April 09, 2004

Linking with Reservations

Feministe has an open thread going about abortion. I'll link it, but I want to make something very clear first:

I don't know if I have an especially diverse blogroll or readership or not, but I do know that I have a few of you who are socially conservative. And I have mad, mad love for y'all, even if we don't always agree with each other on every little thing. And you've all been consistently respectful and mannerly in sharing your opinions with me, and that basically backs up a little generalization I've come to subscribe to over the years, which is: In general, once a discussion heats up, you're safer counting on conservatives to stay civil than you are counting on liberals to do so.

But that's "in general." Sadly, it just isn't always true.

So what I'm asking here is, if you want to participate in the thread, for the love of all that is holy behave. Do not go over there and bring the hate. If I find out you went to Ms. Lauren's site and started calling everyone a feminazi babykiller and you got there from here, it will be the last time you have access to this site, period. Are we clear? I am trying to link to what has thus far been a very civil, if a bit one-sided in viewpoint, discussion. I am not trying to start a holy war.

If I know anything from reading Feministe, it's that Ms. Lauren is scrupulously fair. In fact, I'll just steal a comment she left in that thread:

By the way I do have a specific intent in asking these questions, almost purely of curiosity and not allowing myself any judgement. I wish there were more anti-abortion answers, to be honest, because that is the side I'm most curious about. There has been something on my mind lately and I'm looking for a sounding board.
[Emphasis added.]

So make your case, whatever it is, but don't get any ideas about denouncing nobody over there, all right? Prove my silly generalizations right and don't be a dick.

The whole thing actually reminded me of a little quote from old P.J.:

No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal point of view.
It will come as no surprise to most of you that your girl is more of a callous pragmatist than a devout Christian.

Anyway: Go, have at it--and be good. I'm so not kidding about that last part.

Oh, and if you have issues with my answers to her questions, you bring that up with me here. As in, "here, not there." Capisce?

Posted by Ilyka at April 9, 2004 07:32 PM in hell is other people

I don't think that a devout Christian would have a problem with capital punishment. Nothing in the big book says "don't punish the guilty".

Posted by: Jim at April 9, 2004 08:14 PM

Yeah, but then there's that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing, and I think P.J.'s thinking about the forgiveness angle with that remark.

I really am a callous pragmatist about the death penalty. I simply see no reason to keep those folks alive, period. Free some space up in that jail already.

Posted by: ilyka at April 9, 2004 09:06 PM

The idea in being pro-choice and anti-CP is, in my case, is that I trust the individual more than I trust the legal system. But I'd just as soon reform the CP laws as abolish them altogether.

Posted by: Ben Culture at April 10, 2004 08:14 PM


As both a Christian and a conservative, I trust the legal system more than the individual.

As a Christian, I believe in the fundamental principle of flawed human nature. I think that history and contemporary society are replete with evidence of this, whether one is religious or not. I find that in general people do evil as well as good, sometimes going against their own desires for goodness to do the very things they know are wrong.

Meanwhile, Paul writes very strongly to Christians (such as myself) in his letter to the Roman Church, directing them to respect earthly authority. Paul tells the Romans that governments are established by God to bring carry out His justice, and that it is a matter of conscience and obedience to God to pay taxes, obey the law of the land, and be dutiful in showing honor and respect to our temporal rulers.

Obviously, there are many major and minor points of debate about these particular Christian teachings, not the least of which are the fundamental assumptions upon which they're based. But that's probably a topic best left for another thread, or another day.

So much for this devout Christian's argument in favor of the legal system over the individual.

Please understand that as a conservative, I don't advocate a global application of government to all matters of individual choice--far from it! But conservativism, as I understand it, also recognizes that individuals can and often do act against the best interests of their neighbors. Therefore, argues this conservative, the need for the so-called "rule of law", which applies the same standards of justice to everyone, independently of each individual's preferences in the matter.

I don't think these positions are complete solutions to all society's woes, but I do find them a useful and realistic rule of thumb for assessing the value of capital punishment.

That said, I'm in favor of reform--constant reform--of the legal system. There's always room for ignorance and corruption to creep into any system, and so there's always room for improvement.

Posted by: Peter A. at April 11, 2004 09:54 PM