'They don't really believe it'

My house is on fire.

Oh my God! Are you OK?

I’m good, you know. How are you doing?

No, I mean, your house! Where are you?

Just watching the game, taking a little break.

Where? Are you …

Where else? Here on the sofa. Duh.

But the fire

Yeah, it’s horrible. The worst thing you can imagine.

Wait. I don’t understand. You said your house is on fire.

Yeah. It’s a shame. A national tragedy.

But, but you’re just sitting there on your couch, watching TV.

What’s your point? I’m not allowed to relax and enjoy myself once in a while?

Shouldn’t you be, you know … doing something? Like running outside to escape the flames? Or calling the fire department?

We don’t have a fire department, which you would know if you paid any attention at all to politics. All we have is a too-small volunteer company, because our so-called leaders don’t appreciate that fire is the Most Important Moral Issue of Our Time.

But …

Of any time, really. They just don’t share my righteous concern for …

Your house isn’t really on fire, is it?

How could you say such a thing? Of course it’s on fire. My house is on fire!

OK, maybe you just don’t understand what that means …

I know what it means. Engulfed in flames. Geez, don’t act like I’m stupid.

It’s just … Look, I just have a hard time believing you when you say your house is on fire but you’re not doing anything about it.

What do you mean “not doing anything”? I’m circulating petitions, registering voters. I’ve got a “Fire Kills” bumper sticker on my car. I just sent a check to the campaign of the new candidate for mayor …

But …

She appreciates the significance of fire as the Most Important Moral Issue of All Time. Not like our current mayor. That immoral man …

I’m hanging up now.

What? Did I say something “politically incorrect”?

No, it’s just all this nonsense about your house being on fire.

Yeah, well, I guess you just don’t have the moral fortitude to understand what’s really important.

No, you’re just a very silly person who says things he doesn’t mean and I’m going to hang up on you now.

You can’t hang up on me — my house is on fire! It’s a raging holocaust!

No. No it isn’t. And this fantasy or delusion or …

Can’t you smell the smoke?

Goodbye. [click]

Goodbye yourself, sinner. We’ll see who’s hanging up on who after the next election.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    Ellie, one of the frustrating things is that it really doesn’t matter if women are married or not.  It’s that they’re having sex when they’re not prepared to raise a child (or another child). 

    Remember the “Why trust me with a child if you won’t trust me with a choice” bumper sticker? 

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    Ellie, one of the frustrating things is that it really doesn’t matter if women are married or not.  It’s that they’re having sex when they’re not prepared to raise a child (or another child). 

    Remember the “Why trust me with a child if you won’t trust me with a choice” bumper sticker? 

  • arc

    Hands up who says they think the death penalty is wrong!

    You can drop your hands if you think it’s only a bit wrong, nowhere near as wrong as murder.

    Now, drop your hands if you’ve tried to kill an executioner, a politician who supports execution, or take them hostage, or take over or blow up a prison that performs executions, or any other extreme, illegal activity aimed at stopping executions.

    The rest of you, you don’t really believe that the death penalty is really that wrong, otherwise you’d take more extreme methods to stop it.  Picketing against state-sanctioned murder? Pathetic!

    No point in taking any of these anti-death-penalty people seriously – they don’t really believe what they say.

    (By this standard, those who really believe executions are as bad or nearly as bad as murder are few and far between – I’ve never actually heard of any myself)

    (tip of the hat to Non-tipping Bastard and Robyrt who seem to be thinking along the same lines).

  • arc

    Hands up who says they think the death penalty is wrong!

    You can drop your hands if you think it’s only a bit wrong, nowhere near as wrong as murder.

    Now, drop your hands if you’ve tried to kill an executioner, a politician who supports execution, or take them hostage, or take over or blow up a prison that performs executions, or any other extreme, illegal activity aimed at stopping executions.

    The rest of you, you don’t really believe that the death penalty is really that wrong, otherwise you’d take more extreme methods to stop it.  Picketing against state-sanctioned murder? Pathetic!

    No point in taking any of these anti-death-penalty people seriously – they don’t really believe what they say.

    (By this standard, those who really believe executions are as bad or nearly as bad as murder are few and far between – I’ve never actually heard of any myself)

    (tip of the hat to Non-tipping Bastard and Robyrt who seem to be thinking along the same lines).

  • Lori

    Hands up who says they think the death penalty is wrong!

    Raise your hand if you think that the death penalty as applied in the US is morally equivalent to the Holocaust.

    If you’re not holding up your hand the rest of arc’s post doesn’t really apply to you, however much arc may want to believe that it does. Something that has been discussed, but which arc apparently missed while basking in the glow of agreeing with Non-tipping Bastard and Robyrt. 

  • Lori

    Hands up who says they think the death penalty is wrong!

    Raise your hand if you think that the death penalty as applied in the US is morally equivalent to the Holocaust.

    If you’re not holding up your hand the rest of arc’s post doesn’t really apply to you, however much arc may want to believe that it does. Something that has been discussed, but which arc apparently missed while basking in the glow of agreeing with Non-tipping Bastard and Robyrt. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been hearing that some “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are fronts for pro-life organizations. That woman’s experience sounds pretty bad :( I hope she was able to get to a Planned Parenthood later on. :(

    Some?  All of them are fronts for pro-life organizations.  I remember one of my teachers in Catholic school openly bragging that they had established such a center to decieve women who were seeking abortion.

    Its not just the “if you really thought it ws murder, you’d stop it by all means necessary” argument alone that points to people not really thinking it. Ask someone who thinks abortion is murder how, when it is illegal, women who have abortions should be punished. Ask if it should be the death penalty, or life in prison. The extent to which abortion is not like every other murder suddenly becomes much clearer.

    There are plenty of people who will say ‘yes’ to that question.  Not many politicians, granted…They’re wrong, of course.  But that’s because abortion is not murder, not because they’re hypocrites.

    And none of them for having abortions. Look, fetal homicide laws are heinous, no doubt about it, but they exclude abortion; if they were charging women who had abortions with murder, it would require the overturning of Roe to be deemed constitutional. I don’t think anyone gains anything by misrepresenting the facts.

    I can see fetal homicide laws as reasonable under the assumption we’re talking about a law that refers to exclusively to assault or deliberate negligence that results in the termination of pregnancy without the mother’s consent (an easy – if not perfect – method of determining this is to simply ask the woman if she wishes to press charges)

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been hearing that some “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are fronts for pro-life organizations. That woman’s experience sounds pretty bad :( I hope she was able to get to a Planned Parenthood later on. :(

    Some?  All of them are fronts for pro-life organizations.  I remember one of my teachers in Catholic school openly bragging that they had established such a center to decieve women who were seeking abortion.

    Its not just the “if you really thought it ws murder, you’d stop it by all means necessary” argument alone that points to people not really thinking it. Ask someone who thinks abortion is murder how, when it is illegal, women who have abortions should be punished. Ask if it should be the death penalty, or life in prison. The extent to which abortion is not like every other murder suddenly becomes much clearer.

    There are plenty of people who will say ‘yes’ to that question.  Not many politicians, granted…They’re wrong, of course.  But that’s because abortion is not murder, not because they’re hypocrites.

    And none of them for having abortions. Look, fetal homicide laws are heinous, no doubt about it, but they exclude abortion; if they were charging women who had abortions with murder, it would require the overturning of Roe to be deemed constitutional. I don’t think anyone gains anything by misrepresenting the facts.

    I can see fetal homicide laws as reasonable under the assumption we’re talking about a law that refers to exclusively to assault or deliberate negligence that results in the termination of pregnancy without the mother’s consent (an easy – if not perfect – method of determining this is to simply ask the woman if she wishes to press charges)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Um…what if you think the death penalty is just state-sanctioned murder, but you don’t try to murder anyone involved because you think murder is wrong?

    I haven’t picketed against it because there’s nowhere on the entire landmass I live on where it hasn’t been abolished. I’ve actively supported international campaigns to abolish the death penalty in those countries where it still is practiced.

    Does that count?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Um…what if you think the death penalty is just state-sanctioned murder, but you don’t try to murder anyone involved because you think murder is wrong?

    Seriously, what the hell?

    Do you also claim that no one can call themselves a pacifist unless they’re prepared to invade other countries and bomb the shit out of their military?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Those precious few that are attempting to make a difference on the contraception end at least are open to constructive solutions. Not that, AFAICT, there actually are any of those. I’ve never found a hard-line pro-lifer who is active in any sort of contraceptive support/education program to the same extent that many of them are in picketing clinics and such bullshit

    They absolutely exist. Probably don’t get called ‘hard-line pro-lifer’ cos No True Scotsman works both ways.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Those precious few that are attempting to make a difference on the contraception end at least are open to constructive solutions. Not that, AFAICT, there actually are any of those. I’ve never found a hard-line pro-lifer who is active in any sort of contraceptive support/education program to the same extent that many of them are in picketing clinics and such bullshit

    They absolutely exist. Probably don’t get called ‘hard-line pro-lifer’ cos No True Scotsman works both ways.

  • low-tech cyclist

    It’s analogous to just-war theory. 

    In particular, if you’re going to do more harm than you’re seeking to prevent, you shouldn’t be going to war, or seeking to overthrow the existing order in your country through violent means, or whatever. 

    This country executes roughly 50 people a year.  How many politicians or prison wardens would we have to kill to bring the death penalty to an end?  The answer is, practically all of them: people don’t like giving in to terrorists, so they’d insist on continuing the death penalty no matter how much we DP opponents added to the carnage. 

    We would not be preventing an evil – we’d just be adding to it.

    Now compare that with a theoretical holocaust of 1,300,000 victims per year.  To bomb the relative handful of clinics and hospitals in the U.S. – a couple hundred, maybe? – where women can get abortions might cause a handful of lives to be lost – if the bombings all took place in the middle of the night, you might not make it into double figures.  But you’d practically bring that holocaust to a halt.  It would meet all the standards for a just war.

    That is, if you really believed that the fertilized egg was a person, same as you and me.

  • low-tech cyclist

    It’s analogous to just-war theory. 

    In particular, if you’re going to do more harm than you’re seeking to prevent, you shouldn’t be going to war, or seeking to overthrow the existing order in your country through violent means, or whatever. 

    This country executes roughly 50 people a year.  How many politicians or prison wardens would we have to kill to bring the death penalty to an end?  The answer is, practically all of them: people don’t like giving in to terrorists, so they’d insist on continuing the death penalty no matter how much we DP opponents added to the carnage. 

    We would not be preventing an evil – we’d just be adding to it.

    Now compare that with a theoretical holocaust of 1,300,000 victims per year.  To bomb the relative handful of clinics and hospitals in the U.S. – a couple hundred, maybe? – where women can get abortions might cause a handful of lives to be lost – if the bombings all took place in the middle of the night, you might not make it into double figures.  But you’d practically bring that holocaust to a halt.  It would meet all the standards for a just war.

    That is, if you really believed that the fertilized egg was a person, same as you and me.

  • arc

    OK, fair enough – they aren’t exactly analogous.

    Although farming is.  Millions of animals a year are held in captivity, often in substandard conditions, and are slaughtered for food (or because they’ve reached the end of their useful life).  Plenty of people say that they think animals deserve nearly equal moral consideration with human beings – but virtually no-one is actually taking any kind of drastic action to put a stop to it.  This would surely justify terrorism on a wide scale as well.  Perhaps it so happens that all of the people involved are against any form of killing – but drastic action could involve all kinds of non-lethal civil disobedience and disruption.

    Moreover, the ‘not giving in to terrorists’ point also applies to abortion clinics.  Faced with widespread terrorism, there’s every chance that the State might take drastic measures to stop such activity, such as states of emergency, martial law, widespread powers of arrest and detainment – think Trudeau and the Québec separatists.  There’s lots of arguments that anti-abortionists can appeal to for not engaging in terrorism, and Fred has considered none of them.

    Anyway, the murder (rhetorically speaking) of 50 people a year by the State would surely justify more drastic measures than the easy option of campaigning in some way for legislative change, especially by people who know the victims personally. 

    My point is really that most of us don’t really do anything much about issues we say are really, really important issues for us, apart from voting, the odd donation, and perhaps a bumper-sticker or turning up to the occasional rally.  Fred’s argument entails that all of us that engage in at most mild activism actually do not really believe in the things we say.

  • arc

    OK, fair enough – they aren’t exactly analogous.

    Although farming is.  Millions of animals a year are held in captivity, often in substandard conditions, and are slaughtered for food (or because they’ve reached the end of their useful life).  Plenty of people say that they think animals deserve nearly equal moral consideration with human beings – but virtually no-one is actually taking any kind of drastic action to put a stop to it.  This would surely justify terrorism on a wide scale as well.  Perhaps it so happens that all of the people involved are against any form of killing – but drastic action could involve all kinds of non-lethal civil disobedience and disruption.

    Moreover, the ‘not giving in to terrorists’ point also applies to abortion clinics.  Faced with widespread terrorism, there’s every chance that the State might take drastic measures to stop such activity, such as states of emergency, martial law, widespread powers of arrest and detainment – think Trudeau and the Québec separatists.  There’s lots of arguments that anti-abortionists can appeal to for not engaging in terrorism, and Fred has considered none of them.

    Anyway, the murder (rhetorically speaking) of 50 people a year by the State would surely justify more drastic measures than the easy option of campaigning in some way for legislative change, especially by people who know the victims personally. 

    My point is really that most of us don’t really do anything much about issues we say are really, really important issues for us, apart from voting, the odd donation, and perhaps a bumper-sticker or turning up to the occasional rally.  Fred’s argument entails that all of us that engage in at most mild activism actually do not really believe in the things we say.

  • Lurker in a Box

    That’s his point.  Pro-Life positions, kinda by definition, make murder a silly tactic.  I do know people who chained themselves together to restrict access to clinics, but the increasingly brutal police power of the state has made moral tactics of resistance more difficult these days.

  • Lurker in a Box

    That’s his point.  Pro-Life positions, kinda by definition, make murder a silly tactic.  I do know people who chained themselves together to restrict access to clinics, but the increasingly brutal police power of the state has made moral tactics of resistance more difficult these days.

  • Lurker in a Box

    The argument that people are somehow morally obliged to actively do something is a strangely absolutist position.  In traditional terms, absolute moral obligations can only be phrased negatively.  Thou shalt not do X (murder, steal, etc.).  What do you do in the face of the Holocaust?  Do not murder (which might include helping save Jewish people, when it is in one’s power, but not necessarily), do no steal, etc.  There is no obligation to bomb train tracks or assassinate Hitler, and it is morally simplistic to suggest that there is such an obligation.

  • Lurker in a Box

    The argument that people are somehow morally obliged to actively do something is a strangely absolutist position.  In traditional terms, absolute moral obligations can only be phrased negatively.  Thou shalt not do X (murder, steal, etc.).  What do you do in the face of the Holocaust?  Do not murder (which might include helping save Jewish people, when it is in one’s power, but not necessarily), do no steal, etc.  There is no obligation to bomb train tracks or assassinate Hitler, and it is morally simplistic to suggest that there is such an obligation.

  • Termudgeon

    Do you mean the FACE Act? What is brutal about that?

  • Termudgeon

    Do you mean the FACE Act? What is brutal about that?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve come to exactly the same conclusion.

    Hell, even if you’re an extreme pacifist…there are literally thousands of times more people in the pro-life movement than doctors, so how about a little kidnapping? You take an abortion doctor off the street for two months until they track you down, you get years in prison, but isn’t it worth it to save thousands of lives?

    And we’ve had like three people blow up abortion clinics, usually in a way to hurt people…but there’s no logical reason it does have to hurt people. It’s perfectly possible to destroy buildings in a way that is mostly safe, or at least mostly safe to everyone but you. You’d be arrested, of course…but see above.

    They really do not believe ‘millions of people are being killed’, despite the fact they say it. Even if we ascribe the magical restraint to never kill anyone, which is basically up there with ‘I refuse to shoot the death camp guard so we can rescue everyone’ as moral idiocy, no one says you have to kill or even injury people.

    If people really do believe that life begins at conception, either they think that life is not actually worth anything, or they are the biggest cowards in history. They’re essentially non-nazis living in Nazi Germany who won’t park their car on the death train tracks…because they’d get a parking ticket, and lose their car, and that’s all. It is literally immeasurable cowardice.

    And, as I’ve also had occasion to point out…not only do ~60%-75% of all pregnancies end, best estimates say that 50% of all fertilized eggs do not implant in the first place. Doctors don’t call that ‘pregnancy’, but the whole ‘birth control is abortion’ lunatics seem to.

    So the best estimate is that somewhere around 90% of all ‘sperm and egg that merge’ do not result in people. It’s not ‘half’, it’s literally 9 out of 10 people die, if you believe their logic. This is a medical disaster exceeding the Black Plague, reaches the entire world, and has existed for all of human history. Compared to this, abortion is nothing. It’s like asserting that the government do something about a serial killer who’s killed five people…during a damn zombie apocalypse that’s killed almost everyone and destroyed society, which the government is completely ignoring.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve come to exactly the same conclusion.

    Hell, even if you’re an extreme pacifist…there are literally thousands of times more people in the pro-life movement than doctors, so how about a little kidnapping? You take an abortion doctor off the street for two months until they track you down, you get years in prison, but isn’t it worth it to save thousands of lives?

    And we’ve had like three people blow up abortion clinics, usually in a way to hurt people…but there’s no logical reason it does have to hurt people. It’s perfectly possible to destroy buildings in a way that is mostly safe, or at least mostly safe to everyone but you. You’d be arrested, of course…but see above.

    They really do not believe ‘millions of people are being killed’, despite the fact they say it. Even if we ascribe the magical restraint to never kill anyone, which is basically up there with ‘I refuse to shoot the death camp guard so we can rescue everyone’ as moral idiocy, no one says you have to kill or even injury people.

    If people really do believe that life begins at conception, either they think that life is not actually worth anything, or they are the biggest cowards in history. They’re essentially non-nazis living in Nazi Germany who won’t park their car on the death train tracks…because they’d get a parking ticket, and lose their car, and that’s all. It is literally immeasurable cowardice.

    And, as I’ve also had occasion to point out…not only do ~60%-75% of all pregnancies end, best estimates say that 50% of all fertilized eggs do not implant in the first place. Doctors don’t call that ‘pregnancy’, but the whole ‘birth control is abortion’ lunatics seem to.

    So the best estimate is that somewhere around 90% of all ‘sperm and egg that merge’ do not result in people. It’s not ‘half’, it’s literally 9 out of 10 people die, if you believe their logic. This is a medical disaster exceeding the Black Plague, reaches the entire world, and has existed for all of human history. Compared to this, abortion is nothing. It’s like asserting that the government do something about a serial killer who’s killed five people…during a damn zombie apocalypse that’s killed almost everyone and destroyed society, which the government is completely ignoring.


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