En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/23/1756

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January 23, 2009 5:56 PM - Woozle

Woozle said...

"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."

I don't understand the basis on which you are making that claim. Are you working from an assumption that our current economy involves more transportation of goods than of people? Or something else?

"And even in the best scenarios, other projects can have a far greater economic impact."

Again... you may be correct, but I'll have to understand the point you're trying to make in your first argument, because it seems to be based on the same unspoken premise.


You offer Hillary as an exemplar of the pro-war movement? Balderdash. She was being spineless (along with most of the democrats in the 110th) and going along with the neocons in order to seem more Manly and Tough and thereby capture the "but a GURL can't be president!" vote.

You may distance "true conservatives" from the war-hawks by calling the latter "neocons", if you wish -- moving any part of conservatism far, far away from neoconservatism could only be a good thing -- but I'd really like to see any evidence that any liberal (and I do not include Lieberman among them) is pro-war.

--- [ moving all the abortion stuff so it's together ] --

"Abortion clinic violence is almost non-existent these days."

Got figures? Just today I read about this. Wikipedia's listing of incidents has many more in 2006-7 than previous years, but that could be due to more intensive editing over time (new incidents more likely to get added to an existing article). Can't find anything at Guttmacher; I'll add that to my list of questions to ask them...

"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."

Duuuuuude! A most bodaciously heinous argument! o.0

I realize that, as a conservative, you feel compelled to say insane things like that in order to get liberals to display outrage and thereby prove how irrational they are. This sort of thing really isn't helpful if you're trying for some sort of reconciliation between liberals and "progressive conservatives", however.

...Or perhaps, as a conservative, you're just oblivious to any understanding which requires empathy or genuine understanding of the concept of "fairness". I'm willing to be tolerant and assume this interpretation, giving you the benefit of the doubt... so let me explain this slowly and carefully:

A politician expects to deal with a certain amount of verbal abuse. He is a public figure and a servant of the people; those people criticizing him are his employers. They are entitled to do so, and it is arguably part of their job as citizens to voice their grievances.

A pregnant woman going to a clinic is a private individual, with no relationship whatsoever to the protesters (other than the usual one of abusee/abuser). There's simply no excuse for any kind of attack (verbal or otherwise) on someone in that situation -- much less an organized one. How would you like it if raving atheists gathered outside your church and accused you personally of all the (legal but evil) wrongs of Christianity, and tried to stop you from going inside? Would that be fair? No. Neither is harassment of pregnant women, whether or not they plan to become mommies.

On top of that, a pregnant woman often has very minimal physical protection. How does she know she's not going to be shot, have acid splashed on her, or objects thrown at her? Bush, conversely, had the entire Secret Service clearing the area of anyone who might disagree with him, and shunting them off to "free speech zones" where he wouldn't have to listen to them. Which suggests a solution...

Perhaps abortion clinic protesters should be required to stay in a "free speech zone", somewhere far away from the event. Conservatives didn't seem to mind it when Bush did this, and he had much less justification for it, so there ought to be no problem. Never let it be said that conservatives don't have useful ideas!

"Most of the info I read these days suggests that the majority of Americans are right of the President on abortion..."

I think that says something about what you're reading, because most of what I read suggests that Obama's position is very much in line with most of America, not to mention in line with what works: "[Obama] opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in [Roe v Wade]." ... "President Obama was an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods."

"That data seems to support a zero-impact claim..."

Well, I did say it was a very quick check, but here's some more:
1. As I said, if you have the same amount of sex going on but less contraception, what are you likely to get?
2. ...Especially given this report that teen pregnancy rates are down overall because of better use of contraception. You can't use contraceptives properly if they're left out of your education.
3. The National Association of School Psychologists: "Abstinence Plus programs, which impart accurate information and comprehensive social skills training in addition to sending a strong abstinence message, have been shown more effective than Abstinence Only programs in reducing pregnancy, reducing sexually transmitted disease, and increasing resilience to other risk factors..." (not sure if they're misrepresenting the results, since there's no citation)
4. The US has the highest teen pregnancy rate among industrialized countries. As far as I know, we're the only country with an abstinence obsession, but there could be other factors.

I can't find any studies which look at ABE's correlation with anything beyond sexual behavior, but I bet I know what they'll find when they do.

(I also have considerable distaste for ABE because it often seems to be accompanied by lies and distortions... if it worked well, I'd take it anyway, but...)

"I don’t know if [peer pressure leading to social stigmatization of premarital sex] 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 thing most likely to succeed."

Um, sanity check? Why on earth would we acknowledge it as the thing most likely to succeed when it has shown (at best!) no sign at all of making any difference, while other techniques -- techniques, I must emphasize, often railed against by the people pushing ABE -- have enjoyed considerable success? This makes no sense at all.

Do you want to actually reduce abortions, or do you just want to "fight" them?

"I often say that I became pro-life about 5 minutes after my daughter was born."

So you felt inspired give her the gift of being denied the right to make her own moral choice, if she ever has an unwanted pregnancy?

I am beginning to think I will never understand the conservative mind.

"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."

Science doesn't define that line at all. Yes, the embryo is alive as soon as it is fertilized -- but so are the egg and sperm, and the organs which produced them. Life is a continuous thread running through the entire process, or it wouldn't work.

I think what you're referring to is the question of when a new person has come into existence. Science doesn't define that distinction either; it just gives us a lot more information to work with. You have made the choice to disregard that information and instead credit only your own subjective determination that there is a person present from the moment of conception, and not a moment before or after.

As I said earlier, there is some value in respecting feelings such as this. For example, We have a friend who is very squeamish about killing or harming animals, for any reason, to any degree. He won't eat from anything which has even been in contact with meat (raw or cooked), or even animal products such as eggs. We think he's a little over-the-top sometimes (well... a lot of the time), but we understand that it's not something he can really control -- and it's basically harmless to everyone else, since he doesn't demand that we stop eating meat, so we try to be respectful of his squeamishness.

However... If there were millions of people, with well-funded backing, continually working and lobbying to outlaw the use of all animal products in the name of "preserving life", I think we'd feel a little differently.

Re moral superiority versus effectiveness: "Moral authority often means difficult choices in the face of an easier but morally corrupt solution."

That doesn't answer my question. "Easier" is not the same as "more effective", for one thing.

Also, reading between the lines, it sounds like you're implying that sex for any purpose other than reproduction is immoral. Is that the case?

Re the contradiction between {being pro-life} and {supporting the death penalty}: "Free will versus imposed will."

What in the blazes is that supposed to mean?

"...on the first principle of protecting life there is no swaying me."

Unless that life is a possibly-innocent death-row inmate, of course (or not human, presumably, but we can probably agree there)... or that of a pregnant mother, if we're talking about quality of life (that of the mother and her possible child) and not just quantity.

"Knowing your heart" doesn't do diddly towards reaching a sane compromise, because you can't explain to me why you arrived at your decision...

...which in turn kind of undermines your claim that "progressive conservatives" are more flexible than liberals. I can tell you why I choose the position I do, and back it up with data. You can look for data which contradicts mine, or you can try to pick holes in my arguments; if you succeed in either of those tasks, you can change my mind.

But I can't do anything to change yours; you've said as much.


But yay, we're agreed on a long-term solution for marriage.