Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There's No Shame in Being a Liberal

A couple of weeks ago we discussed several universal principles -- or moral absolutes -- that any normal person should be able to discover on his own. One of these is the "silver rule," i.e., do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

For example, since most people are presumably happy and relieved they weren't dismembered and sucked out of their womb, it's just good manners to extend the same courtesy to others.

Of course, someone who hates his life or detests or devalues himself (or others) will reason otherwise, but that's the whole point: note that I use the qualifier normal. Obviously, when dealing with an abnormal person, all bets are off. Until quite recently, "normality" and "reason" were pretty much synonymous terms. A person who had gone mad had "lost his reason."

In fact, let's consult the thesaurus and consider some of the synonyms for crazy: bereft of reason, reasonless, irrational, unreasonable, haywire, off the hinges, minus some buttons, one brick shy of a full load, rowing with one oar in the water, etc.

Each of these implies that something vital is missing. And that missing thing touches on the essence of our humanness, which has to do with reason, or, more to the point, being able to give reasons. Only human beings can give reasons for what they believe, plan, do, and have done.

But reason isn't "just anything." It cannot be the same as "giving pretexts," at which human beings are also fiendishly adept. Rather, reason is either universal -- which is another way of saying absolute -- or it is not reason (and then there is no reason). For example, the principle of the excluded middle cannot be true on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or true here but not in another cosmos. Rather, it is true, period.

How do we know this? Because if it weren't true, we could never know it. In other words, there are certain axioms of reason that permit reason to take place, and without which it cannot. If something isn't even what it is and not something else, then surely we cannot reason about it.

Note, for example, how such a perversion of logic permits the leftist's unseemly enthusiasm for abortion. The Constitution makes reference to people and persons, but nowhere, of course, does it distinguish between persons inside and outside the womb. This is because the Framers weren't rubes or idiots, and did not want to appear as such. In a document intended to speak to the ages, they didn't want to insert clauses and qualifiers that any minimally educated person already knows, and only an ill-educated or miseducated person can not know.

For example, Arkes points out that many of the Framers didn't want to include an explicit prohibition of ex post facto laws, since the injustice of such is self-evident to any reasoning person. To permit ex post facto laws -- in which the state can prosecute behavior that was legal at the time it was undertaken -- undermines the very basis of jurisprudence. And just as there are axioms without which reason or justice cannot take place, there are moral axioms without which moral reasoning is impossible.

The Constitution does distinguish between persons, for example, between persons over and under age 25 (to be a representative), between persons who have been citizens for more or less than seven years, or between persons over and under 30 (senator). But nowhere does it suggest, imply, or even hint at the notion that a person under 25 or 30, or a citizen of less than seven years, is not a person. Indeed, even slaves were persons, which was an explosive little premise inserted into the Constitution that would assure the eventual elimination of slavery, on pain of a fatal self-contradiction.

So how did we ever get this crackpot idea that a person is not a person if he is less than nine months old, and therefore doesn't come under the protection of the law? Before 1973, it never occurred to any normal person that an eight month old human being isn't a human being. What sort of reasons were given, what sophistry promulgated, what semantics deployed, to deny that self-evident truth?

It occurs to me that one of the properties -- or penumbra, if you will -- of reason is that human beings are a little embarrassed when they are exposed as being unreasonable. In fact, more generally, if you consider the sources of shame, they often revolve around the exposure to public view of a side of ourselves that is "less than human," or animal.

What puzzles me is how the justices responsible for the judicial sophistry of Roe v. Wade weren't positively mortified at their abandonment of reason, if not while writing the decision, at least afterwards, when it was picked apart and exposed for what it is. A normal person responds to the shameful exposure of his lack of reason by rectifying the situation. (Think of Col. Nicholson's mortification in Bridge on the River Kwai, when he exclaims, What have I done?! That's the reaction a decent man, albeit too late to undo what he's done.)

But an abnormal person, either because he cannot tolerate shame or because he has abandoned it altogether, will dig in his heels and insist that he is being reasonable. You will have noticed that one of the problems in arguing with a leftist is not just that they are unreasonable, but that they cannot be shamed.

Examples are far too numerous to chronicle: Ted Kennedy was not ashamed of his treasonous contact with the Soviet Union to try to undermine President Reagan; Jane Fonda is not ashamed of her deep-throated support for our enemies; Jimmy Carter is not ashamed of his anti-Semitism; Obama is not ashamed of his spiritual apprenticeship under the vile Rev. Wright; Jesse Jackson is not ashamed of his personal enrichment through corporate blackmail; Joe Biden is not ashamed of his sudden abandonment of natural rights law when it became necessary to slander and vilify Judge Bork.

Arkes describes the process through which Justice Blackmun hatched the novel idea that a human being isn't one. Since he couldn't find it in the Constitution, he noticed that whenever the latter refers to "persons," they're always doing something, "such as voting or migrating or escaping from being extradited" (Arkes).

Ah ha! The next point is subtle, perhaps too subtle if you're not a constitutional scholar, so pay close attention: notice that you never see folks inside the womb voting, or migrating, or being extradited. "From these clues he concluded that 'persons' did not refer to people before they were born and mobile." This is a clear instance of bogus induction to a first principle, which means that it isn't really first. Rather, it's just the secondary conclusion of a prior false premise. Might as well argue that a paralyzed or sleeping person is no longer himself but something else entirely.

Recall what was said above about giving pretexts rather than reasons. Only an abnormal person does this, at least without feeling shame. I know this because of my work as a forensic psychologist. When I write a report, I never want to reason in such a way that I am ashamed of what I am saying.

But the typical forensic psychologist has no shame (to say nothing of the attorneys, who have long since overcome their ability to feel shame), and that is what I am up against. You know, whores. People who conclude first, and find the pretexts later.

Even on its face, Blackmun's logic doesn't pass the snuff test, because you'd better have some extraordinarily compelling reasons to justify the snuffing of millions upon millions of unique human lives. Why? Because the first sentence of the Constitution states that its very reason for being is to secure certain specified Blessings for ourselves and for our Posterity (upper case letters in original).

Posterity, what does that mean? Among other things, it means future generations, who are by definition none other than the presently unborn. They too are entitled to the Blessings secured by the Constitution.

And what is a Blessing, anyway? In my dictionary, to bless means to consecrate or hallow, or to pronounce holy.

Human life is sacred. Who knew?

The security of a people... must lie in a frequent recurrence to first principles. --John Marshall

40 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

Nicely laid out all around. I really appreciate any opportunity to say bad things about Jane Fonda. I have the same visceral reaction to seeing Hanoi Jane as I do to seeing a copperhead coiled in the dead leaves, for pretty much the same reason. I will let a copperhead go if it isn't too close to the house -- the snake is at least true to its nature.

... rowing with one oar in the water ...

That's my favorite because it pictures so perfectly the effect of leftist insanity, i.e., a lot of motion going nowhere. Except downstream. That roar you hear is not the adoring crowds. It is the falls.

2/21/2012 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

...if you consider the sources of shame, they often revolve around the exposure to public view of a side of ourselves that is "less than human," or animal.


Notice, too, that much of the agenda of the left revolves around removing shame for the animalistic sides of ourselves - indeed, they prefer to celebrate and revel in the bestial - while instilling shame for behavior that elevates mere homo sapiens to true human beings.

2/21/2012 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's an important point. I understand it well, because I once lived in that inverted world.

2/21/2012 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep, been there, done that. Except I always knew it was wrong, and no matter how I tried to convince myself otherwise, the shame still leached through.

Human life is sacred. Who knew?

Incidentally, while I still don't know about Santorum as Presidential material, I'm gaining a deep amount of respect for him and his wife as advocates of life. I knew they had one child who died two hours after birth; I had not realized that their youngest was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 before she was born, late in the pregnancy - and her parents were encouraged to abort her. Judging by the pictures I've seen of the girl at three years of age, I'm guessing she is perfectly happy to be alive, and given the preference would much prefer the time she has lived with her family to having been ruthlessly murdered for reasons of "mercy" inside the womb. Even if her life should be a short one, it has clearly already been a blessing not only for herself, but for her entire family.

2/21/2012 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, he would be a fine neighbor, but I don't support his candidacy, and he's unelectable anyway.

2/21/2012 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger swiftone said...

The security of a people... must lie in a frequent recurrence to first principles. --John Marshall

Does anyone else have trouble getting to first principles in any human interaction? I've been trying to figure out why and adult SS class is so important to me. This just about expresses it. Pretty rare spots in my little circle where first principles are sought, much less acknowledged or referenced.

2/21/2012 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"There's No Shame in Being a Liberal"

I'm sure willian will be along soon to affirm the title.

2/21/2012 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger swiftone said...

woohoo! Got through the robot detector in one try. They'll change it up soon.

2/21/2012 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob - agreed. Being a good father doesn't mean he'd be a good president.

Swiftone - I think it's been so long since most people were taught to think about their first principles, they wouldn't even understand what the term means, much less what theirs are and what the ramifications would be. Plus thinking about it too often reveals the contradictions in one's own behavior (and too often exposes that shame Bob was talking about). Much easier to stick with pretexts and rationalizations.

2/21/2012 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I know for me, I used to feel that abortion was unproblematic. These days I feel it's rather grotesque and barbaric. But until now, I never analyzed the reasons, right down to the root, reasons that must apply irrespective of my feelings.

2/21/2012 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I take that back. I once reasoned in a letter to the editor that abortion was a good idea because unwanted children would grow up with various psychological problems that impose a huge cost on society. But then the more I read history, the more I encountered great men who had had what we would regard as terrible, even abusive childhoods, and became great in spite of it. So that's about as good an argument as Wm's "brain wave" theory....

Plus, all parents need to be made aware of the importance of infant brain development, not just those who abort their children.

2/21/2012 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But then the more I read history, the more I encountered great men who had had what we would regard as terrible, even abusive childhoods, and became great in spite of it.

Yeah, I had a laugh at Wm.'s Parenthood quote last week about how "any butt-reaming asshole" is allowed to be a father. Sure, it's true, but personally that loosely describes probably the majority of fathers of people of my acquaintance (mostly fathers of my generation and older, but a fair number of younger ones, too), in a myriad of ways, and yet I can't think of a one of their kids - or even the oft-bad fathers themselves, in truth - who would have made the world better by being aborted.

2/21/2012 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Is there any doubt that had easy abortion been available in 1961, Obama wouldn't be here? Compelling, no doubt, but still not reason enough to support abortion.

2/21/2012 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"But reason isn't "just anything." It cannot be the same as "giving pretexts,"..."

As Bluto might say: "Christ, seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the eff'n peace corp."

2/21/2012 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"For example, the principle of the excluded middle cannot be true on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or true here but not in another cosmos. Rather, it is true, period.

How do we know this? Because if it weren't true, we could never know it. In other words, there are certain axioms of reason that permit reason to take place, and without which it cannot. If something isn't even what it is and not something else, then surely we cannot reason about it. "

Ooh... the dreaded third rail of leftism - but they will not touch it - those who know what they are forbidden to not evade, will invoke the sacred skeptic clause of "Well, we can't really be certain of anything, not reeealy". At best you'll get the 'Necessary vs. Contingent' routine, 'Well, although it doesn't happen in our universe, we can imagine one where ice burns, so...', yada, yada, sis boom bah.

If you can get a leftist to commit to not evading reality, their positions will collapse all around them... but then... if you could get them to do that, they wouldn't be a leftist.

Cue willian.

2/21/2012 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Code word guide for leftists and Democrats:

"job creators" - the State, George Soros' PACs

"family values" - any two people who love the State

"religious freedom" - freedom to persecute Christians

"liberal media" - media that doesn't asks questions I don't want answered

"secure the border" - don't secure the border

"voter fraud" - undocumented Democrats

"second Amendment rights" - what second amendment rights?

2/21/2012 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That was in response to Wm's inane comment, that mysteriously keeps going into spam.

2/21/2012 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will we ever have a witty troll? Or is that a contradiction in terms?

2/21/2012 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Even on the Simpsons, their zingers against liberals are usually pretty clever and self-aware, whereas those against conservatives are almost always rather ham-handed and cliched.

2/21/2012 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For example, compare Smithers and Flanders, the homosexual and the fundamentalist. The latter is just a cliche, whereas Smithers is much more fleshed out.

2/21/2012 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The security of a people... must lie in a frequent recurrence to first principles. --John Marshall"

And their destruction requires only that you dismiss them.

And people think our 'educational system' is failing.

wv: rsixest treacherous

Indeed.

2/21/2012 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This book by Arkes I'm currently reading, Beyond the Constitution (in the sidebar) is just outstanding. What an exceptionally clear-to-the-point-of-luminous legal mind.

2/21/2012 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Given his grandparents proclivities, I doubt the little bastard (in the technical sense) Barry Dunham would have been aborted, and it would not have made any difference to us. If it hadn't been him, somebody else would have filled the niche.

It's the same reason "extinct" species keep getting re-discovered. There are trials we are going to have to face, one way or another until we address the root problem. If you don't want roaches, don't feed 'em.

2/21/2012 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "This book by Arkes I'm currently reading, Beyond the Constitution (in the sidebar) is just outstanding."

Drat. No ebooks. $42 is a bit steep... maybe a used copy.... The Claremont Institute review of his book has a comment which fits this post well:

"...he has sought to remind audiences of what they already know but have been taught to deny: that, flawed though it may be, human reason can distinguish right from wrong in a reasonably objective and, at times, compelling way—and, what is more, that people of ordinary common sense employ their power of moral reasoning all the time without, so to speak, having to think about it."

I'm curious, does he mention anything about the rest of the clause you cited(" many of the Framers didn't want to include an explicit prohibition of ex post facto laws, since the injustice of such is self-evident to any reasoning person. To permit ex post facto laws -- in which the state can prosecute behavior that was legal at the time it was undertaken -- undermines the very basis of jurisprudence.")?

In that same clause is one of the few Rights written into the unamended Constitution (I think the only other explicitly mentioned is intellectual property(?) 'sall that comes to mind at the moment anyway), that of forbidding the states to violate the right of Contract, No State shall ...pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts..., which Gov. Randolph put well:

Debate in Virginia Ratifying Convention
15 June 1788 Elliot 3:471--81
"... I am still a warm friend to the prohibition, because it must be promotive of virtue and justice, and preventive of injustice and fraud. If we take a review of the calamities which have befallen our reputation as a people, we shall find they have been produced by frequent interferences of the state legislatures with private contracts. If you inspect the greater corner-stone of republicanism, you will find it to be justice and honor..."


It's amazing how many 'laws' and regulations, including Obamao's recent 'Contraceptive Care' rule and exemption, that have flown in the face of it.

2/21/2012 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm just reading a chapter now that makes a compelling argument that amending a Bill of Rights was a huge error (as the Federalists argued), since it gives the false impression that our rights somehow result from a charter with the state, as if we are on an equal basis, when the citizen is sovereign over the state. For example, of course we have freedom of speech and assembly, since a regime of liberty has no power to deny one of the natural rights upon which the entire constitution is founded. But we commonly hear people refer to their "first amendment rights," as if we wouldn't have those rights absent the amendment. Again, it implies that our rights are granted by the state instead of grounded in nature.

2/21/2012 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "...a Bill of Rights was a huge error (as the Federalists argued), since it gives the false impression that our rights somehow result from a charter with the state, as if we are on an equal basis, when the citizen is sovereign over the state..."

Yep, Madison included, though he thought that (what ended up as) the 9th & 10th amendments would defuse that.

But... a century of avoiding "The security of a people... must lie in a frequent recurrence to first principles", undid his fix.

What's driving me nuts right now, regarding Obamao's 'exemption', is that everyone is screaming 1st amdt 'religous rights' instead of it violating Rights as such. Yes, it violates people's right to free exercise, but not only is that secondary, it practically concedes that everyone else who's got a problem with Obamaocare telling them what they've got to provide, are outta luck; "Sorry, no Zero amdt for the Right to Rights" (though the Contract clause I mentioned above comes close).

Hmmm the new wv is starting to get in the swing of things: inhumanly aryndt

2/21/2012 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, it's a classic application of misdirection on Obama's part, when the violation being perpetrated is much more fundamental.

2/21/2012 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - yep. Once again, conservatives are arguing about particulars instead of arguing against the whole. Or as it were, swallowing an elephant, then straining at a gnat. Further, in so doing we allow the left to continually drive the narrative.

I'm reminded of being a kid, when my sister found great entertainment in pushing my buttons. Of course I hated it, but I reacted reliably at every slight provocation, and so the game continued for years.

2/21/2012 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of shamelessness and inverted values, one of Insty's "21st Century Relationships" links was a perfect - and perfectly awful - example.

If you read the letter, the whole point is that the writer and his brother are not to be judged. Rather, it is the family, who will doubtless be appalled at their "lifestyle choice," who must be somehow brought to heel. It is they who need correcting, they who need to accept. Thus the shame is safely transferred from the brothers to their family, and any possible fallout is also now the family's fault.

2/21/2012 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

OT -- The Local said police were astonished to spot the antlered heads in the back seat of the Subaru Forester and then find the other two in the luggage compartment.

Too bad nobody has a video.

2/21/2012 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow - that guy must have gone with the "clown car" option when he was picking out his interior...

2/21/2012 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

You know what's funny about the twins is that sodomy is perfectly legal and acceptable, but, oh, my gosh, it's incest.

That Doctor Whatshername on the radio said this years ago. If it's OK for Mo and Lezzy, how can you say it's wrong for Mom and Junior or Bubba and Sissy or Jerry Lee and Myra or Bubba and Bro. When it's whatever you want, it is whatever anybody wants.

The mule has left the barn.

2/21/2012 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep - the hub has often observed that once gay marriage is justified, there is no possible, logical reason anyone can give why two brothers shouldn't be able to marry, or two sisters, or eventually any other combination of family members (provided that they don't bring children into the world - which thus kills the whole idea of marriage completely dead).

Still, part of me never thought I'd actually see a pair of romantically involved gay twins expecting legitimacy from their family. Just, damn.

2/21/2012 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A new musical discovery for me: Coralie Clément.

2/21/2012 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Each of these implies that something vital is missing. And that missing thing touches on the essence of our humanness, which has to do with reason, or, more to the point, being able to give reasons. Only human beings can give reasons for what they believe, plan, do, and have done."

Well said, Bob.
Those who can't give reasons will also never find any meaningfull meaning in being.

So they fill the holes in their hearts with garbage.
Not just garbage but a parasitical cancer that eats away at their humaness (if they still have any left).

It's not a huge leap from narcissist to malignant narcissist to sociopath/psychopath.
It all involves the destruction of a moral concience and transforms them into ghouls.

This is bad enough (boy is it!) but as we all know, ghouls will attempt to feed on living human beings.

They embrace death and slavery over Life and Liberty and only the tyrants have any "right" to property, and precariously so since other ghouls will always try to get it.

Lefties want a Mad Max apocalyptic world...for the good of the collective.
Borghouls.

2/22/2012 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

In fact, let's consult the thesaurus and consider some of the synonyms for crazy: bereft of reason, reasonless, irrational, unreasonable, haywire, off the hinges, minus some buttons, one brick shy of a full load, rowing with one oar in the water, etc."

A few brain cells short of a retard.

2/22/2012 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Bob,

Coralie Clement is a bit like the Allison Krauss of French chanson. Precise and pretty.

It's nice to see "pretty" being so comfortable with itself. There seems to be no anxiety about it, and no superiority, either.

Nice.

2/22/2012 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Such a beautiful language. Although I don't know how I'd feel about a Frenchman singing that way to me. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

2/22/2012 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A lot of Stereolab's songs have that same retro French bossa nova hybrid vibe....

2/22/2012 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

According the comments, it appears she is to Paris nightlife as SRV was to the Sixth Street scene in Austin, that is to say, an outstanding representative of the common genre.

Alison did an album with Robert Plante here a couple of years ago. Alison is kind of awkward-looking normally, but she is beautiful when she sings and plays, and it was like Beauty and the Beast to see them on stage together. Plante could do a pretty good Keith Richards' impression these days.

2/22/2012 08:29:00 AM  

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