Saturday, July 30, 2011

Conservatives vs. GOProud, Round...I Lost Count

Those throwing hissy fits over the American Conservative Union's decision not to have gay Republican group GOProud cosponsor the next CPAC should calm down and Neil Stevens' simple and perfectly reasonable defense of the decision at RedState:
Reagan supported a GOP Big Tent because he knew full well what it was to be in the minority in the Republican party. He suffered every attack imaginable, and just kept on working. He didn’t lash out and call left-wing Republicans any names like nasty bigot. He’s the one who got called a fascist and a cultist, in fact. But there was one place he could go to be among friends, and that was CPAC. It’s no wonder he spoke there so much.

That’s why I support the ACU in its decision. Not because I want to run anyone out of the party, or because I don’t want to be able to work with GOProud and other groups to achieve good things for the country under the GOP Big Tent. But because CPAC is supposed to be one place where conservatives get a break from what we get called every other week of the year.

Politics ain’t beanbag, but our side has many venues for fighting out our differences. We’ve got party offices and platform committees, we’ve got numerous primary elections, and we even have Twitter these days. With all of these avenues for hashing it out, I don’t need to be hectored at CPAC. I just don’t.
'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New on RedState - Drug Legalization: A Bipartisan Bad Idea

My latest RedState post:

Hardcore libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and rabid leftist Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) have united for a cause near and dear to many a crank’s heart: drug legalization. The two have introduced a bill to all but end the federal War on Drugs. While their proposal would still let the feds prohibit the transfer of marijuana across state lines and keep it from entering the country, it would recognize the states’ authority to legalize pot within their borders if they so choose.

Constitutionally, it’s not the federal government’s job to handle the states’ internal affairs, and as we struggle to trim the fat from our debt-ridden, bureaucratic federal government, every little bit helps. Also, comparing the results of varying drug policies in newly empowered states would help us clearly see whether or not legalizers’ rosy predictions of safer narcotics and collapsing cartels actually come true.

So, is Paul-Frank a win-win? Not quite.
First, it’s simply insane to do anything federally that would increase drug use (and let’s not kid ourselves, that’s exactly what would happen) until after we’ve secured the southern border drugs are currently pouring across, and dismantled whatever federal programs currently force taxpayers to pay for drug users’ bad decisions.

Second, many of Paul and Frank’s supporters want to go further. In recent years, a growing number of voices on both sides have called for a wholesale end to drug prohibition. On June 16, Jimmy Carter wrote that American drug policies “destroy the lives of millions of young people and their families.” The far-left ex-president is in rare agreement with National Review, which on June 27 called the bill “an excellent first step” toward ending a war that has “curtailed personal freedom.” For leftists, drug use is a personal lifestyle choice, the condemnation of which would be the unpardonable sin of judgmentalism, while legalizers on the Right frame the issue around personal responsibility, suggesting it’s paternalistic for government to keep people from putting harmful things in their systems.

Around the Web

"No amount of head-shaking disapproval is going to make gays and lesbians disappear from our midst as a society, from our colleagues at work, our circles of friends, or from within our own families." Says...a Pajamas Media writer? Since when did conservative websites start publsihing HuffPo's leftovers?

Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Patriots say we need a new Speaker of the House. Meanwhile, our current Speaker is giving House Republicans who disagree with his crappy debt plan a shining example of leadership: "Get your ass in line."

When Cracked Magazine is showing greater objectivity on an issue than the average "serious" political publication (on either side), you know there's a problem.

Wow: Father Frank Pavone holds an open-casket funeral for an aborted baby outside Orlando City Hall. That's about as powerful as messages get.

Here's a great snapshot of just some of the things pro-lifers do for unwed mothers. Think it'll motivate Rob Taylor to inform himself a little before trashing the pro-life movement in the future? Me neither.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New on RedState - Video Gamers: The Latest Pawns of Big Government

My latest RedState post:

A recent Fox News segment concerning federal funding for video games has provoked outrage from gaming news websites, and while the hyperventilating of professional nerds might not seem noteworthy at first glance, the sad spectacle deserves to be revisited because it offers a troubling window into how liberals consolidate political influence over apolitical constituencies.

The National Endowment for the Arts has decided that video games of particular artistic or educational merit can qualify for federal grants, so Fox ran a debate on the decision between Icrontic.com editor-in-chief Brian Ambrozy and conservative radio host Neal Asbury. Admittedly, the Fox anchor wrongly suggested that big-budget action games like “Call of Duty” were the NEA’s focus rather than smaller projects by independent developers, and Asbury didn’t perform particularly well, having little more to offer the discussion besides generic platitudes about runaway spending. But the geek brigade saw something more nefarious at work.

Kotaku.com’s Owen Good complained that Fox had “no intention of” respecting the “gaming-as-art point of view.” CJ Smillie of GameRant.com criticized Fox for “attacking” the “idea of games as an art form.” At EscapistMagazine.com, Tom Goldman accused Fox of “using the general ignorance of the public” about video games “for their own ends.” Ambrozy himself later called the segment “media brainwashing of the highest order,” through which Fox was poisoning its viewers’ minds against “our world and our generation.”

Speaking as both a member of Ambrozy’s generation and an avid gamer, I feel a special obligation to call out nonsense spouted by pompous hacks claiming to represent me. 

New on American Thinker - There's No Reason Libertarians and Gay Conservatives Can't Support Michele Bachmann

My latest American Thinker post:

Whenever conservative candidates demonstrate their electoral viability, sensationalistic denunciations of said conservatives as beyond the pale are sure to follow. Last weekend, Michael Smerconish declared that Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) has “lost a young conservative” named Ben Haney by signing the Iowa Family Leader’s Marriage Vow, which suggests homosexuality is a choice. And that’s not all:
In 2004, at the National Education Leadership Conference, you said of the gay lifestyle: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."

Then there's your husband, Marcus, who obtained his Ph.D. by virtue of a correspondence course. He runs a mental-health clinic but, according to Politico, is not registered with any of the three state boards that certify mental health practitioners. (Minnesota is one of the only states in which you can practice mental health without a license.) Last year, when asked during a radio interview about parenting homosexual children, he said:

"We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That's what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps. . ."

Marcus Bachmann has denied that his clinic engages in attempts to "pray away the gay," but ABC's Nightline recently aired an interview with a man who said that, at age 17, he sought help from Bachmann & Associates and: " path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay."
First, some fact checking: According to the Minneapolis StarTribune, both Marcus Bachmann and interviewer Penna Dexter say the “barbarian” quote referred to children, not gays: “We believe that children are born with a nature that inclines them to challenge and break rules, and that it is thus the parents’ responsibility to guide their children along good and productive paths.” Further, Dr. Bachmann hasn’t denied that he advises gays to pray for sexual conversions; he simply clarifies that it’s “not a special interest of the business and would only be attempted at the client's request.” However foolish or distasteful gays find such services, let’s keep in mind that they don’t affect anyone who doesn’t choose to utilize them.

As for the “is homosexuality a choice?” debate, I’ve mostly ignored it since it’s irrelevant to public policy—gay Americans would still deserve equal protection of their natural and political rights even if homosexuality was 100% optional, and there would still be powerful reasons to resist the redefinition of marriage even if everyone agreed that sexual orientation was set in stone from conception onward. That said, I suspect homosexuality is substantially predetermined because, as Haney says, “If you could simply choose who you were sexually attracted to, wouldn't you choose the path of least resistance?”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good Job News for Wisconsin

Well, what do you know:
Using seasonally adjusted data, the 12,900 private-sector jobs created in June marks the largest one-month gain in Wisconsin since September 2003. The state’s net new job gain for June is 9,500 jobs, more than half of the nation’s net gain of 18,000 jobs for the same month.
Somehow, I don't think we can expect any gratitude - or apologies - to Scott Walker or state Republicans from those who've been heralding Wisconsin's complete capitulation to the rich. 

"Even the pro-life movement has embraced the Left’s antipathy toward children." Say What?! - UPDATED With Unhinged Response

This RedState post has a powerful, important message about the devaluing of children in American culture. Which makes it all the more lamentable that the author, Rob Taylor, chose to muddy the water with a ludicrous smear of the pro-life movement:
Even the pro-life movement has embraced the Left’s antipathy toward children. Our most ardent advocates of life accept the idea that giving birth out of wedlock ruins the mother’s life, or that a teen mother who chooses not to abort is dealing with her “mistake.”


Children are not mistakes. They are not burdens or obstacles to our personal fulfillment. When we degrade childbirth and parenting, as imperfect as many situations are, we give license to the degradation of our children by a spoiled, selfish and resentful public. So often children are abused because the people surrounding them have been taught to hate them. We have all been taught that children stop you from living life to the fullest, they anchor you to a meaningless existence. Then we are aghast when that resentment is manifested?


[…]


What good is defunding Planned Parenthood in a society where Casey Anthony has fans and groupies that send her gifts? Our food banks are empty, our foster system is full and our neighbors are raping their children. We need to do more than “like” pro-life videos on Facebook to fix this.


We need to embrace the love of life that the Left, and especially the “pro-choice” movement, has been so successful at perverting. It is not our own lives we need to love, but the loves of the weakest among us. We need to convince everyone that children are a gift and that means doing more than saying so in forums or to other pro-life advocates. We need to show people we believe that.
This, of course, isn’t the first time Taylor has picked a disingenuous fight with various conservatives. Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. As I challenged him last time he accused pro-lifers of not caring about unwed mothers:
Regarding single mothers, nobody on the Right argues that they should be disregarded. But what many conservatives *do* argue - that single motherhood isn't a good trend, and that children need mothers AND fathers - is a message that conservatives cannot afford to lose sight of.

"Where is the pro-life movement when a woman doesn’t have an abortion?"

If you were more familiar with the movement you're lecturing, you'd be able to answer that question yourself. The pro-life movement devotes at least as much time and energy to supporting adoption and crisis pregnancy centers as they do legislatively combating abortion.
He didn’t answer the challenge at the time. He does so for RedState’s commenters, though—badly. RedState’s commenters, particularly rightwingmom52, jerry39, and powertothepeople, do a great job refuting him, pointing out that he can’t actually substantiate this alleged epidemic of mother- and baby-hating pro-lifers who never bother to get off the couch.

This is a pattern with Rob Taylor, and I can’t help but wonder what motivates it. I initially thought it was mainly irrational personal animosity toward the individuals and groups he targets, but now I’m beginning to wonder if his two offensive RedState posts - first arguing that both sides of the aisle contribute to America’s moral decay, and now calling out both sides for devaluing America’s children - don't point to another motive. Perhaps, in a variation of David Frum's twisted approach to politics, Taylor has determined that his message will be taken more seriously if he cultivates a reputation as an equal-opportunity critic, and that it’s worth a lie here and there just to meet his conservatives-behaving-badly quota. (Speaking of which, isn’t it suspicious that he bashes pro-lifers who don’t do enough, but doesn’t have anything to say about actual pro-choicers on the Right?)

But that’s not how it works. Dishonesty—any dishonesty, for any reason—just corrupts the message and marks the messenger as someone not to be trusted or relied upon. Frum destroyed his own reputation on the Right, and now Rob Taylor threatens to do the same. Which is a shame, because again, parts of Taylor’s message needs to be heard. But until he owns up to his misdeeds and adopts a genuine commitment to honesty and fairness, he’ll continue to be his cause’s own worst enemy.  

UPDATE: Taylor has a response in RedState's comments, and it's a doozy: 
Odd. You’re attempting to smear me with this unhinged rant about how I’m Frummian while ignoring that I did indeed point out a national campaign featuring Bristol Palin that claimed babies ruin lives. Perhaps you were too busy copying and pasting a large part of a blog post I’ve seen somewhere else and passing it off as an original comment (to prove my dishonesty) to actually read anything I wrote. The fact that the post was on your vanity website makes this that much sadder.

David Swindle assures me we know each other – that we “worked together” at NRB. But since my work at NRB consisted of sitting in my home office cranking out essays and collecting checks from the mailbox you can see how I wouldn’t really remember the people I “worked” with. And of course you could see why I’d ignore someone I’ve never heard of. But since you apparently have “challenged” me to something or the other let me respond here:

Kevin – I don’t know you, I don’t care about you and I’m not interested in you or conflict between us you have dreamt up. I write opinion pieces here for a certain audience and they get it. Other people won’t. This is life and if you want to think it bothers me that people get upset and call me names on the Internet or claim I’m not a real conservative or whatever have fun. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

If you want to “debate” me you could – but you don’t. You prefer to wait until it’s obvious I’m bored with the piece and have moved on to drop in and take your shot. If you wanted to make a point about the issue you could – but you really don’t have one except some personal animosity based on the fact I barely interested with you when we both collected checks from the same people. This is important because it illustrates my point.

You could have spent the last week collecting food for food banks or helping charities or even if you were just going to sit at a computer you could help get the word out about missing children. Instead you’ve been trying to get my attention. Why? Why aren’t you volunteering with children? Why aren’t you a Big Brother? Why aren’t you helping others instead of giving a crap about what some guy you’ve never met said on the web?

Because you don’t believe in doing those things. It’s that simple. You’re not pro-life. You might be anti-abortion but you’re not pro-life, you don’t care about the life or the culture. You care about getting retweeted and being stroked by other shut-ins than you do about the culture of death America has produced. That’s what I’d like to see change.
This tirade has no rational relationship to anything I've actually said. Taylor just keeps digging the hole deeper, lacking even the good sense to realize that pretending to know what his critics do or don't do offline is a dead giveaway to his dishonesty. It's really something to see how little regard the man has for his own reputation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New on RedState - Hate-Filled Former 9/11 Hero Becomes a Pawn of the Wisconsin Left. How Will Republicans Respond?

My latest RedState post:

As Ann Coulter extensively discussed in her hit books Godless and Guilty, one of liberals’ favorite tricks is to have their lies parroted by spokesmen who their opponents will be too scared to hit back against properly (if at all), for fear of being seen as “mean” toward a victim or national hero. Now, the forces allied against Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair efforts in Wisconsin have just such an infallible shill of their own.

Patrick Bahnken is a New York City union leader and one of the firefighters who was in the World Trade Center on September 11, and he’s lending his support to leftist PAC We Are Wisconsin (which actually isn’t Wisconsin, by the way) in rather bombastic fashion:
The folks from Wisconsin, when New York was attacked, came and helped us out. We believe that now that the people of Wisconsin are being attacked, it’s important for us to help them out [...] I’m a Republican. But what’s happening here is not a political issue, it’s not a Republican vs. Dem, it’s not a union non-union thing. This is an attack on middle-class families across this country [...] People have to pick a side. You’re either going to stand up for working families and middle class families, or you’re going to kneel before the rich.
Wisconsinites have been “attacked” just like the Twin Towers were? It’s “kneeling before the rich” to fix our budget with reforms that still leave government workers with a better benefits deal than the private sector, and that are saving the states’ public schools millions of dollars without layoffs, class size changes, or curriculum cuts? And all this according to an alleged Republican?

Read the rest on RedState.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Indisputable Fact: Life Begins at Fertilization (Updated Edition)


In The Party of Death, National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru writes:
We have developed ways of talking that enable us to pretend that the point can be blinked away. In the case of abortion and embryo research, the main technique is to suggest that there is some great mystery about “when life begins,” and that this alleged question is a religious or philosophical one. Yet science has since solved the mystery. From conception onward, what exists is a distinct organism of the human species. The philosophical question is what we make of that fact. To jumble these issues together—the essentially scientific question of categorizing an embryo as human and living, and the moral question of whether it follows from that categorization that it has a right to life—is a logical error. Justice Blackmun, of course, proceeded in just this erroneous fashion in Roe. And if we are not careful, talking in terms of “meaningful life,” or, as [author Ronald] Dworkin does, of “life in earnest,” can lead us into this error as well.

All of us who read this page were once human embryos. The history of our bodies began with the formation of an embryo. We were those embryos, just as we were once fetuses, infants, children, and adolescents. But we were never a sperm cell and an egg cell. (Those cells were genetically and functionally parts of other human beings.) The formation of the embryo marks the beginning of a new human life: a new and complete organism that belongs to the human species. Embryology textbooks say so, with no glimmer of uncertainty or ambiguity.

That new organism is alive rather than dead or inanimate. It is human rather than a member of some other species. It is an organism distinct from all others. It is not a functional part of a larger organism (the way a kidney is part of a larger organism). It maintains its own organic unity over time. It directs its own development, according to its genetic template, through the embryonic, fetal, and subsequent stages. Such terms as “blastocyst,” “newborn,” and “adolescent” denote different stages of development in a being of the same type, not different types of beings. At each of our earlier stages of life, we have been, as we are now, whole living members of the species Homo sapiens.
(hardcover, p. 77-78)
Ponnuru is correct. It is simply a fact that, once fertilization has occurred, a living, individual human being exists. Among the well informed, there is no real dispute about these facts, and where issues as serious as life and death are involved, there is no excuse for policymakers or commentators to not be well informed. Here are just a few examples of quotes demonstrating as much (sources linked at bottom of post).

Medical Authorities:
“Zygote. This cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm during fertilization. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” ... “[The zygote] marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” (Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th ed., Philadelphia: Saunders, 2003, pp. 2,16)

“The zygote thus formed represents the beginning of a new life.” (J.P. Greenhill and E.A. Friedman, Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics, Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders, 1974, p. 17)

“When fertilization is complete, a unique genetic human entity exists.” (C. Christopher Hook, MD, Mayo Clinic, as quoted by Richard Ostling in an AP news story, 9/24/99)

“The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter—the beginning is conception.” (Dr. Watson A. Bowes, University of Colorado Medical School)
Abortion Advocates:
“I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus.” (Faye Wattleton, President of Planned Parenthood, 1997 Ms. Magazine interview)

“Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: callous, selfish and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life...we need to contextualize the fight to defend abortion rights within a moral framework that admits that the death of a fetus is a real death.” (Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, October 16, 1995)

“Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” (Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 85-86)
Abortionists:
“If I see a case...after twenty weeks, where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it because the potential is so imminently there...On the other hand, I have another position, which I think is superior in the hierarchy of questions, and that is “who owns this child?” It’s got to be the mother.” (Dr. James MacMahon, Abortionist)

“When you do a D & C most of the tissue is removed by the Olden forceps or ring clamp and you actually get gross parts of the fetus out. So you can see a miniature person so to speak, and even now I occasionally feel a little peculiar about it because as a physician I’m trained to conserve life and here I am destroying life.” (Dr. Benjamin Kalish, Abortionist)

“It [abortion] is a form of killing. You’re ending a life.” (Ron Fitzsimmons, President of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers)

“I have never denied that human life begins at conception. If I have a complaint about our society, it’s that we don’t deal with death and dying. Do we believe human beings have a right to make decisions about death and dying? Yes we do, and those decisions are made every day in every hospital.” (Tim Shuck, Clinic Counselor)

“We know that it is killing, but the states permit killing under certain circumstances.” (Dr. Neville Sender, founder of Metropolitan Medical Service, an Abortion Clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
There is much, much more where those came from. The following links contain more than enough evidence to prove the humanity of the unborn to any honest person:

Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person: When Does Life Begin? – Scientific exploration of “two central questions concerning the beginning of life: 1) in the course of sperm-egg interaction, when is a new cell formed that is distinct from either sperm or egg? and 2) is this new cell a new human organism—i.e., a new human being?”

Pro-Life on Campus: When Does Life Begin? – Collection of quotes from respected embryology textbooks and scientists, 1981 Senate testimony & report, and admissions from leading abortion advocates

Princeton Pro-Life: Life Begins at Fertilization – Collection of quotes from respected embryology textbooks and scientists

Eternal Perspective Ministries: Abortion Providers comment on whether abortion is the taking of a life – collection of quotes from abortionists who admit that they end lives

Abort73: Medical Testimony – Collection of quotes from respected embryology textbooks and scientists, and admissions from leading abortion advocates

Abort73: Prenatal Development – Detailed exploration of early fetal development

Abort73: Part of the Mother's Body? – Explanation of how the preborn human is an individual separate and distinct from the mother’s body

Abort73: Are Sperm and Egg Cells Alive? – Explanation of the difference between a zygote and individual sperm or egg cells

Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development – Links to extensive fetal development information

WebMD Pregnancy Center – Comprehensive pregnancy information

Baby2See Fetal Development Guide – Week-by-week fetal development information for expecting mothers

Endowment for Human Development: Prenatal Image Gallery Index – Over 200 images through every stage of development


 Abort73: Abortion Pictures – WARNING: Graphic Images


Klan Parenthood: 100 Abortion Pictures – WARNING: Graphic Images

New on RedState - An Open Letter to the Dane County Board of Supervisors Regarding the Smearing of David Prosser

My latest RedState post:

Dear Dane County Board of Supervisors,

I have several questions regarding the letter twelve of you wrote to Justice David Prosser, in which you ask him to take a leave of absence from the Wisconsin Supreme Court until investigators determine whether or not he strangled Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

First, the Board of Supervisors is not a law enforcement body, nor does it have any role in the oversight of state government. By what principle or standard does pontificating on the incident fall under the purview of Dane County politicians?

Second, I am sure you are aware that multiple sources report that Justice Bradley was the aggressor, and that Justice Prosser merely raised his hands to defend himself. Have you written a similar letter to Justice Bradley, lecturing her on the serious of workplace violence and asking her to step aside until an investigation reveals whether or not the people of Wisconsin can trust her?

Read the rest on RedState.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So, How's the Economy Doing?

As Tom Blumer explains, not so good. Read the whole thing for the details, but here's the summary:
So, after considering civilian population growth, employment is a painful 4% worse. Also, after considering population growth, GDP is only 2% better. If you give each factor equal weight (why wouldn’t you?), the economy is 2% worse almost 2-1/2 years after Barack Obama’s term as president began. And this is all before considering the frightening and potentially economy-crippling debt overhang and unprecedented deficits as far as the eye can see that Obama’s stimulus and other programs largely created, which would obviously move the meter even further in the “worse” direction.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New on RedState - The Fate of Independence

My first RedState post:

As many of us celebrated the birth of our nation this weekend, our pride and gratitude were tempered by the fear that America might have a dwindling number of future Independence Days to look forward to. A survey of the political landscape reveals that such pessimism regarding the survival of our Founding principles and institutions is not without cause.

The Left’s cancerous influence over our politics, media, and culture remains widespread, and the Right’s efforts in curing it leave much to be desired:
  • Over one million unborn children are slaughtered every year, yet when the Susan B. Anthony List asks those running to be the nation’s next president for the most basic and mild of pro-life promises, National Review decides they ask too much. Reason’s Matt Welch claims that only 30% of professed libertarians apply their philosophy of liberty and unalienable right to those most in need of their protection.
  • Despite all the this-time-we-really-mean-it promises from Republicans after their 2010 victory, it’s still doubtful that the GOP has the fortitude or savvy to right our fiscal ship. Speaker John Boehner settled for a budget deal that began with far smaller spending cuts than America needs and turned out to be far, far less than even the announced numbers. Signs of further disappointment suggest the GOP still hasn’t kicked its addiction to compromise.
Read the rest on RedState.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Conservative vs. Conservative on the Right to Light Up

National Review waves the white flag on marijuana, while Bill Bennett says not so fast

My take: denationalizing drug laws (except for interstate trade and foreign entry) is a good idea because, among other reasons, I think one of the best things that could happen for the debate would be our ability to compare the results of different state policies, and get a much clearer picture of whether or not leftists' and libertarians' pie-in-the-sky predictions about safer narcotics and collapsing cartels actually pan out. 

But it's insane to do anything that would increase drug use until after we've both secured the border that drugs are pouring across and dismantled all federal programs that are forcing the taxpayers to pay for druggies' bad decisions. 

In recent years I've been deeply troubled to witness how widespread libertine impulses on questions like this seem to have become on the Right. Hopefully the most vocal aren't the most representative.

Around the Web

A Madison teacher tells her second- and third-graders that Scott Walker's actions are basically like racial segregation. There's no other word than evil for someone who tries to make small children, who are much too young to understand the issues behind this debate, hate another human being over reasonable policy disputes through vicious, preposterous lies that no sound-minded adult could possibly believe in good faith. 

Thaddeus McCotter is officially in the presidential race. I'm withholding judgment, but given how underwhelming the rest of the GOP field is, I'm certainly willing to be won over if he's got what it takes.

Robert Stacy McCain lays the smack down on a richly deserving scumbag with a history of defaming conservatives. If Taylor was sincerely worried about right-wing bloggers who aid America's moral debasement, he could have started with the pro-choicers. No need to make stuff up.

Glenn Beck says he's not playing the game anymore, and is ready to revolutionize the news and information system. Or something. I'm still skeptical that adding a subscription fee to what he's basically already doing is going to do anything but decrease the number of people he reaches, not increase it.

Fox News Channel's temporary post-Beck show, "The Five," sounds really, really lame. "Hey, let's throw together the C-listers we've got hanging around the studio anyway and call it a show!" (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Is Abortion Already Illegal?


Because abortion is ultimately a question of basic human liberty and not just good or bad policy, I have never agreed with those conservatives who think “leaving it to the states” is a sufficient solution to the issue (though it would be far preferable to the anti-democratic status quo forced upon us by Roe v. Wade). I instead support a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to protect the right to life nationwide. States should be able to do many things, but treating certain classes of human beings as property is not among them.

However, until the HLA becomes reality, I have also been wary of banning abortion via an act of Congress, for fear of violating the boundaries of Congress’s enumerated powers under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. The 14th Amendment, which was enacted to guarantee political rights to newly freed black Americans after the Civil War, seemed to come close to authorizing Congress to ban abortion, but the language about “all persons born” was always a hang-up for me.

But is that really a barrier? After closer contemplation of the 14th Amendment’s language, I’ve concluded the answer is no. Here are the relevant passages in their entirety:
Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 5: The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
There’s no question that this empowers Congress to prevent states from treating their inhabitants unequally or depriving them of life, liberty or property. But do the unborn count among those inhabitants? Let’s go line by line:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.
So whatever else you are, you’re not a US citizen until you’re born.
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; […]
When taken with the first sentence, this pretty clearly indicates that the unborn aren’t entitled to the full slate of “privileges or immunities” a citizen enjoys. So no guns or voting for fetuses. Sorry.

However, the sentence continues:
[…] nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
“Nor” sets up another set of requirements, separate and distinct from the preceding clauses. Here, the amendment discusses protections applicable to “any person,” not “any citizen.” So while some legal protections and entitlements only come with American citizenship, others apply to every human being within our borders, regardless of their legal status.

This makes perfect sense. Legal rights are merely the terms of an agreement made by a particular group of people in their constitution, whereas natural rights are, according to the Declaration of Independence, God-given qualities possessed by every human being, which cannot be justly denied or violated by anyone.

There are obvious reasons why countries don’t want to have to give foreign nationals exactly the same legal protections and benefits as their citizens—for instance, we shouldn’t have to go through a full-blown jury trial every time we want to deport a violent illegal immigrant. But at the same time, we would never want to set the standard that people can do whatever they want to someone just because he’s not an American.

This certainly seems to fit with the original intent behind the measure—as President Ronald Reagan wrote in his famous essay, “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation”: 
When Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio drafted the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee the rights of life, liberty, and property to all human beings, he explained that all are "entitled to the protection of American law, because its divine spirit of equality declares that all men are created equal." He said the right guaranteed by the amendment would therefore apply to "any human being."
If the unborn are people—and from both scientific and philosophical perspectives, they clearly are—then the Constitution already requires that their right to life be protected, even without a new amendment explicitly saying so. Any state that prohibits the murder of fully-grown humans while allowing the murder of those in the womb is unconstitutionally discriminating against the latter.

All right-of-center observers agree that the Constitution doesn’t require the right to abortion, but the understanding I’ve just proposed—that the Constitution actually forbids it—is much rarer. Even Justice Antonin Scalia believes the Constitution is silent on the question. Further, conservatives tend to dislike enacting their policy goals through unelected courts on principle. For these reasons, pro-lifers should continue to support the Human Life Amendment anyway, so that when abortion’s long-overdue end finally does come, nobody can plausibly question its democratic legitimacy. But if we manage to save lives by convincing even a few courts that the right to life is an equal-protection issue, so much the better.
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