• Abortion

    A new way of labeling one’s position on abortion

    We currently have the inadequate terms “Pro-choice” and “Pro-life” – which, while self congratulatory and cloying don’t describe the situation with any clarity or precision.

    Are you find with abortion by medication (abortion pills) but think partial birth abortion/dilation and extraction should be illegal? Which are you? Are you pro-choice because you think the pills should be legal and maybe even covered by insurance, or are you pro life because you think abortion at 39 weeks should be illegal.

    I propose a new way of thinking about the matter – instead of choosing a binary term (pro or anti) – why not use a numerical score of when you think abortion should be prohibited?

    Assuming the following:

    • The average pregnancy takes 40 weeks from a woman’s last period
    • Conception happens at week 2 (on average)
    • One’s opinions on contraception are not relevant to this metric
    • Once the child is out of the womb it assumes it’s own existence and personhood separate from the mother

    Why not start using numerical scales – someone who would prohibit all abortions would label themselves as A2, someone who thinks partial birth abortion/D & E should be legal would be an A40. Someone who favors the heartbeat rule would be an A12, etc, etc.

    I think this would offer much more clarity in one’s positions than the current system of labeling.

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  • Abortion,  bailouts,  McCain,  Obama,  Politics

    Friday link clearing

    Since these have been piling up in Firefox, here’s what I’ve been reading

    • Obama and the Born-Alive issue – ghoulish stuff. The controversy of abortion is where one draws the line on person vs potential person. Even the most ardent pro-choicers seem to draw it at birth, but it seems not everyone does.
    • Via Will Wilkerson

      Obama terrifies me: an intelligent, thoughtful, well-prepared, capably extemporaneous man ascribing a future holocaust to some sort of non-existent, fantastical, steroidal Iran; talking about unsanctioned cross-border incursions into Pakistan because we found bin Laden, or some such, and must “take him out”; warbling around about “main street” while, in a lawerly, circumlocutory way signaling that he’s ultimately going to get behind hundred-billion-dollar cash bailouts to institutions that ought to be dismantled, destroyed, scattered to the wind. He wants GM to make electric cars. He wants the American people to know that he will appear before them to make extravagant xenophobic declarations in order to assuage their insecurity about the rise of other competing economies. He does this all in a calm, perfectly reasonable manner, with a convincing boardroom demeanor, and judging by the reactions of my liberal friends, with whom I listened, this was basically pleasing to them.

      McCain is of course out of his mind: forgetful, vicious, reactionary. And his ideas are even crazier than BO’s, but there’s a certain comfort in the fact that their insanity is laid so plainly and mercilessly bare by the grinning psychopath’s delivery. He provides no quarter for those who want to convince themselves that by Killing People for Their Own Good we are not actually killing them, or that by suborning corporate malfeasance we are combating it, or that by desperately seeking to maintain the geography of radial sprawl and the automobile we are seeking “energy independence.”

      I’ve had the thought lately regarding McCain, Bush, and bailouts – if we’re going to have corporate socialism shouldn’t we have a Democrat do it? At least they don’t have the supposed association with the free market that Republicans do.

    • David Friedman on the bailout

      The failure of a firm doesn’t wipe out wealth, except to the extent that the firm itself—its firm culture, web of relationships and such—has some value. When a firm fails, that is at least some evidence that that value was negative, which is why nobody chose to buy out the firm and keep it going. The ordinary assets of the firm—its buildings, land, stocks, bonds, mortgages, and whatever it owns—don’t vanish when the firm fails, they get sold to someone else.

      The bailout is not a way of preventing the loss of value. The loss (or transfer) of value occurred when people made bad mortgage loans. What happened more recently was the recognition of that loss. All the bailout can do is to shift the loss from some people to others, from the stockholders and creditors of firms that are now effectively bankrupt to the taxpayers.

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  • Abortion,  Politics

    An anaology I intend to steal

    From this post about abortion on the primary feminist site; it captures my feelings on the political matter more or less

    Not to beat this horse to death, but let’s use the 1st Amendment as an analogy. Everyone would agree it’s none of the government’s business if I choose to practice Islam. So what would you say if the government, while keeping it legal to practice Islam, nevertheless decided there were too many Muslims in this country and therefore decided to spend taxpayers’ dollars educating people on religions other than Islam. I assume you would find that completely unacceptable. I don’t see the difference between this and abortion. If it’s none of the government’s business whether women have abortion, then the government shouldn’t be in the business of discouraging abortions. What am I missing?

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  • Abortion,  Economics,  Law

    The mother of all abortion posts

    Glen Whitman has pretty much all of the abortion analogies (all five of them) that enter the logical debate about the topic.

    It’s an odd thing. I used to debate him quite frequently on a now-defunct website, and he caused me to change my position on what the legality of early-term abortion should be with analogy number five

    The Negligent Driver. When you negligently or deliberately cause harm to another person, the law requires you to provide compensation, either with money or some kind of action. If your negligent driving puts a pedestrian in the hospital, you are liable for his medical bills. Likewise, one might argue, your sexual behavior creates the risk of placing a fetus in a very precarious situation. If so, you are liable for the fetus’s care during that time. This analogy emphasizes the responsibility of people for the risks they create, thereby dodging the previous analogy’s “no invitation” problem. The difficulty with this analogy comes from the definition of “harm.” Harm doesn’t mean being in a difficult situation – it means being in a worse situation than you would have been otherwise. Were it not for your reckless driving, the pedestrian would (in all likelihood) still be walking around, safe and sound. Were it not for the act of sex, the fetus would not exist at all. To sustain the claim that the act of sex creates a risk of harm to the fetus, you have to insist that existence in a dependent state is worse than sheer non-existence. If the act of sex constitutes a tort, it is the only tort I can think of that creates the very person it victimizes.

    I’m the only person I know of who changes his mind on abortion due to a logical argument.

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  • Abortion,  BigThink,  Economics,  Immigration

    Abortion and immigration

    A long one.

    I predict that soon someone will make some correlation between legal abortion and increased illegal immigration, similar to Steven Levitt’s abortion-crime idea as told in his book Freakonomics.

    For those of you who haven’t read the book it spends a lot of time explaining his theory that abortions are disproportionately had by women who would otherwise bear criminal children (to put it bluntly). Those children are never born, which reduces the number of criminals, which reduces crime rates. He has a large amount of documentation and math to support this idea. Bear in mind that the 80-20 rule applies here, something like 20% of the women who get abortions have 80% of all abortions.

    A similar idea (unique to me so far) is that were there no abortion, there would be many more children who would grow up to be low-skilled, low wage workers. That creates an artificial void on the bottom of the income ladder, which the Mexicans and other illegals fill.

    I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and it’s all part of my emerging theory on open-source eugenics and artificial evolution, which I’ll explain more when I flesh it out.

    On a related note, the pro-choice argument and the usual nativist argument are essentially the same. There is ownership in a country, as there is in one’s body. It is up to the owner; the citizens of the country collectively or the individual woman to determine who can be there (to put it crassly). Every child is a wanted child, and every immigrant, is a legal immigrant.

    Or that’s what I think right now anyway. Thoughts anyone?

  • Abortion,  Music,  Pirates,  Sheehan

    Thursday rapid fire

    • The art of bootstrapping in a small business.
    • A cool article on facial recognition technology
    • The navy still chases pirates!
    • The best old-time record collector ever. Adam and Stephanie will be this guy in 40 years.
    • A revealing interview with Cindy Sheehan – after reading the interview she just seems like a sad, pathetic creature and not the self-serving caricature she originally seemed to be. How she’s paying for her crusade is a question that to my knowledge no on has asked.
    • A relatively old article about Roe V Wade, choice quotes

      “Abortion rights have been slowly whittled away while we haven’t even been looking,” said Kitty Striker, 22, who decorated her hair with small coat hanger replicas for the protest. “That’s what’s so shocking and so scary to me.”

      Decorated her hair with small coat hanger “replicas”? Isn’t that like a holocaust survivor decorating herself with swastikas?

  • Abortion,  Society

    Affordable Family Formation

    This article by Steve Sailor (via Mickey Kaus) is will worth reading. Put simply, it explains the current American Red State/Blue State gap largely in terms of self selection and children. It’s much more expensive to have children in a blue (Democratic) state compared to a red (Republican) State. Throw in some freedom of movement and self selection and you’ve got a bifurcated America.

    A few quibbles. He seems to throw in Atlanta as a “Red City” which is very much not the case. While metro Atlanta is a very red metro area, the city itself is quite blue. Also, the areas with the most recent and illegal immigrants (here in the Atlanta metro area anyway) seem to be the most Republican areas, which is seemingly at odds with his theory.

    He also does not mention the Roe Effect, payroll taxes, the total tax burden, the actual cost of a mortgage (I got the full spiel from my mortgage broker when I refinanced, the cost of the mortgage itself can really vary quite a bit.)

    On the whole, well worth reading though.

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