Thursday, February 22, 2007

You wonder why people have really bad arguments

Well, sometimes it's because they never try to take the people they're arguing against seriously. If you view the people you disagree with as nothing more than sexophobic buffoons you're not likely to actually read what they write seriously and try to form good arguments against their arguments. Amanda Marcotte provides almost a perfect example of this in the comments thread of a post of hers at the TPMCafe.
Agreed. I have zero moral qualms about abortion or contraception. Most people feel abortion is immoral for the reason they feel that women sleeping around is immoral---they are products of a culture that has irrational sex phobia, especially towards women, and they've absorbed it.

Do you get that? Amanda thinks the majority people who think abortion is immoral do so because they have absorbed an irrational sex phobia towards women from our culture. It's not because they think ending the lives of developing, unborn humans is an actually wrong itself. It's because they don't think women should be having sex for fun. That's like a prolifer like me thinking everyone who is pro-choice is pro-choice because they like unborn children being killed. Imagine how that would skew my arguments.

When you see the majority of people who think abortion is immoral (by the way, according to a Pew Research poll, the majority of Americans think abortion is morally wrong) as being dolts controlled by a sex phobia you fail to see their actual motives and arguments and this makes it much more difficult to actually address their arguments.

In a recent post by Amanda at Pandagon, she tries to argue that abortion is a moral good and deciding to have an abortion is the "most moral choice" in "the vast majority of abortions." Yet nowhere in the post does she actually make anywhere near a decent argument for why abortion is a moral good. Never once. She tells pro-choicers they shouldn't say abortion is immoral because that "reinforces (an) anti-choice claim" (even though that has nothing to do with whether abortion is actually immoral or not). She says, "Having the notion that women are moral midgets and that abortion is an evil, even if you think it's one that should be tolerated, being reinforced by pro-choicers does the pro-choice argument no good. So I'd like to argue against it."

She'd like to argue against the idea that "abortion is evil" because it doesn't do the pro-choice argument any good not because the idea in itself is wrong.

She also writes later, "Also, saying that abortion is morally questionable, even if you're pro-choice, is a huge insult to the brave men and women who risk life and limb to perform them."

It's not that saying abortion is morally questionable is wrong in and of itself, it's wrong because it insults abortion providers. Get the picture.

Amanda's main attempt at an argument comes in a long paragraph that I will copy below with a few slight changes.

To see that infanticide is moral, you just need to look at women as human beings with lives that have value. When a woman chooses infanticide, she's not indulging some guilty pleasure, like sneaking in a round of adultery at lunch, to bring up a genuinely immoral action that should not be criminal. She is probably thinking about her family's well-being and yes, her own well-being. Taking your own well-being into consideration is called "selfish" by anti-choicers, but I think valuing yourself is a moral good, even if you are female. In fact, especially if you are female, since you live in a world where having self-esteem can be an act of moral courage that requires some defiance. If I gave birth, I wouldn't even have to suffer much mental strain to realize that infanticide would be the best choice for myself, my family, and my relationship. Infanticide, not just the right to infanticide but the actual procedure, is a moral good that helps women and families and should be honored as such. Women who commit infanticide should be recognized as people who can accurately weigh their choices and make the most moral one.

Now if you think replacing abortion with infanticide isn't fair then the question I have for you is "why isn't it fair?"

A pro-choicer's response would probably be something like, "Well, because born children are different than unborn children and therefore are worthy of legal protection."

So, in other words, Amanda's whole argument that abortion is moral assumes the unborn aren't worthy of legal protection while born children are without ever actually making that argument.

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