Good answer to a rhetorical question

On a fairly standard CiF article about the death penalty (the Americans are planning to execute a woman who was involved in a plot to kill her husband, but who was demonstrably too stupid to have led it; everyone sane disapproves; everyone evil and vindictive approves strongly), the standard liberal joke question came up:

i’ve never understood how someone can be pro-life and in favour of the dealth penalty.

Obviously, lots of right-wing idiots came up with failed answers. But a liberal commenter called LinearBandKeramik (no relation) actually came up with an excellent one:

Pro-life individuals are not primarily opposed to abortions because of a concern for the unborn child. It is more about maintaining a social structure in which women’s independence is circumscribed by their ability to give birth. If the choice to give birth or not isn’t fully under the individual control of the women concerned then it allows others (other women, men, the church etc.) to have greater power over them. In other words they’re not really pro-life, they’re pro-control.

Such individuals simultaneous support for the death penalty flows partly from a lack of compassion and also from a belief that violence should be the remedial option of first resort, regardless of the problem.

Pretty much 100% on, there.

10 thoughts on “Good answer to a rhetorical question”

  1. Evil? I didn't expect you to prove my point in your first word. The characterisation of groups of people as evil is exactly what has led to the worst atrocities of history. More – the essentialism that allows you to make such generalisations about heterogeneous sets of people is exactly the same as the essentialism behind racism.

    Orthodox Catholics believe a newly fertilised embryo possesses an immortal soul. It's stupid, but they believe that. Many people look at mid-term embryos and see little humans, not unreasonably. They don't think these mini-humans should be killed for convenience. And so on. For others, control probably does play a part. My first wife and mother-in-law were both watery Anglicans with vast maternal impulses that made them feel abortion was unconscionable; I disagree with their stance but they're not alone.

    [I'm in favour of abortion on demand to the point of viability.]

  2. Ref the death penalty, which I am opposed to, many anti-abortion, pro capital punishment people have a very simple and consistent argument with which I disagree but see no reason to misrepresent maliciously. It is about innocence: a foetus is innocent, a murderer is guilty. They want to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

    The explanation you quote approvingly is as mad as anything David Icke has ever said, as well as adding to the subhuman qualities attributed to the writers antagonists.

    Revolting stuff, John.

  3. I don't believe in taking people's beliefs at face value. The orthodox Catholic view is, as you say, obviously really stupid. If otherwise intelligent people purport to believe something obviously really stupid, there must be some kind of reason for this. The most logical one, given the Catholic church's wider set of policy goals, is control.

    Meanwhile, I'm assuming your first wife and MiL were also opposed to executions if they're the watery flavour of Anglican you seem to be describing – in which case, this isn't directed at their viewpoint…

  4. I understand that the reason for the orthodox Catholic view is seriously bizarre, rooted in the 19th century development of the cult of the virgin Mary, and in debates about whether or not she was present during the sinful act of conception.

    If she came into existence AS her parents were bonking, she would have been. So it was decided she came into existence immediately afterwards, thereby remaining entirely pure.

    The consequence for the abortion debate is collateral damage, as it were. The point then was that she wasn't present during sex, the collateral is that she was present immediately afterwards.

    The Catholic Church is unpleasant AND bizarre.

    Yes, that was the ex-w and MiL's position.

  5. Interesting background – but as above, when supposedly intelligent people are having debates with relatively serious consequences on that kind of ridiculous issue, my general assumption is that the nonsense they're talking is to further some kind of actual aim – either in terms of advancing their personal status, their allies' status, or a real policy view that they hold.

    Perhaps I'm being unfairly optimistic about people's genuine abilities to get into murderous fights about literally nothing….

  6. That the same peoples delighted to see Rose West whining about her breakfast sausages don`t mind bagging up an inconvenient unborn child and flushing it away is less mysterious .
    Two subjects , incidentally , with far less connection in the UK than the US( and quite a lot less fury)

  7. That the same peoples delighted to see Rose West whining about her breakfast sausages don`t mind bagging up an inconvenient unborn child and flushing it away is less mysterious .
    Two subjects , incidentally , with far less connection in the UK than the US and somewhat less significance

  8. "Ascribing subhuman qualities to people you disagree with, which is something of a signature of yours, is a habit with appalling antecedents."

    Obviously, you'd never catch a Libertarian doing *that*, would you? I mean, accusing people of being "clamped to the teat of the state suckling" is something quite different, right?

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