Sheldon Adelson: Put aside social conservativism to reclaim America

I promise that this post will be about what Sheldon Adelson had to say in an interview with Alana Goodman of Commentary Magazine.  Before I get there, though, I need to begin with a little story of my own.

Readers of my newsletter know that I had lunch last week with seven other conservative women here in Marin.  We had all found each other more or less by accident, not because any of us in Marin have proudly worn our conservativism in the open (our kids would be ostracized if we did), but because we listened for the little clues in their words that hinted at a conservative orientation.  We then risked exposing ourselves by asking, “Uh, are you by any chance  . . . um, you know, conserva-mumble, mumble, mumble?”

That shyness, of course, was before the last election.  Since the 2012 election, we’ve all made a vow to each other to be more open about our political identity and to challenge liberals who lead with unfounded conclusions that demonize conservatives and their beliefs or that confer saintly virtues on Obama and his cadre.

Interestingly, the eight of us were a microcosm of conservative views, ranging from fiscally conservative but socially liberal conservatives all the way to both fiscally and socially conservatives.  Our common denominator, of course, was fiscal conservativism. Dig deeper, and there were two other common denominators:  an abiding belief in the Constitution’s continued relevance to modern America and a fierce devotion to individual liberty.

Where we differed was (a) gay marriage and (b) abortion.  With regard to abortion, we did have one overarching point of agreement, which was that abortion is not a federal issue and should therefore be returned to the states.  When it came to gay marriage, all of us were willing to recognize gay unions, but we differed about whether the answer is to declare gay marriage the law of the land or, instead, to preserve marriage for religious institutions, while making civil unions across the board (both straight and gay) the law of the land.  As regular readers know, I hew to the second view, which acknowledges human relationships and state goals, without interfering in any way with religious freedom.

I walked away from the lunch realizing as clearly as I ever have that the strong fiber weaving us together is fiscal conservativism and individual liberty.  The frayed strands at the edges are what are commonly called “social issues.”

The Democrats, recognizing that the quickest way to shred a piece of fabric is to tear at the frayed edges, rather than to try to destroy the sturdy center, worked hard during the election to blow the gay-marriage and abortion dog whistles.  As the race in Missouri showed, social conservativism is a political landmine that routinely explodes in the face of struggling Republican candidates.  Todd Akin could have won that race if he hadn’t been asked about abortion.  When thinking about Akin’s repulsive and misinformed answer, which provided a solid Progressive rallying cry, don’t forget Richard Mourdock. His experience proves that, even if Akin had given a principled pro-Life answer, he still would have been pilloried and destroyed.

I’m a big believer that, when it comes to social issues, culture drives politics, rather than politics driving culture.  For the past forty years, social liberals have been planted very firmly in the driver’s seat.  They have infiltrated both media and education, which has given them the chance to shape a generation’s social views.  They have sensitized this generation’s ears so that the dog whistles most people under 55 hear the loudest aren’t “debt” or “fiscal cliff” or “responsibility,” but are, instead, “women haters,” “homophobes” and “racists.”

What this cultural transformation means is that, in the short term, conservatives can win on the fiscal side (and, possibly, on the individual liberties side) because people haven’t been deafened by decades of dog whistles on those subjects.  Until we take back the culture, though, which we do exactly the same way the Left did — namely, a slow march through the culture — we will invariably lose on social issues.  Significantly as the most recent election shows, losing on social issues inevitably means losing on all issues.

Now, finally, have established my premise about the way in which social issues invariably play against conservatives in national elections, I can get to Sheldon Adelson’s interview in Commentary Magazine.  For purposes of this essay, Sheldon Adelson is important for three reasons.  First, he is a conservative who is willing to put his money where his mouth is (unlike Warren Buffet, a true-to-form liberal who wants to put other people’s money where his mouth is).  The second reason Adelson is important is that, after his emergence as a money-player in this election, the Left has worked as hard to demonize him as they did to demonize the Koch Brothers and Mitt Romney.  And the third reason is that Sheldon Adelson agrees with me that conservatives cannot win on social issues:

For someone whose name and face were a regular staple of the election coverage, the public does have many misconceptions about Adelson. His liberal social views rarely received media attention during the campaign season, though he’s certainly never hidden them.

“See that paper on the wall?” he asked, gesturing toward a poster with rows of names on it. “That is a list of some of the scientists that we give a lot of money to conduct collaborative medical research, including stem cell research. What’s wrong if I help stem cell research? I’m all in favor. And if somebody wants to have an abortion, let them have an abortion,” he said.

[snip]

Adelson has not said whether he will use his influence to try to change the GOP internally. But he does believe social issues cost the Republicans the last election.

“If we took a softer stance on those several issues, social issues, that I referred to, then I think that we would have won the most recent election,” he said. “I think people got the impression that Republicans didn’t care about certain groups of people.”

You should definitely read the whole interview.

Adelson is precisely what my self-admitted conservative friends are:  fiscally conservative, socially fairly liberal, very receptive to legal immigration (because a nation, for health, national security, and economic reasons should control its own borders), and supportive of Israel.  What’s funny, though, is that Adelson is also pretty close in actual outlook to all the upscale, white collar liberals I know who reflexively vote Democrat because of the conservative issues.  These people are also fiscally conservative in their own lives; they what their country safe and fiscally sound for their children; they like immigrants but recognize that illegal immigrants pose risks both for American citizens and legal, Green Card immigrants; and they like Israel’s values.

The problem at the ballot box is that, after forty years of Leftist indoctrination, these educated liberals are unable to harmonize their values with their politics.  Despite recognizing the wisdom of fiscal management in their own homes, they think a state can survive indefinitely by spending more than it takes in; despite training their children in self-reliance, they believe that we should destroy self-reliance in “the poor”; despite believing that people should be able to protect themselves and their homes, they are embarrassed when their country tries to defend itself; and despite admiring a pluralist, democratic society, which is what Israel is, they bemoan the plight of the poor Palestinians who have allowed their (now sovereign) territory to devolve in a crazy mix of anarchism and Islamic fundamentalism.

What makes this cognitive dissonance possible for white collar liberals is their unswerving allegiance to unlimited abortions and (of late) to gay marriage. Just as fiscal conservativism, the Constitution, and individual freedom bind conservatives of all stripes together, so too do abortion and gay marriage (with a soupçon of illegal immigration) bind together Progressives of all stripes.  We cannot entice Progressives to fiscal conservativism if we insist on a purity test for abortion and gay marriage.  It’s just not going to happen.  And here’s the kicker:  abortion and gay marriage become moot issues if our nation collapses entirely under the weight of debt or if our walls our breached by Islamists or if we become “tuberculosis central” because we cannot assert even a modicum of polite control over our borders.

As a parent, I hew socially conservative, so those are values I want to advance.  But I’m a pragmatist who recognizes that the ballot box isn’t the place to make it happen.  The ballot box is how we manage issues of sovereignty (including national security and border control) and fiscal health.  Our social institutions are where we make headway on social issues.  If we can keep those lines from crossing, we can be a resurgent conservative political party and, eventually, a somewhat more traditional America, one that preserves the best and healthiest social policies of the past and the present.

 

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Comments

  1. Midknight says

    My own little bit to restore some real culture….
     
    http://callofpoetry.com
     
    (sorry if it comes across as self-propmotion, but a good chunk of “why now” was because I realized that we’d have to take back the underlying culture from the wishy-washy, politically correct, can’t hurt anyone’s feelings, success is victimization, no-one is a hero attitudes.)
     
    On a related note to “no-one is a hero”: 
    http://www.midknightgallery.com/home/2012/11/27/how-to-guarantee-i-never-watch-your-show-or-read-your-book.html
     
    And finally – a SF author who’s joined others in changing the literary culture – via what they refer to as the “Human Wave” movement: 
    http://accordingtohoyt.com/2012/03/20/bring-back-that-wonder-feeling-2-2/
    http://accordingtohoyt.com/2012/03/21/what-is-human-wave-science-fiction-3/
    http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/fall2011/innovation-starvation
    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/427623/neal-stephenson-on-science-fiction-building-towers-20-kilometers-high-and-insurance/
     

  2. Danny Lemieux says

    We also need to be smarter about how we use language. 

    Rubio made a huge mistake when he answered a question about whether he believed the universe was 4,000 or so years old, a belief, based on faith, held by religious Muslims, many Orthodox Jews and Old Testament Christians. He tried to give an answer that would not offend either side of the belief spectrum and instead left himself open to attack by the other side. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/marco-rubio-earth_n_2244484.html

    I often get the question about abortion (“Do you support a woman’s right to choose?”) and I have a pat answer: “I don’t believe in killing either old people or babies”. I give it whenever I get the question. Let them answer that.

    On gay marriage, I oppose it, even though I have gay family members. I do believe that gay couples should enjoy many of the same legal protections as married couples, but “marriage” should be an institution designed to encourage and protect the creation and nurture of future generations. There should be laws devoted to that and to that only (tax deductions for kids, for e.g.). I believe that two separate institutions can coexist on this issue. So, when people ask me, “do you support gay marriage?”, my pat answer is that “I support legal protections for gay couples”, and leave it at that.

    I believe a lot of conservative politicians should learn to answer only the first question and to ignore the follow-up questions. That’s where they get themselves in trouble. I simple “I already answered that!” should do.

     

  3. Spartacus says

    It’s important to distinguish between two possible approaches here:
     
    1) The most successful approach I’ve seen is the unabashed pro-lifer saying, “I’m pro-life, plain and simple, but that’s not why I’m running.  I’m running because our [country, state, county, whatever] is in desperate need of economic and regulatory reform, and I want my children to have the same opportunities that I’ve had.”  And as Danny wisely pointed out, slam the door the follow-ups.
     
    2) The other approach is to not take a strong, conservative position in the first place.  Case study: Jon Huntsman.  And countless others like him.
     
    What people like Adelson and Huntsman fail to understand is that not all issues are weighted equally.  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there are 40 significant issues in play in this country.  People like Adelson reason that, “Since there are 40 issues, and I don’t really care about abortion, I’d be completely content to give that one up if it meant a higher chance of getting the other 39 of 40, or 97.5%, and I think other people can be persuaded of that logic as well.”  But, as new candidates in the GOP have to keep learning season after season, some issues are not negotiating points, but prerequisites.  Abortion may be 1 of 40 issues, but it’s certainly closer to 25% than 2.5% in terms of importance for many of those who might even consider voting Republican.  And in chasing after a couple points of that elusive “moderate” vote in the middle, they significantly depress the turnout rate among the base which they could otherwise have counted on; turnout is not a given.  Now, any Republican running for the US House seat representing Marin and other such extreme cases may need to bend and flex a bit, but I inferred that Adelson was speaking nationally.
     
    The swing vote will swing back to the right, if it does, by the grace of God.  Significant economic pain will be the most likely cause of that shift, and for better and worse, there is a lot of that coming down the pike.  Until it arrives, I feel it is better to stand on principle and stop him at the dinner roll.

  4. jj says

    I’m suspicious you’re a little late, there.  You remark: “abortion is not a federal issue, and should therefore be returned to the states.”  And you’re perfectly right – but that horse is three miles down the road from the barn, has jumped the fence into somebody’s orchard, and is happily crunching his way through a lovingly picked-at-the-apex-millisecond-of-perfect-ripeness bushel basket of apples somebody left on the back porch.  You should run a contest here: we’ll all start listing issues that the federal government has no shadow of a shred of Constitutional authority to be leaving its pug-marks all over – but does anyway – and the first one of us whose list hits 300 gets, I don’t know; a free dinner and all the blue crap you can drink at Lucas Wharf.  Because listing the things that are not federal issues that the feds have somehow taken over for themselves, well, abortion’s only near the top because it starts with “a.”  98% of what the federal government has its nose in it has no right to be anywhere near – and what do you suppose anybody who might be inclined to (a) know that, and (b) do something about it; is going to do?  And now the nine retired ambulance-chasers who’ve been – for the last 150 years – helping themselves to power rightfully delegated to other branches; power to which they have no right; are going to decide whether the citizens of states are allowed to vote to establish their own parameters for how they wish to live their lives inside their own borders.  Vote, and have the vote actually count, I mean.  (Of course, the federal government is just like the Soviet Union: very much in favor of voting!  Naturally you can vote!  Hell you can vote forty or fifty times – if you’re a democrat – you can vote your ass off!  But we’ll tell you what really counts, and what’ll really happen.  If we don’t like the way you voted, well, forget it.  But vote?  Absolutely, all day long, knock yourself out.)
     
    We’d do a lot better making a list of things the federal government doesn’t have its nose in than noting where it does.  That’s a much shorter list, you can do that in three minutes.     

  5. Libby says

    Funny, the Tea Party started out as a movement strictly focused on constitutional and financial issues (and still is), but the Left and the MSM (redundant) have spent the past 3 years successfully painting the Tea Party as being all about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage (see: Akin).
    I would love for Republicans to learn how to handle questions about abortion and SSM gracefully enough to make it clear that they are much more focused on issues such as unemployment, lowering/simplifying taxes, and reigning in federal spending. However, the Left knows that it can exploit a candidate’s pro-life and/or pro-traditional marriage support in order to make the him or her seem toxic to moderate voters.  Obama has intentionally gotten the federal government more involved in abortion and SSM, such as the HHS contraceptive mandate and repealing DADT, to ensure that pro-life and/or pro-traditional marriage Republicans cannot avoid these issues. How can a Republican be pro-life and do nothing about state & federal support for Planned Parenthood, or forcing religious institutions to pay for Plan B? Republicans need to learn to make the case for these things from a Constitutional or financial standpoint (and completely remove any argument based on religion) or totally abandon them as Adelson has advised.
    And as a rule, Republicans should just stop taking questions about religious-based beliefs such as evolution, since these are always gotcha questions (when has Pelosi or Obama ever been questioned about which parts of they bible the believe are true?).

  6. Spartacus says

    Barack’s biblical beliefs are very straightforward:
    – From the Old Testament, he believes in the prophecy that a messiah will come (although he’s a little confused on the identity of that messiah).
    – From the New Testament, he likes that bit about “render unto Caesar,” although he thinks the sentence ends right there.
     
    Nancy believes that the Bible would have to be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law before anyone can find out what’s in it.

  7. Caped Crusader says

    Danny  #8:
     
    Rubio should have answered, “Of course it’s 4000 years old, are you so stupid you believe it is much younger? in fact it may be as old as 4 billion years, but science is a dynamic, rather then static, so keep an open mind. I know that’s hard for the press, but at least try!”

  8. says

    I don’t think the social questions can just be dodged, as several people here propose. 
    A conservative candidate may say, “I’m against killing babies” but if he or she doesn’t spell out whether they are going to try to have women and/or doctors tried for murder for taking part in an abortion, the liberals will have a field day. And rightly so.
    We’ll end up sounding like those Communist Party USA members in the 1940s being questioned about their membership of the CP, responding by twisting and turning with counter-questions about lynching Negroes in Mississippi. It’s obvious to everyone that there is an evasion going on and that the person doing the evading is being dishonest.
    But there is a way around this position, I think.
    The fact is, that the only way that the right to an abortion can be overturned, is via either a Constitutional amendment, or a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v Wade. Both are, as practical matters, utterly impossible without a sea-change in American public opinion. Such a change could happen: a similar change paved the way for the Court to reverse Plessey v Ferguson on racial segregation. But such a change is not in evidence at the moment.
    So, except for nibbling around the edges of the issue — Should abortion be provided free by the state? Should women have to see an ultrasound of their fetus before going ahead with the abortion? — whether or not we elect liberals or conservatives to office, the law with respect to abortion will not change. Why can’t we say this?
    Conservative political candidates who oppose abortion are in the same position as Lincoln was with regard to slavery, before the Civil War. He opposed it, but knew he had no mandate to do anything about it. (The slavers dug their own grave by engaging in rebellion.)
    Why can’t we just say this, instead of letting the abortion issue become a litmus test for Republican candidates, who win the primaries by taking an hard-line orthodox anti-abortion position (despite the fact that they have not the slightest possibility, or intention, of doing anything significant about it), and then lose the general election because of it, even though they would, in office, have no effect on the basic right to abortion.
    Gay marriage will soon be the law of the land. It will become for us like gun control is for liberals. No chance of reversing it, so intelligent conservative candidates will  ignore the (non-)issue, or say they have no plans to reverse it, just as intelligent liberals don’t foreground their support for gun control, which can only lose them votes. The real fight will be how to shore up the family. (Divorce, far far more than gay marriage, is the enemy of stable families.)
    As for  purely factual issues like the age of the earth: anyone who thinks the world was created 6000 years ago is an ignoramus.
    I would rather be ruled by an ignoramus who believes in limited government,  than by an educated intelligent collectivist, but by God I hate to have to make the choice!
     
     
     

  9. MacG says

    “Do you support the right for women to choose?”  
    “Choose what, exactly?”
    “Choose an abortion”
    “Ah, the right to choose whether that which is growing inside her with brainwaves, a functioning liver, kidney, beating heart and separate blood-type from her lives or dies? Is that the right we are talking about?”
     
     

  10. Libby says

    Doug1943 – A legitimate concern about same-sex marriage is that once the definition of marriage has been modified for same-sex unions it is open to all sorts of other adjustments such as polygamy. In fact, people like Cass Sunstein (in “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness,”) and Chai Feldblum (in “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships”) – both having participated in Obama’s administration – have voiced support for polygamy as just one type of union amongst a variety of non-traditional social contracts in place of marriage. There are some Republicans who can see what the long game is on same-sex marriage, regardless of how they feel about its inevitability or their desire to see all people enjoy long-term, established relationships with the partner of their choice (same-sex ones via civil unions). Rolling over on the issue does have consequences.

  11. says

     
    It seems to me that if we “lose the social issues”, we lose conservatism.  Because the choice is between self-control and libertinism.
     
    We can’t “win” the social issues politically, of course….but if we allow the left to determine what the culture will be, in short order no one will vote for a conservative.
     
    That’s not a prescription, of course – at least, nothing specific.  But if it’s correct, then Adelson (and others like him) is tragically and dangerously wrong.

  12. says

    Libby: why are you against legalizing polygamy?
    Is there evidence that children raised in polygamous marriages tend to have more problems than children raised in monogamous marriages? (There may be. I’d be grateful for any references to serious studies.)
    Is there evidence, or at least good reason to believe, that legalizing polygamy or gay marriage will somehow undermine heterosexual monogamous marriage?
    My personal conservative disposition to make potentially profound social changes slowly, if at all, leads me to wish that these issues had never arisen. If we see gay marriage become the norm, as it will, and see even polygamy legalized, which will logically follow, I doubt that either change will help combat the on-going disintegration of traditional marriage, even if they don’t accelerate it. But why take the chance?
    But although I wish these trends had not occured,  I wish even more that we could do something to reverse the far more important, damaging trend towards women having babies and raising children without long-term male partners to serve as fathers (whether formally married or not). This is the real problem society faces, and it’s one that conservatives [and sensible liberals] should be making the biggest fuss about.

  13. says

     
    Doug1943: I agree with you about the real problem. 
     
    However, anyone who talks about that is going to be vilified and marginalized if they’re on the right….and ignored if they’re on the left (for evidence, remember Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who predicted accurately pretty much everything we’re seeing now – and he did it 30-40 years ago).

  14. says

    Once again people have missed the true nature of the LEft. They think they’re arguing about human rights and legal protections. As if it mattered in the first place.
     
    People here really think the Left is advocating gay marriage and what not, in order to solve a problem, do they. Do people think that even if they don’t adopt the Left’s solution of gay marriage, they can somehow get a deal, a compromise, if they solve the issue in a different manner, is it.
     
    100% of the reason why Leftism backs and controls the gay advocacy movement is to create more slaves that they can then use to make a profit for Democrats and other Leftist allies like Islamic terrorists. There will be no such thing as “human benefit” to be derived from gay marriage, polygamy, or Islamic shariah. It’s because the tool is not evil, the user is.
     
    America long ago failed in educating the new generations about why good causes taken over by evil people, become evil, not good. It’s not as if something is so pure and pristine and good and useful to people, that it’ll “convert” evil to the opposite. Then again, the LEftist theological dogma will disagree.
     
    The norm is going to be slavery. And whether you’re gay or not, won’t matter in the least. There’s your equality that so many have desired at the expense of ignoring the LEft’s evil.

  15. says

    Actually, the Left is, like the Right, a mixture of all human types, with every conceivable motivation, and all possible states of mental health.
    Many, probably most, people who are consciously on the Left sincerely believe they are fighting against historic injustices. (Sometimes they’re right.) There have been many decent people on the Left, whose motivations were entirely honorable. Read the first chapter of Whittaker Chambers’ Witness if you doubt this. Or ask yourself why so many founding editors of National Review were ex-Marxists.
    Conservatives, however, know that society is far more complex than we understand, perhaps even than we can understand, to steal a phrase from a great scientist.
    Unintended consequences are potentially everywhere. This is why we want to make social changes slowly and gradually, and not as the result of someone’s Grand Theory, and why we like federalism, which allows states to experiment with different ways of dong things. (Californians will have the same consolation as the dying seriously ill patient who opted for a quack medicine — others will learn from the mistake.)
    Arguing about the character of your opponents is a waste of time. We have to argue objective consequences.

  16. Ron19 says

    Libby #14:

    I would like to see all that, too.

    However, all we get is a sound byte from one question, the one that the interviewee gave the worst answer to.

    Or, if the interviewee is on the same side as the interviewer, we get the most favorable sound byte from the interview.

    Let’s face it; both sides do this.

           

  17. says

    You can’t dodge these issues.
    If you believe that human life in all senses of the term starts at conception — that is, that the instant that a (literally) microscopic sperm embeds itself in a microscopic egg, then that’s a human being, just as much as you and I are — then killing this microscopic entity is murder and murder must be punished.
    If this microscopic sperm-and-egg human being was conceived as the result of a brutal gang rape, that makes no difference. It’s a human being, however it got here. It’s God’s Will.
    And that’s what you should say when asked about it, as you will be if you’re a candidate.
    And in many places, at the moment and for the near future, that will be enough to lose you (us) the election. You will have contributed to making abortion not just legal, but subsidized by the taxpayer, which will be the result of letting the liberal  win  the seat from you.
    Conservatives will eventually wise up and stop nominating people who believe this (and other insane things, such as that the earth was created 6000 years ago by an invisible man in the sky) and will start winning elections again.
    “Experience keeps a dear school but ….”
     
     
     

  18. says

     
    Doug1943: “If you believe…that the instant that a (literally) microscopic sperm embeds itself in a microscopic egg, then that’s a human being….”
     
    It’s not a matter of “belief”, of course.  That instant is precisely when every human being ever born began. It’s a matter of our knowledge being advanced by the findings of science.
     
    “… killing this microscopic entity is murder and murder must be punished.”  Actually, no…..the killing of any human being is “homicide”.  Some homicides are murder, some are manslaughter, some are self-defense, etc…..
     
    I’m not sure why killing an embryonic (or fetal) human being should be treated differently than killing any other human being.  In fact, I cannot imagine why any genuinely conservative human being would countenance for one moment the division of the human race into different classes, some with full human rights and others with lesser sets of rights – without, especially, the right not to be killed.
     
    Yet, that is what is happening today in the United States (as well as elsewhere).  Predictably, the classes of human beings with fewer rights than the people making the laws have been expanded well beyond unborn human beings.  In some countries, the classes with the right not to be killed include babies and young children, as well as the expensive disabled and/or elderly.  If you’ve been reading the newspapers, you know that other classes could be named, and in the “Ethics” literature there are more being proposed.
     
    All human beings have full rights, or none of us is safe.  I’m not currently worried about being denied my rights, but the older I get the more likely I’ll fall out of the class with full rights.  Even without a Biblical command to “love your neighbor as yourself”, I’d be arguing for equal rights for ALL humans, simply out of a sense of self-preservation.
     

  19. Caped Crusader says

    Brave New World, Earl, Brave New World. Topsy-turvy  world — the firemen start the fires, police commit the crimes, the doctor kills you. We’ve come a long way, baby. Sticky wickets, especially in a world with little sense of right and wrong. I am older than antibiotics and remember when a large number of people believed it was a sin to take antibiotics and interfere with “God’s will”. Scary thought as to how far we will have “developed” in another 100 years!

  20. says

    Earl: You quite rightly point out that not all killing of human beings is murder: murder is a sub-set of homicide. We take into account factors such as intention, the mental state of the person committing homicide, and so on.
    You argue:  “Some homicides are murder, some are manslaughter, some are self-defense, etc….. ”

    So, I must ask: what kind of homicide is killing a microscopic sperm-embedded-in-an-egg?
    It’s done quite deliberately, the intention is to kill, the person doing it is usually quite rational, there is usually no issue of being in fear of one’s life.. So it’s not manslaughter, or self-defense.
    If  my wife decided that I had become too inconvenient for her, and she took an abortionists’ instruments to me, or poured some chemical on me that dissolved me, she would be charged with murder.
    And since you say, quite logically from your point of view, “I’m not sure why killing an embryonic (or fetal) human being should be treated differently than killing any other human being”, then surely you must believe that a woman who takes a morning-after pill should be charged with murder?
    If not, what should she be charged with? What should her punishment be?
     
     

  21. says

    “If not, what should she be charged with? What should her punishment be?”
    The fact that people keep asking strange questions about giving the state more power to punish citizens, is a result of brain washing from Leftist propaganda. Laws will not stop murder, mass shootings, abortions, greed, pyramid cons, or anything else for that matter.
     
    The point is to get rid of the law, to make it neither legal nor illegal, so that people can decide what the best course of action is. Currently abortions in this country are decided by the state and Leftist advocacy groups. Individual choice was never existent to begin with.
    If I think someone is going around killing people, I’m going to stop them if it interests me. The fact that the state is the one in the way, is the issue, not the other way around.

  22. says

    @Ymarsakar:
     
    I am somewhat confused. Are you suggesting that because outlawing abortion-on-demand will give the State more power, such a law should not be passed? That the only action we should strive for is to render abortion a neutral action (and hence not given federal protection)?
     
    If so, then this is not what I would consider a logical stance. Unlike many other actions, abortion indisputably results in the death of at least one human being; the zygote/embryo/foetus. Hence, to carry out an abortion is automatically homicide.
     
    Now, it is true that there are justifiable homicides, but the general idea is that homicides are investigated, are they not? That even negligent homicides are punished, and only those taken in self-defence result in no legal consequences? I am not intimately familiar with the American legal system, so please do correct me if I’m wrong.
     
    That being the case (if it is, I mean), abortion cannot be treated as a ‘neutral’ action, but must be viewed as a homicide. Worse; most abortions are planned. Even abortions for ectopic pregnancies (which are indeed done in self-defence) are planned; such abortions are rarely time-sensitive.
     
    I do not believe that abortion can be treated as neutrally as the legalisation of recreational drugs or the decriminalisation of homosexuality. While these two latter actions do have a significant impact on the stability of societies, they mainly remain actions taken by willing individuals. In the case of abortion, it is the premeditated homicide of a helpless, *un*willing individual. Isn’t the whole drama of abortion revolving around this fact (i.e. is it a homicide)?

  23. says

    Abortion in Roe vs Wade was given federal protection because one of the judges felt it was too dangerous to his daughter if the law was set against it.
     
    That’s basically how it started, though the Left hijacked it sooner rather than later.
     
    The current consensus amongst the strongest anti-Leftist abortion demographic is that they stop using federal law to imprison people who refuse to pay taxes that fund abortion.
     
    The issue of legal vs illegality, prison vs non prison, is a Leftist landscape, designed expressly as a prison for the soul and to prevent any solutions from blossoming. The Left would never accept a deal concerning legal abortions but no federal funding. Their job is not to solve the situation, but to increase the division and strife amongst classes in order to engender friction and class warfare.
     
    If you are thinking about this issue vis a vis the law, GK, you have not yet recognized the true problem, and thus your efforts will never fix it. Any of it.

  24. says

     
    Doug1943: Posing extreme alternatives and pretending that they’re the only ones available isn’t the best way to engage in discussion.  Reasonable people can easily imagine something between abortion on demand and charging every woman who aborts with murder.
     
    Some folk have suggested that women are victims in most cases, and it is the “provider” who should be charged with homicide.  I can see some light in this, but would want to talk about it before buying in.
     
    Since pregnancy involves a (small, but not insignificant) risk to the mother’s life, anyone impregnated against their will (rape or incest) has a “self-defense” claim to an abortion.  It’s true that the child is an innocent, but the state should not be given the power to force the mother to risk her life if she decides not to offer succour to the infant she carries, if it was conceived as the result of force against her will. 
     
    If abortion were recognized for what it is – the killing of an innocent human being, then the “morning after pill” would presumably not be offered for sale.  Preventing conception is not homicide, but that’s not what the “morning after pill” is intended to do.
     
    We’re discussing this in the comment section of a blog.  Doesn’t it seem silly to imagine that we’re going to be able to suggest laws that cover every case that might come up in real life? It does to me, and the above is only to demonstrate that the pro-life position is not the caricature that you’ve gotten somewhere.

  25. says

    @Ymarsakar: You are most likely correct in that I do not understand the true nature of the problem.
     
    I am a Christian and neither reside nor am a citizen of the USA; hence, I do not pretend to understand the dynamics of the situation there. I do recognise the polemic the Left uses revolves around emotion (the right to choose), and that there may even be a eugenics slant deep within the pro-abortionist lobby (I don’t know if I necessarily swallow that, but I recognise the argument).
     
    So, for me, the argument that the unborn child is indisputably a human life, and furthermore, a helpless human life, with its only protection *other* humans, therefore resonates all the most. I see the legal framework (to treat abortion as a homicide) as a necessary evil. Let’s be honest, other forms of homicide can strike at our enlightened immediate self-interest – it can happen to *me* – whether any individual actually believes it *might* happen to him or not. Abortion *cannot* strike at our immediate self-interest, because it quite literally can’t happen to me any more.
     
    I welcome your correcting my preconceptions, though.
     
    @Earl: Hmm, not sure about the ‘pregnant against my will’ defence. Primarily, that would be like shooting every German Shepherd, Doberman, Alsatian and wolfhound on sight, on the (slight but not insignificant) off-chance that they might be rabid and/or attack and kill me. Yes, only 30-odd deaths occur from dogs annually, as opposed to nearly 20x that from pregnancy-related issues, but still.

  26. says

     
    gkong3: I don’t get the analogy about shooting the dogs.
     
    To attempt a clarification of my earlier comment, there’s been a “famous violinist problem” around for some time.  The idea being that you’re snatched off the street and wake up with your circulatory system connected to someone in the next bed.  It’s explained that the guy is a very ill world-famous violinist with your exact blood type, and only the connection with you is keeping him alive.  All it will take is nine months of the connection and then he’ll be fine.  What do you do?
     
    This is supposed to be analogous to a pregnancy…..and for a woman who is raped, it’s close, at least.  I can see that one might go ahead and take the risk for nine months to save the other person (the violinist, or the unborn baby).  Some Christians might say that one has a moral obligation to do so, but I’m not talking about that — my concern is with whether the State can legitimately require you to risk your life in either of these situations, when the situation was forced on you against your will.
     
    My answer is “No, we should not give the State that power.”
     
    Someone who is pregnant by a voluntary (even if regretted, later) act of intercourse has taken a risk of becoming pregnant, even if she was “trying” not to conceive.  Refraining from intercourse is the only sure bet, something that everyone knows.  If a baby is conceived, and the parents are unhappy about that, they cannot be allowed to kill the child if the State is really going to protect the defenseless against the more powerful.
     

  27. says

    @Earl: I get what you’re saying.
     
    My point is this. The risk to the mother of a pregnancy (even an ectopic one) is one that can be seen far, far ahead before it actually poses a real danger. To abort a child under normal circumstances, therefore, is a pre-emptive measure. It would be similar to me pre-emptively shooting any large dog on sight, simply because they could go nuts and attack me, even if they pose no threat to me at the moment.
     
    Using that rather contrived ‘famous violinist’ problem, what if the person you’re connected to had nothing to do with your being connected to him? He didn’t ask for it, he wasn’t expecting it, he didn’t say anything that could lead others to reasonably expect he wanted this outcome. In other words, he’s as blameless as you are, just snatched off to have this done to him as well.
     
    Should you have the right to be able to choose terminating his existence? Which is what you’re doing, because through no fault of his own, he’s entirely dependent on your goodwill for his continued life.
     
    It’s a contrived problem because in his case, he was going to die anyway. But an unborn child isn’t. The medical treatment is artificially imposed. Pregnancy is a natural biological process. One could argue that disconnecting your circulatory system is returning things to status quo; pregnancy is the status quo. Also, however you look at it, the Founders of the USA and the Framers of the Constitution used Biblical morality as a guideline to create the laws of the land.

  28. says

     
    gkong3:  I suspect that you and I would have very little disagreement if we were to sit and chat a bit.
     
    I completely agree with you that the “life of the mother” exception is mainly a red herring.  The experts in the field claim that the odds of needing to kill the child to save the mother’s life are statistically indistinguishable from zero.  It *is* true that some procedures or treatments of the mother will put the child at risk, and may even cause its death – that’s not the same thing as saying “Oh, I’m sick!  I need an abortion.”
     
    Pregnancies as a result of rape or incest are very rare.  I don’t know the number, although perhaps measured in hundreds/thousands each year.  We agree that the child is blameless and innocent.  If it were anyone I cared for and had a right to input, I would urge them (including wife – when that was possible – or daughter, which is more currently real) to carry the baby.  Better for everyone concerned, in the long run.
     
    My objection is to giving the State the power to force the mother to carry a child, and risk her life, when the conception was not at her volition, and perhaps even against her resistance.  I understand the arguments against my position, and there is some justice in them….but (so far, at least) I’m not convinced.
     
    The “famous violinist” analogy is very contrived, and like all analogies, it fails if pushed too far.  Suffice it to say that while I can easily construct a moral case for choosing to give the violinist life, I would NEVER use the State to force someone to do so.  Think of the real-world possibilities!  Forced kidney donation is one that’s being discussed, right now.  When the State “owns” the citizens, lots of interesting things are possible.  I will oppose that until I no longer have breath.

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  2. Watcher’s Council Results…

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