Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Orwellian world of the Left, II

One aspect of the Orwellian world of the Left that Dennis Prager left out (see Recliner Commentaries, July 6, 2006) was baby-killing, aka abortion. In Godless, Ann Coulter says, “The Orwellian dishonesty about abortion begins with the Left’s utter refusal to use the word abortion…Instead we get a slew of liberal euphemisms for baby-killing: ‘reproductive freedom,’ ‘a woman’s right to control her own body,’ ‘terminating a pregnancy,’ ‘freedom of choice,’ ‘a woman’s own private medical decision,’ ‘a procedure,’ ‘access to health care,’ ‘ family planning,’ ‘’our bodies our selves,’ ‘choice.” (Coulter, 78-79).

Isn’t it interesting that the same Left that views choice as sacred, is so anti-choice when it comes to such things as school vouchers, or allowing organizations (like the Boy Scouts) or companies to decide whom to hire, or allowing schools to decide whom to enroll? The Left will respond saying that choice should be restricted in some cases, and the Right will respond back saying, we agree—but we’re not the ones who are lifting “freedom of choice” up to the level of a sacrament. Our Constitution does guarantee freedom of choice in some areas (speech, religion, press, etc.) but the freedom to choose baby-killing is not one of them.

9 comments:

Comrade Anonymous said...

Sometimes, Dennis, I wonder if there are any mirrors at your house at all. In the course of trying to prove that the Left devalues words like "racism" and "torture" you refer to abortion as "baby killing." As we have discussed before there is no scientific proof that a fetus is a baby throughout a pregnancy and even the Bible is unclear on this question, positing different moments in the course of a pregnancy when life begins. And yet while there is some doubt as to whether life begins at the moment of conception or at the moment of quickening or the first, second or third trimester, you insist on referring to all abortion as "baby killing," although even you admit that you cannot be sure a fetus is a baby at every moment during a pregnancy and most Christians and Jews now, and historically, would think it extreme to say so.

Furthermore, you quote Ann Coulter to back you up, a woman who has based her career on devaluing language. Just to take one example, she wrote an entire book called "Treason" whose theme was that virtually anything liberals do that she disagrees with amounts to "treason," a theme that was repeated recently when a number of right-wing pundits accused the New York Times of treason and some even proposed that the editors be arrested. One went so far as to say the editor of the New York Times should be sentenced to death. If this isn't an example of hyperbole and of devaluing the word treason I don't know what is.

What is that quote from the Bible about the beam in your own eye again?

Kevin said...

Before I get into this one, please note that my charactrization of Comrade from the blog post the other day is substantiated here (as it is in almost all of his posts). He begins with a personal attack, and then presumes to be of superior intellect and moral character through the rest of his post.

Now to the post.

"Baby killing" is certainly a more accurate term then "right to choose". Whether or not you consider the baby to be a living human being is actually not relevant to the meaning of the statement. All fetus, are considered to be "babys". Obviously the baby has some form of life... dependant or otherwise on its mother. So "baby killing" is, although maybe not technical enough for science, an accurate statement. But to Dennis' point... the pro-Abortion community doesn't even use the term "abortion", which is the correct medical term. They use "right to choose".

most Christians and Jews now, and historically, would think it extreme to say so. This is not even remotely true... you're just making this up.

I agree that one shouldn't quote Ann Coulter for much... she's to polarizing and generally inflamatory. But, and Dennis can correct me here if I'm wrong, the citation of Coulter is probably just that... Dennis read her book (I presume)... the point she makes is valid... and so instead of co-opting the point as his own he cites the source. Al Franken makes good points occassionally... Comrade makes a good point or presents a factual piece of information every once in awhile... and Ms. Coulter does as well. Attacking the source is a logical fallacy when all that is being discussed is an idea... argue with the idea not the arguer.

Comrade Anonymous said...

Kevin wrote: "most Christians and Jews now, and historically, would think it extreme to say so. This is not even remotely true... you're just making this up."

I wrote about this previously here:

On abortion, I see nowhere in the Bible where it says that human life begins at conception. According to the Talmud life begins at birth, specificially either when a baby has half emerged from the birth canal or when it takes its first breath. In Exodus 21:22-23, for example, it says that a man must pay a fine for causing the death of a fetus but forfeit his life for causing the death of the mother, indicating that a fetus was not regarded a person. The New Testament, as far as I know, does not specifically mention abortion. Early Christians differed on the issue. Some saw abortion as wrong only after "ensoulment" and there was disagreement as to when that occurred. Early Chrsitians such as St. Sugustine and St. Jerome subscribed to this belief. Pope Innocent III believed that abortion was not murder until after "quickening," when the woman first feels movement of the fetus. So there has been historically an array of opinions on this matter. I, myself, have no idea when life begins, which is why I think it should be up to the mother and doctor.

The notion that a fetus is a baby has been controversial even among early Christians and Jews.

I wonder why so few of those opposed to abortion seem to care about the fact that the United States has the second-worst infant mortality rate in the industrialized world. The U.S. comes in 37th right ahead of Latvia.

Dennis said...

Comrade wrote: "As we have discussed before there is no scientific proof that a fetus is a baby…"

Comrade, you talk about scientific proof, and then go on to discuss the Bible, Talmud, St. Augustine, and even a pope! Then you say you have no idea when life begins!

Scientifically—-biologically—-there is no doubt that the baby is just as much a living human being just before being born as s/he is just after being born. In fact, s/he is a living human being at least four months before birth. I suppose we can argue about what s/he is before that time but s/he certainly isn’t dead, and s/he certainly isn’t a mineral, plant or non-human alien!

So forget these religious and philosophical speculations about whether the soul was “created” or transmitted, or about when the soul is infused, or when “life” begins theologically or philosophically, or when the baby becomes a “person.” My understanding is that twisted ideologues once had the same kinds of discussions about whether black people were “persons” or had souls, etc. The fact is that the “fetus” is a living human being and the “choice” to end this human life constitutes baby-killing. Kevin is absolutely right, therefore, that “baby-killing” is much more accurate than “right to choose.”

Once again, however, you throw up a smoke screen to divert attention from the point I was making. That is, that when it comes to abortion, the Left talks about the “right to choose” as if it was something absolute, God-given, Constitutional and sacred. Yet when it comes to same-sex marriage the left wing in my own state (and numerous others) did everything they could do to keep same-sex marriage in the courts and off the election ballots precisely because they did not want the people to choose.

When it comes to school vouchers, the Left is rabidly against parent’s right to choose schools for their children.

The Left would rather children remain orphans than allow a Catholic adoption agency to choose its own religious standards.

The Left opposes the right of a private school to choose their own moral standards and require their students to abide by same.

The Left opposes the right of organizations like the Boy Scouts to choose who can be their Scout leaders.

The Left opposes the right of colleges to choose to admit students based solely on academic merit rather than on skin color. The Left's "right to choose" slogan has to be one of most dishonest, hypocritical, misinformation campaigns ever foisted on the American people.

Second, you are right that Ann Coulter does engage in hyperbole to make a point (so did Jesus for that matter). But you don't seem be nearly so concerned when those on the Left use much worse speech than Ann Coulters! Take, for example, the New York Democrat who introduced Charles Schumer as the man who would put a bullet between the eyes of our President?

Or Cindy Sheehan who has called our President a “filth-spewer and warmonger” and “the biggest terrorist in the world.” She calls our government a “morally repugnant system” and says our country is “not worth dying for.”

Or Michael Moore and numerous Hollywood stars who have said similar things.

Then there’s all the Democrats who keep spewing the “Bush lied, people died” slander!

Yet if those on the Right respond indignantly, somehow its us who are being divisive! Excuse me, but these kind of attacks do not deserve nice responses.

I’ve heard Ann Coulter being crucified (that’s hyperbole) on numerous TV programs but I’ve not yet heard a single Left winger challenge any of the dozens and dozens of factual statements she makes in the books—-they only attack her because she doesn’t say it nicely! If even one quarter of what Ann Coulter has to say in "Godless" is true, the Left doesn't deserve a courteous response.

Finally, you wrote: “I wonder why so few of those opposed to abortion seem to care about the fact that the United States has the second-worst infant mortality rate in the industrialized world. The U.S. comes in 37th right ahead of Latvia.”

First (aside from the fact that this is a red herring designed to divert attention from the main point), the infant mortality range is between 2.29 deaths per 1000 births in Singapore to 185.36 deaths per 1000 in Angola (CIA World Factbook, updated June 29, 2006). http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html

The U.S. comes in a 6.43 deaths per 1000 births, so the difference between the U.S. and the best country in the world is four births out of one thousand.

While I would certainly prefer that the U.S. have the best record, four births out of 1,000 is hardly the huge difference you made it out to be.

Second, part of the disparity may be due to the fact that countries define life births differently. The World Health Organization defines live birth and a birth in which the baby exhibits any signs of life—heartbeat, breathing, movement, etc. while Japan and some European countries only count a baby as “live” if it breathes. This makes their infant mortality rate lower—not because more babies survive in those countries, but by definition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_mortality

Comrade Anonymous said...

Come on, Dennis, do you truly, honestly, believe, cross your heart, swear on a stack of Bibles that it is only the Left that manipulates language and that the right doesn't do the same thing every bit as much? Do you really not see how many people would think that you are doing the exact same thing when you refer to abortion as "baby killing" since one people actually do not see a fetus at every stage of its development as being the exact same same thing as a baby, something your terminology willfully obscures?

Do you really believe that because some people on the left believe a woman should have the right to choose whether she can have an abortion or not that they are hypocrites if they do not believe that every other thing on Earth should be a choice as well? I suppose then liberals should believe criminals should have the "choice" not to go to prison. All you are doing is playing semantic games with the word choice.

Many, many people have attacked the factual accuracy of Ann Coulter's books. Many, many, many people. It's just absurd to say that the only problem people have with her is her style of saying things. Virtually every review of her books points out the many factual innaccuracies. Numerous newspaper columns have pointed out falsehoods. Many websites have listed the lies. Do a Google search if you actually care more about accuracy than she does.

Here are two quotes of yours that trouble me:

"Yet if those on the Right respond indignantly, somehow its us who are being divisive! Excuse me, but these kind of attacks do not deserve nice responses."

"If even one quarter of what Ann Coulter has to say in "Godless" is true, the Left doesn't deserve a courteous response."

The point of the infant mortality data was that for all of the rhetoric of anti-abortion activists about caring for babies, they don't seem to care so much once the baby is born. Your comment "four births out of 1,000 is hardly the huge difference you made it out to be" makes it seem this is true.

Dennis said...

Comrade wrote: Come on, Dennis, do you truly, honestly, believe, cross your heart, swear on a stack of Bibles that it is only the Left that manipulates language and that the right doesn't do the same thing every bit as much?

Good question. Yes I believe the right manipulates language—everyone manipulates language (even you and me). That’s just part of good rhetoric and argumentation. But I believe the Left takes their manipulation of language way beyond “spin” to dishonest, Leninist-Stalinist levels in their Orwellian re-definition of terms. While you may be able to find some examples of this on the Right as well, the Left has made it an art form.

Comrade wrote: “Do you really not see how many people would think that you are doing the exact same thing when you refer to abortion as "baby killing."

You may be right, Comrade—I’d suggest they read a good, current medical book on the development of the fetus.

Comrade wrote: “Do you really believe that because some people on the left believe a woman should have the right to choose whether she can have an abortion or not that they are hypocrites if they do not believe that every other thing on Earth should be a choice as well?”

The problem is that the Left uses their “freedom to choose” slogan as if freedom to choose was some kind of inalienable, absolute, God-given, sacred right—-and as you point out, they don’t even believe this themselves!

Comrade wrote: “Many, many people have attacked the factual accuracy of Ann Coulter's books.”

You may be right, Comrade, and I’m sure we could attack the factual accuracy of many of their attacks. Nevertheless, I was just pointing out that of all the Coulter-bashing I’ve heard on TV surrounding her new book “Godless” I have yet to hear one Left-wing-Coulter-hater who has attacked anything other than the fact that she doesn’t say it nice. That is still true.

Comrade wrote: “The point of the infant mortality data was that for all of the rhetoric of anti-abortion activists about caring for babies, they don't seem to care so much once the baby is born.”

You are perhaps unaware of the hundreds—if not thousands—of Christian-run pregnancy centers all over the country that provide food, clothing, love and care for new mothers and their babies. My wife and I have personally supported them.

Comrade Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example, Dennis, of why rational political discourse has become so difficult in this country. Most moderate people can acknowledge that a fetus and a baby at least in the early stages of development are not the same thing. Whatever one's moral feelings about abortion, it should be clear, even to you, that using the word "baby-killing" for "abortion" is not meant to be accurate but is meant to score political points, exactly what you accuse the other side of doing.

If you believe that everything those who disagree with you do is wrong and everything those who agree with you is right, then it's very difficult to have a rational discussion. I happen to think that some feminists do apply the word "rape" to situations where it is not warrented. I believe that when someone like Cynthia McKinney uses the word "racism" to justify her actions it is an embarrassment. But I disagree with you when you say that racism only applies to people who lynch or to Nazis and most moderate people and Webster's Dictionary do not agree either. Your position is extreme.

I find it difficult to believe that you seem to think the Left (which seems to include everyone who disagrees with you no matter how extreme or moderate) is uniquely at fault when it comes to redefining words when the Bush Administration has raised Orwellian terminology to an art form. Hence, we have torture redefined contrary to treaties we signed ourselves, we have a Clean Skies initiative that actually rolls back polution controls, a No Child Left Behind Act that actually leaves more children behind, etc. Three years after the President declared "Mission Accomplished" we're still in Iraq. And we have the remarkable phenomenon of one of the Presidents men questioning those who point out facts at variance with the Bush Administration's claims as members of the "Relaity-Based Community." What could be more Orwellian than that.

And I could also play your game by quting the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells and Fred Phelpses and David Dukes of the world and pretend that their extreme rhetoric represents what the right wing believes.

You write: "I was just pointing out that of all the Coulter-bashing I’ve heard on TV surrounding her new book “Godless” I have yet to hear one Left-wing-Coulter-hater who has attacked anything other than the fact that she doesn’t say it nice. That is still true."

Gee, Dennis, maybe you should read a newspaper for a change. To sum up the Left's reaction to Coulter based on what you see on cable TV is pretty limited to say the least.

You write: "You are perhaps unaware of the hundreds—if not thousands—of Christian-run pregnancy centers all over the country that provide food, clothing, love and care for new mothers and their babies. My wife and I have personally supported them."

I'm glad to hear that, Dennis. Of course the largest organization for the care of pregnant women in the United States is Planned Parenthood, which also provides those services and helps thousand more women than the services you mention, women who in many areas would have no where else to turn to if the Christian Right succeeds in shutting them down.

Finally, just as an example of how dicorced from reality your rhetoric is do you honestly believe this statement: "The Left would rather children remain orphans than allow a Catholic adoption agency to choose its own religious standards." It is not only ridiculous on its face but as I pointed out earlier (for all the good it does to actually inject facts into these discussions) the Catholic Church took it upon itself to shut down adoptions rather than allow gay parents to adopt. The board of catholic Charities voted unanimously to allow adoptions to gay parents. No government agency, no political activist did anything whatsoever to pressur Catholic Charities to take this action. The Catholic Church decided that it would be better for orphans not to have homes than to listen to Catholic Charities own board and allow gay parents to adopt. Liberals and politicians had absolutely nothing to do with it. That little example is the very definition of Orwellian newspeak at work.

I bet you won't even acknowledge that you were wrong about this. Why let truth get in the way of good political rhetoric.

Dennis said...

Comrade, you wrote: “Most moderate people can acknowledge that a fetus and a baby at least in the early stages of development are not the same thing.”

Comrade by focusing on what technically qualifies as a baby you conveniently sidestep the fact that those on the Left scream bloody-murder against ANY restrictions on abortion at ANY stage of pregnancy. They refuse to call it baby-killing even when they pull his or her little legs and body completely outside of the mother before jabbing something into the base if the skull which is still in the birth canal!

By 12 weeks the baby has fingers, toes, and all major organs including a beating heart, so if you want to call it something other than baby-killing before 12 weeks maybe we could compromise on “human life termination.”

Comrade wrote: “But I disagree with you when you say that racism only applies to people who lynch or to Nazis and most moderate people and Webster's Dictionary do not agree either. Your position is extreme.”

My point was not that “racism” only applies to Nazis or people who lynch—of course I don’t believe that. My point was that the Left regularly uses the word “racist” to apply to anyone who disagrees with them on any issue regarding race. For example, a black congresswoman hits a Capital security guard and before you know it—even before all the facts are known—a group of radical Leftists are on TV screaming racism!

Comrade wrote: “when the Bush Administration has raised Orwellian terminology to an art form. Hence, we have torture redefined contrary to treaties we signed ourselves.”

As Kevin pointed out, we did not re-define torture—we are only attempting to clarify something that was so ridiculously vague as to allow virtually any definition.

Comrade wrote: “And I could also play your game by quoting the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells and Fred Phelpses and David Dukes of the world and pretend that their extreme rhetoric represents what the right wing believes.”

You might have a valid if the Orwellian re-definitions Mr. Prager wrote about (which I quoted on July 6) were just coming from a few Left-wing preachers or pundits. Unfortunately we hear this kind of Left-wing Orwellian-speak even from mainstream Left wing members of Congress!

Comrade wrote, “Of course the largest organization for the care of pregnant women in the United States is Planned Parenthood, which also provides those services and helps thousand more women than the services you mention, women who in many areas would have no where else to turn to if the Christian Right succeeds in shutting them down.”

You neglected to mention that Planned Parenthood terminated nearly 250,000 human lives in FY2004 (and made an estimated 100 million dollars doing it!). Please don’t talk to me about all the “good” they do! To my ears that’s like arguing for slavery by telling me to forget all the human lives it destroys, just focus on all the food, clothing and shelters being provided by the slave-masters who are getting rich on the whole thing!

Finally, Comrade, if you’re not a Democratic strategist you’ve missed your calling. You can spin the news just as good as Paul Begala or James Carville, as demonstrated by your twisting of the Catholic adoption agency story.

The fact is that Massachusetts enacted a law which would require the Catholic Charities to adopt children to gay couples. To say, as you did, that “the Catholic Church took it upon itself to shut down adoptions rather than allow gay parents to adopt” is to trivialize the issue to such an extent as to make a mockery of it.

The fact is that this law forces Catholic priests to do something that that violates their conscience and deeply held religious beliefs (our forefathers came to this continent to avoid attempts to force them to behave in violation if their conscience).

When a government forces people to choose between violating deep religious convictions, or closing down their organization, that government is using tyranny and coercion just as much as if the government had shut the business down directly.

Maybe you don’t understand the strength of religious convictions, moral principles, or conscience, etc., but these priests felt they had no choice but to shut down—your argument about no one forcing them is quite disingenuous.

And the Board of Catholic Charities which voted to allow such adoptions is a group of laypeople/business leaders, etc. who oversee the charities. They are not theologians and are not the voice of the Catholic Church).

So, contrary to your assertion, liberals and politicians had everything to do with it—-they passed a law which forced out of business an agency that had placed tens-of-thousands of kids in good homes! Even if these politicians thought such a law was necessary, certainly they could have made an exception for religious charities and religious freedom (which is now being re-defined by the Left in true Orwellian terms as “Freedom of Worship” to avoid Constitutional problems is just this kind of case).

Unfortunately, such is the intolerance of many in the gay rights movement. They would rather see children without homes than to allow freedom of religion when it opposes their agenda. And this intolerance is precisely what concerns Evangelicals the most about the gay rights movement. Radical gay rights activists will not be satisfied even when same-sex marriage is legalized and becomes part of public policy. Christian schools that have rules against homosexual sex (or any other pre-marital sex for that matter) would be attacked (please don’t pretend this won’t happen—it is already happening in a California lawsuit against a Christian School). Christian Colleges that could not in good conscience, hire practicing homosexual faculty would be under attack. Christian churches that could not hire practicing homosexual staff would come under attack. And when many of these institutions had to close down rather than violate their religious convictions and conscience—people like you would say, we didn’t force them to shut down, they just did it on their own! And you would do it all in the name of freedom! Now that’s truly Orwellian!

Comrade Anonymous said...

Once again, Dennis, you don't bother to let facts get in the way of you assertions. A law banning discrimination against gays and lesbians was passed in 1989! The board of Catholic Charities took it upon itself to allow gay parents to adopt. No one sued Catholic Charities to force them to do this. No government agency ordered them to do this. When Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley found out that they were doing this, he ordered them to stop. The board voted unanimously to continue gay adoptions claiming that it would be a violation of the law passed in 1989 not to do so. O'Malley then took it upon himself to order Catholic Charities to stop all adoptions claiming this law had forced him to take this draconian measure although NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR COURT said he needed to do so. So in the end it was actually Archbishop O'Malley who believed that it would be better that children have no homes than that they should be adopted by gay parents.