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Sony Cancels “Interview” Because Obama Can’t Fight His Way out of a Wet Paper Bag

I saw that Sony has canceled its release of “The Interview” because of the threats issued by the ‘Guardians of Peace’ (aka, the North Koreans) to launch mass casualty events in American theaters and I just had to shake my head.  It really is just astonishing.

A foreign government threatens to slaughter thousands of American movie-goers and the strongest statement that the Obama administration can muster is that there is “no credible threat.”  Despite these very assuring words, Sony has completely surrendered.  Who can blame them?   Not only is the yellow streak down Obama’s back plain for the world to see, but we know from past experience that if someone did wipe out thousands of Americans, Obama is as likely to blame the murdered as he is the murderers… after all, the movie is an American provocation, is it not?

In a recent example where he showed his true character, in response to the slaughter–the literal slaughter–of more than a hundred school children in Pakistan by the Taliban, Obama couldn’t even bring himself to single out the Taliban by name in his statement.

Having now watched Obama get pushed around in Syria and the Ukraine, the North Koreans could not have been too worried about how far Obama would go.  They knew that Obama probably wouldn’t do anything in response to threatening words, and even if North Korea carried out their threat (or, more likely, a lone wolf acting on his own initiative), the extent of Obama’s retaliation would probably be a round of drone strikes on a handful of lowly North Korean soldiers.  Like Clinton and his cruise missiles (that is not a euphemism), Obama just doesn’t have the stomach for dealing with threats in any decisive manner.  Obama would rather watch Iraq burn then do what is necessary with ISIS–which I think we all know desperately needs to be completely annihilated.

Certainly, Sony would know this, too.   Without any confidence that America would protect itself or provide ‘credible’ deterrence, they must have realized that it was up to them to try to analyze the ‘credibility’ of the threat, and act accordingly.  If, however, Obama and the administration had come out and said that there was no ‘credible threat’ (which may, of course, be true) and also said, “But, if any such attack were to be carried out, we’d see to it that your country was a barren wasteland by morn'” Sony could at least have counted on the sponsoring country worrying a bit about its own self-preservation.

I am aware of the fact that any such stern warning would probably be too little too late.  I doubt very much that even now any country would take such a warning seriously.

I can say, at least, that if I learned North Korea made a comment of this sort directed specifically at me, I would operate as though I was completely ON MY OWN.  Indeed, isn’t that precisely the situation every movie-goer finds themselves in?  No wonder Sony surrendered; it would be hard to have an atrocity on their conscience, if it turned out the ‘incredible threat’ turned out to be very real.  It makes me sad that they came to that conclusion, but I totally understand it.

Let us all pray that our next resident of the White House is made of sterner stuff and actually likes the people he’s been elected to govern.

 

 

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Infanticide, Euthanasia, and Progressive Spin Doctors: Snopes

I’ve always viewed Snopes.com in much the same way I view Wikipedia–at best, a good place to start your research, and never to be trusted on its face.

More justification for my skepticism was provided to me recently by a friend,  here.    The Snopes article attacks this article here, titled, “TRENDING: More college students support post-birth abortion.”

I wasn’t personally planning on dwelling the TRENDING piece because I have already spent loads of time discussing contemporary trends towards ‘post-birth abortion’ on this site.  However, one of the tactics I’ve observed amongst proponents of abortion on demand is the pooh-poohing of assertions (such as I have made) linking the arguments for abortion on demand to ‘post-birth abortion’ and euthanasia and assisted suicide, etc.  This is precisely what the Snopes piece amounts to: pooh-poohing.

There is so little of merit and substance within the Snopes article to discuss, that in my opinion, the simple truth is that Snopes wanted to put a ‘hit’ on the TRENDING article, and were looking for any pretext to do so.  You are free to draw your own conclusion; in fact, I’m hoping you will.

The problem starts right at the beginning.  The title of the Snopes article is:  “The Old College Sigh:  Claim — A growing number of college students support “post-birth abortions,” extending to children as old as four or five.”  The claim, Snopes says, is FALSE.   The ‘example’ they provide is telling.  It is a ‘tweet’ that reads thusly:

WOW! New study says college students r starting to support POST-BIRTH #abortion until 5 yrs old cuz they don’t have self awareness #justsick

Look at what the Snopes-folk say about this Tweet:

“The claims were quickly picked up on blogs and in the course of their travels and anecdotes morphed into the results of a “study” about a worrisome moral decay on campuses nationwide.”

The TRENDING article itself does not say that it is a study.  The Snopes-folk themselves quote the article’s use of the phrase “anecdotal” and correctly characterizes the TRENDING article as “citing word-of-mouth claims made by anti-abortion activists”, which the TRENDING article actually submits that it is doing!  There is nothing in the article itself to suggest anything more than that, and certainly no hint in the TRENDING article that they carried out a study of any kind.  Is it really the case that the claims “morphed” into a study?  Well, no.  The original tweet does not even give a link to the TRENDING article, which you can see for yourself, here.  Note that as of this writing, there is only one one tweeter characterized the TRENDING article (assuming of course, that’s the article the tweeter had in mind) as being a study, and this tweeter only had 3 re-tweets.  The notion that the TRENDING article represented a “new study” wasn’t exactly a viral sensation.

The TRENDING article itself went viral, but as you can see for yourself, very few others amongst the tens of millions of tweeters out there characterized it as a ‘study.’  See here and here to start.  I can only find one other instance where the TRENDING article was regarded as a “study.”  It seems that these were folks who just didn’t read the TRENDING article carefully, which says in its opening lines,

A trend seen by prolife activists that frequently engage college students on campuses nationwide is the growing acceptance of post-birth abortion, or killing the infant after he or she is born, campus prolife outreach leaders tell The College Fix.

Anecdotal evidence by leaders of prolife groups such as Created Equal and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust said in interviews that not only do they see more college students willing to say they support post-birth abortion, but some students even suggest children up to 4 or 5-years-old can also be killed, because they are not yet “self aware.”

Can you see the sleight of hand?  The Snopes article calls the claim “A growing number of students support ‘post-birth abortion'” false, when in fact it is only this one tweeter that has been shown false, who characterized the TRENDING article as a ‘study.’  The TRENDING article itself cannot be false unless the people The College Fix interviewed were lying about their experiences, or The College Fix misrepresented the ones they interviewed.  People’s assertions about what they’ve experienced may be anecdotal to you and me and not something we can build a position around, but that doesn’t mean people didn’t experience what they say they experienced.

To illustrate the irrationality of this, consider this scenario.

I write a blog post saying that I went to the store and bought lettuce and saw three other people buying lettuce.  Someone references my post in a tweet, saying, “Study shows people buying lettuce!”  Snopes notices this tweet and uses it as an argument against my blog post, headlining their article with:  “Claim:  People are buying lettuce… FALSE.”

The Snopes article proceeds to show how the claim in my blog post is wrong, using the tweeter as an illustration.  But I did not claim that I was carrying out a study, and it is true that I and three other people bought lettuce.  To say that my claim about my experiences is false because someone else characterized it as a study is absurd beyond measure.

If one saw a bit of logic like that, one would question the intelligence of the person employing it.  If that person normally seems intelligent, one may seek other explanations, like perhaps they were looking for a reason to attack the view that some people are buying lettuce.

Alright, so there are about fifteen paragraphs total in the Snopes piece.  The first four are directed towards highlighting and quoting the TRENDING piece’s explicit references to reporting anecdotal accounts.  The last four refer to an entirely unrelated “2013 media kerfuffle” regarding ‘fourth trimester’ abortions, which the TRENDING article makes no mention of.  The implication is that they are connected, but it is a connection entirely of Snope’s making.  Of the remaining 7 paragraphs, three of them are quotations from the TRENDING article (in fact, 7 of the 15 paragraphs are quotations from other material), which leaves just 4 paragraphs of substance for us to address, plus a few sentences here and there:

Immediately, the article veered into “friend of a friend” territory, citing word-of-mouth claims made by anti-abortion activists who frequently demonstrate on campuses.

[…]

The article lacks a number of key credibility markers. Among crucial corroborating information missing is on which campuses purported polling might have occurred, the number of respondents espousing this shocking viewpoint, the number of college students polled, what specifically constitutes “reguarly,” and the most crucially relevant portion: what specific language was used to extract this specific admission from college students asked about their support of abortion or reproductive law?

Harrington himself pointed to a single individual as evidence of this alarming “trend” favoring infanticide, and the claim relied solely on his assertion such a conversation occurred:
[…]

Even if Harrington did speak with one young man at one campus who believed that children up to the age of five were not “persons,” there is no evidence of any large-scale support for similar beliefs. The site also quotes anti-abortion activist Kristina Garza, who similarly claims that “a common [age] going around is 4 years old” in this purported new trend of post-birth abortion support. Garza points to 35 year old literature as the culprit inspiring college kids to embrace the philosophy:

As for the trend, Garza said there’s an explanation for it. For one, the arguments put forth by Peter Singer and other philosophers who support infanticide are given as reading assignments to college students.

Singer wrote in 1979 that “human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons … [therefore] the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”

Garza did not elaborate on why a philosophy more than three decades old would be suddenly sweeping college campuses.

[…]

No evidence is presented to support the claim that college students favor “post-birth abortions,” and no public opinion polls reflect the increase of such a sentiment.

The article didn’t ‘veer’ into ‘friend of a friend’ territory.  It explicitly said it was going there!  It did not make any mention of “purported polling.”  According to Snopes, if perchance Harrington really did speak with someone with such views, and if, perchance, Garza similarly had such an encounter, Snopes asserts “there is no evidence of any large-scale support for similar beliefs” of “this purported new trend of post-birth abortion support.”   In trying to marginalize an admittedly anecdotal article by insinuating that perhaps Harrington and Garza were lying, Snopes conveniently fails to mention the link to a Youtube experience that Harrington’s group actually recorded and made available, which is actually linked to in the TRENDING article.  “Even if Harrington did speak…” says Snopes, as if the neither Harrington or the TRENDING article offered no illustration or corroboration whatsoever for the ‘trends’ they say they were seeing.

Either the Snopes-folk were themselves careless in their reading of the original TRENDING article or they are guilty of one of the most vile hatchet jobs I’ve ever seen–and there are some doozies out there!

Now we get the snide comment, wondering why a 30 year old philosophy would be ‘suddenly sweeping college campuses.’  Here is another instance of Snopes selectively presenting material that seems arranged to make the TRENDING article seem spurious (like choosing not to mention the corroborating video provided in the original article).  Snopes quotes Garza’s line about Singer making a specific statement in 1979, and then insinuates that people don’t believe philosophies if they are over a certain age.  But in the original TRENDING article, the quote continues:  “He has been saying things like this since the 70s…” [emphasis added]

In other words, setting aside the silly bit of logic that no one takes seriously philosophies that are thirty years old, the person quoting makes it clear that Singer has since said similar things after that.  Indeed, in a book widely used on college campuses today called Practical Ethics, reprinted in 1993 and again in 2011, Singer explicitly argued that if one accepts his arguments for abortion on demand, logic dictates that they should be extended to infanticide and euthanasia and assisted suicide:

In dealing with an objection to the view of abortion presented in Chapter 6, we have already looked beyond abortion to infanticide. In so doing we will have confirmed the suspicion of supporters of the sanctity of human life that once abortion is accepted, euthanasia lurks around the next comer – and for them, euthanasia is an unequivocal evil. […] I do not deny that if one accepts abortion on the grounds provided in Chapter 6, the case for killing other human beings, in certain circumstances, is strong.

Possibly, the Snopes-folk don’t know who Singer is.  The enduring academic credentials that Practical Ethics has is attested by the reviews and comments posted at the Amazon page for the 2011 third edition:

“….It is a widely read and widely taught introduction to the philosophical dimensions of practical moral problems…. All of the chapters have been revised and updated, and a chapter has been added on climate change. Singer’s lucid style of exposition and argument are perfect for this sort of introductory text. Every library should have a copy of this book…. Highly recommended….”
–J. H. Spence, Adrian College, CHOICE

“…This third edition keeps the lucid style and provocative arguments of its predecessors, but with a more up to date perspective into current ethical challenges. This makes Practical Ethics not only an ideal text for university courses, but also for anyone who wants to dedicate some serious thinking into how she or he ought to live…. remains a relevant and welcome contribution to ethics.”
–Laura Cabrera, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, Basel University, Metapsychology Online Review

Book Description:
For thirty years, Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics has been the classic introduction to applied ethics. For this third edition, the author has revised and updated all the chapters, and added a new chapter addressing climate change, one of the most important ethical challenges of our generation.

Because I am not very confident in the general literacy skills of many of my possible readers, I have highlighted the phrases that should indicate wide, contemporary, use of Singer’s arguments.

The notion that Singer’s ideas are from a bygone era or that they might only just now be “sweeping college campuses” is positively absurd for anyone who has even a smidgen of exposure to these issues.   Anyone who would like to take a survey of college level ethics courses will find that Singer is well-regarded.  Personally, with the high level of deference to ‘experts’ that the Snopes-folk are inclined to show, I find it highly unlikely that they are unaware of Singer and his modern currency both inside and outside of academia.  I think they deliberately ignored this in an effort to slam the TRENDING article.  That is not the most charitable take on their article, but to me it is hard to believe that a site that makes its money by supposedly sourcing and researching its articles to the max would not be aware of who Singer is.

So, that pretty much dispenses with the precious few paragraphs of substance that the Snopes article provides, leaving us with just one scant line at the end,

No evidence is presented to support the claim that college students favor “post-birth abortions,” and no public opinion polls reflect the increase of such a sentiment.  [Emphasis added]

But in point of fact, the TRENDING article itself is producing evidence–the testimony of people on the front line of this debate on college campuses, which, as already pointed out, was never presented as anything more than testimony.  But what of ‘public opinion polls’?  What evidence does Snopes itself provide for its claim that “no public opinion polls reflect the increase of such a sentiment”?

Answer:  None.

Does Snopes produce a link to a public opinion poll that addresses the question at all?  No.  Does such an opinion poll even exist?  The way Snopes phrases it, we are led to believe there is, but I think it is reasonable to assume that if such a survey exists, they would have actually listed it.  Now, you may find that anecdote is a weak basis upon which to shout “TREND!” in a crowded theater, but Snopes cannot even offer anecdote to support its rebuttal!

As we survey the Snopes article, we are unable to find even a single sentence with redeemable value.  Not one line directed at the TRENDING article is defensible.   Snopes declares the claim “FALSE” but the only thing FALSE is the tweeter’s characterization of the TRENDING article.  Sadly, most people who land on the Snopes page for this article will be ones looking for info on the TRENDING article and will not look further than Snope’s bald assertion.  Perhaps that is precisely what the folks at Snopes are counting on.

You may wish to dig a little deeper about Snopes.  Rumors have abounded that Snopes takes sides–usually the liberal progressive’s side–and I submit that this hit piece is evidence of just that.

————————————————-

The above analysis is centered only on the Snopes treatment of the TRENDING article, a treatment that was, I’m afraid to say, beyond sad and pathetic.   We may as well now take a moment to evaluate the merit of the TRENDING article.

Personally, I disagree with the TRENDING article’s characterization that it is only “more recently that this type of ideology is being promoted on college campuses.”  (Note that the assertion that this trend is “suddenly sweeping college campuses” is Snope’s characterization, not the TRENDING article’s.)  From my own reading and research, this type of ideology has been on college campuses for a long time–longer than 30 years.  If there is a genuine ‘uptick’ in college students with such views, it is because a large number of their professors already have those views, and are transmitting them.  However, I am not in a position, and neither is Snopes, to speak to whether or not the people interviewed for the article are really having these experiences or challenge their statements that they are having more of them.  If only we had a public opinion survey to throw at poor Garza and Harrington we could assure them that their experiences were actually just hallucinations!  Alas, we have no such survey, despite the fact that the always impartial and unbiased Snopes implied it existed.

Indeed, it seems to me that if no one is carrying out such surveys, then the only people who would even know there might be a trend would be pro-life advocates who frequent college campuses.  Why, that seems to be just the case in this instance!

What are we to suppose instead?  That word of acceptance of infanticide should first reach the ears of the local dentist?  Perhaps the cashier at the local department store, as they are well known for engaging in heady debates on deep ethical issues.  Call me crazy, but it seems more reasonable that Garza and Harrington and other pro-lifers would have a better feel for these issues than the used car salesman at the end of the street.

Even so, some people may want to know if this is really a trend or not, and since public opinion surveys do not seem to be forthcoming, they will have to seek other avenues for corroboration.   Not me;  the article didn’t really tell me anything that I didn’t know.  Utilitarian ethics permeate bioethical conversations and have been codified in institutions large and small.  Singer’s book was Practical Ethics, after all.   The relative frequency of college kids having such views is one that doesn’t interest me that much, and so I have no desire or intention to defend that particular assertion.

However, the Snopes article dismissed it as if it was absurd on its face, and offered not a shred of evidence for that dismissal.  We can at least take a minute to establish that it is, at minimum, plausible that the article’s assertion transcends anecdote and reflects a real trend.  (I’m not sure what that would mean to some readers, even if it was a real trend.  Would they be worried about it?  Are they going to do something about it?  Are they going to demand that their universities start teaching something else?  What?)

I already laid some groundwork for such a demonstration, by highlighting the fact that Singer’s book is now in its third edition, favorably reviewed by college professors, and explicitly described as “an ideal text for university courses” and is billed as ” the classic introduction to applied ethics” “for thirty years.”

(Readers will forgive me for using the word ‘explicit’ often.  However, I have a regular reader who does not know what the word means, and does not understand that if you claim that someone believes something, and then provide EXACT statements by that person SAYING they believe that thing [ie, them explicitly saying it], it is not hearsay or conjecture, but rather rock-solid corroboration of my claims.   In this context, I am not spinning fairy tales out of my rear, whimsically characterizing Singer’s book as commonly used at universities when in fact there is ‘no evidence’ for that…  its actually described as that, on its own Amazon page!  For good reason.)

Now, just because the publisher says such things doesn’t mean the book is really used in colleges, but one is surely grasping at straws if they want to take it to that level.  Does the reader really doubt that this is the case?  I personally have run into too many people who exhibit awareness, and acceptance, of Singer’s viewpoints, right up to the contention that if you accept the rationale for abortion on demand, it logically follows that it is logical to “abort” people who are already born.  It strikes me as eminently plausible that they heard these viewpoints in college, so again, I’m not particularly surprised to hear others having similar encounters.

But perhaps Singer is being misrepresented?  Well, he explicitly states this in his textbook:

“In dealing with an objection to the view of abortion presented in Chapter 6, we have already looked beyond abortion to infanticide. In so doing we will have confirmed the suspicion of supporters of the sanctity of human life that once abortion is accepted, euthanasia lurks around the next comer – and for them, euthanasia is an unequivocal evil. […] I do not deny that if one accepts abortion on the grounds provided in Chapter 6, the case for killing other human beings, in certain circumstances, is strong.”

Since intelligent and wise people defer to experts, and college students are trained to be wise in this way, upon hearing such an argument from such an esteemed expert, should we really be surprised that whereever such material is read, there will be more people who accept such arguments?  Who are you to take a different line?  Are you an expert?  I think not.

Now, here is the thing.  Anyone who already knows anything about contemporary ethics, knows that Peter Singer has a prominent place in the discussion and well regarded throughout academia.  More broadly, utilitarian ethics as a whole (eg, Bentham and Mill) get wide treatment.  It would be a sad, sad, person who disputed this with me.  The one who needs to see if utilitarianism and Singer in particular is a common staple in college-level ethics courses are the ones who haven’t yet been initiated into these realities.  It is really for this latter group that I invest hours of my time writing and researching and the one for whom the TRENDING article might serve as a wake-up call.  Honestly, whether or not a society fully drinks the utilitarian-tea might have wide ranging life and death implications for the unborn and born.

So, if I was in that latter group and I wanted to corroborate the claims made by the people interviewed in the article, and not prepared to accept this present author’s testimony about what he has experienced,  I might want to look at the course descriptions and required readings and the professors of the ethics courses at universities around the country and the world.  But here’s another thing:  it would practically be academic negligence not to cover utilitarianism in an ethics course, given the fact that every Dr. Tom, Dick and Harry, PhD, out there is well-versed in it and potentially in positions to act on such philosophies.  If I were teaching an ethics course, I would mention utilitarianism too, and certainly would reference Singer and a slew of others.  It would not therefore be enough to evaluate the curriculum for a given ethics course.  One would want to know something of the worldview of the instructor presenting the course:  does he push a utilitarian perspective at the expense of others?  does he even mention other perspectives?  if he mentions other perspectives, is it disparagingly?  does he carry out the disparaging by assigning readings that do the disparaging for him?  And so on.

If you are now thinking to yourself, “Huh.  I don’t really think a ‘public opinion poll’ is really going to be the best measure of the acceptance of ‘after-birth abortion,'” you’ve caught on and can see how silly, even infantile, it is for Snopes to appeal to non-existent surveys of college students to make its rebuttal.   Even if you had that data, what would be the significance?  Surely it says more about the college professors than it does the students!  And most college kids are not going to find their way into positions where even if they had such views, they could implement them.

No, the really useful survey would be of the people in positions of influence and power.  Importantly, in real life, one doesn’t just graduate from college and start whacking born children with birth defects or heading up boards of ethics at the local hospital or chairing the local university’s philosophy department, or taking a position on the Independent Payment Advisory Board.  Its going to take years, if not decades, for someone to rise to those positions of responsibility.    I personally find it difficult to imagine any pollster wishing to take the time necessary to sift this sort of thing out and the much easier poll, of the general population of college students today, would (in my opinion) have limited value.  If anything, what we needed was such a survey done thirty years ago, before the present crop of bioethics administrators came into their positions of influence, and then a correlation of their views of yesteryear with their views at present.

One really ought to drill down further, focusing only on the fields where it is reasonable to expect graduates to eventually attain these positions of influence.

So where does that leave us?

As you have probably gathered, while the TRENDING article may be of interest, if it prompts us to do anything, it is to focus not on the students but on their teachers, and on the teachers of their teachers, and even the teachers of those teachers.  We should be scrutinizing the positions of those on ethics boards, or in charge of designing our system of socialized medicine, or the genetic counselor talking things over with the parent who just found out their unborn child has a birth defect.  And so on.  And what then?  Obviously, a radical overhaul of the education system itself would be required to make any difference, and it would take a generation to see any results.

Singer said, “…if one accepts abortion on the grounds provided [earlier], the case for killing other human beings, in certain circumstances, is strong.”  Ultimately, its the ‘grounds’ that need to be subverted.  The plant has got to come out at its root, and this throughout all of society.  There is no question in my mind that we will never see such a development unless the utilitarian plant is allowed to come to harvest.

It would make me very sad if someone went to the Snopes site and walked away thinking there was nothing to the matter, just because the TRENDING article only invoked anecdotes.  The fact is that the utilitarian ethic pervades all of secular society, and this is easily discovered by anyone who even casually investigates things.  The service that the TRENDING article provides is the drawing of attention to the logic of abortion on demand and its rational applicability to people already born.  If that is news to you, you better get studying.  Your life, and the life of those you love, may very well hang in the balance.

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Eric Garner Protests Will Certainly Miss the Real Issue: Our Impending Enslavement

Has anyone else noticed that between the Garner case and the Ferguson case, the Ferguson case is the one that has generated the most ongoing outrage?  The reason for this, I think, is that the Ferguson case was not caught on video, which allowed race hustlers like Sharpton and Holder to give credibility to the most wildest accusations:  Wilson shot a man with his hands up… Wilson shot a man in the back… Wilson stood over Brown and executed him.  We knew within a week or two the salient facts.  The DA also knew the salient facts, but rather than stand behind them, kicked it off to the grand jury, which told us what reasonable people already knew.  In the Garner case there was video.  It allowed us to witness a tragic scene, but it also precluded baseless accusations about what had happened.  If it had not been on video, we would have heard that the police actually used a garotte on Garner; another witness would have told us that one officer pulled out a chainsaw and attempted to cut off Garner’s head right there on the spot.  Holder and Obama would have lapped this up eagerly.  Liberals would have believed every word of it.

Indeed, the availability of video to set the record straight can only spell doom for agitators and community organizers.  Why, then, would Obama call for cameras to be placed on police officers across the country?  By the end of this essay, you should be able to figure out what I think.

The videos I saw left some points ambiguous as far as the actual headlock goes.  Given only the videos and the coroner’s report, I would have at least indicted the officers (all of them).  However, I believe in a trial it would have been shown that the officers had no intention of actually killing Garner, but, as I said, the video is ambiguous enough (in my estimation) to leave that question open.

To me, the more pressing issue is why Garner was targeted in the first place.  And I don’t mean the fact that he was black.  Here again, the videos are ambiguous.  In one place I hear onlookers saying that Garner had tried to breakup a fight.  In another place, I hear it asserted that Garner is being arrested for selling unlicensed, untaxed, cigarettes.  Both assertions might be true.

A lot of the focus seems to be on the fact that Garner was black, continuing the narrative that there is a nationwide holocaust being perpetually perpetrated on blacks by law enforcement (… by Republicans of course… never mind the fact that both Ferguson and NYC are firmly and thoroughly LIBERAL.  See if you can spot that insinuation in this article, here.)  What about the continuing erosion of all of our freedoms as governments at all levels steadily criminalize even the tiniest behaviors and enforce laws with extreme heavy-handedness?  Ladies and gentlemen, this twofold problem concerns every American, not just the black ones.

  • For example, when a SWAT team descended upon an Ohio farm in a quest to stomp down on the nefarious crime of selling… raw milk, the story hardly made the news.   A SWAT team.  I mean, seriously.  For the illegal selling of… milk?   You can be quite certain that if an accident had happened and one of those officers pulled the trigger and someone died (just like Garner seems to have been accidentally killed), folks like Obama and Holder wouldn’t have batted an eye.  After all, raw milk is a public health issue–just like tobacco use.   This isn’t by any means the only time that this sort of thing has happened.  See here and here, for example.
  • Or, how about the (white) man in Minnesota who was thrown in jail for failing to pay a citation issued for not completing the siding on his house?
  • Let us not forget the fate of Jose Guerena, who was gunned down in his own home, apparently waking up to a chaotic situation and seeking to defend his family?  He would be shot some 20 times;  he himself never managed to fire a shot.  As far as I know, Al Sharpton never offered his services to Guerena.  Obama and Holder said nothing.  Was it because Guerena wasn’t black?  Was Guerena, in fact, a ‘white hispanic‘ and therefore did not provide the necessary fodder for generating national rage?
  • In 2011, acting on a ‘tip’ that a house was ‘messy,’ a social worker enlisted the services of the police to enter the residence of a homeschooling family in Missouri, which led to the tasering of the husband and striking the wife.  Because of a tip… that a house was messy.  Give me a break.  This generated no national controversy.
  • Strangely, Miriam Carey was black, and still didn’t catch the attention of the race hustlers.  (Perhaps it was that it was on video, and couldn’t be inflamed more than the video itself justified.)

There are, of course, many instances of heavy-handed police activity.  It is often over the top and often it results in the death of someone.  The incidents often involve minor ‘crimes.’  The actions are carried out by governments at all levels–state, local, and Federal.  By focusing on the race aspect, the more important truth, that the United States is incrementally moving towards being a full-blown police state where every aspect of our lives fall under the scrutiny and micromanaging of the government, is overlooked.

Many people do not understand the dynamics created by involving the government in affairs, especially in contrast to private initiatives.  For example, in a recent blog post, I called attention to the coercive powers of the government as opposed to whatever influence evil rich people like the Koch brothers might have, and the point had no significance whatsoever with one of the commenters.   No matter how powerful folks like Soros or the Koch brothers have, they will never have the ability to send armed men in to legally enforce their will.  They will never be able to confiscate the property of dissenters, either via direct seizure or through the US tax code.

When you involve the government, you necessarily bring to bear the threat of force.  Force, by the way, that can be legally applied, but except in rare circumstances, cannot be legally resisted.

You can be sure that whatever well-meaning intentions were behind the banning of raw milk, no one suspected that it would lead to SWAT raids.  The elected officials in Burnsville, MN likely didn’t anticipate that their “property maintenance issue” could lead to one of its citizen’s incarceration.  The folks in Missouri who passed laws protecting the welfare of children didn’t consider the possibility that the law could be used as a blunt instrument by whispering neighbors and nosy social workers.

The do-gooders who allegedly wish to limit tobacco  use didn’t think of the arresting powers that came along restricting the distribution of it in New York city.  I say ‘allegedly’ because of course in this case at least the problem was in part that it was untaxed tobacco… Tobacco products provide the state of New York with big dollars–$4.35 a pack, and New York City grabs another $1.60 on top of that.  That’s almost $6 in tax revenue, and by the law of unintended consequences, provides a huge incentive for people to sell unregulated cigarettes on the street.  In other words, Garner would probably still be alive today if this huge ‘sin tax’ wasn’t present, and the money involved (from the perspective of the government) wasn’t so significant.   It is precisely because there is so much tax revenue involved that the government itself has an incentive to use force to enforce the tobacco laws.  And all force is potentially lethal force.

In my recent blog post on Ferguson, I hinted at these concerns, calling the police to task for going to these lengths.  It is worth quoting that section in full:

The instances of police brutality seems to be on the rise, and police officers seem to have taken the adage, “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6?” to heart.  Society has given them a pass in many ways because of the dangerous job that they have.  But part of that job is upholding constitutional rights.  That means that there are certain risks and responsibilities that come with being an officer of the law in our country that other countries don’t have to be concerned about.  That is to say, we certainly could better preserve officer safety more concretely if we disarmed every American and allowed the police to have their complete way with the citizenry.  But that’s not the way of freedom.  If a police officer cannot operate as though the civil liberties of the people he serves are as sacrosanct as his own life, he really ought to get out of the job.

The problem is really quite simple:  you cannot multiply laws and regulations endlessly, no matter how minor and relatively insignificant those laws and regulations may be, without bringing to bear the coercive powers of the state.  Indeed, it is precisely because so many of these issues are ‘minor and relatively insignificant’ that the problem is as acute as it is, for it means that a police presence becomes necessary in ever expanding situations–including ones that are minor and relatively insignificant.   And remember–while they are legally allowed to apply force, the citizen is not legally allowed to resist it.  I have heard it said that the average person commits three felonies a day.  Add to this now the wide range of other ‘crimes’ that come from the vast network of codes, regulations, etc, state, local, and Federal, and it becomes clear that incidents of police brutality must increase in frequency because cases of police involvement are increasing in frequency.

It is inevitable.  It is unstoppable.  No additional laws will help.  Indeed, they would only add more places where coercion may be deemed legally warranted, and you would not be legally allowed to resist it.  It is not because the nation’s police force is filled with crooks or bad men.  It is simply a question of the law of averages, compounded by the anti-personnel vehicles provided to local police agencies and the natural desire of police officers to NOT DIE while enforcing the INFINITELY INCREASING number of laws; and, as I said, society tends to give police officers a pass because of this.  We’ll never be able to eliminate tragedies at the hands of law enforcement.  Accidents will always happen.

The solution is straightforward and simple:  vastly reduce the number of laws and regulations that are on the books, state, local, and Federal.  I mean, really slash their number, so that they really only pertain areas of truly legitimate ‘public’ concern.  For example, murder, theft, extortion.  Not milk or tobacco or unfinished siding on a house.  Only by reducing the number of pretexts that conceivably require police powers can we reduce the number of ‘accidents.’

But even as I say this, it is clear that this ‘solution’ itself implies a greater problem:  the very tendency to create endless laws and regulations in the first place.  In my aforementioned Ferguson piece, I argued that the ultimate solution to their police brutality problems (if indeed they were race related) was for the citizens of Ferguson, who are predominantly black, to take over the political reins in their town, and seek to have a police force that consisted of black officers in proportion to the rest of the populace.  Presumably, since all of their police problems in Ferguson are because of white racism inflicted on black people, and always without justification, a predominantly black police department would end all the problems.  And there was nothing the white citizens could do to stop the black citizens, if they wanted to do this.  But the bottom line is that the solution is ultimately political.

The same is true in this case.

Now, the party of intrusive, over-reaching government in America is the Democrat party.  Truly, there is no intimate area of human conduct that a liberal believes the government shouldn’t be involved in.   Worst of all of them are the Progressives, who are on a quest to perfect society of EVERY.  SINGLE.  THING. that ails it.  Because they often fail to implement their goals locally, they are constantly pushing issues up the chain, from local community to the county, from the county, to the state, from the state to the Federal government.  And of course, from the Federal government to the International community, via the United Nations.  Every layer higher it goes, the harder it gets to engage in self-government, and the harder it is to reverse infantile and perverted intrusions into the nooks and crannies of human behavior.  That these are in fact infantile and perverted intrusions is often only discovered after awhile, when it is much harder to reverse.  (Think:  Prohibition.)   The spirit of perfecting society is often well-meaning and well-intentioned, but since liberals cannot convince enough of their fellow men and women to go along voluntarily with their sincerely intended schemes, they feel compelled to legislate as much of it as possible.

Ironically, liberals themselves are often offended by cases of police brutality and other government abuses.  They are oblivious to the fact that they are actively engaged in creating the conditions for these abuses to occur in the first place.

The first practical steps in reversing the situation, then, is twofold:

  • completely repudiate liberalism
  • resist Progressives and progressive thinking with all of your might.

A third practical step can be offered to the good citizens of New York City:

I mean really.  You kind of deserve whatever you get when you do that as far as I’m concerned.

Unfortunately, the spirit of liberalism (or, ‘perfect-society-ism’) is not at all confined to the Democrat party.  It permeates the Republican party, as well, and can even be seen within conservative thought.  It is precisely for this reason that for many years now I have characterized myself as a “Constitutionalist Libertarian.”  If the goal is to secure our freedoms and liberties, it is not enough to keep the properly Federal issues at the Federal level and the state issues at the state level and the local issues at the local level.  Obviously, that is a huge first step;  if the citizens of Burnsville, MN don’t like the idea that their code requirements can actually have the effect of leading to their incarceration, it is far easier to reverse such a thing if it is implemented and enforced locally, rather than Federally.  One also has to be prepared to live in a society with blemishes and ‘untreated’ issues… like, messy houses, or houses without (God forbid)… siding.

I was an elected official in my own town, and I watched for two years as even the ‘Republican’ members of the board passed innumerable rules and regulations, even going so far on occasion to characterize their action as ‘progressive.’  Obviously, the nanny-state advocates on the board could be expected to think that way, but the Republicans?  Alas, it is so, and not, I’m afraid, only in the town I had been living.  Almost certainly, none of them every considered the possibility that their well-intentioned efforts to perfect our small town could lead someday to the incarceration, or even deaths, of some of the citizens.  There was no ‘blemish’ they were not willing to address, and that attitude can be found throughout America, in communities large and small, in groups liberal and conservative.

To take one more example, I live in Wisconsin which is presently controlled by Republicans at every level as far as the state government goes.  Yet, there is no call at all to reduce and cut back on the laws and regulations that are inflicted on the citizenry;  presumably, this is because the citizens want those laws and regulations!  For example, consider this list of licenses required by the state.  Here are some excerpts:

  • Christmas Tree Grower
  • Dating Service
  • Ginseng Grower
  • Grease Processor
  • Honey Processor
  • Maple Sap (for syrup) Processor
  • Seed Labeler
  • Mobile Air Conditioners Repair

Uh, Christmas Tree Grower?  Grease processor?  Really?  If I could summarize this list, and perhaps expand the argument to all the lists in Wisconsin and other states, the bottom line is this:  if all you want to do is sit on your couch and watch TV and draw a paycheck from an employer, the government will pay you hardly any mind.  The minute you want to do anything else, great or small, the government is going to make you go through hoops and monitor you.  No one can imagine that a regulation regarding the growing and sale of Christmas trees could lead to someone being arrested and/or killed in the quest to enforce it, but that is precisely the nature of the “perfecting every nook and cranny of human society” beast.

Until this mindset is completely changed, you can expect even more intrusions into the private affairs of citizens, and ever more tragic incidents such as what we saw happen to Garner.  America was founded on the principle of self-government, and at the beginning this fundamentally referred to individual self-government.  We have lost our way, and the consequences are inevitable.  Assuming we continue down this path, you can pretty well count on a near-complete loss of liberties and freedoms.

Whether or not a citizen is white or black is an irrelevant sideshow.  At present, we are all destined for enslavement… and that, by our own hands, and (always) in the name of the ‘common good.’

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Imminent Ferguson Mayhem is the Fault of the Residents of Ferguson.

So, we’re about to find out if the officer in Ferguson is going to be indicted, and the rumors floating about seem to suggest that he won’t.

After making some remarks about the ‘power structure,’ a protester commented, “I also think we’re not going to get change in this society unless white people are just a little bit afraid.”

There is just so much one could say to that.  Personally, I think it is a very childish thing to say.  Indeed, I think the whole Ferguson thing is a mass-manifestation of childish behavior.

Now, in some senses I’m actually sympathetic.  The instances of police brutality seems to be on the rise, and police officers seem to have taken the adage, “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6” to heart.  Society has given them a pass in many ways because of the dangerous job that they have.  But part of that job is upholding constitutional rights.  That means that there are certain risks and responsibilities that come with being an officer of the law in our country that other countries don’t have to be concerned about.  That is to say, we certainly could better preserve officer safety more concretely if we disarmed every American and allowed the police to have their complete way with the citizenry.  But that’s not the way of freedom.  If a police officer cannot operate as though the civil liberties of the people he serves are as sacrosanct as his own life, he really ought to get out of the job.

Moreover, my research has led me to the conviction that blacks in America have been targeted for oppression, and that this oppression often occurs along the lines that they maintain.  The difference is that this oppression was largely built and maintained by liberal progressives.  To hear people talk today, you’d think that Lincoln had been a Democrat, when in fact he was a Republican.  But even that is too much of a gloss–it is really a product of the elites… but the elites are color-blind.  They can be found on both sides of the aisle and they wish to enslave commoners of all colors.  The failure of the black community to understand the true nature of their oppressors is in fact engineered.  Worst of all, the black community has actually elected the people who would enslave them, and in this way facilitated their own re-enslavement.  But as I alluded to, this is not just true of blacks.

It’s time for the people of Ferguson, MO to grow up, and the rest of this nation with them.

I took a look at the demographic data of Ferguson, and here is what I discovered:

  • As of 2010, 30% of Ferguson’s population was white, while 67% was black.
  • It has 53 police officers, only three of whom are black;  apart from two other minorities, the balance of the officers are white.  The chief of police is white.
  • The Mayor is white.  4 of the councilmen are white, and only one is black.  One of the white councilmen is a woman; I don’t know if that means she is inside the ‘power structure’ or outside it. [Link]

So, we’ve got a population that consists mostly of black people but it has a police force composed mainly of white people, which is under the authority of the council, which is also composed mainly of white people.

We may now ask exactly whose fault it is that the council and police force does not reflect the racial demographics of the town… it can’t be the white people’s fault.  They are out-numbered 2 to 1.  Whose fault is it that Ferguson’s leadership doesn’t reflect the proportions of Ferguson itself?  The blacks.

Here we have all of these protestors out in the street, trying to inspire a ‘little bit of fear’ among the white folk, scaring the white folk into better representing the values and perspectives and needs of the majority of the population.  It’s a temper tantrum of epic proportions, exactly the sort of behavior we’d expect children to engage in.  Bullying, in fact.  Bullying.  [Insert screams of horror at the invocation of the word ‘bullying’]  The adult thing to do is to elect people who will represent your values.  That is the whole point of a republican democracy!  (Whether or not the people you elect who supposedly share your values actually act on them is an entirely different matter altogether, as conservatives have discovered year after year after year, and are poised to discover here again presently.)  Instead of acting like adults and running for office and putting people into positions of power and authority that will do the things you approve of, they wish to strike a little ‘fear’ into the ‘power structure,’ whilst leaving the ‘power structure’ otherwise intact.

In so many ways, the power and reach of the ‘system’ has been so extended that it is not practically possible for the average person to really change the ‘power structure.’  That’s what liberalism does:  it puts self-rule as far out of reach of the average person as it can–after all, the average person is not too bright, stupid in fact, and is not able to make decisions for themselves.  Indeed, not only do people not make decisions that are in their own self-interest, but they will resist efforts to help them along.  That’s how stupid people are–according to liberalism.  Which is why liberals constantly ‘kick’ as much up to ever higher levels of government.  Your local town can’t be trusted to manage itself, that’s why the state should be in charge.  The state can’t hack it, that’s why the Feds need to be in charge.  (The Ferguson story seems to embody each of these elements.)  Why do you think so many issues are falling under the purview of the United Nations?  It’s because even nations can’t be trusted to manage their own affairs;  experts are needed.

And yet.

And yet, for all of that, it is still possible, at least to a degree, to affect the course of affairs in one’s own town.

I know, because I was an elected official at one time, and I did affect the course of affairs in my time.  I also served on the Law Enforcement Committee and know without a doubt that I had the opportunity there to make sure that the police department reflected my values, or at least was aware of them and sensitive to them.

Instead of resorting to jack-booted tactics, the ‘oppressed’ in Ferguson should wise up, grow up, and run for office.  It really is within their power to do so.

Regardless of the fact that the elites would much rather have them marching through the streets, prepared to burn down their own neighborhoods “in the name of justice.”

The guilt or innocence of the officer or the young man slain is totally irrelevant.  If you think one is guilty and the other innocent or vice versa, your solution is the same:  self-governance.  Best get to it, while we still can.

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Why 5th Graders Should Have Anal Sex and Other Arguments for Abstinence

Presently making its rounds on social media is an article describing the shock parents had in Chicago to discover instructions on how to have safe anal sex and other sexual activities… designed for fifth graders. According to the article, “CPS says the material was mistakenly put in the presentation and is not intended to be part of the curriculum.”

Since the material is hosted on one of their elementary school websites and plainly described as being for fifth graders, this seems to me to be unlikely.  However, that is an issue for the good citizens of Chicago to explore.  I wish to make some other points.  However, for reference, you may wish to look at the presentation material that was on that website.  In case they remove it (likely) the link was here:  http://www.waterselementary.org/uploads/2/2/0/1/22017434/5_lesson5_abstinence_contraceptives.pdf and I have uploaded it to my site where you can download it here:

5_lesson5_abstinence_contraceptives

As a quick aside, Bill Clinton famously said that he did not “have sex with THAT woman” but according to this material, sex is defined as “Sexual intercourse – Activity where the penis or another sex object is inserted into the vagina (vaginal
intercourse), anus (anal sex), or oral cavity (oral sex).”  Much turns on the definitions of things, as we will discuss more, shortly.  (Does ‘is’ mean ‘is’?)

Let me bottom line this.

If anyone takes the time to understand the progressive liberal mindset, there is not one thing surprising about this.  If you fall into the camp described in the article as, “Many parents said that although they support sex education, the material went too far for elementary school students” you need a reality check, to put it mildly.  The same spirit that drives ‘sex education’ at all embraces teaching kids about all kinds of sexual activity–from birth.  If you want the government to provide sex education at all, you will inevitably find “material” that is “too far” sprinkled throughout society.  The goal is simple:  for one day, society to agree with them that no discussion about sex of any kind be “age inappropriate.”  If you happen to be one of these progressive liberals yourself, and find yourself similarly disgusted at the idea of teaching fifth graders (in this instance) to use condoms, in graphic, explicit detail, then you have REALLY got to get your head on straight.  It’s ‘your team’ that is behind this in the first place!

It is imperative that we realize that much of this push to sexualize our children and, indeed, all of society, is part of an overarching philosophy that goes well beyond the considerations made by local school boards.

Supposedly, ‘everyone’ agrees that this material is not ‘age appropriate.’   Someone involved clearly does, since the lesson plainly describes this as being for Grade 5.  My first impression when looking at this document is that whoever these people are, they figure that since it is generally accepted that fifth graders shouldn’t be having sex (yet…), teaching ‘abstinence’ should be a no-brainer, and certainly well within societal norms. Here are the Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will define abstinence in relation to human reproduction.
  • Students will identify abstinence as developmentally appropriate sexual behavior for 5th graders.
  • Students will identify people who can support their decision to practice abstinence.
  • Students will compare and contrast contraceptive methods, including: abstinence, withdrawal,barrier methods, and hormonal methods.
  • Students will identify places to access reproductive health care.
condoms for both boys and girls

the pink condom is for the transgenders? What is the meaning of this bigotry!

From this, one might expect the presentation to be significantly weighted towards abstinence (that’s great, right!).  However, of the 61 slides, 54 of them are devoted to ‘safe sex.’   There are, literally, only three slides dedicated to abstinence.  Oh.  And a worksheet called “My Goals” with cutesy, age appropriate smiling stars.  Why they didn’t go with erect penises is beyond me.  After all, they already have smiling condoms on the slide on page 25.  I would have gone with that.  — >

Now, I ask you:  in a presentation geared towards ‘abstinence’ with 88% of it devoted explicitly to actually having sex, or what can happen if someone has sex, what is the actual message these fifth graders can be expected to take away?   I mean, seriously.

Before I take some time to corroborate my claim that this is part and parcel of the liberal worldview, I would like to first call attention to some of the elements of blatant deception built into this transparent propaganda piece.

First of all, note the slide on page 35 which covers “Emergency Contraception.”  The Morning After Pill is categorically described as “Not [an] abortion pill.”  Well, yes, if you define pregnancy as only beginning after implantation, then it is not.  But why define it that way?  Be honest, you know exactly why.   Here already in the fifth grade, ten year olds are being given the idea that pregnancy does not begin at conception, so whatever you do before implantation is “no big deal.”

You might say that this kind of nuance is not appropriate for fifth graders.  Right!  Let’s instead go over some female anatomy!  Actual slide below:

vagina-slideMoving on.

We have one deception where an ‘abstinence’ presentation seems actually designed to promote promiscuous behavior.  We have another that plainly plays into laying the groundwork for a treating unborn children as throw away fodder, which is itself a linchpin that holds the entire pro-choice position together.  There is an additional deception (albeit, it may be self-deception on the part of the presentation designers) that you can avoid pregnancy and STDs, even apart from abstinence, by using certain forms of contraception.

Now, the presentation quite correctly states that abstinence is 100% ‘protective’ of both pregnancy and STDs (in the latter case, “however some STIs can spread by genital contact alone.”) but states that condoms “protect[] against STIs and pregnancy, and oh, by the way, are available and “Free at most school based health center or community centers.”  I know if I was a fifth grader striving to be abstinent, I’d be happy to discover that I could still have as much sex as I want without consequence, for free, without my parents even knowing (see slide on page 37), if I use a condom.

This point is made in various ways throughout the presentation.  For example, on the slide on page 40, we learn:  “Just like male condoms, [Female Condoms] help reduce the risk of HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy.”

——————–

Sorry, I have to digress for a moment.

Some of the other benefits of using the Female Condom, which every 11 year old should know, is that you can insert them “hours before vaginal sex, so you don’t have to interrupt foreplay to be safe.”  Best of all, perhaps, you can use them not just vaginally, but also anally!  AND… wait for it… wait for it… the Female Condom is for “EVERYBODY!”  Women, men, transgender folks, gay, straight and, here’s a great feature, in “Any position.”   They don’t even need an “erect penis.”  And, every fifth grader will be pleased to know, they “adjust to body temperature, so both you and your partner can feel the heat.”  Oh, baby.  Feel the heat.

Now, the average fifth grader might be a little intimidated by the mechanics of using a Female Condom.  Great news:  they offer step by step instruction on how to use it vaginally, and, as an added benefit, anally, too.  Note the male genitalia:

female condom in the anuses of men

Of course, if you use it anally, every pre-teen should remember to use lots of lube, a point cleverly emphasized through age appropriate kid friendly innuendo:

lube up, youngster

Does anyone else think that it is not the sexual behavior of young people that is the public health menace, but rather the…

Alright, digression over.

——————–

In a comparison chart at the end of the PDF we get a good look at all of the birth control outcomes.  Abstinence gets the big green check… hurray for logic!   So also the male and female condom.  Everything else gets the big red X… for some reason the STIs get graphics, but the ‘effectiveness at preventing pregnancy’ gives us a percentage.

Now enter the deception.

The slideshow and the comparison chart (which is for the adults?) state, correctly, that condom use is not 100% protective.  The male condom is said to be 84% effective against pregnancy and the female condom is said to be 79% effective.  Both have the green check mark (which relates only to the STIs, not the pregnancies), but the fine print says that condoms only ‘help prevent STIs’ or “Offers protection against STIs.”

What are we to make of this?  It seems to me that both child and adult will come away thinking that there are two good options for them, abstinence and condoms, even though there is still a 16-21% chance of pregnancy and still a possibility of getting STDs.

What shall we call a child–nay, anyone–who has sex a hundred times?  A parent, if these rates are accurate (I’ve actually heard liberal sites promote a much narrower percentage).  This is great news for organizations like Planned Parenthood, that really need the business.

Anyway, I can’t see how kids, and perhaps even adults, won’t come away from this presentation thinking that so long as they properly wear condoms (and instructions ARE given, see page 16) they can have as much sex as they want, anally, orally, whatever, and all will be well.

Now, personally, I have trouble believing that this kind of thing is ignorance or ideological blindness.  It seems to me that the ‘experts’ have got to be aware of this, and not only don’t give a damn, but are actually trying to generate unintended pregnancies and STDs.

I felt I needed to give at least some measure of a critique before talking about the sources.

This is interesting, I think.  The presentation is backed up by links from reputable (in our present society, anyway) sources and sites.  There is of course that bastion of women’s reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood.  If anyone has incentive to reduce the number of pregnancies, its them!   We have a link to Bedsider.org, which is a project of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and has a number of competent people who can be expected to be totally unbiased.  They have another project, where they offer ‘fun and games‘ trying to persuade people to wait, but of course pretty much assume nobody will.  The CDC is linked… who can argue with the CDC.  Those people are brilliant.  And let’s not forget the National Institute for Health.

Indeed, the first line in the document indicates that the goal is to “comply with CPS policy requirements for comprehensive sexual education at the 5th grade level’ as reflected in National Sexuality Education Standards.   These standards, which appear to be part of the Common Core package (I need to verify this) can be found here.   It certainly seems that that this presentation is consistent with those standards.

I go into this because I think that any of us who get bent out of shape about this and direct our ire exclusively towards our local school boards are totally missing the point.  These are not locally driven initiatives.  They are backed by national organizations that are deemed credible and reputable such as the NIH and CDC and Planned Parenthood.   The NIH and CDC, of course, are government organizations.  Take some time to check out the members of the various sources. ‘Experts’ and PhDs, every one of them!   What we have here is a liberal progressive outlook on human sexuality enshrined at the very top levels of policy making.

This is not an aberration.  This is reality.  If you don’t like what is coming down the pike, and you are a liberal, then you need to rethink governmental involvement in these affairs AT ALL and, more than that, you need to rethink your entire ideology.  If you are a conservative and sympathetic to this post, you need to delve deep into the agendas that are driving these things and fight them at their source, and not get distracted by sideshows.

a guy who really likes female condoms

everyone should want to protect their anus. do NOT judge.

Now, what I had not noticed on other blogs about this was the fact that despite the presentation being backed by innumerable reputable sources, it was created by the Chicago Female Condom Campaign and adapted from The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health.  (panel page 60)  It also draws from an organization called The Pleasure Project where we learn that they intentionally use ‘guerrilla tactics’ trying to use pleasure to prevent… badness, I guess.  (I’m afraid to know what I’m looking at in the background image on that page.)

You’ve just got to understand that the liberal ideology is advanced deliberately through lies and deception, and whenever possible, at taxpayer expense and through public institutions.  If you don’t understand this, we’ll never see the end of such things.

Period.

If you are a liberal, and this troubles you, its time to do a re-think.   These are your peeps, working within avenues that you helped establish and advocate for and wish to fund (using other people’s money, typically).  But if you are a conservative, it means that we must be vigilant and active at every level, all the time, and in every way, state, local, and Federal.

Gird up your loins.

The folks at the Chicago Female Condom Campaign probably have a slide to show you how to do it, but its probably in their submitted curriculum for third graders.

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Jonathan Gruber: The Other White Meat

So everyone is piling on Jonathan Gruber right now.  A third video has now been released where Gruber basically says what conservatives have been saying for a LONG time:  corporations don’t pay taxes; the corporations pass the tax to the consumer.  (I made this point at length, here.) In this way, you can SAY that you’ve stuck it to the big, bad, corporation and that you’ve stood up for the little guy, but, well, actually, you stuck it to the little guy.   (You actually need to look at more of the context than the CNN article alludes to… as if insulting Americans is the sole story here!)

The irony here is that he is talking about taxing so-called ‘Cadillac plans’ which liberal labor unions fought so hard for.

Anyway, we’ve got to remember that Gruber is just one of many, and they all lie.

Anyone who has been paying attention to Obamacare from the beginning knew they were always lying.  About everything really.  If anyone had the audacity to point out that the numbers simply didn’t add up they were subjected to catcalls like, “Experts say such and such… are you an expert?  That’s what I thought… idiot.”  All Gruber has given us is explicit admission, from one such expert, that the skeptics had a point.  However, we didn’t need an expert to validate our assertion that 2+2=4, or, Obamacare is built so that “healthy people pay in and sick people get money.”  And so on.

I’ve had to chuckle listening to some of the Republicans bemoaning the deception by Gruber, as if there was any doubt at any time that deception was part and parcel of Obamacare and the nefarious ways it was foisted upon the United States.

I’m afraid that this is all going to get hung on Gruber’s neck, and the rest of the people who were complicit will escape judgement.  Gruber deserves everything he’s getting, but his share in the deception must be small in comparison to people like Reid, Pelosi, and of course Obama himself.  We’ve been ‘grubered,’ alright, but by far bigger fish than Jonathan Gruber.

I’m sure Bart Stupak might have something to say about such things, but someone is going to have to track him down, first.  He was last seen walking around in a daze, his clothes in tatters, muttering, “But Obama gave me his ironclad word… his word...”

Actually, as I sit here thinking about those Republicans just now realizing that we were intentionally misled (not that some of us actually were misled) it isn’t really funny.  I personally doubt that they really are that surprised, which raises the obvious question about why they didn’t do more to address it, which in turn raises the obvious question about whether or not, even now, they’re going to do anything about, well, anything.

I, for one, don’t expect them to.  And that is a reason for sadness. (Unless you are a liberal progressive, of course.)

Something tells me that Obamacare is the ‘Gruber’ that will be dying hard, rather than the hero, the American public.

In tribute to the chewing out that Gruber is enduring, I put this together.  Share as you wish.

Jona-Hans-Gruber-theOtherWhiteMeat

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A Case in Point of Alinsky-Style Politics and Governing: Gruber, Transparency, Taxes, and the Mandate

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the latest video making the rounds of a certain Dr. Jonathan Gruber, a man who was involved in crafting and passing Obamacare.  I have mentioned Gruber in the past, when he made remarks that had that distinctive eugenic smell about them.

Transcript (He talked fast in some parts, verify if you excerpt from this):

It’s just, you can’t do it, politically,  You just literally can not do it.  OK, transparent financing, unless that transparent financing–also transparent spending–I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in–you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money–it would not have passed. OK? Just as–lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass. And you know, its a second best argument… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. So,  it’s kind of like his reporter story.  You know, yea, there’s things I wish we could change, but I’d rather have this law than not.

There was a time, when I was younger, that I had this view that the two political parties were essentially on the same quest, with equal levels of corruption and sincerity, but following from different principles, and I thought it was a basically tenable position to say that good men could sincerely differ.   As I’ve gotten older, I’ve read more and seen more, and I know now that the problem runs much deeper than this.  Namely, this:  one of the principles that the Dems openly acknowledge as good and virtuous is DECEPTION.

This doesn’t mean that the Republicans don’t lie.  They certainly do–and often.  But when they do it, they know they are engaging in a behavior that would disgust their base, which feels strongly about truthfulness.  To illustrate further, the Republicans have become the party representing certain values regarding sexuality, in particular chastity before marriage and faithfulness after marriage.  The Democrats, however, have a worldview that assumes that everyone is going to “do it like they do it on Discovery Channel” and well, that’s ok;  moreover, only the prudes carry about the private behavior of politicians.  So, if a Democrat is caught having a torrid affair, there is a collective yawn–that sort of thing is just par for the course.  If a Republican is caught having a torrid affair, the media goes on and on about it, and that Republican’s political career is in a precarious state… in large part, because the people that elected him in the first place cannot get over their disgust.

Similar to how the Republican base upholds chastity and faithfulness, they also uphold truth.  If a Republican is caught in a lie, it disgusts the Republican base, and anyone else who thinks that truth is a good thing.  But Democrat ideologues accept the Alinsky formula (as expressed in Rules for Radicals, for example) that the ends always justify the means, and deception and character assassination are not merely acceptable tools for gaining power and exercising it, but preferred methods.

Part of this stems from other elements of the Democrat worldview, which we see implied in the Gruber clip above.  For example, liberals tend to think that their fellow man is incapable of taking care of himself or making decisions for himself that really are in his own best interest.  Thus, it is necessary in some cases to tell people what they want to hear “for their own good” or “for the common good” even if what you tell them is a blatant lie and fabrication.  They really do think that the American voter is stupid, but they have sort of a soft spot for the average imbecile on the street, so they do what they can–despite the fact that in this case, Obamacare, if the American voter had been told the truth, they would have rejected it… would have rejected what was “in their own best interests” but they were too stupid to recognize.

I am not saying that all liberals and Democrats and Progressives similarly embrace a Machiavellian outlook.  Not at all.  As I implied above, there was a day when I myself had liberal and Democrat tendencies.  However, I did think that truth was important for its own sake.  (One turning point for me was the Clinton-Lewinsky affair)  It may be possible still to have and uphold liberal values free from the utilitarian machinations exhibited by the Democrat elites… but we are long past the point where we can entertain any hope that the Democrat Party will be able to promote them honestly and fairly, in the open, publicly, so that all Americans can decide for themselves if they agree with those principles.  The fact that these elites have to hide their views and values at all perhaps tells us all we need to know.

Unfortunately, just because we have ample justification for believing the opposite of whatever a given Democrat politicians says, it doesn’t follow that the Republicans can be trusted.   And that makes me sad, because eventually, when it is absolutely known to everyone that the rule of law no longer exists and absolutely known that our elected officials will not represent the values of those who elect them, attempting to resolve differences via elections will no longer seem viable.  It’s not going to be a pretty, and my fear is that the way things are proceeding, this day draws closer faster and faster.  But time will tell.

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Nancy Pearcey keynotes online conference

300x300_3I am pleased to announce that my ministry, Athanatos Christian Ministries, will be hosting its fifth annual online apologetics conference tomorrow and Saturday (Oct 24-25th, 2014).

Nancy Pearcey, author of Saving Leonardo and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, will be our keynote presenter. The theme this year is ‘Women Equipping Women’ so all of the presenters are ladies.  Men, of course, are welcome.

Here they are:

Judy Salisbury | Hillary Morgan Ferrer | Sarah Ankenman | Cynthia Velasco Hampton | Julie D Loos | Lori Peters | Letitia Wong | Natasha Crain | MaryJo Sharp | Marcia Montenegro | Melissa Cain Travis | Bonita Jewel | Kathryn Camp | Marilyn Tyner

Topics range from Intelligent Design and Darwinism to how to approach Jehovah Witnesses to practical advice for mothers wishing to instill a well-grounded faith with their children.

Cost is $21. All sessions are saved and available for registerants, so even if you cannot attend one (or any) you will still get access to the archives.

Hope to see you there!

http://onlineapologeticsconference.com/

 

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Frieden and Obama’s “prior ideological commitment”: Utilitarianism.

Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard puts his finger on it in an article titled “6 Reasons to Panic.”

Frieden’s entire argument is so strange—and so at odds with what other epidemiologists prescribe—that it can only be explained by one of two causes: catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment. The latter, in this case, might well be the larger issue of immigration.

Frieden’s argument prompted me to assert that we are effectively on our own.  I also called attention to the obvious casualty of a travel ban:  the question naturally surfaces… “What about the tens of thousands of people flooding over our southern border?”  We already detect the treasonous indifference by the leadership to the possibility that any one of these illegal aliens might carry an infectious disease, but it was easier for the American public to let that slide because–theoretically–those diseases are not likely to be fatal, because our expertise in health care can manage most of those risks.  Nobody except the truly ideologically deranged believes that about Ebola.

But what is the ‘prior ideological commitment’?  It may very well be, as Last asserts, that it has been decided by the elites that the cost of retaining our irresponsible border policy is some dead Americans.   The truth is, however, that this calculation has already been made.  One illustration of this is the recent report that some 167,000 illegal aliens that have been convicted in American courts remain at large.

The convictions include assaults, theft, murder, identity theft, domestic battery and obstruction of justice. The convictions usually do not include reckless driving and other driving-related offenses, unless a state’s courts treat them as serious crimes.

And who can forget Obama’s release of some 36,000 incarcerated convicted illegal aliens as a brute political ploy meant to undermine Republican ‘efforts’ to balance the budget?

The law of averages alone is enough to tell us that in a population of known violent offenders, a fair number of them are going to repeat their crimes.  Especially if they’ve already been convicted and released anyway!  And if you pay attention, you can indeed find numerous reports of precisely this happening, albeit only on local news sites and whatnot.  The compliant media also seems to have a ‘prior ideological commitment’ and also cannot be trusted to tell us what is really going on.

It should already have been apparently, therefore, that advocates for amnesty had decided that the death of (who knows how many) Americans was a price worth paying to achieve their aim.   To grasp the implications of this more clearly, consider Last’s statement quoted above:  our two basic choices are either “catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment.”  These actions stem directly from the decisions of one man, Barack Hussein Obama.  Now, you can choose to believe that all of these convicted illegal aliens is the result of some catastrophic miscalculation by the smartest president we’ve ever had, or you can conclude that BHO has actually said to himself, “Americans will die if I do this, but that is the price to pay for the cause”, but on either view, the conclusion is that we are on our own.

For Obama does not act on his own.  Our Federal government, tasked to protect American interests first and foremost, is packed chock full of people with an entirely different viewpoint.  We are not talking about a mere difference of opinion on policies.  We are talking about people in our Federal government that have decided that the death of Americans is an acceptable price to pay to achieve XYZ.  (There is no particular reason to think that this calculation is restricted to illegal immigration).  Thus, we are on our own.  It falls to each individual American to think about how best to preserve their interests, and even, sadly, their very lives.

This has short-term implications as it relates to the Ebola crisis, but we are foolish indeed if we do not think about how to correct this in the long-term.  It would obviously be helpful, knowing nothing else, if every Democrat, liberal, and progressive was completely purged from positions of power.  This, I am afraid, would be only a short term victory, because, sad to say, there are many, many Republicans that share some of the same guiding principles that we see driving liberalism.

One of these guiding principles is the utilitarian outlook itself, as I argue in this post here.  But the utilitarian outlook is itself rooted in a particular belief system.  Utilitarianism is essentially all that you are left with when transcendental moral principles are ruled out of order… or, at least ruled unfit for the public square.  (This last I touched on here, regarding the Houston pastors getting in hot water).  What I am saying is that there needs to be an ideological overhaul of the entire system, right down to the very question of just what the purpose of government is, who is allowed to be involved, and what principles they are allowed to act on.   It is not uncommon to see Republicans also framing their proposals as being for the ‘common good’ even though what they must really mean, “the most good for the most people.”  The latter clearly implies the necessity that some people will not see a good result, and they’re ‘ok’ with that.  Do we really want people in power sitting around deciding who is going to ‘win’ or ‘lose’?  Especially when the same logic allows someone to justify tolerating the deaths of the very people those people were elected to protect?  I think not.

I also don’t think it is very likely that we will see an ‘ideological overhaul’ in either the short or long term.  I think America is going to have to hit rock bottom before it collectively recognizes the trouble it is in.    I am writing this in the hopes that somewhere along the line, the true roots of the problem will be grasped.  Utilitarianism itself is not the root, but the stem.   We must get to the roots.

Is there ever a time when “the most good for the most people” is a valid moral principle?  As I argued in an already linked article, this ethical principle is really one of last resort, suitable only in cases where there are no good, moral choices.  Warfare comes to mind–which probably explains why certain ideologues are constantly declaring ‘war’ on everything… poverty, obesity, etc.  Casualties are always expected in a war, you see.   Except in this narrow situation (a legitimate war, not a fabricated one used to justify government intrusion), individuals themselves should be making the moral choices, and suffering the moral consequences, and the actions of the government should be bound by the same kinds of moral considerations, not an amoral principle such as utilitarianism.

If I am right in my analysis, the only thing you can do is tuck this away for the future in the hopes that it may make some difference.  In the meantime, look to your survival.  In the Ebola situation, we may finally have arrived at a utilitarian calculation where it does not matter if it came because of “catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment.”  Because we’ll be dead.  Like, literally.

I read once how some towns took matters in their own hands during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1917 and quarantined themselves.  Yes, it may very well come to that.

But maybe a little self-governance for a change would be just what the doctor ordered.

 

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Frog Cries out, “Hmmm, maybe this water is a TAD hot!” — Gays, Houston Sermons, HERO, and the Death of Marriage

You’ve heard the proverbial story of the frog being slowly boiled to death.  Yesterday, I saw a bit of news that seems to give one more example.  Scanning Google News for more information, it is clear that the Christian media has noticed.   This is like the frog finally noticing the predicament it is in.

Now, there are countless angles to approach this.  There is, of course, the immediate problem.  For the Christians in Houston, there are particular practical implications.  I think that most readers, however, know that this is only a symptom.  Now, for the pro-homosexual readers, it is a symptom of a good thing going on.  In their eyes, it is about time the bigots got what is coming to them.  On their view, this is on par with the KKK being told where (ironically?) to shove it.  I suspect we might hear some of the gay marriage advocates decry this step as a threat to all of our liberties, not just those of Christians, but in the main I expect a collective shrug.  It is hard to get all worked up about bigots getting persecuted after decades and even centuries of gays being persecuted, right?  Check out the comments in the link provided above for some examples of this.

But I am not writing this with the pro-homosexual reader as my intended audience.  It is my fellow Christian, first of all, and conservatives in general, after that.  With that plainly stated…

I observe that this madness in Houston stems from two important developments.  In the first place, you have the fact that Houston recently elected an openly gay mayor, Annise Parker.  In the second place, the ordinance in question, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, was passed by the city council.

Notwithstanding the clear Constitutional prohibition of such actions (not that it matters anymore what the Constitution clearly says), we may ask ourselves, “Don’t people have the right to govern themselves?”  In other words, the majority of the citizens of Houston elected Parker and the council that enacted these changes.  Ostensibly, then, these actions reflect the greater will of the citizens of Houston.

It may be argued that the citizens did not consent to this, as indicated by the collection of thousands of signatures in an effort to put the matter to a referendum.  As I have learned from personal experience, elected officials will not easily allow something to go to referendum if they fear they may actually be reversed.  They will lie, cheat, and reverse themselves, and otherwise do whatever it takes.  If the elected officials in Houston felt they really reflected the will of the people on this, they would allow the referendum to go forward, as it would validate not just their policies, but their philosophies, and it would set the matter well beyond the reach of opponents.  So, there is probably good reason to think that the mayor and council have bit off more than it could chew, and the mayor and council know this.

But the time to have implemented the policies you desire was at the time of the election, at the ballot box.  At that time, the philosophies of the candidates should have been vetted.  In a representative system such as permeates the United States, decisions are not made in a purely democratic fashion, where each important issue gets decided by a straight majority vote.  No, we elect representatives who operate on the fair assumption that the electorate backs the philosophy that the candidate will bring to the table.

In short, the philosophy matters more than the policies.  If you want to see the policies you like enacted in your city, then you elect people who share your philosophies.

Bizarrely, this is understood very well by the enemies of the Christian worldview, and Christians themselves stumble about blindly reacting to symptoms, rarely turning to address the core issues.

On the one hand, the enemies of the Christian worldview understand the power of the political process, where if you get over the initial hump of securing office, decisions can be legally made by small numbers of people.  (In Houston, never mind the mayor and the council–the referendum signatures were thrown out because of the decision of ONE MAN.  Think about that.)  For people with this mindset, politics is their bread and butter.  On the other hand, these people grasp that to get what they want, they need their philosophies to have the support of the populace.  To attain that support, they will use any means necessary, but in practice the best case scenario is to create more people who share their philosophies.

In other words, these people understand that they need to change the culture itself and orient it towards being sympathetic to their views.  Once that happens, everything else that happens, happens inevitably.  Not as the result of some sinister conspiracy, but because certain things rationally follow from certain propositions.

Finally, recognizing the supreme importance of having their philosophies permeate the culture and not the Christian’s, they have taken certain practical steps to have the beliefs and attitudes of Christians characterized as ‘religious’ and, in their view (with Supreme Court backing), consequently a violation of ‘church and state’ if Christians do decide to engage the political process with the goal of seeing their own philosophies and policy preferences enacted.

In effect, if Mayor Parker thinks that it is quite alright to compel churches and private organizations who allow the public to access their bathrooms make available their women‘s restroom to men, that is a purely secular matter, and entirely appropriate for citizens and elected officials to demand, whereas if you disagree, it is a religious issue, and therefore a violation of the Constitution’s supposed demand that ‘church and state’ be separate.

This is the way it works all the way down the line.  If you think that an organization like Catholic Charities should facilitate adoptions to gay couples, that is a secular aim.  If you don’t agree, that’s religious–and therefore, not permitted.  If you think that Christian businesses should have to participate in activities that patently condone homosexual behavior, even as far as compelling them to participate in the act of commemorating that behavior, such as by producing wedding cakes for gay couples, photographing their weddings, or hosting the weddings themselves, that is a secular matter:  “The cost of doing business in public society.”  If you disagree, that’s your religious conviction speaking, and therefore, precluded.  And, oh, by the way, you are a bigot.

But this sleight of hand is only possible if you have managed if large numbers of the populace go along with it.  Since fewer and fewer people can actually read the Constitution, and those who can, can barely comprehend what they are reading, and since the Constitution only means what 9 folks in black robes say it means, it is not too difficult to pull this off.  If you can also shift cultural sensitivities in your direction, the matter is virtually won, and you hardly have to concern yourself any more with the harder work of changing people’s philosophies.

But it must be emphasized that the rampant illiteracy and the deference to experts, judicial and otherwise, is itself the result of work done largely by people that have been elected, whether it be local school boards or the president of the United States who nominates a supreme court justice who is then ratified by US senators, who themselves are elected.  (If elected officials themselves attempt to deviate from the approved program, they will find themselves browbeat by ‘experts’, too.  Again, something I know from personal experience.)

From all this, you may surmise that getting all worked up by the subpoena of communications by religious leaders is ultimately pointless.  No doubt, it is worth being concerned about the steps after this step.  Obviously, actual prosecution and incarceration have become incrementally closer.  Probably, people other than Christians will ultimately be made to suffer, and probably,  gays themselves will someday find themselves on the wrong side of an issue, and be made to suffer similarly, on account of precedent that they helped establish.  The idea that we can stop the encroachment here, however, at this relatively minor manifestation, is absurd.

So what is the solution?  There are two obvious ones.

1., Christians need to become more politically active themselves, and by that I don’t mean protesting in the streets or trying to get signatures for a referendum.  I mean, running for office and backing those who share your values.

2., #1 is pointless, unless the culture be changed so that it is more sympathetic to the philosophies that power the Christian worldview.

These are two obvious ones, no doubt, but I am afraid even these are not sufficient.   There is also #3.

3.  Recognize that the use of government to implement one’s philosophical preferences is a double-edged sword that is more likely to be used against you than for you.

The implication of #3 is that any Christian who decides to take #1 and #2 to heart, must make the goal of having a ‘limited government’ their burning desire.  To understand why, let me submit to you another link, which is even more representative of the real ‘illness’ afflicting us than what is going on in Houston.  And, even it is only a symptom!

Marriage rates hit new, all-time low

This bit of news came out a couple of days ago, although it is a little disturbing that anyone would find it news.

It is doubtful that ‘gay marriage’ is the lead cause of this, since the trend began many years ago.  ‘Gay marriage’ is itself probably the result of the trends that have undermined marriage, although I will grant that it reinforces and deepens the overall trends.  The institution of ‘no fault divorce’ is almost certainly one of the more important catalysts to today’s situation, and that was in the 1960s and 1970s.  But what really caught my attention was this quote:

There’s no formal consensus about what’s driving the numbers, but data shows that among young adults who say they do want to get married, the economy is an issue.

34 percent of them cite financial security as an obstacle to tying the knot.

Economic reasons? Well, yes.  But what is rarely understood, and certainly very often not by Christians (who are not primed to think in such terms), is that the economic influences have been engineered with an eye towards undermining traditional marriage.  What is better?  Convincing the populace that traditional marriage (pardon the redundancy) is a hindrance and obstacle to the ‘greater good’ is a difficult thing to do.  If you just outlawed it and eliminated it by fiat, there would be an unsurvivable outcry.  But if you created the conditions by which people ‘voluntarily’ chose not to marry, or commit themselves to a paradigm that elevates the ‘traditional marriage’ model as the ideal, then people do what the social engineers want them to do, while thinking that it was their idea all along.

The phrase you’re looking for here is “voluntary unconscious selection,” or, as Charles Galton Darwin put it in his book, “The Next One Million Years,”

[civilization has the tendency] to eliminate its ablest people.  This has happened in the past, and is certainly happening now, and if it is always to happen, it signifies a recurrent degeneration of all civilizations, only to be renewed by the incursion of barbarians who have not suffered similarly.  If any civilized country could overcome this effect, so that it alone retained both its ability and its civilization, it would certainly become the leading nation of the world.  Man is a wild animal, and cannot accomplish this by using the methods of the animal breeder, but may he not be able to devise something that would go beyond the long-drawn-out automatic processes of Natural Selection?  I think he can.  A cruder and simpler method must be used than the animal breeder’s.  Something might be accomplished on the line of what is called “Unconscious Selection” in the Origin of Species.

[…] A nation might consciously adopt [a policy of facilitating selection of people with higher ability], or it might be that an economic policy adopted for quite other reasons should have this unintended result. […] The best hope [for such a measure] would be that it should become attached to a creed […] The prospect of such a creed arising does not seem very hopeful, but if by its means any country can even partly solve the problem, it will lead the world, and it will be doing so through the method of “Unconscious Selection.”  [Emphasis added]

All that it would take is for someone with this mindset to decide that perhaps one might be able to adopt an economic for “quite other reasons” with the intended, but unannounced and unpublicized, result, and then something like the institution of marriage becomes an instrument in the hands of social engineers.

To put it bluntly to my Christian conservative friends, it is no good to engage the political process with the thought that we might be able to preserve some government functions that outwardly are friendly to Christianity, religious liberty, liberty itself, etc.  Every and any governmental program represents, in the eyes of those on the other side of these issues, a lever by which society can be managed and shaped.

And that includes a state enforced and supported notion of marriage as consisting of a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.

As this essay has already grown lengthy, let me jump from Darwin, writing in the mid-1950s, to Frederick Jaffe, writing in 1969 in a memo to Bernard Berelson, head of the ‘Population Council.’  The Population Council was co-founded by one of its early presidents, Frederick Osborn, from whom I drew the phrase “voluntary unconscious selection,’ which he coined around the same time Darwin was saying something similar.

In this memo, Jaffe submits some ideas for managing the population which include items such as “restructuring the family.”  How to accomplish this?  examples:

  • Postpone or avoid marriage
  • Alter the image of ideal family size
  • Compulsory education of children
  • Encourage increased homosexuality
  • Educate for family limitation
  • Encourage women to work

Induce “Chronic Depression” by

  • Requiring women to work but provide few child care facilities

and

  • Discourage private home ownership

We need not dwell on other ideas, such as adding fertility control agents into the water supply and compelling women to get abortions.  As Jaffe was a vice-president of Planned Parenthood, such ideas may cause some consternation in the minds of some.

For our purposes, take a look at the list and ask yourself whether or not we are further away or closer to seeing some of these ideas actually manifested in society.

In the minds of people like Jaffe and Berelson and all the rest, government programs and policies are tools for social engineering.  Unless such folks are going to be thoroughly driven from the halls of power and replaced by people with an entirely different perspective (ie, ours), then it will always prove unwise to have our government involved in any endeavor, period.  Some government is necessary, but still vulnerable to such machinations.  But a smaller government is easier to monitor and hold accountable, and it is easier to pay attention to who is in charge and what their beliefs and values are.

I feel I must add, though it is an aside, that Jaffe and Berelson worked together on the 1969  Rockefeller Commission report authorized by Richard Nixon, which fleshed these themes out further.  A couple of years after this, Rockefeller prompted Nixon to put the Federal government on the job, and Nixon tasked Henry Kissinger to develop a foreign policy initiative aimed at depopulating a number of countries.  This national security position was declassified eventually, and is called NSSM-200.  Not incidentally, this early 1970s foreign policy decision takes pains to say that what they plan on doing to other countries is justified by the fact that they will take the same approach in the United States.

I cannot dwell on this here.  My point in mentioning this is to illustrate that we miss the point entirely if we focus our efforts on ‘tweaking’ the current system, when in fact the folks on the other side of these issues are using the very system itself to effect their desired changes.

And, frighteningly, even that is only a symptom!  We have not, even now, arrived at the true source of the problem.

I have invested too much time already on writing this, so rather than elaborate on that problem, let me say that it has a fairly simple solution, which I will append to my list above.  If consistently implemented and sustained in the long term, this solution will accomplish #1-3 above at the same time.

#4.  Have lots of babies and raise them all to have a thoroughly thought out and considered Christian worldview.

But if you are eager to get to the bottom of things, consider this picture of a mural that someone saw on a wall.  Evidently, those on the other side of these issues see some connections that Christians, sad to say, have yet to recognize.  Study this image carefully, and see if you can figure out for yourself where the root of the problem lies.

ClimateChangeEvolution-Propaganda

 

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Ebola: One more symptom that we are on our own, courtesy of the Hedonist-in-Chief.

It is not a total surprise that the mainstream media has picked up on the Ebola story or the (for the moment) more worrisome enterovirus D68.  Of course, it is not unheard of for them to fabricate a crisis ex nihilo, or ignore a crisis that doesn’t jibe with their ideology, but they still have to make a buck.  They still have to keep tabs on the pulse of America, and right now America’s heart is beating furiously.  What is surprising to me is that the American public does not seem to be comforted one iota by the assurances spilling out of the Federal government, and the CDC in particular.  I find that surprising, because there has been plenty of reason to be leery long before now.

I should clarify:  I am talking about people who normally are on the side of ‘big government’ interventions.  I detected the collective gasp when CDC chief Thomas Frieden stated that taking measures to keep Ebola out of the country would actually make matters worse.  He has since doubled-down on this, and to his credit the argument now at least has the appearance of being rational, but the damage is done.  The cat is out of the bag, the core doctrine stated so succinctly and directly that only the deliberately obtuse can ignore.  People aren’t willing to be obtuse this time, even for the ’cause,’ because, well, they perceive that life, maybe their life, conceivably hangs in the balance.  It’s all well and good… until someone dies… and that person is you.

Don’t get me wrong.  The roots of this discontent go back.  It isn’t an ebola-only issue, which is kind of my point.  More than one ‘average’ Democrat voter I am acquainted with found our efforts to ‘rescue’ Bowe Bergdahl bizarre, but the real head-scratching occurs when they are also aware of the case of marine Andrew Tahmooressi, who was at the time, and remains even now, languishing in a Mexican prison.  Apparently our government will move heaven and earth, even negotiating with terrorists, in order to liberate a man who is almost certainly a deserter, and most likely anti-American, but will lift nary a finger to liberate a man who served his country who is behind held on a ridiculous charge by, ostensibly, an ally.

Many things become clear when we understand that the White House is currently occupied by the Utilitarian in Chief and the CDC likewise has at its head a utilitarian.

Utilitarianism operates on just two basic principles:  “The most good for the most people” and “Eliminate as much suffering as you can.”  The latter stems directly from the failure of philosophical naturalists to come up with any way of defining ‘good’ in a non-transcendental manner.  All they are left with is the shaky invocation of ‘happiness’ which they would also much rather leave undefined (lest they are forced to defend the pedophile’s happiness, the rapist’s happiness, etc, etc).  This in turn forces them to define ‘suffering’ in very broad terms, such that it does not only include physical pain, but also mental pain.  And from there, you are one short hop, skip, and a jump away from endorsing assisted suicide for the terminally ill to endorsing it for those suffering from treatable mental illnesses, like depression.  The slippery slope of utilitarianism turns out to offer no friction whatsoever.

On the face of it, the utilitarian principle makes good sense for the public health, but it is not hard to spot the weak point in the sentence, the word ‘most.’  ‘Most’ necessitates that there will be some people who will not experience ‘good.’  Worse, some people may actually have to suffer, in order to enact the program of the ‘most people for the most good.’

This is the kind of calculation that men of war have to make when forced by dire circumstances to send some men to their certain death in order to (hopefully) save others or achieve a higher objective.  In other words, it is a moral stance of last resort.  When it comes to public health, however, it is the standard operating procedure.  It takes a special kind of person to knowingly enact programs where it is known with certainty some people will suffer as a result in pursuit of a ‘higher aim.’  Dr. Frieden is such a man.

But that’s not meant necessarily as a pejorative.  Here is what I think is happening:  people who normally could accept the utilitarian method at least assumed that the government agencies ostensibly dedicated to preserving the health and ‘happiness’ of Americans would ensure, at minimum, that if anyone were going to suffer, it wouldn’t be Americans!

In the refusal to take definitive steps to keep Ebola outside of America, the argument was made that in the long run, it would be worse for us.  This by itself stretched credulity.  Worse is what it implied: our government was willing to abide a certain number of American deaths in the short term in order to obtain a long term victory.   Even if Americans aren’t privy to the exact calculations made, they sensed that a decision had been made to see some of them–and it really could be any of us–as expendable.

But even that isn’t the really noxious part.

Probably, most Americans would be willing to accede to such cold calculating if by ‘victory’ it meant the eradication and elimination of the pestilence.  While they wouldn’t be too pleased if it was announced that 100 must die in order to save 1,000,000 and certainly would chafe if they learned they were among the 100, they could still accept that it was a ‘war’ worth waging because in principle, at least, the goal was to protect the interests of the American people.   Lurking in the backs of everyone’s minds, though, is that this is not the ‘victory’ that is in view.  If it was, then other simple steps, such as the blisteringly obvious one of closing down the southern border, would naturally follow.  Not only has this not happened, but Frieden’s statements against sealing our borders from the African countries where ebola is endemic seem to be designed to fend off arguments for sealing our own border.

In sum, the ‘victory’ that some Americans may die for might in the final analysis be the survival of Obama’s efforts to enact amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.  People may have been willing to fork over money to Obama’s immigration efforts, or pay more in taxes, but they were not prepared to pay with their lives for a political position.  The situation is compounded by the “children’s crusade” that the Obama administration has facilitated, importing tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and teenagers and depositing them surreptitiously around the country.  Rumors abound that there is a correlation between these deposits and enterovirus D68.  Amnesty seemed a great idea until public health bombs were deliberately placed in countless American cities, poised to explode with such intensity that even pro-amnesty folks might get sick and die.  That is a bridge too far.

It is hard to imagine that the health and well-being of Americans are being put at risk in order to further the political agenda of the commander-in-chief, but my sense is that more and more Americans fear that is precisely what is happening.  It doesn’t matter what the government says.  What it does speaks louder.  Everything the government has done over the last few years seems calibrated to undermine America’s security and buttress the fortunes of just one man:

Barack Obama.

Obama is also a utilitarian, but his utilitarianism belongs to a sub-category called hedonistic utilitarianism.  We could summarize this brand of utilitarianism as, “The most good for me, as defined as the most happiness and least amount of suffering for me.”  We are of course always happy when a hedonistic utilitarian takes pleasure in giving other people and could almost tolerate such a viewpoint.  The impending ebola outbreak seems to suggest that Obama is perfectly willing to sacrifice some Americans in order to preserve his political future.  To be fair, I’m sure Obama hopes to sacrifice as few Americans as possible.

I find it shocking how many people I know, have met, have overheard, who used to be pro-Obama, or at least neutral, in the name of ‘patriotism,’ who have completely soured.  I do think that we have collectively adduced that Obama views the American presidency as a tedious ‘hoop’ he had to go through, a stepping stone on his way to something greater, perhaps in the United Nations.  It isn’t because of anything he has said.  No one cares what he says anymore.  They only care about what he is doing.. or not doing… while golfing.  “Obama golfed, people died”?

Ultimately, though, we need to look hard at the utilitarian mindset and ask ourselves if that’s the framework we want to base our country’s important decisions on.  This might be the first glaring example where Americans themselves seemed to be among those excluded from the ‘most’ category, but really, one can never actually know how often or extensively that exercise has been performed.  Between the utilitarian ethics and the Federal government’s insistence on secrecy in every matter, the truth is we’ll never know in what ways Americans have had to sacrifice for which ‘victories.’

Hence, more and more Americans have realized they are effectively “on their own.” They cannot count on their own government to look to their interests. Their government has gone off the rails, and every sign and symptom suggests that the government itself, as an entity, has adopted a hedonistic utilitarian outlook, that is: “The most good for the government, with the least amount of suffering for the government.”

I for one cannot imagine anything more corrosive to a healthy republic than that.

 

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Some Vaccines Are Made from the Remains of Aborted Babies–So What? The ‘silver lining’ argument rebutted.

Not too long ago, buzz was created from a study that linked autism to vaccines that were built on the cell lines of aborted babies.  I had remarked at the time that, notwithstanding the assertion that vaccines were somehow related to the rise in autism, many people would be shocked just to find out that some of their vaccines were derived from aborted children.  For the purpose of this essay,  I will leave aside the issue of autism possibly being connected to vaccines.

Of course, the first thought one has when encountering that information is that what is alleged is that vaccines are made from the continual harvesting of aborted remains.  To the best of my knowledge, that is not what is happening, and personally I have not seen that asserted, except by those who rise to rebut that assertion.  That some vaccines are built on the cell lines that trace back to aborted humans is undisputed, however.

Here is a link to someone that I respect (and presumably respects me, since in another place he links to my own site) that documents this: Vaccines DO NOT Contain Fetal Tissue.  Another person sent me a link which also explained that:

Varicella (chickenpox), rubella, hepatitis A, shingles and one preparation of rabies vaccine are all made in fetal embryo fibroblast cells. These cells were first obtained from elective termination of two pregnancies in the early 1960s. These same embryonic cells obtained from the early 1960s have continued to grow in the laboratory and are used to make vaccines today. No further sources of fetal cells are needed to make these vaccines.

Dr. Wile seems to think that killing of the babies was wrong, but that their use in making these vaccines is good, for it provides a greater ‘silver lining’:

Two innocent babies were killed. However, they were able to donate something that has been used not only to make vaccines, but in many medical research projects over the years. Thus, these cells have been saving millions of lives for almost two generations! Although the babies were clearly murdered, the fact that their cells have been saving lives is at least a silver lining in the dark cloud of their tragic murder.

Hopefully at this point, however, no one will argue with me that it is a fact that some vaccines are derived from aborted humans, albeit just a small number of humans, some time in the past.

I should clarify, however, that this is written specifically with those who are opposed to abortion in mind, and in particular Christians.  If you are not a Christian and you support “elective abortion” then this is not written for you.  If you are in that camp but still disgusted by the notion of human remains being used to generate vaccines, then I advise you to hurry on over to hear Jacob Appel argue that society should welcome a market for aborted remains.  Such a market would allow women to finance their way through college, for example.  He writes:

Opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result. However, such a market might also bring solace to women who have already decided upon abortion, but desire that some additional social good come from the procedure. Like the families of accident victims who donate the organs of their loved ones, these women could well find their decisions fortified by the public benefit that they generate. An additional economic incentive would further assuage any doubts, and might even make the procedure more palatable to otherwise equivocal spouses or partners. Of course, those who believe that life begins at conception will never find such a market desirable. But for those of us, myself included, who sincerely believe that human life begins far later in the growth process, I believe that we have a moral duty to women to give due consideration to the legalization of such a fetal-organ trade. Society should not curtail a woman’s economic liberty without a compelling reason any more than it should curtail her reproductive liberty.

Appel believes that such a position is the logical extension of the pro-choice concept of ‘reproductive liberty.’  He is absolutely right.  If you accept abortion on demand, you should certainly allow women to sell off the baby parts.  If you are disgusted by that, it probably means your real problem is you shouldn’t even accept abortion on demand.  But I digress.

In Appel’s statement, we see the ‘silver lining’ argument re-stated (I italicized it so the reader would notice it).

Interestingly, though, Appel compares the selling of a woman’s own aborted child with the donating of organs of people who die in accidents.  Surely there is a difference between making a profit from the systemic intentional killing of humans and trying to make the best of a tragic situation?  On such a scheme as Appel proposes, can we not suppose that women will begin conceiving for the express purpose of killing their offspring, and should not society welcome this with open hands?  And why should it matter that the offspring is ‘terminated’ within the womb?  Why not after the child is born?

Before you protest that this is absurd, remember that Peter Singer  has argued that even born children can’t be seen as entitled to life until, say–guesstimating, here…cuz its hard to find a clear line in such matters!… two years of age, and ‘ethicists’ Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have argued in a journal submission titled After-Birth Abortion:  Why Should the Baby Live? (which cites Singer) that “when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”  At what age, exactly, can a born person be ‘terminated’?  “[I]t is hard to exactly determine when a subject starts or ceases to be a ‘person’” they write, because, after all:

Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.

Hopefully the above quotes, in particular Appel’s and Giubilini and Minerva’s, illustrate that the principles that drive abortion on demand, when taken to their logical conclusion, do not cease to apply once one has made the trip down the birth canal.  Appel, for example, in another journal article, has argued that certain born people, when it is expected that those people will have lives of suffering, should be euthanized, and the state should be in charge of the killing.  I kid you not–the whole point of his article (titled:  Neonatal Euthanasia: Why Require Parental Consent?”) is to say that parents cannot be trusted to do the hard, but right, choice, and kill the disabled child, so the state should intervene, mediated through the doctors.  Importantly, he argues that this is logically consistent, and the logical conclusion, if one has adopted a secular ethic, saying that his position is the “inevitable consequence of our progress toward liberal humanism.”

Appel limits his argument to “cases of suffering, terminally ill infants” but we really need to ask ourselves why it matters that they are suffering or even infants.  Did not Giubilini and Minerva extend their argument to adults, albeit “criminals where capital punishment is legal”?  Has not Peter Singer argued, “If we could see our lives objectively, we would see that they are not something we should inflict on anyone”?  All human lives, of all ages, healthy or not, are rife with suffering, so it would be better, he says, if the whole human race be sterilized to ensure no human lives suffer as we have.  So says, Singer.  Not me.

From this logical progression, it is abundantly clear that the principles that call for the discarding and use of ‘fetal’ human lives justify the discarding and use of all human lives.  To this date, I have not seen a secular humanist argument that could not rationally be applied to your average, healthy, adult human male.  The only rational argument against growing adult men, say, for the use of harvesting their organs, seems to be self-interest–since I’m pretty sure anyone trying to implement such a scheme would soon have to deal with the business end of pitchforks.

Of course, many atheistic liberal secular humanists would insist otherwise, but then, they aren’t the audience intended for this essay.

Many of the arguments portrayed above have been discussed and implemented in the past, creating a foul stench that remains in our nostrils to this day.  The similarities are not superficial.  Appel, for example, explains why having doctors euthanize children when the parents won’t, hasn’t caught on in all countries, saying that it “is not terribly surprising, considering the twentieth century’s disturbing experiences with race-based eugenics and Nazi extermination.”  He appears to be unaware of the fact that before the Nazis tried to wipe out the Jews, nay, before the Nazis even existed, scholars–German and European and American–had concluded that there was no real moral problem in killing born people of all ages if their lives were deemed ‘life unworthy of life.’

When the Nazis took power, they began acting on the principles established and defended by the reputable ethicists Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, and before they tried to wipe out the Jews, they targeted disabled people, including German disabled people, in what would become known as the T4 Project.  The technology used for exterminating Jews in vast numbers was developed first for exterminating handicapped people in vast numbers.   So much for Appel’s characterization that the Nazis acted on principles of “race-based eugenics.”  The Nazis saw what they were doing as a public health measure that was not only good for the state, but good for the persons who were being killed, and therefore, as Binding and Hoche argued, a moral imperative… just as Appel sees it as a moral imperative, although he limited his analysis to the very young, and did not extend it to older people, the way the Nazis did.

(The author of this present essay is the publisher of Binding and Hoche’s seminal work, “Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life,” so it may be inferred he knows something of the matter.)

What does any of this have to do with the cell lines of aborted children to create vaccines?

Having now officially arrived, legitimately and justly, at logic’s end in the Holocaust, we remember acutely that the Nazis did not only kill Jews, gypsies, and disabled people, but they performed nasty medical experiments on them, often while they were still alive.

The details of these experiments are ghastly, but there is one thing going for them, and that is that they produced extremely useful and reliable information about the human anatomy that had not been available before.  You can only learn so much through dissection, you see.  And besides, many, if not most, of the people they did their experiments on were going to be killed in the ovens, anyway.  Why not make the best of an unfortunate situation?

Thanks to the Nazis, we know oodles about how to revive someone who has hypothermia;  they nearly froze people to death and tried various ways to bring them back from the brink of death.  Our medical knowledge in some areas was significantly advanced because of these experiments.  Let us presume that every reader will find this quite detestable, but let us ponder a different question:  can we ethically used this information, despite its torrid origins?

We’ve now come full circle with our “silver lining” argument.  The results of the Nazi medical experiments (and also ones conducted by the Japanese during the same time frame, but lets not forget the American Tuskegee experiments!) produced some really good stuff that has conceivably saved many lives and potentially could save many more.  Are we wrong to use this information?  Do we dishonor them if we don’t?

What if it was not information, but rather the organs of the ones killed in those experiments?

We now come hard and fast on the distinction between the use of an organ taken from someone who has died in an accident, or even a malevolent act of homicide, versus one that is intentionally killed to provide a health benefit, public or private, and worse (if that were possible), part of a socially acceptable institution where such killings were done systemically.  I would be willing to wager that many people reading this would be disturbed to learn that some particular treatment was based in some part on a Nazi medical experiment but would probably go forward with it, especially if one’s very life was on the line, but would recoil at using one of the body parts of the person killed in that experiment, all the more so when it is known that it was part of a program that tortured tens of thousands.  But why?  Shouldn’t the “silver lining” argument still hold?  Shouldn’t we be delighted to find some positive benefit?

After all, it is not like there would be ongoing killing of people to procure those organs, right?

According to the “silver lining” argument, we of a Christian, pro-life perspective could ethically used the organs harvested from the victim of a Nazi medical experiment, even as we deplored how the organ was obtained, just as we, we of a Christian, pro-life perspective could ethically use cell lines from aborted humans.  In neither case, after all, is there a continual harvesting involved, right?

May I submit that there is a qualitative and substantive difference between using information obtained through a murderous scheme and using the very body of the murdered, such that even if it were suddenly possible to give every person alive perfect health and immortality by utilizing the parts of a murdered person, it would be wrong, to do so.   Would it make a difference if the person were murdered for quite another reason and that the parts were only indirectly involved, say, to be used as a petri dish for cultivating some kind of miracle drug?  So then, we’d only need one or two murdered people–such as is the case with using vaccinations that utilize cells derived from aborted humans.

If this suddenly seems to the Christian reader that we’ve brushed up against high theology, wherein we remember that it is precisely through a murdered person, namely Jesus Christ, that all who receive the ‘treatment’ will receive perfect health and immortality, I think you begin to see just how deeply we must consider this issue.  At least in the case of Jesus, he voluntarily gave up his life so that the rest of us might live.  In the case of these aborted humans, the ones who did the volunteering (so we are told… as if it makes a difference…) were the mothers, not the aborted humans.

I would wager that for all of us, our analysis would change dramatically if instead of being presented with the utilization of organs or cell lines of people who were murdered we were presented with the organs or cell lines of people who voluntarily and willingly consented.   Is that not reflected in our general acceptance today of the use of dead people (we call them ‘cadavers’ at that point) for medical research and not the Burke and Hare style of acquiring cadavers?

I trust that every decent person alive, Christian or not, would rather die then even use information, let alone body parts, if the primary way that these were obtained was to murder people to get it, or derive it from murdered people more generally.

And yet, the primary way that some of our vaccines are created is extended from the murder of a handful of humans, about as many decades ago as when the Holocaust and the T4 projects occurred.

Before I take some time to more directly state the principles that can make something more or less ethical (for the Christian), let me take some time to re-visit the arguments made by the secular scholars and ethicists above, because I believe there is quite a bit more at stake if we make ourselves comfortable with utilizing human remains in vaccines than an outbreak of chicken pox or the measles.  There is the very real problem that certain propositions have certain logical implications and certain natural consequences.

As illustrated above, there is a logical progression from the principles that justify abortion on demand, where if you accept them, logic requires you to extend them further. Hence Appel’s statement that state-enforced ‘therapeutic euthanasia’ is “the inevitable consequence of our progress toward liberal humanism”, Giubilini and Minerva’s conclusion that,

If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn. [emphasis added]

Binding and Hoche’s conclusion that the same reasoning, that lives deemed “life unworthy of life” by the state, when healthy or not, can be killed, to Singer’s conclusion that the really rational and compassionate thing to do is bring the whole human race to a screeching halt via (he says) voluntary sterilization.

These things are all of a piece, and on the same continuum.  It is all part of the fabric of the same worldview.  You cannot accept just a little part of it without logically accepting the whole part.  And history gives us a clear example of what happens when a society has accepted the whole shebang, and it wasn’t pretty.

Appel astutely noted that establishing a market in ‘fetal body parts’ will be objected to by “opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result”

Though somewhat more subtle, isn’t it self-evident that accepting the use of aborted human remains will also, logically, increase the number of areas where aborted humans are used, if not also the number of abortions as well?

Is it not the case already that opponents of embryonic stem cells are faced with proponents who submit the “silver lining” argument?  (The proponents, of course, are usually mystified that anyone could be opposed to embryonic stem cells in the first place, usually for all the very same reasons that justify abortion on demand.)

Do we not already see an expansive market in the use of ‘fetal’ baby cells, with founded suspicions that embryonic parts are being used by the makers of soft drinks to tweak the flavors of their products?  (See here;  note the similarity in the fact that the ‘parts’ are actually derived from cell lines… and also the apparent progression from a small handful of murdered humans, to the possible need for an ongoing supply.  Someone would have to ask Senomyx where they are getting their ‘fetal’ supplies to know if that progression is actually taking place, or not.)

And will anyone really deny that there has already been an explosion in the use of aborted humans for research purposes?  At this point, God only knows what products and services the average person in America makes use of that were obtained or derived from aborted humans.   Appel’s complaint, after all, was that the women themselves were not able to profit from this situation.  At any rate, here are two articles (on one page) that you can use as a start for your investigation to corroborate this, but really, admit it, you know it’s true.  Any organization that has seen fit to make it their business to give abortions on demand will not think twice about how to make additional money from  the 60,000,000+ aborted humans in America alone, since Roe vs. Wade.  Where do you think all those bodies are going?  In Asia, they eat them!

From one of those articles:

Brenda Bardsley, vice president of the Anatomic Gift Foundation, or AGF, tells Insight, “It’s sad, but maybe it makes it [abortion] easier for us knowing that something good will come out of it.” She adds, “We’re doing our best in an unpleasant situation.” Bardsley says the AGF’s fetal-tissue retrieval accounts for “less than 10 percent of the company’s business” and there are strict rules controlling when and under what conditions a technician may perform the procedures. “The decision to go ahead with the abortion,” says Bardsley, “must be made before the woman is approached about donation, and we don’t get access to the cadaver until the physician has firmly established death.” Nearly 75 percent of the women who choose abortion agree to donate the fetal tissue, she says.

I suggested earlier that we consider our feelings if we were asked to make use of information if it was generated on an on-going basis from the continuation of Nazi medical experiments, or from murdered people more generally.  There is the thought that since we are only talking about a small handful of aborted humans who were used to develop and sustain the cell lines used in some vaccines, we can swallow our heartache in light of the prospect that ‘something good may come out of it.’  But now we learn from Brenda Bardsley that 75% of the women who engage in ‘elective abortions’ donate the remains.  True, these remains may not be going to formulate vaccines, but it simply is not the case that we are talking about some kind of isolated utilization of murdered children.  It is an ongoing program, right here in the good ol’ United States of America!

The utilization of a cell line from aborted humans in the case of some vaccines is just one example of such use, and so should appropriately be seen as the tip of the iceberg of the American version of profiting from a holocaust that makes the Holocaust seem tiny in comparison.  Yet, we condemn the Germans, and struggle over the ethics of using Nazi medical technology or even some aspects of their ideology which we’d like to redeem ‘for the common good’).  What we ought to be doing is condemning the whole ‘iceberg,’ not making peace with a tip of it.

I am not saying that the acceptance of the use of aborted humans to develop vaccines led to our present situation.  I do not know enough to know if that is the case.  From my readings, talk about making a profit from human body parts, alive and/or dead, has been around for a long time.  But to return to Appel’s point about the open establishment of a market that this will lead to a greater number of abortions, isn’t it just common sense that the open acceptance of the use of aborted human remains, even for ‘noble’ purposes, will similarly lead to wider use–and consequently, to more abortions?  And from there, where?

In the sad case of Brenda Bardsley above, we get a good full look at the ‘silver lining’ argument.  Indeed, in an article where she was quoted defending herself, she lays out her Christian credentials:

“Abortion is legal, but tragic. We see what we’re doing as trying to make the best of a bad situation,” Mrs. Bardsley told WORLD. “We don’t encourage abortion, but we see that good can come from fetal-tissue research. There is so much wonderful research going on-research that can help save the lives of wanted children.”

Mrs. Bardsley says she teaches her own children that abortion is wrong. A Deep South transplant with a brisk, East coast accent, Mrs. Bardsley and her family attend a Southern Baptist church near their home on the Satilla River in White Oak, Ga. Mrs. Bardsley homeschools her three children using, she says, a Christian curriculum: “I’ve been painted as this monster, but here I am trying to give my kids a Christian education,” she says, referring to other media coverage of AGF’s fetal-parts enterprise.

Mrs. Bardsley says she’s prayed over whether her business is acceptable in God’s sight, and has “gotten the feeling” that it is. She also, she says, reads the Bible “all the time.” And though she can’t cite a chapter and verse that says it’s OK to cut and ferry baby parts, she points out that God commands us to love one another. For Mrs. Bardsley, aiding medical research by supplying fetal parts qualifies. If they were in it for the money rather than for the good of mankind, says Mrs. Bardsley, AGF could charge much higher prices for fetal tissue than it does, because research demand is so high.

May God strike me dead and send me straight to hell if I ever utter such words.

At any rate, here is your ‘silver lining’ argument in glorious, profitable, practice.

Considering how much money such organizations are making, we may very well wonder how much money organizations such as Planned Parenthood make by allowing these organizations to make money.  We may therefore wonder whether or not Planned Parenthood supports abortion on demand because of the woman and the aborted child’s interests… or to make a hefty buck.

Work it from another angle.

The ‘research demand is so high’ for ‘fetal tissue’ because we, the American people, like to enjoy products and services that are available because of such research.  If we didn’t, there would be less profit motive for groups like Mrs. Bardsley’s, which in turn would make groups like Planned Parenthood less profitable and therefore less adamant in their support for abortion on demand and therefore, there would be less abortions.  Remember what Appel said:  a market in fetal organs would lead logically to more abortions.  He is quite right;  are we so sure that such a market has already been established, and to some extent and in some way, even pro-life Christians have been beneficiaries?  Is it possible that through our dollars, unbeknownst to us, we have facilitated the very atrocity we find so abhorrent?

But, we do our best, don’t we?  When we learn that a company such as Pepsi might be using cells derived from embryos to simulate “taste receptors” we get right on the ball and threaten a boycott.  Once we know about such a use, we lodge our complaint and let our dollars do some talking, too!

But not, it seems, when it comes to some vaccines.  No, for those we turn to the ‘silver lining’ argument.

Of particular interest–though I’m sure there is no connection–we believe we directly benefit from these vaccines.

God help us.

I promised earlier to lay out some principles–for Christians–that are genuinely ethical and consistent with a Biblical worldview.  I happen to think that when the other principles hold sway in a society, a culture of death emerges which will inevitably and inexorably lead to the disposal of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, not just the weak, infirm, and vulnerable.  I wouldn’t dare set a time table, but my point is that even if it is only for strictly mercenary reasons, we would do well to keep these principles in mind, lest things escalate beyond our worst imaginings.  Of course, I would hope that as Christians we would have more in mind than just our own best interest.  I am willing to concede that in this fallen world, with all of its dark complexities, good people can differ on some of these issues, including on the validity of the ‘silver lining’ argument.  I do hope, however, that I have painted a sufficiently clear picture that there is far more at stake here than might initially have come to mind.

Without further ado, here is a quick, very general, run-down.

1., Did someone die in order that we could make use of a product/service?

If yes, STOP.  Do not use that product/service.

2., Was someone deliberately killed for some other reason, and then afterwards had their body used for some purpose?

If yes, ask:

Were they killed because they were a convicted criminal subject to capital punishment?

If yes, proceed with caution.  Sometimes, even ‘consenting’ individuals are coerced in ways we cannot accept.

If no, you’d best find out why they were killed.  Was it so another person’s career wouldn’t be impacted?  Was the person killed to save money for the health system?  etc., you get the picture.  Probably in most cases, if you answer ‘no’ to this, STOP.  DO not use this product/service.

3.  Was someone accidentally killed, and then afterwards had their body used, with the un-coerced consent and knowledge of loved ones and/or the person who died themselves (ie, as may have been made clear on an organ donor card)?

If yes, you’re probably going to be ok, but remember that sometimes ‘consent’ is more coerced than we realize.

Motives matter, and likewise the reasons we bring to bear to them.  I would argue that history shows us clearly that in scenarios #1 and #2 above, when the dead human is later utilized “for the common good,” things advanced inexorably in a particular direction, such that if you answered “no” in #2, there was no good reason not to proceed to #1.  What makes something a ‘common good’ turns out to be very much in the eye of the beholder.  It’s best not to go down that road at all.

In my opinion, the ‘silver lining’ argument is only valid and is only safe to society, in scenario #3, and even there, in a society that has fully embraced Appel’s “liberal humanism” is fraught with dangers.  But this raises even more difficulties, especially for the Christian:  just how many of the values and beliefs do we have that are part and parcel of a worldview that is incompatible with Biblical values?  how many of the products and services are the fruit of values that are incompatible with Biblical values, or worse, actually built from those values?

This line of thought raises practical difficulties, as it is nearly impossible to know the source and development of the bulk of services and products we use.  This reality itself leads to the need to invoke a form of the ‘silver lining’ argument, for in some very important ways, there is just no way to ensure that our lifestyle is free of ‘tainted’ elements.  Indeed, might it even be said that to do anything, use anything–to live at all–is to come to terms with the fact that we have to make the best out of a fallen, sinful world?  Many readers will have encountered this issue for the first time, and may feel quite convicted about it, having given and received vaccination shots without knowing that some of them could entail moral compromise. To now wonder just how many other instances are like this might prove overwhelming.

God has forgiven of us of all sins, known and unknown.  We would not be eternally saved even if we did purge ourselves from unrighteousness, which, as anyone familiar with the Scriptures knows, cannot be done anyway, and is really the whole point of the Gospel.  We cannot beat ourselves up too much.  Nonetheless, we must be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents.  We must be thoughtful and careful.  We cannot take things for granted, even if we are surrounded by those who do. The Scriptures call us to be discerning.

Is it possible for a Christian in good conscience to use vaccines derived from aborted babies?  Well, I suggested that such a thing could be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of a much more pervasive and pernicious ‘culture of death.’  I have tried to give some evidence for why I think that is worth your consideration, but it is of course possible that it can be defended on independent grounds.  That is, one might admit (as I suspect Dr. Wile might, when he sees this) that the ‘iceberg’ is very real and of grave concern, but these sorts of vaccines, or vaccination in general, is not made of ‘ice’ at all, rather it reflects some other ethos, which Christians can embrace, or at least endure.  In the spirit of Romans 14 that says (highly abridged),

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.  Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. …

…. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

My hope is that at the very least, someone coming across this essay will do their part in becoming “fully convinced in their own mind.”  Thus far, our obligation.

After that, “To their own master, servants stand or fall.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scottish Secession and the ‘Right to Secede.’

Scotland is about to vote on whether or not to secede from Mother England and the most noteworthy part of it to me is the fact that this may be pulled off without a massive amount of bloodshed.

In my opinion, one of the greatest mistakes made by the framers of the US Constitution was their failure to include a process for peaceful secession.  Human associations are a complicated affair, and one of the things that creates constant difficulty are differences of opinions on how those associations are to be managed.  The beauty of the US Constitution is its ability to hold those differences in harmony, enacting checks and balances to make sure that there are non-violent mechanisms available for resolving those differences whilst preventing one particular group to do too much damage to the other group.  A situation where these protections and mechanisms would prove insufficient ought to have been anticipated and integrated into the document.

Clearly, one of the other great mistakes was to compromise with the pro-slavery states in the first place.

Theoretically, then, these states would not have signed on to the whole program.  Are we really quite sure that this would have been all that bad?  After all, the situation would spiral out of control to a point where more than a half million Americans would die at each others’ hands, not to mention the rest of the chaos it created.  Does this mean that there would still be slavery in America today?  I doubt that very much.  While it may have taken a couple of more decades for the pro-slavery cause to lose its argument, the weight of theology, philosophy, and economics were against them.  Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.  When the Constitution was drawn up, the anti-slavery folks were passionately for abolition, and for them to compromise on the question of slavery surely meant that there was some other cause they felt more pressing.  Looking back, I would say they were wrong.   Obviously, they did not have access to the same data, since they were then living in and through it.

But there is something wrong with ‘unionism’ in principle and practice that needs a ‘check and balance’ erected against it, which to this point has not happened.

There is a special kind of arrogance required to argue that some other group of people should remain associated (as subjects?) with another group, with whom they have severe disagreements.  Add to that the willingness to kill the people who will not remain associated–that there is a special kind of madness.   All this, in the name of ‘union.’  But how is it that ‘unionism’ is so sacrosanct?

The ‘right to free assembly’ has currency throughout the world these days, which is good.  However, would not such a right logically entail, as its converse, the ‘right to dis-assemble’?  Yet whenever we read of a group looking to part company from another group, there are catcalls and insults and, usually, cries that the other group is being selfish.  Ostensibly, this is in defense of ‘union’ but it seems to me that something else is going on.

First of all, it should be obvious that the secessionists have some kind of reason for what they are doing and this reason will in large measure concern actions by the other group that bother them, and no other way to rectify the problem has surfaced, short of violence itself.   Rather than acknowledge that it is possible to push one’s opinion onto another too far, the ‘mother’ group essentially declares, “My way or the high way!”  This can work and people can co-exist in such a situation, but only to a point.  When this point comes, it is useless to say, “Oh well, it is just because you are a selfish cretin for not submitting to our demands.”

Second of all, as often seems to be the case, the majority has erected a scheme that requires the participation of every person, or else it will not work at all.  Socialism/Communism is such a scheme, which is why the the Soviets gobbled up as many territories as they could and sought to expand its “Union” to the globe.  As is usually the case, such schemes are advanced with purely noble intentions, eg, ‘for the common good’ or ‘the general welfare’ or ‘the most good for the most people.’  And as also seems to be the case, the tyrannical and monstrous nature of those schemes reveal themselves by the fact that more and more people subjected to those schemes try their darnedest to get away from them.  The Communists had to put up a wall in Berlin to keep their people in, not to keep anyone out–for there were precious few that would voluntarily subject themselves to such schemes.  (It is not a coincidence that the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the word “indivisible”, was a proto-communist.)

To put it bluntly, a good sign that it will take tyranny to maintain a union is when the people are increasingly trying to secede from that union, by voting with their feet.

But what if they cannot vote with their feet?

When even this option is eliminated, there are very few options left on the table.  As these slowly get stripped away, the one option that is always on the table, becomes the last option:  violence.

When people en masse turn to violence, it almost always means that some other group has crossed the line, and no other way to rectify the situation plausible.

There are disturbing signs that this is precisely where the United States is going.  Take for example Obamacare, which, we are told, will only work if everyone participates.  The ‘losers’ in Obamacare are expected to ‘take one for the team.’   Like all socialist schemes, it is plainly understood that when implemented, even successfully, some people will suffer more than they would have so that (in theory) other people will suffer less.  But there is a big difference between people voluntarily taking suffering upon their shoulders and people being told by bureaucrats that they’ve been selected to serve as the sufferers.   (In Obamacare, indications are that this will be the elderly–to start with.)  Such a scheme can only be enforced so far before the people turn rebellious, but Obamacare will not let people out.   As in the case of Berlin, people are voting with their feet–or trying.  Far fewer are trying to get into the ‘paradise’ that is the Obamacare East Berlin than they expected and far more are trying to scramble over the wall into West Berlin…  except there is no wall and no West Berlin because under Obamacare, there is no where to go, except, it seems, to some other socialist country.

Left without recourse, what are they to do?  In poll after poll, we learn that the majority in the US are steadfastly opposed to Obamacare.  The 2010 elections represented a landslide victory for those who were opposed to Obamacare, but this proved futile.  So, the people are against it and their elected representatives are incapable or unwilling to reverse it.  Nine people in black robes, and one in particular, effectively removed all legislative mechanisms.  In this bizarre situation, it is the majority’s will that is being thwarted.  It is hard to see how that can end well for the minority.

If it were just Obamacare, it would be one thing.  However, as all of the ‘limited government’ protections provided by the US Constitution have been eroded, and, worse, perhaps, a ‘big government’ ethos has come to pervade every layer of government–Federal, state, and local–majorities at all levels of government have seen fit to intrude themselves in the lives of the minorities, and demand that these (only a hair smaller) populations “eat it and learn to like it.”  It is thus the case that all across the country, people are complaining about overreach.  This includes areas dominated by Republicans.  But it is in response to the overreach of liberals where we have seen actual attempts to secede.  Parts of California and Colorado come to mind, but whole states, such as Texas, have been in the news.

These ‘secession’ conversations should be seen for what they really are:  signs that in the eyes of many, non-violent options for self-government are steadily being removed from the table.  As stated, there is a continuum here, and the Republicans are definitely on it.  It just that in some areas and on some issues, the liberals have drawn much closer to people’s breaking point.  Neither the Republicans or the liberals seem to have taken the hint.

Secession is the last non-violent option on the table.  If we grant a ‘right to assembly’ we should similarly grant a ‘right to secede.’  Splintered regions certainly have some disadvantages, but it is far better that the people in those regions weigh the advantages and disadvantages for themselves and voluntarily choose whether or not they will bear the cost and risk of remaining separate from some other region.  In my opinion, no union merely for the sake of having a union is worth the killing of thousands of people in order to preserve that union.  Great Britain seems to have gotten that part right, and that is to its credit.  Perhaps a day is coming, and sooner than we think, when we may have to draw a lesson from Scotland.

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Open Letter to Everyone but Richard Dawkins

Most observers of Richard Dawkins are not surprised to hear that he has said something outrageous. More and more, even his fellow atheists are surprised when he says something sensible. The latest row is over his comments suggesting that people have a moral obligation to abort a child diagnosed with a defect (in particular, Down Syndrome). Again, even his fellow atheists were put off by this, since the party line on abortion it is morally neutral, and a woman can get one or not get one, as she pleases.

The reactions, from both foes and fellow travelers, imply that the crux of this issue is that Dawkins is being rude. From this perspective, there are certain things you don’t say in polite society, even if you think them, and Dawkins has found one of them (again). The problem, you see, is one of decorum and Dawkins’ irascible personality and a violated social contract.

Dawkins, however, insists that what he is saying “simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most [of] us, I presume, espouse.” He sympathizes with his critics, but notes that their point is “an emotional one not a logical one.” And oh, by the way, what he is saying is not in the slightest “advocating a eugenics policy.”

Never mind that he is rude. Is he wrong? He has invoked logic, implying that there are propositions, premises, and inferences not far back from his comments. Moreover, he expects that his own fans share these foundational views and is more than a little surprised that they have not taken them to their logical conclusions. And what views might these be?

We are fortunate in the case of Dawkins to know what animates him: his atheism, his Darwinism, and his hatred for religion and religionists. He perceives that he has an impartial, objective, scientific basis for these views. In his ‘apology’ itself he states explicitly that “my own moral philosophy [is] based on a desire to increase happiness and reduce suffering.” This is a utilitarian ethic which harkens back to Bentham, Mill, and arguably Darwin himself.

Excepting the hatred of religionists, may we now suppose that these elements are also what drives the “ordinary pro-choice stance”?

What would it be about a utilitarian, atheistic, Darwinist outlook that drives Dawkins to derive a logical conclusion from them related to unborn children diagnosed in the womb with a birth defect? What prevents his co-idealogues from following suit?

We will treat the former and leave the latter for a later essay.

Leave Dawkins out of it.  The rest of us should be thinking about whether or not the worldview Dawkins is acting on is true.

It should not be terribly difficult to see how Darwinism might fuel the “ordinary pro-choice stance.” On this view, it is scientifically beyond all reasonable doubt that the human person has lately descended from puss. The notion that humans have some kind of intrinsic worth and dignity, cannot be more than mere fantasy.

It does not take a rocket science to see that if you believe that humans are nothing more than nature’s belch after millions of years of digesting, you will care very little about a tiny clump of cells. Indeed, you will care very little about very big clumps of cells, too. Big clumps of cells tend to fight back, however, so it’s best to extend your indifference to the ones that can’t, namely the unborn, newly born, the infirm, and the old. It is no great shock to discover that the ‘ordinary pro-choice stance’ is usually associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well.

But the atheism plays a part here, too. With no Creator in view, if you determine at some point that you have been a little too cavalier with human lives, there really isn’t any great harm. There is the matter of one’s own conscience, perhaps, but it isn’t like there is anyone to answer to. In the end, we’ll all melt back into the cosmic sea of matter and whether any particular person lived or died won’t matter a lick.

There is a problem. Humans seem ‘designed’ to be moral creatures, that is seeking justification for their actions on a basis that extends beyond their own person, but atheism and Darwinism combine to render ‘morality’ a farce. How can substance be given back to our ‘moral sense’? Utilitarianism: the most good for the most people; the elimination and reduction of suffering, the highest good.

Utilitarianism has the added benefit of, in many cases, bringing to bear ‘scientific objectivity’ to moral questions, for it is in many cases possible to determine whether or not ‘suffering’ is taking place. This is fortunate, if the reduction of suffering is your highest guiding value. According to Dawkins, a human is not a person “before it develops a nervous system.” Not coincidentally, it is maintained that one cannot suffer before there is a nervous system, either. The presence or absence of a nervous system can theoretically be determined scientifically. In cases where science has shown that a human will suffer if they continue to live, then the moral thing to do is to prevent that from happening.

Is this indeed the underlying rational framework for the “ordinary pro-choice stance”?

I suggest that in broad strokes, it is. To defend that would require an essay far longer than I am prepared to pen right now, so instead I will put to the reader this challenge: if the above does not form the foundation for Dawkins’ claim to ‘logic’ what do you suppose does? And if it does, is he wrong? If he is right, and you share the same views, but find his assertions about their logical implications reprehensible, what does that suggest?

Bottom line: both friends and foes seem bent on reforming Dawkins’ social skills rather than addressing the substance of his argument. The message will be clear: “Believe what you want, but there are some things you just don’t say.” That is perhaps well and good for social tranquility, but with those who are engaged in influencing and carrying out public policy, honesty is much more preferable. These same will have gotten the message loud and clear: “If people find out why I’m really doing this, there would be a public outcry. I should just do it, and keep my mouth shut.”

Surely the reader can see how that is more dangerous than Dawkins spouting off on Twitter.

(I suspect it would be useful to understand that Dawkins is not alone in his assessment about what ‘logically follows’ from the “ordinary pro-choice stance.” There have been many who have made the same kind of arguments based on the same premises. They haven’t been cranks, either. Some have died, but others are still alive and well and even in power today. If it would be helpful for you to see that others believe that Dawkins’ logic is valid, and it is not just a matter of Dawkins’ sour demeanor and bad taste, you will want to read the optional part 2.)

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