About Texas or, Why the Vote Wasn’t About Women’s Rights

Photo from the Christian Science Monitor

Photo from the Christian Science Monitor

The Texas legislature may or may not have passed a bill that restricted abortions (they actually didn’t pass it), but regardless of how you feel on the situation, we must remember that abortion is not about women’s rights. At least, abortion is no more about women’s rights than slavery was about property ownership. Prior to the emancipation of slaves in the United States, owners made multiple arguments that they had a right to property. Thus, they were able to frame the debate away from the humanity of the slaves and onto their own rights as property owners. And no one would or could argue that property owners have a right to do with their property as they wish; but that right doesn’t extend to another person because a person cannot be property.

Likewise, with abortion, no one would argue that women can’t do what they want to their bodies. This is why we don’t have lawmakers attempting to pass laws against women wearing make up, getting tattoos, wearing pants, and so on. While there may be some who hold onto vestiges of patriarchy, the core issue for the pro-life movement isn’t trying to place restrictions on women, it’s trying to protect human life. Thus, Wendy Davis is not a hero, she wasn’t “brave” in what she did (“brave” is highly overused; how is it brave to stand with the majority or to stand when there are literally no consequences to your stance?). Rather than seeking to protect human life, she instead focused on protecting property rights and laying claim to another human as property.

At the same time, we shouldn’t celebrate the legislature that brought forth the bill because the bill itself failed to truly be pro-life. While I am all for restricting abortions, I do think we have an obligation as a society to offer up alternatives to mothers who seek an abortion. The child being born has no choice in the welfare of his mother or what she can or cannot provide. As the child is an innocent member of our society from the moment of conception, we owe it to the child to protect her. This means that any bill that seeks to restrict abortions should also increase funding for pre-natal care and post-natal care. I would go so far as to say that we should provide daycare to mothers who choose not to adopt, but need a job or need to go back to school. Being pro-life means more than being against abortion, it means actually valuing the dignity of life. It makes no sense to respect human dignity on one hand and call for an end to abortion, but then adopt some type of Ayn Rand belief that we’re all on our own and only the strongest will survive. Restricting abortions and then restricting aid isn’t pro-life because it looks to inhibit life.

To quote something I wrote a while back:

I would argue that people on both sides of the abortion debate tend to unnecessarily complicate the issue, adding in aspects that, while emotionally relevant, are morally irrelevant. For instance, that some women may face psychological trauma from having an abortion is tragic, but it’s not an argument against the immorality of abortion. Likewise, that the outlawing of abortions of a non-emergency nature may lead some women to seek back alley abortions does not change whether or not abortion is morally right or wrong. Both objections tug at the emotions of the person rather than the intellect; but being human means we reason through our intellect and seek to suppress our emotions, especially in difficult matters.

With the above in mind, the abortion issue isn’t actually all that complicated; rather, it boils down to a few simple issue.

First, is the fetus a human being (i.e. can we give the scientific classification of homo sapien to the fetus)? If not, then what objection is there to abortion? If so, then we must move on to another set of questions. I would argue that scientifically we have no reason not to classify the fetus as a homo sapien: The fetus (really, the zygote) has a unique genetic code, is independent of the mother (the fetus relies on the mother, but is not a part of the mother in the same way a toe or an arm is a part of the mother), is already an individual, has an autonomous body, and so on. From a scientific perspective there’s little ground to say that a fetus is not a member of the human race (not to mention how problematic it is to say that a fetus becomes a human, as though humans could produce something that is non-human, yet autonomous and living).

Thus, if a fetus is a human, we move onto the second part of the issue, which is whether or not humans have innate value or if value is earned. If value is earned then we must establish a certain criteria for what it means to have value (that is, what it is to have rights, specifically the right to live). Of course, such a criteria must be non-arbitrary, lest we say that those with freckles are not humans of value or something similar. Thus, the criteria would have to be universally applicable. I would contend that such a criteria can only be universally applicable when it states that value is innate to human nature and not something earned. To argue otherwise always borders on special pleading and generally creates an arbitrary standard for what it means to be a person of value.

With the second point in mind, we are left with a third issue to face; if the fetus is a human being who has rights, do those rights (specifically the right to life) hold sway over the mother’s right to her body, which the fetus is using? That seems to be the main issue concerning the philosophical debate surrounding abortion. The question really is, “Does our location determine our rights, specifically if that location hinders or inhibits another human being?” If our location does matter, then we must see if that can be applied to the abortion debate. If our location has no correlation to our rights, then where is the argument for abortion?

When we sit down and think about it, the abortion debate really boils down to those three issues. While there might be some complexities within those issues, the abortion issue itself is not “complex.” It’s really a matter of answering three questions. Furthermore, answering those three questions goes beyond one-liners and slogans that are better suited for protest rallies, but requires deep thinking; after all, this is a very important issue. If abortion is morally wrong, meaning it is the taking of an innocent human life, then our government is allowing a moral atrocity by allowing abortion. If, on the other hand, there is nothing morally wrong with abortion, then those who speak out against it are unwittingly attempting to rob women of their rights.

What is going on in Texas isn’t about women’s rights. It’s about what rights do human beings have. If the fetus is not a human or if we do not have innate human rights, then by all means, a woman has every right to an abortion. But if a fetus is a human being and humans do have innate rights (primarily the right to life), then a woman (or a man) does not have the right to willfully terminate an innocent human being.

A Brief Thought Experiment or, Homosexuality and Abortion in the Same Post, Oh Boy

DSC01794As I’ve been quite busy and I’m spending more time writing my series on Virtue Capitalism, I was thinking today, which is dangerous. I was looking at how sometimes we can hold highly inconsistent views, or at least a hierarchy of views. Two very hot-button cultural issues tend to be homosexuality and abortion; nothing provides a strong line between what constitutes a liberal and what constitutes a conservative than these two issues. So I want to compose a very simple thought-experiment that will hopefully show how we are inconsistent with our views. Keep in mind that thought-experiments test our ethics in situations that most likely will not happen. So debating on the specifics or saying, “Well that could never happen!” doesn’t get one out of a thought experiment.

Imagine that later this year, scientists discover a gene or biological function that causes homosexuality. They find that this development occurs in utero and can through tests can be discovered in utero. Thus, we discover absolute evidence that our biological composition dictates who we’re attracted to.

With this in mind, a semi-religious family discovers their unborn child will grow up as a homosexual. Not wanting to deal with a gay child they decide it’s best to just abort the child. A judge intervenes and attempts to stop the abortion, saying that what the parents are doing is akin to genocide. Would you still support the parent’s right to abort their child even if the sole reason for the abortion is they just don’t want to raise a homosexual?

Alternatively, to those who lean more pro-choice, but believe homosexuality is a sin, would you still side with the judge, arguing that all humans have a right to life? Would you still be pro-life and defend the life of this unborn child even though you knew he would grow up to be a homosexual?

My hope is that this will force some people to face their beliefs head-on. If we can kill a fetus because we don’t like who that fetus will become, then the only moral boundary between killing that fetus and a child of the same disposition is a womb; as many pro-choice philosophers have argued, such a line is arbitrary. Likewise, if we would defend the life of this child even if we believe his homosexuality will be sinful, then why do we hold homosexuals in such contempt today? Why do we ignore the persecution and violence they undergo? If we value their lives in the womb, why would we disdain their lives outside of the womb?

As I said, this is a thought experiment for people to wrestle with, so I offer no grand narrative on how we should react. My only hope is that you’re truly challenged by it and forced to rethink some positions.

Gosnell and the Dilemma of Abortion

DrKermitGosnellIn Peter Kreeft’s book The Unaborted Socrates, Kreeft imagines what it would be like for Socrates to come into the modern day and speak to a defender of abortion. What questions would Socrates ask? Would he approve or disapprove of the answers given? But one exchange in there is quite potent:

Herrod: “Well, there is no way a philosopher is dangerous in our time.”

Socrates: “That is indeed a tragic commentary on your time.”

The reality is that those who discuss the big ideas and pass these ideas onto untrained and flabby young minds in college have quite an impact on this world. The Gosnell abortion case in Philadelphia is proof that what we think and say can and does have dangerous consequences.

Though the USA Today and Wall Street Journal (as well as a few other media outlets) have given limited coverage to the Gosnell case, for the most part it has been ignored. The Boston Bombing, which killed three people and injured numerous others, has received non-stop coverage as did the Dover shooting last December. Yet, here we have a man who is responsible for killing hundreds of infants as well as a few women and the media has little to nothing to say. Why is this?

Philosophical Justification

Before looking at the motives of the media in doing little to cover this horrific event, we must first recognize that Gosnell’s actions are actually consistent with most pro-choice arguments, on both the popular and academic level.

Even in 1972, the ethicist Michael Tooley argued in a peer-reviewed paper that abortion and infanticide were both justified because the human fetus or infant did not meet the conditions for a “right to life”. As recently as 2012, philosophers were publishing papers defending infanticide because infants lacked the proper qualities to claim a right to life. The most famous proponent of infanticide, Peter Singer, even acted like the 2012 article was “nothing new” and pointed out that philosophers have for a long time failed to see any moral differences between fetuses and infants.

These are not fringe academics writing for fringe journals. Rather, these are well-respected academics at well-respected institutions writing for well-respected medical and ethical journals. These aren’t the guys who sit on the outliers of the pro-choice movement, but rather are the brains behind the arguments. And they see nothing wrong with killing a newborn infant.

The argument behind such thinking is that humans, as a species, are not endowed with the right to life. Hardly anyone argues that a fetus is not human; after all, such an argument is scientifically ignorant. A fetus has a unique genetic code, not to mention that two of the same species cannot mate and produce another species. If two cats mate, they necessarily produce another cat. If two humans mate, they necessarily produce another human (if conception occurs). From the moment of conception, a fetus is a human being, just in the early stage of human biological development. The philosophical argument does not focus on the humanity of the individual, but instead on the personhood of the individual.

Thus, our rights are not located in our biology, but in our psychology. Simply being human does not grant one the right to life; one must also be a person. It is hard to argue that infants are persons; after all, the earliest infants cannot even recognize themselves in a mirror. If they cannot do what other higher primates can do, how can we justify their right to life? Many pro-life advocates attempt to argue that an infant and even a fetus are persons, just in different stages of personhood, but this seems like a difficult argument to make. After all, the opponents like Singer and others argue that personhood is something you do, not something you are, that is, being a person is not a state of being, but an act of being.

The Dilemma of Personhood

What pro-infanticide advocates run into with their line of argumentation is that they’ve created a dilemma for themselves, and either horn of the dilemma they take they end up on unstable ground. Essentially, if personhood is an act of being as opposed to a state of being, if one must obtain personhood and meet certain criteria for being a person, what non-arbitrary standard exist to determine what is and is not a person?

Singer and others typically point to self-consciousness, that when a being is self-conscious that being has a type of personhood. This also explains why Singer and others demand rights for some animals because some animals have shown signs of being self-conscious, albeit at a lower rational level than adult humans. So long as I am aware of myself, I am a person and therefore entitled to rights, highest of which is my right to life. After all, if I am aware of my existence then I conceivably have some fear about non-existence, and I have the right to avoid that fear.

The problem with this line of argumentation, however, is that it’s arbitrary. Why should it matter that I am aware of myself? Why do we place moral weight on that point, that is, what’s the justification for placing moral weight on self-awareness? For one, we’re not even sure what it is to be self-aware. This is the existential crisis of humanity; we’re not even sure what it means to be a person. Thus, the cause of our existential angst – that we exist and we are aware of this existence – is to somehow be used as a measuring stick for personhood is quite arbitrary.

But even if we grant this arbitrary standard, the problem with the line of thinking still exists; if personhood is an act of being rather than a state of being, then what if I temporarily stop acting as a person?

Let’s say that a mad philosophy takes me hostage against my will and drugs me up. This drug reduces me to an infantile state wherein I lack proper self-awareness. If I look at a mirror, I am unaware that the reflection is a reflection; I’m not sure what I see. All I know is I don’t know who I’m looking at in the mirror. I simply lack self-awareness. This mad philosopher then captures another person and tells the person that she is to take care of me until the drug wears off. As this drug is extremely potent, we know that it will take about a year for it to full exit my system.

This woman is poor and can barely afford to take care of me. She cannot just give me up as this would cause people to judge her. The question, then, is can this woman have me terminated since now I am not acting like a person? If personhood is an act of being and I am not acting like a person – I lack self-awareness – does this justify my termination?

The point of the hypothetical is to show that if personhood is an act of existence then what happens when I stop the act? What happens to someone in a coma, or someone in a very deep sleep? They are not acting as a person in that moment, so does that mean the person loses rights in that moment? If the person in a long-term coma loses rights, but not the person asleep, we must ask why duration between acts of being somehow matters. Thus, if one fails to act as a person for eight hours one still has the right to life, but if one fails to act as a person for eight months then one no longer has the right to life? If we make the argument that the person asleep and the person in a coma will/could eventually wake up and be able to act as a person, then where is the distinction between the unconscious person and the infant? The infant will eventually gain his self-awareness, just as the unconscious person will, so where is the moral bright light?

The dilemma occurs when a proponent of infanticide attempts to say that personhood is a state of being as opposed to an act of being. If personhood is a state of being then it is something we come into. Thus, at a certain age, or certain event, we simply develop personhood. Personhood, in this sense, is much like puberty. Going through puberty is simply part of the process of growing up, or being human. Some go through it earlier than others, others go through it later than some. It is, however, a state of being, something that inevitably occurs within humans.

An infanticide proponent, in my opinion, has more ground if they argue that personhood is a state of being rather than an act of being. They can go further if they argue that becoming a person is very much a part of being human and that all humans have the capacity for personhood, but that the capacity is not always actualized. After all, all humans have the capacity for sexual relations, but we do not want them to actualize this capacity until they are biologically and psychologically ready. All humans have the capacity for thinking and motor skills that would allow them to drive, but we would not let a two-year-old drive a car simply because he has the capacity to drive the car.

Likewise, an infant has the capacity for personhood, but that does not necessitate we should treat him as a human. Having the capacity for personhood and actualizing that capacity are two different things under this viewpoint. Thus, an infant will eventually have the right to life, but does not currently have the right to life and therefore it is not wrong to kill infants.

The problem with this argument is that it lacks a proper criterion for personhood. If we say that personhood is a state of being, then we must state how this state of being comes about. After all, with puberty there is a chemical change within the body that causes change. This change is irreversible. In other words, I cannot revert to the child I once was, I cannot reverse the aging process. But every external factor that shows personhood exists is also a reversible trait, most notably self-consciousness. If I’m put in a coma, or suffer a brain injury, or am merely sleeping, there is no promise that I am self-conscious. Thus, self-consciousness doesn’t work as a standard for showing that personhood has been achieved.

What, then, shall we use as a standard for personhood as a state of being? The reality is we don’t know because we don’t know what “personhood” really is. If personhood is a state of being, external of being human, then we have no way of knowing when that personhood is achieved. Continue reading

Why the Republican Platform isn’t Pro-Life

Understand that when I write this, I am not writing this as an endorsement for Obama or encouraging anyone to vote for either candidate. I am simply pointing out the realities of the situation; that the Republican platform is no more pro-life than the Democratic platform. While the Democrats explicitly support abortion on demand and lately have almost celebrated it, Republicans have an implicit support for abortion. I am not talking about their perpetual backing down when faced with the opportunity to limit abortion, nor am I speaking of how passive they really are when it comes to the issue in practice. Instead, I’m referring to their political policies that undermine the poor and disadvantaged, the stigma they create for anyone who has to go on government assistance.

When Mitt Romney mentioned that 47% of the nation is simply taking from everyone else, he was speaking to a Republican crowd who didn’t even bat an eye at what was said. The reason they saw nothing wrong with his statement is within the conservative mindset the only reason you should ever take aid from the government is if you were too lazy to conjure up your own money; and even then your aid should be limited. While there is no doubt in my mind that social programs geared to help the poor are in a serious need for restructuring (Democrats want to increase money to them, Republicans want to take the money away, neither wants to fix the problem), the Republican solution of just cutting the funding doesn’t fix it. The idea is that the majority of people on welfare, food stamps, or other forms of government aid are simply leeching off the rest of society so they don’t have to work. Such a view is ignorant of the fact that in order to qualify for many of these things, people actually have to hold down jobs (which, of course, tend to be low-paying and offer little room for advancement, creating a lack of hope and thus perpetuating poverty).

Because of this stigma, many women who have an unintentional pregnancy fear that by being pregnant, they’re not going to have any support throughout the pregnancy and the child’s life. Consider that nearly 42% of abortions come from women below the poverty line, it’s easy to see that the personal well-being of the mother comes into play. And who can blame her really? She’s facing a pregnancy and most often already has other children to care for. Food stamps only cover so much (and by “so much” I mean not nearly enough) and if she’s like most women at the poverty line, she’s working in a job where she can’t really afford to take time off work to have a baby. In short, there’s little to no social structure available for her to use. Even if she takes the brave step of having the child she still has 18 years of providing for the child, sending her to school, and so on. At best, by having the child she’s perpetuating a life of poverty, at worst she feels she has no choice but to kill her own child.

From a moral standpoint obviously we should never intentionally kill the innocent. At the same time, how is it moral to claim to be pro-life, but then undercut any social programs that would help to actually promote life? How is it moral to slap the pro-life idea onto a political platform alongside other items that stigmatize anyone who has to use government aid? The Republican Party platform, which teaches across-the-board cutting rather than reforming, is no more pro-life than the Democratic platform; neither emphasize the value of human life. The Democrats lower the value of life in the womb and even at birth while the Republicans lower the value of life post-birth. They want to protect a child inside a woman, but God forbid tax payers pay for that child once he’s born.

Certainly we should support charities that help these women throughout their pregnancies and well into the development of the child. But charities are not enough, we need the government to get involved as well. Those of us who are pro-life have no problem stating that we’re supporting a moral issue and trying to get the government to decide on a moral issue. All major legislation comes down to being moral and not political – segregation was legislated out of existence, as was slavery, but no one would dare say this was purely political and not moral. The moral issue gave rise to the necessity of political intervention; any moral issue of grave importance will necessarily rely on the government to involve itself. Abortion is no exception to this as it involves the taking of an innocent human life.

But if we’re willing to concede that abortion is a moral issue first and a political issue second, wouldn’t this mean that many issues that impact innocent humans are moral issues first and political issues second? If I have an obligation to protect the innocent within the womb, what about the innocent outside the womb? That is, if I’m truly pro-life, won’t I want my government to help pay for pre-natal care, for doctor’s visits, for the education of the child, and so on? Or, on a better note, would it be so bad to suppor the government paying for daycare and even paying for a woman’s education (or partially paying) should she choose to advance her life? After all, if we have to shell out 4-5 years worth of aid so she can find herself in a well-paying job, one that pays so well she doesn’t need government assistance, doesn’t that make sense? And if we’re truly pro-life, aren’t we going to want to help to advance both the woman who kept the child and the child himself?

In short, to be pro-life means you support the whole of life.  You support not only the right to exist, but also support any program that helps advance a child out of poverty. If we’re going to force women to carry their children to term, the least we could do is provide them with an infrastructure that helps them both during the pregnancy and after. If we seek to undercut such an infrastructure, or are simply anti-abortion and not actually pro-life, then we might as well be pro-choice.

A is For…Abortion

Apparently, there is a new movement called “A is For…” where celebrities and others speak up about “women’s health.” The reality is they’re concerned over the anti-abortion legislation and attitudes that have arisen within our government and the general populace. Masking this as a women’s health issue, they’re attempting to remove the stigma of an abortion and almost make it a virtue. While I do believe and have stated previously that supporters of the pro-life movement, especially Christians, must be careful how they approach those who have had abortions, to make it into a virtue goes beyond the pale.

To create a movement that celebrates abortion, however, is morally vapid. It isn’t about women’s reproduction rights or about controlling women. After all, there aren’t any major movements attempting to displace women from leadership roles in America, have them wear dresses, or forbidding bikinis. The entire debate over women’s rights ends up on the one issue where two human lives are concerned; that of the mother and that of the unborn human.

So what is A really for?

A is for Asinine…the belief that the abortion debate solely concerns women’s rights is asinine. If anything, the debate concerning abortion from a pro-life perspective has literally nothing to do with women’s rights; not because we devalue women, but because we value life so much. To say that people who want to eradicate abortions simply because they hate women or are against women’s rights is akin to saying those against the radical honor killings in Islam are somehow anti-Islam; in the case of abortion there are women who are against abortion, just as there are Muslims against honor killings. From a pro-life perspective we can value a woman’s rights so long as her rights don’t infringe upon another person’s rights. Those who are pro-choice simply leave aside the idea that the fetus is a human person qualified for the minimum right to life; the pro-life side is simply attempting to push them back to this point. We believe that no one has the right to take an innocent human person’s life. The arguments used for abortion are weak, but they’re used because they make it more palatable. Abortion is completely asinine.

A is for Atrocity…an atrocity is any act that is wicked and cruel, involving a lot of physical pain and suffering. Thus, a warlord sending his minions through a village to murder the innocent via machete is an atrocity; it goes beyond an act of war and causes great suffering to the person involved. Abortion is an atrocity, due to the suffering it causes the fetus and the potential emotional suffering it can cause to the woman (not to mention physical side effects). The abortion terminates a human life, typically by ripping the body apart. While not all women suffer from emotional side-effects, quite a few do suffer emotional damage and hold on to regret. This can and does lead to bigger problems later in life.

A is for Abhorrent…abortion is abhorrent because we’re eradicating future generations. 1973 is when abortion was erroneously protected as a right by a flawed Supreme Court. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of this horrible decision. 40 years of eradicating doctors, scientists, historians, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. 40 years of murdering our own children. Let us assume we came across a hidden culture where if a child got in the way of a parent, no matter the age, the parent could simply have the child killed. Certainly this would cause moral disgust within us; that is what it means when something is abhorrent.

A is for Anthropophagic…this is simply a big word for “cannibalistic.” Abortion is a type of cannibalism in that we’re eating away at our future. We’re sacrificing our children for our own selfish desires. On the “A is for” website, men are told that they should fight for abortion because they may not be ready to be fathers. Women are told to fight for it because they may not be ready to be mothers. Essentially, what we’re being told is that in order to sate our own selfish hunger for autonomy, we must feed on the flesh of our unborn children. While we don’t literally eat them, we eat their lives away in order to sustain our own. What would have happened if your grandparents were killed in the cradle because the parents were afraid they couldn’t feed them? Your parents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your brothers and sisters, potentially your children and you’re grandchildren would all be dead. The act of abortion doesn’t just devour the life of the fetus, but kills all future lives that would result from that child. In one act of abortion we cannibalize millions so we can protect ourselves.

A is for Apostasy…the more pagan and secular a society becomes, the more its children are left by the wayside. For both the Greeks and the Romans, under their pagan stages it was fairly common for children to be molested and used as sexual objects. Even as Rome became more secular via Stoicism (prior to Christianity), unwanted children were often left for dead. For the Ancient Near East children were often offerred up as sacrifices to the god Moloch. In the Eastern Bloc, under secular Communism, children were often abandoned by parents in orphanages where they were left to fend for themselves.  When modernity hit the West we began to see children forced into factories; it wasn’t until Christians stood up against this that we began to see reform. Apostasy is the denial of God, but the consequences of apostasy is that we end up denying ourselves. In our attempt to kill God we inevitably end up killing ourselves because we are made in his image. Abortion is a symptom of a greater disease, but it is a symptom we must treat.

A is for Awful…abortion brings to mind nothing good. No one does (or at least no one should) celebrate abortions. The reason is the context that begets an abortion is never a good one. Sadly, the majority of abortions that occur today are with women who have the financial means to sustain a child, but just don’t want the responsibility. 57% of the women who have abortions are between the ages of 20-29, meaning they’re starting their professional careers, so typically a child is “in the way.” However, for the 16% who are under the age of 18, or the .3% under the age of 15, or those in poverty, or those who were raped, it’s an awful situation. Our society is structured in such a way as to tell these women that the only way for them to continue on with life is to kill their own child. We have few support systems for single mothers (who account for about 85%) and sadly many pro-life advocates are ardent fiscal conservatives, meaning they’d like to see abortion banned, but will also withhold tax dollars to help the women impacted by this. Abortion is an awful situation because while it takes a human life, it also exposes our society as empty and uncaring.

A is for Abortion…which is everything I have described it to be. That’s all this movement is supporting; not women’s rights, not anything noble; it’s supporting the intentional killing of an innocent human being.

The Logical Conclusion of Abortion (Part 1)

Recently, two ‘ethicists’ (I use this term very liberally, as in they talk about ethics, not that they’ve come to any substantial conclusion) have published the idea that it’s okay to kill infants as they are not really persons. The standard they offer for being a person with a right to life is, “…individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.” Of course, such a standard is asinine to anyone who has taken a basic course in logic and knows anything about humans, or animals in general.

The irony is that everything in existence with some sense of rationality, even at a bare minimum, views losing one’s life as a loss. This is why gazelle run away from lions, why spiders run away from a falling shoe, and why babies cry when they get hungry; no creature in life accepts death, all creatures struggle against it. Thus, by this standard we should conclude that (1) no one meets this standard, thus we can kill whoever we want or (2) everything meets this standard, so we shouldn’t kill anything (including any plants that have natural defense mechanisms built in).

Of course, such an absurdly stupid standard can be turned on the philosophers who wrote this tripe. For instance, they were quite upset at the death threats they received over the publication of their article. Aside from the fact that being pro-life, yet threatening the life of another is a tad bit hypocritical, these two individuals are in no better position as they are being hypocritical. The fact is, I cannot know anyone’s mind, thus I cannot know if these two individuals have attributed some basic value to being deprived of their existence. They may say so and act so, but infants do this as well, as do all other animals (all animals act as though losing their life would constitute the loss of something of value). So I can’t trust their actions or what they say. Now, the key word is “capable,” but even this doesn’t mean much – again, all animals fight to survive, indicating that all animals are capable of attributing value to their lives.

With the above in mind, using the standard of these philosophers, what’s wrong with killing them? By their standard, when applied properly, how would anyone be wrong for terminating their lives? Not in a legal sense, but in a moral sense, they are now left attempting to defend why it would be wrong to kill them. Perhaps these ethicists should thank us pro-life philosophers and thank the Judeo-Christian tradition of the West, lest the mentality of “kill everyone who disagrees” were to take hold.

Yet, in all the arguments for the pro-choice position, every single one of them attempts to (1) create an arbitrary standard for what it means to be a “person” and (2) accepts Cartesian dualism without batting an eye, not realizing that there’s good reason that personhood is tied into our very nature; that is, personhood is not something we acquire or develop, rather it is something that we hone. With such standards, is it any surprise that we can apply them to any situation in life? Those people living in extreme poverty are not really “persons” because they’ve lacked the proper education to really develop personhood; so it’d just be better if we killed them. While some might argue, “Yes, but they can learn!” I would quickly point out that so can an infant, given time. “But an infant has to grow up and develop the capacity for learning!” And how does an infant do this but by learning? Thus, the capacity for learning already exists, just in a smaller degree to the person living in extreme poverty. Therefore, if it’s right to kill the infant, it’s right to kill the person in poverty, but if it’s wrong to kill the person in poverty, then it’s wrong to kill the infant.

The full post that I want to make to this will take a bit longer as I want to put more effort into it and write an actual reply to the article. This one is simply my initial thoughts; suffice it to say, I’m a bit dismayed at the article because (1) it’s morally abhorrent and (2) if this is the level of what it takes to get into Oxford or Cambridge, then it would seem that education is suffering everywhere, not just in America.