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Old 10-19-2019, 02:03 PM
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Issues on which it is genuinely not clear who will end up on the "right side of history"


Using same-sex marriage as an example: It was pretty clear, relatively early on, that the pro-SSM side was the "will eventually end up on the right side of history," and that all the anti-SSM side could do was delay or hinder its progress, but the passage of same-sex marriage (along with widespread acceptance) was more or less guaranteed. The pro-SSM victory was already visible at the end of the finish line all along, it was just a matter of time.


With gun ownership, I think that the anti-gun side is going to be considered "the right side of history" and eventually gun rights will be reduced more and more. With abortion, the pro-choice side is pretty clearly "the right side of history."

There are some other issues, though, which IMHO it is genuinely not clear at all which side will eventually be considered, decades down the road, to be on "the right side of history":

  • Transgender athletes competing in women's sports without surgery or hormone treatment;
  • Racial preferences in dating/relationships (racist to refuse to date someone because of race, or not?);
  • Legalized polygamy (will it follow in the footsteps of SSM or not?);
  • Islam's influence in the West;
  • The West's perception of China (is siding with China "the right side of history," or not?)


These are opaque because, in part, you could make a conservative/liberal argument for and against both sides of each matter.

If anyone has others that come to mind, please post them.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:47 PM
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The OP is taking the Whig view of history where it is a story of progress towards enlightenment.

There's a reasonable case to be made that it has been going in that direction for a few centuries. And it would be excessively presentist to look at a few ways in which progress has stalled in the past couple of years and say that we are at a big historical inflecion point.

But continued progress isn't a done deal. I can't assume that.

Last edited by PhillyGuy; 10-19-2019 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:29 PM
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I get that you are looking for examples of divisive topics where it is not clear which outcome would be considered the "right side of history". But I must say your perception of the "right side of history" has a distinctly western liberal bent. So, I suppose we could use that a filter for evaluating these topics.

But, it is worth stating that history is written by the victors, and as PhillyGuy points out, what we view as progress is not a permanent state. Taking the long view, it is possible that there may be a mean that we are regressing to.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:36 PM
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Some of these are some are false dichotomies, and some are ill-defined.

Abortion is a false dichotomy, for example. Do you believe that it is inevitable that at-will abortion during the third trimester will be considered moral and acceptable in the future? If no, this isn't a yes/no question with clearly defined 'sides' where 'pro-choice' will 'win'.

I can't really parse what you mean by "Islam's influence on the West". What are the sides that history is choosing between? Similarly, by 'siding with China' do you mean a belief that China will inevitably and justifiably rule the world, or something else?
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:04 PM
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Once history is over you can determine who ended up on the right side.
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Using same-sex marriage as an example: It was pretty clear, relatively early on, that the pro-SSM side was the "will eventually end up on the right side of history," and that all the anti-SSM side could do was delay or hinder its progress, but the passage of same-sex marriage (along with widespread acceptance) was more or less guaranteed. The pro-SSM victory was already visible at the end of the finish line all along, it was just a matter of time.


With gun ownership, I think that the anti-gun side is going to be considered "the right side of history" and eventually gun rights will be reduced more and more. With abortion, the pro-choice side is pretty clearly "the right side of history."

There are some other issues, though, which IMHO it is genuinely not clear at all which side will eventually be considered, decades down the road, to be on "the right side of history":
Things that increase equality and decrease suffering are "on the right side of history".

Defining these things that increase equality and decrease suffering is the difficult part.
Quote:
  • Transgender athletes competing in women's sports without surgery or hormone treatment;
  • Is that a thing? I know that there are controversies about whether someone with surgery and hormone treatment should be allowed, but I've not seen anyone seriously suggest that athletes without undergoing changes.
    Quote:
  • Racial preferences in dating/relationships (racist to refuse to date someone because of race, or not?);
  • Refusing to date someone only due to their race is racist, of course. But, unlike employment or housing or service, there is no expectation that you date anyone that wants to be dated.

    I do see that such attitudes would decrease over time, and as diversity is more embraced, but there is no one that is ever going to force you to date someone due to affirmative action.

    Quote:
  • Legalized polygamy (will it follow in the footsteps of SSM or not?);
  • That is actually an interesting one. I'm not sure how that will play out. I don't see why a group of people cannot form a "family" that gives protections to those family members, but so much of marriage is based on a group of specifically two that it wouldn't just be a small modification. Survivor benefits and spousal rights get pretty complicated if there are more than two, not to mention children.

    The right side of history, IMO, would be the one that maximizes the freedom of people, so I would allow them to form groups with very close associations.
    Quote:
  • Islam's influence in the West;
  • I don't see what this means. If it is the regressive religious beliefs, then they will go to the same side of history that the regressive christian beliefs ended up.
    Quote:
  • The West's perception of China (is siding with China "the right side of history," or not?)
  • Once again, what is it the perception of China that you are talking about? They are oppressive to their people, and are trying to use their global power and influence to be oppressive to other people in the world.
Quote:

These are opaque because, in part, you could make a conservative/liberal argument for and against both sides of each matter.

If anyone has others that come to mind, please post them.
Nuclear would be a big one. Population control and mandated decreases in the standard of living would also be a hard one to decide. Our treatment of animals for animal products and as pets. Our treatment of animals that are nuisance or competition. How we manage the environment, whether we use it for our own ends, or we allow it to naturally do its own thing.


ETA: Your listing and my quoting has made a mess of all that. I'm not sure the best way to fix it, sorry.

Last edited by k9bfriender; 10-19-2019 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:25 PM
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I'm unclear about who is deciding what is "the right side".
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:40 PM
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I'm unclear about who is deciding what is "the right side".
The same people who decide that slavery was on the wrong side.
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Using same-sex marriage as an example: It was pretty clear, relatively early on, that the pro-SSM side was the "will eventually end up on the right side of history," and that all the anti-SSM side could do was delay or hinder its progress, but the passage of same-sex marriage (along with widespread acceptance) was more or less guaranteed. The pro-SSM victory was already visible at the end of the finish line all along, it was just a matter of time.





With gun ownership, I think that the anti-gun side is going to be considered "the right side of history" and eventually gun rights will be reduced more and more. With abortion, the pro-choice side is pretty clearly "the right side of history."



There are some other issues, though, which IMHO it is genuinely not clear at all which side will eventually be considered, decades down the road, to be on "the right side of history":




  • Transgender athletes competing in women's sports without surgery or hormone treatment;
  • Racial preferences in dating/relationships (racist to refuse to date someone because of race, or not?);
  • Legalized polygamy (will it follow in the footsteps of SSM or not?);
  • Islam's influence in the West;
  • The West's perception of China (is siding with China "the right side of history," or not?)





These are opaque because, in part, you could make a conservative/liberal argument for and against both sides of each matter.



If anyone has others that come to mind, please post them.
I'm not aware of a significant push for trans athletics as described here.

As far as dating, that's not a policy issue. Preferences will (hopefully) never be legislated. I think it's racist to refuse to date members of a certain race, but it would be (thankfully) impossible to legislate this.

I don't know about polygamy. I'd have to hear from actual advocates, and I'm not aware of their arguments.

"Huh?" about Islam and the west. Another issue that shouldn't be linked to public policy, except to ensure freedom to practice one's religion (as long as that doesn't infringe upon the rights of others, just like the way of already is in the US).

Also "huh?" on China. We shouldn't side with China on issues in which they're restricting freedom of speech, religion, and other freedoms. That should be pretty obvious.
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:58 PM
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OP, I have to say that your list is bizarre and I can't even figure out sides for most of them. As far as I know, few people are for trans athletes competing without some sort of treatment first, and I think it will stay that way. I don't understand your dating line -- are you suggesting that there are people who think people should be forced to date other races or something? I really don't get it. For polygamy, who knows -- I don't see any moral issues, just legal issues. Can you divorce one spouse but not the other? Do the children have to take a DNA test to decide which husband is the father? Could you marry hundreds of people? Thousands? Could you use it to bankrupt annuity companies and Social Security by keeping a spousal benefit going indefinitely? The rest of your list don't even have sides that I can tell.

So, rather than just crap all over your OP, I'll add one:

Eating meat may one day be looked at as being on the wrong side of history.

I'm a meat eater myself, but there are lots of people who don't eat meat for ethical reasons, for health reasons, and for ecological reasons. I can imagine that I'll be seen by my grandchildren or great-grandchildren as being on the wrong side of history for eating meat, especially beef which is an ecological disaster, and pork which is an ethical mess.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:30 PM
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The same people who decide that slavery was on the wrong side.
The core abolitionists were largely the same subset of the population who started the prohibition movement, and arguably, the pro-life movement - all self-described as great moral crusades.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:27 PM
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Once history is over you can determine who ended up on the right side.
Indeed so. Too much can and will happen between now and then. Epidemics, famines, apocalyptic wars, absurd technologies, alien encounters - any could distort past trends. Any current projections are somewhere between science fiction and wishful thinking.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:06 PM
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I think there are some issues where the advance of technology will ultimately make the issues obsolete or irrelevant, rather than ethically resolved.

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With abortion, the pro-choice side is pretty clearly "the right side of history."
Technology will make unwanted pregnancies virtually unknown; and in a post-scarcity society with the technology to host a fetus artificially, abortion becomes unnecessary.

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[*]Transgender athletes competing in women's sports without surgery or hormone treatment;
I think enhancement and modification of the human body will become so commonplace that the question of transgender athletes will be subsumed as just one of the myriad reasons why the current paradigm for sporting competition won't last.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-19-2019 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:08 PM
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The one issue where I think almost everyone is on the wrong side of history, and where there will one day be an ethical consensus as strong as the current consensus against slavery, is the rights of non-human animals. This goes far beyond eating meat - we will resolve that by growing it artificially. But the right to exist, to not be harmed or killed at will by humans.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-19-2019 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:54 PM
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Using same-sex marriage as an example: It was pretty clear, relatively early on, that the pro-SSM side was the "will eventually end up on the right side of history," and that all the anti-SSM side could do was delay or hinder its progress, but the passage of same-sex marriage (along with widespread acceptance) was more or less guaranteed. The pro-SSM victory was already visible at the end of the finish line all along, it was just a matter of time.

With gun ownership, I think that the anti-gun side is going to be considered "the right side of history" and eventually gun rights will be reduced more and more. With abortion, the pro-choice side is pretty clearly "the right side of history."
Oh?

If we were having this discussion in 1925, you could claim that prohibition of alcoholic beverages was "the right side of history", if you intended those words to mean that it was the law of the land and leading progressive people overwhelming supported it. Reality turned out differently, though. Prohibition was overturned a few years later and no one of significance supports it now.

As the saying goes, making predictions is hard, especially about the future.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:30 PM
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The same people who decide that slavery was on the wrong side.
I'll bet the Ancient Egyptian would beg to differ!

Last edited by Gatopescado; 10-20-2019 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Well, except the ones who were slaves, that is.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:39 PM
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I'll bet the Ancient Egyptian would beg to differ!
Why do you think this is some kind of "gotcha"? The whole point of the notion of being on the right side of history is that the human consensus on morality and ethics has changed over time. Slavery is an archetypal example.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:57 PM
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I think enhancement and modification of the human body will become so commonplace that the question of transgender athletes will be subsumed as just one of the myriad reasons why the current paradigm for sporting competition won't last.
I vaguely recall an old SF story of limited and unlimited athletic classes. Unlimited, you can have ANYTHING done to your body, and if you win The Big One, you're set forever; but if you lose, you're terminated. We'll likely not see that IRL but I'll predict 'limited' classes based not on gender but on physical capacity, like auto racing formulae. Is that sprinter 'stock' or 'turbocharged'?

Note: On ICEs (internal combustion engines) superchargers are crankshaft-driven while turbochargers are exhaust-gas-driven. A turbocharged human would be fart-powered. More beans! More kraut!

But you're right -- sports as we know them are probably nearing extinction. Athletics is approaching The Singularity. All of humanity, really. Will rampant AIs be on the right side of history when they devour us and rebuild reality to suit them?
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:26 AM
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I don't know about polygamy. I'd have to hear from actual advocates, and I'm not aware of their arguments.
This is my preferred position on a great many issues in which "liberty" is supposedly sacrificed in accordance with what, on the surface, would seem to be nothing more than social mores.

About polygamy, I'll say that I would find it much easier to adopt a simple "pro-liberty" stance if the historical reality of polygamy as generally practiced didnít seem to revolve around the commodification of women and the collection of wives by powerful/wealthy men.

I generally support the idea that we should aim to "increase equality and decrease suffering," though I would probably state it more as "maximizing human well-being/flourishing." If that means that certain "liberties" which are proven to have an almost uniformly deleterious effect on overall well-being and happiness need to be curtailed (ie: government sanction for polygamous marriages) then I suppose Iím okay with that.

More generally, though, Iíd also be fine with government washing its hands of the whole issue of marriage. Let people draw up contracts if they want to, and let them sue one another in civil court if they allege someone breaks it, but otherwise leave the government out of it unless there is a criminal complaint.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:32 AM
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There are some other issues, though, which IMHO it is genuinely not clear at all which side will eventually be considered, decades down the road, to be on "the right side of history":
  • [...]
  • Islam's influence in the West;
    [...]
I concur with several previous posters that this is a quite peculiar, and largely incomprehensible, framing of this "issue". Majority-Muslim cultures and the Muslim religion have been influencing "the West" in various significant ways for over a thousand years, and continue to do so today. This isn't an "issue", it's a fact.

If what you're trying to say is that it's uncertain how much or in what ways some aspects of modern Muslim-majority cultures and Muslim beliefs will end up influencing modern western cultures in what used to be called "Christendom", then sure, that's true. But I don't see why you consider it a specific "issue" on which there will ultimately be a "right side of history", any more than any similar uncertainty about, say, the influence of Japanese or Chinese or (south Asian) Indian cultures upon "the West".

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These are opaque because, in part, you could make a conservative/liberal argument for and against both sides of each matter.
You are really going to have to explain what you think "both sides of the matter" are for this topic, and what you think the conservative or liberal arguments are "for or against" them, if you want folks to know what you're talking about.

Last edited by Kimstu; 10-21-2019 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:14 PM
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I'm not aware of a significant push for trans athletics as described here.
In the Canada Winter Games, athletes were allowed to compete as the gender they "identify as," no need for surgery or hormone therapy.

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As far as dating, that's not a policy issue. Preferences will (hopefully) never be legislated. I think it's racist to refuse to date members of a certain race, but it would be (thankfully) impossible to legislate this.
Sure, but not everything is about legislation. Plenty of things are about societal attitudes, and there can be a right/wrong side to history in public opinion.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:17 PM
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Do you believe that it is inevitable that at-will abortion during the third trimester will be considered moral and acceptable in the future?
Yes. If it's the mother's body, it's hers to do with as she decides and sees fit - that's the logically consistent trend the movement would be heading towards. There's no reason why a fetus at 5 months is fit for abortion but one at 9 months isn't, by that logic, if it's all within the mother's body. It's still her uterus. It may still be considered beyond the pale today, but twenty years from now likely won't.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:32 PM
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Velocity, Iím curios what your position is on these things, not what you think other peoples' opinions ultimately will be. Those future people arenít here to engage in debate, after all.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:40 PM
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The West's perception of China (is siding with China "the right side of history," or not?)
This is pretty divided (currently), but I certainly don't think that siding with the CCP is going to be seen as 'the right side of history'. I think that history will see even what we've done wrt appeasement with the CCP was on par with someone like Chamberlain and the factions that appeased Hitler. Of course, this presupposes that the CCP and China don't win. If they do, then history will be basically as the CCP wants it to be. It will be like Tiananmen Square on Chinese social media or web search...basically nothing to see here, and if you persist, well, we have a nice re-education camp for you. Oh, and how healthy are you? What's your blood type? Interesting...yes, we definitely need to see you right away...
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:58 PM
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There's no reason why a fetus at 5 months is fit for abortion but one at 9 months isn't, by that logic, if it's all within the mother's body. It's still her uterus. It may still be considered beyond the pale today, but twenty years from now likely won't.
I disagree, because the woman's right to an abortion is centered on her right to control what is and isn't in her body. As in "Please remove this fetus from my body."

I dispute that this right extends to deciding what happens to the fetus in terms of having an inherent right to say "Please kill this fetus and remove it from my body."
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Old 10-21-2019, 04:08 PM
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Abortion is a false dichotomy, for example. Do you believe that it is inevitable that at-will abortion during the third trimester will be considered moral and acceptable in the future? If no, this isn't a yes/no question with clearly defined 'sides' where 'pro-choice' will 'win'.
It might be inevitable that at-will abortion during the third trimester will be legal (although I have my doubts) but I do not believe that third trimester abortions will ever be considered moral and acceptable except in the extremely few circumstances where the reason for the abortion did not exist earlier in the pregnancy.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:39 PM
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if it's all within the mother's body. It's still her uterus. It may still be considered beyond the pale today, but twenty years from now likely won't.
So, is it that once the baby is one millimeter outside the uterus, it's now a real live baby. Or is it more like, does the entire head have to be outside? Or maybe up to the armpits? Where is the line drawn?
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:49 PM
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I disagree that the pro-choice movement will be seen as the right or moral side of the debate decades or centuries in the future. I know this is all guesswork about a future that's uncertain, but I genuinely believe that the pro-choice movement will one day be seen for the abomination it is, similar to how we now view slavery or the treatment of Native Americans. If I were to try to help (many of) you understand my perspective on this: many Dopers view President Trump as this weird, unfortunate anomaly, and once he's gone we can get things back on track. I view Roe v Wade in similar terms.

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Old 10-21-2019, 07:01 PM
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I disagree that the pro-choice movement will be seen as the right or moral side of the debate decades or centuries in the future. I know this is all guesswork about a future that's uncertain, but I genuinely believe that the pro-choice movement will one day be seen for the abomination it is, similar to how we now view slavery or the treatment of Native Americans. If I were to try to help (many of) you understand my perspective on this: many Dopers view President Trump as this weird, unfortunate anomaly, and once he's gone we can get things back on track. I view Roe v Wade in similar terms.
Although I'm pro-choice, objectively I agree that this is less clear cut than some issues, because it's weighing the rights of the mother against the rights of the fetus. Although, as I've said, I think it will ultimately be resolved not by deciding one side is definitely right, but by technology absolving us from the need to sacrifice one in favor of the other. Social issues that are about granting rights and respect are not ethical tradeoffs and are far more clear-cut (slavery, women's rights, LGBT rights, animal rights, etc).

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Old 10-21-2019, 10:05 PM
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Although I'm pro-choice, objectively I agree that this is less clear cut than some issues, because it's weighing the rights of the mother against the rights of the fetus. Although, as I've said, I think it will ultimately be resolved not by deciding one side is definitely right, but by technology absolving us from the need to sacrifice one in favor of the other.
I don't really see how that's possible.
Like, if me and my SO had sex with no intentions (and no financial means) to have a child whatsoever but she still got pregnant ; there being a magic artificial womb jar out there to incubate the fetus in her stead is not really relevant, or at least merely leads to further issues and questions. Are we supposed to take care of the child regardless ? Is there a moral or societal imperative to put our regrettably fertilized egg in the magic jar against our stated wishes ? Who'll take care of the kid since we won't ? Does that mean right now there's a moral crime in e.g. fertility treatments implanting a dozen fertilized eggs into a woman's uterus to increase the chances of one taking hold ?

And so on, and so forth. "Tech will take care of this problem, no worry" is just handwaving the ethics away.

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Old 10-21-2019, 10:37 PM
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I don't really see how that's possible.
Like, if me and my SO had sex with no intentions (and no financial means) to have a child whatsoever but she still got pregnant ; there being a magic artificial womb jar out there to incubate the fetus in her stead is not really relevant, or at least merely leads to further issues and questions. Are we supposed to take care of the child regardless ? Is there a moral or societal imperative to put our regrettably fertilized egg in the magic jar against our stated wishes ? Who'll take care of the kid since we won't ? Does that mean right now there's a moral crime in e.g. fertility treatments implanting a dozen fertilized eggs into a woman's uterus to increase the chances of one taking hold ?

And so on, and so forth. "Tech will take care of this problem, no worry" is just handwaving the ethics away.
I'd think it be the same ethics as adoption, no?
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:48 PM
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I'd think it be the same ethics as adoption, no?
Which is already problematic today, both in terms of financial realities (i.e. CPS perenially underfunded) and life experiences for those who either won't be adopted at all or will be adopted by truly horrible people for horrible reasons.
With a mandatory magic jar you're creating orders of magnitudes more to-be-adopted children without increasing the supply of families willing (or able) to adopt. New problem to fix.

Last edited by Kobal2; 10-21-2019 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:54 PM
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At the risk of being unpopular, maybe people who claim climate change will end civilization.

On one hand they raise awareness of a serious issue.

On another, they seem to push people into despair and despondency rather than productive action, and they underestimate future generations abilities to cope with problems.

They may go down as Malthusians, depending on how the whole climate change thing works out. They may be seen as heroes bringing awareness, they may be seen as people promoting excessive despair about an issue that will be resolved by technology.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:01 PM
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I disagree that the pro-choice movement will be seen as the right or moral side of the debate decades or centuries in the future. I know this is all guesswork about a future that's uncertain, but I genuinely believe that the pro-choice movement will one day be seen for the abomination it is, similar to how we now view slavery or the treatment of Native Americans. If I were to try to help (many of) you understand my perspective on this: many Dopers view President Trump as this weird, unfortunate anomaly, and once he's gone we can get things back on track. I view Roe v Wade in similar terms.
And I know we are both just promoting our own pre-existing philosophies on this issue.

But....

to a lot of us on the left, the pro-life movement is largely just a proxy for religious fundamentalism and misogyny. Controlling and infantilizing women by proxy by pretending a collection of cells is sentient so people can control women's decisions and lives.

Theres no telling which side will win in the long run. But generally, societies movement globally seems to be towards pro-choice. Pro-choice is the default position of most wealthy, developed nations.

Pretty much all OECD nations have legalized abortion. The anti-abortion nations are mostly located in Africa, the middle east, south asia & latin America. Not areas that are going to lead the future culturally or economically. Nations with the highest HDI all tend to be pro choice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aborti...rtion_Laws.svg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...QAHDI_2018.svg
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:05 PM
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Which is already problematic today, both in terms of financial realities (i.e. CPS perenially underfunded) and life experiences for those who either won't be adopted at all or will be adopted by truly horrible people for horrible reasons.
With a mandatory magic jar you're creating orders of magnitudes more to-be-adopted children without increasing the supply of families willing (or able) to adopt. New problem to fix.
Technowombs. Solving the ethics of abortion while complicating ethics of adoption. Get yours today!


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Old 10-21-2019, 11:39 PM
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"Tech will take care of this problem, no worry" is just handwaving the ethics away.
I didn't say "no worry". For the forseeable future, it's an important ethical issue. The level of prosperity and technology that's required to make the ethical issue moot is a long way off.

But I don't think there will ever be an overwhelming ethical consensus on the abortion issue in the same way that there is on slavery, or like I think there will be on many current issues like LGBT rights. With current technology, any view on the abortion issue is based on choosing the lesser of two evils. So to the extent that this is a debate about how history will look back on us, the technology of a long way in the future is relevant.

We need artificial wombs. In a couple of hundred years we may incubate most fetuses, not just the unwanted ones, in artificial wombs. And we need to be sufficiently far along the road to post-scarcity that unwanted fetuses can be cared for without placing any demands on biological parents who may not be interested in raising a child.

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Old 10-21-2019, 11:51 PM
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And to reiterate: this is not a debate about what we think are the right answers to ethical issues today. It's about how history will look back on us. That's should go a bit deeper than just saying: I know I'm right, and I'm sure everyone will agree with me in a couple of years if they just think long and hard about it. Changes in technology may completely change the possibilities and the way everyone thinks about some ethical issues.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:24 AM
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I didn't say "no worry". For the forseeable future, it's an important ethical issue. The level of prosperity and technology that's required to make the ethical issue moot is a long way off.

But I don't think there will ever be an overwhelming ethical consensus on the abortion issue in the same way that there is on slavery, or like I think there will be on many current issues like LGBT rights. With current technology, any view on the abortion issue is based on choosing the lesser of two evils. So to the extent that this is a debate about how history will look back on us, the technology of a long way in the future is relevant.

We need artificial wombs. In a couple of hundred years we may incubate most fetuses, not just the unwanted ones, in artificial wombs. And we need to be sufficiently far along the road to post-scarcity that unwanted fetuses can be cared for without placing any demands on biological parents who may not be interested in raising a child.
OK, I think I see what you're saying, but I don't think future technology is any reason or standpoint to look differently on present ethical decisions.

Slavery was wrong and is wrong and will keep being morally wrong till the end of time regardless of whether or not mechanization or robotization or matter-replicators exist. Or whether slavery itself is still a factual concern in the far future (it still is today, btw. And not just in those countries all the way over there). It'd be reaaaally problematic to say that slavery was a thorny ethical quandary but thankfully technology has made the issue moot, to put it another way. Or, to slightly twist your words, that with then-current technology any view on the slavery issue was based on choosing between the lesser of two evils (where one of the two had a specific value of "none").

If it's thorny now, it'll be recognizable as thorny then. If it's not thorny then, they won't think it really was all that thorny now.

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Old 10-22-2019, 12:46 AM
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It'd be reaaaally problematic to say that slavery was a thorny ethical quandary but thankfully technology has made the issue moot, to put it another way. Or, to slightly twist your words, that with then-current technology any view on the slavery issue was based on choosing between the lesser of two evils (where one of the two had a specific value of "none").
That's a bit more than "slightly twisting" my words, it's completely ignoring my words.

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...social issues that are about granting rights and respect are not ethical tradeoffs and are far more clear-cut (slavery, women's rights, LGBT rights, animal rights, etc).

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Old 10-22-2019, 12:55 AM
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I want to expound on the parallel because I think it's really interesting, and because the question of "which was the right side of history ?" is exceedingly settled today when it comes the US chattel slavery. Well, it is *here* at any rate, Stormfront might have a more nuanced take on this issue, admittedly.

We view it, and every single aspect of it, as repugnant be it in terms of factual realities, of principles and ethics and rights, it just shouldn't have happened period, right ? That much is crystal clear to us.

But back then, and without adressing any concern of whether the arguments were made in good or bad faith, I don't think it was universally crystal.
Some people came at it to justify it from a religious standpoint because it's in the Bible and that proves Og is OK with it. Some people came at it to reject it from a religious standpoint based on teachings on neighbourly love and so on.
Some people came at it from a "biological" standpoint to justify it because black people were not the same as white people and that made it ok. Some people came at it from a biological standpoint to say that black people fell somewhere on the humanity spectrum ( ) and thus condemned it.
Some people came at it from a materialistic standpoint to support it as a fantastic economic boon that outweighed any ickiness ; others opined that wealth didn't necessitate any slavery.
Some people came at it from a utilitarian standpoint and expressed support because the suffering of a minority advanced a majority and thus slavery was ultimately a greater good ; others said that's cool as long as you're not that minority.
Some people employed jus ad baculum or white man's burden or historical inescapabilities or nationalism to justify it because it's natural law that the strong and advanced should profit from the weak and barbaric and anyway if we don't do it our enemies will/not using it will weaken us.
Some people said "it's the law" as if that has ever been an argument for anything. Others countered with "fuck your laws, I'm going to free some slaves".

The arguments for or against abortion fall under those exact same lines : what does god say about it ? is a fetus alive and is it really human and if not at which point does it become human ? Is the unquestionable socio-economic good brought about by legalized abortion a thing that can justify it as a greater good/lesser of two evils or is it abominable to even think that way ? Do we have any right to end life just because we can, don't we need more babies to pull Social Security out of debt before the Chinese economy eats the world, and so on.

If you can think of any historically used argument for or against slavery that cannot be hammered into an argument we could use for or against abortion, I'm all ears.

Last edited by Kobal2; 10-22-2019 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:03 AM
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That's a bit more than "slightly twisting" my words, it's completely ignoring my words.
Apologies for being unclear, I didn't mean to imply that's what you were saying or close to it ; by "twisting" I meant deliberately using your phrasing to some other purpose. Hence the initial conditional.

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Old 10-22-2019, 02:06 AM
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If you can think of any historically used argument for or against slavery that cannot be hammered into an argument we could use for or against abortion, I'm all ears.
What is the relevance of whether shit arguments that were used in favor of slavery can be brought to bear as similarly shit arguments on the abortion rights issue? Shit arguments do not stand up to the scrutiny of history. If we're asking how history will ultimately view this, we can be confident that history will ultimately dismiss the religious cranks who think that a clump of cells has a soul and the same rights as a person. From a long term historical perspective, the question is surely whether there are good arguments on both sides of the issue.

And in that respect, the abortion rights issue is qualitatively different and less clear-cut than the slavery issue, because the former is about whether rights exist at all; whereas the latter is about compromising between conflicting rights.

But I don't think this thread should turn into an abortion debate, I'm not sure I have much to add.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-22-2019 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:30 AM
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My comment on abortion: If women can't be trusted to decide the fate of their own bodies, how can they be trusted to vote on the fate of society? Banning abortion requires female disenfranchisement. End of comment.

The future (our descendants) may not exist to look back on current life (that's us, mates) and judge us historically if we don't deal with nuke proliferation, environmental and climate crises, and upcoming pandemics. Social-moral issues pale in comparison. I see ubiquitous surveillance and tech-tightened social controls as inescapable in our future; present privacy concerns will look ludicrous in retrospect. Yes, the apocalypse WILL be live-streamed. 'Bye now.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:31 AM
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What is the relevance of whether shit arguments that were used in favor of slavery can be brought to bear as similarly shit arguments on the abortion rights issue?
My point is that the arguments weren't shit from their point of view, socio cultural context and so on. We just think they're shit because we have internalized that black people are people, which mostly they did not even as they fought to free them. While I'm by no means well read on the microhistory of slavery & abolition I'm almost certain that a) some slavers went to their graves adamantly certain that they were in the right and utterly incomprehensive that their opponents could possibly be so disingenuous or morally bankrupt and b) some abolitionists went to their graves thinking the slavers weren't necessarily wrong per sebut it wasn't worth their being so uncompromising about it and eliminating the institution was a solution, not to further equality or human rights or any sort of moral positive you and I could relate to in and of itself but rather a lesser evil from a strictly political or economic standpoint.

If in 300 hundred years people have, due not to some technological phaseshift but a simple change in mental paradigms (predictably reinforced via education and cultural representations), conclusively and collectively come to the conclusion that a clump of cells is 100% real people then they'll absolutely think us barbarous for having ever thought different and that we've all been making "shit arguments" that "don't stand the scrutiny of history", whatever the latter may possibly mean.
At least the mainstream will, while historians will again and again enjoin them not to pass arbitrary judgements on caricatures because it's fucking pointless for any purpose .
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:34 AM
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I see ubiquitous surveillance and tech-tightened social controls as inescapable in our future
The fuck you mean, "in our future" ?
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:47 AM
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My point is that the arguments weren't shit from their point of view, socio cultural context and so on...
But screw the relativism, there is a long-sustained historical trend for human society becoming more civilized, treating one other with more respect and getting better at ethics over time. That's the context in which we should ask how modern-day ethical questions will fare in the long run. I think it's a reasonable assumption that in the long run, shit arguments will not stand up to progressively greater scrutiny. And by shit ethical arguments I mean, for example - treating some subset of people badly because it makes some people richer; treating some subset of people badly because of superstitious nonsense; treating some subset of people badly because of false pseudoscientific claims, etc.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-22-2019 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 10-22-2019, 03:16 AM
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But screw the relativism, there is a long-sustained historical trend for human society becoming more civilized, treating one other with more respect and getting better at ethics over time.
There is ?!
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Old 10-22-2019, 03:50 AM
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There is ?!
Yes. Do you really think we were more civilized 500 years ago?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Be..._of_Our_Nature

Last edited by Riemann; 10-22-2019 at 03:51 AM.
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Old 10-22-2019, 04:21 AM
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I think we simply changed the framework of what "being civilized" means. You shit on medieval people doing things based on "silly superstitions", but that's what they thought was true, and they acted generally positively within the framework of that truth of theirs. It's not yours, but that doesn't make them psychopaths or idiots. People have mostly always tried to be roughly good as they thought "good" entained, so long as it didn't cost them overly much to be good, and kinda sorta done the best they could but really in the end mostly just being selfish jerks.

Like, I don't deny that, for example, and within the context of Western civ, casual violence is much less normalized now than it was in the 17th century. It's a really big leap to go from that to an inevitability of this evolution, and we sure as shit condone and normalize new and interesting forms of being terrible to each other that would have horrified the average 1519 person. Also Twitter would have angered and confused them I think. It kinda does me tbh.

Last edited by Kobal2; 10-22-2019 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 10-22-2019, 04:23 AM
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Oh, and I'd really be careful about that "civilized" word. Remember that "we're trying to civilize these people" has almost always meant killing them or coercing them to do things our way uncritically.
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