Firstly, I want to quickly say thanks
to everyone for their replies and also to anyone who didn't post a reply but still took the time to read the article I wrote.
Your replies are all interesting and I will post my comments to them below. But I do want to ask everyone, aside from Ape who already has, to consider pleasing me by briefly, individually answering all the questions I asked at the end of the article:
Scott wrote:What is murder? Do we oppose murder always? If not always, when do we want it to be illegal to murder something or someone? When do we want it to be illegal to kill something or someone? What about animals, human embryos, human fetuses, brainless creatures? What about killing one innocent person to save the life of another innocent person? What about when a person lets another person die when the first person could have saved the second? Do we support forcing another person to help another person? Do we want an embryo or fetus to have the right to use a woman's body against her will if the embryo or fetus needs to use her body to live? What about if the woman was made pregnant against her will? What about if a woman wants to abort a fetus late-term because carrying it to term will cause significant harm to her? What about if the baby was already born but needs a transplant from her to live? When if at all would we force a person to provide a transplant to anther person? What if providing a transplant poses significant danger or will cause significant harm?
Whether or not it will work, I did try to play Socrates and come up with a series of questions that will help get to the fundamental philosophy and common principles, helping weed out contradictions and helping discover the true sources of our disagreements.
, much of what you wrote about man is quite inspiring. It reminds me of some of the most enjoyable parts of Ayn Rand's writing of mankind as heroic.
Juice wrote:In the case of rape or incest please do not blame the unborn for the sick act of someone who should be legally put to death.
On the one hand, I of course agree with that sentiment not just about unborn but the born as well. I have read and seen fictional stories that I think are not unrealistic in which mothers choose to give birth to a child they conceived from rape, but have negative feelings toward the child. More commonly, we hear of women being abandoned by the father and having some resentment for the shared child. I agree that resentment is misplaced, but unfortunately maybe one of the unavoidable flaws of our psychology. In extreme cases, a professional psychologist could be used to help such a mother work through her resentment. Nonetheless, imagine the awful possibility that a mother strangles her born child at the age of say 2 years because of a transferred resentment towards the child's rapist father. I agree that would be an awful state of affairs and that is murder and that the mother would need to be institutionalized until if ever she can be cured of her violent tendencies.
In the case of abortion, though, some feel it is not murder. Some feel that the harm done by destroying a brainless, nerveless embryo is not significantly greater than the harm done by destroying a blade of grass or a tree. Some may think that the woman has a right not to be a slave to the embryo and to not have to provide the charity letting it use her body against her will. You argue against those views by saying, "Woman have the right to choose not to get pregnant." Whether I agree fully or not with its implications, I can see that it is at least arguable that a woman consents to the risk of being pregnant for 9 months or so and giving birth when she consents to having sex. But that doesn't apply to rape. Pro-choice people aren't arguing that a woman has a right to take out her resentment towards the father on the child born or unborn; they are making the same argument in terms of non-rape abortions except your objection about her choice to get pregnant does not apply.
Juice wrote:Yes I believe in the death penalty!
You can I have discussed the death penalty quite a bit. In the context of this discussion, what I find interesting is that Scott Philip Roeder apparently felt that he was, as a vigilante, initiating the death penalty on Dr. Tiller because Roeder felt that Dr. Tiller was a murderer. So what is it about Roeder's actions that you oppose? Do you only support the death penalty when it's democratic? Do you only support the death penalty for a certain class of actions in which the allegedly murderous act of abortion is not? Do you just oppose vigilantism? Would you support Roeder if he was a paid soldier working for the government hired by the government to execute Dr. Tiller for the crime of abortion?
Please note, I personally am not a pacifist. I would defensively kill someone if lethal defense was the reasonable way to stop that person from severely offensively attacking another person--at least insofar as that severe attack is criminal according to democracy or majority opinion and the one being attacked is a born human who is not brain-dead.
Juice wrote:How does this apply to the killing of Tiller? If it can be concluded that Tillers actions caused death, harm and suffering to other human beings then we may conclude his death warrented. My beliefs are not rooted in revenge, but a logical medium of "Do no Harm". I imagine if I could be a Tiller. And if so how far would I be willing to go past ending life not fully actualized to ending life aware. How many of you would be willing to stare into the barrel of a loaded gun without awareness of the consequences? Would you consider the loss of things attained or the loss of things you will never have the chance to attain if the trigger is pulled? What would you think of me if I made the decision for you? What would you do to stop me? Then ask yourself why all life shouldn't be given the same moral consideration.
What were you getting at there, Juice
? I feel like you might be contradicting yourself. On the one extreme, I can interpret you as supporting the killing of a killer as if you would of pulled the trigger in a Church instead of Roeder? But then elsewhere you say you may want to give Roeder the death penalty for giving Tiller the death penalty? Then on the other extreme you even go so far in defending life and opposing killing that you demand people don't stop the process that uses their own body often at great risk and expense to create life?
, though English is an informal language, I think the definition of murder you give is inaccurate. "Killing with hate," is not what I think most people specifically mean when they use the term murder
. Though I agree with your general opposition to all types of murder (definitional differences aside), I don't agree with your general sentiment of supporting anything done "with love" and opposition towards anything done "with hate." To use a vulgar but clear example, I don't care whether a rapist is supposedly raping out of love or out of hate; I still strongly oppose rape and want him stopped by whatever means against him necessary and restrained.
Nick_A wrote:A baby can be killed a day before being born and it is called abortion. If it is killed a day after being born it is called murder. It doesn't make any sense but is just a societal dictate indicating how little we understand.
Yes, I agree and think that you make a very important point there. I cannot comprehend the way some people feel so strongly about an arbitrary distinction such as birth. To supplement your example, consider Mary conceives one week before Jane. Let's say Jane gives birth 1 month early and an hour after the baby is born she suffocates it under a pillow. Let's say Mary is still a pregnant a few days after her due date and get an abortion. Note that going by date of conception Mary's baby was well over a month older when it was killed. I cannot conceive of what kind of consistent principles and premises one could believe that would lead to a strong opposition and desire to criminalize what Mary did but a strong desire to tolerate and legalize what Jane did--aside of evidence-less superstitions or religious beliefs which if believed can justify anything in the eyes of the believer.
Nick_A wrote:If we honored conception and the quality of the sex act itself as part of respect for life, how many conceptions would lead to abortion? We don't think this way and prefer abortions to respecting life.
Indeed, that is another good point Nick_A
. I'd say most of the most people who most adamantly claim to be opposed to abortion still don't 'respect the life' of the unborn human in the way you propose. You're right; how many conceptions would lead to abortion if self-proclaimed anti-abortionists adopted a few unwanted children themselves, donated a lot more to anti-poverty campaigns particularly for pregnant women and poor mothers, et cetera?
Similarly, I wonder how many of those animal-rights activists who blow up buildings and commit vandalism in the name of animal rights spend $50 or so on cable TV each month rather than putting $50 more each month to animal shelters, to environmental relief charities, et cetera?
There's no shortage of self-righteous people claiming to have the high ground when it comes to respecting life and caring for other living creatures particularly those capable of feeling pain and those with great potential to grow up into something great. But there is a shortage of the real thing.
Nick_A wrote:Respect for life requires understanding what is meant by giving to God what is God's.
I disagree. For example, I think many atheists respect life more than religious people. Indeed, murder in the name of god(s) is very, very common. Religious wars are very, very common.
In the eyes of the believer, superstition and religion can create the most fervent, black-and-white outlook on what actions the believer faithfully, hardheadedly believes are tolerable and which ones are extremely intolerable. These distinctions may seem ridiculously arbitrary or even inconsistent to the one who does no share that believer's specific superstitions or religion. For example, a Hindu may find the life of a stupid, injured cow extremely more valuable than the life of a smart healthy dolphin or smart healthy monkey; a Hindu may find the act of offensively, intentionally killing the cow as an extremely awful act worth criminalizing with the strictest hand of the law while may encourage and even participate in the killing of dolphins or monkeys. A certain religious person may believe there is a singular, omnipotent being who has commanded that no human kill any other human for any other reason but has said that killing and torturing animals is okay; that religious person may feel about destroying/killing a brainless, nerveless, unconscious embryo how that Hindu person felt about destroying/killing a cow while they both agree that torturing and killing a smart monkey is fine and dandy because they don't have any superstitious beliefs condemning that. Another superstitious or religious person may believe that a certain tree is sacred or the incarnation of their god, and may rather legalize third-trimester abortion, cow-torturing, cow-killing and literal infanticide before legalizing the killing of that brainless, unconscious tree. This type of superstition or religious person feels that one who doesn't share his particular superstition or religious view cannot understand the so-called right or value that he believes is being violated or ignored particularly the right to life that most people belief at least some living things have to varying degrees. Often anyone who doesn't share that person's specific superstitions or religious views would feel the opposite; they would think it is precisely the fact that the religious person's respect of certain types of life or other values is so dependent on their personal superstitions or person religious views is what is blinding that religious or superstitious person.
In any case, while superstitious religious people may define their morality religiously and hold values based on their superstitious and religious views (e.g. "doing X is bad because god said not to do it"), I definitely am adamantly opposed to any kind of theocracy and definitely and adamantly support what Thomas Jefferson referred to as a wall of separation between Church and State
Belinda wrote:In any case, when a person takes the law into their own hands their protest should be peaceful and non-violent.
To an extent, I agree. But I think there is a limit to my demand that civil disobedience and protest be either peaceful or legal. There are possible situations and conditions where I would support illegal violence. Consider in the movie Braveheart
, in which the King legalized rape of new wives by the government's agents and William Wallace breaks the King's law and fights back violently. Consider the movie Valkyrie
, in which a group of German's attempt to illegally kill Hitler.
In my eyes, William Wallace and those Germans who illegally used violence against the democratically elected Hitler and his Nazi government are heroes, and Roeder is a awful villain. A animal-rights protester who beats up or kills women for wearing fur or motorcyclists for wearing leather would also be a villain in my eyes. But the difference between them is not the use of illegal violence. They all used illegal violence.
Thanks for your comments, Mauds
. I also think the anti-choice sentiments about abortion among men and law is in great part the result of a long history of patriarchy. The same men who cry about their economic freedom being infringed when one suggests regulations limiting the ability of a slumlord to evict relatively helpless tenets who may otherwise die from homelessness are completely uncaring about the ramifications in terms of freedom of forcing a women--even a rape victim--to use her body to turn a brainless, unconscious embryo into a baby at great pain, expense, risk of death and other problems such as possibly losing her job due to the need for maternity leave.