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.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Kermit Gosnell case

Self-styled “right to life” advocates have been bewailing the lack of media coverage of the trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell. They accuse pro-abortion media of suppressing it because of their own biases. The only thing is — the trial is going on, local authorities have charged Gosnell with murder, and even under the standards of Roe v. Wade, if Gosnell is found to have done what he is accused of doing, he will be convicted of murder and possibly put to death. So it is not an instance of the issue they would like to feature, the justifiability of Roe v. Wade. The point is that Dr. Gosnell is accused of ending the lives of babies, already delivered and likely to have survived if the acts in question had not been performed by Dr. Gosnell and his staff. Even if you have the most thoroughly pro-choice mindset, once it passes the threshold of viability, it is not a mere fetus but an independent human being.

There is a question, about which responsible citizens can disagree, as to when the existence of a new human being begins. “Pro-life” people may claim that it is at the moment a sperm unites with an egg, but I've discussed how fallacious I believe this is. It is clear to me that, until a fetus has reached the point where it can be delivered and would survive without being attached to a placenta, it is simply a piece of parasitic tissue in the mother's body, not an independent human being. Where Dr. Gosnell betrayed his oath as a doctor of medicine is that he took the lives of those who, by this criterion, were independent human beings. This has nothing to do with the morality of abortion in general, nor with whether Roe v. Wade is good law — under the Roe decision Dr. Gosnell went too far! So there is no reason to bring up this case in discussions of Roe or abortion in general.

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