Yeah, Will. We Knew That.

When I was 9 or 10, my family got our first microwave. It was huge. It was the 70s. It was not an Amana Radarange, much to my disappointment then.

My mother, who was not in the least mechanically or technologically inclined, mastered the thing within a week. My brothers and sister and I had it nailed within a day or so and were happily heating up pop tarts and burning our mouths.

My father, however, didn’t go near the thing for almost ten years. He didn’t have to. He was the breadwinner, dammit, the patriarch. We were there to serve him.

Now, my father was a smart man. An asshole sometimes, but nonetheless a smart man. He was licensed both as an architect and engineer, with a master’s in architecture and a BS in civil engineering. But he needed help with the microwave for nearly ten years. I suppose it’s useful having minions.

Finally, when many of the older kids were away at college, he got laid off in the first of a series of waves of layoffs in the insurance industry in Hartford. He was in his 50s by then and never did find steady work again. My mother had gone back to work by that time, so he was all alone in the house for the first time in ages.

Alone with the microwave.

Suddenly, any time anybody approached the microwave, he was full of advice on how to use it, which settings to use, the works. He even got to the point where he started offering advice to anyone walking in the vicinity of the kitchen.

Why do I mention this? Because it’s what came to mind when I read Scott’s post on Will Saletan’s latest embarrasing offering on abortion.

Lord Saletan’s latest (and even less plausibly “pro-choice” in any meaningful sense than usual) attack on pro-choicers was so bad I wasn’t sure where to even begin. Fortunately, Garance Franke-Ruta for the most part does an terrific job. One part of the critique, I think, deserves bold type:

“To start with, he needs to more frequently acknowledge that what he’s calling for is not new and not just his idea.”

I won’t get into this because I’ve written so much about it recently, but the most remarkable thing about Saletan is that he discusses supporting increased access to contraception and sex ed (which, of course, reduce unwanted pregnancies and hence abortions) as if he just split the atom, when of course pro-choice advocates already figured this out decades ago. As Franke-Ruta says, it’s pro-lifers who generally oppose these initiatives. But, of course, take away his excruciatingly banal policy proposals and you’re left with nothing but “I think abortion is gross but I suppose it should remain legal but highly regulated,” which seems unlikely to be an argument that will get your op-ed published.

“You know, you can nuke that for 15 seconds.”


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82 comments for “Yeah, Will. We Knew That.

  1. Gabriel Malor
    March 14, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Well, the problem I have with both the people you’ve linked to (Scott Lemieux and Garance Franke-Ruta) is that neither of them address the latest article from Saletan. They both talk about the other positions that Saletan has taken and their previous writing on the subject. But neither of them take a look at what he actually says in the column they are “critiquing.”

    The column has nothing to do with “supporting increased access to contraception and sex ed.” Maybe they’re correct in asserting that Saletan isn’t telling us anything new about contraception and sex ed in his other work. But this article didn’t have anything to say about either topic. In fact, the article never uses the word “contraception” and only uses “sex education” in the context of a paraphrase from somone else who attended the panel.

  2. zuzu
    March 14, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    The criticism is apt for the article itself, in which he can’t seem to grasp that, yes, women do construct their lives around the availability or not of abortion.

  3. piny
    March 14, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    Well, the problem I have with both the people you’ve linked to (Scott Lemieux and Garance Franke-Ruta) is that neither of them address the latest article from Saletan. They both talk about the other positions that Saletan has taken and their previous writing on the subject. But neither of them take a look at what he actually says in the column they are “critiquing.”

    First of all, those other pieces of writing are no older than the end of this January.

    Second, sure they do. His position is as follows: Y’all are fucking up the abortion debate. Now listen to my brilliant policy prescriptions. It’s only fair to point out that his ideas are not new, not original, not particularly good, and not exactly unheard-of in the pro-choice movement. “No, you aren’t paying attention, Will,” is a perfectly relevant rebuttal.

    The column has nothing to do with “supporting increased access to contraception and sex ed.” Maybe they’re correct in asserting that Saletan isn’t telling us anything new about contraception and sex ed in his other work. But this article didn’t have anything to say about either topic. In fact, the article never uses the word “contraception” and only uses “sex education” in the context of a paraphrase from somone else who attended the panel.

    “Supporting increased access to contraception and sex ed” is one great way to achieve “voluntary reductions.” They’re part of his argument, and they’re included in the long list of things he doesn’t think the pro-choice movement is pushing hard enough.

    He’s just…not that perceptive about any of this. Seriously, if he doesn’t think that women’s choices are affected by the fact that they likely will not have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, he just hasn’t thought this through.

    This column is about half an inch away from, “Well, you haven’t convinced me, so you can’t convince anyone!” I’m gonna look for that in his next article about abortion, the one responding to all the letters he’s gonna get about this one.

  4. March 14, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    My problem with Saletan lies in his proclivity to continue to put the moral onus on women when it comes to abortion. This “abortion is bad, but let’s keep it legal” argument just plain sucks, and it isn’t going to win any voters. Why? When you say abortion is bad you’re opening a nasty rhetorical door. Why is it bad? Is abortion really that bad?

    To paraphrase Pollitt, this isn’t even close to a campaign to get men to wear a condom each and every time they have sex, it’s about women. Women, women, and only women.

    So, fuck Saletan.

  5. March 14, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    My problem with Saletan lies in his proclivity to continue to put the moral onus on women when it comes to abortion. This “abortion is bad, but let’s keep it legal” argument just plain sucks, and it isn’t going to win any voters.

    It’s morally repugnant to proclaim that only one gender must bear the moral cost for an activity that biology exempts the other gender from having to endure.

  6. March 14, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    This “abortion is bad, but let’s keep it legal” argument just plain sucks, and it isn’t going to win any voters.

    Actually, it’s the best argument you’ve got, because it makes the case for a pro-choice policy on grounds that the pro-life half of the country can accept – unfortunate necessity.

    Why? When you say abortion is bad you’re opening a nasty rhetorical door. Why is it bad?

    Because it involves killing offspring. Why’s that so hard to grasp emotionally? Fine, you’ve convinced yourself that a fetus is the moral equivalent of a scab. I commend your moral flexibility. Most voters don’t agree with you. Not even most pro-choice voters agree with you.

    Some feminists want to make the fetuses-mean-nothing argument the foundation stone of pro-choice argument. To see why that is a horrible idea, consider your own position on the death penalty.

    My understanding (forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted somewhere) is that you’re not 100% opposed to the death penalth in principle, but you have a lot of issues with the way it’s done, and can see the potential for abuse. Lots of people are tougher than you, lots of people are squishier.

    Now imagine that I want to convince you to embrace the death penalty more fully. I want to move you closer to supporting it unreservedly, or to convince you that my somewhat-tougher-than-your-preference law is OK and get your vote for it in the referendum.

    Am I more likely to move you in that direction by saying:

    a) You don’t need to worry about the humanity of prisoners. Once someone rapes or kills, they become the equivalent of a cockroach. We should extirpate them all ruthlessly, and sell tickets to boot. We shouldn’t even call it a death penalty, because these creatures aren’t even really alive.

    or

    b) While it is a difficult and painful issue, we believe that preserving the rights of ordinary citizens must be the organizing principle of our justice system, and that means that – unfortunate as it is – we have to kill some offenders. We aren’t happy about doing it, but we feel it’s necessary for the greater good. We’ll do our best to get the total number of executions down, and to keep it as low as possible – because executions aren’t something we want to do, they’re something we have to do.

    Which of these general approaches is more likely to shift you in your position? Which are you going to give a hearing to?

    You may object that fetuses aren’t people in any significant sense, while prisoners are. Well, lots of people think that fetuses are human, or human-ish, and those are the swing voters who decide this issue. If there was widespread agreement that the commission of a murder meant the end of your humanity, then the (a) campaign above would be more effective. But there isn’t that agreement.

    Reframing is a powerful technique, but I think you guys are nuts if you think you’re going to convince large numbers of Americans that fetuses have no significance, and that abortion is the equivalent of a haircut. That doesn’t make people think “oh, then that’s all right”. It makes them think there’s something terribly wrong with the person trying the reframing.

  7. March 14, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Reframing? How about:

    We will reduce abortion only if we reduce unplanned pregnancies.

    And the pro-choice movement has been saying that, oh, FOR FUCKING EVER. Contraception? Access to OB-GYNs? Comprehensive sex education?

    This market is in no way, shape, or form, cornered by the anti-abortion whackos that think bribing fourteen year olds to give birth is good for babies.

  8. Eleanor
    March 14, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    Robert, it’s not a straight choice between “abortion is bad” and “abortion is the equivalent of a haircut”. The pro-abortion-rights position is about recognising that abortion does not mean the same thing for everyone, or even for the same person at different times, and that while abortion can indeed be bad, it can also – even simultaneously – be the best thing in a given situation.

  9. March 14, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Lauren, there’s nothing wrong with your framing from MY pov. Within certain boundaries, I’m all for sex ed and contraception. But speaking for the absolutists: why do you want to reduce abortion? Are you saying that abortion is bad? If it isn’t bad, why reduce it? And so on.

    Eleanor, it’s true that there’s a continuum of beliefs. And I’d actually agree that there are circumstances where an abortion is the best choice (usually from a bad set of choices). But there are inflection points on that continuum; either abortion is a bad thing in and of itself, or it isn’t. You can feel that it’s a bad thing but not a major deal, or a bad thing and the end of the world; you can feel that it’s a bad thing but that the circumstances justify it; or you can feel that it’s not a bad thing at all. But there’s no way to believe (AFAIK) that abortion is morally meaningless or insignificant, AND that it should be reduced or avoided whenever possible.

  10. piny
    March 14, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    Eleanor, it’s true that there’s a continuum of beliefs. And I’d actually agree that there are circumstances where an abortion is the best choice (usually from a bad set of choices). But there are inflection points on that continuum; either abortion is a bad thing in and of itself, or it isn’t. You can feel that it’s a bad thing but not a major deal, or a bad thing and the end of the world; you can feel that it’s a bad thing but that the circumstances justify it; or you can feel that it’s not a bad thing at all. But there’s no way to believe (AFAIK) that abortion is morally meaningless or insignificant, AND that it should be reduced or avoided whenever possible.

    Not if you attach moral meaning to different aspects of abortion. Pro-choicers want to see voluntary reduction in the number of abortions because it’s bad to force women to abort in lieu of offering other options. This is not incompatible with saying that abortion in and of itself is “morally insignificant” in terms of the individual woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy.

  11. Julie
    March 14, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    I don’t think seeing abortion as a bad thing is necessarily bad… I guess it depends on how you look at it. I personally don’t feel right about abortion because of my beliefs about when life begins, etc.. but I don’t feel like I have the right to tell another woman what she can do with her body and that she must carry a pregnancy to term at great risk to her health and sometimes life, because it offends my sensibilities if she doesn’t. Therefore, I’m pro-choice. You can’t really jump on someone just because they don’t view abortion the same way as you. However, I don’t see women who abort as selfish, immoral people, I see them as people with different values than I have and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Where this article by Saletan annys me is in his insistence that everyone must feel this way and that his ideas are new. Most sensible people I know would love to see a voluntary reduction in abortion… it’s an expensive, invasive medical procedure that for some women can be very traumatic, and does carry (although, arguably very small) risks. Most people I know would rather just prevent the unwanted pregnancy to begin with. However, we have a full scale assault on our right to birth control going on right now (for instance my insurance company will pay for me to have a baby, and they will pay for me to have an abortion, but they won’t pay for me to use contraception. And this is a very widely used and well known insurance company) and sometimes this just isn’t possible. I recognize that to what me is a baby is not to someone else and I refuse to demonize them because they don’t agree with me. I do think we get into probelm areas when we say stuff like “it’s nothing more than a parasite or a clump of cells or an organ, etc…” because to me that 1)undervalues the hard work that pregnancy really is and 2)trivalizes the losses of women who have miscarriages or stillbirths. I can’t tell you how many people said stuff after the birth and death of my son (at 27 weeks gestation… he lived for about ten minutes after he was born) that made me want to scream because they all trivalized what I was going through… to someone else it might not have been a child, but to me it was. Does this make any sense or am I rambling?

  12. zuzu
    March 14, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    But speaking for the absolutists: why do you want to reduce abortion?

    Because it’s surgery. And it’s always a good idea to reduce the number of surgeries performed, particularly where there are preventive options.

  13. March 14, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Because it’s surgery. And it’s always a good idea to reduce the number of surgeries performed, particularly where there are preventive options.

    OK, that’s a reasonable point. It’s a pretty weak motivational factor, but it does let you favor reduction without accepting the abortion=malum in se formulation.

  14. kate
    March 15, 2006 at 12:12 am

    My understanding Robert and I believe you can understand this as well because you seem a quick study, is that abortion already is damned and judged from every direction. Lack of access to safe and affordable or even remotely available abortions affects those often most in need of such services.

    I couldn’t read through Saletan’s article completely because, frankly, I couldn’t stand his patronizing tone in describing those attending the event he participated in. Then also, although I am inclusionist in most of my feminist ideas, I draw the line with abortion. That men are given a stage to banter around their views about something that affects them nary a bit and yet can make or break a woman’s life irks me to the point where I just can’t listen to it anymore.

    like others have said here, he offers nothing new, but like the pompous ass he seems to be, thinks he gonna tell the girls how it is and how they can save themselves.

    gimme a fucking break.

  15. gw
    March 15, 2006 at 12:19 am

    Funny story about your dad, zuzu.

    My dad, who had a Ph.D in Physics; worked in corporate engineering, and spent the last two decades before retirement running his own energy consulting business, never dealt with the running of our home, the provisioning of our cupboards and refrigerator, or the planning of our meals.

    Suddenly, in retirement, Dad became the Master Shopper. He scoured the paper for coupons, became a veritable database of local stores’ prices, and planned his week around the regular grocery shopping trip. He advised Mom on what the week’s dinner menus would be, and in many cases, did the cooking and preparing of food himself.

  16. gw
    March 15, 2006 at 12:31 am

    Robert, there are abortions happening all the time! Nature does them. The egg doesn’t implant properly; the fetus is genetically flawed, something goes wrong and whoops, a miscarriage, or more frequently, a period starts late and you don’t even know you
    were pregnant. A woman is malnourished. A woman suffers violence. Something random happens.

    One can hardly argue that those kind of abortions are inherently good or bad — there is no moral basis. They happen.

    Not to mention the “loss” of all the eggs that never conjoin with sperm (Yes, even with “chaste” women), the sperm that is spent without travelling up the fallopians tubes.

    So, a pregnancy occurs at the wrong time. It is terminated. Why does it matter to an outside party HOW it terminated or by whose hand?

    Fish, amphibians, insects lay millions and millions of eggs at one occurance. The percentage of offspring that survive is minute. Who mourns the eggs and larvae that don’t survive?

    Human beings who rear animals abort or kill the offspring all the time. Do we mourn the lost lives?

    Nature doesn’t. Nature just keeps making more.

    The logic of anti abortionists is flawed.

  17. March 15, 2006 at 12:34 am

    Kate, I think it’s certainly true that abortion is judged from every direction. We can argue about whether it’s Teh Patriarchy or a predictable outcome of our species’ reproductive pattern, or both. But nobody seems overly shy about telling women what they should be doing with their ovaries.

    Honestly, I’m conflicted about men and abortion and the public debate. I understand, a little bit anyway, why many women would find it odious to hear men air their views. On the other hand, reproduction is really important, and men can’t do it. We’re on the outside, looking in. I wager that at least some male discomfort with abortion in general comes from our inability to turn our viewpoint into direct action. It’s a bit like being a really fervent baseball fan who isn’t allowed on the field, or even in the stadium – all we can do is listen to the game on the radio.

    Personally I think that I’d be less involved in the whole debate if there were women who were pro-life saying things that represent my (relatively nuanced) view. But I don’t hear much of that, so I talk.

  18. ellenbrenna
    March 15, 2006 at 2:01 am

    Abortion is a radical solution to some sort of problem and the problem can be medical, personal or economic but whatever it is it is a problem. In that sense it is good. There is more to the moral issues involved in abortion than life vs. rights. There is potential life vs. existing children, potential life of poverty and suffering vs. no life at all, potential life vs future reproductive health and even more potential life…these are all issues weighed by women who decide to have abortions. For Saletan or anyone else who proclaims to be pro-choice to feed into the idea that the only moral issue at stake is the right to life is irresponsible and counterproductive for securing the right of women to make complicated personal moral decisions.

    It is better to avoid the problem in the first place but that does not mean that there will not always be women who need to end their pregnancies.

  19. Eleanor
    March 15, 2006 at 4:09 am

    I’d actually agree that there are circumstances where an abortion is the best choice (usually from a bad set of choices). But there are inflection points on that continuum; either abortion is a bad thing in and of itself, or it isn’t. You can feel that it’s a bad thing but not a major deal, or a bad thing and the end of the world; you can feel that it’s a bad thing but that the circumstances justify it; or you can feel that it’s not a bad thing at all. But there’s no way to believe (AFAIK) that abortion is morally meaningless or insignificant, AND that it should be reduced or avoided whenever possible.

    The thing is, you’re using words like “bad” that are powerful but also very much subject to interpretation. When you say “a bad thing in and of itself”, what are you including in the meanings of “bad”? This isn’t semantic quibbling, it’s important. Personally I think abortion would be a very bad thing for me, but if I were to need one it would be the right thing and the responsible thing to do: both bad *and* good. So, not “morally meaningless”, but not morally wrong either. Can you accept that “bad” doesn’t always mean “wrong”? Because if not, we’re having this discussion from different premises, and that’s what worries me about the pronouncement that “abortion is bad”. You have to understand what the speaker is implying by “bad”.

  20. March 15, 2006 at 4:13 am

    Can you accept that “bad” doesn’t always mean “wrong”?

    Sure. But, I should say, I do think that abortion is wrong. (I don’t think there’s any misunderstanding on that point, but you never know.)

  21. Eleanor
    March 15, 2006 at 5:45 am

    Wrong, but also sometimes the best available choice (as you say in comment 9)? So what’s served by telling someone they’re doing wrong when they’re also acting for the best? Sorry, I’m not trying to interrogate you personally; the point is how loaded these terms are, and how their implications differ from person to person (the same way the significance of a pregnancy differs).

    While I’m here, to Julie in comment 11 – yes, I think you are making a lot of sense throughout!

  22. Chet
    March 15, 2006 at 10:02 am

    On the other hand, reproduction is really important, and men can’t do it. We’re on the outside, looking in.

    Like, I don’t get this. Is this the root of anti-abortion thinking? That you’re afraid your offspring are all in danger of being aborted?

    You don’t think it’s likely that you could attract a mate that would willingly bear your child? That even if she had one abortion at one time, she probably wouldn’t have an abortion every time?

  23. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 10:31 am

    On the other hand, reproduction is really important, and men can’t do it.

    There’s no reproduction without men. It’s the gestation you have no role in. And yes, it’s no fun to not be in control of something. But male anxiety is not a sufficient reason to get a say in the termination of something that happens entirely within a woman’s body.

  24. March 15, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    I would agree to some extent that abortion is bad (though I would not say wrong) since it’s certainly not a pleasant experience physically or emotionally, nothing like ‘the equivalent of a haircut’. But, it is not anything like as bad as the alternative where abortion is banned and women are forced to give birth or resort to desperate measures to prevent it.

    Of course the better solution is to prevent the unwanted pregnancy in the first place. I don’t know of any pro-choicers who would have a problem with that, and I have never heard of anyone saying they wish women would get ‘accidentally’ pregnant more often just so we could have more abortions in the world. So in that sense, no one thinks abortions are good, or something to be sought for their own sake! But they are sometimes the best solution we have to a real problem, and until that problem goes away or we find a better solution, it’s difficult to call them ‘bad’ either.

  25. March 15, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    Wrong, but also sometimes the best available choice (as you say in comment 9)? So what’s served by telling someone they’re doing wrong when they’re also acting for the best?

    Well, it serves to buttress the societal mostly-consensus about the moral choice involved. But I think there’s distinction to be drawn between berating a woman for her own individual choice (which is pointless and insensitive) and buttressing that wide belief. In other words, I don’t think we (=pro-lifers) ought to be standing outside abortion clinics with bloody signs screaming at women coming in for an abortion. I do think we need to be standing inside the culture saying “this is a bad choice, let’s work on finding better choices”.

    Is this the root of anti-abortion thinking? That you’re afraid your offspring are all in danger of being aborted? You don’t think it’s likely that you could attract a mate that would willingly bear your child?

    I have three kids. My personal insecurities aren’t in play.

    And yes, it’s no fun to not be in control of something. But male anxiety is not a sufficient reason to get a say in the termination of something that happens entirely within a woman’s body.

    Unfortunately, Zuzu, I seriously doubt the feminist commitment to that principle. I don’t base this on my disdain for Teh Feminist; I base this on the fact that feminist women are regularly AWOL on “choice” and “autonomy” and all the other principles invoked to defend abortion rights.

    In other words, I have zero doubt that if there was some circumstance where something happened entirely within a man’s body, but the man’s choice to do it or not do it conflicted with some other liberal principle, that the “inside the body” principle would turn into dust the way choice and autonomy do when they’re invoked outside of the abortion context.

  26. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Example, please.

  27. March 15, 2006 at 4:28 pm

    Example of choice and autonomy being discarded as principles, or an example of a within-the-body being discarded as a principle?

  28. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Both.

  29. March 15, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Actually, let’s save bandwidth, and have an example that covers all three.

    First, a note about what I mean by “principle”. I’m using principle to mean something that a person believes that they will honor, even if honoring it subverts their own immediate interest or preferences.

    My friend Bill Gates has a bad kidney. He and I are tissue matches. I don’t drink, I have two healthy kidneys, and I need money. I’d like to sell my kidney to Bill Gates, and he’d like to buy it.

    Many/most people don’t believe I should be allowed to do this, most feminists among them. (About the only people who believe I should be able to do this are libertarians, and there aren’t that many libertarian feminists – although there are some.)

    I can advance sound arguments based on the principles of choice, bodily autonomy, and this-is-within-my-body for why I should be able to sell my left one to Bill. “It’s my choice – I can pick the life path I want to follow”. “This is about my bodily autonomy – my right to do what I like with my own flesh.” “This is something that happens within my body, and within the body of my business associate – it’s our decision, and you shouldn’t get any input”.

    It’s my impression that most feminists would reject those appeals to principle. Further, they wouldn’t reject them along the lines of “wow, your bodily autonomy really is being violated by not being able to sell your kidney…but there’s this other huge principle that is more important, x y z”. Instead, they’ll make claims about how that’s not really bodily autonomy, or how that’s not what choice means, or whatever. It’s all handwaving, and it’s designed to obscure the fact that the feminist in question doesn’t actually believe in bodily autonomy or choice. They just use those principles to defend their immediate interest/preference to have an abortion right.

    Which is fine, by the way. Everybody’s entitled to want what they want. It’s just that it undermines future claims of principle as an offered rationale, in my eyes, anyway.

  30. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    It’s explicitly illegal to buy and sell organs. It has been for a long time, and it’s not a liberal issue (in fact, it’s a bipartisan one).

    Moreover, you’re not talking about someone else interfering with your bodily autonomy, as would be the case with abortion. What would be more analogous would be if Bill Gates could force you to donate a kidney, regardless of whether you wanted to or not.

    Try again.

  31. March 15, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    It’s explicitly illegal to buy and sell organs.

    It used to be explicitly illegal to have an abortion.

    it’s not a liberal issue (in fact, it’s a bipartisan one)

    So what?

    Moreover, you’re not talking about someone else interfering with your bodily autonomy, as would be the case with abortion.

    I want to do something with my body. The state is saying no.

    How is this not, plainly, the state interfering with my bodily autonomy?

    What would be more analogous would be if Bill Gates could force you to donate a kidney, regardless of whether you wanted to or not.

    I don’t understand this point. That might be a good analogy to forced childbirth, but that’s not the point under discussion.

    The point under discussion is whether feminists actually believe in the principles that they offer as justification for abortion rights. Specifically, choice, bodily autonomy, and the locus of action being within a person’s corporeal being.

  32. March 15, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Tell you what, let’s make this easy. I don’t imagine that you’re the avatar of all feminists, but you’re certainly a feminist.

    Do you believe in the principle that people should have autonomous control over their own physical body?

  33. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    No, I’m not playing that game with you.

    You quoted my statement about male anxiety not being good enough for male control over women’s bodies, then responded with some bullshit kidney-selling thing.

    If you’re going to try to argue against one of my statements, stick to it.

    So what?

    So you’re the one trying to claim that kidney-selling should be embraced by liberals because of bodily autonomy. You’re trying to lay a trap for liberal inconsistency on the issue and came up with this example. Now you’re moving the goalposts from male control over women’s bodies to the state’s control over your body.

    Oh, and by the way — the embryo isn’t a body part.

  34. Tuomas
    March 15, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    It’s explicitly illegal to buy and sell organs. It has been for a long time, and it’s not a liberal issue (in fact, it’s a bipartisan one).

    Oh, come on. If abortion becomes illegal, will it cease to be a bodily autonomy issue? As long as it’s done with bipartisan support? (My answer: No, it does not. The length/bipartisanship of hypothetical [or not so hypothetical: South Dakota] law forbidding abortion does not magically make it into “not about bodily autonomy” ) That’s a dodge, Zuzu, and I think you know it.

  35. Tuomas
    March 15, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Aw, hell. I’m not needed in this one. Crossposted.

    I just think people on the Left would be more credible if they made an utilitarian argument against abortion, such as this,
    instead of pretending to be all about bodily autonomy unlike the evil conservatives.

    And I’m pro-choice.

  36. March 15, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    Zuzu, I’m honestly puzzled.

    I quoted your statement about male anxiety in order to question your commitment to the principle you were enunciating, and said that I didn’t find some feminist statements of principle convincing, because of previous history.

    You asked for examples of principles not being adhered to in non-abortion contexts.

    I provided such an example: kidney-selling, which draws support from the principles of bodily autonomy, personal choice, and the locus of action being within a body.

    I am not claiming that “kidney-selling should be embraced by liberals because of bodily autonomy”. I’m noting that a person who really believes in bodily autonomy has some explaining to do if they’re opposed to kidney-selling. Whereas a person who doesn’t believe in bodily autonomy, but who advances bodily autonomy as a justification for some other policy they like, is perhaps being less than fully transparent when they make other declarations of principle. Nor am I laying a consistency trap; the trap is pre-existing, any time someone uses a principle that they don’t really believe in to justify an action or policy.

    I’m utterly baffled as to what you’re getting at with “the embryo isn’t a body part”. If that’s the case, then that would seem to weaken the claim that “this is just about my body, so back off uninvolved men”. If that embryo isn’t your body part, then it is its own body, and it can’t just be about the woman. So perhaps you can clarify this one for me.

    As for moving goalposts – abortion as a cultural issue can certainly be characterized as “male control over women’s bodies”. However, again, we’re not talking about abortion per se. We’re talking about feminist adherence to articulated principles. Control over bodies is control over bodies, and autonomy is violated by “control”, not by “men” or “the state”. If you’re autonomous, you’re autonomous. If not, not.

  37. March 15, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    I want to do something with my body. The state is saying no.

    Abortion is a bit different. When a woman seeks an abortion, she seeks to NOT do something with her body.

    What if Bill Gates was buying your kidney and you couldn’t legally refuse? (Crappy analogy, btw.)

  38. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    Unfortunately, Zuzu, I seriously doubt the feminist commitment to that principle. I don’t base this on my disdain for Teh Feminist; I base this on the fact that feminist women are regularly AWOL on “choice” and “autonomy” and all the other principles invoked to defend abortion rights.

    In other words, I have zero doubt that if there was some circumstance where something happened entirely within a man’s body, but the man’s choice to do it or not do it conflicted with some other liberal principle, that the “inside the body” principle would turn into dust the way choice and autonomy do when they’re invoked outside of the abortion context.

    Look, Robert. That’s what you said. I asked for examples. You didn’t provide me any issues where “feminist women are regularly AWOL” on issues of “choice” and “autonomy,” because organ-selling is not really on the feminist radar.

    So, I’m asking you again, using *your own parameters,* provide me with a concrete example of issues of choice and autonomy where feminist women are *regularly AWOL.*

  39. piny
    March 15, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    What if Bill Gates was buying your kidney and you couldn’t legally refuse? (Crappy analogy, btw.)

    Not just crappy. Craptastic. If women were being offered large sums of money to abort their pregnancies, would feminists think it was an awesome idea? Would they see it as a pure bodily autonomy issue? Given the way feminists like Janice Raymond have written about the fertility industry, I doubt it.

  40. March 15, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Abortion is a bit different. When a woman seeks an abortion, she seeks to NOT do something with her body.

    You’re confusing outcomes with actions. If this were true, then all she’d have to do to achieve the outcome is be passive – OK, don’t be pregnant any more! To actually achieve the desired outcome, a Oh, but to achieve that, you have to actually take a positive action must be taken.

    What if Bill Gates was buying your kidney and you couldn’t legally refuse?

    Then that would be bad. Relevance?

    provide me with a concrete example of issues of choice and autonomy where feminist women are *regularly AWOL.*

    What would be the point? I’ve provided you with an example where feminists don’t come down where their claimed principles would seem to indicate. Rather than address the conversation as it has evolved, you want to pretend the example doesn’t exist on the grounds that it isn’t important enough, and go back to the beginning and start over. You won’t even answer the question as to whether you do endorse the principle.

    Lawyering may win cases but it doesn’t make for a constructive discussion of issues.

  41. March 15, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Sorry, bad editing in that first paragraph. Please read the last sentence as “To actually achieve the desired outcome, a positive action must be taken.”

  42. Tuomas
    March 15, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    What the !%¤& did I write?

    In #35:

    I just think people on the Left would be more credible if they made an utilitarian argument against abortion

    Should read: utilitarian argument for (legal) abortion.

  43. March 15, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    I understood what you meant, Tuomas. And you’re entirely correct.

  44. piny
    March 15, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Should read: utilitarian argument for (legal) abortion.

    Personally, I thought the completely incomprehensible part was when you linked to a lefty blog that proceeded to do just that.

  45. March 15, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    Seems to me that abortion defies direct comparison – which would explain the lack of an apt analogy. Why bother? The organ question raises a different set of questions with only a few that overlap. The ethics of abortion aren’t simple, so why grasp for simplistic arguments to bash? If it were so easy to knock it down in a few reductionist sentences it would’ve been done a long time ago.

    Have more respect for our hosts.

  46. Tuomas
    March 15, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    Brain punished me for not giving it caffeine.

    (Fixed).

  47. Julie
    March 15, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks Eleanor. I have a tendency to ramble, so it’s nice to know someone else thought I made sense.

  48. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    What would be the point? I’ve provided you with an example where feminists don’t come down where their claimed principles would seem to indicate. Rather than address the conversation as it has evolved, you want to pretend the example doesn’t exist on the grounds that it isn’t important enough, and go back to the beginning and start over. You won’t even answer the question as to whether you do endorse the principle.

    The point, Robert, would be to back up what you’re claiming instead of going down a whole other path and then chiding me for not going along with where the conversation has “evolved” to.

    There’s a very simple rule in law: You plead it, you prove it. You pled “regularly AWOL” but didn’t prove it because you used something that isn’t even really an issue with anyone, let alone feminist women. Unless there’s some great movement for kidney-selling that goes beyond Thomas Sowell that I’m not aware of.

    So, you gonna prove it?

  49. March 15, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    Zuzu, you are absolutely correct. I withdraw the phrase “regularly AWOL”. I resubmit it as “Feminists do not take positions consistent with these principles in non-abortion contexts”, and for an example, I submit the kidney selling scenario as outlined.

    What’s your position on the kidney-selling scenario, and do you think that position is consistent with being in favor of bodily autonomy and personal choice?

  50. kate
    March 15, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    That might be a good analogy to forced childbirth, but that’s not the point under discussion.

    Making abortion unavailable is exactly that.

    In other words, I have zero doubt that if there was some circumstance where something happened entirely within a man’s body, but the man’s choice to do it or not do it conflicted with some other liberal principle, that the “inside the body” principle would turn into dust the way choice and autonomy do when they’re invoked outside of the abortion context.

    To paint all feminists with such a broad brush is rather disenginous I think. Many would have no problem with organ selling if there were assurance that such transactions would not indeed begin to trample all over body autonomy ideals. That is exactly why many don’t support the legalization of organ selling. In our social construct, nationally and globally, one wouldn’t have to look far to find that an individual’s bodily autonomy has everything to do with economics and thus, many would have more value as organ donation farms than as humans entitled to acheive their own potential as such.

    Which leads right into the choice argument. Pregnancy most definately impinges on the ability of a woman to acheive her potential as a human. The argument between choicers and lifers is whether that potential is considered valuable or not.

    I like Robert’s analogy about the baseball game. You Robert and the pro-lifers insist on running around on the field because you can’t play. And you entice other players to defect from us and run around with you causing mischief and being generally a distraction to the real issue.

    That being that because you own the ballfield and the feed the players, you hold more power than just a sideliner and that’s why so many are willing to let you and your people make a mess of the damn field when you should be told to get the fuck off and sit down.

    Me, I just want to keep the ballgame going until us women can own a majority share of the ballfield, feed ourselves and vote you off the board.

  51. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    No, Robert. I’m not going to get drawn into your framing of the issue just because you can’t back up what you originally claimed.

  52. kate
    March 15, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    What or why or how abortion happens just has no business in the realm of political debate.

    The pro-lifers cannot and will not explain why a woman’s life has less import than a bunch of cells that happened to meet a sperm cell and begin dividing. They delve into religious dogma, mysticism and even blaming and shaming to reduce the woman to nothing more than a vessel that must at all costs carry around and incubate this clump of cells into a human, whether they like it or not.

    Find an analogy for that Robert.

  53. NIamh
    March 15, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    Robert, no one is preventing you from donating your kidney to Bill Gates free of charge, are they? (maybe they are– do live donors have to be family?) So no one is actually preventing you from doing what you want with your body. They’re just preventing you from charging money for it. There’s certainly an autonomy issue here but it isn’t one of bodily autonomy.
    And the major argument against legal organ sales, as I understand it, is actually based on principles of bodily autonomy in both its utilitarian and more idealistic versions. The utilitarian version is about the external social costs of creating a lucrative market in human organs and the possibility of criminally forced or otherwise coerced participation for some of the donors.
    And the more woolly idealistic version is grounded in the intuition that human bodies are more important than money and probably shouldn’t be sold like chunks of meat. (incidentally, Robert, I infer that your version of “bodily autonomy” would include the “right” to sell one’s body as literal meat to some rich psychopath who’d rewatched that Burger King commercial too many times?)
    Also do you really think feminists would apply different standards to men and women in the organ donation case? Your wording in post 25 seems to imply it.

    (gah, sorry for paritcipating in thread derailment!)

  54. March 15, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    No, Robert. I’m not going to get drawn into your framing of the issue just because you can’t back up what you originally claimed.

    Zuzu, the distinction between my original, rhetorically florid framing and my reframing is trivial.

    The appearance generated is that you will argue over whether feminists are “AWOL” from an issue, because “AWOL” is rhetorically strong and you can avoid the underlying issue by sticking to the semantics, and arguing that feminists aren’t AWOL, just not interested in the particular example topic.

    But you won’t argue the point that feminists support their policy desires by making claims of principle, but then do not appear to be actual supporters of the principle invoked.

    Noted.

  55. March 15, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    The pro-lifers cannot and will not explain why a woman’s life has less import than a bunch of cells that happened to meet a sperm cell and begin dividing.

    Kate, I don’t make that claim.

    They delve into religious dogma, mysticism and even blaming and shaming to reduce the woman to nothing more than a vessel that must at all costs carry around and incubate this clump of cells into a human, whether they like it or not.

    I find your viewpoint mystifying, frankly.

    There are so many places and subjects where we have expectations of people that they will act in ways not directly in conformance with their preference or personal well-being.

    We expect men to put their lives on the line in defense of their families, groupings, or nation-states. Would you characterize this as “reducing men to a walking corpse that must at all costs protect these parasitic individuals, whether they like it or not” ? I wouldn’t.

    I certainly grant that the rhetoric of many pro-life individuals and organizations is problematic in their apparent lack of regard for women’s agency and needs. But it is reductive to assert that all formulations of women’s roles that include duty are simple masks for subjugation and enslavement.

    I happen to think that all adult humans have a rather substantial list of duties that they owe to the rest of humanity. In treating women as though they have duties particular to their capacities, I am treating them as I would treat men – as adult humans.

  56. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    Note this: kate and Niamh knocked you out of the park on this.

    The difference between your original framing and your subsequent framing was not trivial. You originally framed the issue as one that feminists were regularly AWOL on — meaning that they had chances to deal with the issue on a regular basis but chose not to. I said that organ-selling really isn’t a big feminist issue, nor is it a big issue with most of the population, because the cultural consensus is that you don’t sell your organs.

    Removing the “regularly AWOL” construction still doesn’t make it a big feminist issue, nor one even remotely analogous to abortion.

    Which of course is what I said earlier.

    In any event, nobody’s stopping you from donating your kidney to Bill Gates, but they are certainly stopping him from forcing you to donate it or from paying you for it or from preventing you from donating it to your dying sister.

    Remind me how your little tale is at all relevant to abortion again?

  57. March 15, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    We expect men to put their lives on the line in defense of their families, groupings, or nation-states. Would you characterize this as “reducing men to a walking corpse that must at all costs protect these parasitic individuals, whether they like it or not” ? I wouldn’t.

    I call it “making men into cannon fodder for the nation-state.”

  58. Magis
    March 15, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    Robert:

    A duty is meeting an obligation you’ve freely accepted. A slave has no ‘duty’ to his/her master/mistress.

  59. March 15, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    I happen to think that all adult humans have a rather substantial list of duties that they owe to the rest of humanity. In treating women as though they have duties particular to their capacities, I am treating them as I would treat men – as adult humans.

    God, willfully misreading this is so fucking tempting.

  60. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Oh, go for it.

    You know you want to.

  61. March 15, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    Niamh:
    Robert, no one is preventing you from donating your kidney to Bill Gates free of charge, are they?

    Your point has facial merit. (Damn it.)

    But I would argue that a thing which is forbidden to be sold is a thing that is not owned. And saying “you don’t own that” is the bedrock of the denial of bodily autonomy.

    (incidentally, Robert, I infer that your version of “bodily autonomy” would include the “right” to sell one’s body as literal meat to some rich psychopath who’d rewatched that Burger King commercial too many times?)

    I would certainly include that as a component of bodily autonomy, yes.

    (By the way, I don’t actually believe in bodily autonomy, other than in a very limited way. Just to be clear.)

    Also do you really think feminists would apply different standards to men and women in the organ donation case? Your wording in post 25 seems to imply it.

    No, I didn’t mean to imply that; my bad. I used a male example as a counterexample to an all-female area of action; I don’t think feminists would distinguish between male and female rights/privileges in an area where the gender distinction was irrelevant, like organ transplants.

    Thank you for arguing the content instead of word quibbles; I appreciate it.

  62. March 15, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    A duty is meeting an obligation you’ve freely accepted.

    True. Nobody becomes an adult until they freely accept the rights and responsibilities associated with that status.

  63. March 15, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    (By the way, I don’t actually believe in bodily autonomy, other than in a very limited way. Just to be clear.)

    Do explain, Dr. Pepper Ph.D.

  64. March 15, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Remind me how your little tale is at all relevant to abortion again?

    It indicates the intellectual difficulties at the heart of the feminist position on abortion rights. Policy positions that are built solely on immediate interest are valid, but also unstable over time. Feminists will not achieve permanent success in securing abortion as a genuine right for women (rather than a vulnerable judicial fiat) until the framework of principle it is placed in can withstand assault from competing coherent philosophies. At the moment the framework appears to be built from timbers pilfered from other structures, each of which is disavowed when it becomes awkward, ill-fitting or inconvenient.

    The weakness of that framework is highlighted here, where an articulate and intelligent feminist is not willing to discuss the philosophical architecture of her position, in a friendly forum, with nothing but pride at stake, surrounded by allies. How then will you successfully defend your desired right in the genuinely public sphere?

    The answer, I suspect, is that you won’t.

    This has been a fascinating discussion and I have enjoyed having it, but I’ve got a day’s worth of work still left to do, babies to bathe and dinners to eat. I will be happy to respond (much) later to any subsequent commentary, dispute, etc. but must absent myself from the fray for now. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss things.

  65. Magis
    March 15, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    True. Nobody becomes an adult until they freely accept the rights and responsibilities associated with that status.

    As defined by…who…you? Actually, you don’t accept rights. They either (depending on how you believe) exist a priori or by law. Now we’re back to responsibilities which is the same as duty so the statement is circular.

    No adult has any duty to any other except perhaps to die and pay taxes. Unless they make a promise or swear an oath or some such.

  66. March 15, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    Do explain, Dr. Pepper Ph.D.

    Super-quickly, rights to the body ought to be understood in a “bundle-of-sticks” way. There’s not one or two big enormous rights; there’s a whole bunch of little rights. Some of those rights adhere to individuals; others to the state; others to members of society such as spouses or offspring; others to God.

    If that doesn’t clear it up, mention so and I’ll return to the topic later.

  67. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    The weakness of that framework is highlighted here, where an articulate and intelligent feminist is not willing to discuss the philosophical architecture of her position, in a friendly forum, with nothing but pride at stake, surrounded by allies. How then will you successfully defend your desired right in the genuinely public sphere?

    Why should I get drawn into your framing of the issue? I don’t agree that you’ve framed it at all correctly, so I decline to give your view any legitimacy by responding to it as set forth.

    You seem to equate autonomy and ownership of one’s body solely with the ability to receive something of value for part of one’s body. As has been pointed out to you numerous times, it is only the payment of money for a body part that is prohibited, not its donation. Anyone, anywhere, is free to donate a kidney. No one, nowhere, can force another to donate their kidney against their will.

    So how does the inability to accept payment for one’s body parts affect bodily autonomy, given the above? It doesn’t. You’re still free to donate your body to science, to donate your organs and tissues, to donate your bodily fluids and reproductive cells. You’re also free to give the labor of your body to whom you choose; no one else can own you (even Uncle Sam; it’s quite possible to desert if you don’t feel like being in the military).

    But no one else is entitled to violate your bodily autonomy, even when you’re a prisoner.

    So again, tell me: just what relevance does your little story about kidney-selling have to abortion?

  68. March 16, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    I think I’ve made my case as well as it’s going to be made, Zuzu. If you don’t see it or don’t want to see it, that’s fine.

  69. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Meaning, you don’t have an answer as to my argument that whether or not you can sell your body parts for money makes not one whit of difference to bodily autonomy.

    Gotcha.

  70. March 16, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    No, meaning that it’s clear you won’t engage the subject, and instead will argue the analogy, or argue the language, or argue the rhetoric.

  71. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    Robert, what is the subject? You’ve completely muddled it at this point.

    And you’re being highly dishonest to say that I’m arguing the rhetoric or the language when YOU were the one who specified “regularly AWOL.” You may want to claim that doesn’t mean anything, but it does. You made a claim, I asked you for proof, then you wanted to change the subject when you didn’t have the proof.

    But what else is new?

  72. March 16, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    The subject is the feminist justification of abortion rights by invoking principles, and failure to uphold those principles in other areas.

    I indeed specified “regularly AWOL”. And when you critiqued that phrase, I accepted your critique and withdrew the phrase. It is dishonest is for you to call that “changing the subject”.

    I didn’t change the subject. I agreed that you were correct about the use of that phrase, and withdrew it.

    And you are still avoiding talking about the subject – feminist use of principles that they don’t apparently endorse.

    Hey Zuzu, do you endorse the principle of bodily autonomy? Please don’t try to squirm out of it with claims about “bad frames” – this isn’t a framing of an issue. It’s a direct personal question about your beliefs.

  73. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    The subject is the feminist justification of abortion rights by invoking principles, and failure to uphold those principles in other areas.

    And you gave a bad example, as was pointed out to you over and over. And over.

    The principles behind bodily autonomy do not fail if monetary compensation for body parts is prohibited — as Niamh pointed out and you were forced to concede. As kate pointed out. As I pointed out.

    And you failed to answer any of us with a reason as to why payment or lack thereof made a difference to bodily autonomy when no one can prevent you from donating body parts except on sound medical grounds (i.e., you only have the one kidney, so you can’t give it away because you’ll die) and, more importantly, no one can violate your bodily autonomy by forcing you to donate your body parts. Not a single reason.

    You have been engaged on the substance of your rather roundabout hypothetical, and it has fallen apart on its merits.

    So you need to come up with some other example of an area where feminists fail to uphold principles behind reproductive rights in other areas.

  74. March 16, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    The principles behind bodily autonomy do not fail if monetary compensation for body parts is prohibited — as Niamh pointed out and you were forced to concede. As kate pointed out. As I pointed out.

    Incorrect. I conceded that Niamh’s point had facial merit. That doesn’t mean she’s right.

    An “autonomy” which does not include economic rights to the subject matter is incomplete.

    However, if you don’t like this example, we can certainly come up with others.

    Howver, before I invest any more time, I would like you to answer my question.

    Do you believe in the principle of bodily autonomy?

  75. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Just make your point.

  76. March 16, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve made my point. Now you’re asking for evidence.

    Please answer the question.

  77. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    Why, Robert? Why do you want to know?

    I’m suspicious of your motives.

  78. March 16, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    If you do believe in the principle of bodily autonomy, then it makes sense for us to have this discussion.

    If you don’t believe in the principle of bodily autonomy, then I’m talking with the wrong feminist about this question.

    And if you have some nuanced or unanticipated view, then I’d like to know that so I can frame my argument appropriately to what you believe.

  79. zuzu
    March 16, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    I fail to see how my answer would affect your ability to come up with an example of

    feminist use of principles that they don’t apparently endorse

    You come up with a solid example, and I’ll respond.

  80. March 16, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    i think zuzu is looking for an example where a citizen is forced to part with his or her organs or other body tissue for someone else’s benefit — either heath, life, etc.

  81. Tuomas
    March 17, 2006 at 4:44 am

    You come up with a solid example, and I’ll respond.

    Convenient trick, that.

    piny:

    Personally, I thought the completely incomprehensible part was when you linked to a lefty blog that proceeded to do just that.

    Ah, looking back, the statement was somewhat contradictory. I wanted to point out that a leftist can make a strong, utilitarian argument for legal abortion. I was giving praise when it was due.

    I can’t see why people need the fortress of absolute principle to retreat into , because I think the utilitarian argument holds up. Critics of utilitarism like to proclaim that utilitarism is opposed to liberty, that it leads to compulsory social conservative morality (if they are leftist) or communism (if they are rightist), or murder of the disabled (yeah, thanks a lot for that one, Peter Singer). What they miss is the fact that countries that have much invidual liberty for citizens usually do far better than countries that don’t (Cold War, anyone?).

    “My body, my choice!”, and “you can’t force me!” all make good slogans, but they are also easily used by other people. Choice For Men, Conscience Clause. (FYI, I considered them both to be morally repugnant, irresponsible movements, altough the fact that pharmacies are private in the U.S makes the situation bit more complicated.)

    But then again, I’m no absolutist, so I don’t need to invent new tricks, or PoMo leftist theories, such as certain power dynamic concerns, (that have both little empirical truth, and little emotional appeal to wider public) to justify why I support taxation (why is that one a responsibility, when they don’t exist, Magis? Exception does not prove the rule…[common good, IMO]), conscription (I probably wouldn’t if not for certain geographical realities, though. Or perhaps only in theory if it is truly a necessary evil), and requiring fathers to do their damn duty towards their children (and mothers, yes, it is against invidual liberty. Too bad.), or requiring doctors to do their job or seek a non-clinical specialty.

  82. Tuomas
    March 17, 2006 at 4:51 am

    Not that most people here support conscription.

Comments are closed.