The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Abortion, murder, non-kosher slaughter, cruelty to animals, ...

While writing a letter to someone last night, it occurred to me that I had the perfect rejoinder to those who use the "abortion is murder" argument to insist that all abortions be outlawed.

According to the Catholic Church (and some other religious groups as well), a person begins his life at conception. So an abortion, according to those religions, is a murder. But this position is only held by certain religions, and most importantly, not by all. So let us take another example of something which is differently considered in different religious traditions.

One of the justifications given by orthodox Jews for Kosher slaughter is its greater humane-ness. And in fact, the Orthodox Jew would insist that other slaughtering procedures constitute cruelty to animals. So, suppose that orthodox rabbis and others were to insist that all non-Kosher slaughter be banned, on grounds of preventing animal cruelty. How many would support this?

Nobody favors murder, nor does anyone favor cruelty to animals. Where we differ is what constitutes murder, or cruelty to animals. And to ban all abortions on the grounds that it is murder is to establish one religious group's definition of murder, or of a person, at the expense of others' beliefs.

And that brings in the First Amendment, which trumps the "abortion is murder" argument.

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