En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/21/0735

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January 21, 2009 7:35 AM - Mike

Mike at The Big Stick said...

"Are you suggesting there is a positive economic impact to light rail?"

I should certainly think so. Got Data?

Let’s just look at his realistically. If light rail is successful it is going to provide a cheaper alternative than putting gas in the car. So I’ll give you that one. But then compare it to the money saved by transporting good efficiently by heavy rail…and there really is no comparison. The second saves the economy much more money.

"And many newer lines (Houston being the prime example) are under-used and poorly planned." But seriously: poor planning means that it was poorly planned, not that the idea is bad. (Any tool can be misused.) My understanding is that light rail works well in many metro areas, and my personal experience with it (Atlanta, DC, Boston, and SF) has been positive.

I’m not suggesting that light rail can NEVER be good….obviously it works in some places and I’ve used it in some of the cities you mention as well. But in other places, here in Louisville for example, I think it would be a waste of money. And even in the best scenarios, other projects can have a far greater economic impact.

RE: Abortion

If I were to agree to a compromise on this, it would be mostly for the sake of compromise, not because we have come to an agreement on principles. However, such an agreement might well be worth it, if "progressive conservatives" could agree to work with us against their more radical elements -- the abortion clinic bombers, the doctor killers, the threats and verbal abuse of abortion-seeking women, the shouting of "baby-killer!", the endless Biblical quotes, the misleading propaganda...

Most of that is a thing of the past. Abortion clinic violence is almost non-existent these days. As for verbal protests, well after seeing the way liberals behaved towards Bush for 8 years I think it’s a bit unfair to ask us them to not engage in verbal assaults.

And I'd want to see how other pro-choice folks felt about it; there may be some harm in a compromise which I'm overlooking.

Most of the info I read these days suggests that the majority of Americans are right of the President on abortion (one of his first acts was to make abortions easier to get…proving it is a high priority for him). I’m not saying they are pro-lifers, but they are okay with at least moderate restrictions, especially after the first trimester.

Personally, I favor getting the government out of the "marriage" business altogether; the concept of "marriage" should be a purely social one, and things like visitation, insurance, etc. -- the legal rights which currently come with "marriage" -- should all be based on establishing a legal relationship between the members of a family (which needs to be much easier to do than it is now).

I have said almost the exact same thing myself. I favor civil unions for pretty much any two people who want to be legally responsible for one another.

That being the case, why do we hear so few conservative voices speaking out against them? You could do wonders for "conservatism"'s reputation among liberals just by taking a stand on that issue.

I don’t know and it is quite troubling to me, as someone who was trained as a social scientist and relied on hard science to do my job for a long time I think the assault on science from the Religious Right is horrible.

A prominent few have spoken up at times…



…but certainly not enough.

"I’m not aware of any specifically conservative ‘pro-war movements’. Please elaborate."

Well there certainly is no liberal pro-war movement; if they're not conservative, then who are they?

*cough* Secretary of State designate Clinton *cough*

"I’d like to see your data that abstinence-only results in higher rates.

Just a quick search of my RSS feeds pulls up these:
* 2009-01-09 Mississippi, A Hotbed of Abstinence Education, Now Boasts Highest Teen Pregnancy Rate In America
* 2008-12-29 Old news: abstinence pledges don't work
* 2008-12-29 Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds (study apparently didn't look at preg. rates, but I would think the results of [no reduction in sexual activity] + [less contraception] would be inevitable)
* Guttmacher, 2007: Changing Direction:
Support Sex Education That Works

That data seems to support a zero-impact claim, but I don’t think it supports a negative-impact claim. Maybe this is a trivial issue, but it shouldn’t be impled that it actually increases the number of abortions if it doesn’t.

"The stigma needs to come from their peers, not a top-down approach. I don’t know how to make that happen."

I hate to pick on this, because it's important to admit when we really don't know -- and if I jump on you every time you admit you don't know something, you're not likely to do it again -- but if you don't know how to make the stigma happen, why are you proposing it as a workable solution?

I don’t know if it IS a workable solution because things like social trends are very organic and not generally vulnerable to outside pressures to a great degree. That doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge it is the think most likely to succeed.

"Conservatives that are pro-life put that principle first."

Then why are they so keen on the death penalty? (to name only the most obvious contradiction)

Free will verses imposed will.

"we still believe our primary principle is morally superior to yours."

Does moral superiority trump effectiveness? Or are they the same thing?

Moral authority often means difficult choices in the face of an easier but morally corrupt solution.

Mind you, "some virtue" does not automatically trump a clear need... but it might be sufficient grounds for a pragmatic compromise. It would help to understand the reasons why your mind (and presumably the minds of many others) cannot be changed by rational argument.

Do you think it's hard-wired? Cultural conditioning? Other?

I often say that I became pro-life about 5 minutes after my daughter was born. Once I saw her and the gravity of that sunk in….I was done. And at that time I was a vocal agnostic/atheist and fairly liberal so it wasn’t as though I was just sticking to conservative ideology.

I don’t believe that science can ever completely define the line between ‘collection of tissues’ and ‘life’ and so in lieu of that I choose to err on the side of life. For me it’s really that simple. I’m happy to debate all sort of nuances in abortion policy but on the first principle of protecting life there is no swaying me. That’s not stubbornness or religiousness or a lack of reason. That’s just knowing my heart.