Melissa Harris-Perry Responds To Richard Mourdock

Very powerful:

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Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Laurent Weppe

    I don’t agree with this video.
    Much like the supply-sides video you posted earlier this month, I don’t disagree with the arguments made in the video themselves, but with the idea that the video can be used to convince people.

    Anti-abortion politics in the US are built on lies: at there core, these are the product of pro-ploutocracy politicians wanting to make people who have no interest in doing so vote for their faction. So they use abortion to paint their opponants as evil baby killers; and when said opponents try to expose their moral bankruptcy by pointing the contradiction between forcing the victim of a rape to carry the spawn of her rapist to term and their pretense of holding the moral high ground, they pretend that said rhetoric is a deeply held religious belief, that they “struggled” with this issue: all this to pretend that the actually believe their own shitty rhetoric and to hide the fact that they don’t give a shit about raped women who are not part of their social circle.

    And by attempting to “explain” things to Mourdock (and I suppose, by extension, everyone who agrees with Mourdock), Harris-Perry falls prey to the false postulate that Mourdock does not “get it”, that his appealing behavior is not the result of the cynical decision to deliberately hurt already suffering human beings in his quest for power. I watch see video, and all I can think is “shit someone who should know better has been cut by Hanlon’s razor -agains.

    • RobMcCune

      You really think that this response broadcast on national television was meant for Mourdock?

    • Laurent Weppe

      You really think I wrote “by extension, everyone who agrees with Mourdock” simply out of aesthetical concerns?

    • Ashley

      The idea that Republicans exploit the abortion issue for political gains while privately not caring about the issue was true thirty years ago. It was probably true fifteen years ago.

      It’s not true any more. The party doesn’t exploit those people anymore, it is those people. Republican-controlled state legislatures passed dozens of laws this year intended to restrict access to legal abortions. These legislatures and increasingly Congress are stocked with Republican graduates of fundamental universities. The Governor of Virginia is a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent university, and he’s far from the only one.

      Republicans used to hide their support for or indifference to abortion. The lie has flipped: now they’ve begun to hide their radical opposition to all abortion.

    • Laurent Weppe

      The idea that Republicans exploit the abortion issue for political gains while privately not caring about the issue was true thirty years ago [is] not true any more. The party doesn’t exploit those people anymore, it is those people

      That’s your and Harris-Perry’s problem: you assume that “those people”, the rank and file of anti-abortionnists, really, sincerely, want to ban abortion.

      I’ll take an european exemple: Poland: John Paul the second’s homeland is called the “most pro-life” country of the European Union. Abortion is illegal except in cases of endangerment of the mother’s life, result of a rape/incest or serious malformations of the fetus. When the question is asked by Pollsters, half the Poles say they favor the ban of abortion, a ration which reach three fourth among the 15-24 years old.

      Yet, it is estimated that over 300.000 Polish women go through an abortion every year. That’s 45% of pregnancies which end this way, and most importantly, it means that the people who claim to favor keeping abortion illegal either:
      • Had one (or more) abortion themselves
      • Have a spouse, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a relative, a friend, a coworker, a lover who had an abortion, someone they knew, and loved, and did not denounce and maybe even helped
      • Have forced their wife, or their daughter, or their mistress to go through an abortion to avoid a scandal: there are hundreds of thousands of Scott DesJarlais among male Poles.
      This means that virtually every adult polish “pro-lifer” does not want to have the prohibition they publicly defend applied to them.

      Do you imagine, even for one second, that the rank and file “pro-lifers” in the american Jesuland are any different? They are as hypocritical as the crooked politicians who have for the past decades seen them as reliable useful idiots. Contrary to the popular meme, I do not believe at all that the fundie-college-trained crooks who fill state legislatures in contemporary USA are more deluded that the more “aristocratic” GOP elites of yore: they’re just better at lying with a straight face about abortion.

      As I’ve argued before, most of conservative voters are not hapless idiots fooled by religious sound-bytes and shallow rhetorics: they are perfectly intelligent people who
      One: Made a risk and reward assesment and decided that submission to the biggest bullies from the upper-class was the better course of action
      Two: Need an excuse to justify their submissive behavior without aknowledging that said behavior is indeed submissive.
      The extremist rhetoric of the current american right-wing is primarily meant to provide such an excuse: that most progressive still try to “explain” to right-wing voters things they already know shows that it’s working.

      So of course politicians emerging from the rank-and-file pro-lifer crowd will be better at lying with a straight face about abortion: unlike the older conservative aristocrats who opportunistically took in the religious fundies, the new breed as had a liflong training in this particular form of lying.

    • blotonthelandscape

      I think you’re confusing cognitive dissonance with political scheming. It’s quite possible that these people are the hypocrites that you accuse them of being, but the beliefs they express are true reflections of their societal ideals (even if crunch-time came and they opted for an abortion, they would experience guilt and shame as a result of failing to live up to their ideals).

  • Laurent Weppe

    No: I’m arguing that people tend to greatly underestimate the capacity to play pretend in the populatoin at large. Which is understandable given that we’re social mamals hard-wired to live in close-knit groups of 100 individuals or so where the kind of systematic lying I describe is untenable, so of course our first impulse is to assume that every professed opinion is sincere.

    I took the Polish example because the number of abortions shows that its prohibition is in a way similar to prohibition of alcohol and pot: “every one does it” (or knows someone who does) and everyone knows that “every one does it“. Cognitive dissonance can only go so far as an explanation, and there comes a point when the obvious is too glaringly obvious to be ignored or burried under layers of rationalization. What you call “guilt and shame”, is way more likely to be in fact “fear of being caught doing something deemed socially unacceptable -even if virtually everyone does it in secret

    • Laurent Weppe

      And, in a twist of fate, someone else on patheos provides my “they’re not deluded, they’re lying” argument with more ammunition:

      Fred Clarck on how white Evangelicals went overnight from indifferent/favorable to abortion to rabidly anti-abortion for political gain and have since then lied by omission about this suden change.