Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-10-2015, 10:52 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943

Why aren't pro-lifers more extreme?


Reading the other anti-abortion threads here and on other message boards, it occurs to me that, given what pro-lifers say they believe, they don't ever seem to do much. They shout at women in front of clinics and lobby for bills that make life shittier for women but which haven't got a hope of actually banning abortion, but that's about it.

Surely, if they believed what they say they believe, they'd be out killing abortionists en masse. But they're not. Conclusion: They don't really believe what they say they believe.

The only explanations I can think of is that either (a) they don't really have the courage of their convictions, or (b) they're more interested in hurting "godless harlots".

Of course, when pushed on this matter they normally say things like "Of course we wouldn't kill an abortionist. Killing abortionists is murder and we're pro-life!" or something like that. But to me, that smells like bullshit. If you believe a foetus is a real person and absolutely equivalent to you, me, or anyone else, then, morally speaking, killing an abortionist is no more a 'murder' than killing a terrorist to prevent an attack. Not only is it morally right, but it's the kind of thing that's worth going to jail for even if everyone else disagrees. I mean, if you could press a button and go back in time and kill the 19 hijackers before 9/11, you'd probably do it, right? I know I would. If you really believe a foetus is the equivalent of a regular person from the moment of conception, what's the difference?

(P.S. - For the record, by the way, I'm 100% pro-choice. In fact, it'd probably be fairer to class me as pro-abortion. I reckon many of the problems we face as a species are ultimately caused by the fact that there are too many people in the world. If I was in charge, not only would there be no restrictions on abortion at all, but I'd probably give you a tax credit for it or something. But that's for another thread. I just wanted to make my stance on the subject perfectly clear.)
  #2  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:01 AM
DrFidelius's Avatar
DrFidelius is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 12,531
Because, despite how satisfying it is to demonize the people on the opposite side of an argument. most people are reasonable about almost everything.
  #3  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:06 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
Because, despite how satisfying it is to demonize the people on the opposite side of an argument. most people are reasonable about almost everything.
But how is it reasonable, from a pro-life perspective, to restrict your opposition to waving placards and whining on message boards?

Let's say you lived next door to a family with abusive parents. Let's say you heard them beating up their kids. And let's say you knew the police wouldn't do anything. Would you be prepared to use deadly force to save the children? I know I would. Indeed, using deadly force in that situation would be the reasonable thing to do. What would not be reasonable would be to sit around with your thumb up your ass tutting about it and thinking "Somebody should really do something about that."
  #4  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:14 AM
billfish678 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,681
Besides bitching, moaning, protesting, and pushing for laws that restrict abortion there isn't much more that pro lifers can legally do.

At the moment stuff they could do that would actually stop some abortions will land them in jail for the rest of their lives.

That's a damn big deterrent for most sane people. And even a large fraction of not so sane people.
  #5  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:17 AM
Human Action is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 7,241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
But how is it reasonable, from a pro-life perspective, to restrict your opposition to waving placards and whining on message boards?

Let's say you lived next door to a family with abusive parents. Let's say you heard them beating up their kids. And let's say you knew the police wouldn't do anything. Would you be prepared to use deadly force to save the children? I know I would. Indeed, using deadly force in that situation would be the reasonable thing to do. What would not be reasonable would be to sit around with your thumb up your ass tutting about it and thinking "Somebody should really do something about that."
That sounds like evidence that they don't share your views on violence (except for the ones who do), not evidence that they don't believe what they say they believe.

Last edited by Human Action; 08-10-2015 at 11:17 AM.
  #6  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:17 AM
Emiliana's Avatar
Emiliana is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,657
You don't consider any of this to be extreme?

Not the norm, of course, but not all that unusual either.
  #7  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:18 AM
GIGObuster's Avatar
GIGObuster is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 29,229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
But how is it reasonable, from a pro-life perspective, to restrict your opposition to waving placards and whining on message boards?

Let's say you lived next door to a family with abusive parents. Let's say you heard them beating up their kids. And let's say you knew the police wouldn't do anything. Would you be prepared to use deadly force to save the children? I know I would. Indeed, using deadly force in that situation would be the reasonable thing to do. What would not be reasonable would be to sit around with your thumb up your ass tutting about it and thinking "Somebody should really do something about that."
What I remember is that they only need to kill a few of the remaining abortionists in some areas to discourage many doctors to go into the field. AFAIR in some regions of the USA that is working for those "pro-lifers".

And one more point, while I see that one side is mostly pushing for more restrictions, the ones in favor of choice do not go and impose or order pro-lifers to get abortions, IMHO this is one issue were one side is really unreasonable.
  #8  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:24 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Human Action View Post
That sounds like evidence that they don't share your views on violence (except for the ones who do), not evidence that they don't believe what they say they believe.
Thing is, we know that a lot of these people aren't pacifists. The overlap between pro-lifers and Iraq war supporters is fairly large. Also, while I couldn't find polling numbers, the states in which pro-life sentiment is highest also tend to be the states which are most pro capital punishment. So I guess if they don't share my views on violence, the question is: why not?
  #9  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:26 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
Besides bitching, moaning, protesting, and pushing for laws that restrict abortion there isn't much more that pro lifers can legally do.

At the moment stuff they could do that would actually stop some abortions will land them in jail for the rest of their lives.

That's a damn big deterrent for most sane people. And even a large fraction of not so sane people.
I suppose fear of prison is a pretty reasonable answer. However, if you truly believed that you would save hundreds, maybe even thousands, of innocent babies (which, if pro-lifers are to be believed, is what they think fetuses really are) then surely you ought to consider the possibility of being caught to be an acceptable risk.
  #10  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:27 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emiliana View Post
You don't consider any of this to be extreme?

Not the norm, of course, but not all that unusual either.
I'd say acts of violence directed towards abortionists are pretty unusual, given how many tens of millions of pro-lifers there are in America.

Last edited by Memnon; 08-10-2015 at 11:27 AM.
  #11  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:28 AM
Omar Little's Avatar
Omar Little is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 13,157
There have been abortionist murderers.

But majority of people can have a healthy disagreement on policy issues and still respect the rule of law.

It's odd that you find it strange that more people aren't willing to break the law over their individual convictions. So much that you dismiss them as not really being sincere in their beliefs.

So tell us, on what issues would you be willing to kill someone else over?
  #12  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:30 AM
Human Action is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 7,241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
Thing is, we know that a lot of these people aren't pacifists. The overlap between pro-lifers and Iraq war supporters is fairly large. Also, while I couldn't find polling numbers, the states in which pro-life sentiment is highest also tend to be the states which are most pro capital punishment.
That doesn't mean they feel morally justified in murdering another person. War is morally distinct from murder (at least to most people), and capital punishment is also distinct from one person taking it into their own hands to kill someone else.

There's also the practical fact that killing someone has a high chance of landing you in prison, or executed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus
So I guess if they don't share my views on violence, the question is: why not?
Different moral influences? (Divine command ethics, or deontology, vs. whatever school of ethics you believe in, perhaps). That's hard to answer, as I am not myself anti-choice.
  #13  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:31 AM
Grumman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,508
How many people have flown over to Iraq or Syria to fight against ISIL? Does my unwillingness to be branded a criminal by my government in order to go fight them make my belief that they are irredeemably evil people any less sincere?
  #14  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:35 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
There have been abortionist murderers.

But majority of people can have a healthy disagreement on policy issues and still respect the rule of law.

It's odd that you find it strange that more people aren't willing to break the law over their individual convictions. So much that you dismiss them as not really being sincere in their beliefs.

So tell us, on what issues would you be willing to kill someone else over?
If the only way I could save an innocent person from imminent death was by killing their attacker I think I'd do it.
  #15  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:43 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Human Action
That doesn't mean they feel morally justified in murdering another person. War is morally distinct from murder (at least to most people), and capital punishment is also distinct from one person taking it into their own hands to kill someone else.
But my point is that, if pro-lifers really believed what they say they believe, they don't really have any reason to consider killing an abortionist to be murder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Human Action
Different moral influences? (Divine command ethics, or deontology, vs. whatever school of ethics you believe in, perhaps). That's hard to answer, as I am not myself anti-choice.
I would discount Divine Command theory because the Bible makes it clear that a fetus is not the equivalent to a born human (Exodus 21: 22-23 / Hosea 13: 16). As for deontology...well, I'm happy to believe that explains why some pro-lifers wouldn't kill an abortionist, but what about the utilitarians? There are tens of millions of pro-lifers in America. They can't all be deontologists.

To be honest, I think you probably nailed it when you said that the main reason pro-lifers aren't more violent is fear of punishment. But if that's true, shouldn't we question the strength of their convictions?
  #16  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:51 AM
Memnon is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumman View Post
How many people have flown over to Iraq or Syria to fight against ISIL? Does my unwillingness to be branded a criminal by my government in order to go fight them make my belief that they are irredeemably evil people any less sincere?
I see your point, but I don't think the comparison works. Firstly, it's obviously far riskier to go fight ISIS than kill an abortionist. Secondly, killing an abortionist would have much more impact than killing a thousand jihadis because as Gigobuster pointed out, not only would you be stopping the abortions that abortionist would have carried out but you'd be discouraging other doctors from going into the field.

I'm aware I'm getting dangerously close to arguing for violence towards people who I think do a necessary and important job. That's the last thing I'd actually want to happen. I just can't reconcile the beliefs of pro-lifers with their (relative lack of) extreme action.
  #17  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:57 AM
watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 8,499
The pro-life movement tends to pull up short of advocating strict enforcement of child support laws ... it's easy to bully young women in trouble ... going after half the father's income every month is too difficult to bother with.

My female relatives tell me I'm anti-abortion, seems fair to me, I don't possess the plumbing to have an opinion myself.

Last edited by watchwolf49; 08-10-2015 at 11:58 AM.
  #18  
Old 08-10-2015, 12:00 PM
billfish678 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 16,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
I suppose fear of prison is a pretty reasonable answer. However, if you truly believed that you would save hundreds, maybe even thousands, of innocent babies (which, if pro-lifers are to be believed, is what they think fetuses really are) then surely you ought to consider the possibility of being caught to be an acceptable risk.
Yes, but if I blow up an abortion clinic or shoot an abortion doctor, chances are that anybody that was going to get an abortion will just go somewhere else.

So, chances are, I"ll be putting myself at great risk but not actually saving anybody, but just killing a few for no good reason.
  #19  
Old 08-10-2015, 12:07 PM
Human Action is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 7,241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
But my point is that, if pro-lifers really believed what they say they believe, they don't really have any reason to consider killing an abortionist to be murder.
Maybe, depending on the specifics of their moral code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus
I would discount Divine Command theory because the Bible makes it clear that a fetus is not the equivalent to a born human (Exodus 21: 22-23 / Hosea 13: 16).
The Catholic Church, among others, disagrees with that interpretation...I'm not a Christian, let alone a biblical scholar, so I'm not in a position to say they are right or wrong in their scriptural interpretations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus
As for deontology...well, I'm happy to believe that explains why some pro-lifers wouldn't kill an abortionist, but what about the utilitarians? There are tens of millions of pro-lifers in America. They can't all be deontologists.
In this case, a utilitarian might believe that political action was more likely to result in the end of legal abortion than a series of killing sprees would. I'd agree with that, myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus
To be honest, I think you probably nailed it when you said that the main reason pro-lifers aren't more violent is fear of punishment. But if that's true, shouldn't we question the strength of their convictions?
I don't think so. Further, the relative strength of someone's beliefs is a pretty poor basis for evaluating the merits of their beliefs. Hitler and Mao weren't short on conviction; that didn't make them right. If a pre-war Southern abolitionist kept quiet to avoid a beating or murder, that didn't make him wrong.
  #20  
Old 08-10-2015, 12:28 PM
Revenant Threshold is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 12,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
It's odd that you find it strange that more people aren't willing to break the law over their individual convictions. So much that you dismiss them as not really being sincere in their beliefs.

So tell us, on what issues would you be willing to kill someone else over?
If I believed there was an ongoing campaign to kill thousands of people, I imagine that that would be an issue whcih I would be willing to kill someone else over, if I thought it would help.

I think that last part is the answer to the OP's question, btw. I would guess that most pro-lifers would not see what limited they could do in terms of extreme action as having much effect, as compared to less extreme actions.
  #21  
Old 08-10-2015, 12:31 PM
Hector_St_Clare is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
I see your point, but I don't think the comparison works. Firstly, it's obviously far riskier to go fight ISIS than kill an abortionist. Secondly, killing an abortionist would have much more impact than killing a thousand jihadis because as Gigobuster pointed out, not only would you be stopping the abortions that abortionist would have carried out but you'd be discouraging other doctors from going into the field.

I'm aware I'm getting dangerously close to arguing for violence towards people who I think do a necessary and important job. That's the last thing I'd actually want to happen. I just can't reconcile the beliefs of pro-lifers with their (relative lack of) extreme action.
I don't think it's riskier to go fight ISIS, nor that it would have much less impact (killing political revolutions is in general a good way of suppressing political revolution). The reasons most pro-lifers don't engage in political violence is exactly the same reason they don't go fight ISIS, because the risks would be very great and it wouldn't accomplish all that much.

Also, as a matter of principle a lot of people believe political violence is the rightful monopoly of the state, not private individuals.
  #22  
Old 08-10-2015, 12:54 PM
Lemur866's Avatar
Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 22,401
Abortions don't happen because abortion doctors sneak into unsuspecting pregnant women's bedrooms and force them to have abortions.

Again, what are your political views? Do you believe that climate change is going to lead to crop failures and wars? Then why aren't you shooting at Exxon executives? Why aren't you blowing up gas stations? Why aren't you slashing the tires of all the cars on your block? Why aren't you murdering anti-nuclear activists?

I'm sure you have plenty of reasons for why you don't do those things. So why can't you understand why pro-life people don't do those things?

You've created a straw man, and now you're complaining that people don't act like you expect your straw man to act.

Of course you're correct that pro-lifers don't really think that abortion is murder, not really, because they focus on punishing the abortion providers and not the women who get the abortions. I mean, during the Ceausescu Romanian dictatorship women who were discovered to have had abortions really were jailed, so it's not impossible.

But in general pro-lifers don't advocate treating pregnant women who have abortions exactly the same as women who murder their children. So they don't really think abortion is murder, not exactly.

But so what? That doesn't mean that they don't think abortion is wrong. And not violently preventing abortion doesn't mean that they're wrong to think abortion is wrong, neither does it make them right. Willingness to murder people to enforce your moral beliefs is not a measure for how right those beliefs are, or how strongly you believe in them.

Murdering abortion providers makes it harder to get an abortion, but it doesn't stop abortion, because abortion is legal. So if you want to stop abortion, what's the point of murdering the doctors?
  #23  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:52 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
I think you guys are taking the OP too lightly. We've had this debate before on this MB, but think of it this way. Suppose that the government instituted a policy that any parent could bring a minor child into a clinic and have that child "put down". Suppose that this was happening at a rate of 1M children per year being killed. Wouldn't you expect there to be some significant armed resistance to such a policy?

Or, what if the government decided IT was going to select the 1 million children being killed, based on... it doesn't matter what it's based on. Let's say the lowest scoring students on standardized tests.

If someone truly believes a fetus is a child, what's the difference?
  #24  
Old 08-10-2015, 02:45 PM
Mangetout's Avatar
Mangetout is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,943
Talk is cheap. People spout all kinds of grandiose claims about how, faced with some particular situation, they would do this-and-such. Thankfully, most people are full of shit in this regard.
  #25  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:09 PM
marshmallow is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,764
In America there's been 58 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. It's the greatest genocide in world history, to hear pro-lifers tell it. If the government were killing a million American adults a year I'd expect more of a push back. Then again, maybe not. We're a pretty passive society. Our idea of "doing something" is waving signs around, boycotting restaurants, and signing internet petitions. I doubt I'd start burying weapon caches in the woods or learn how to make bombs, but I know I'm a coward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Then why aren't you shooting at Exxon executives? Why aren't you blowing up gas stations? Why aren't you slashing the tires of all the cars on your block? Why aren't you murdering anti-nuclear activists?
A network of a couple thousand terrorists would barely dent American energy, unless they could blow up a refinery maybe. Even then, it would be a temporary setback. The system is huge, employing millions of people and enormous amounts of distributed infrastructure.

There's only a couple thousand doctors in the entire country who perform abortions. If they started getting systematically assassinated there'd be an immediate chilling effect. This has already happened in the past, with just a couple well known murders. Some states only have a couple of clinics. In all of California there's only like 500 clinics.

Last edited by marshmallow; 08-10-2015 at 03:10 PM.
  #26  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:12 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Or put it another way:

Why would someone who believe abortion is murder make an exception for rape?
  #27  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:13 PM
Revenant Threshold is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 12,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
Or put it another way:

Why would someone who believe abortion is murder make an exception for rape?
By valuing quality of life, as well as life?
  #28  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:14 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
By valuing quality of life, as well as life?
Huh?
  #29  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:15 PM
Revenant Threshold is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 12,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
Huh?
They might believe that, as bad as killing the fetus is, forcing the mother to bring to term her and her rapist's offspring is worse.
  #30  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:16 PM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,555
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
Because, despite how satisfying it is to demonize the people on the opposite side of an argument. most people are reasonable about almost everything.
Got it in one. I know a lesbian feminist who is pro-lifers for the same reason she us anti-capital punishment and a total pacifist: she thine killing a human is always wrong.
  #31  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:16 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
Or put it another way:

Why would someone who believe abortion is murder make an exception for rape?
Yep. It might be horrible to force a woman to carry the child of her rapist to term, but is that horror greater than taking an innocent life?
  #32  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:19 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
Got it in one.
Absolutely not. There is nothing "reasonable" about letting millions of innocent children be killed each year. Was it "reasonable" for good Germans to just let the Nazis kill all the undesirables? Do we not laud the resistance fighters over the "go along to get along" types?

Quote:
I know a lesbian feminist who is pro-lifers for the same reason she us anti-capital punishment and a total pacifist: she thine killing a human is always wrong.
And good for her. But most pro-life people are not strict pacifist that way.
  #33  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:19 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
They might believe that, as bad as killing the fetus is, forcing the mother to bring to term her and her rapist's offspring is worse.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yep. It might be horrible to force a woman to carry the child of her rapist to term, but is that horror greater than taking an innocent life?
Right.

I mean, maybe the 20% or so who believe abortion is murder and that there should be rape exceptions really are saying rape is worse than murder. But I highly doubt it. I suspect that, instead, they do not consider abortion to be the equivalent of killing a living child.
  #34  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:22 PM
Revenant Threshold is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 12,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
Right.

I mean, maybe the 20% or so who believe abortion is murder and that there should be rape exceptions really are saying rape is worse than murder.
Rape and the bringing to term of their and their rapists' offspring.
  #35  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:23 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
Right.

I mean, maybe the 20% or so who believe abortion is murder and that there should be rape exceptions really are saying rape is worse than murder. But I highly doubt it. I suspect that, instead, they do not consider abortion to be the equivalent of killing a living child.
Agreed. And the OP offers other evidence, which I don't think should be dismissed out of hand as most of those replying to this thread are doing.
  #36  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:24 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
Rape and the bringing to term of their and their rapists' offspring.
The abortion exception isn't preventing rape, that was just shorthand on my part.

What you imagine them to be saying is that avoiding bringing to term of their and their rapists' offspring is worth killing an innocent five-year-old. I very much doubt that any of them would say that.
  #37  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:26 PM
Revenant Threshold is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 12,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
The abortion exception isn't preventing rape, that was just shorthand on my part.

What you imagine them to be saying is that avoiding bringing to term of their and their rapists' offspring is worth killing an innocent five-year-old. I very much doubt that any of them would say that.
Not necessarily. Thinking that killing a fetus is murder doesn't necessarily mean that they think that murder in all circumstances is equally bad.
  #38  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:30 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
Not necessarily. Thinking that killing a fetus is murder doesn't necessarily mean that they think that murder in all circumstances is equally bad.
It is logically possible that this subset of pro-life folks do not believe that killing a 20-week-old fetus is the same as killing one-day-old baby. Lots of pro-life people do believe that, but maybe you're right that the subset who support rape exceptions are not among them.

That said, my vague recollection is that the vast majority of pro-lifers support rape and maternal health exceptions. So I would be surprised if your supposition is true.

But you're absolutely right that we have to be careful since these labels are very broad and actually encompass many different beliefs about abortion.
  #39  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:31 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
Not necessarily. Thinking that killing a fetus is murder doesn't necessarily mean that they think that murder in all circumstances is equally bad.
Remember, murder and killing are two different things. Murder is, by definition, never justified.

Perhaps a better test for "true believers" is not rape, but incest. Incest (except in cases of rape-by-close relative) does not involve forced sex.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-10-2015 at 03:33 PM.
  #40  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:33 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Remember, murder and killing are two different things. Murder is, by definition, never justified.
But it's true that we have all kinds of gradations of murder. If you kill a man who you just caught fucking your spouse, we count that as lesser murder than killing an innocent child (which is itself sort of messed up, but that's a different matter).

It is entirely logical to think that killing a fetus is, like, fifth degree murder. I'm just not so sure that's empirically what's happening.
  #41  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:37 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
But it's true that we have all kinds of gradations of murder. If you kill a man who you just caught fucking your spouse, we count that as lesser murder than killing an innocent child (which is itself sort of messed up, but that's a different matter).

It is entirely logical to think that killing a fetus is, like, fifth degree murder. I'm just not so sure that's empirically what's happening.
True. But abortion IS killing an innocent child (if you're pro-life). So, how do we fit rape inbetween killing an innocent child and.... killing an innocent child.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-10-2015 at 03:37 PM.
  #42  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:38 PM
Revenant Threshold is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 12,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Remember, murder and killing are two different things. Murder is, by definition, never justified.
That's not the definition I personally work by. I brought up that particular point because, while I'm not pro-life, I actually do consider any killing of a person against their will to be murder, and that there are different degrees of "badness" of that murder. So it's easy for me to imagine that there are pro-life people who could agree with me on that.
  #43  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:44 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
True. But abortion IS killing an innocent child (if you're pro-life).
That's not true of all pro-lifers.

But I do think that as a numbers game, it probably is true of enough of them to make RT's hypothesis as to how to reconcile these beliefs about exceptions incorrect.
  #44  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:58 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Parker View Post
That's not true of all pro-lifers.

But I do think that as a numbers game, it probably is true of enough of them to make RT's hypothesis as to how to reconcile these beliefs about exceptions incorrect.
Yes, I was thinking of the traditional, more mainstream pro-lifers. There are, I suspect, some small subset of all anti-abortion folks who do not take the typical religious view of human life beginning at conception.

And I use anti-abortion on purpose because many people self-identify as "pro-life" because they personally oppose abortion even if they don't necessarily want to make it illegal.
  #45  
Old 08-10-2015, 03:59 PM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,555
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
That's not the definition I personally work by. I brought up that particular point because, while I'm not pro-life, I actually do consider any killing of a person against their will to be murder, and that there are different degrees of "badness" of that murder. So it's easy for me to imagine that there are pro-life people who could agree with me on that.
So a guy goes into an office, takes 12 hostages, and makes impossible-to-fulfill demands, threatening to kill a hostage an hour if not satisfied. Half an hour later he shoots a hostage in the head to show he's not kidding. Just as he is about to kill another person, a police sniper shoots the hostage taker, killing him.

You're willing to call both the hostage-taker and the sniper murderers? You think the sniper should not have acted?
  #46  
Old 08-10-2015, 04:03 PM
Richard Parker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 12,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Yes, I was thinking of the traditional, more mainstream pro-lifers. There are, I suspect, some small subset of all anti-abortion folks who do not take the typical religious view of human life beginning at conception.

And I use anti-abortion on purpose because many people self-identify as "pro-life" because they personally oppose abortion even if they don't necessarily want to make it illegal.
I think you can take the religious view that life begins at conception but still view not all takings of life equally. I mean, I believe that life begins--at the latest--at birth. And yet I view different murders differently, and believe that different murders can be justified by different circumstances (just like 99% of my countrymen).

I don't know what percentage of pro-lifers believe in a complete moral equivalence between fetus and child. I believe the number is quite high, and higher than the number who don't believe in exceptions for rape, incest, or maternal health. But I'm open to being educated otherwise.

Last edited by Richard Parker; 08-10-2015 at 04:04 PM.
  #47  
Old 08-10-2015, 04:04 PM
John Mace's Avatar
John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 85,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
That's not the definition I personally work by. I brought up that particular point because, while I'm not pro-life, I actually do consider any killing of a person against their will to be murder, and that there are different degrees of "badness" of that murder. So it's easy for me to imagine that there are pro-life people who could agree with me on that.
Murder, by definition, is the illegal taking of a human life. Would you want all taking of human life to be illegal? Even self-defense? Are you a 100% pacifist, no exceptions?
  #48  
Old 08-10-2015, 04:26 PM
clairobscur is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 17,885
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
Reading the other anti-abortion threads here and on other message boards, it occurs to me that, given what pro-lifers say they believe, they don't ever seem to do much. They shout at women in front of clinics and lobby for bills that make life shittier for women but which haven't got a hope of actually banning abortion, but that's about it.

Surely, if they believed what they say they believe, they'd be out killing abortionists en masse. But they're not. Conclusion: They don't really believe what they say they believe.
What you wrote makes sense, but I don't think it proves that. I think we're desentivized about things that are common and we're accustomed to. For instance, you could have said the same about people opposed to slavery. If they really thought that slavery was very wrong, why didn't they kill slaveowners and forcefully free the slaves? It would have made full sense too. It doesn't mean they didn't really believe slavery was wrong.


Also, some probably wish they could do that (those who send threat letters, for instance) but just don't want to spend the rest of their life behind bars.
  #49  
Old 08-10-2015, 04:49 PM
clairobscur is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 17,885
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonus View Post
Let's say you lived next door to a family with abusive parents. Let's say you heard them beating up their kids. And let's say you knew the police wouldn't do anything. Would you be prepared to use deadly force to save the children? I know I would.

I'm sure plenty of people wouldn't, especially if it was lawful to beat your children and the use of deadly force in this case was a ticket for a life sentence.

In fact, unless you can show me you already risked life and limb, or at least your freedom, in pursuit of a cause you thought was just, I'm not ready to believe you would just because you say so.


In all likelihood, you're feeling you would precisely because you live in a society where abusing children is overwhelmingly considered evil, and where you would be vindicated for your actions.

I'm sure you're feeling it's very wrong when a kid starves somewhere in the world, but you're not spending all your money and energy making sure they're fed. You're also not fighting against the Islamic state in Syria, even though you probably sincerely think it should be destroyed. You're also not starting a revolution about whatever cause you think is really worthy.

You're probably doing only what is generally considered as morally required by the society you live in, like mostly everybody else. You would rescue the abused kid, you would participate in the revolution if slavery was suddenly reinstated, you would send a check to a NGO to help providing food, you would put on the uniform if drafted to fight in Syria, etc...

And if you were sincerely thinking that abortion is murder, you would probably wave signs in front of an abortion clinic and nothing more. People who go "beyond the call" by pursuing their cause to the bitter end, even when facing public opprobrium for it, are (generally fortunately) extremely rare.
  #50  
Old 08-10-2015, 04:56 PM
clairobscur is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 17,885
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
If I believed there was an ongoing campaign to kill thousands of people, I imagine that that would be an issue whcih I would be willing to kill someone else over, if I thought it would help.
.
OK, then, tell me, assuming you're old enough for this question to make sense :

What did you do during the genocide in Rwanda? What did your parents/older relatives did, if you're yourself too young? I'm not even asking if you/they went there to fight to stop the genocide, but what concrete steps did you take to help stopping this ongoing campaign to kill thousands?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:35 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017