Balkinization  

Friday, April 20, 2007

"Beyond Alice in Wonderland" . . .

Marty Lederman

. . . to criminalize abortion to protect women. That's how Reva Siegel puts the point in this important piece from Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times. Greenhouse elaborates:
[N]ever until Wednesday had the court held that an abortion procedure could be prohibited because the procedure itself, not the pregnancy, threatened a woman’s health — mental health, in this case, and moral health as well. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested that a pregnant woman who chooses abortion falls away from true womanhood.

“Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” he said.

Justice Kennedy conceded that “we find no reliable data” on whether abortion in general, or the procedure prohibited by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, causes women emotional harm. But he said it was nonetheless “self-evident” and “unexceptional to conclude” that “some women” who choose to terminate their pregnancies suffer “regret,” “severe depression,” “loss of esteem” and other ills.

Consequently, he said, the government has a legitimate interest in banning a particularly problematic abortion procedure to prevent women from casually or ill-advisedly making “so grave a choice.”

* * * *

In an article to be published shortly in The University of Illinois Law Review, Professor Siegel traces the migration of the notion of abortion’s harm to women from internal strategy sessions of the anti-abortion movement in the 1990s to the formation of legal arguments and public policy.

* * * *

On his blog, Balkinization, Prof. Jack M. Balkin of Yale Law School defined the message behind what he called the “new paternalism”: “Either a woman is crazy when she undergoes an abortion, or she will become crazy later on.”

Despite the activity in the states, the anti-abortion movement’s new focus remained largely under the radar until it emerged full-blown in Justice Kennedy’s opinion. As evidence that “some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained,” Justice Kennedy cited a brief filed in the case by the Justice Foundation, an anti-abortion group that runs a Web site and telephone help line for women “hurting from abortion.” The brief contained affidavits from 180 such women, describing feelings of shame, guilt and depression.
As the Greenhouse piece explains, this new woman-protective component in the Court's jurisprudence consists of at least two parts. The first is an empirical presumption that women choosing abortions regularly suffer "regret," "anguished grief," "profound sorrow," and (as if that weren't enough) "severe depression and loss of esteem."

The second is a form of paternalism in which the Court (in Justice Ginsburg's words) "deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety." As Jack writes below, "[t]he basic goal of this new rhetoric is to undermine the notion that women exercise any kind of choice when they decide to have abortions. It seeks to turn the rhetoric of the pro-choice movement on its head. Women, the new rhetoric argues, don't really understand what they are doing when they decide to have abortions; as a result, they often regret having them later on."

The argument for abortion restrictions (and the informed-consent laws that Jack idetifies) is based in no small part not only on such empirical presumptions about the dire fate of women who choose abortions, but also on essentialist sex-based generalizations, most importantly that "respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child."

There are (at least) two obvious and significant problems with this new move. The first is that, until this week, to base state policy on such stereotypes and paternalism was itself a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, under numerous modern precedents. "This way of thinking," Justice Ginsburg lamented in dissent, "reflects ancient notions about women’'s place in the family and under the Constitution— ideas that have long since been discredited." As Justice Ginsburg's citations demonstrate, the Court itself had played no small role in discrediting those ideas, in a series of cases litigated by, if not (in the case of the 1996 VMI decision) written by, Justice Ginsburg herself over the past 40-plus years. (Hence my quotation in the Times yesterday that the Court's women-protective rationale was "an attack on [Justice Ginsburg's] entire life's work.") (For more on this theme, see Dahlia Lithwick here.)

The second problem is that even if what Jack calls the "New Paternalism" would be justifiable if based on actual empirical trends -- again, something that the Court has routinely rejected as unconstitutional since 1970 -- the assumptions the Court invokes about the effects of abortions upon women are concededly based not on any reliable evidence ("While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon . . . "), but instead merely on anecdotes culled from an amicus brief (the only authority cited).

In this respect, as Jack notes below and as as Reva Siegel's article examines in great detail, the Court's opinion is the striking culmination of a concerted litigation strategy that abortion-rights opponents designed in the past few years, in which they have so resolutely publicized anecdotal "proof" that abortions are bad for women that Justice Kennedy is now comfortable stating -- as the law of the land -- that the Court finds these truths to be "self-evident" and "unexceptional." (For much more on how this counter-narrative strategy took root and flourished so quickly, see this important article by Emily Bazelon in the New York Times Magazine back in January. And this Sarah Blustain piece in the American Prospect just last week.)

This reliance on anecdote and popular myth, rather than on empirical proof, is a troubling development, one that has echoes in the Court's first decision of the Term, the little-noticed but significant per curiam opinion in Purcell v. Gonzales.

Purcell involved an Arizona voter-identification law that had been challenged as a violation of the Constitution and federal election laws. The court of appeals temporarily enjoined operation of the law, and Arizona made an emergency application for a stay to the Supreme Court. The Court sua sponte treated the request as a petition for certiorari, granted it, and reversed the court of appeals just before last November's election, thereby allowing the identification requirements to be implemented pending a full trial on the merits. In so doing, the Court described constitutional interests on both sides of the case.

The State's compelling interest, the Court said, was preventing so-called voter fraud: "Confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised."

The Court in Purcell thus unanimously credited the view that voters "feel" disenfranchised when voter fraud (allegedly) takes place in elections, and that such a "feeling" offsets the interests of voters who are disenfranchised by voter ID laws by actually driving honest citizens out of the democratic process!

This striking claim was accompanied by no citation of authority, and was based on no evidence whatsoever. Indeed, as Rick Hasen has explained in decrying the Court's "wholly unsupported empirical assumption":
[T]he available evidence . . . seems to suggest that voter identification requirements are more likely to depress turnout than to increase it, and that voter confidence in the electoral process, at least among African-Americans, is decreasing because of voter identification requirements. The empirical case for that contrary point is not yet solid, but the assumption is at least plausible given the evidence. The Court’s supposition does not even rely on any suggestive evidence, and I am aware of none. . . . Moreover, the Supreme Court did not acknowledge that some voters might “feel” disenfranchised when the state imposes barriers on voting such as a voter-identification law without proof that such laws are necessary to deter voter fraud. At the very least, the Court should have ordered briefing and oral argument on the question, which would have allowed the challengers to bring to the Court’s attention the Missouri Supreme Court’s important discussion of the issue [in its 2006 Weinschenk decision], which concluded that "if this Court were to approve the placement of severe restrictions on Missourians’ fundamental rights owing to the mere perception of a problem in this instance, then the tactic of shaping public misperception could be used in the future as a mechanism for further burdening the right to vote or other fundamental rights."

As we have learned in the wake of recent events, and as I discussed last week in connection with the several scandals swirling about the Department of Justice, this common perception of widespread voter fraud -- like the new recevied wisdom that abortions harm women -- is overwhelmingly the result not of any actual problem, but instead of a concerted effort (in this case, alas, powerfully supported by those wielding state power) to establish a mythical but increasingly canonical narrative. And here, the object of that narrative is to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. (See, e.g., recent stories in the New York Times, McClatchy, and In These Times. See also Rick Hasen's account of one district court's recent rejection of a DOJ case based on alleged but nonexistent "voter fraud.")

Unfortunately, as in Wednesday's abortion case, the myth has so successfully taken hold in the public imagination that it has now been enshrined as the predicate for the Law of the Land.

Curiouser and curiouser . . .

Comments:

Professor Balkin:

Women, the new rhetoric argues, don't really understand what they are doing when they decide to have abortions; as a result, they often regret having them later on."

This is far more than rhetoric.

The first contention that the women engaging abortionists to perform a partial birth abortion (or a standard D&E) do not know what is involved in these "procedures" was admitted by the appellees own expert witness abortionists at trial. As noted on page 29 of the majority opinion:

Nat. Abortion Federation, 330 F. Supp. 2d,
at 466, n. 22 ("Most of [the plaintiffs'] experts acknowledged that they do not describe to their patients what [the D&E and intact D&E] procedures entail in clear and precise term"); see also id., at 479.


Thus, the first contention is admitted fact. The purpose of the proposed information laws that so terrify the pro-abortion community and these media writers is meant to first and foremost address this undisputed fact. That is precisely why the pro-abortion community are studiously ignoring this fact.

Rather, they hope to indirectly discredit this first undisputed fact with attacks on the second contention - some women who undergo abortions without knowing what knowing what they are requesting suffer various psychological problems after the abortion.

This contention is based on more than rhetoric as well. Professor Lederman provided us with a portion of the evidence upon which this contention is based - the testimony of 180 women:

As evidence that “some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained,” Justice Kennedy cited a brief filed in the case by the Justice Foundation, an anti-abortion group that runs a Web site and telephone help line for women “hurting from abortion.” The brief contained affidavits from 180 such women, describing feelings of shame, guilt and depression.

This testimonial evidence is also undisputed by Professors Balkin and Lederman in their posts and the Court minority in their dissent.

Now that we have dispensed with the notion that these two contentions are unsupported rhetoric, do the pro-abortionists offer rebuttal evidence?

The short answer is no.

As discussed above, the appellees have conceded the first contention that women are not informed about the nature of the abortions they are requesting.

The pro-abortionists dispute the second contention that ignorance about the abortion procedures cause subsequent psychological harm harm to some of the women who under go abortions, but they offer no contrary evidence. Instead, Professor Lederman offers the following arguments:

The argument for abortion restrictions (and the informed-consent laws that Jack idetifies) is based in no small part not only on such empirical presumptions about the dire fate of women who choose abortions, but also on essentialist sex-based generalizations, most importantly that "respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child."

Does anyone deny that the vast majority of women love their children?

This argument is also a strawman. Why do you assume this observation of powerful evolutionary protective mechanism is at all gender based? The Court nowhere implies that fathers do not love their children. However, past Courts have held that fathers have no legal rights concerning the lives and deaths of their children through abortion. Thus, the Court addresses the mothers who make these abortion decisions.

There are (at least) two obvious and significant problems with this new move. The first is that, until this week, to base state policy on such stereotypes and paternalism was itself a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, under numerous modern precedents. "This way of thinking," Justice Ginsburg lamented in dissent, "reflects ancient notions about women’'s place in the family and under the Constitution— ideas that have long since been discredited."

As with the above argument, this is also a strawman. The Court nowhere implies that only mothers and not fathers suffer psychological trauma after the death of their children or, even worse, from being responsible for the death of their children. Nor does the Court assume that women are more vulnerable to this psychological trauma because they are women.

As Justice Ginsburg's citations demonstrate, the Court itself had played no small role in discrediting those ideas, in a series of cases litigated by, if not (in the case of the 1996 VMI decision) written by, Justice Ginsburg herself over the past 40-plus years. (Hence my quotation in the Times yesterday that the Court's women-protective rationale was "an attack on [Justice Ginsburg's] entire life's work.") (For more on this theme, see Dahlia Lithwick here.)

This argument takes stare decisis to an entirely new level. If inconvenient evidence contradicts "Justice Ginsburg's entire life's work," then it should be ignored? Why in heaven's name should that be the case? Because Justice Ginsberg is a woman and it might hurt her more delicate feelings?

"The assumptions the Court invokes about the effects of abortions upon women are concededly based not on any reliable evidence ("While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon . . . "), but instead merely on anecdotes culled from an amicus brief (the only authority cited).

How is the testimony of these 180 women in any way unreliable? Neither the appellees nor the dissent disputed it.

How is this testimony in any way insufficient to support the Courts following statement for which it is cited: "While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. See Brief for Sandra Cano et al. as Amici Curiae in No. 05ñ380, pp. 22ñ24. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow. See ibid.

The Court never said that this testimonial evidence measures the percentage of women who undergo abortions and then suffer from psychological problems. Rather, the Court made the unremarkable observation based on this testimony that "some women" suffer from psychological problems.

In sum, both propositions taken to task are supported by evidence and are not rebutted with any evidence. Rather, this written flagellation is meant to distract from the core issue raised by the Court's opinion: Whether a requirement that a mother be shown her child and informed of what will happen to her child during the abortion she is considering can be considered in any way unconstitutional.
 

The idea that abortion is harmful for women certainly did arise in the planning session for Operation Rescue of other such group. This idea has its root going back over 100 years to some of the first American feminists. Writers such as Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton wrote how abortion (which despite all the propaganda from both sides was as common then as it is now) was an instrument of oppression on women.
 

It's self-evidenct and goes without saying that integrated schools hurt the self-esteem of minorities so states have a legitimate reason to segregate the schools.

It's self-evident that the children of interracial relationships are harmed because of a lack of acceptance in society so states have a legitimate reason to ban interracial marriage.
 

This sort of "reasoning" was common in the late 1800s. For example, in US v. Reynolds the Court upheld the law prohibiting polygamy on the ipse dixit that polygamy was fundamentally destructive of civilized society. As the right wing severs even its most tenuous connections with reality, we should expect more such pseudo-factual claims.
 

So that Court employs mythical canonical arguments in its opinions. That seems to be of a piece with the political branches and news media reliance on "some say" mythical canonical facts. Some say they are trying to take over the world.
 

which despite all the propaganda from both sides was as common then as it is now

Yeah, I almost sprayed coke all over my monitor when I read the words "abortion pioneer" applied to someone that was alive in the 20th century.

It's self-evident that the children of interracial relationships are harmed because of a lack of acceptance in society so states have a legitimate reason to ban interracial marriage.

Oooh, I want to play, too! Hmmm, where to start...?

"The family is a sacred loving bond between people, and the government has an obligation to help families stay intact.

No one can doubt that the role of the father is to provide the family with the resources necessary for a good life.

It's self-evident that economic disparity with his peers is a primary cause of stress in fathers, and conflicts over money is a primary factor in divorces, so states have a legitimate reason to reduce his wages to the state average."
 

I would make one further observation which is relevant here. I would expect that a rejoinder to my post may make the argument that the testimony of 180 women about the psychological problems which they experienced as a result of abortion is not a scientific study. This point would be irrelevant.

The Court is applying the rational basis test to this statute (which is also a very important change brought about by this decision). Therefore, any policy reason (even those with which you disagree) which is not completely irrational and arbitrary makes the statute constitutional. It is not required that Congress conduct scientific studies. Rather, testimony such as that offered by these women is more than sufficient to demonstrate that Congress was acting in a rational manner to address a perceived problem.
 

Prof. Balkin [from the post]:

As the Greenhouse piece explains, this new woman-protective component in the Court's jurisprudence consists of at least two parts. The first is an empirical presumption that women choosing abortions regularly suffer "regret," "anguished grief," "profound sorrow," and (as if that weren't enough) "severe depression and loss of esteem."

This is sufficient to allow Congress to ban certain procedures for everyone, but, OTOH, any such "ill effects" suffered by those that are prevented from having abortions are ... mere "convenience".

Cheers,
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Ooops. Should have said "Prof. Lederman", not "Prof. Balkin" in my previous post.

My apologies to both.

Cheers,
 

"This reliance on anecdote and popular myth, rather than on empirical proof, is a troubling development..."

Supreme Court justices need to have seen the whole community of America before they are confirmed. That's why Earl Warren, Hugo Black, and Bill Brennan were discerning and effective jurists. They did not always "get it right," but their decisions were based on a broad knowledge of the reality of American society.

We have seen in Iraq how disastrous and destructive of human lives the decisions of "modern Republicans" in the Bush administration have been. Disastrous decisions on Iraq were made based on a priori reasoning from flawed assumptions, with virtually no knowledge of the true facts about Iraq or about its exceedingly complex system of governance. The early result was stripping from almost all Sunnis their authority and influence, and handing that authority over to Shi'ite politicians all of whom had strong ties to the Iranian regime. Ever since then, Bush & Rice have struggled to put the horse back in the barn (i.e., create a political Sunni counterweight to balance the Shi'ite political groups and militias, all of whom have more affinity for Iran than for the U.S.), but they brought to the process far too little, far too late.

The consequences of judges relying on what they want to think is true, rather than real life facts, can be just as disastrous for constitutional values as the chickenhawks' reliance on what they think war, diplomacy, and political processes should be.

In his decision in the Planned Parenthood case this week, Justice Kennedy adopted a cavalier disregard for "the reality-based community," a disregard for facts (and/or reliance on the false propositions that "everybody" knows are true). The other four justices on the hard right have disdained facts for years. Justices on the hard right are called "modern Republicans" in Mark Tushnet's book A Court Divided. Perhaps Scalia and Thomas (and Roberts and Alito) would be better designated as "loyal Bushies."

Experience in government (Rehnquist, Breyer, Alito, Roberts, Souter, Thomas) or in lobbying for monied interests (Kennedy) or in teaching law students (Ginsberg, Scalia) or in sitting on a U.S. Court of Appeals (all of the above except Rehnquist, O'Conner and Souter--none of them on a District Court) does not provide experience in the real life of the vast majority of Americans.

It is hardly surprising, then, that Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito brought to the court very few analytical tools and "b-- s--" meters other than a priori reasoning from ideological dogmas that had little to do with real life.

Since Justice Thurgood Marshall retired in 1991, Justice O'Conner has been the only justice on the court who has had any breadth of experience of real life in America. She also had a private practice for a few years, in which she undoubtedly did family law cases, and perhaps accident claims, for a suburban clientele that preferred not to travel downtown to get a lawyer. She apparently did not have substantial knowledge of real life in minority communities; if she had, she would probably not have been leading the charge to use the constitution to protect white privilege from minority inroads.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

As discussed above, the appellees have conceded the first contention that women are not informed about the nature of the abortions they are requesting.

No. What is in dispute is the nature and quality of the information, and the prevalence of such. No one can seriously dispute that anyone seeking an abortion doesn't know the essential nature of the procedure, at least on a general level. Well ... ummm ... nevermind, I guess "Bart" can indeed dispute that: "[W]omen are not informed about the nature of the abortions they are requesting".

The pro-abortionists dispute the second contention that ignorance about the abortion procedures cause subsequent psychological harm harm to some of the women who under go abortions, but they offer no contrary evidence. Instead, Professor Lederman offers the following arguments:....

Where have the "pro-abortionists" disputed this? Or are you just making sh*te up here, "Bart"? Certainly, Prof. Lederman doesn't dispute this in his post, yet, you fault him for not producing "contrary evidence".

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

[Prof. Lederman, from the post]: "The assumptions the Court invokes about the effects of abortions upon women are concededly based not on any reliable evidence ("While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon . . . "), but instead merely on anecdotes culled from an amicus brief (the only authority cited)."

How is the testimony of these 180 women in any way unreliable? Neither the appellees nor the dissent disputed it.


From Prof. Lederman's post:

Justice Kennedy cited a brief filed in the case by the Justice Foundation, an anti-abortion group that runs a Web site and telephone help line for women “hurting from abortion.” The brief contained affidavits from 180 such women, describing feelings of shame, guilt and depression.

A bit of self-selection in the sample here? Maybe some undisclosed interests? FWIW, I could put up a web page and get well over a thousand people swearing that they'd seen UFOs too, and in short order.

Note: I don't deny that such could and does occur (and I'd say that having someone thrust a pickled foetus in a jar at you and shouting "You're a baby-killer" might give you a feeling of "shame, guilt and depression").

That doesn't really provide much information on the general prevalence of such, nor does it answer the question of whether such people would have felt happier had they not aborted, nor does it even ask whether some of those that have chosen abortions are happier and more comfortable with the decision they made.

To really look at "the effects of abortions upon women", you need to look at all these things, as well as others. As usual, the answers will vary. There is no "one" effect of the decision to abort on all women. The striking think about "choice" is that it recognises that. Those for whom the procedure or the sequelae would be traumatic are free to not get an abortion.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma has a point (and one I've touched on elsewhere):

The Court is applying the rational basis test to this statute (which is also a very important change brought about by this decision). Therefore, any policy reason (even those with which you disagree) which is not completely irrational and arbitrary makes the statute constitutional.

Yes, as long as Congress is "rational" about something, it's OK, even if they're dead wrong on the facts. Doesn't agree with my idea of "rationality", but then again I thought that Dubya v. Gore was irrational (not to mention dishonest).

Very rarely is a "rational basis" found lacking, and that principally when it's clear that there's a malevolent intent at work (see, e.g., Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center). It's not the "facts", it's the malum et se.

Cheers,
 

We should have a pool on BDP's position on any legal or political issue. Anyone with less than a 100% hit rate would have to take everyone else drinking.

I wonder how long it would take to collect?
 

RandomSequence said...

We should have a pool on BDP's position on any legal or political issue.

LMAO!

That would be fun. You might be surprised. I have some very libertarian views to go along with my hardass views on the military and foreign policy. So be careful in your guesses.
 

Bart,

Yes, libertarian on No-Fly zones and abortion as well. I'm guessing you're libertarianism is limited to drug laws and the minimum wage? And that would surprise me how?

I've rarely met a libertarian who even understood liberty - they're all half-assed philosophers who haven't heard from Nietzche yet (You can guess where the other half of their ass is). Stuck in the 18th century with Fukiyama, Hegel and Marx - nice company. Blech! Libertarianism: How to Make Derrida Look Like a Realist in 3 Easy Steps!
 

RandomSequence said...

Bart, Yes, libertarian on No-Fly zones and abortion as well.

The libertarians are split on abortion like the rest of the country. The basic precept of libertarianism is that the only legitimate laws are those which protect one person from another. Therefore, a libertarian's position on abortion depends on whether you view the unborn child as a person.

I'm guessing you're libertarianism is limited to drug laws and the minimum wage?

You and the rest of the gang need to get together and set up the rules of the contest and the questions before I tip my hand.

I've rarely met a libertarian who even understood liberty...

You have to understand liberty yourself before you can judge others on the subject. It is extremely difficult to find a member of the Party of Government who can comprehend true liberty when they are so busy trying to run other people's lives.
 

Glenn Greenwald seems to be of a libertarian bent, and regular commentator (and sometime guest columnist) Mona over there as well as a number of others are of the libertarian persuasion. None of them agreed with "Bart" on much of anything.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

You have to understand liberty yourself before you can judge others on the subject...

OIC. How many abortions have you had, "Bart"?

... It is extremely difficult to find a member of the Party of Government who can comprehend true liberty when they are so busy trying to run other people's lives....

Hey!!! Don't go dissing the RW Republicans! They sign your paychecks, "Bart"....

Cheers,
 

Just for laughs and giggles, why don't we take the Libertarian's favorite recruiting tool, the World's Smallest Political Quiz. While imperfect, it's concept that our left and right are partially libertarian on different issues is pretty spot on.

I score 90 on the Personal Issues and 80 on the Economic issues.

If they included foreign policy and military views, I would be a lot less libertarian because the true believers among the libertarians think the US should be isolationist and its military should consist mostly of the unorganized armed citizenry. Because I thought this view was hopelessly naive, I became an Elephant.
 

Arne Langsetmo said...

Hey!!! Don't go dissing the RW Republicans! They sign your paychecks, "Bart"....

:::chuckle:::

I guess they must have lost my address. Those checks never seem to arrive.

I doubt many Christian conservatives would like a number of my views. Even so, I think they ought to have a right to say their piece on the public square.
 

Arne:

I find Mona silly. Yes, downright silly. So are most of the posters on her blog. It's just philosophizin' in a eighteenth century style (which may have made sense at that time). I wouldn't throw Glenn in with libertarians, even if he may self-identify that way.

Bart:

I've "comprehended" Libertarian notions of liberty. Childish 18th century constructs that support tyranny-in-fact. The kind of crap that Marx spouted, in his own inimitable way, with just about as much empirical support. Ya know, in the intervening centuries science has been invented. You might try learnin' yourself some, and leaving philosophy to the corpses (like Fukiyama).
 

C'mon guys, go an take the quiz I linked above. I am guessing that most of you fall between liberal and authoritarian.
 

random:

I would guess that your idea of "tyranny in fact" is the fact that liberty also allows people the freedom to fail.
 

Bart, you, (and anyone who agrees with you about almost anything), wouldn't know a true libertarian from a Stalinist. You are just a "true believer" and evangelist and "Vulgar Libertarianism" is but one component of your bizarre and distorted dominionist Christo-Libertarian rhetoric and dogma.



Consequently, he said, the government has a legitimate interest in banning a particularly problematic abortion procedure to prevent women from casually or ill-advisedly making “so grave a choice.”

* * * *

In an article to be published shortly in The University of Illinois Law Review, Professor Siegel traces the migration of the notion of abortion’s harm to women from internal strategy sessions of the anti-abortion movement in the 1990s to the formation of legal arguments and public policy.

* * * *

On his blog, Balkinization, Prof. Jack M. Balkin of Yale Law School defined the message behind what he called the “new paternalism”: “Either a woman is crazy when she undergoes an abortion, or she will become crazy later on.”


Women don't really know what they are doing when the get pregnant and give birth. Either they are crazy when they have sex or they will become crazy after childbirth.

Postpartum depression. It often leads to postpartum abortion, as in Andrea Yates.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

[Arne]: Hey!!! Don't go dissing the RW Republicans! They sign your paychecks, "Bart"....

I guess they must have lost my address....


It's on your web site: "Please see our web site pages providing complimentary DUI Information and a DUI Questionaire". Oooops. Wrong line.

... Those checks never seem to arrive.

Drunks drying up in Colorado Springs? Maybe you ought to branch out into meth defence; hear that's growing in popularity.

Cheers,
 

RandomSequence,

You have a problem with philosophy? Is that's why you are a scientist in a "hard science"? Maybe it's a personal failing. No one here is going to defend Marx on economics. The effects of the Marxian historio-sociological perspective is profund and undeniable. Only a total fool or the positively terrified and frightened deny it's implications. Which one are you?
 

randomsequence:

I find Mona silly. Yes, downright silly. So are most of the posters on her blog....

I've never been there. But she does identify as libertarian (and shows it as well in her posts at Glenn's).

... I wouldn't throw Glenn in with libertarians, even if he may self-identify that way.

He doesn't self-identify that way. This is my observation, FWIW, and I could be wrong. He's definitely not a Randian Capital-"L" Libertarian (way too rational for that). Glenn steadfastly refuses to classify himself politically, but will admit to an abiding fondness for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Cheers,
 

I took the test.

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 50%.
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 80%.

With those scores, it classified me as a centrist, albeit on the edge of the category.
 

It's just philosophizin' in a eighteenth century style (which may have made sense at that time). I wouldn't throw Glenn in with libertarians, even if he may self-identify that way.

You are just a dabbler and a dilletante, like Ayn Rand. As Dorothy Parker once said of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged:

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

You have no clue about Greenwald. Mona is slowly coming around but she was as bad as Bart once.
 

Someone said...
I took the test.


Good for you. You have just proved yourself to be to steps up from a total moron. That is not a test. It's a marketing tool. That makes you something of a tool.
 

If you have a world view beyond your own life, many "advanced" countries are getting so efficent at killing off their offspring that their populations are literally dying off. See the EU, former and current communist countries, Japan and China.

In our own country, we have a baby divide that neatly corresponds to our cultural divide. It turns out that white, rich, secular people are failing to reproduce just like their counterparts in the EU. The further left you go, the more likely you are to be dying out because you refuse to reproduce.
 

Glenn is a libertarian, as in anti-authoritarian.

I'd like to see how he scores on this one:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/
 

Anonymous Bosch said...

Someone said... I took the test.

Good for you. You have just proved yourself to be to steps up from a total moron. That is not a test. It's a marketing tool. That makes you something of a tool.


Sounds like you are afraid to learn something about yourself.
 

In our own country, we have a baby divide that neatly corresponds to our cultural divide. It turns out that white, rich, secular people are failing to reproduce just like their counterparts in the EU. The further left you go, the more likely you are to be dying out because you refuse to reproduce.

Let's see... this sounds exactly like Stalinism and Nazism. I told you he wouldn't know a libertarian from a Stalinist. Let's throw "eugenicist" in for good measure. Bart is one of those, too.
 

Bart,

That is the "Nolan test". Any moron can google it and find out all about it. What they will find out about themselves is how gullible and easily manipulated they are, even though they may be educated and intelligent.
 

Randomsequence trying his/her hand at political philosophy, lol.

Classical liberalism constructs led to tyranny-in-fact? what does that even mean? I'd take two guesses.

The principles of liberalism are actually tyrannical ideas meant to conquer and oppress?
- Lolz

Classical liberalism is somehow responsible for the rise of Nazism?
- One can espouse classical liberal ideals and yet reject Nietzche. He is hardly the inevitable outcome of the enlightenment.


Lol, an appeal to science. Yah, that's what Marx tried (well, more his followers). And, we all know how that ended up. Oh wait, they didn't really try, so maybe next time. yeah...
 

Anonymous Bosch said...

http://www.politicalcompass.org/

This is a ridiculous quiz in which every question is slanted hard left. According to this "predictor," this warmonger libertarian has joined arne as an authoritarian leftist.
 

Bosch: The effects of the Marxian historio-sociological perspective is profund and undeniable. Only a total fool or the positively terrified and frightened deny it's implications. Which one are you?

Yes, and it's also pre-scientific gibberish. A good starting point, I think we'd agree - just like Hume is a good starting point and Rousseau. But to stay there? That's both foolish and terrified simultaneously.

Philosophy reached the end of most of it's useful life by the mid-nineteenth century. To keep at it now is like continuing with Aristotelean astronomy - historically cute, but basically just a creative anachronism.

And please, save the "dilettante" insults. Who here isn't a dilettante? It's the internet - I'm not publishing this in a peer reviewed journal.

I have no clue about Glenn? Was I even insulting him, or were you so enraged by my commentary on philosophy or Marx that you lost all reading comprehension?

And the Ayn Rand comment? I don't think you even understood what I was saying - Rand is exactly the kind of "philosophizin'" that I find repugnant. Utter bs, without the redeeming feature of time.
 

Right, Bart. Your assertion that up is down and right is left is just so convincing that I have decided go against the grain and get splinters in my ass like you and the 30% of Americans that have convinced the entire world we are all crazy.


The "World's Smallest Political Quiz".

"The Quiz", as it is popularly known, is a carefully planned piece of recruiting propaganda. It qualifies people not as libertarians, but as people susceptible to becoming libertarians (a MUCH larger class, containing people of many different viewpoints.)

It was David Freidman who said "there may be two libertarians someplace who agree on something but he's not one of them".
 

Utter bs, without the redeeming feature of time.

I was trying to be polite, but I could have said that, too.
 

Anonymous Bosch said...

BD: In our own country, we have a baby divide that neatly corresponds to our cultural divide. It turns out that white, rich, secular people are failing to reproduce just like their counterparts in the EU. The further left you go, the more likely you are to be dying out because you refuse to reproduce.

Let's see... this sounds exactly like Stalinism and Nazism. I told you he wouldn't know a libertarian from a Stalinist. Let's throw "eugenicist" in for good measure. Bart is one of those, too.


Huh?

No one is forcing you leftists to kill your children and/or opt out of reproducing. This is completely a matter of your choices in life. It is up to you to decide whether to continue on this path to extinction.
 

Anonymous Bosch said...

It was David Freidman who said "there may be two libertarians someplace who agree on something but he's not one of them".

He is not too far off. Generic libertarians or more accurately classical liberals may make up about 10-15% of today's population. The anarchist wing of that group makes up less than a percent.

I have never cared if I was in any majority. Common wisdom is usually wrong.
 

It is up to you to decide whether to continue on this path to extinction.

Bart sounds like a Nazi.

Maybe RandomSequence can help. He's a scientist.
 

Bart,

Your act gets really boring. And your friends lack your talent for, and dedication to, the material, which needs updating.
 

Someone:

Ah, once again the ahistorical, atemporal resort to "Classical Liberalism" as if nothing has changed in two centuries. As if a reasonable political settlement for an agrarian society is applicable to urban industrialism. The naiveté is almost cute, wrapped up in big words like that.

Yes, introspection will lead us to truth! Personal experience and anecdotes are sufficient to get at deep structure! That's how we do physics, biology and economics. By sitting in our armchairs and thinking hard, like 18th century blowhard aristocrats!

And no, someone, Marx doesn't count as a scientist, anymore than Adam Smith. Smart guys, on to something with the little hard data available. But where are the mathematics? None of it stands up to 20th century scrutiny, much less today. That's the dead past, and those men would laugh at you for worshipping them like demi-gods. They'd be the first ones to agree that their works were just early scribblings, and that most of their "followers" were tools and fools.

But I know, you subscribe to the simple-minded dichotomy of positive and negative liberty, of the mutterings of tenured old fools who produce political propaganda under the guise of philosophy. Blech, and double Blech.

Philosophy is what leads to tyranny, you young fool. Idealisms without substance; religion by another name. We've known since the '30's that logic, by itself, tells you nothing - that there are an infinite number of consistent logics. That philosophy (except in a very constrained set of cases) takes you, literally, nowhere. So please enter the twentieth century, and leave your Foucault at the door.
 

Random,

Please tell me what contributions the 20th century has made to a better understanding. But, please don't tell me your answer is science or deconstructionism or some other nonsense. (not that science is nonesense is and of itself, but it unfortunately can only provides "truths" in a limited field)
 

Bosch: Bart sounds like a Nazi.

Maybe RandomSequence can help. He's a scientist.


Fuck you, and the troll you rode in on. You can take your idealisms, and shove 'em right where you produced 'em. That was uncalled for and deeply, personally, offensive. On top of being mind-numbingly stupid, as stupid as playing the dialectic after von Neumann.
 

someone,

I'm simply flabbergasted. Have you missed control theory/cybernetics, anthropology, ecology, economics (real, hard economics), equilibrium systems, non-equilibrium systems, Godel, physics, evolutionary biology, and on and on and on?

Really? Sorry, can't give you what your university failed at, on a comment board. I mean, you've got some reading to do. About ten years worth.
 

Fuck you, and the troll you rode in on. You can take your idealisms, and shove 'em right where you produced 'em. That was uncalled for and deeply, personally, offensive. On top of being mind-numbingly stupid, as stupid as playing the dialectic after von Neumann.

Correction: RandomSequence is a very touchy, hypersensitive scientist. I hope he's not a "loner" like the Unabomber. I suppose he could still go off and barricade himself in a campus building and effect a mass shooting. Even Bart has a thicker skin than that.
 

The vast majority of what you mention are scientific areas. They do little to posit the principles by which we should structure our lives or our government. Yes, they all do provide pieces to better understanding. (I should have rephrased my earlier question.) But the philosophical ideas that have emerged aren't very meritworthy.
 

Anonymous Bosch:

I'd like to see how he scores on this one:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/


I'm way down in the "libertarian left" (I even out-Gandhi'd my hero Gandhi) which should surprise exactly no one except "Bart". I was a classic "liberal" in "Bart"'s tiny quiz (which misses the authoritarian aspects of today's "Republicanism" that are covered better in your quiz). I don't have a lot of respect for corporations, for reasons that ought to be obvious to anyone who's been payng attention.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

This is a ridiculous quiz in which every question is slanted hard left. According to this "predictor," this warmonger libertarian has joined arne as an authoritarian leftist.

Sorry, nope, you're on your own there. But colour me unsurprised that you're up there.

Cheers,
 

Anonymous Bosch:

["Bart"]: In our own country, we have a baby divide that neatly corresponds to our cultural divide. It turns out that white, rich, secular people are failing to reproduce just like their counterparts in the EU. The further left you go, the more likely you are to be dying out because you refuse to reproduce.

Let's see... this sounds exactly like Stalinism and Nazism. I told you he wouldn't know a libertarian from a Stalinist. Let's throw "eugenicist" in for good measure. Bart is one of those, too.


Indeed. He wouldn't see it if you hit him with a 2x4 with it pasted on the business end, though. Probably agrees with the Pioneer Fund and the likes of Jared Taylor (his comments on marriage were eerily like Taylor's) and J. Phillipe Rushton as well.

Which makes his bringing up -- and criticism of -- Sanger all the more hypocritical and misguided.

Cheers,
 

Random,

Godwin's Law was suspended and repealed long ago as a direct result of the current GOP, Neoconservatism, the Bush presidency and "movement conservatism". Perhaps you just hadn't heard.

This is how one properly responds to comparisons to Nazism. With facts, not "fuck yous".

It should be noted that no sensible person would find any credible relationship between Margaret Sanger and Nazism.

The fact is Bart's plea for "more white babies" is analagous to the S.S. Lebensborn program and eerily similar to a period in Stalinist Russia when all abortions were banned for similar reasons.
 

"Bart" DePalma unwittingly shows his true colours:

[Anonymous Bosch]: Let's see... this sounds exactly like Stalinism and Nazism. I told you he wouldn't know a libertarian from a Stalinist. Let's throw "eugenicist" in for good measure. Bart is one of those, too.

Huh?

No one is forcing you leftists to kill your children and/or opt out of reproducing. This is completely a matter of your choices in life. It is up to you to decide whether to continue on this path to extinction.


Anyone catch the underlying assumption here? <*DING* *DING*> Anyone hear a bell [curve]?

"Bart" nominally eschews the policy but holds the "science" dear.... That's why Anonymous Bosch was right above ... and why "Bart"'s denouncement of Sanger was so ironic (outside of his counterfactual assertion that Sanger was an "abortion pioneer", a false statement he still has not retracted).

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

He is not too far off. Generic libertarians or more accurately classical liberals may make up about 10-15% of today's population. The anarchist wing of that group makes up less than a percent.

Misspelling. I think you meant "genetic" (see above). No charge.

Cheers,
 

Anonymous Bosch and RandomSequence:

Maybe RandomSequence can help. He's a scientist.

Cool it, you two (and I refuse to point fingers).

Cheers,
 

Someone:

Please tell me what contributions the 20th century has made to a better understanding. But, please don't tell me your answer is science or deconstructionism or some other nonsense. (not that science is nonesense is and of itself, but it unfortunately can only provides "truths" in a limited field)

You mean like in paces that actually matter? Like my visit to the doctor's office or my flight to Singapore next month?

Let's ask the inverse: What contributions have not been made by the 20th century? Your stack against mine.

FWIW, I would acknowledge that "[we] have seen so far because [we] have stood on the shoulders of giants." But that hardly explains that pace at which the horizon has expanded recently.

Cheers,
 

Arne... Cool it, you two (and I refuse to point fingers).

I think he already pointed a finger... upwards. I took it as a raised white flag. Heh.

;-)
 

Anonymous Bosch:

I think he already pointed a finger... upwards. I took it as a raised white flag. Heh.

Good. It's settled then. Kiss and make up. I think you two are not nearly as far apart as you might have thought momentarily there on the things that matter (and see, e.g., the agreement on Rand). Sometimes twigs snap, and if we don't pay attention and take care, we end up shoting at one another unnecessarily.

Cheers,
 

Bosh,

You imputed Nazism without any foundation. Godwin's law has not been repealed - the boundaries may have shifted, but to use that as a simple slur is simply put, disgusting. You can bandy about fascism without the same repercussion of ten years ago or authoritarianism. But Nazism? Gandhi is ashamed of you - deeply.

I've slung some at Bart. But never have I called him a Nazi - fascist-leaning, yes, authoritarian, yes; but I believe those to be accurate, and have factually argued them. But Nazi - that's still out of bounds. You can't bandy about accusations of genocidal intent and expect a reasoned response. None is deserved.

Are you accusing me of being for the murder of millions? Are you accusing me industrial-style genocide? Are you accusing me of supporting racial supremacy, or the enslavement of continents? Where is your evidence?

Or are you just using Nazi as a dirty word? That is what offends me. If you are, this goes beyond shame on you. That is simply revolting to reduce the epochal act of evil of the twentieth century to a naughty word. You get more than a big finger from me for that.

You want to try some holocaust denial on for size? Would that give you the giggles also?
 

If you have a world view beyond your own life, many "advanced" countries are getting so efficent at killing off their offspring that their populations are literally dying off. See the EU, former and current communist countries, Japan and China.

In our own country, we have a baby divide that neatly corresponds to our cultural divide. It turns out that white, rich, secular people are failing to reproduce just like their counterparts in the EU. The further left you go, the more likely you are to be dying out because you refuse to reproduce.


Be careful there, Bart. This and your previous comments on Margaret Sanger are taking you in a direction you have wisely declined to go in the past -- delegitimizing contraception as well as abortion. (Because we need more of "us" to serve as cannon fodder against "them.")
 

The vast majority of what you mention are scientific areas. They do little to posit the principles by which we should structure our lives or our government. Yes, they all do provide pieces to better understanding. (I should have rephrased my earlier question.) But the philosophical ideas that have emerged aren't very meritworthy.

Science has greatly changed the way we live our lives. Antibiotics, sanitation, transportation; I could go on and on. All these have had a very positive impact on social organization (including "the principles by which we structure our lives and government") whether we've changed "philosophy" or not. I don't see how you can separate the two.

As for progress in government, the spread of democracy during the 20th C was dramatic. Compare the number of real democracies in 1900 to those of today. Compare freedoms -- not just political freedoms but social ones like freedom from hunger as well -- and the progress will seem even more dramatic. Don't limit your analysis to Europe; much of the real progress has been in Latin America and Asia.

As for philosophy, we've come to realize that a good part of it (metaphysics in particular) is a failed project. Science is the best route to truth we have. Progress consists in abandoning the tired dogmas of the past.

Finally, it's always difficult to recognize fundamental changes in outlook at the time their happening. We identify and categorize mostly in hindsight. As Hegel said poetically, "The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the dusk."
 

someone: The vast majority of what you mention are scientific areas. They do little to posit the principles by which we should structure our lives or our government. Yes, they all do provide pieces to better understanding. (I should have rephrased my earlier question.) But the philosophical ideas that have emerged aren't very meritworthy.

Are you serious? Have you read the material? If you take Adam Smith seriously, how much more game theory and Von Neumann? If you take Rousseau seriously, how much more Bateson and Rappaport? If you take Ricardo seriously, how much more George Akerlof?

And you can't tell me that Goedel's theorem isn't the most significant breakthrough in philosophy since Plato. My God, the very nature of thought depends on the uniqueness/multiplicity of logic, the nature of self-consistency and the power of logical systems.

How can you argue politics at all, much less philosophy, without taking into account Chomsky's studies into the deep structure of language? How can you discuss the nature of man without accounting for our evolutionary biology? How can you even speak of mind without Wiener's work in cybernetics? How can you speak of democracy without the serious work that's been done across the globe on it over the last century - what do you think the authors on this blog are working on? Or all the work on international systems, from the '40's on?

How can you discuss abortion without knowing about neurodevelopment and the myelinization of the human brain? How can you talk about democracy without taking into account the studies on manipulation in elections (back to Goedel again)?

Why do you think Wittgenstein abandoned his first principles approach from Russell, and made his philosophy the philosophy of limits?

Even in history we've made unbelievable strides. How can you talk about the Bible without referencing Gilgamesh? How can you talk about civilization without considering the development of Sumeria, Egypt, China, the Maya, the Incas and all their predecessors. Have you read Jared Diamond?

And we haven't even gotten to the ecology of systems, the nature of non-equilibrium systems and how those mathematics apply to societies, what we've learned from studying parasitism which is directly applicable to information systems (such as human societies), metastability...

Then on to physics - cosmology, relativity and quantum physics: they absolutely change our position in the world. Try to read Max Tegmark's TOE, and see if that doesn't blow your mind on the very essence of being a self-aware entity.

Someone, what the hell are you talking about?
 

You imputed Nazism without any foundation. Godwin's law has not been repealed

Godwin's Law is an internet joke and you are accusing me of mputation "without any foundation"? If any one is on shaky ground here, it is you.

One does not need to be an actual Nazi, adulating Hitler and goosestepping around in jackboots sporting a skull and crossbones insignia and a Sam Brown Belt to warrant the comparison. As Greg Erwin said "... As long as you continue to tar social democracy with all the crimes of communism, I feel equally entitled to tar the free market with the crimes of slavery, segregation, colonialism and genocide; piss me off and I'll add fascism and the Nazis."

It's not that you have pissed me off. I just have little tolerance for your arrogant scientism,
hypersensitivity and emotionalism. I find it quite an amusing amalgam. I suggest you just take your medication and calm down. Better living through chemistry.
 

It's not that you have pissed me off. I just have little tolerance for your arrogant scientism,
hypersensitivity and emotionalism.


And I have little tolerance for pseudo-coolness. You can take your repression and shove it. You wanna throw bombs and then claim that I should speak calmly? Well I call bullshit on that.

You're the one who over-reacted to a comment on Marx's pseudo-scientifism as an attack on "Social Democracy" and threw out a heated "Nazi!", not I.

Do you even get the joke of Godwin's law? Do you want me to explain it to you, and why your accusations of "emotionalism" are kinda over the top?

Let's see what you say here:
'...piss me off and I'll add fascism and the Nazis."

It's not that you have pissed me off. '

What a more dishonest example of emotionalism! Claiming a justification of being pissed off, but by quoting a third party, and then reversing yourself to saying that it's just humorous! A three-year old can do better than that, has less psychological transparency and a more sophisticated handling of language and sophistry.

I guess you are a philosopher, then. Just not a tenured one.
 

Random,

Wow. Just, wow.

I would like to thank you, Arne, Bosch, Mark, and Balkin for this string. This is why I come here, and UT, and Digby.

And, strangely enough, supporting roles to Bart & Someone, who provided enough stale, dry chips to fuel the fires of the rhetoric.
 

Mark Field said...

I know Mark was a member of L5. Founding member, was it? Did you know that John Derbyshire of NRO is a New Mysterian? What would Robert Anton Wilson say? What would Carlos Castaneda say? Did you catch this last week in Salon.com?

The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda

RandomSequence: Name dropper.
 

MF,
"The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the dusk."

A tip of the hat to you on that. I retract any blanket statements on Hegel.
 

Kibosh,

Well, how else do you do a citation? I didn't want to go full out and give a reference list - but "Someone" could use at least a little help on doing his homework.

"The man without a worthy adversary is lost, indeed"
Lao Tzu
 

"Do you even get the joke of Godwin's law?"


The one about it being an experiment in memetics?

No. Explain it to us... without dropping so many names.
 

I guess you are a philosopher, then. Just not a tenured one.

No. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. And there was the class I took with Douglas Hofstadter.
 

Hofstadter: mathematician. I wouldn't call him a philosopher, I kind of like his popularizations. And the ones I've read are always grounded in the actual math of the matter, about mathematically accessible subjects. But if you slept in a Holiday Inn last night, who am I to doubt you?

You know why the Godwin meme is attractive? What it's fit to the ecosystem is, beyond simply cutting the noise level? Under what conditions people cry out "Nazi!" inappropriately?

It doesn't give people the giggles because it's an experimental meme. Ontology and epistemology are quite distinct.
 

Anonymous Bosch:

No. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. And there was the class I took with Douglas Hofstadter.

And IANAL. But I also stayed at a Holiday Inn last light. Guess I'll pack my bags and leave.

Seriously though, everyone's welcome to the party (and a big three cheers [with the obligatory brewski] to Jack for that). And everyone, in their own way, has something to contribute (even, as Fraud Guy puts it, "the stale, dry chips" to fuel the fire). Warmth!

Cheers!
 

I know Mark was a member of L5. Founding member, was it?

I wasn't in on the organizing of the Society, but I was a member very early on.

Did you know that John Derbyshire of NRO is a New Mysterian? What would Robert Anton Wilson say? What would Carlos Castaneda say? Did you catch this last week in Salon.com?

The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda


I read that about Derbyshire just recently. Is it really true?

I read Castaneda (the first couple of books, anyway) when his books first came out. I found him interesting as anthropology, but never took him seriously otherwise. Turns out, he wasn't even that. Similar to the way The Tao of Physics is very pretty but we musn't call it physics. Ah, the 60s.
 

MF,

CC is actually very interesting as anthropology. Just not as anthropology of the Yaqui!
 

Science and technology as the next progenitor of utopia? I seem to recall hearing that before with respect to making war so ugly it would be unthinkable. Was it Maxim and his machine gun or do I need to check into a Holiday Inn? Even Fukuyama is having second thoughts about "The End of History," and saying "Wait! That's not what I meant. You missunderstood me. Don't look at me. I'm not responsible for this mess!"

The next attempted 1000 Year Reich will even be better than the last at pulling the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting masses. It will employ all the tricks of the dictators, demagogues and "social movements" of the past, and a few new ones, that have worked so well throughout history, until they failed, as they seem predisposed to do, whether they be the propaganda techniques or the political tricks employed by Nazis or Stalinists, and they will make use of the latest technologies and and they won't be shy about using them for ill or bending and perverting science to their will to acheive their goals. The ultimate goals and methods are ausually the same and they usually think they are in the best interests of everyone concerned, not just themselves. Personally, I think it will be the Scientologists next. Keep your eye on them. It's not hard to do, you can catch most of them at your local movie theater. What varies are things like populations targeted for genocidal action and methods for acheiving that. At this point, we have mastered the "let them kill each other" method. Ingenious! Perhaps I should have said Bart sounded like a White Supremacist or a member of The Christian Identity movement, but what's really the difference? They continually rename themselves with this euphemism or that, but it's always based on the same fear that comes from the recognition of one very stark fact: White Europeans are a minority, and as a matter of fact indisputable by the historical record, we have not always been very nice to the rest of the world. That's Bart's version of "white guilt". So Bart sounds like a Nazi or whatever sometimes. He also sounds like a Jacobin. Most neocons do.
 

Mark... I read that about Derbyshire just recently. Is it really true?

Apparently so, Mark. He's been reported to have acknowledged this publicly. Given "The Derb's" "level of consciousness," if I may wax new New Agey, and his previous dabbling in Christianity (which he didn't get either), I'd say he is making progress. Slowly, but progress none the less. Let's face it, he was never going to become a Thomas Merton following the baby Jesus. This was the closest he will ever come to enlightenment in this life.

Hilzoy had some fun with them all today.
 

Science and technology as the next progenitor of utopia?

No, but it would be hard to argue that advances like sanitation and antibiotics haven't made the world a better place.

Hilzoy had some fun with them all today.

Hilzoy is great.
 

Bosh: Science and technology as the next progenitor of utopia? I seem to recall hearing that before with respect to making war so ugly it would be unthinkable. Was it Maxim and his machine gun or do I need to check into a Holiday Inn? Even Fukuyama is having second thoughts about "The End of History," and saying "Wait! That's not what I meant. You missunderstood me. Don't look at me. I'm not responsible for this mess!"

Who claimed that science would bring utopia? Quote please. But science is the only reliable method of knowing. It's the only system we have for mapping formalisms on external sense experience. If we are going to improve anything, it's the only methodology we have.

Yeah, the problem is exactly what we've seen from the Fukiyama's of the world. They mutter into their beard, out of their own intuition without any hard facts, without any real formalisms - just verbal arguments they pulled out of their ass. Outside of arguments on the nature of knowledge, and the structure of science, all we get from philosophy is exactly what goes in: GIGO.

How could science promise utopia? Science can not play in nonsense words that just happen to sound nice, words like utopia, consciousness, or soul, even if a few buffoons happen to try. The place for philosophy is to tell science not to dabble in nonsense. But new information can only be produced by actively engaging the world - an impossibility for closed systems of logic
 

Enlightened Layperson said...

BD: In our own country, we have a baby divide that neatly corresponds to our cultural divide. It turns out that white, rich, secular people are failing to reproduce just like their counterparts in the EU. The further left you go, the more likely you are to be dying out because you refuse to reproduce.

Be careful there, Bart. This and your previous comments on Margaret Sanger are taking you in a direction you have wisely declined to go in the past -- delegitimizing contraception as well as abortion. (Because we need more of "us" to serve as cannon fodder against "them.")


I have no problem with contraception. The ability to time reproduction is a wonderful advance in science. However, the choice not to reproduce by using contraception or abortion is simply species suicide. This is the first time in history where a civilization has chosen to die out by its own free will.

Ben Wattenberg first raised alarms about this trend in 1987 in his book the Birth Dearth and was ridiculed by the overpopulation crowd and the feminists.

A year or two ago, the problem became so obvious that the Economist headlined an article about how Europe is literally dying off.

Last year, Mark Steyn wrote America Alone, which examined the implications of Europeans dying off and being replaced by a wave of Islamic immigration which is reproducing at a far higher rate. As usual, Steyn was over the top on a number of points, but his base argument that demography is destiny is indisputable.

European civilization and its transplants in America and elsewhere is arguably the most successful culture since ancient Greece turned back the Persians. However, there is now a very real and legitimate question whether that civilization will die off from lack of members over the next two generations and be replaced.

Calling those who point out the obvious "Nazis" and "Fascists" does not change the stark facts.

It is more than a little amazing to me that the western world is engaged in the fantasy of apocalyptic man made global warming when their civilization itself is in literal mortal danger. You have to wonder if such an unserious and self absorbed civilization deserves to survive.
 

"Bart" DePalma makes it clear:

However, the choice not to reproduce by using contraception or abortion is simply species suicide. This is the first time in history where a civilization has chosen to die out by its own free will.

...

A year or two ago, the problem became so obvious that the Economist headlined an article about how Europe is literally dying off.

Last year, Mark Steyn wrote America Alone, which examined the implications of Europeans dying off and being replaced by a wave of Islamic immigration which is reproducing at a far higher rate. As usual, Steyn was over the top on a number of points, but his base argument that demography is destiny is indisputable.


Note the bolded stuff. Yep, "Bart"'s not a Nazi (at least nominally), but he's right there with the CCC (nee KKK).

So "Europeans" are a "species". Which makes this "wave of Islam" ... well, not human, I guess.

Then there's the "problmem". I'm sure if we give hime enough time, "Bart" won't just recognise the "problem", but he'll have a final solution at hand too. Keep tuned to this station, folks!

Cheers,
 

I have to say that Bart's notion that culture is equal to blood is "entertaining" in a horror movie sort of way. Let's play a game: list the names of the most influential individuals of the last century, and their number of offspring.

Bart, always fighting the last war. In this case, it's the American frontier war, and he doesn't want to be the Indians. Unfortunately for him, fecundity is just one small element of historical influence, as he so ably points out with his Greek/Persian comparison.
 

Oh, and I just realized I missed one of the Bartman's implications: that Latin Americans are somehow "non-Western". I guess some are more equal than others...
 

Mark... No, but it would be hard to argue that advances like sanitation and antibiotics haven't made the world a better place.

I agree that advances in science and technology make changes in the way we live. Some changes are unforseen. Anti-biotics can be abused leading to stronger and drug resistant strains of bacteria...

Sanitation? Did the earth become cleaner before or after we became civilized? I really got a kick out of this when I came across it.

Housework and Fleas: How to do Evolutionary Psychology properly

Cable and Satellite TV and Pizza delivery? That's civilization!
 

Well, it is pretty clear that the branch of western civilization represented by the last few posts deserves to die off of its own accord. The self absorption is amazing.
 

DePalma... Well, it is pretty clear that the branch of western civilization represented by the last few posts deserves to die off of its own accord.

Yes, Bart. That would leave this branch, (the crazy wingnut Bircher branch) and you.

Right-wing blogs discover massive conspiracy to hide WMDs in Iraq

Fat chance. But it does mean we'll all die laughing our asses off at you on our way to hell in a handbasket.
 

I believe that Bart intended his last comment to be:

--Well, it is pretty clear that the branch of western civilization represented by the last few posts (inclusive) deserves to die off of its own accord. The self absorption is amazing.--
 

What's truly amasing is that "Bart" turns out to be an opponent of abortion like Margaret Sanger, and an even stronger advocate of "eugenics" (ensuring that the proper people are propagating) than Sanger. And "Bart" claims to be in favour of her life's work, contraception. Yet, he bad-mouthed her a while back.

But if "Bart" were ever to allow that Sanger's on his side, his buddies would send him off to camp for three weeks for "reparative therapy". Such is the total absence of facts for the RW. And it's why we are where we are.

"Bart", you gonna do the honest thing and apologise for your slur on Sanger and retract your statement? I doubt it.

Cheers,
 

Arne Langsetmo said...

What's truly amasing is that "Bart" turns out to be an opponent of abortion like Margaret Sanger, and an even stronger advocate of "eugenics" (ensuring that the proper people are propagating) than Sanger. And "Bart" claims to be in favour of her life's work, contraception. Yet, he bad-mouthed her a while back.

You are setting new records - three lies in one paragraph.

1) Sanger opposed abortion early in her life and changed her position later. Sanger: "The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

2) Noting that you leftists are dying out is hardly the same as calling for your forced sterilization.

3) I criticized your girl Sanger for her calls for forced birth control including forced sterilization of those she considered "unfit," including the poor. I did not criticize her for calling for the legalization of birth control.

While we are chatting about Sanger, her solution for the the lack of births among you rich secular white folks (the problem I raised) was to call for the forced sterilization of the poor, the mentally disabled and criminals. You do not seem to have a problem with this proposition. Perhaps you agree?
 

"Bart" DePalma:

[Arne]: What's truly amasing is that "Bart" turns out to be an opponent of abortion like Margaret Sanger, and an even stronger advocate of "eugenics" (ensuring that the proper people are propagating) than Sanger. And "Bart" claims to be in favour of her life's work, contraception. Yet, he bad-mouthed her a while back.

You are setting new records - three lies in one paragraph.


Nope.

1) Sanger opposed abortion early in her life and changed her position later. Sanger: "The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

Cite? More of this out-of-context, selective quotation of yours (I'd note that as a bare quote, what you've quoted here suggests that she was supportive of general infanticide, which makes it sound rather dubious)? Or is it just on the same level as accusing Sanger of being an "abortion pioneer"?

2) Noting that you leftists are dying out is hardly the same as calling for your forced sterilization.

"Bart": What's clear here is that it is you that are showing some concern, and giving explicit credence (by citing some "neo-eugenicists") to the folks that are complaining that "Europeans" (and Western 'civilization') were going to be swamped by the "Islamic" horde:

"Bart" [from above]:

"Ben Wattenberg first raised alarms about this trend in 1987 in his book the Birth Dearth and was ridiculed by the overpopulation crowd and the feminists.

A year or two ago, the problem became so obvious that the Economist headlined an article about how Europe is literally dying off.

Last year, Mark Steyn wrote America Alone, which examined the implications of Europeans dying off and being replaced by a wave of Islamic immigration which is reproducing at a far higher rate. As usual, Steyn was over the top on a number of points, but his base argument that demography is destiny is indisputable.


You'll find similar concerns with the CCC (nee KKK), home of such fine Republicans as Lott and Barr.

These are your 'authorities', "Bart", not mine. Don't try and tell me who's got the eugenics sympathies here. I note for the record that believing in eugenics doesn't mandate forced sterilisation. It's present in all its glory in calls for increased breeding of the 'right kind of people' as well, not to mention the underlying insidious assumption that "right" breeds "right", and that there are genetically "right" and "wrong" people. If that ugliness is lost on you, "Bart", it's because you're just a freaking racist.

3) I criticized your girl Sanger for her calls for forced birth control including forced sterilization of those she considered "unfit," including the poor....

I note the condescending "your girl". You're a first class azo, "Bart".

Where did she call for forced sterilisation? None of the even selectively culled quotes you dredged up.

... I did not criticize her for calling for the legalization of birth control.

Nor did I say you did, you blithering moron. I said, if you had a gram of reading comprehension, that you agreed with her here, and then pointed out that this was incongruous with your implicit claims that she was second only to Satan.

<*SHEESH*>

While we are chatting about Sanger, her solution for the the lack of births among you rich secular white folks (the problem I raised) was to call for the forced sterilization of the poor, the mentally disabled and criminals. You do not seem to have a problem with this proposition. Perhaps you agree?

You've proffered no quotes for this. I'd note (as did HB) that not only was sterilisation of the mentally disabled advocated generally at that time ("Three generations of imbeciles are enough", in case you don't recall), but pricatised, and that Sanger's Planned Parenthood was not an organisation arguing for such, nor did their clinics do such.

Cheers,
 

To the non-trolls: please do not feed them.

To the proprietor: consider comment deletion.

To the trolls: any time either of you stalwarts wants to speak to someone whom this law affects, drop me a line. Forewarned: you will have to speak on the phone to an actual woman to whom depressingly abysmal things have happened.

I strongly recommend a bit of research here.

[Drops pin.]

I thought so.

Lackwits.
 

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