Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Repeal Roe and the Second Amendment Together

Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Repeal Roe and the Second Amendment Together December 5, 2015

I propose that an amendment be made to the Constitution requiring that Roe v. Wade *and* the Second Amendment be repealed together and forbidding the repeal of one without the other. Neither action will “outlaw” anything, of course. Abortion will simply revert to being a matter of state law, as will gun ownership.

But it will have the great advantage of getting rid of two pernicious and destructive federal laws, as well as providing a highly entertaining and illuminating display of the massive hypocrisies of our Ruling Class on both sides of the aisle. The revelations of the true priorities of both sides of the gun and abortion debate will rip a hole in the fabric of spacetime. Fun!

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  • Dave G.

    A sad post. And yet expected.

    • chezami


      • Dave G.

        The post has nothing to do with the events. Which is the sadness of our polarized society. We don’t just advance agendas based on horrible events now. We advance them even when the events have nothing to do with our agendas. The media does that, as it is right now. It would serve us well as Christians not to fall into the same trap.

        • chezami

          Yeah. It’s pretty tragic call for a consistent ethic of life and want to prevent deaths of human beings. What an agenda.

          • Reader Yesterday

            And yet, is that the agenda? I agree with you completely about our need to be MORE pro-life, and I abhor the constant gun violence in this country, but your proposal seems more geared toward a “let’s y’all and them fight” response than actually working toward building that MORE pro-life world.
            It seems to me that you have to know that the reaction, even from rational and fervently pro-life people isn’t very likely to be, “Hey, great! Let’s do that!” It’s rather going to be explanations regarding constitutional law, workable gun limitations, immigrant screening processes, mental health programs, building a culture that welcomes babies and supports mothers, etcetera.
            It’s also likely to focus on the likelihood that were your proposal to become fact, it wouldn’t save a single life.(Remember Prohibition?)
            And if your reaction is that I’m just not pro-life enough, and my objections and arguments are proof, then I’m truly sorry for giving offense. We’re just coming at this problem from different directions, most likely.

            • Art Deco

              Prohibition was a public health success. It came at some cost, however. There are costs and benefits appended to public policy as a matter of course.

          • Dave G.

            Unless we assume Isis to be bound by laws and respectful of legal restrictions on gun ownership, it’s likely that the desire to ban the Second Amendment has nothing to do with the shooting that has occurred. Hence there is no point bringing up that particular opinion at this time. Let the media do that. Instead, if we choose to do something other than simply pray for the victims, then at least let our conversation be about solutions that might impact the event that happened.

          • Art Deco

            and want to prevent deaths of human beings.

            Except that homicide rates are fairly insensitive to the prevalence of firearms. You’re hardly preventing anyone’s death. Again, New York City managed to engineer an 81% decline in homicide rates without any significant changes in the state’s gun laws.

          • InsaneSanity

            And sadly, your response is typical liberal emotional appeal not based in fact or data. Saying, “I just wanted to prevent deaths of humans” does not make your argument correct.

            • Mike Petrik

              But it can feel good.

      • Because it represents you still haven’t done a whole lot to deal with your anger issues or tendency to make sweeping negative generalizations about others. And it’s maybe sadder than normal because this I don’t even think flows that well from you being an orthodox Catholic. You came close, in another post, of hinting you think “just war” is not correct even if you refused to go that far.

        And I don’t especially care about guns or can go either way on them. But murder rates in the Western Hemisphere are generally higher than the Eastern regardless of gun laws or even rates of gun ownership. For example look at Trinidad & Tobago or even Colombia in this list. (Link might be slow.)

        Also it might be more interpretation of the 2nd Amendment than the Amendment itself that’s a problem. Also the desire for excess. If gun-owners were satisfied with having one revolver and maybe an old shotgun we’d still have incidence but it might not be so extreme. The above lists 88 guns per 100 people, but I’m reasonably certain it’s not 88% of Americans who have guns. So it’s a lower percent, some of which have many guns.) If guns were just slower and more difficult, as they were when the Second Amendment happened, incidents might be less deadly. Although “You have the right to bear the kind of arms they had in the lifetime of the Founding Fathers. No gun designs from after 1836, the death of Madison, will be allowed of gun designers” is, I’d grant, equally unlikely.

        • Sue Korlan

          And look at Iceland. 15th in terms of gun ownership, 0 homicides due to guns.

  • Art Deco

    My ‘true priorities’ are ‘revealed’ because I do not care to regard as equivalent owning a pistol and dismembering unborn children? Or that I do not think it worthwhile to invest time and effort into a constitutional provision which does little other than put a breaker on comprehensive prohibitions on gun ownership? Or that I do not fancy that the prevalence of guns in a population is an important vector in influencing homicide rates? (This last is something which will occur to anyone who has lived in a rural area or small town where firearms are plentiful and homicides are a once-in-a-generation event).

  • Except no.

    Because man has a right in natural law to own weapons. Our positive law ought to reflect that fact.

    • [Because man has a right in natural law to own weapons]

      Does he? How does this follow? Or is this an axiomatic principle I must accept on faith?

      I’m not suggesting man necessarily doesn’t. But could you back up that conclusion with reasoning? I’m interested to see it

      • Art Deco

        Is a social and civic order wherein a man who owns weapons is for that reason an outlaw a just order? Is it just to strip grown men of the means to defend themselves against true outlaws?

        • I honestly don’t know. That’s what I’m asking you guys to defend. I’d like to see a postivist logical argument constructed that concludes man has a natural right to own weapons and furthermore guns.

          I’ll give you a start. I’ll accept a base line assertion that man has a right to own property, if you’ll also accept an assumption that there are limits to what man has a natural right to own (ie it’s just for society to limit private ownership of nukes).

          Now show me that 1. weapons in general fall within the bounds and 2. guns do as well.

          EDIT: For clarification, I’m not arguing they don’t. I’d just like to see an argument that they do.

          • Mike Petrik

            Man has a natural right to defend himself and his family against predators, including stronger predators. He has the concomitant natural right to attempt to acquire and to then keep tools reasonable and necessary for this purpose. Such tools are called weapons. Guns are a species of weapons that are designed to be effective against predators who are physically stronger than their prey.

            Not perfect, but only had 90 seconds ….

            • [Man has a natural right to defend himself and his family]

              I accept this as true, and personally it’s what is technically called a basic belief. But I’m not sure it’s axiomatically true. I’ll let it go, but I would love to see someone who could deconstruct it further.

              [Guns are a species of weapons that are designed to be effective against predators who are physically stronger than their prey.]

              So are nuclear weapons. Does an individual have a right to nukes? Same with automatic weapons, rocket launchers, tanks, Mustard Gas, biological weapons, etc.

              This argument is not compelling. You first need to establish where the limits on the natural right to weapons are and then argue why guns fall inside these limits. This is the real crux of the gun debate.

              No one is really arguing about self-defense. People are arguing the line. By taking it for granted, your simply begging the question.

              • Oh, I see, here.

                [[Man has a natural right to defend himself and his family]

                I accept this as true, and personally it’s what is technically called a basic belief. But I’m not sure it’s axiomatically true. I’ll let it go, but I would love to see someone who could deconstruct it further.]

                Um, axiomatically true? I’m not sure much can be said to be axiomatically true, by way of morals. But I think you’re right, that it makes a good first principle or “basic belief” as you call it. I feel like breaking this down into axioms and a proof would be a great exercise for Elizabeth Anscombe or another analytic philosopher.

                I think we can see it as a first principle, or at least an early, basic principle of moral philosophy from the fact that nearly every living creature does in fact attempt to defend itself from harm. That’s not a proof, but it is an indicator.

      • Man has by nature the right to self-defense. It follows from that he must also have a right to means of self-defense, or else the right to self-defense is in effect hollow.

        • [Man has by nature the right to self-defense.]

          I’m not sure this can be asserted as a basic belief. It may be true, but I’m not sure, and I’m certainly not willing to accept it axiomatically.

          But more importantly, please look down at my Response to Mike to see the real question at play concerning guns specifically. No one has even attempted to address this yet.

          Your logic is basically “Man has a right to self-defense, guns can be used for self defense, therefore man has a right to Guns.”

          This has two holes in it that need to be addressed. I’m willing to wave the first but not the second. Does man have a natural right to ANY form of self defense? If so, is the outlaw of biological weapons unjust? If not, what is the criteria so we can measure guns against that?

          I’m not against gun ownership, but I am VERY against pretending that asserting opinions counts as logical deductions.

          • [I’m not against gun ownership, but I am VERY against pretending that asserting opinions counts as logical deductions.]

            That’s fair enough, IprayIam.

            I’m not sure this can be asserted as a basic belief. It may be true, but I’m not sure, and I’m certainly not willing to accept it axiomatically.

            [Your logic is basically “Man has a right to self-defense, guns can be used for self defense, therefore man has a right to Guns.”]

            Well, I skipped a step or two, to be sure, but I think it’s reasonable. The missing steps are that the means of defense must be adequate to the threat or to likely threats, mustn’t they, for the means of defense to be useful.

            I think this point is what makes viable some restriction of the types of weapons in circulation, such as the federal ban on automatic weapons. By contrast, in a war zone such as Syria, if a village were to pool resources and acquire a tank, or if a private individual were to do so even, for the purpose of self-defense, that would seem proportionate to the threat in a way it does not in, say, the US.

            [This has two holes in it that need to be addressed. I’m willing to wave the first but not the second.]

            Sorry. I’m having a hard time finding the comments to Mike that you mention.

            [Does man have a natural right to ANY form of self defense? If so, is the outlaw of biological weapons unjust? If not, what is the criteria so we can measure guns against that?]

            No, I wouldn’t think so. Proportionality to likely threats is an important point to consider. Moreover, biological weapons (however effectively or illicitly) used as a deterrent would nevertheless probably be very ineffective as a means of self-defense. Lastly, and most importantly, the inability of WMDs as such to target the attacker specifically without harming innocent bystanders makes them illegitimate in any circumstances. A gun can be perfectly well be fired without necessarily harming innocent bystanders, so its use may be legitimate.

    • HornOrSilk

      St. Augustine would say that isn’t true. Augustine pointed out that the ability to defend with violence is not a natural right, which is why normal citizens were not allowed to right back; he saw it as an issue of authority which is given to some via the state (soldiers).

      • Can you provide a citation from St. Augustine says, even by implication, wherein self-defense (even with violence, if there were another means of self-defense) is not held to be a natural right?

        • HornOrSilk

          On Free Choice of the Will, I.5. Augustine’s position is quite famous — you can search the net to see it discussed.

          • Please give a quotation from the source. That’s a lot of reading for me to make your point for you.

            • HornOrSilk

              You asked for a citation. Now you don’t want to read. Yawn. What I said is a basic feature of his position, well known. I cited. You can read or not. Since you won’t, you are not interested, so I’m not interested in furthering this conversation. You are done.

              • You didn’t give a citation, you gave a chapter and a book to get me started on a research project. That’s not how discussions are had. I’ve just given you a citation, complete with the actual words of the author.

        • HornOrSilk

          Just google “Augustine self defense killing” and you will find a lot of discussions — also from other sources, like CD I.17. It’s a well known feature of his position.

          • No, if you make a point and use an authority to bolster it, it’s on you to provide a citation/quotation to prove you’re not just putting words in his mouth. It’s not on me and your audience to fact-check you by reading whole treatises.

            If it’s a well known feature of his position, then it should be easy for you to pull up a quotation that makes the point.

            • HornOrSilk

              I gave a citation. You didn’t want to read it. You are done.

              • You didn’t give a citation. You linked a whole book. I’m not here to do your research for you so you can continue making assertions you won’t back up.

                And, no, sir. I’m just getting started.

            • St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists [Cap. Significasti, De Homicid. volunt. vel casual.], “it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense.” Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.” (ST II-II, q64, a7 — see

              Lest someone get the idea that self-defense can be used before God as a ruse to cover homicide, the Angelic Doctor continues: “But as it is unlawful to take a man’s life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (Article 3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the ministerof the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity.”

  • gog, or is it magog?

    Assuming, arguendo, that this proposal is not just the wishful (wistful?) thinking of a legally clueless manufacturer of strawmen and false choices (which it is), it would fail.

    Once there’s no second amendment, the left will eventually succeed in banning guns. However, about 5 seconds after Roe is reversed, someone else will file a lawsuit and, perhaps on better legal grounds, abortion on demand will be legal again.

    But at least Mr Shea will feel better, for having “done something”

  • Guest30

    It is my understanding that state’s regulated abortion prior to Roe v. Wade. Some states allowed it and some didn’t. If control were to revert to the states, abortions would still happen. Probably the same thing would happen with guns as well. So I’m not sure if the proposal is realistic. Just my 2 cents.

    • Well I for one think pushing the power to the states is always a good idea, but I don’t see how that necessarily follows here.
      Mark says:
      [Abortion will simply revert to being a matter of state law, as will gun ownership.]

      But is that true? Absent judicial rulings, wouldn’t the federal government just try to pass bills on both issues? Or executive orders?

      • Art Deco

        The ‘federal government’ does not ‘pass’ anything, Congress does. And Congress is informed (or addled) by judicial rulings that declare factitious the distinction between ‘interstate commerce’ and just about anything imaginable.

        • Congress is part of the federal government. Stop playing ridiculous semantics with my posts. I’m older than a fifth grader. I’ve taken civ. ed.

  • chezami

    Dudes. It’s really not all that complicated. The point of this thought experiment is simple. If you could overturn Roe, but it cost you the Second Amendment, would you? So far, you guys are making clear that, hell no, you wouldn’t, thereby making clear that guns, not the unborn, are the *real* non-negotiables here–which is, not, alas, news. The same thought experiment ask libs, if you could finally get rid of the second amendment, but it cost you Roe, would you do it? So far, nobody from the Left has turned up to answer that. I wonder what they will say?

    • Reader Yesterday

      It really sounds like you are saying that pointing out that your thought experiment doesn’t work means that “…guns, not the unborn, are the *real* non-negotiable here….”
      I don’t understand why you would think that. I really don’t.
      If you make a silly argument, and people say, “But that’s silly,” you don’t complain that people just need to go with you here unless you’re a college sophomore, it’s four o’clock in the morning, and the beer hasn’t run out.

    • The Eh’theist

      Some friendly advice. Part of the reason your thought experiment is having trouble getting off the ground is that you don’t suggest any outcomes that might occur after those actions happen. Without those, the question becomes “Would you like green or brown M&Ms?”

      Would your Federal or State governments suddenly start passing legislation to tighten gun regulations or would the status quo reign? Would the governments pass regulations regarding abortion, either to protect access or to deny it? What would the courts do in either case?

      Here in Canada Federal laws criminalizing abortion were tossed out by the Supreme Court years ago, and regulation was left to the provinces given their responsibility for healthcare. None have sought to criminalize abortion, but levels of access have varied in accordance with the wishes of the public in each province. Some issues of funding went to court, and were addressed, but access provisions have been left to the provinces.

      Given that reality, provinces have put their efforts into reducing unwanted pregnancies and anti-abortion groups have tended to focus on providing services and supports to those with unwanted pregnancies. Both sets of actions have led to a reduction in unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

      In the case of gun legislation, Canada went through phases, from relatively no requirements, to an emphasis on training as part of the purchasing process, to later legislation which included the necessity of a certificate to purchase firearms (essentially a background check), restriction of access to some weapons (certain handguns) and no public purchase of others (automatic weapons), and against significant public outcry a Federal gun registry.

      While most Canadians saw the requirement for user education and background checks as reasonable, the gun registry was seen as unnecessarily intrusive, which resulted in it being abolished in recent years. It was such a hot-button issue that no political party here wants to make reinstating the registry a topic of debate. There is still public discussion about exactly the right mix of weapons to restrict, but for gun regulation, as with abortion, an equilibrium has developed.

      While both of these issues were the subject of public and legal debate, no one foresaw what would eventually develop from the political and legal decisions. So to ask if supporters would trade Roe for the 2nd Amendment or vice versa is a non-starter, because how are they to know what they get from the trade, and what they would lose?

      Perhaps describing the outcomes you expect from your experiment might help it gain more traction, and generate more answers.

      • Art Deco

        Concision. It’s great stuff.

        • The Eh’theist

          Philippians 3:2 (KJV) 😉

    • But couldn’t you say the same thing about most amendments?
      I’d be willing to not have constitutional protection of a lot of things if it meant removing constitutional protection of murder.

      I’ll tell you what, here’s one we can all agree on: Repeal Roe, and Repeal 3rd Amendment. I’m willing to risk quartering troops for the unborn! 😛

      • kenofken

        “I’m willing to risk quartering troops for the unborn…”

        That tells me you’ve either never had to deal with a house full of drunken 19-year-old marines and swabs at 3 a.m. or you used to be a bad-ass NCO yourself or a Super-8 security manager in a base town! 🙂

    • Bemused

      As a generally lefty person, I would say that I don’t trust states to regulate either of those things.

      My viewpoint on guns is that they are tools which are needed in some situations but they are not freedom itself (you are never going to take out a tank with an assault weapon, seriously. Have you ever seen an M1A1 tank?) and I suspect that various state would have too extreme of reactions (in both directions) if they were allowed to be the sole determiner of gun regulations.

      My viewpoint on abortion is that it is sometimes a necessary evil. The Church has a legitimate opinion but frankly the Church viewpoint is excessively simplistic. There are women would die or be permanently harmed if the Church viewpoint was followed. Women have partial miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies all the time and they have a very high risk factor of either dying or be rendered either partially or entirely infertile if their healthcare was handled in Church orthodoxy. That doesn’t even count the women who would rather die than carry their pregnancy or women who need life saving cancer treatments who might be able to carry to term but would die soon after if they don’t get the treatments. If the states handled abortion, some would outlaw it entirely and women would die.

      Both issues are more complicated than the activists of any given opinion would like us all to believe and, in truth, we decided 2 centuries ago that the US government wasn’t the religious morality police and that it was OK for people to do things that others considered morally wrong, as long as those actions didn’t interfere with the functioning of the country.

      • Reader Yesterday

        Just so you know, the Catholic Church teaches that removing an ectopic pregnancy by removing the affected tube is not immoral. Neither is surgical completion of a miscarriage. Same with receiving treatment for cancer or another life threatening disease or injury. The principle of double effect allows for a bad effect (the death of the baby) when a necessary good effect (the preservation of the life of the mother) is sought. (I’m paraphrasing and simplifying, of course)

        • Bemused

          Removing the affected tube damages the fertility of the woman for what is essentially a purely legalistic reason. Surgical completion of a miscarriage is only allowed under specific circumstances. And you can take cancer treatments that cause a miscarriage, but a miscarriage at, say, 6 months is much more dangerous than an abortion at 2 months (not to mention that putting that many of a woman’s physical resources into growing another person takes them away from her fight for life). It’s nice to be ideologically pure, but if you are a mother of 4 looking at breast-cancer, ideological purity can be something you can’t afford.

          • Reader Yesterday

            Except that there’s no medical consensus regarding your various scenarios. The Church is really rather flexible, and always, of course, merciful. The ideological purity seems to me all on the side that insists that abortion must in some way be good for women.

            • Bemused

              There is, in fact, medical consensus that removal of the tube is best avoided unless absolutely necessary in an ectopic pregnancy, that there are a number of issues in partial miscarriage that leave a woman at risk of death other than those within the strict Church allowances, that loss of a pregnancy is less dangerous at 2 months than 6, and that waiting 8 months for cancer treatments increases mortality rates significantly.

              That line about people believing abortion is good for women is one that anti-abortion purists use as a straw man. I don’t know anyone who says that abortion is good for women and I know a lot of lefty ladies. However, abortion can, sometimes, be the least bad option in a bad situation. The question, in the end, often comes down to who gets to decide that it is the least bad option and what makes it that.

              And, yes, the Church can be merciful, but it has often seems to have blind-spots (sometimes, it seems, due to lack of medical information) involving women.

              • Reader Yesterday

                I wonder if you worry as much about the impact on fertility and health of women of such things as contraceptive drugs, smoking and alcohol, and the ideology behind those things?

                • Bemused

                  Pretty much, yes. For example, I read a great book on Prohibition last year that had some really eye opening information about the crazy level of alcohol consumption in the pre-1930s days and how the attempts to reduce it interacted with the movement to give women the vote. Smoking, in case you are interested, seems to have a greater affect on male fertility in and of itself, although it obviously has an affect on pregnancy as well (low birth weight, etc). Also, my understanding is that the older IUDs had a scaring problem though the more moderns ones apparently seem to have fewer issues. I tend to be intellectually curious and people are sometimes horrified by the number of books I own (those people are not invited back 😛 ).

                  • Reader Yesterday

                    Always a pleasure to meet a fellow bibliophile!
                    And I do applaud your consistency. You must understand that the Church is also consistent in her respect for life and in her teaching that we may not do harm even to bring about good. The Church sees science as a tool or a servant if you will, not a master.
                    Let me discuss what I think is the hardest of the “hard cases” you propose: the ectopic pregnancy. On the face of it, it would seem that the Church errs in her prohibition against direct harm to achieve a good outcome. The baby cannot survive; what should it matter how he is removed when it might avoid the pain and risk of surgery?
                    The Church, however, cares for more than just the physical life of the mother. The Church acknowledges that the baby, even as a direct threat to the mother’s life, is more than a tumor and deserving of some consideration. The Church also acknowledges that no woman should be forced to decide directly to kill her unborn baby, nor should any doctor have to take action that would directly kill an unborn baby.
                    You may see this as hair-splitting. I assure you that I did for a long time. I have come to understand that it is in fact these fine distinctions that help us to be more human.

                    • Bemused

                      And that is what it comes down to in the end for me when deciding where the legal determinate should be. The Church has a legitimate opinion (even if I don’t always agree with it), but it has made very very fine distinctions. As a society, we have made the decision that any given theology isn’t the primary deciding factor in legal rules (perhaps especially when the lines are very finely drawn or when there are a lot of edge cases) and sometimes states seem to forget that, where as the federal government has a better track record in that area (though, of course some may argue that it is sometimes too lenient 😛 ).

                      Thanks for the discussion!

          • Sue Korlan

            I had a friend who had an ectopic pregnancy in which the tube where the child was got removed but the other one wasn’t. She went on to have 4 more children.

            • Bemused

              It sounds like she was fortunate! It’s nice to hear positive stories about people’s experiences.

      • sez

        Abortion is never necessary.

        Surgery to address an ectopic pregnancy has never been called “abortion”. Abortion is short-hand for “elective abortion of pregnancy”. An ectopic pregnancy is cause for an emergency surgical intervention. So: not elective. And an incomplete miscarriage is not an abortion, because the baby has already died. So: not an abortion.

        • Bemused

          Abortion (Webster definition)
          1: the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: as

          a : spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation — compare miscarriage

          b : induced expulsion of a human fetus

          c : expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy — compare contagious abortion

          Abortion (Oxford)

          1The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.

          1.1The expulsion of a fetus from the uterus by natural causes before it is able to survive independently.

          Abortion (etemology)
          Mid 16th century: from Latin abortio(n-), from aboriri ‘miscarry’ (see abort).

          Abortion has an actual meaning independent of the political one. A miscarriage, for example, is a spontaneous abortion. Bryan Fischer is attempting to redefine the term in order to make his own philosophy more palatable, but his hedging isn’t accurate.

          • But it is not the dictionary definition that is relevant here.

            The Church does not condemn surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy. That is a fact of Catholic moral theology. When you claim the Church’s view is simplistic, you are simply revealing your ignorance of what the Church teaches, and you embarrass yourself by going to the English dictionary instead of to a catechism or Catholic ethicist.

            The Church’s view on ethics is never simplistic. She has had the benefit of the most skilled philosophers and casuists in the world. If you think her view is simplistic, or does not account for complex or difficult cases, chances are good you simply do not know what you are talking about, as here.

            • Bemused

              Well, given that Bryan Fischer is anything but a Catholic ethicist…

              And, as per the actual post, we are discussion the actual English definition of abortion for purposes of the Constitution of the US, not some kind of special Catholic jargon.

              Oo, oo, look, ad hominem attack. Fun.

              Let’s parse the Church’s position for a moment. Removal of a fallopian tube (which is the most invasive way of ending an ectopic pregnancy) for the purpose of ending an ectopic pregnancy is legitimate, but direct action on the fetus in the fallopian tube (even if it is less invasive) for the purpose of ending an ectopic pregnancy is condemned. However the intent of both is to end the pregnancy and removing the fallopian tube is, in effect, an abortion. Pretending it isn’t is legalistic semantics.

              While the Church’s viewpoint on many things can be nuanced and complex, there are times where (especially for some of the more vocal “theologians” in the American Catholic church) it is comparatively less nuanced. At this point I could be unnecessarily condescending as well (Oh FFS, not another convert who’s been Catholic for 5 minutes and thinks he knows everything, for example), but instead I’ll just say, I have enough theological education that I am, um, not terribly impressed by people calling me ignorant. 🙂

      • Sue Korlan

        When the issue was left to the states, they always allowed an exception for the life of the mother.

        • Bemused

          I would love to believe that, but I don’t. There seem to be people (in this sub-thread as well, unfortunately) who think that a woman’s life is never in danger due to pregnancy complications.

          • Sue Korlan

            I suggest you look up the laws overturned by Roe and you will discover that they ALL included an exception for the life of the mother. Some also included exceptions for the health of the mother, and Doe v. Bolton ruled that economics, age, and stress had to be included under health exceptions. A later ruling by a court found not being able to comfortable in a swimsuit was a health problem for which the solution was abortion. GA was the state with the physical health exception which was broadened in that way.

    • Dave G.

      So you put this up as a set up then. Folks either say what you want, or they are guilty as you already imagined they are. Which is strange that,you clearly think about ‘you guys’ what you say you do. Of course, it could just be that most see it as a silly thought experiment or one that is so filled with problems it doesn’t come close to meaning anything in the real world. But I notice that isn’t what you bring from this. Instead, it appears to validate an opinion you already had. Which makes me wonder what, short of simply agreeing with you, anyone could have said to alter that opinion.

    • I don’t own guns or much care about them. But the overheated language you tend to use does you no favors. (Yes Chesterton himself used weird or overheated language at times, and obsessed on Ruling Classes a little though that was maybe more Belloc, but I’d trust the part of him that say defended the Medieval expelling of Jews from England because of their financial dealings or felt rich Quakers somehow worsened WWI is not the part of him you or I admire.) Owning a gun, in itself, is not equivalent to aborting or killing anyone. Most gun-users never kill anyone. And it was presented as the 2nd Amendment and abortion being similar evils.

      But yes, I’d be fine with a country where guns are rare and rights to them are limited. Although it occurs to me if gun rights devolved to the states you might not quite like the results. Maybe some states would actually expand them. While the states that restrict them might have to deal with gun-running from the more pro-gun states.

    • Pete the Greek

      “If you could overturn Roe, but it cost you the Second Amendment, would you?”
      – No, because it would be irrelevant. That is NOT what would end abortion, or even slow it down. It’s a red herring. You’d shred the Bill of Rights for nothing. If you’re going to throw out a 50 Ninjas Question, which is what you’re implying, you should at least make sure it proves what you think it proves.

      The other point with this, and what makes it a poor thought experiment, is you seem to have a very naive view of government. Yes, leaving something to the state level Constitution sounds reasonable on its face, in a very grade school level civics way, but seeing as how the Federal Government tramples state constitutions with impunity with the use of the General Welfare clause and the excuse of interstate commerce, they would simply enforce their will anyway.

      Would you be in favor of surrendering the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion for the abolition of Roe V Wade? In the same case, it should just go to the states, so why worry? I’m willing to bet you’d hesitate at that. Or heck, how about simply giving up just the Federal guarantee to be free of unreasonable search and seizure? That would be fine just in the State Constitution, right? There’s no way the Federal Government would challenge that right?

      That’s why your ‘thought experiment’ doesn’t work. You didn’t put any thought into it.

      How about a thought experiment of my own: Would it be worth overturning Roe v Wade in exchange for making public schooling attendance mandatory for all children up until high school, with zero exceptions? Wouldn’t that be a small price to pay?

    • Tom G

      If the offer was “Would you agree to repeal the 2nd Amendment in exchange for a constitutional amendment banning abortion,” I can tell you that I would enter such an accord. I would agree to it.

  • chezami

    Please stop informing me that the proposal is not realistic.


    It’s a thought experiment, a game of “Would You Rather?”

    • masterhibb

      This is the third time I’ve seen you post this same rhetorical question on this blog, and it bothers me every time precisely because it is so far removed from realism.

      Because it is not rooted in the real world, it fails as a thought experiment. Actually thinking about the proposal requires the creation of a virtual reality built from too many assumptions that can differ too wildly for two people engaged in the same “thought experiment” to actually be guaranteed they’re thinking about the same things at all.

      As an example, you seem come from the position that stricter gun control would necessarily drastically reduce the number of gun deaths among the constituency, and that all you’re asking the pro-gun folks to do is to give up their toys as a sacrifice to save the unborn.

      On the other hand, someone on the opposite side of the gun control issue may believe that stricter gun control will either have no appreciable effect on gun deaths, or may actually cause an increase.

      Since you admit the proposal is unrealistic, these two people will have to run this experiment using their own completely different set of assumptions. It’s hardly fair to tell someone who believes that banning guns would cause an increase in violent crime that they’re not pro-life simply because in this unrealistic thought experiment they decided the tradeoff wasn’t worth it. They were using an entirely different calculus to reach that conclusion, and drawing conclusions using your own personal assumptions has little bearing on their actual thought processes.

      In all honesty, if I run this little experiment using my own set of personal biases and assumptions, it comes out as nonsense. I can reach no conclusion but rejection of the premise. I don’t think it tells you what you think it’s telling you about your readers and/or commentariat, and I don’t think their answers necessarily support the conclusions you draw about them in the comments section; every time I see you pose this question, it’s followed by you castigating the “not really proilfers” in the comments section for coming to the “wrong” conclusion.

      I don’t know whether it’s your intent, but it seems to me this little “thought experiment” is much more effective as a tool for throwing mud in the eye of your right-leaning audience than as a tool for thoughtful examination of conscience. I doubt this silly rhetorical question is going to change many minds at all, but I can see it easily being used to justify and support existing preconceptions.

      • Elaine S.

        “this little ‘thought experiment’ is much more effective as a tool for throwing mud in the eye of your right-leaning audience than as a tool for thoughtful examination of conscience.”

        I would, regretfully, have to agree. It’s an imaginary exercise proposing an entirely hypothetical dilemma that NONE of us will ever face in real life. (Even if this proposal were, by some miracle, actually approved by Congress and submitted to the states for ratification, only state legislators would ever get to vote on it. So if you are not a state legislator, you’d have no say in the matter anyway.)

        Not only does it waste time that could better be spent discussing real issues (like those in Mark’s next post, about confronting radical Islam in a proper and balanced way), it also promotes an imaginary act of virtue (i.e. sacrificing the right to bear arms for the sake of protecting the unborn) at the cost of fomenting actual rash judgment (“you love guns more than babies!”), divisiveness (“you aren’t really pro-life!””You’re just a deranged leftist!”), and scandal (“if this is how serious Catholics treat one another, I want nothing to do with them”) among those who read or comment on this thread.

    • Pete the Greek

      “Guys! I’m not serious! GEEZZ!! It was just a game! LOL!”

      Imagine four guys riding in a car. The driver turns to his friends and says “Hey guys, mind if I pop in a Nickleback CD?” *uncomfortable pause* NO! NO! NO! LOL! It’s just a thought experiment! I wouldn’t ACTUALLY do that! HAHA!! Let it go, guys!!”

      There is one thing you now know for certain about that driver: He actually, really, truly DOES like himself some Nickleback.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Furthermore, you can’t just repeal an amendment to the Constitution. You have to go through the amendment process, as was the case with prohibition. (Recall that Prohibition was predicated on the belief that easy access to alcohol was the cause of alcohol-related violence, lost productivity, etc.) Abortion, otoh, is a judicial ruling and can be reinstated repeatedly until we run out of judges. That is, the two are not the same kind of thing and cannot be “bundled.” There is no one channel for overturning a Supreme Court ruling and repealing part of the Bill of Rights.

    Besides, in our concern over gun violence, we might put the emphasis on the violence more so than the gun. When I was a kid, we could order .22 caliber rifles through the mail using ads in the backs of comic books. But the 50s are not normally thought of as a steaming pile of shootings, so there must be another factor that is “prior and more causative.” For some reason, we see today a population far readier to resort to violence to resolve problems, whether that is a baby or a driver who cuts you off. But can we end abortions by better scalpel control?

    • Art Deco

      Prior to the advent of de Blasio and the recent sorosphere campaigns against the police, homicide rates had fallen to the lowest levels they’d registered since 1962 or thereabouts. It is simply not true that we are, all things considered, readier to resort to violence. It is true that informal social controls are less effective and we’ve had to substitute for them police, courts, and the penal system. However, the headline numbers for homicide are not bad. For other index crimes, I believe they are around about what they were ca. 1970.
      There are indubitably a mass of variables which influence crime rates. Positing that the prevalence of firearms is big honking important is attractive to the sort of person who despises the type of person who might own a gun, as it puts the onus for the crime on a social stratum you can openly despise and not (say) on one of the Democratic Party’s client populations.

      Please note, the New York Police Department managed to engineer an 81% decline in homicide rates over a period of 20 years. The homicide rate in Baltimore City now exceeds that in New York City by a factor of 7. Liberal academics and opinion journalists have been flailing around for 15 years attempting to find some explanation for this that does not credit police patrols and punishments.

      • Neko

        You wrote:

        The homicide rate in Baltimore City now exceeds that in New York City by a factor of 7. Liberal academics and opinion journalists have been flailing around for 15 years attempting to find some explanation for this that does not credit police patrols and punishments.

        This is, of course, sheer partisan rancor. I posted this Vox article for other reasons, but is just happens to note:

        The good news is that all firearm homicides, like all homicides and crime, are on the decline. There’s still a lot of debate among criminal justice experts about why this crime drop is occurring — some of the most credible ideas include mass incarceration, more and better policing, and reduced lead exposure from gasoline.

        Flailing around for 15 years?

        • Art Deco

          Yes, for 15 years. Among the ‘explanations’ I’ve seen offered are
          1. Demographic changes manifest everywhere (promoted by Michael Massing, who has not done more than a cursory examination of descriptive statistics).
          2. The eugenic effects of abortion (offered by Steven Leavitt. Steven Sailer has pointed out that the descriptive statistics indicate that the behavioral changes occurred in older cohorts unaffected by changes in abortion law and that the 1973-78 cohorts were more troublesome than preceding cohorts.
          3. The effects of changes in ambient lead levels. This is popularized by Kevin Drum, whose notion of demonstration is longitudinal descriptive statistics. That lead is an ecological factor seems to have escaped him.

          The alt-right complaint differs: the complaint there is that the statistics are all fake.

          I haven’t even gotten into explanations offered off the cuff, such as the fellow who told me that the advent of cell phone technology must explain things.

  • David W

    Here’s the problem. Removing the rhetoric, what you are asking is whether a person thinks we should be willing to sacrifice something that some people see as a moral good in favor of another moral good. The problem is, with that question, many dictatorial decisions are made invoking that question. For example, the Marxist “How dare you put your individual wants over the good of the whole?”

    You basically ask “Would you sacrifice X for Y?” and then accuse those who say “None of the above” of “Not really being pro-life.” It’s an Either-Or fallacy. Some people say “We should not have to surrender one for the other.” And THAT is a legitimate response to your proposal and to your rash judgment indictment of the NRA on your Facebook page.

  • Stu

    You can only outlaw one: guns or abortion. Which do you choose?

  • In theory, yes repealing Roe v Wade would no question be worth repealing an amendment enshrining the right to guns.

    But I do wonder how detrimental the actual effect of pulling apart the bill of rights would be in the long run…

    I suppose you could make this thought experiment with any amendment: Repeal Roe, Repeal 1st Amendment. Like you say Free speech wouldn’t *become illegal*. Isn’t one step closer to stopping murder worth a chip off the security of free speech?

    In theory I say yes to both questions. In practice, I’d refrain from answering.

    • Art Deco

      The Bill of Rights carries that appellation because of the source and timing of the amendments (all were ratified in 1791). They are not an integral whole in the sense that one is dependent on the other and there are important immunities delineated elsewhere in the document. Since several of the amendments are poorly worded, we might actually benefit from recomposing them. With regard to the 2d amendment, one pitfall to avoid is British anarcho-tyranny in criminal justice, wherein ordinary people are put away for long terms because they used lethal force in defending their life and property.

      • [They are not an integral whole in the sense that one is dependent on the other]

        Of course not. I’m not that big of an idiot. I just mean the psychological effect on public consciousness. The bill of rights has a bit of an “untouchable” aura, and I genuinely wonder whether there would be effects on the public consciousness’s opinions of the the plasticity of our constitution.

        maybe Maybe not. Maybe they would be good effects. i’m not making a point, here, just floating a thought.

        • Art Deco

          The bill of rights has a bit of an “untouchable” aura,
          Not really. What you’re referring to is rhetorical gamesmanship (used, for example, by partisans of Michael Dukakis many years ago).

          • I’m not referring to anything. I’m throwing out an admittedly very subjective idea as food for thought.

  • WJL

    I hope that I am not being redundant but Roe v. Wade is a bad Supreme Court decision not a Constitutional amendment, much like Dred Scott and Korematsu are bad Supreme Court decisions. The supposed basis for Roe v. Wade was the “due process clause” of the 14th Amendment. Repeal of the 14th Amendment and the “due process clause” would cause great harm to this country and (what is left of) our liberty as would a repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

    • Art Deco

      Repeal of the 14th amendment would cause no harm at all. The 14th amendment is a gangrenous limb.

  • BigBlueWave

    Repealing the 2nd Amendment would be an extremely stupid move. The United States has a crime problem, not a gun problem. There are other countries that don’t have the 2nd amendment that have crime problems, too.

    • Neko
      • Asher Jacobson

        The reason for the difference between the US and those countries is different racial demographics. That explains the entire difference.

        • Neko

          You wrote:

          The reason for the difference between the US and those countries is different racial demographics. That explains the entire difference.

          You’ll understand if I’m skeptical of the grand unified racialist theory of everything.

          • Asher Jacobson

            Racial differences don’t explain everything. They explain differences in crime rates between the US and the countries listed.

            Try not to bear false witness.

            • Neko

              Your comment history betrays a certain inclination to attribute problems to race. I notice you also encourage anyone using the term “racist” to be condemned as a “liar.” That’s a interesting hermeneutic you got there.

              Try not to bear false witness.

              Let’s get this over with. I’ll call you a racist, and you can call me a liar.

              • Asher Jacobson

                The term “racist” is meaningless and it’s only use is as a slur. It’s like calling someone a “n*gger”, simply a term of unmerited contempt.

                The reason why you warrant being called a liar is because the term “racist” is utterly meaningless, completely devoid of content. You are welcome to provide a definition for that term if you disagree. Your definition should be A) unitary B) coherent C) non-tautological D) fewer than 30 terms. Now, there are potential definitions that meet these four criteria, however, they are all very much at odds with current usage.

                • Neko

                  You wrote:

                  The term “racist” is meaningless and it’s only use is as a slur.

                  Nonsense. For example, attributing social pathologies to race, as you did so above, is racism.

                  • Asher Jacobson

                    Crime isn’t a pathology. Further, that’s not a definition.

                    Try again.

                    • Neko

                      Good luck getting me to play this game.

              • Asher Jacobson

                Further, the differences attributed to racial differences in my comment history are all evidence-based. If you have any issue with a particular position I’ve taken you are welcome to address it specifically.

                Race certainly does not explain everything but it does explain what it explains.

                • Neko

                  Oh yeah. Let’s see the evidence.

                  • Asher Jacobson

                    For what? You’re the one talking about my comment history. Specify the claim I’ve made for which you want evidence.

              • Asher Jacobson

                Also, the term racist has been around for less than a hundred years, whereas liar has existed in every language since before the introduction of writing.

                Mine has a much better pedigree than yours.

                • Neko


                  • Asher Jacobson

                    It’s not. The term “racist” was coined in the 1920s by followers of Leon Trotsky at the Manchester Guardian. It was introduced specifically as communist propaganda for the purposes of undermining the West in the conflict with communism.

                    The etymology of a term provides us into the development of its usage and, thus, meaning.

                    That it was developed very recently for purely propaganda purposes indicates it is meaningless, pure slander.

                • kenofken

                  Your pedigree of your apparent ideology of the “White Race” as inherently more virtuous and non-violent is in fact drenched in more blood than has ever been shed in the total span of human history by non-white peoples. That’s a staggering accomplishment in light of the fact that pale skinned peoples have always been a minority and have only been serious players in the saga of civilizations for a handful of centuries.

                  Modern notions of racial identity and racial superiority have been around since the start of the Age of Exploration, so racism is the better part of 500 years old, regardless of when someone formulated the word as an “-ism.” Just in those initial centuries, White People – the ones supposedly less given to crime and violence – managed to kill off the better part of 100 million people, a solid majority of all the people who happened to be living here. A lot of bad guys in history aspired to vast ethnic genocide and many of them achieved it in varying degrees. None came so close to sterilizing an entire hemisphere of human habitation as did upstanding White Men.

                  They didn’t invent slavery any more than they did genocide, but they turned it into a global Fortune 500 business. Much more than that really. They turned it into a key sector of the world economy and elevated Europe from an agrarian backwater to historic riches by strip mining human beings with the same efficiency and economic logic as iron ore or coal or any other disposable resource. Slavery so distorted the culture and politics and economy of the United States that we had the Civil War, in which 650,000 were slaughtered, with virtually all of it white-on-white gun violence. For most of a century after the start of the Civil War, inner city street gangs were overwhelmingly a White Man’s affair. White guys also invented and perfected the drive-by shooting before most of today’s black gang member’s great-great grandparents were born.

                  Then of course we had the two world wars and Stalin’s purges, all together maybe 200 million, with the overwhelming majority of it carried out by White Men. The Japanese of course had their own nasty streak, but their entire existence as a modern military power derived from their decision to reorder their society and economy to be “more white” aka more European, during the Meiji Restoration.

                  So if we are to view gun violence and murder through the lens of racial demographics, we are left with the fact that all of gun crime by people of color in all of the worst neighborhoods taken together is, in relative terms, one bad day at the office in the history of white gun crime.

                  Race can only legitimately be considered a factor in gun crime or other social ills to the extent that race, and racism, have stunted people’s economic and educational opportunities, exploited their poverty and reinforced the same dysfunctional behaviors and subcultures that exist everywhere. In that case, we’re not really talking about race. We’re talking about socio-economic factors. If, on the other hand, you mean to say that crime rates are different because of race, that’s racism no matter how you try to dress it up or play etymology games with the word “racist.”

              • Asher Jacobson

                There’s a reason you are unlikely to respond to my challenge. Definitions of “racism” fall into two general categories:

                A) Individualist definitions relating to attributing attributes to individuals based on racial membership. This definition tends to be associated with today’s mainstream conservatives, e.g. someone like Rush Limbaugh would use this sort of definition.
                B) Collectivist definitions relating to socio-structural differences that putatively cause differences in outcomes, Hillary Clinton would use this sort of definition.

                The problem with category A is that the number of people who meet those sorts of definitions are almost non-existent. The problem with category B is that they are neither unitary or coherent.

                This is why you are unlikely to meet my challenge.

                • Neko

                  Your challenge seems designed to be obscurantist. The fact is, if you describe a behavior as ethnically or racially determined, that is racism. Aggression and violence are human proclivities. Again, to ascribe them to race is racism and simply false. And a sin.

                  • Asher Jacobson

                    That is not a definition. Look, I don’t care *how* you define the term, just that you do so. Until you are capable of producing a good definition of the term I will simply continue to point out that it is meaningless and that you are a liar for using it.

                    Care to define it?

                    • Neko

                      Yeah, I’m not going to get into a definition match over racism with a racist. Sorry!

      • I gave a list earlier. Basically most of Latin America. Also some of Eastern Europe. If I did the math right there are even several nations with more homicide than us, but where the majority of homicides aren’t gun-related. Those look to include

        Sri Lanka
        St. Vincent and the Grenandines
        Barbados – As I recall this one is not a Third-World country going by the UNDP
        South Africa

        As people brought race into this, I guess, these nations are diverse. Some are at least somewhat ethnically diverse, or historically ethnically tense like Sri Lanka, but I’m not sure all are. Some are in Africa, some are South American, a few are European, and there’s some Central Asian. Some are historically Catholic, (Chile, Lithuania, Nicaragua) and others are Protestant (Barbados I believe) or Orthodox like Moldova. Or a mix of Christians as well as non-Christians. (I think Nicaragua, South Africa, and Uganda.) Some are historically Muslim like Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan. While Sri Lanka is a mix of Buddhist and Hindu. Finally Estonia is one of the least religious or least theistic nations on the planet.

        I’m mixed on guns, but on homicide it’s not as simple as some, either way, are making it out. (Plus “guns” is a term that could mean many things.) On the one hand there are indeed nations, several in fact, where both guns and violent crime look to be rarer than here. And suicide rates do seem to relate to gun-ownership. But there are just also nations where guns, officially anyway, are relatively rare but they still have issues with violence. (If, maybe, not as much with suicides. There is a reasonable case to keep guns out of the hands of those with depression or bipolar, I think.) And though Switzerland’s “gun-related death” index might be fairly high, I don’t think their murder rate is all that high.

  • John C Wright

    When someone refers to the Constitution as pernicious, he loses my respect. The Second Amendment has its roots in liberty going back to the Magna Carter. Sorry, Mark, but when Christ told his followers to purchase swords, he was not kidding.

    My answer to you is the same the Spartans gave the Persians: Molon Labe!

    • ivan_the_mad

      “but when Christ told his followers to purchase swords, he was not kidding”

      All of what I’ve read of a magisterial nature concerning Luke 22:36 interprets that verse as a reference to Isaiah (cf. Luke 22:37), or figuratively, or both. These interpretations do accord more with the Sermon on the Mount and St. Paul’s treatment of the sword in Romans 13. Do you have a magisterial source for a more literalistic reading, viz. an exhortation for Christians to arm themselves?

      • Tom G

        Can you direct me to what you’ve read of a magisterial nature concerning Luke 22:36? I honestly have no idea how the Church interprets that passage. I would greatly appreciate it.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Certainly Tom. The first thing to do, as with any instance of Scripture presented in isolation, is read the surrounding verses and preferably commentary as well (since we should read literally but not literalistically). Jesus quotes Isaiah in Lk 22:37, and candidly states this is for the fulfillment of prophecy (Is 53:12). The footnotes in my bible (The Jerusalem Bible), which has both nihil obstat and imprimatur, are as follows: Concerning 22:36, “All of this is symbolic of a mission in a hostile world”, and of 22:38, viz. “‘That is enough!'”, “The apostles have taken the words of Jesus too literally and he closes the conversation abruptly”.

          The papal bull Unam Sanctam discusses the two swords of Luke 22:36 to figuratively represent “the spiritual and the temporal” powers of the Church, an understanding which finds its roots with Augustine. See St. John Chrysostom’s 84th Homily on Matthew for his treatment of whether or not Jesus meant for the apostles to literally arm themselves with swords (spoiler: no). Aquinas, in ST on the section of war, writes that the sword is justly carried only when commissioned by proper authority (and quotes extensively from Augustine, IIRC). For a more modern treatment, you can read the relevant portion of BXVI’s Jesus of Nazareth.

          Then of course there’s the rest of the New Testament; e.g. the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ rebuke of Peter, Peter’s exhortation to the martyrs of Rome to die well and meekly, and Paul’s teaching that the sword belongs to Caesar.

          • Tom G

            Thank you. This is very helpful. I do appreciate it.

      • John C Wright

        No, I was not saying Christ asks us to arm ourselves. I said He was not making a joke, that is, He was not asking us to disarm ourselves. He certainly was not asking us to disarm ourselves during wartime against an enemy targeting civilians; an enemy, I should add, which is also His.

        Mark wants to have a discussion about disarming the innocent, law abiding citizens. Fine. During the Battle of Lepanto is not the time nor place to have that discussion: it is the time to pray the rosary for victory in arms.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “Sorry, Mark, but when Christ told his followers to purchase swords, he was not kidding.” Let’s rephrase that: “Sorry, Mark, but Christ was not kidding when he told his followers to purchase swords.”

          “I said He was not making a joke, that is, He was not asking us to disarm ourselves.”

          That is not what you said. I think you’re backpedaling, and clumsily.

  • John C Wright

    Why not repeal the First Amendment while you are at it? Won’t that show how allegedly hypocritical I and people like me are? That is what the end game of eliminating the right of self defense is.

    After every mass-shooting in a gun free zone, the reaction of the Left is the same: create more disarmed victims.

    How is it that you have not noticed this pattern, or seen that the proposed policy of victim disarmament is self defeating?

    You get more shooting with fewer guns, not less:

  • Neihan


  • This post is not a “thought experiment,” but a textbook false dilemma. Keep your guns or end abortion? What?

    Here are the facts: abortion is immoral and private gun ownership both reduces violent crime and is a necessary prerequisite of free speech. That being said, the former should be outlawed and the latter encouraged.

    The moral gravity of the former is greater, of course, and in spite of your attempt to vilify your readership, everyone knows that. But it is irrelevant because, as has been pointed out to you repeatedly, the two are unrelated to each other. There is simply no situation in which the two will be “bundled” as you propose.

  • Pete the Greek

    The Second Amendment is not a ‘Law’. Did you flunk basic civics?

    Also, Catholic teaching allows for people to have means for protecting themselves, there is no such allowance of any kind for abortion. You, as a Catholic apologist, equating the two in this way makes you look like an idiot.

    You’ve jumped the shark, man. You’re quickly becoming a parody of yourself on this topic. You’ve gone full potato.

    • full po-tah-to,that is


    • InsaneSanity

      I agree. It’s not only illogical, but it’s leftist claptrap. I don’t own any guns, but I support the right of those who wish to own one for self-protection. There is a HUGE difference between a Constitutional Amendment and a Court ruling. This blog used to be rational, but now, not so much.

  • Asher Jacobson

    Not sure where you get the notion that either Roe or the 2nd A are products of ruling class hypocrisy. Roe is a compromise, a political equilibrium that most people have accepted and the 2A has its strongest support in the grassroots.

    You are simply wrong about both.

  • Asher Jacobson

    Someone below pointed out that the majority sentiment, here, seems to be against giving up 2nd Amendment for a repeal of Roe. I suspect this stems from a moral intuition that the Left constitutes a distinct and separate people from most of those commenting here.

    Belgium allows abortions during the first trimester. Would you advocate invading Belgium to stop those abortions? If not, why not? The intuition is that Leftist babies are as distinct from us as are Belgian babies – we have no more moral obligation to use the power of the state to stop Leftist abortions than we do to stop Belgian abortions.

    If you regard, as do I, that the left is a distinct nation of people then you no longer have either jurisdiction over or responsibility to that people.

  • Sue Korlan

    I think we’re far more likely to overturn Roe by an Amendment that states that the word person in the Constitution means a human being from the moment of conception to natural death, thereby also overturning Citizens United and any other laws or rulings that presume corporations are persons under the law.

  • HornOrSilk

    Let the racist comments, let the pro-death comments commence. Seriously, the same people who say abortion is everything show guns are more important, when push comes to shove, eh?

    • Pete the Greek

      I think people just put more thought and sense into the question that Mark did.

      • HornOrSilk

        So, racism is more thought and sense? Ok…. No, Mark was exposing a point, a valid one. The “abortion is a non-negotiable” statement is tested and shown to be abandoned by many when guns are in the mix. It demonstrates how so-called pro-life people abandon it, even on the question of abortion, when other considerations are put into place. The love for guns is an idol for many, and Mark has exposed it for what it is.

        • Pete the Greek

          Racism??? Uhm…. ok, not sure where that came from, but then I haven’t read all the comments here. Carry on, I guess?

          No, my point is that some people, myself and Ye Olde Statistician at least, thought about this 50 ninjas question a bit more than Mark intended. When you put a bit of thought into it, the question boils down to the following: “Would you undermine the Bill of Rights in return for a legal gesture that will have little to zero effect, and indeed be quickly reversed?” The only rational answer to that is ‘no’.

          If you’re going to pose an ACTUAL pro-life vs. ‘only guns matter’ question, you could do it like this for example: “In return for somehow having all abortions in the US prevented from now on, would you be willing to, say, have all firearms in the entire US vaporized (not talking about criminals here, ALL OF THEM), then you would get a LOT different response. Someone else could formulate it better, I’m having to type fast here.

          But don’t let me get in the way of stroking your self-righteousness. You’re on a roll man, you go!

          • HornOrSilk

            So you responded to me, saying the comments made more sense than the original question, without reading the comments and seeing the clear racism involved in some of them? So, what sense was there in your reply if you didn’t know what was being said in the thread?

            And Mark was not saying “legal gesture with little to zero effect.” But even then, even if it only lessened abortions, is that not what is desired? But I love how people find all kinds of ways to spin themselves around and show how they can promote the weapons of death all the while screaming “abortion is everything.”

            • Pete the Greek

              Read my comment again: I said i didn’t read ALL of them. I’ve read some and seen no racism yet. But then I’m not responding to EVERYONE, I’m responding to you.

              “So, what sense was there in your reply if you didn’t know what was being said in the thread?”
              – There’s no sense in responding to someone like you, it seems.

              “And Mark was not saying “legal gesture with little to zero effect.””
              – No, when you actually roll the idea around for a while, that IS what he’s saying, though I agree that is not his INTENT. That would still be the effect. When you ask people if they would shred the bill of rights in return for… well, nothing, particularly when they don’t seem to understand that they are legally two different natures, so not able to be linked, then yeah, reasonable people are going to say no.

              If you wanted to propose a realistic question that also would show who was on what side you could say something like.. I dunno, like this: Would you be willing to have a ban on all AR-15s/AKs put in place in exchange for a maximum legal limit on number of abortions in the country per year (say 50% or something). THAT would be a more valid ‘sifting’ question.

              Seriously man, get over how much better a Catholic you consider yourself to be over all us publicans and exercise a little more thought.

              • HornOrSilk

                I was responding to the thread, and you responded to me. There is no sense in talking about the comments of the thread if you have not read them. This whole discussion is like the old joke about a man who asks a woman if she would have sex with him for a million dollars, and she says yes; then he asks if she would for five dollars, she says no, what do you think I am: his reply, you have shown what you are, we are just negotiating the price. Now the key is “non-negotiable” is shown to be negotiable by a lot who have said otherwise. It’s now the question of the “price.”

                • Pete the Greek

                  “I was responding to the thread, and you responded to me. ”
                  – I simply made the comment that some people put more thought into the question than Mark probably intended people to. You’re the one who went on a several post rant about racism.

                  Your last point is mean to be some kind of ‘gotcha!’, but it’s a dumb point. OF COURSE there’s a price to consider. We ALWAYS have to consider the price for everything. If the cost for overturning Roe v Wade was, instead, a constitutional amendment that gives a blanket national legalization of ALL forms of prostitution across the board, or maybe an Amendment that gave the federal government oversight powers and final say-so of the activities of the Catholic Church in the US, we should TOTALLY do it right? I mean, if abortion is a non-negotiable and we should be willing to do whatever it takes to end that scourge!!! But, I’m willing to bet you’d say ‘no’ in this case right? Why? Because…. it’s not a price you will pay. And I would agree with you. (especially considering that overturning Roe v Wade is almost meaningless at this point and will not actually ‘end’ abortion in this scenario.)

                  Even taking it out of 50 Ninjas territory, rational debate on firearm policy weighs cost vs benefits on proposed legislation, as rational debate should on EVERY legislative topic.

                  So, yeah, it is about price. But the thing with that is, you have to OFFER something in order to validate a price. The 50 Ninjas question up for discussion doesn’t do that. It offers little to nothing of any lasting value in return for severe damage. You think that’s a bargain?

                • Reader Yesterday

                  Except that in Mark’s version of the joke the man asks the woman if she’d have sex with him for a lottery ticket that *might* win a million dollars, and when she laughs in his face he calls her a greedy ‘ho.

    • AquinasMan

      How is this canard any different than the challenge to sell Church property and artwork to house and feed the poor? Seriously, the same SJWs who say the poor must be genuflected before show land ownership and art collections are more important when push comes to shove, eh?

      • Pete the Greek


        • AquinasMan

          It’s a thought experiment. I would trade 2A for a legislative end to abortion if it would, in fact, end abortion. I would sell all the Vatican artwork if it really would end world hunger. Neither situation takes into account the real world. Ending 2A won’t remove the temptation to evil, and removes the natural right of procuring self-defense against lethal force. Ending abortion legislatively won’t end temptation to abort either, I grant that, but there is no justifiable application for abortion whatsoever in the natural law. The right to guns trumps the right to an abortion.

          That said, sensible reform should be enacted which makes it *less* convenient to purchase a semi-auto, mental health checks, etc. But in the long run, ending 2A would be just another move in a game of whack-a-mole. Take away guns, fine, we’ll find out we have to ban belts, too. And vests. And fertilizer. And pressure cookers. Crime is like water — it will simply go to the path of least resistance. The only difference is, I just want to protect my family, not go on a shooting spree or blow up a jetliner.

          (Sorry for the multiple updates. Didn’t want to clutter with new posts!)

      • HornOrSilk

        Well, there are a lot of differences. First, when dealing with issues of poverty, few talk about “non-negotiable” but rather see there are many possible ways to dealing with the issue. While those who deal with abortion often say “non-negotiable” to their foes as a way to dismiss others, but then they negotiate it all the time on their own side. So that is a difference. Second, the people who point out that the poor are of utmost respect are not denying the possibility of someone being rich, or owning land, but those who talk about abortion all the say deny any possibility that abortion can be moral (and being pro-life, I agree, abortion is evil). So that is two right there. More can be added, but the whole point is the rhetoric is exposed (and despite the attempt to suggest “others do it as well”, the analogy doesn’t fit)

        • Pete the Greek

          So, to keep in with emotional theme of the thread, you DO consider art and ‘stuff’ to be more important than feeding the starving and giving shelter to the homeless, because if you didn’t you would have agreed that all that ‘stuff’ should be sold to give to the needy!!!1! I will hereby ignore any nuance that is necessary for a topic such as this and paint you and yours with as broad a brush as possible because… GOTCHA!!! You’re not REALLY pro-life, man!

        • AquinasMan

          Okay, I understand your response. I think it illustrates that there’s much more nuance to these issues, and if that’s the purpose of this exercise — to flush out the unthinking “rhetoric” and actually discuss real solutions, then it’s a good exercise. I would still argue that political solutions are surface junk at this point, and the higher goal is to circumcise the heart of man, not the Constitution, just as selling the treasures of the Church would not resolve the evil that leads man to enslave his brother, just as outlawing abortion won’t resolve the evil inclination of commoditizing human life. And to that extent, I get the jib of Mark’s polemic skill. If our hearts aren’t challenged, what’s the point? Finding an answer in the political arena is like trying to hold a handful of sand. Pretty soon, your hands are empty.

          So where does that leave us, Horn? My own opinion, the horse is out of the barn. Our Lord weeps for the world as He wept for Jerusalem. We’ve cast our lot with the secular kingdom and it’s over except for the shouting. No one can hear us dialoguing. What do we do aside from fast and pray and be the voice of Jonah? Thank you for your response…

          • HornOrSilk

            Oh. I agree with a lot of what you say; in the end, political solutions, while good for a time, in the end only last short term. And I think that is what a lot of people have said about abortion when dealing with elections as well. It’s why a lot of issues are examined and weighed, and not just one, and not just telling people “non-negotiable” as an excuse to ignore all other issues. For me, the key is that — “non-negotiable” and expelling the way it has been used as a political device for sometime. Its application has been wrong.

            It’s why it is a spiritual problem beyond a political one, and must be dealt with in the spirit — and in the real world, as best we can. Both guns and abortion. And many other things. But the thing is so many are not wanting to see the connection the sins have with one another – yes some are more important concerns than others, or some more easily dealt with than others, but on the side of sin, we still need to deal with the progression of sin and reverse it as best we can. Prudence is a key here — not all solutions will work, but at least, people with wisdom should be able to try different ways so long as the moral case can be made. And so you are welcome.

    • bo ure

      Yeah, Horn, that’s what they show because one issue can be set against the other. You’re cute. Like a little girl.

    • Dave G.

      Whew. Thanks for that. It’s been at least seven minutes since i saw someone drop the racism accusation. I was almost going into withdrawal.

      • HornOrSilk

        And if you read the comments, you would see the comments of Asher Johnson — QED. Please, actually read the comments, before acting all surprised that racism is involved in the thread. Clearly, it is.

        • Dave G.

          What exactly did he say on this thread that would lead you to call him a racist? Certainly not that crime rates tend to fluctuate across racial demographics, and America’s ethnically diverse population is something that sets us apart from other nations. That’s something even CNN admits. Or at least why did you ignore the bulk of the other comments that appear to have nothing to do with race, but felt what he said meant that your response was to call that one out against all of the other, quite measured and thoughtful, comments and speak as though racist comments were flowing like a never ending stream.

          • HornOrSilk

            He was making the point that it is because of the races that the crime rates are as they are, reducing it to race. And you find that acceptable. Thanks for showing your true colors.

            • Dave G.

              Your zeal to condemn and accuse is admirable. But I didn’t see that. I asked for a specific other than he mentioned what even CNN admits. Again, not to infringe on your labeling of others as racists. But still, an actual post would help. Who knows, maybe I’m just not seeing the one you are referring to? At least consider that before chucking the Church’s clear teachings on how we are to interpret others’ statements.

              • HornOrSilk

                “The reason for the difference between the US and those countries is
                different racial demographics. That explains the entire difference.”

                That is what he said. Race and racial differences explains the “entire” difference. It’s reductionism due to race. Not to other things, but race. Suggesting race alone is the factor, not the history which has caused the divide, not poverty and how different races might be affected by it due to historical circumstances, just race and racial differences alone. Seriously, reducing to race=racism. Plain and simple. You are done.

                • Dave G.

                  He was wrong to say it explains the entire difference. But it is a factor. It is well known and, again, admitted. The US is not a homogeneous society. We are a diverse society with an endless variety of backgrounds, cultures, heritages, beliefs and world views coming into the same mixing bowl. Of course poverty also has to do with it as well. Drugs and our approach to the drug problem is another. But while he was wrong to say it was the entire difference, it is no less wrong when some deny that it is any difference.

                  But I am slow to use the accusation racist. Racism is a grave evil, and to accuse someone of such will require more than a post or two. Or even an internet history. And while I disagree with the whole of his statement, it’s not enough to justify the accusation of racist. It certainly wouldn’t justify my arriving at the 11th hour of the debate and making racism and pro-death the charges that I plow into the debate with given the totality of the comments below. At least not IMHO.

                • Pete the Greek

                  You’re just saying that because you’re a cracker!! 😛

                  This was an interesting break down of the racial claim.

                  I agree that boiling to ‘race’ is not just dumb, but does point to a racial bias and, further, is VERY unhelpful. People who answer that the problem is ‘blacks’ are just as stupid as people who say that the problem is ‘guns’. Like poverty, the causes are legion and require a lot of level-headed analysis to actually find fixes.

                  • Dave G.

                    I agree that you can’t just say it’s all race. As I said below. However I’m not so sure it, in itself, points to a racial bias. Any more than refusing to discuss the issue does. It’s fair to ask about crime rates, not just with race or even regions, but along a host of demographics and factors. I think if we’re going to come close to solving the problem, we have to look at all things – and do so without fear of being labeled a Communist, or the modern equivalent.

  • Paul Hoffer

    Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense. I would suggest that a Catholic apologist who is in the business of propounding the truth of the Catholic faith is being hypocritical when he using fallacious argumentation to advance an untruth~that support for the Second Amendment automatically is an advocacy for “gun violence.”

    Let us be clear what violence is: behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. Defending oneself or others is not violence per se because the intention to do harm is not necessarily present. Using a firearm to protect my child from being raped is not the same thing as using a firearm to take revenge on someone who raped my child.

    If folks ever read the Federalist Papers or studied constitutional law, they would know that the purpose of the Second Amendment is not a license for people to commit “gun violence.” The purpose of the Second Amendment is giving the individual the right to protect the other God-given inalienable rights enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that he has. It is a limitation on governmental over-reach and the excessive use of the power that people were handing over to the government in creating this Republic. The rights we have are without meaning if we do not have the ability to defend them. I own guns, not to do violence, but to deter violence happening. If Mr. Shea really feels that the Second Amendment is the equivalent of gun violence, then why should we allow our military or even a police force to carry them? Seriously, the fact that some choose to abuse a right does not mean that we should abolish the right. Rather, we should focus on the conditions and factors that led to an individual choosing to abuse that right and work to correct them.

    Moreover, the argument is based on a flawed premise. According to the data published by our government, as private gun ownership has increased the number of incidents of gun violence has decreased. ” See, using data published by the federal CDC. The only places where gun violence in this country has increased is where more restrictions on gun ownership occurred. And for that matter, the overwhelming evidence is that mass shootings occur where guns are banned. Gun-free zones become soft targets for those who would do gun violence.

    I am no NRA fan. I carry insurance for the guns I own. I took classes on how to operated them properly. I believe that certain types of weapons should not easily be accessible. If there ever comes a time when I, in exercising my conscience, determine the need to use a gun, I would do so, not because I hate who is front of me, but because I love who is behind me.

    Abolishing the Second Amendment would not deter gun violence. Rather it would give a license to a Ruling Class to be even more pernicious and destructive to our society, our culture, and our God-given freedoms as there would be no check on their misuse of power.

    And, while most states have their own constitutions guaranteeing gun ownership for the reasons I have touched on above, there were few states that allowed abortion on demand until the Supreme Court imposed that on the people. The whole notion of abotion, gay marriage, and the like is based on an anachronistic ideological premise that children and marriage are merely property rights of adults wholly disegarding the other constitutional and natuaral law principles embued in our founding documents. Unlike the Second Amendment which is actually a deterrent against violence and the usurpation of rights; abortion is a mandate to kill and usurps the rights of a whole class of individuals. There is no legal or moral justification to give equivalence between the two. God has a commandment or two against killing too. Should we repeal God’s law because people still break it?

    All this said, I am very saddened by the level of discourse in the comment section-the name-calling, the ad hominem, the hyperbolic. Good people can agree that gun violence and abortion are prenicious evils that should be confronted and challenged, even if we disagree on solutions. Personally, I think that if we were to rid ourselves of abortion, the incidences of gun violence would be greatly reduced. If our culture did not give sanction to the notion of “disposable” people and promote the dignity of the individual, our citizenry would eventually see that people have an inherent dignity that would make doing violence against others abhorrent.

    God bless!

    • I’ve reached a point where even if as a libertarian that supports the 2nd Amendment I have strong opinions that may in theory put me close to the NRA… I just can’t even bear to be on the same side as them. The issue has gotten pushed to such extremes. Common sense is gone.

      I think I speak for most gun owners + supporters of gun ownership when I say that:
      1)People who carry should take classes and otherwise do their best to operate their guns as properly as they can.
      2)No, everyone shouldn’t have firearms. The people with a history of child sexual abuse, of arson, of making public criminal threats of violence, of domestic violence, and the like shouldn’t be able to walk into a store with a wad of bills and come out with a weapon, no questions asked but a firm handshake applied… that’s anarchy. That’s simply wrong.
      3)America doesn’t have to be a place where it’s generally understood that you can have any kind of criminal record whatsoever as well as any kind of severe mental illness record whatsoever yet get your hands on a bunch of guns no problem– the only limit being how much money one has. It doesn’t have to be like this. A person with a history of running over children in his SUV that goes to get a driver’s license in a new state will, of course, be unable to do so… right? Yes. We recognize this as logical. The same sort of blindly obvious things should be true when we look at firearms.

  • jrb16915

    You are incorrect on the consequences.Getting rid of the second amendment would allow congress to pass any law it wants regarding the right to bear arms.

  • If you are out to create a new regime placing regulation of firearms ownership, carry, and transfer beyond the authority of the Congress and Supreme Court of the United States, and saying that this, like regulation of abortion (and ideally, contraception), shall be the exclusive purview of the several States, the Interstate Commerce Clause notwithstanding, then I am all for it.

    That is absolutely a win-win in my book. The NFA of 1934 would be gone, as would the GCA of 1968, and NICS, and the Form 4473s used to track firearms purchases. The BATFE would have to take the “F” out of their appelation.

    I doubt that’s what you’re talking about. I think your actual proposal is, “We shall limit or eliminate the Federal government’s power to regulate and protect abortion, while removing all limits to its power to regulate ownership, transfer, and carry of arms.”

    I’d bet on the SCOTUS knocking either proposal down, declaring it a dead letter, and ruling against language that made this plain, *even if it was added to the Constitution*. PP would sue again, they’d likely win again, and while all the protections for abortion would quickly be re-established, recovering the protections currently available under the 2d Amendment would probably be a LOT harder. After all, stare decisis in Roe v. Wade enhances the federal government’s power, while the 2d Amendment limits it. By judicial fiat, the SCOTUS will make jabberwocky and Newspeak into the law of the land to preserve, enhance, and extend Federal power. They’ve done so before.

    You really should have a serious discussion with your lawyer friend John C. Wright about the trade-offs in making laws limiting firearms ownership. Maybe you could let him take you shooting, and discuss it there.

  • Thibaud313

    You read my mind. I’ve been thinking that pro-life Americans should support such an Amendment for years. I of course think this is a great since I thought of it first 🙂

  • Random, yes, but the ending of this article reminded me of:

  • Chris BSomething

    As a matter of law you can’t forbid what future legislators (or the people legislating the constitution) can do, as far as “you must do these together”. So this suggestion is idiotic.