En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/01/31/1502

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January 31, 2009 3:02 PM - Woozle

Woozle said...

"I left off 1977-92 because it would have skewed the graph."

Well, right, if graphed without adjusting for the length of time. My graph adjusts for that, on both ends.

"If we look at just assault and battery, yes, it was up in 2007-2008. But if we look at every other category, it appears to be down, and obviously is down if we take the sum total of all buckets..."

A&B seemed like the most relevant measure; a lot of the other categories had problems with them, e.g. data wasn't collected before a certain date. In the case of "murder", there were so few cases that it wouldn't really affect the outcome unless you assign a proper weight (one murder is a lot worse than 10 vandalisms, I should think), which makes things complicated. I was also thinking in terms of things that clients would be likely to find intimidating; phoned threats to the clinic itself probably wouldn't affect them much.

But okay, which metrics would you pick as being the most significant as far as intimidation?

Re Obama's assumed support for 2nd- and 3rd-trimester abortions: "Has he mentioned any support at all for even modest restrictions (2nd or 3rd term bans, parental notification laws, etc.)? If he truly supported any of those measures it stands to reason he would have mentioned it during the primaries, since this poll seems to indicate a majority of Americans would have been pleased. He is too good of a politician to have ignored that opportunity."

This argument seems extremely thin to me. In any case, regardless of whether you are correct that this is his personal view, he neither made it part of his platform nor has he worked to make it a reality.

You can't suggest that something exists simply because nobody can prove that it doesn't, and then expect people to act on that belief...

...oh, wait a minute... Goddists do that all the time. So maybe you can.

That doesn't mean it makes any sense, of course.

"So you contend that a teen who attends an abstinence-only class will not feel compelled to follow their message of not having sex but will feel compelled to not using contraception?"

That phrasing is backwards.

A teen who attends an abstinence-only class will continue to feel compelled (by hormones and sexual wiring) to have sex, regardless of what they may promise or believe is right, and (due to the class) will additionally not feel compelled to use contraception. (This is what the studies show.)

There is also some evidence that ABE conveys a message that contraception is actually morally wrong, leading to less usage than would have happened without any sex education at all... but I digress.

"You do know that contraception IS discussed in most of those classes, right? The message given is that the only birth control method that is 100% effective is abstinence."

Um, no. Wrong. That's not abstinence-only; that's proper sex ed, sometimes called "Abstinence Plus" if the emphasis is mostly on abstinence but birth control methods are also taught and recommended.

ABE, as funded by the Bush administration to the tune of $1 billion, doesn't allow grant recipients "to advocate or discuss contraceptive methods except to emphasize their failure rates."

"So we agree that the claim that abstinence-only education actually increases the number of pregnancies is false."

We agree that abstinence-only education may be no worse than no sex education at all. I don't think I'd go any further than that.

I agree that a more comprehensive approach is preferable.

"Again, when you see abortion as murder..."

I think the use of the word "murder" is highly misleading -- probably a deliberate ruse by those who got the anti-abortion movement going back in the 1970s.

"Murder" is unlawful killing. If abortion is legal, you can call it killing but you can't call it murder, by definition.

So, you consider it killing -- but we are in agreement on that. I presume what you mean, then, is wrongful killing -- and the thing which would make it wrongful, I presume again, is that you believe a 1-week old embryo is a person.

Am I right so far, or do I presume too much?

"I believe I addressed this point before..."

You didn't counter my claim that there is a steep emotional cost. By saying that a woman's primary motivation is "ease", you are implying that getting an abortion is usually easier than not getting one -- again claiming that the emotional cost is negligible.

My expert witness, a mother of four (one grown and in the Navy) and the survivor of one miscarriage (at 10 weeks), says that losing the embryo/fetus for any reason carries considerable emotional cost.

Is it "ease" if the mother doesn't want to have the child grow up in poverty, with a mother who is frustrated and angry because she had to put her life on hold for a decade or more in order to raise a child?

Yes, adoption might be an alternative. Progressive pro-lifers should be working to validate this alternative -- educating women about the benefits of adoption, making the separation less painful, making it easier for adopted kids to keep in touch with their biological parents so that giving up a child for adoption doesn't feel so much like sacrificing it.

Calling abortion-seeking women murderers, sinners or even just bad mommies is extremely counterproductive, and makes the pro-life movement look like a bunch of crazed religious fanatics (especially when you admit you can't rationally defend this position). It's certainly not "progressive".

"That’s why I tend to favor extremely unpleasant life sentences and a more robust and efficient appeals system."

So we're agreed that pro-life and pro-death-penalty are inconsistent positions.

"the polls would seem to indicate that only about 9% of Americans are ‘liberal’ by your standards, since the remaining 91% favor some level of change for Roe."

Where are you getting those figures from? The figures you gave earlier don't say anything about opinion on Roe v. Wade, since Roe v. Wade allows some restrictions.

2006: 33% said that abortion should be "permitted only in cases such as rape, incest or to save the woman's life", 27% said that abortion should be "permitted in all cases", 15% that it should be "permitted, but subject to greater restrictions than it is now", 17% said that it should "only be permitted to save the woman's life", and 5% said that it should "never" be permitted. (Wikipedia, citing PollingReport.com)

This would seem to contradict your implication that only 9% favor removal of all restrictions.

Those results don't show how many favor keeping restrictions at the present level, or loosening them some but not completely; those numbers plus the the 27% favoring no limitations would constitute what I would call an approximation of the "liberal" segment of the population.

"Saving some lives is better than saving no lives."

But why compromise from your apparent stand that abortions should be completely illegal? How does that save lives?

"That statement is predicated on the belief that opposition to abortion is irrational, which you and I will remain in disagreement on."

Yes, as long as you decline to defend it.

"Personally, I find it irrational to pretend you can determine when life/personhood begins when you really can’t."

That's actually an argument for why it doesn't make sense to make a law for exactly when abortions are illegal... I'd much rather have some kind of advisory system which looks at each case in context: did the mother take reasonable precautions? What are the likely outcomes of aborting versus carrying to term? Possibly there would be benefits for going along with the advisory and penalties for deciding the other way -- but not criminal penalties.

Such a system would have its own issues, of course, but it seems closer to an ideal solution. (Note that I'm not holding out for perfection here, just some forward progress.)

"You are drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and it’s really just your best guess."

I'm not drawing a line at all, as far as I know, regarding when a fetus becomes a person. It's not really my primary concern.

You, on the other hand, are drawing a very arbitrary line. Why at conception? Why not when the sperm enter the fallopian tubes? Why not fight for the right of every ovum to be fertilized?

We've been over this territory before: I can explain my reasoning to you, but you decline to explain yours to me. That's not being flexible or progressive, and it's not likely to result in a successful negotiation process.

My general view on such standoffs is that if one side won't show their reasoning or data, then they're wrong by default. It's like one team not showing up for a ball game -- they forfeit the match, whether or not they could have won if they had played.

"I’m not willing to accept a ‘best guess’ in this scenario."

Then why are you accepting your own "best guess" that personhood begins at birth?

Re your paraphrase of my proposed compromise, "We realize that you believe abortion is murder and in that context over a million babies are ‘murdered’ every year in the U.S. So what we will do is agree to some concessions that will limit the current number of abortions i.e. ‘murders’ in return for you stopping the average 45 or so violent acts that occur yearly against abortion clinics, take down your yucky anti-abortion billboards and stop telling lies about us."

...where you believe this to be an incredibly naive suggestion.

I don't think so, at least in principle; some details would have to be understood:

1. Subject to re-evaluation in, say, 10 years (after a generation that hasn't been lied to has time to grow up)
2. We haven't discussed what those limitations might be; obviously there would be some limitations which would be small enough for pro-choicers to accept for a decade, and some limitations which would be large enough for pro-lifers to consider it worth the trade. The question is whether or not there's any overlap between the two wherein a mututally agreeable compromise might be reached.
3. If you can find me a pro-choice liberal who thinks that this is an absurd proposal, please put them in touch with me.

"I don’t consider abortion to be a ‘freedom’ or ‘won’."

Yeah, I know you don't. We do.

I think I can suggest two constraints for the term "progressive", having seen where your usage of it seems wrong to me:

* A majority must agree that the changes proposed would actually be progress, advancements in society, of benefit to civilization in general.
* The proposed changes must somehow make life easier and/or less constrained, overall.

Your "progress" of rolling back abortion rights violates both of these constraints.

"Just an aside, many people find seatbelts ‘restrictive’ but we see the common good in them."

Ha -- I remember my conservative father ranting about seatbelts... Personally, this seems to me like an example of the "nanny state", and "protecting people from themselves" -- aren't those things which conservatives tend to complain about? In this case, I more or less agree with them. (Especially with regard to some of the idiotic child-seat laws we have here in NC -- Sandy's youngest had just gotten old enough to graduate from his seat, but then they decided to raise the minimum weight...)

"I see a common good in limiting abortion. I realize you find that an ‘irrational’ belief, but it is one that is shared by most Americans."

Probably because they've been misinformed and lied to. (I'm assuming you mean "further limiting abortion; as I said earlier, I concede that there are rational arguments for some limitations on abortion, at least for now.)