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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Abortion Post

David quoted Maddox's abortion post:
I'm neither pro choice, nor pro life; I'm pro you-shutting-the-hell-up.

I thought it was a very funny quote. It made me smile broadly amidst the labeling tedium of today. I amused myself for quite a while getting distracted at Maddox's site.

Perhaps I shouldn't be amused. Apparently abortion is a serious topic and a serious problem. Apparently people have strong opinions about it. I am trying to find my opinion on the subject. I don't seem to be able to find anything useful in my head. Maybe I don't care. Hmmm...that sounds so callous. Maybe I am callous.

Why do people care about whether complete strangers are having abortions or not? I don't understand it. I don't care. The only life I feel qualified enough to have a strong opinion on is mine. Selfish? Maybe.

Speaking of selfish, Dr Black recently reminded me of this Oscar Wilde quote that I like to think about sometimes:
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
I guess I am pro-do-whatever-you-like.

People, for some reason, think they have a right to dictate what others can or can't do. Whether it's in the name of "morality", or "the children", or "the oppressed", or whomever.

The argument against any of those things almost always comes down to the same principle: Other people are not your property.
BTW, thanks again for the shout-out :)
"Other people are not your property"

I can see people using that quote to argue both sides: ie that the foetus is not the mother's property to abort, or on the other hand that the mother's body is her own property and she can get rid of things/people growing inside her if she chooses.
I couldn't agree more. However, on the pro-life / pro-choice thing, since the person-hood of the item growing inside a woman is something reasonable people can disagree upon, my point was more that the woman isn't *someone else's* property to decide what is right for her.
Ah, people don't actually have rights. It's just a concept. This is one of the reasons for such big arguments.

Look at the "right to a job". If you rephrase that as the method taken to ensure that "right", you have something more concrete to agree or disagree with.

However, why bother explaining the means taken to achieve a goal? If everyone gets conditioned to thinking in terms of rights, it gets rid of the means to an end stuff. The means to an end is the other reason for such big arguments...

I'd have finished my post about it, but I've been busy. Anyway, its my right to take as long as I want.
A lot of interesting things are just concepts. I like concepts. They are very convenient and they result in abstract arguments.

Personally I don't use the "right" (as in right to a job) concept.

BTW where were we talking about rights? I am a bit slow today :).
People often confuse "negative rights", which are rights that prevent someone from doing something to you, e.g., the right not to be killed, the right to freedom of speech, the right to practice any religion you like, the right to privacy... with "positive rights", which are rights that *require* someone to *provide* something to you, e.g., the right to a job, the right to health care, the right to a house.

Negative rights do not require anyone to do anything except leave you alone. Positive rights require someone to provide something to you, so they de facto enslave someone else to provide what is your "right".

And who started talking about rights anyway? :)
I am confused about rights in general. But I guess I've never really thought about them.

Was it me that started talking about them? It could've been :-)
Not only positive and negative rights, but contractual rights and natural rights.

People often get confused that they think they have rights. Agreeing to have rights and make them come into existence is a great concept, and then we argue about how to protect or enforce them.

Your point David about negative rights requiring some-one to do nothing.

Is that like the mother doing nothing and letting nature take its course? Or is doing nothing the act of going to a doctor and asserting they have the right to do something to terminate the life growing inside them?

This is why abortion is so hotly contested I think. It challenges the very "right" to life over the "right" for a mother to intervene and change a natural outcome, from the moment of conception.

If we are going to agree to have rights, it only works if we agree to enforce or protect them. We need to test the boundaries to see how they work.

Ultimately, I don't think we have any rights and at the time you might need them most, they may well desert you.

Horrible, fickle rights.
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