This is the most engaging piece of geography I have seen in a long while.
I wouldn’t say you could link the overall decline to Obama, as we can clearly see it coming into effect long before he has a chance to actually decide policy. But, it definitely drives home the obvious point that there’s still a lot of work left to be done and “recovery” has yet to hit the average American.
Just so everybody understands, we had a perfectly healthy economy until just about Apr 2009. A healthy economy has between 4% and 6% unemployment. We fell out of that range in the Mar 2009 - Apr 2009 timeframe. Dec 08: 5.8% and still healthy. Jan 09’s 6% could still be considered healthy, Feb 09: 6.3% and starting to get worrisome.
Something else to consider: while the government is touting signs of wage increases (haha—a penny per hour), those wage increases are not keeping up with inflation.
And God, minimum wage increases are so obviously stupid. You raise the floor, the ceiling raises with it. Economists spend hours working for producers to determine how much the general population has to spend, and derives the prices they’ll charge for goods based on that. People have more money to spend? Cost of goods goes up. They also determine cost of production vs. amount now needed to pay workforce. Wages go up, cost of production goes up. Cost of production goes up, it’s offset by payroll cuts (i.e. one or more people get laid off).
Minimum wage has no effect on the rich whatsoever, and doesn’t better the condition of the poor in any meaningful way. What it does do is screw over the middle class.
Wow. That is a great visual. So what do you think is the answer? Hands-off like Hoover wanted to do or intervention like FDR did?
Attack the problem at its causes: non-Constitutionally enumerated federal regulatory powers, the federal income tax, and public dependency on the federal government.
We really should have never allowed the Supreme Court to overturn Lochner. That was one of those criticial junctures where Jefferson would have agreed it’s time to march to Washington and start assassinating politicians and burning down federal buildings.
Humans are visual creatures. Our responses to a thing are much more pronounced when we see a visualization of something rather than reading a description of it. We’re all aware of how bad unemployment is in the country, but seeing it put into a graphic slideshow… whoo, kind of a trip to actually see.
You can see it start to get twitchy in early 2008. But boy, it just shifts into overdrive right around a certain presidential election. And from then on, it just gets worse and worse, faster and faster. All the while various politicians and media mouthpieces are talking about our supposed ”recovery.” Ah, yes, we passed the health care bill. All is saved. You know, except it made everything worse. That, coupled with Bambi’s insane "you’ve made enough money" ideology… yeah, good idea there. Instead of stimulating growth, they’re ACTIVELY AND INTENTIONALLY chasing away the money. Or worse, pissing the people who provide jobs off so badly that they’re ready to just stop all together.
Well, at very least, I guess we can take satisfaction in that they’re no longer peddling that “hope and change” nonsense anymore. I’m still shocked that people were so stupid as to not see through that garbage in the first place.
You know what a bruise is? It’s internal bleeding usually caused by blunt-force trauma. The body can usually handle these, albeit usually with a bit of pain and soreness—but they’re a warning sign. They’re a sign that says, “Avoid doing whatever caused me.” And, if you pound on the body too hard and too frequently, it eventually won’t be able to handle it.
Look at that map. Replay it a few times. Really take it in.
Obama is beating this country black and blue. It needs to stand up and hit him back.
You know you're a fucktard, right?? Just checking.
Oh, and a fetus becomes a life when it can move out and live on its fucking own. You seem to have no problem with killing the mother to let the child have a CHANCE to live.......that's not pro-life, that's pro-fetus by your Idiotic pro/anti labeling. and discrediting plant life as life also shows your hypocrisy. So keep your little dick in your pants and stay in the realm of theory, since you won't/can't be in the position to understand what 'Pro-Choice' even means. Even though you want to so badly!!!
I never claimed to be pro-life, nor am I pro-life.
As a matter of fact, I actually wish death on most pro-abortion folks. And environmentalists. And socialists. Not to say I advocate taking their lives by force—but if they were, say, in the path of a speeding bus, I probably wouldn’t warn them about it. And I’d chuckle with delight when they got splattered. As the Dark Knight said, “I won’t kill you, but that doesn’t mean I have to save you.”
So get your facts straight before making a presumptuous ass of yourself.
Oh, and by the way, “when it can move out and live on its fucking own” is actually pretty early these days, what with current and advancing medical technology. Prematures are surviving earlier and earlier. Guess that makes ‘em human, huh, even though they’re trapped in a uterus? It can move out, it just doesn’t.
Or, in an alternative interpretation, “when it can move out and live on its fucking own” is probably around age 17. Not human until then?
Also, I do have a problem with “killing the mother.” Never once have I suggested that a medical professional intentionally take a mother’s life. But it’s pretty clear you were engaging in euphemistic rhetoric—so I won’t bother with such contrasts as “murdering the fetus” or something along those lines. It’s not so much “killing” the mother as “consigning her to death.” Which, if you think about it, isn’t really too unreasonable considering that (by extreme majority) she’s in the state she’s in as a result of her own foolish actions. Actions have consequences; own them.
Hey, thanks for writing! Good to know you were so impressed that you felt compelled to take time out of your day. That’s flattering. And ego-boosting. Plus, the obvious falsity/irrationality of your arguments (as illustrated) makes me ever more convinced that I do, in fact, hold the correct thinking on the subject. So, thanks for reaffirming that.
Take care. (And try not to get yourself knocked up.)
Thanks for clearing that up! I think the confusion is in that the person your replied to meant 'pro-abortion' in the context of the cartoon and, as you said, you did not.
Pro-abortion is a fine word as far as I am concerned, but was represented incorrectly in the cartoon and that's where issue was taken.
Going back to that little “quite the opposite [of murder]” bit. What’s murder? Let’s not get into complicated legal definitions (trying to keep this simple for you) and go straight to Princeton:
kill intentionally and with premeditation
Well, say, doesn’t the whole “abort” root thing imply intent? I mean, who has an abortion on accident? That’s more commonly known as a miscarriage.
“An abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced, in humans and other species.”
A miscarriage is known scientifically as a SPONTANEOUS ABORTION
You are also an asshole for that definition of murder. This morning, I pulled a weed out of the ground. I killed intentionally and with premeditation. You and I both know that this is not murder. Murder is “the unlawful killing of another human being [person] with intent”. A) Legal abortion is lawful & is therefore by definition not murder. (technicalities) B) A fetus is not a person, and even if it was, an unwanted pregnancy has no right to the body of the woman, any more than you (a person) would have a right to come into my home and take my liver against my will if you needed a transplant.
This is pretty simple, so I’ll be quick and enumerate:
Your weed didn’t have an inherent right to life. It’s a fucking plant.
Lawful ≠ moral
What necessary condition does something require to be considered a human in your book? Last time I checked, all human fetuses had human DNA. If that’s not enough, at what point does something go from “just a fetus” to “human life” and why?
I like how you don’t respond to the part in which you were actually mentioned. And how you’ve got a response this detailed this quickly…
There really wasn’t anything to respond to in the part where I was mentioned. You called me stupid, complained about how you wouldn’t be able to sell your position to my followers and talked about how your computer froze when you tried to respond to me. Unless you’re more interested in shooting the shit with me than in actual debate, there’s not much of substance there.
"This detailed?" I didn’t know about five paragraphs was detailed. The process of planning and writing a 250-word essay never takes longer than 45 minutes on paper, and I just sort of winged this. If you mean to call my writings’ legitimacy into question, just Google any section of my response in quotes. Tell me what you come up with, dollface.
If you thought I was alluding, allow me to make it blatantly clear: it is a very good thing for women to have control over their own body. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a fucking medical miracle. Birth control, abortion and fertility treatments are medical miracles. They are very, very good things.
I must say it’s interesting that you find a process by which a woman takes control of her body to be “evil”. Like all anti-choicers, you completely ignore the woman and focus on just the fetus.
Well, yeah. That’s kind of obvious. Don’t you? I mean, that’s the only thing that matters in this debate, as the part of my post you neglected to include said. We already know with certainty that depriving another of their life in the name of your liberty is inexcusable. So the only thing that matters is whether the fetus is human life. Please don’t tell me you haven’t gotten this far along in your reasoning yet.
If the fetus lives—according to you—it’s a good thing, regardless of the mental, physical and emotional suffering that fetus’ mother would be put through.
According to me? Funny, I don’t remember so much as thinking such a thing. Why would the fetus’s living be good? Why would any person’s living be good? Hell, I know I’d be a lot happier if most of the people I know didn’t. I’d never, ever go so far as to infringe upon their rights to life, liberty or property, but they certainly inconvenience me daily and take a toll on my emotional state. Because on the contrary of what you seem to think I’m saying, if anything is human life, then it is unquestionably evil to deprive it of that life. With a fetus, that’s a big “if.”
But I see where you were going, or trying to go, with that. The woman suffers emotionally/fiscally/is otherwise inconvenienced, so she shouldn’t have to carry the fetus to term even if it is human life. So, uh, how about me going on a shooting spree? What would you think of that (so long as I’m only killing those who I consider an emotional or monetary burden)?
Ahh, this old one. I love it.
I think the equating of an abortion to a robbery is one of my favorite anti-choice bullshit mechanics. You know why? Because it shows what you really think. You equate abortion, a safe, legal medical procedure that has happened (albeit unsafely for the most part) for centuries with a crime.
That’s right, to anti-choicers, women having control of their own bodies is a crime. It’s a crime women should die for.
Not at all. You seem to have a really hard time getting this. Allow me to explain again: “Women having control over their bodies” is a good thing. Personal liberty rocks. “Women ending the lives of others” in the name of exercising that “control” is a bad thing. Same reason I don’t believe in the death penalty, dude.
If you insist upon arguing this on your terms, I don’t think it’s going to work out, because you’re emphasizing completely the wrong liberty that’s under question here. I know it’s difficult for those like yourself, but please try harder to understand.
I’m sorry if I confused you and made it seem like illegal abortions kill every woman that has one. They don’t, it’s true. About 1 in 4 women having an illegal abortion will suffer medical complications that require hospitalization. That’s over five million women suffering from infections, gangrene and infertility. Beyond that over 70,000 women will die from their illegal abortion. Of these 70,000 women who die, most will already be mothers. This means that over 20,000 children will be left motherless, which increases their odds of dying too.
See here for some dubious sourcing of that sort of statistic (though some of that I wouldn’t really consider statistics as you forgot to throw in a time frame with that “70,000 women dead” bit). Consider skepticism.
Anyway, yeah, that’d be horrible if all of those women died. What would be worse would be sanctioning the deaths of others in their place.
You know what I love about you anti-choicers? You guys seem to think I’m really, really lazy.
Really? I just think you’re stupid.
I have google. I can look things up on my own.
And speaking of that, what does Oxford (you know, the standard) define murder as?
What a brilliant display of your copy-pasting skills, Rabble.
Another Anonymous asks: “Do you think that, if it were conclusively proven that abortion was objectively wrong, you would change your stance?”
I have yet to find anyone who can prove to me that abortion is objectively wrong. The facts make it damn clear it’s not wrong.
The facts are this: Banning abortion doesn’t reduce it. Ever. It either gets exported (see Ireland) or becomes illegal (see Africa and much of Latin America). Either way, mothers lives get put at a severe and needless risk.
Illegal abortions kill women. I have never said fetuses are not living, a fetus is a life, yes. But it’s not a person because it does not exist beyond the biological systems of another person. Two persons cannot inhabit the same body. Yes, abortion ends a life. No, abortion is not murder. Quite the opposite.
If an abortion ends one life, then an illegal abortion ends two. In fact, it usually ends more. 60% of women having abortions are mothers, illegal abortion leaves roughly 20,000 children motherless, which highly increase their risk of dying.
If you can find me a way where ending two or more lives (not counting the mother’s mental and physical suffering) is objectively more moral than ending one I’d really love to hear it.
I was mentioned in this post (click through for the whole thing), so I’ll respond.
Your argument here seems to be alluding to some greater good achieved in the legality of abortion. Disregarding the implicit immorality in embracing any “lesser evil” (which is still evil), the “facts” you mention (which pretty much assume that every single illegal abortion conducted results in death, a fatuous and laughable notion) fail to take into account any “greater evil;” which, of course, would be the “ending of a life [not murder!!!].” This is not only just like saying “Robberies often result in the death of the robber, so let’s minimize that mortality rate by legalizing robbery,” which is roughly what those taking your route of argument traditionally advocate, but like asserting that “every robbery results in the death of the robber and the victim of the robbery is only nominally having their possessions taken from them against their will, so it’s not like anybody is having their rights violated or anything, right?” It’s absurd.
Going back to that little “quite the opposite [of murder]” bit. What’s murder? Let’s not get into complicated legal definitions (trying to keep this simple for you) and go straight to Princeton:
kill intentionally and with premeditation
Well, say, doesn’t the whole “abort” root thing imply intent? I mean, who has an abortion on accident? That’s more commonly known as a miscarriage. I’m curious: How would you define murder, Rabble?
Also, did you say that two persons can’t inhabit the same body? Are you absolutely positive about that? Can’t think of a single instance in which that wouldn’t be true? Are you really, really sure?
EDIT: in case anyone is confused, my anti-abortion stance is taken not because we have any conclusive evidence that an embryo is or isn’t life (contrary to wha all of the pro-lifers and pro-choice idiots would have you believe), but because we don’t. We don’t know whether it’s human life or not, and I believe that it’s best to err on the side of not potentially killing thousands of people if it is.
When talking to a muslim he brought up that islam is the fastest growing religion. I responded that it is in there with Aids and Sickle-Cell anemia.
But I think that analogy is faulty. Islam is not like Aids. Islam is a disease which is gaining ground because cultural relativism in europe has made europeans unable to argue against anything foreign.
Another problem is that the bugaboo about “racism” has dulled the ability of people to call out pre-industrial beliefs as being insane and hateful. Expect “racism” to be the shield muslims use, especially when attacked by racists who bring up legitimate points against islam.
Cultural relativism and the “racism” bugaboo are like aids. They weaken the intellectual defenses of people to argue against what to a sane and rational person is a ghastly and barbarous and mind-bendingly wrong ideology: islam. And islam is a necessarily statist and totalitarian economic and political system, it is NOT just a religion and cannot be separated from matters of state.
“Because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won’t won’t ever go to a place that’s racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I’ll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist.”—
“So, for the last 30 years, as many of you may or may not know, the right-wing has tried to restructure society, restructure the economy, and to bring the government to an unresponsive place where it was pre-New Deal, pre-The Great Society, pre-social safety nets, pre-social justice issues, environmental protections, child labor laws, public health and safety, seat belts, birth control, voting rights, desegregation: these are all things that liberals and progressives have brought you, and these are all things that right-wingers and conservatives enjoy and take for granted. Yet they still say bleeding-heart-liberal or liberal, but without liberals we wouldn’t have unions. We wouldn’t have environmental protections. We wouldn’t have seat belts or birth control or the ACLU! Any of these things! This is what liberals and progressives, whether they call themselves that or not, do. They’ve fought for it. They’ve died for it. They’ve gotten their asses kicked for it. So whenever anybody says liberals are wimps, please remind them that liberals and progressives have died and suffered grievous bodily harm to bring you all of the things politicians brag about, domestically and internationally. Grover Norquist wants to bring government back to the time of robber barons and (I don’t even know what you call it) and uh, debtor prisons, and Social Darwinism, and before Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle and we had uh, laws that prevented you from having fingers in your chili!”—
Janeane Garofalo, arguing in favor of fascism
(Remember: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”)
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19. Today’s rating is the lowest earned by the president since the passage of his health care proposal two months ago
Where does the logical contradiction arise if you include an exception? Wouldn't "I'm willing to be supportive of cultural diversity (up to point X)" be handled very differently than something as general as what you suggest?
What I suggest is the opposite of general. Supporting diversity until it becomes too unsavory for your tastes simply isn’t supporting diversity. Relativistic “shades of gray” morality is never actual morality. If good and evil are absolute, then anything gray is necessarily evil. Using the white vs. black metaphor for good and evil, just because the gray is “less evil” than black doesn’t mean it’s morally right, because evil can’t be quantified. An act is either evil or it’s not evil; good or not good. It can’t be both.
So you are saying that you can't defend multiculturalism and human rights? That's an interesting idea - the conflict of different types of concern for people and their wellbeing. How far does it go? Does it extend to providing aid to impoverished citizens of other countries, for example? I haven't made my mind up yet, here. Humor me.
No, you can’t. Multiculturalism, by definition, stands for the respect and tolerance of diversity and differences in cultures—including the diversity and differences in cultures which are abhorrent.
How far does it go?
It’s an all-or-nothing thing, buddy. You can’t say, “I am a diverse person and I respect and appreciate and tolerate the diversity and cultural differences of our world,” while simultaneously saying, “I think what these people, what this culture is doing is wrong.” It’s contradictory.
As for providing aid, that’s different—that’s a discussion about measured response, not of ideology. We’re not talking about what to do based on that ideology; we’re talking about the ideology itself.
And the ideology of the left-wing liberal Democrat necessarily requires that they accept, tolerate, and respect the cultural differences of the Saudi people when they whip and imprison a rape victim who committed a “crime” any civilized nation knows is absurd.
“If we ever are going to have a decent money, it will not come from government: it will be issued by private enterprise, because providing the public with good money which it can trust and use can not only be an extremely profitable business; it imposes on the issuer a discipline to which the government has never been and cannot be subject.”—F.A. Hayek, Nobel Prize-winning economist
This comes courtesy of this dumb ape of a bitch whose blog I periodically read. Pretty sure it’s old news too.
For any of you that are liberal and/or Democrats, how can you possibly complain about this? This is the end result of the multiculturalism the left wing is always championing. I’m so…
Woah, dawg, what’s the fact that she was raped got to do with anything? She’s not being punished for being raped as the article suggests, but for an entirely separate crime (of which rape just so happened to be a corollary effect). Unless the rapists kidnapped her and forced her into the “unrelated man’s car,” bitch doesn’t have a case.
That’s exactly right. The rape is completely irrelevant. However, it’s the only thing that the idiot public can manage to focus on, which is what blinds them to the fact that, under Saudi law, according to Saudi custom and practice, this girl deserves 200 lashes and 6 months in jail. That’s what their society believes, that’s what their society wants. Who are we, as mere adherents to another, equally valuable culture and set of values, to question that? We must never forget: multiculturalism and diversity and tolerance and relativistic respect and acceptance for other ways of life regardless of their objective moral value are good things!
I also like this part: When she appealed, the judges said she had been attempting to use the media to influence them.
Fuck yeah, she was. Granted, she was getting a raw deal—but how dare she try to subvert the justice system by making it a media spectacle? That’s the kind of total bullshit that causes Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton and Michael Vick and Barry Bonds to be treated completely unfairly. Why? Because they’re not being tried by the justice system; they’re being tried by the court of public opinion. Well, fuck that. The public opinion should never be permitted inside the halls of justice, and I support this judge for punishing her for trying to manipulate the justice system by putting public pressure on the court. That shit happens constantly in the American justice system, and it needs to stop.
And this part: The victim’s lawyer was suspended from the case, has had his licence to work confiscated, and faces a disciplinary session.
As well he should. As far as I can tell, he wasn’t even remotely trying this case on the merits. This girl broke the law. Yeah, she had a terrible thing happen to her (which might not have happened had she been abiding by the law), but that doesn’t change the fact that she broke the law. If a bank robber gets non-fatally shot, we don’t let him off the hook because he became a victim during the course of his own crime. Similarly, this girl being victimized as a result of her lawlessness doesn’t absolve her of her actions. But that’s exactly what the attorney was trying to do. Instead of defending her on the merits of her case, he was trying to improperly influence the court into judging her for being raped instead of breaking the law. Aside from the fact that lawyers who pull that shit really stick in my craw, that kind of crap completely degrades the objectivity and impartiality of the justice system, and undermines the public’s confidence in it.
Yes, I find it abhorrent that this girl is being tried for a crime that any civilized nation would laugh at. Yes, I find it outrageous that she’s being whipped. Yes, I find it terrible that she was raped. But these people are doing what’s right by them—and any self-proclaimed liberal Democrat HAS to respect that, or else they’re a complete hypocrite. And if people weren’t such goddamned morons who are too busy being outraged and indignant, we might actually learn a thing or two to better our own justice system.
This comes courtesy of this dumb ape of a bitch whose blog I periodically read. Pretty sure it’s old news too.
This made me feel like vomiting, I can`t describe how disgusted I am after reading this…
“An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped.
The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack.
When she appealed, the judges said she had been attempting to use the media to influence them.
The attackers’ sentences - originally of up to five years - were doubled.
According to the Arab News newspaper, the 19-year-old woman, who is from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, was gang-raped 14 times in an attack in the eastern province a year-and-a-half ago.
Seven men from the majority Sunni community were found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms ranging from just under a year to five years.
But the victim was also punished for violating Saudi Arabia’s laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.
On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence.
The rapists also had their prison terms doubled. But the sentences are still low considering they could have faced the death penalty.
The Arab News quoted an official as saying the judges had decided to punish the girl for trying to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.
The victim’s lawyer was suspended from the case, has had his licence to work confiscated, and faces a disciplinary session.”
By Frances Harrison from BBC News
For any of you that are liberal and/or Democrats, how can you possibly complain about this? This is the end result of the multiculturalism the left wing is always championing. I’m so glad we have all this tolerance and diversity when it comes to other people’s cultures and ways of life. I mean, we might think their customs and practices are strange (possibly even disturbing!), but I’m so glad we live in a world where America announces in a unified voice, “We respect other cultures who, according to their unique and special customs and way of life, whip and imprison rape victims!”
Don’t any of you assholes forget: THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED. This is the kind of thing you’ve been indoctrinating a generation of kids to grow up respecting and tolerating, while simultaneously damning America and Americans who fail to see the “lesson in diversity” when it comes to a bunch of backwards, primitive, barbaric cultures living in some backwater shithole of a country, and suggest that maybe we ought to take our awesome and unparalleled army and beat some sense into these sons of bitches.
This is why I will never be a Democrat. Democrats stand up for bullshit like this in principle and become utter hypocrites upon seeing their ill-thought-out principles in action. For all their moral relativism and situational ethics, they sure act awfully absolutist when it comes to a rape victim getting 200 lashes. Hey, who are we to protest? What’s right is what’s right for them!—in their culture and under their circumstances. Right? Stupid fucking left-wing dipshit moronic braindead retards. I swear to god, the only way a person can be a left-wing, liberal Democrat is if they’re fucking brain-damaged.
“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organizer of the first Women’s Convention, Seneca Falls, N.Y., 1848 (Submitted by hookedintomachine)
“…the abortion-rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably, does everyone else. One of the facts of abortion is that women enter abortion clinics to kill their fetuses. It is a form of killing: you’re ending a life.”—Ron Fitzsimmons, National Coalition of Abortion Providers
“Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception.’ It wasn’t about ‘missed periods.’ It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion—at any point—was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”—Jane Roe
“How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL, we generally emphasized the frame of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year. I confess that I knew that the figures were totally false and I suppose that others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”—Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former director of NARAL
“I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don’t know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say ‘Yes, it kills a fetus, but it is the woman’s body, and therefore ultimately her choice.’ I believe that very firmly. You look at the ultrasounds and there’s a fetus with a heartbeat and then after the procedure, there’s the fetus, usually in pieces, in a dish. It was alive one moment and it’s not the next. I don’t believe it’s a painful experience for the fetus because its nervous system is not ‘wired’ so that it can feel pain at that point. I don’t believe, as some anti-abortion people would have you believe, that there’s a ‘silent scream.’ But it’s very clear to me that it’s killing a potential life. And I found that hard at first.”—Faye Wattleton, former director of Planned Parenthood
MASCOUTAH, Ill. - Two hugs equals two days of detention for 13-year-old Megan Coulter.
The eighth-grader was punished for violating a school policy banning public displays of affection when she hugged two friends Friday.
District Superintendent Sam McGowen said that he thinks the penalty is fair and that administrators in the school east of St. Louis were following policy in the student handbook.
It states: “Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved.”
Now, this story hit quite a few years ago, so do me a favor, dumbasses—don’t focus on the policy itself and don’t circlejerk to your collective outrage about this girl getting punished for hugging. I’d suspect it’s close to universally agreed to that it’s nothing short of absurd to ban hugging amongst friends in schools, right? Right.
That’s not what I want to talk about.
See, there’s a deeper issue here, one that I bet a lot of people haven’t really thought about all that much. And as a lawyer, it’s an issue that strikes particularly close to home because it’s what I deal with constantly in dealing with the justice system. And that issue is this: blindly following policy and procedure.
A lot of people operate under a general misunderstanding about the justice system. Namely, they think it’s a system of justice. It’s not. It’s a system of procedure. The goal of the justice system isn’t to get the correct result—it’s to make sure that everyone gets treated fairly and equally and according to the same standards.
I wrote a paper about this in a legal ethics class a long while back, arguing that the biggest flaws in the justice system—the flaws that lead to wrongful imprisonment, acquittal of the guilty, absurd punitives, lack of recourse for those with legitimate gripes—are a result of two things: 1) the jury system; and 2) the fact that the system isn’t result-oriented, it’s procedure-oriented. To make a long explanation short, my idea was basically that we are wrong when we equate the term “justice” with the term “fairness.” Because fairness and justice are NOT the same thing. Not even close.
But a lot of people seem to think it is. How often do you hear people with a social/political axe to grind blubbering, “i-it’s not f-f-f-faaaaair”? And the justice system agrees. The right answer is letting an offender off the hook if the procedures weren’t followed. So that raises the question, then; can we really be so outraged by a girl getting detention for hugging when, as a society, we’ve decided that fairness and obedience to procedure are more important than getting the right (or at the very least, sane) result?
Some of you might be thinking that this whole “blindly following procedure” isn’t a good idea. And that argument has some merit (at the very least, following procedure is always time consuming). But take a moment to think that through and consider the implications. If we start treating different situations differently, that whole notion of fairness pretty much goes out the window. And I know that some if not most of you won’t accept that. So, we’re stuck in a catch-22. We either admit that this girl being punished for hugging was the correct thing to do because we appropriately followed procedure, or we admit that this girl being punished for hugging was incorrect and that justice, righteousness; hell, just plain, old sanity demands that something other than blind obedience to policy and procedure be our guiding star.
But can modern society really function without policy and procedure? Say what you will about bureaucracy and red tape, but imagine the chaos without it. And imagine trying to handle every aspect of every issue on a case-by-case basis. Disregarding the issue of how the hell we’d even manage it, it would probably lead to a lot of unfair results (I can see that especially being the case in the world of health care).
But that raises another question: should we even bother trying to be fair? Contrary to popular belief, life isn’t fair. So why should we pretend it is? Why should we try to force it to be fair when reality itself is against us? Keep in mind that in every single effort we’ve put forth to do so, there have been those that are eager to exploit and abuse it.
How do we decide? How do we figure it out?
I think this story is a good one, because it gives us the opportunity to see where our values are. I know most of your egalitarians have stopped following me by now under the false notion that I’m a troll or an idiot, but I really would like your thoughts here. Was it a good thing that they followed procedure and punished this girl, or would it have been better to throw fairness and equal treatment out the window and not punish her?