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    • Preparing For The Coronavirus
      I haven’t written about this because others have been dealing with it well and pandemics aren’t something I know a great deal about. It does look, now, like the Coronavirus stands a good chance of turning into a pandemic, and I think we should discuss preparation a bit. Our world produces most goods in a […]
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Is it the Y chromosome?

Honestly, I know enough biology to know that it can’t be. It just can’t. And yet how else to explain the sudden ignorance of a guy as sharp as Bob Somerby? He’s talking about Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow beating up on Stupak for tribalistic, Village reasons.
Somerby finds that inappropriate.

For ourselves, we think pro-choice groups have every right to bail on the bill if they decide it ends up affecting choice in unacceptable ways. But then, we also think that anti-abortion groups have the right to make the same sort of decision. That is, to jump ahead just a bit: We assume that different people, acting in good faith, may judge the morality of a measure in different ways.

Leaving Olbermann and Maddow aside, this is the first time I’ve seen Somerby completely miss a question of right and wrong.

What if the amendment read, “Hair straightening is unnatural and immoral. No medical costs associated with complications can be paid for using any Federal tax dollars.” Would he be as tolerant of that viewpoint? Male circumcision is an unnecessary procedure whose only health benefit comes from compensating for poor hygiene (or, in the case of AIDS, from the unnaturally thickened skin of the glans). Would he be as quick to understand people with moral objections to the deformation of men? (Note to the humor-challenged: I’m paralleling anti-abortion attitudes, not actually arguing for a specific kind of anatomy.) If I felt it was immoral and harmful to everyone to overpopulate the planet, and attached an amendment saying that no Federal money should ever be spent on pregnancy, childbirth, or infants after the second child, would he sagely say my morality could become law if I had the votes?

I could have all the morals I want about these things. As soon as I tried to make anyone else live according to them, I would be wrong.

Stupak and Pitts deserve disgrace for trying to take away our rights. It has nothing to do with morals, Stupak’s, mine, or the man in the moon’s. Rights. The right to control our own medical procedures. The right to control our bodies. Rights. Get it?

So, no, “different people, acting in good faith” may not judge a law about rights in different ways. Not even when it’s a law about women’s medical rights.

What is so hard to understand about this? Even with the handicap of a Y chromosome?

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You have no rights

The Stupak amendment, the greatest rollback of rights for women in decades is now in that thing the House has been calling a “Health Care” bill. (Links from Reclusive Leftist, The Confluence, WiredLeft.)

But women are just, as always, the expendable canaries in the coal mine. Their rights are toast, which means so are everyone else’s.

I’m going to shout that: WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE TOAST WHICH MEANS SO ARE EVERYONE ELSE’S.

Rights are for all. When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away.

Think through the consequences of what equal rights for all really means, and you wind up with a system that doesn’t look much like what we have now. There’s lots more about it here, but this is the bit (paraphrased) that concerns us right now:

The right to control one’s own person is fundamental. Even the right not to be murdered is secondary, since killing is allowed in self-defence.

Abortion muddies the argument only because some people believe the fetus is a person with legal rights greater than those of the mother since it can require her life support. There is nothing to stop women from believing this and living accordingly because there is a right to control one’s own body. Depending on beliefs, an individual’s dilemma about abortion may be very complex.

But fair social policies are simple. Either everyone can live according to their beliefs, or nobody can. And personhood is necessarily a belief, a social or religious category. It’s not possible for it to be a matter of objective fact. Biology can only determine who belongs in the species Homo sapiens, but no cellular marker lights up when someone is due to get legal rights.

I’ll repeat: personhood is necessarily a matter of belief, whether that’s based on religion or social consensus.

Therefore those who oppose abortion because they believe the fetus is a person with special status have to hope they are never successful in legislating how others handle their pregnancies. If they are, it means that exceptions could be made to the right to control one’s own person.

Once that principle is admitted, then there is nothing to stop a majority with different beliefs from legislating forced abortions.

Over-population is, after all, the source of the environmental problems killing the planet.

There is nothing to stop an aging population from requisitioning a kidney from healthy people walking around with a spare.

There is nothing to stop doctors from performing medical experiments on you for the public good.

There is nothing to stop the majority from deciding all those old folks are too expensive to live.

Really. Nothing. Once you take away the right to control your own body.

Extreme? Sure. So why is it okay when applied to women?

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