Friday, May 13, 2011

Abortion and ideology

Mike Adams below bases his argument on Christian assumptions which I as an atheist do not share. I too find abortion abhorrent however so am broadly on the same side. In the absence of religious assumptions, however, I don't take a "no abortions at all" position. Human societies never have. Babies conceived through rape, for instance, have always been treated as properly aborted. So the important question for most people is where do you draw the line. I set out my views on that here
“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question of whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of its life. And that is nothing but murder.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Over the course of the last two weeks I have had conversations with two men who claim to be conservative but who also steadfastly defend a woman’s right to choose abortion. In both cases, the self-proclaimed conservative asserted that the government has no right to tell a woman what to do with “her” body. One went so far as to say that a government that could outlaw abortion could also re-institute slavery.

Support for a so-called constitutional right to abortion is completely at odds with conservatism. In fact, when you hear a “conservative” claiming to support abortion rights you can be certain that the individual simply does not understand basic conservative principles. In all likelihood the pro-abortion-choice “conservative” adopts the label because of self-interest. Perhaps he makes good money and does not want to pay high taxes. What makes a person human does not necessarily make him conservative.

When you suspect you are talking to a pseudo-conservative there are usually two questions you can ask that will either confirm or disconfirm your suspicions immediately.

First and foremost, it is important to ask the self-proclaimed conservative the following: “Do you believe in the inherent ‘goodness’ or ‘perfectibility’ of mankind.” If you hear a “yes” you are talking to a liberal. If you hear “Did you mean to say ‘person-kind’?” you are talking to a feminist. (So end the conversation as quickly as possible!).

If you hear the right answer to question one, you can move on to question two: “Does man get his rights from other men?” If you hear a “yes” you are talking to a liberal. If you hear “Did you mean to say ‘persons’” you are still talking to a feminist. (I thought I told you to end the conversation as quickly as possible!).

Roe v. Wade was (and is) a deeply flawed ruling because it is predicated upon the notion that man can grant rights to man not granted to him by God. The distinction between the first, second, and third trimesters was not based upon any long-standing legal doctrine. Nor was it based upon solid and reliable medical evidence. It was simply based upon identity politics.

Harry Blackmun, author of the majority opinion in Roe, once said “I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” That was from his opinion in a death penalty case. But Blackmun also said that our “Constitution compels abortion on demand.” That basic human rights should be assigned in such an arbitrary manner does lend credence to Blackmun’s characterizations – made in a different context - of the Justices as “eccentrics” and “prima donnas.”

The authors of our Declaration of Independence - as well as the Framers of our Constitution – had a very different view of the origin and assignment of basic human rights. Lest we forget:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights - that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness - To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”

Medical technology has come a long way since 1973. It has told us what we knew in our hearts all along; namely, that abortion, regardless of the trimester in which it is performed, constitutes a deprivation of life initiated by our Creator.

Ultrasound technology allows us a better view of the target of the procedure known as abortion. It takes little intelligence to understand that something that is moving (and growing) is indeed alive. Technology also shows us that a new heart is beating within a month of conception. Surgical abortions are not even performed until 6 to 7 weeks into the pregnancy.

This issue is important as the conservative movement seeks in future elections to make inroads among blacks, Hispanics, and younger voters. It is important because all three of these groups have something in common: They are clearly pro-life on the issue of abortion.

Younger voters are moving in the direction of life simply because they are the first generation to grow up with basic access to and familiarity with ultrasound technology. With the help of this younger generation, which now responds to opinion polls, the country passed the 50% mark in opposition to abortion just two years ago.

So it would be politically disastrous for the conservative movement to compromise on abortion. We are in the enviable position of being out in front on an issue that is consistent with both our political goals and our deeply held principles. Leave it to the opposition to argue that men have endowed us with an unalienable right to stop a beating heart.


Censored! British bikini advert blacked out with spray paint by 'Muslim extremists who object to women in swimsuits'

She is supposed to be advertising a sexy bikini. But instead the model on this poster, in Birmingham, has been defaced in an act of vandalism blamed on militant Muslims who were offended by her flesh.

Similar acts of vandalism have been carried out in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Police there also believe extremists are responsible.

The advert, which promotes a £3.99 bikini top from high-street fashion retailer H&M, a scantily-dressed model stands on a sun-kissed, white sand beach.

The freestanding advertising unit, stands in the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham, which has a large Muslim population.

Across the road from 'Muslim Students House Masjeed', an education centre, the poster is next to a busy main road.

The fact that almost all of the model's flesh has been covered has led local residents to speculate that the vandalism was not random, but a religiously-motivated targetted attack.

Delivery driver Robert Tonkins, 45, said: "You see a lot of women wearing the hijab around here, and what's been done to that poster looks very similar to it.

'I don't think it's just kids messing around - they've spray-painted specific areas and covered up anything that might be offensive to very religious people.

'It's a bit worrying, I don't think it's up to other people to decide what can and can't be displayed on our streets, especially because we're a Christian country.'


The race card is so last century

Can we please stop playing the race card? Yes, racism still exists in America, and it’s appropriate to call a racist a racist when he or she actually is one. But this game of preemptively shutting down all political discussion by slapping the race card in someone’s face is getting both boring and embarrassing.

Calling someone a racist for merely disagreeing with something relating to Barack Obama is lazy at best and just plain stupid at worst.

First, it’s blatantly inaccurate. Barack Obama is the son of a black father and a white mother. That means anyone slapping the race card on you for disagreeing with him is playing with half a deck. to be accurate, he would have to call you a "Half Racist," a charge that would show him up as the halfwit that he is.

Second, playing the race card is so Twentieth Century. Only doddering old political geezers like Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson and long-in-the-tooth sideline liberals like Letterman still play the race card. They’ve been doing it so long they just don’t know any better. It’s like your senile old grandfather calling you "hippy" or "toker."

We can forgive cranky old people and aging race-baiters with a shrug or a snicker or an eye roll and a politely muttered "Yeah, right" before getting on with our lives.

Contemporaries who still try to play the old worn out race game at embarrassingly inappropriate times should be firmly but gently chastised for their childish behavior. All they’re really doing is just showing off their liberal creds to each other like birds puffing up their breast colors to attract attention.

When a libertarian points out that Obama is a statist and one of his worshippers responds by calling you "racist!" you should just smirk, shake your head in annoyance and say "Fail." If he tries to respond say "Epic fail" and walk away.

Of course the poor race-player may be a politico-geek, unaware of the online meaning of the word, but then that’s pretty much the point. Don’t go all defensive over false accusations; let the Race Case go all defensive. But be careful. "Fail" is rapidly becoming a clichĂ© too. "Fail" is so last Tuesday.


Australian public broadcaster makes no secret of bias

Gavin Atkins

FOLLOWING the recent anti-carbon tax protests, the editor of The Drum, the ABC's opinion website, contacted me looking to commission an article.

Jonathan Green had first gone to Twitter to try to find someone to write a story from the perspective of the carbon tax protesters but come up empty.

He eventually tracked me down, but it's telling that none of his regular contributors or 7000 Twitter followers could help him accommodate the views held by 60 per cent of Australians. I suspect the reason he was so keen to get the story is once my article had appeared he was off the hook.

The ABC opinion website is not compelled by editorial policies to demonstrate any form of balance but merely to provide a "range of subjects from a diversity of perspectives".

At The Drum, one conservative opinion is all it requires to legitimise a dozen from the Left. Take, for example, the death of Osama bin Laden. Since his death, Drum readers have been provided with pretty much the same opinion every day from a total of nine writers: it was an extrajudiciary killing; the US was working outside the rule of law; celebrations of his death were disgraceful.

One of these writers, Greg Barns, went so far as to appear on The Drum's television show to express doubt that bin Laden was responsible for 9/11.

Two contributors were eventually published wishing good riddance to bad rubbish, enough for the ABC to claim it has provided a diversity of perspectives, and publish another brace of tales from the hand-wringers.

But it is ridiculous to assert, as the ABC's chief executive Mark Scott did following the launch of the ABC's editorial policies in 2006, that this fulfils an expectation that "audiences must not be able to reasonably conclude that the ABC has taken an editorial stand on matters of contention and public debate".

The real measure of bias at The Drum is not the range of opinion, it's the frequency. Until the end of last month, 98 writers had been published eight or more times at The Drum, producing a total of 1880 articles. Only eight of these contributors (one in 12) would pass muster as being on the right of the political spectrum: Glenn Milne, David Barnett, Chris Berg, Kevin Donnelly, Tom Switzer, John Hewson, Niki Savva and Sinclair Davidson.

Of these, Milne is first and foremost a journalist rather than an opinion writer, Hewson rarely expresses any conservative viewpoint, and others are specialists in areas such as education or economics rather than political issues of the day.

This means, for example, that of all the writers who are given a regular platform on the ABC website, I could find only four articles that were in some way supportive of Israel and none in favour of the war in Afghanistan.

By comparison, there are dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Afghan war pieces on the taxpayer-funded website, most of them accusatory and damning. For example, there are at least nine anti-Israel articles by Antony Loewenstein alone, 12 anti-Afghanistan war rants by Kellie Tranter, and many more from Labor Party speechwriter Bob Ellis scattered among his 110 contributions

Similarly, among the regular contributors to The Drum, there have been more than 20 articles critical of farmers on the Murray-Darling Basin, and none that I can find in support.

A few people were unearthed to write from the point of view of the farmers, so the ABC may now claim to have shown a range of perspectives but, like me, the editor would have had to search for them, and there will be no plans for these people to contribute again to The Drum any time soon.

Compared with a tally of at least 50 stories sympathetic to the plight of asylum-seekers, there does not appear to be a single article from one of the top 98 contributors advocating the border protection policies of the Coalition.

When asylum-seekers drowned at Christmas Island, there were no conservatives available at The Drum to question the policies that lured them here in the first place, only the usual queue of regulars writing from their default setting of confected moral indignation.

Think of just about any other issue that divides the Right and Left - say, David Hicks, nuclear energy or the National Broadband Network - and you will find reams of left-leaning group-think at The Drum. Thanks to its regular writers, this bias is structural and predictable. But it doesn't stop there. The Drum has started up a Twitter round-up on ABC online while question time is on in the House of Representatives. These efforts by a clubby group of left-leaning journalists, have been dominated by Green's former workmates at the Crikey website, including Green himself and Crikey contributors.

While the ABC's internet sites attract more than 25 million hits a month, a big concern is all of this frivolous online activity appears to be distracting our public broadcaster from giving us the news. The ABC is coy about exactly how much we are paying contributors to The Drum, saying only that the innovations division of which it is a part cost taxpayers nearly $10 million last financial year.

In the meantime, significant problems with the ABC's news have been exposed. ABC News 24 missed most of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on the day it occurred and ABC1 failed to cut into regular programming as the news broke about bin Laden.

Now here's a radical idea: if the ABC concentrated on giving us the news instead of this online puffery, it could help solve two problems at once.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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