly against being imposed upon by anything acting like an authority--unless that authority proclaims, openly and up front, a reason to do so. I thought the Supreme Court cases that I did mention indicated that--especially considering how 'community standards' could be imposed against 'individual rights' in a manner inappropriate to the spirit of such standards in government 'securing and guaranteeing individual rights' as I (and apparently at least some Supreme Court decisions) see the Declaration of Independence validated by such 'natural law' (even against certain 'written laws'). I cannot give animals or fetuses the same 'rights' because animals can be eaten (that's an imposition, isn't it?) and fetuses can be unwanted (but, in that case, I am making an ethical distinction in that case that the fate of unwanted children can be worse than the fate of dead fetuses--but, it's still an imposition against the fetus, isn't it? Therefore, no 'right'--however, that may change with the course of government if any state grants a fetus 'the right to life at conception' as I've described how Initiative 26 in Mississippi intended to do).

Quote Zenzoe:

Sometimes other considerations force one to come to a conclusion that allows for the taking of a human life—for example, considerations surrounding the issue of euthanasia.

That was all discussed in medical ethics class--and there were some interesting discussions in that (again, some that I have mentioned here before--but I don't have time to go into them now--maybe we can bring those up later).

Quote Zenzoe:

Incidentally, it seems odd to me that you, as a doctor, would not come to the reasonable conclusion that animals, especially mammals, experience pain in much the way we do, given your understanding of anatomy and physiology.

I do know that they experience pain. But, then, if you are going to use that as a foundation for 'rights', then, fetuses experience pain, also. Should they have 'rights'?

Gotta go for now.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Now, back to those that think that morality is absolute outside of the judgment of the one thinking it. OK, if that is the case, if 'killing innocents in abortion' is wrong, then, 'killling innocents in war' is wrong. Why allow one and not the other if both are absolute?

There is nothing more "innocent" about a zygote than there is about a rock. That you compare the murder of an actual person in war to the removal of an unwanted pregnancy is ridiculous. This is where ethics often fail, is when they begin with a very false premise. It is only those that anthropromophize a zygote who think there is a moral dillema there. To those who really understand that pregnancy is not god's magic, but the predictable result of sex between fertile, opposite sex mammals, the question of choice is a no brainer.

Zenzoe is right. An abortion can be, and often is, the most moral choice for a woman. Pro-lifer's, though, seem to want to exist only in the moment with no acknowledgement that actions have reactions. There is no concern about the long term cost of an unwanted pregnancy and the ethical problems associated with forcing women to give birth to and raise an unwanted baby.

Contrarily--and this is how rational morality works (considering its opposing perspective in order to make a more informative judgment)--can there be such a thing as 'virtue over life'? That would be the only moral incentive to killing in war--the incentive to kill (or die) for if what the war is based on is an incentive so precious to life that, without it, life wouldn't be worth living. Correct? Is that understandable to the viewing audience?

Yes. There is such a thing as virtue over life. There are ideas worth dying for. That is what Thomas Jefferson was talking about when he warned that sacrificing basic liberties for a temporary sense of security is folly. Some times, our rightous ideals will cost us dearly. Values, though, do not have a price tag. If they do, they aren't really values.

Virtue cannot be a replacement for life, however, and whomever is killed will stay dead, even if the virtue they defend is lost to humanity. For instance, presuming the lie was true that our military are over "there" defending our freedoms, should our freedoms be given away out of fear, we don't get back the money and human lives we've invested in keeping our freedoms. That's why the Patriot act, in one stroke, delegitimized the sacrifice of every soldier who preceded it, under the assumption that they were defending freedom. Hopefully, no modern soldiers labor under that delusion.

So, if the cost of our devotion to liberty will be the occasional zygote. I'm more than OK with that, even if the pile of zygotes extends to the moon. We have sacrificed many millions of real people for more arbitrary reasons. If it makes the pro-lifers feel better, we could even hang a sign on Mount Zygote that reads, no human beings were harmed in the creation of this monument to liberty.

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D_NATURED
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Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

Kerry, I do wish you would stop putting animals in the same compartment as zygotes or fetuses. Mammals have "self-interests" in a similar way to individual, human persons. In fact, it can be argued that each separate animal uniquely expresses its individuality in countless ways, and if the notion of natural rights means anything, it should apply to animals as well. Certainly, judging by our decision to make animal abuse a crime, at least in the area of domestic pets, we've decided that animals too have natural rights to be free of suffering. That's why you're not allowed to beat a dog to death with a stick and claim your individual, property rights as a justification. Of course, where commerce is concerned, the government looks the other way, when animal abuse aids the factory farmer in his/her lust for profit (as an individual right of property).

You may be right to say I misinterpret your use of the word "individual." I don't know yet. You say, in effect, that law must reflect on and refer back to rights of the individual. So, here, where the First Amendment states, "...or the right of the people to peaceably assemble," where and how do those words mean only individuals and not "communities" of people as well; i.e., people who get together and form an assembly of people to petition the government? It does not "explain its function" in terms that refer strictly back to individuals, or individual rights. It means, in part, if the government tries to abridge the right of, say, a particular religious sect (group) to practice its religion in the open, the sect can peaceably assemble and petition the government about its grievance.

I'm sure you've come to your conclusions by much study and discussion, but still, you seem to have come to see individual rights almost as a fundamentalist religious person might see dogma. There's not much room for compromise there, no budging away from this strict notion.

Still, my reference to hierarchy of values received short shrift from you, or so it seems to me. Usually, I despise hierarchy, but where ethics are concerned, I see no better way to flush out the issues than to figure out one's hierarchy of values. It's very very important, and I would hope you wouldn't gloss over it.

Are you familiar with Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne? Bioethics. Seems like bioethics would be right up your alley. :-)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Good one, D_NATURED. I especially liked "Mount Zygote," but also appreciated your defense of "virtue over life." That's the main difference between those who insist on arguing 'round and 'round about when human life begins—sometimes other values supersede the value of life, values which make the when-human-life-begins discussion irrelevant.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Good one, D_NATURED. I especially liked "Mount Zygote," but also appreciated your defense of "virtue over life." That's the main difference between those who insist on arguing 'round and 'round about when human life begins—sometimes other values supersede the value of life, values which make the when-human-life-begins discussion irrelevant.

How something begins does not define it in totality. They don't hang any medals around anyone's neck before the race is run but these tad pole lovers want to declare humanity upon a lump of tissue that hasn't even begun the struggle to become a human. These people would devote the lives of any amount of young men and women to the bumper sticker slogan of Freedom Isn't Free but won't sacrifice a single oven bun to the cause of liberty. What hypocrites.

Mount Zygote could save the world.

D_NATURED's picture
D_NATURED
Joined:
Oct. 20, 2010 8:47 pm

I'm not saying that animals don't have feelings. I am saying if you are going to use that as a reason to give them 'rights', then, again, don't be surprised if that same reasoning is used to give fetuses 'rights'. You did say that fetuses had feelings, Zenzoe--so, there you go. Furthermore, since I am stating this as 'individual rights' in exactly the same context used by the Supreme Court and exactly the same manner as the Declaration of Independence, I am talking about the rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. If you accept the fact that animals are killed--and are killed for many reasons (one being to eat)--and you are claiming that, because animals have 'feelings' and are to, then, have 'rights'--then, the most basic 'right' to have is 'the right to life'. How do you square that with the fact that animals are killed? What's your practical solution? How are you visualizing how to solve this problem? The only rational solution I see is don't give them rights in the same manner as a person with 'the right to life'. What do you say?

Maybe I missed some point in there--I don't have time to read all of the points you may have made right now. Later....

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Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I'm sure you've come to your conclusions by much study and discussion, but still, you seem to have come to see individual rights almost as a fundamentalist religious person might see dogma. There's not much room for compromise there, no budging away from this strict notion.

Well, you may think it is 'fundamenatalist' but I see it as 'fundamental'--especially considering the words we use to relay information to each other. Any 'standard' implemented that doesn't have a personally, individually, understood component to it is, by its nature, dogmatic as I visualize the term. Why do you think I have such a problem with Ulysses' promotion, in any way, of 'statistical trends' being applied as if 'official facts' in science or law? In either case, if there is an aspect of it to be acted on that the person who is doing the acting doesn't have a specific understanding with respect to its meaning (such as a vague 'statistical trend' without definitive factual explanations fundamentally are), then, that, by my understanding of the term, is a defacto dogmatic action.....can you see that point? Don't confuse that with 'religious fundamentalism'--I see the one doing the dogmatic-type action with 'vague knowledge' as being more representative of that--hoping 'the grouping process' will make up for what one doesn't know about what one is acting on.....that's not a possibility when you are the ONE that is responsible for every aspect of the action ('the rights of conscience' always carry with it 'the obligation of personal responsibility')--however, it is a possibility if you are doing it through something like corporate policy in an assembly-line fashion.....THAT is dogmatic.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

I'm not saying that animals don't have feelings. I am saying if you are going to use that as a reason to give them 'rights', then, again, don't be surprised if that same reasoning is used to give fetuses 'rights'. You did say that fetuses had feelings, Zenzoe--so, there you go. Furthermore, since I am stating this as 'individual rights' in exactly the same context used by the Supreme Court and exactly the same manner as the Declaration of Independence, I am talking about the rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. If you accept the fact that animals are killed--and are killed for many reasons (one being to eat)--and you are claiming that, because animals have 'feelings' and are to, then, have 'rights'--then, the most basic 'right' to have is 'the right to life'. How do you square that with the fact that animals are killed? What's your practical solution? How are you visualizing how to solve this problem? The only rational solution I see is don't give them rights in the same manner as a person with 'the right to life'. What do you say?

Maybe I missed some point in there--I don't have time to read all of the points you may have made right now. Later....

You see, Kerry, you've set up a false dilemma there, in my opinion—only two options: either "right to life," or no right to life, without any opportunity to consider nuance, complexity and context. It's all so absolutist with you—if animals "have feelings" (a put-down of the notion of animals as sentient beings), and that's a reason to grant them a right to life, then I'm going to have to grant zygotes the same right and also give them all the rights of fully developed human beings. Nonsense! I've already told you that life is not always at the top of my hierarchy of values. How about let's have a little common sense:

...[Peter] Singer states that it is ludicrous to say that all animals should hold the same rights; whereas a democratic society might claim that all humans should have the right to vote, that same society would never say that all other animals should have that same right. To do so would be unnecessary, unimportant, and incorrect. But this does not mean that non-human animals should have no consideration given to their interests. Just because some individual animal should not have the right to vote does not mean that it should enjoy no rights at all. Instead, Singer argues, a consideration of the animal's interests should be equal to that of the consideration already given to human beings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_consideration_of_interests

Just because some individual animal might end up on somebody's dinner plate, does not mean it should not find its way there in a cruelty-free manner. You consider the interests of the animal, while you consider the interests of humans. However, since eating meat is not necessary to the health of humans (their interest in meat-eating is small) , one gives greater consideration to animal suffering (their interest —being torture-free— is greater, heavier, more important.)

Quote Kerry:
Quote Zenzoe:

I'm sure you've come to your conclusions by much study and discussion, but still, you seem to have come to see individual rights almost as a fundamentalist religious person might see dogma. There's not much room for compromise there, no budging away from this strict notion.

Well, you may think it is 'fundamenatalist' but I see it as 'fundamental'--especially considering the words we use to relay information to each other. Any 'standard' implemented that doesn't have a personally, individually, understood component to it is, by its nature, dogmatic as I visualize the term. Why do you think I have such a problem with Ulysses' promotion, in any way, of 'statistical trends' being applied as if 'official facts' in science or law? In either case, if there is an aspect of it to be acted on that the person who is doing the acting doesn't have a specific understanding with respect to its meaning (such as a vague 'statistical trend' without definitive factual explanations fundamentally are), then, that, by my understanding of the term, is a defacto dogmatic action.....can you see that point? Don't confuse that with 'religious fundamentalism'--I see the one doing the dogmatic-type action with 'vague knowledge' as being more representative of that--hoping 'the grouping process' will make up for what one doesn't know about what one is acting on.....that's not a possibility when you are the ONE that is responsible for every aspect of the action ('the rights of conscience' always carry with it 'the obligation of personal responsibility')--however, it is a possibility if you are doing it through something like corporate policy in an assembly-line fashion.....THAT is dogmatic.....

Actually, no, Kerry. THAT is gibberish.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Kerry:

I'm trained as a family practitioner.

More likely, a shaman. And on the off chance he really is a doctor, he probably doesn't specialize because he's not intelligent enought to do it.

Ulysses doesn't believe a word of this--but, then, Ulysses is a pompous ass.....

He's right about the first part; regarding the second, he's still just a plain old ass, in general.

One reason I don't believe it is that he even misspelled "monitoring," which is a term commonly used in medicine. Even the most semi-literate of doctors would most likely get that right. Now he'll probably go back and edit out the error, but anybody who reads this before he has time to do that will see it.

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Ulysses
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Can Humanity Be Saved?

Thom plus logo As the Amazon is on fire and the Democratic Party refuses to hold a debate focused on climate change, an Australian think tank has come out with a report suggesting the possibility that climate change could destroy human civilization within as little as 30 years.
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