The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Roe v Wade’

THE TRANSGENDERED SUPREME COURT

A trip to the dog park is usually a peaceful, relaxing experience – perhaps more so for Gracie than for me.  Most of the folks who show up regularly find that sports is the subject of choice and the mornings are replete with stories about how they “would have hit that eight teamer … if only (fill in the blank) hadn’t happened.”  This, of course, reminds me of the old story that if only the bull had teats he would have been a cow.

Well, this morning, things were slightly different.  And the basis for the minor brouhaha had not to do with sports but stemmed from a discussion about dogs.

As three of us regulars were talking, the question of the genetic background of a dog who appears only occasionally arose.  The dog is a Labrador/French poodle mix which the owner had hoped to breed but ultimately could not find any takers so he had the dog neutered.  One of us, she maintains homes in Las Vegas and southern California made the observation that, ‘In California it’s illegal to cross breed dogs.”  She herself has a lovely Golden Retriever.

This prompted the other party to this conversation to make an observation about the stupidity (although he didn’t use that term) of all the laws in California and how Jerry Brown and the Democrat controlled chambers were ruining the state.  The statement went unchallenged by the woman – until my friend left – and she then lambasted me for the statement made by my friend who had already left.  My friend and I are both more closely attuned politically – and the woman who was incensed leans decidedly to the left.

In her rant, she said, “I’m tired of being attacked for my political views.”  In fact, nothing had been said about her views – merely about the governor of California.  She went on to say that, “Neither of you lives in California – so what right do you have to an opinion about how the state is being run?”  That statement so artfully fits into the thinking of those on the left that I suspect that if there is a manual on “How To Be A Liberal,” that primmer extolls that viewpoint in its first chapter.

I find it rather telling that in a state committed to “diversity” there should be an interdiction against creating dogs that are more “diverse.”  Hasn’t anyone wondered what the offspring of a Great Dane and a Chinese Hairless would look like?  And more to the specific point, the Golden Retriever, a breed which I love, has only been recognized as a “purebred” by the AKC since 1925.  The breed came about as the result of mixing Wavy-Coated Retrievers with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.  Had the California law been in effect when the breed first saw the light of day it might never have come into being.

Returning to the point that, “If you don’t live there you’re not entitled to an opinion,” this is merely the outgrowth of a liberal philosophy which, by extension, should require that accused rapists can only be tried by a jury of other accused rapists; accused murderers should be tried only before others who were themselves accused of murder; and only women should be permitted to enact laws or adjudicate them which are relevant to other women.  Which brings us to the interesting question of why is it that the left endorses the 7 – 2 Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade which was handed down by an all male court?  There is, however, an explanation.  I will leave it to you to determine its plausibility.

It’s been forty-one years since that decision was rendered.  Back in those days most Americans recognized people who belonged to one of two sexes.  That was before we became more enlightened and aware that there were also people whom today we call transgendered which, if I understand it properly refers to people who may be anatomically identified as belonging to one gender but who psychological identify as a member of the opposite sex.

While the number of people in America who are transgendered is difficult to ascertain accurately, the most recent data, which includes a survey that the State of California conducted, suggests that the total transgendered adult population is approximately 0.3% of the population, although other estimates suggest the number may be as high as 3.5%.  In 1973 when Roe v Wade was adjudicated, the total adult population of the country was 180 million – only a small percentage of whom, thankfully, were lawyers – and an even small number of those held positions as Federal judges – the primary recruiting source from which Supreme Court justices are recruited.

If we accept the premise that only women can logically decide issues that pertain to other women, then it would seem we are left with two rather disparate possibilities with regard to the landmark case.  Either the seven male Justices who voted in favor of legalizing abortion made a mistake; or the seven male Justices who voted in favor of legalizing abortion were actually transgendered.  Who knew that it would be possible to stack the court with that many transgendered people?

I look forward to my visit to the dog park tomorrow morning.  Who knows what else I’m going to learn?

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WHEN IS A FETUS ACTUALLY A PERSON? IT DEPENDS.

If you are concerned that the object of this post is to revisit the question of abortion you will be disappointed.  I’ve expressed myself on that issue quite clearly and those who have read this blog for some period understand that I argue against this “procedure” on Constitutional, rather than moral grounds.  Nevertheless, with the advent of Roe v. Wade, abortion procedures are the law of the land.  So is Obamacare and so was slavery.  That something is the law of the land does not mean that it is necessarily a good thing.

Clearly, whether your position, is Pro Life or Pro Abortion, if we knew with certainty that a fetus, at some given moment in time, was a person, we would feel compelled to offer it all the protections to which any person who was born was afforded by our Constitution.  But we can’t.  Frankly, looking at the number of mass murders both in this country and elsewhere throughout the world, describing the perpetrators of these atrocities as human seems a stretch.

Those who are Pro Abortion justify their position variously.  One such justification is that performing an abortion to save a mother’s life seems reasonable to me.  I have more difficulty with the case of rape or incest – but I suppose a person could make an argument in those cases as well.  As we all know, these represent a very small percentage of the millions of abortions which have been performed since Roe v. Wade became the “law of the land.”

Returning to my original thesis, by defining a fetus as a “non-person”, we can justify performing abortions.  Were it otherwise, I think even those who are morally moribund might find it difficult to justify their views.  That a fetus is nothing more than an “appendage,” to be dispensed with as desired, is the official position of this administration.  Or is it?

In the previous post, I wrote about Obamacare’s first day as the “law of the land.”  As part of that post I published the regulation which deals with the question of whether a person, seeking insurance on the health exchanges, would be entitled to receive a “subsidy,” based on that person’s income and family size.  I suspect that this regulation, which was approximately four times the length of the post in which it was included, might not have been as diligently read as the language in which it is written is confusing and about as interesting as reading the list of preservatives contained in a box of Rice-A-Roni.

So for purposes of extracting something that is germane to this post, the following is a quote from the regulation which enables a person to determine how many people are in a household so that their insurance “subsidy” can be calculated accurately:

“Family size means the number of persons counted as members of an individual’s household. In the case of determining the family size of a pregnant woman, the pregnant woman is counted as herself plus the number of children she is expected to deliver.” – 42 CFR–PART 435

There is little in the regulation which is easily understandable to the average person.  But this particular paragraph seems crystal clear to me.  At the same time that Obamacare mandates that all insurance contracts pay for abortion procedures, presumably because the fetus is a non-human appendage, it then goes on, in this regulation, to define the unborn fetus as a person or, in the case of multiple births, persons – calling them children.

With this administration in charge, it’s got to be a confusing and dangerous time for kids – especially ones who have yet to be born.

BODY PARTS

Some of my religious friends who characterize themselves as “conservatives” view this fall’s presidential election as being a referendum on the question of religious liberty and specifically on abortion.  I beg to differ with them.

I view the matters about which they are concerned not as being the issue but merely the symptoms of the real issue.  That issue is the right of a thoughtful, law abiding individual to make choices for himself or herself, free of government intervention or jurisdiction or coercion.

That statement might lead you to believe that I am what is termed “Pro Choice.”  You are wrong.

For the moment, at least, America is still a country whose principles stem from the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition.  Since the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution we have now advanced scientifically and science plays an important role in this conversation.

The Jews believe that until a baby takes its first breath on its own outside its mother’s womb it is not a person.  Most mainstream Christians believe that the child is a person from the moment of conception.  There is an obvious difference of opinion in these two views.  Science confirms that, in most cases, these embryos would develop into little healthy human beings after a full term gestation.

Trying to look at this objectively, I would say that science leans more to the orthodox Christian view on this matter.  The truth is we don’t know when an embryo is a human – but we do know that letting nature take it’s course will almost inevitably result in the birth of one.

It is our judicial tradition to presume innocence until guilt is proven.  Therefore, from the standpoint of American tradition, I prefer the position that we treat the embryo as a human from the earliest seconds of its existence.  That is not based on a religious philosophy – merely an American one.

Legally, with Roe v. Wade, we view an embryo as an appendage of the mother who is carrying it.  It is simply a body part that, like a hangnail can be clipped and removed.  It is something that has no value other than a certain nuisance value.  Apparently, we view body parts, in the context of a woman’s right to abort one of hers as a fundamental right belonging to the individual.

But our thinking on this issue is far from consistent.

Consider the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 which makes it illegal for an individual either to buy, sell or receive a human organ in exchange for money or any other sort of consideration.  If body parts are disposable items, why should a man or woman with a healthy kidney not be able to sell one If they choose to do so?

If we regard, as in the case of abortion, the mother’s supreme right to determine what she can do with the body part that is growing inside her, why should a person who is willing to sell an organ not have that right as well?  Is a kidney or a cornea so much more worthy of protection than something which will turn into a human being?

One of the arguments on abortion which I frequently encounter is that approximately fifty percent of our society should have no say in this discussion.  They are called men.  That argument is so intellectually unsound as to be almost ludicrous.  It is based on the assumption that men, who never have and never will go through the experience of pregnancy and child-bearing are unqualified to voice an opinion on the matter.

If we follow this sort of “logic”, the only people who would be able to serve on the jury of a person accused of bank robbing would be people convicted themselves of bank robbery.  And a serial killer could only get a jury of his peers if we drafted twelve fellow serial killers to be on the panel.

But let’s return to my opening remarks about the real and far more serious problem of which our discussion on abortion is only a symptom –  the right of people to make decisions for themselves without government intervention.

If we trivialize life, it will be a natural thing for us to feel comfortable electing people who share our attitude.  But what if those people whom we believe share our philosophy have a different and more extreme agenda?

In the civilizations of ancient Greece, Rome and China, female children were considered less desirable than male offspring.  On seeing the birth of a female, these children were often set out in the wild either to starve or be eaten by wild animals.  The legendary twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus were left to this fate but were ironically nurtured by wolves and grew to manhood.

Today we do not have to wait until birth to bring the embryo to this end.  We know the sex and a good deal about its characteristics during the early stages of pregnancy – and there are some, not liking what they see, who make the decision to abort the fetus based on this information.

Some of these decisions which I’m sure are heart-rending for the parents may involve medical conditions – Down or Tourette Syndrome for example.  It is neither my role or my goal to pass judgment on these future parents.  They have enough of an emotional and moral struggle on their own without me.

But what if that decision is not up to them?  What if, despite the fact that they have decided that they will keep and love and rear that child who will be born with Down Syndrome they are told by government that they cannot?

How could our government ever assume such a role?  It will justify it’s authority by saying, “Your child will require more care and money than we are willing to pay in support.  You will be placing an unnecessary burden on the rest of the taxpayers and therefore, for the common good, we are going to abort the fetus.”

And from there it’s an even smaller step to making that decision based on sex or race or any other physical characteristic which the bureaucracy deems undesirable.  If you think this is an impossible scenario please refer to the eugenics programs which Adolph Hitler established in Nazi Germany.

You might think that can’t happen in the United States – and, today you would be correct.  But as we willingly allow government to take greater control over our lives, we are well on our way to permitting just such a scenario.  In fact, it is the abdication of our personal responsibility which will ensure it.  And that is the real issue about which every thinking American should be concerned.

As for me, I’m planning on hanging on to each of my body parts as long as I can.

MY NIGHTMARE

This morning I awoke at four o’clock a.m., realizing that I had experienced a dreadful nightmare as I slept.  Perspiration lay on my face and body despite the cool temperature in the room.  I remember thrashing a bit as I awoke from my dream.  Gracie lay next to me, raised her head to see the cause of the commotion and then lay back down to complete her rest.  Apparently I had not shared my miasma with her.

This week I have been re-reading and thinking about some of the ancient philosophers as they debated the subject of ethics.  It amazes me that people actually sat and discussed these issues.  I contrast that with where we place our focus for discussion in today’s America – and in the world generally.

Sadly, I had combined this with a re-read of Orwell’s, “1984.”  It’s been a long time since I perused that work – at least ten years.  It was more chilling than when I read it the last time because we have moved much closer to having a society which resembles the one that author describes.

I thought about my nightmare which I remembered vividly and realized that the source for my unease was an offshoot of the Roe v Wade decision.  For those who feel the world of politics can be reduced to a single issue, this is probably the one which finds more partisans than any other. 

The question of whether it is “acceptable” to abort a fetus lies in our definition of what constitutes a human being.  Most mainstream Christians believe the embryo is a person from the moment of conception.  The teachings of Judaism say that until the child is able to breathe independently outside its mother it is not a person.

Both sides believe that their position on this issue is ethical.  Given the fundamental assumptions that the two sides hold I would have to agree that within their respective belief systems they are indeed both acting ethically.  But my nightmare came from the potential for extending the Pro-Choice position far beyond its present limitations – into a world of “1984.”

A quick review of the 20th century world suggests that sometimes people rise to great political power who do not share our generally-accepted concept of ethics.  Adolph Hitler was one – to cite an obvious example.  His vision of the world was one in which humanity had been purged of all those who were inferior.

He was magnanimous in extending that definition to people whose skin color was different, to the Jews and Slavs, to homosexuals, and to people who had been born with deformities.  These were all “lesser people” to his way of thinking.  Purging them from the earth was not only ethical – it was a responsibility.

His programs included the sterilization of members of these groups and the elimination of those who had already been born through the gas chambers in the death camps.  Who knows what our world today would look like if he and the Axis powers had prevailed?  And it was that vision that was the source of my disquietude as my mind thought about it in my nightmare.

If we are able to define someone as being non-human or at the least sub-human because of something as trivial as skin color or ethnic background, how big a step is it to start extending that definition to other aspects of our humanity? 

I pictured a world where the political powers had finally achieved their ultimate goal – total domination.  These were the true 1% – the rest of us being the 99%.

It was a world in which there was no Constitution, no Bill of Rights – no individual rights at all but to serve the will of the leadership of the state – that not being a right but a mandated obligation.  It is a world into which we are rapidly transitioning.

If we start with the premise that a potential mother has the right to choose not to become one for any of a variety of reasons – how big a step is it for us to take that the state might determine that she ought not to bear a child?

If we are to have a “productive” society, does it not make sense to ensure that those who have lived unproductively in poverty for generations not be allowed the right to bring more of their kind into the world?  That was the thought that motivated Hitler’s sterilization programs.

With our scientific achievements if we cannot already determine the potential intelligence of an unborn child – it will probably not be long before we can.  Then what do we do with an embryo who has a low IQ expectation?  At this moment, the mother would have to make a decision about whether she wanted this child.  But what if that decision were taken from her and lay in the hands of the state?

By further extension, with our present or futuristic scientific capabilities, what if we decide – that in the interest of a more perfect and uniform society – we refuse to allow those with “undesirable” physical characteristics such as hair or eye color or height or body type to be born?  Once we start down the slippery slope there’s no telling how deep lies the abyss at the bottom of the cliff.

Over the years I’ve known people who are both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.  I find it fascinating that almost all of my Pro-Choice friends oppose the death penalty, while their counterparts almost universally endorse it.  I have never understood what I view as an obvious inconsistency in these views on life. 

I have also never understood why my Pro-Choice friends have not considered the possible scenario I outlined above – or why my Pro-Life friends have not incorporated these arguments in their dialectic against what they view as the most heinous “crime against humanity.”  Perhaps thinking about these sorts of things is too terrible for most of us to handle.

If that is the case then there is, at the least, hope.  That hope springs from the fact that we have found a common ground for our ethical standards on which we can build.  And I hope we indeed do build on that foundation.

I don’t want to experience any more nightmares like the one I just had.

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