This Weekend In Pro-Abortion Ethics

SCOTUS protest

Let’s examine this by categories….

Warped Concepts of How the System Works: Yet another Women’s March, like all of them, misleadingly labeled to avoid the ugly transparency that “March to be Able to Kill the Unborn at Will” would broadcast, ended up at the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday. Thousands traveled to Washington, D.C. to demand abortion rights, as if the Supreme Court decides complex issues according to who shouts the loudest, is most passionate, or has the coolest signs. Demonstrators surrounded the court,shouting “My body, my choice” and cheering loudly to the beat of drums.

Morons. These assaults on the Curt have driven me mad for decades, as what they demonstrate is that difficult matters of law, precedent and policy can be decided by slogans and the incoherent bellows from a mob. It’s an insult to the Court, the Constitution, and the system. If you have a valid argument, file an amicus brief. These demonstrations, and it doesn’t matter what their goal is our which side of the ideological spectrum they come from, waste time, energy, passion and taxpayer funds. Is the idea intimidation? Good luck with that. Persuasion? Sure, a bunch of screaming and weeping activists are going to persuade anyone but TV talking heads. Narcissistic grandstanding?

There you go.

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Having To Argue The Obvious On Gender Identity: “Trans”

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it’s not as catchy as “Bias makes you stupid, ” but “Ideology makes you unethical” is just as true. However, just as bias is unavoidable, ideologies of some kind are necessary. The trick is to find one that doesn’t do more harm than good.

The diagram above was explained to me by a friend, fan and boss, the late Richard Halpern. He was a devotee of Chaos Theory, which he called his “religion.’ Life is chaos, he said, and human systems were chaotic. He likened living to a passenger plane’s journey through the endlessly unpredictable air currents and weather phenomenon in the skies. He analogized the plane’s guidance system to a linear constant through chaos, without which, Rich said, the plane would be lost. “No plane follows the charted path the whole trip, because it is constantly knocked off course, but that constant is there for the plane to return to. Ideologies are the same: you have to have that ever-present constant or be lost, with no basis for deciding where to turn, and when you’re navigating through chaos, it really doesn’t matter what it is.

This is why religion is so useful, and all mandated value systems, what Ethics Alarms defines as “morality.” Laws are mandated moral codes, You don’t have to make a million separate decisions, just one: Follow that constant! The constant can be repugnant to others or based on myth and bias, but once someone commits to it, it will do the job. This is where cults come from. This is how Amway became successful. This is why people elevate political and social goals to the point that all of their decisions about who to associate with, what to watch and read and how to align priorities are based on them. Abortion. The environment. “Social justice.”

A new book by Helen Joyce, an Irish journalist who is executive editor for events business of “The Economist,” takes on one of the weirder ideologies that has arisen in recent years, what she calls “gender-identity ideology.” It would be nice if she were a psychiatrist, or a doctor, but then those and most other professional groups in the United States have been so cowed into knee-jerk alliance with the progressive movement that any member of them daring to challenge the cant would face “cancellation.” Her book is titled “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.” To be fair, that title could be fairly and accurately adapted to any ideology; remember that neo-conservative icon Irving Kristol (yes, Bill’s dad) famously said that a conservative was “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” (A cynic is a neo-conservative who was mugged by Iraq.)

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Friday Ethics Wars, 9/17/21: More Harvard Craziness, Woolly Mammoth Ethics, And The Importance Of Hiring A Competent Hitman

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1. Fair Harvard, you continue to be an embarrassment. This is a candidate to make it into my “why I’m boycotting my reunion” note for the Class book: Giang Nguyen, executive director of Harvard University Health Services, sent a campus-wide memo telling students to follow these rules while eating and socializing in the dining halls. (I learned more eating in the dining halls and in late night snack sessions than I did in my classes):

“Eating and drinking together are a cornerstone of human social interaction, but there are ways to interact that minimize the time spent unmasked and in close proximity,” Nguyen wrote.

Among his requests to students:

  • Follow the “Quick Sip Rule” when drinking. Lower your mask, take a sip, and then promptly cover your mouth and nose. A straw can make this more efficient.
  • Do not linger with your mask down. If you wish to slowly savor a hot beverage, do it away from others.
  • Consume and cover! Consume your meal and immediately mask up when done.
  • Conversation, checking your phone, and other activities should be masked, even when you are in a designated indoor dining area.
  • If you are taking your time between bites (for conversation, for example), put your mask back on.
  • Dine in small parties of 2-to-4 people.
  • Avoid table-hopping.
  • Consider dining consistently with the same small group of people rather than a different group at every meal of the day.
  • Keep your close contacts to a minimum.
  • Limit each interaction to under 15 minutes.
  • Plan events that don’t involve eating, drinking, or removal of masks

My advice to the author of such a “request” were I a student today: “Bite me. Then put your mask on.” Harvard has a 94 percent vaccination rate among its students. As of this week, its test positivity rate is 0.18 percent.

2. Fake Woolly Mammoth ethics. This article managed to go on at great length about how a new company is planning to “de-extinctify” Wooly Mammoths and start new herds in Siberia as if it all made perfect sense. They’ve fooled private investors into giving them $15 million for the project: this is a scam, whether they know it or not. As far as the Times piece goes, it rates an ethics foul for never once mentioning “Jurassic Park.” Come to think of it, the article should have mentioned “The Producers.” Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, explains just how absurd the project is:

“What they are doing is making a genetically modified Asian elephant by inserting into its genome a maximum of sixty mammoth genes that they think differentiate the modern species from the extinct one: genes that involve hairiness, cold tolerance, amount of fat, and so on. What they’d get would be a genetic chimera, an almost entirely Asian elephant but one that is hairier, chunkier, and more tolerant of cold. That is NOT a woolly mammoth, nor would it behave like a woolly mammoth, for they’re not inserting behavior genes…Further, a lot of other genes differ between a mammoth and an Asian elephant. What guarantee is there that the inserted mammoth genes would be expressed correctly, or even work at all in concert with the Asian elephant developmental system? But it gets worse. Since you can’t implant a transgenic embryo into an elephant mom (we don’t know how to do that, and we would get just one or two chances), [the group] has this bright idea…’make an artificial mammoth uterus lined with uterine tissue grown from stem cells.’

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“Is We Getting Dummer?” Based On The Mainstream News Media’s Propaganda On The Texas Heartbeat Law, We Is, And That’s What They Want

Texas law hysteria

Op-eds that make American dumber shouldn’t be published. There is an op-ed in today’s New York Times by Jamelle Bouie, adding another fact-free rant to the current freak-out over the so-called Texas freak-out law. Bouie chooses to repeat a theme of his from other columns, that the case proves that the Supreme Court “has too much power.” Bouie was first spotted by Ethics Alarms as Slate’s resident race-baiter, a job at which he was embarrassingly bad. Naturally, this qualified him to be added to the New York Times stable of socialists, fantasists and Trump-Deranged fanatics, since one incompetent and biased black columnist (Charles M. Blow) wasn’t enough in these times of “diversity and inclusion.”

Bouie, on the topic of the Supreme Court, literally (which I mean literally) doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is not a lawyer, and if he ever read a whole Supreme Court decision (or had someone knowledgeable explain one to him), I’ve seen no evidence. of it. Guess which of the (incompetent) dissents to the SCOTUS majority decision not to suspend the Texas law when there is no procedural precedent for doing so. Come on, guess! Why Sonia Sotomayor, speaking of “diversity and inclusion,” of course. She was a cynical choice for the Court by Barack Obama, using approximately the same identity-based standards that made Kamala Harris Vice-President.

Non-lawyers love to quote Sotomayor, because she seldom makes legal arguments, just emotional ones. “The court has rewarded the state’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation,” she wrote this time, in a snippet being repeated by other pro-abortion hysterics. That’s because the Court doesn’t strike down unconstitutional laws until the government tries to enforce them. What Bouie cites as an example of the Court having too much power is in fact proof that its power is limited.

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Yet Another Texas Abortion Law Freakout Friday Comment Of The Day…

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If only someone had killed them first!

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist, given the upcoming commentary.)

I figure if every time Still Spartan graces us with a comment it gets Comment of the Day status, maybe she’ll weigh in more often.

I agree with almost nothing in her post (other than that the Texas law is bonkers and that it will be struck down, contrary to the bleating of the pro-abortion hysterics), but it’s a provocative and well-written opinion.

Here is Still Spartan’s Comment of the Day, which I hereby decree to be on the relevant post, “Texas’s Clever Anti-Abortion Law.” And I wrestled with myself and lost—at the end, I will re-post my original comment to it.

***

“A quick internet search informs me that there are over 400,000 unwanted or neglected children living in foster care in the United States right now. Why do we want policies creating more unwanted and/or neglected children? Pro life advocates are quick to point out that there are people lined up take newborns, but yet they don’t seem to want the over 400,000 children who are desperate for homes right now. They also don’t seem to want babies born with special medical needs who often end up in foster care.

No one seems to care that most girls and women who seek abortions do so out of desperation: poverty, abuse, fear. I have never met a woman who celebrated the fact that she had one, but I have met many who were grateful that it was available — either for one of the reasons I listed above or because of a birth control failure. All of these women I know went on to have children with partners at a later time, when they were financially able to care for a child and were in a safe and stable relationship. If the initial abortion had not happened, their lives most likely would have gone down a different path and these other children would have never come into being — children who have the benefit of a stable and loving home.

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Texas Abortion Law Freakout Friday Continues: Psaki And Althouse

Psaki

I. Psaki

The exchange yesterday that Biden White House paid liar Jen Psaki had with reporter Owen Jensen, of the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN), a Catholic news organization, raises this conundrum: if there is persuasive ethical argument for abortion and abortion advocates have been defending Roe v. Wade for half a century, why are they so bad at it?

“Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?” the reporter asked. It’s a fair question, of course, and one that Joe Biden has (badly) tap-danced around for decades, claiming that he accepts the teachings of his church but refuses to impose his religious beliefs on others. This means, of course, that he believes abortion is murder but advocates it anyway. It is not a serious, honest or ethical position.

Psaki’s answer, as many of her answers do, ducked the question, saying that the President “believes that it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice.” It’s a woman’s right to kill a human being? That is what Psaki is saying Biden believes, if he is as faithful as he claims. Typical of her ilk, her answer pretends that the only issue is the woman’s body and rights. Then Jensen asked who Biden thinks “should look out for the unborn child?” That is also a fair question, since Psaki’s answer was a Jumbo: “Unbornd child? What unborn child?”

Her next answer was worse:

“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you’ve never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing.”

An unborn child is either a life, or it isn’t. Biden’s faith states that it is. Despite that, the President believes that a woman can magically make a life a non-life by choosing to do so, along with her doctor How does that work, Jen? Then she stoops to the “men have no right to have a position on abortion” cheat, which would be unnecessary if she had a reasoned, persuasive defense of abortion beyond “Roe v. Wade says it’s a right, so it’s a right.”

No, Jensen’s never been pregnant (but he could be, Biden’s trans constituency should remind her), but he has been a fetus, and so has Psaki. Thus both should recognize the importance of the fetus’s right to exist.

Ah, but the moral and ethical dilemma posed by an unwanted pregnancy is difficult, Jen says. Yes, it’s difficult. Difficulty is not an argument for taking an innocent life. Is this the best a devoted abortion advocate can do under focused questioning? Apparently it is, at least when the advocate is as incompetent as Psaki. Was Sean Spicer really any worse than this hack? I don’t see how, except that he was working for President Trump.

II. Althouse

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Ethics Quiz: Shock Therapy For The Disabled

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Here is an issue from July that I never had time to write about…

In a 2-1 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a Federal the ban on the use of electric shock devices to modify destructive or otherwise problematic behavior by students with intellectual disabilities. The Food and Drug Administration sought to prohibit the devices in March 2020, saying that delivering shocks to students presents “an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.” The court ruled, however that the ban was a regulation of the practice of medicine, which is beyond the FDA’s authority.

The now banned ban only affected a single school, the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts. It is the only facility in the United States that employs the shock devices to correct self-harming or aggressive behavior. The center serves and houses both children and adults with intellectual disabilities or behavioral, emotional or psychiatric problems.

What ethics approach do we use to assess such a practice?

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/18/2021: Terrible Ideas, Past, Present, And Future


1. Gee, I’m surprised CNN didn’t give him Don Lemon’s old show…Over the weekend, Adeel Raja, a CNN contributor in Pakistan, tweeted, “The world today needs a Hitler.” Raja has repeatedly praised Hitler for trying to exterminate the Jews. During the Wold Cup in soccer, he said that he was rooting for Germany in the final against Argentina because “Hitler was a German and he did good with those jews!” (Actually, there may be more old Nazis in Argentina than Germany, but that’s quibbling.)

Last week’s tweet was deleted (Twitter did not suspend his account; after all, he’s not a Republican or President of the United States). Raja had 54 articles published under his byline at CNNbetween September 1, 2014, and September 15, 2020, all focusing on Pakistani news. CNN apparently didn’t mind relying on an open anti-Semite for news analysis until the latest tweet caused the issue to be raised.

After initially saying that it didn’t recognize Raja’s name, CNN released a statement that “he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity.”

2. The latest strategy in the Left’s plot to keep American masked forever. By “Left” I also mean “the news media,” since they are virtually identical. Digression: Judge Silberman’s brave and accurate confirmation of this provoked fear and horror among the AUC. I wrote about it here, but in case you missed it, here is his entire dissent in a recent libel case. He wrote in part,

“It should be borne in mind that the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, particularly the delivery of news. It is fair to conclude, therefore, that one-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy. “[The New York Times and the Washington Post ] are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets. And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the same direction…Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet.”

USA Today, a lesser trumpet to be sure, more like a kazoo, gave us this:

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A Powerful Anti-Abortion Message From A Disgraced And Cancelled Messenger

Back before it was all discarded to elect a serial harasser and accused rapist President, #MeToo saw to it that comic Louis C.K. was condemned to wander in the metaphorical wilderness for a particularly disgusting variety of harassment. He is indeed what is clinically defined as a “sick fuck,” but C.K. is intelligent and perceptive too. If anyone is listening, he is capable of conveying wisdom beyond “don’t masturbate in front of female colleagues who you have invited up to your hotel room.”

The clip above is from 2018, I think, when a post-cancellation Louis extolled in grand (if vulgar) terms the wonder of life, and how even the worst lives were a marvel. (The Thornton Wilder classic “Our Town” carries the same message, and I’m sure it is on the verge of being cancelled too, since it is about, yechh, white people. Actually it is about all people, but never mind, that won’t save it.)

And I found myself thinking, as I listened to C.K.’s routine on the radio yesterday by purest happenstance, how can anyone ethically deny life, this gift, this wonder, to another human being who would have it without outside interference, for any reason other than literal survival. Those invalid reasons include, “I have a legal right to do it,” as well as “that future life will interfere with my career,” and “it’s just not convenient right now.”

Tales Of The Great Stupid: Wow…Who Could Have Seen THIS Coming?

Children are being bombarded by media and social media propaganda asserting that a vast number of people are trapped in bodies having the “wrong” sex organs, and celebrating the “T’s in the LGBTQ+ interest-group-of-convenience as the cool new martyrs. Thus an increasing number of these children convince their woke and irresponsible parents, and doctors who would rather be politically correct than “do no harm,” to divert their fates from the natural biological path to something else, because everybody is doing it, or everybody is saying it’s the right thing to do. It shouldn’t take much to figure out this is a terrible trend based on terrible reasoning, but there are so many such trends and ideas flourishing now that it’s hard to bat them all away.

And so we have the case of 23-year-old Keira Bell in Great Britain, who is suing a National Health Service gender clinic that she says should have challenged her decision to transition to male as a teenager. A tomboy as a child, Keira says her determination to switch gender gradually built up as she found out more about transitioning online, and “one step led to another.”

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