Archive for September, 2009

Those Oppressive Fetuses!

September 25, 2009

UPDATE: Many thanks to Adam for pointing out this link from factcheck.org about the czars.  It turns out that the real situation is a bit more complicated than I represented in the original version of this post.  I apologize for not doing my homework on this and admit that I was relying on information I had received exclusively from right-wing commentators. 

It turns out that Cass Sunstein was confirmed by the Senate, though by a narrow margin.  So I cannot say that Obama appointed him with no restraints whatsoever, and at this point I am unsure whether Congress has any oversight with regard to Mr. Sunstein.  But nothing I have seen causes me to doubt that he is a left-wing radical with regard to the question of abortion, and this fits precisely with what I have seen from Obama to this point.  I remain convinced that we have a president who considers abortion not just a lamentable necessity, but a positive good for society. 

I have eliminated most of the original version of the post and changed the title so as to correct my previous mistakes. 

***************************

Obama has appointed a team of czars who are fringe leftists.  This leads me to believe (though I have never really doubted it) that Obama himself is a fringe leftist who happens to portray himself as something else. 

Take Cass Sunstein, for example, the current regulatory czar.  In his 1993 book The Partial Constitution, Sunstein wrote the following about abortion:

A restriction on access to abortion turns women’s reproductive capacities into something to be used by fetuses. … Legal and social control of women’s sexual and reproductive capacities has been a principal historical source of sexual inequality.

I have argued before that the pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy is actually more like a spectrum of views.  And this is about as far left as you can go on the spectrum.  This man actually claims that any restriction on access to abortion makes women susceptible to being “used” by fetuses. 

If only we could rid the world of those oppressive fetuses who go around using women as a way of sustaining patriarchy.  Oh wait, we can!  That’s right.  Abortion is the weapon of righteousness in the hands of oppressed women who can fight off these oppressive fetuses who are only seeking to use them for their own selfish ends.  Rise up, women of the world!  May you never be deterred from the righteous cause of killing off your oppressors, those wretched fetuses!

This is a far cry from the old Democrat party line: “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.”  Democrats used to say that kind of thing, claiming to lament the reality of abortion while acknowledging its necessity.  But the Obama administration apparently believes otherwise.  For Obama and those in his mold, abortion is not a lamentable necessity.  It is a positive good. 

**********************************

UPDATE #2: I was just thinking last night how ironic it is that Sunstein would speak of fetuses “using” the reproductive capacities of women, as though fetuses could make a conscious choice.  Doesn’t that attribute willpower to a fetus, which in turn implies that a fetus is more than a clump of cells but actually a person?  If Sunstein is serious about this argument, then it would represent a major revision of the pro-choice position.  Until now, pro-choicers have argued that it is okay to kill fetuses because they are not persons.  Is Sunstein perhaps suggesting that fetuses are indeed persons, but it is okay to kill them in self-defense?  Ironically, Ronald Reagan once actually made this (very bad) argument, but ONLY with respect to babies that were conceived as the product of rape.  Reagan said women who had been raped could terminate their pregnancies in self-defense, since their bodies had been unwillingly invaded by another person (or persons, meaning both the rapist and his offspring).  Sunstein apparently believes that any woman, no matter what the situation of conception, has the right to defend herself against the intruder who has entered her body.

I don’t particularly like either view, but Reagan’s is a lot better.  If we lived in a country where Reagan’s view prevailed, abortion would actually be rare, which is what Democrats used to claim that they wanted.

My Take on the Joe Wilson Incident

September 16, 2009

In a nutshell, here is what I think about what Joe Wilson did and the aftermath of the incident:

(1) The propositional content of Wilson’s outburst is factually correct.  I do believe President Obama lies regularly.  With regard to this healthcare proposal, we all know what will happen if Congress fails (or, as has been the case so far, explicitly refuses) to insert language that prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving government-funded health insurance.  Government programs are like kudzu: if measures are not taken to contain them, they go all over the place.  I have difficulty believing that the President honestly believes otherwise, so all of his promises about illegals not being covered do appear to be misrepresentations of what he knows to be true.  Ergo, Joe Wilson was factually correct.

(2) Nevertheless, it is possible to be factually correct and still be in the wrong.  Joe Wilson is in the wrong.  There are times and places to criticize the President, but heckling him in the middle of a speech to Congress is unacceptable. 

(3) Wilson’s behavior since the incident offers me little encouragement about his own personal character.  On the one hand, he called the White House to apologize, but on the other hand, he is capitalizing on his new found fame as the voice of conservative anger.  He is trying to eat his cake and have it.  Mr. Wilson, a real apology entails an acknowledgement that you were in the wrong.  But if, after you have apologized to the President, you go around bowing to conservatives who are proud of your sinful incivility, then you obviously really don’t believe you were ever in the wrong.  You should either apologize or dig in your heels (and I would recommend the former).  It is a bit hypocritical to try to do both, depending on who is listening.