Sun
Feb 10 2008
07:46 pm

By way of Atrios, here's an interesting poll:

Yes, would
vote for
No, would not
vote for
%%
Catholic954
Black945
Jewish927
A woman8811
Hispanic8712
Mormon7224
Married for the third time6730
72 years of age5742
A homosexual5543
An atheist4553


Also, here's an interesting post from the TennViews roundup from an Obama supporter in Memphis:

55-40 Memphis: Electability

I believe that it is much harder to get a woman elected president today than a person of color, all else being equal. As widespread as racism is, sexism runs even deeper and affects a larger proportion of the electorate.

Compounding the problem: We are much more attuned to racism, and quicker to call it out, than we are to even blatant sexism.

I don't want to further the debate about whether Obama v. Clinton comes down to sexism v. racism, but do you think this poll (which is a year old) truly reflects the biases of American voters? And is 55-40 right that sexism runs deeper and is harder to recognize?

157
like
Eleanor A's picture

Oh man. First the Robin

Oh man. First the Robin Morgan article, and now this.

I think this guy is entitled to his opinion. However, first he says this isn't about implicit sexism - but shouldn't we really be worried that a woman can't get elected President? Frankly, I don't think you hear that kind of talk about Obama out of HRC's people. Personally, I don't think he can get elected because he's too thin-skinned and lacks appropriate experience, not because he's African-American. If we as Democrats start allowing factors like racism and sexism to enter into our candidate-selection decision making process, well, haven't we already lost? What does being a Democrat mean to this 55-40 person, anyway?

I think we saw the answer to some of this in 2006 when Harold Ford came thisclose to winning the Tennessee Senate seat, but it would make me four-alarm furious to hear "Ford almost won" held out as a reason why a qualified woman shouldn't receive the nod for the Democratic Senate nomination in Tennessee sometime in the future. And you won't ever see me saying the fact that he lost is an excuse not to run another black person for Senate in Tennessee. (I think he lost because Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature allowed the Republicans to force-feed them a gay-marriage ballot amendment, although many people will tell you low turnout in Shelby dealt the death blow.)

[This amendment business makes the case, actually, that we need more diversity in the Tennessee Legislature - a status quo that led to this type of amendment, in which folks' rights were turned into nothing more than fodder for pandering to social conservatives, is not what I'd posit most folks think of when they ponder the spirit of Democrats. I'll not go so far as to castigate Ford for going along with that amendment, since I think the die was cast before he was even a nominee, but surely we Democrats can do better than this going forward.

I wonder how far this 55-40 might be prepared to go on this issue, as well...Should we not nominate gays and lesbians, or atheists, for state office, since they might hurt us at the ballot box on Governor, Senate, and other races? How exactly do we disinvite them from the Democratic Party, assuming any sane person would want to do so?]

If this guy wants to get traction on the "but she's a Clinton!" issue, he's going to have to separate that out from Mrs. Clinton's chromosomes. For the record, I think the Clinton-identity issue cuts both ways. I can see why people have concerns about it, but I've personally talked to hundreds of people here in Tennessee literally jumping for joy at the prospect of another Clinton presidency.

R. Neal's picture

However, first he says this

However, first he says this isn't about implicit sexism - but shouldn't we really be worried that a woman can't get elected President?

I hear you. I don't agree with the rest of his electability argument (which really boils down to "her name is Clinton") but I thought it was a valid, or at least worthy of discussion, observation about racism v. sexism and the idea that African-Americans have come further along than women in terms of equality, which has been discussed here before.

I think everyone ought to start out equal and be considered on their merits. But what about that Equal Rights Amendment? And the fact that black men had the right to vote before women? That and all the Clinton bashing in the media and on the blogs suggests to me that we haven't come as far along as as we should have by now.

Again, I'm not trying to further the media created gender v. race issue. I just find it fascinating where Americans rank women in this poll, if it is to be believed.

When I see Clinton, I don't see a woman. I see a leader and a future President. Same with Obama with regard to race (except with maybe a few more years of experience and seasoning).

In summary, this it not a "hit piece" suggesting women can't be elected (as the Mrs. warned I was implying). On the contrary, I'm asking why not?

bizgrrl's picture

In summary, this it not a

In summary, this it not a "hit piece" suggesting women can't be elected (as the Mrs. warned I was implying). On the contrary, I'm asking why not?

Hmmph.

R. Neal's picture

Hey, we live in Huckabee

Hey, we live in Huckabee land, where women are supposed to "submit graciously to the leadership of their husbands." Didn't you get the memo?

Eleanor A's picture

There are a lot of

There are a lot of institutional barriers. Women have a harder time asking for money. Here in TN, they have a lot less access to traditional sources of capital. Women are also less inclined to simply jump out there and run for office; instead, they expect to be asked. They're disproportionately responsible for child and elder care. There are a lot of reasons. Or are we talking about why folks supposedly won't vote for women, as opposed to why they won't run?

I could make the case that these reasons actually translate into a lack of votes - since folks don't see so many women run, they're not as acclimated to the idea, and are more apt to buy into the "hysterical woman who can't be trusted with responsibility" storyline. However, when you talk to older men about opportunities for their daughters, their attitudes change somewhat, or so I read in an article recently.

There's actually a really great seminar held every year by the TN Economic Council on Women that goes into all these issues in detail. Interesting stuff.

R. Neal's picture

Or are we talking about why

Or are we talking about why folks supposedly won't vote for women, as opposed to why they won't run?

Another great "cause or effect" question worthy of discussion.

R. Neal's picture

This amendment business

This amendment business makes the case, actually, that we need more diversity in the Tennessee Legislature

No kidding. I'm in complete agreement on that. We had Democrats down there last week arguing for restrictions and conditions on abortion as a political stunt instead of unconditionally suppporting a woman's right to choose. I guess I understand the political theater judo aspects of that, but still...

Eleanor A's picture

Without getting too far into

Without getting too far into this, it wouldn't surprise me an iota if some good ol' boy here in TN hadn't shot down a few candidacies on the part of women, blacks, young folks, or gays based on exactly the argument put forward by 55-40 here..."s/he won't win anyway, let's just nominate us up another nice young white feller"...

I suspect 55-40, rather than being a jerk, simply hasn't thought through all the implications of his argument, here...

CathyMcCaughan's picture

I won't vote for a

I won't vote for a Scientologist. Where does that rank on the chart?

Rachel's picture

Once again, Randy needs

Once again, Randy needs cubes.

Bbeanster's picture

Needs cubes? What are these

Needs cubes?
What are these cubes of which you speak. Are you suggesting he's anatomically incomplete?

Rachel's picture

Cubes - those things on the

Cubes - those things on the Blab you give people for outstanding posts.

metulj's picture

I would 100% totally sure

I would 100% totally sure vote for someone who is not an idiot.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

SammySkull's picture

hmph

And we pray that one day that will be an option.

F-Stop's picture

So true that folks won't

So true that folks won't vote for an atheist. If ya don't believe in "Gaw-Duh", ya can't run the country according to most folks.

*sigh*

bob5540's picture

Clarification of the "55-40" electability post

I have restated the original post here. Perhaps the restatement will clarify for some folks who might have been unsure what I really meant. Thanks for dropping by.

[For those of you who don't know Memphis, it is at the intersection of Interstates 55 and 40.]

WhitesCreek's picture

Why didn't the poll ask

Why didn't the poll ask about "Right wing fundamentalist Baptist preachers"?

reform4's picture

The breakdowns by political pursuasion are even more interesting

Go to the link and scroll down. It's very interesting to see which ones have little deviation by ideology (black, Jewish, age), and which ones have major deviations. I found a few surprises.

-----------------------------------------
Fighting for Reform and Representation, Fourth District
Steve Drevik, Commission Seat 4-B
(link...)

rocketsquirrel's picture

Whether you are religious or

Whether you are religious or not, how many of you long for a politics where values mattered?

There has been an enormous public misrepresentation of Christianity, to the point where many people think Christian faith stands for political commitments that are almost the opposite of true Christian meaning.

I see as much finger pointing by right wingers who prefer to focus only on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the weightier matters of justice. But they are frequently outdone by lefty bloggers who cringe at the mere invocation of the word "GOD."

But where is the dialogue?

For those of us afraid of the word "GOD" we sure seem to be universally seeking a more just society, driven by values rather than political opportunism and wedge issues more about engendering diviseness than promoting morality.

Since when did believing in God and having moral values make you pro-war, pro-rich, and pro-Republican? And since when did promoting and pursuing a progressive social agenda with a concern for economic security, health care, and educational opportunity mean you had to put faith in God aside?

Average Guy's picture

Keep the dialogue "in house"

The issue as I see it, keeping a separation of church and state protects the sanctity of both. Mixing even a little bit - destroys both.

For instance, take the issue of gay marriage. Marriage is a religious institution. If Christians (or any denomination) don't condone gay marriage, let them fight this out in their own churches. It should be the pastor's obligation to call out the "sinners". Parishioners could either agree this is a correct course or they can decide they will no longer tolerate intolerant religions/churches.

Same goes for abortion, teaching of evolution, the right to die, etc. etc. Let religion govern churches - not government. We don't need any "new" anything - all of this has already been covered in our founding documents.

rocketsquirrel's picture

I never mentioned a church.

I never mentioned a church.

Average Guy falls perfectly into the the rightwing frameshop. He hits on marriage, gay marriage, abortion, evolution. Perfect ideological victim.

Fighting poverty is a value. So is curing our environment. Should we keep these separate from the "state?"

When were the greatest changes in American society? When people of faith mustered the courage to speak publicly--like Dr. King, who mustered people from all walks of life, from the black churches to the Jewish synagogues--to change the course of society. Dr. King was told by Lyndon Johnson that after getting the Civil Rights Act, it would be another 10 years before passage of the voting rights act could even be tried. Dr. King refused to wait--and succeeded only 5 months later, after a nation and a world witnessed the march from Selma to Montgomery.

So when will people of faith put down the hammers of abortion and gay marriage and take up the mantle of change--and begin fighting against poverty--and for the battle for justice, for universal health care, and for our environment?

Average Guy's picture

What was more effective - the prayers or the marches?

I never mentioned a church.

Christianity would exist without organized churches?

Perfect ideological victim.

..of religions invasion of our government.

Fighting poverty is a value. So is curing our environment. Should we keep these separate from the "state?"

You've seen both FEMA's and churches work in the gulf. Which do you prefer? Of the things you mention, is solution better found in religion or education?

So when will people of faith...

I have faith. It's in people. If I were drowning, should I call out for GOD's help, or the guy on the dock?

The current Christian doctrine comes from the Council of Nicaea (link...). If you really want to know why other women show sexism toward Hillary, read the founding documents to find out how the church made Mary a whore and then ask yourself why?

rocketsquirrel's picture

Christianity would exist

Christianity would exist without organized churches?

Yes it would, and yes it does.

Average Guy's picture

Where other religions have driven it underground

Not in America (link...)

Eleanor A's picture

Well put, RS...I assume

Well put, RS...I assume you've read "Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It"...

RayCapps's picture

Stupid question:

I know there has to be some rationale behind the thought process, but I've never seen it articulated. So in the interest of understanding that rationale, here's a stupid question:

Since females represent more than 50% of the voting age population, how is a failure to elect a female to an office any sort of "ism"? I understand sexism existing in business - most businesses are owned and run by males, and the structure is autocratic, not democratic. I can understand sexism existing in religion. The various flavors of people who believe in invisible magic beings are likewise dominated by males and autocratic in nature. But I just can't figure it out within the political arena of the United States.

Anecdotally, I hear alot more about people who are going to vote for Clinton because she is a woman than people who refuse to vote for her for that reason. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say to me they won't vote for *a* woman. I've had no shortage of people indicate they'll never vote for *that* woman. Anyway, whatever gender based "isms" come into play, the logic of numbers suggest any male "ism" against Hillary ought to be more than offset by a female "ism" in support of her. So help a poor male understand the "sexism" half of the "racism vs. sexism" argument between Obama and Clinton.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Own worst enemies?

I think what you may be overlooking, Ray, is that many women have historically discriminated against their own gender at the ballot box. That is, women have been/can be equally culpable of sexist behaviors.

Georgiana Vines shares some observations on just that phenomenon in her column today. See (link...).

RayCapps's picture

Okay, I get it:

Women have trouble getting elected because other women exhibit bias against them? I can see that and agree with it. One of the best bosses I ever had (a female) told me that a woman managing a man or a man managing a woman were a whole lot easier in terms of the day to day stresses than a woman managing another woman. She said that in response to a question as to whether or not she'd be uncomfortable managing our team of six guys, no females. Not being a female, I won't even pretend to understand the dynamic that would cause a woman to be biased against another woman or have more trouble managing other women than men. I'll just say that using the term "sexism" to describe a female's reluctance to vote for another female is misleading. On an emotional level, using that word points the finger of blame at men.

Carole Borges's picture

I don't think it makes one wit of difference

Gender, race, religion, sexual persuasion, age, experience, class, none of these things make you a better boss or a better person. They sure shouldn't be used as a measuring-stick for presidential hopefuls.

Twits will be twits.
Tyrants will be tyrants.
Liars will be liars.
Perverts will be perverts.

No matter whether they put the toilet seat up or down.
No matter whether their ancestors came from Africa or Norway.
No matter who they pray to or whether they pray at all.
No matter if they wear a bride's dress to their wedding or a white tux.

All people must stand on their own merit. The example they set and the actions they pursue.

I will not be bullied into voting for a woman, just because others won't.

I won't vote for a woman just because we've been waiting all of our lives for a Madam President.

I won't vote for a woman because I somehow think our gender is more caring, trustworthy, or capable.

If I did I would be doing exactly the same thing society has been doing to us forever---pandering to us, rather than treating us as equals.

bizgrrl's picture

I won't vote for someone

I won't vote for someone just because they have a music video.

I won't vote for someone because they give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I won't vote for someone that I don't think is right for the job.

Blah, blah, blah...

bizgrrl's picture

In fact, I don't think I've

In fact, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say to me they won't vote for *a* woman.

I don't know that most people would verbalize it to another unless the other person was a very, very close friend/relative/etc.

RayCapps's picture

We must live in different social circles

Really? I come into very regular contact with an awful lot of males who have no compunction about voicing their bias against women in other fields of endeavor. "Women cops aren't as reliable as male ones." "Women firefighters are a danger to male firefighters because they can't carry their own weight." "Female athletes are just 'Title IX' clowns proving why only men should play competitive sports." "Female drivers (especially truckers) are unsafe on the road." I could go on and on and on with the crap I hear other guys say about women's abilities (as long as there are no women in earshot, of course). I'm actually quite suprised I've never heard anyone say they wouldn't vote for a woman.

Pam Strickland's picture

church and state

I believe strongly that there are some serious problems regarding the mixing of church and state in modern society. But I also believe that there are a number of Christians who care more about helping the poor and good stewardship of the envrionment along with peace and justice in the world than care about abortion and stem cells and gay marriage and such.I'm one of them.

And, I know that earlier this year several Democratic candidates spoke at an event -- the name of which I can't remember -- of Christians who have that social justice bent. Clinton, Obama and Edwards all three spoke. Maybe others, but I don't remember. They each spoke of their own faith and how it plays in their political beliefs.

And, just yesterday, Obama said on NPR that not all Christians are supportive of that hardcore right-wing image, and that the problem that Democrats have is that they stopped talking to all Christians not just the wingnuts (my word, not his). He named names of moderate Christian leaders who he hoped to enlist in the cause because they had a common interest in social justice issues, which he also named. There's a link to the audio here:

(link...)

I couldn't get it to play all the way through, but I think that's just my weird little computer. I frequently have trouble with audio that originated on radio. Time to visit the genious bar again.

pgs

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

rocketsquirrel's picture

well said, Pam. A pox on

well said, Pam.

A pox on all of those people, churched and unchurched, who sit by silently while poverty abounds, income disparity increases and millions cannot get or afford the healthcare they need. Whether you call them church values or American values, I really don't care. But our country is broken and someone needs to stand up and fix it. Folks need to stop yapping about abortion, gay marriage, and evolution.

Average Guy's picture

someone - like all of us

Folks need to stop yapping about abortion, gay marriage, and evolution.

or

Churches need to stop yapping about abortion, gay marriage, and evolution. At least stop trying to get government to yap (and vote) about them.

bizgrrl's picture

At least stop trying to get

At least stop trying to get government to yap (and vote) about them.

Amen!

RayCapps's picture

I respectfully disagree

Churches need to stop yapping about abortion, gay marriage, and evolution. At least stop trying to get government to yap (and vote) about them.

I don't believe in magical invisible beings of any sort. However, I do believe that people who do believe in magical invisible beings have the same rights as anyone else to push for whatever they believe in regardless of the source of those beliefs. If you disagree with someone's position, the only proper response is to advocate your own. None of us have a right to say that other people ought to "stop yapping" about their own beliefs. I detest the notion of limiting free speech. Unless it constitutes a clear threat of physical violence ("we have to kill all the _____") or endangers public safety (the old "fire!" in a crowded theater argument), we don't have any business putting limitations on speech. I think what is happening on our campuses in terms of speech codes is an abomination to the ideal of what a university ought to be about. When I see someone - left or right - appear to suggest any sort of restriction on free speech, it just galls me.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Observations

All the fuss about who is more electable, a woman or a person of color? Whether 87, 88 or 94%, it's all well above 51%. Doesn't seem like much of a difference, statistically.

As for the effect of the Clinton name - perhaps it's a negative in the blogosphere but not with the average voter. Clinton is a brand name that can be associated with economic prosperity.

___________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

KC's picture

Churches need to stop

Churches need to stop yapping about abortion, gay marriage, and evolution. At least stop trying to get government to yap (and vote) about them.

While I understand that many on this blog hate many churches' and denominations' stands on certain domestic and international issues, two things should be considered:

First, if you have any knowledge of American history you would know that the evangelistic movement known as the Second Great Awakening pushed for women's rights, prison reforms, helping the poor, and the abolition of slavery, long before the "government" and its admirers took these causes up in the public arena.

You may not care for the churches "yapping" now, but it is an insult to disregard the role of churches in the past when it came affecting a number of important social issues in this country.

Secondly, and perhaps sadly, many here believe that the only Christians in America are the ones they see on TV asking for money, on the news when a scandal hits, or promoting or criticizing a political issue on one of the TV "news shows" verbal food fights that is currently considered to be "news." Those aren't the only Christians in America, and there are many more who quietly serve the public in a variety of ways.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Like you

"...there are many more who quietly serve the public in a variety of ways."

Thanks for the gentle reminder, Gary. You always seem to me to be one of these.

Average Guy's picture

No hate - just worry mixed with hope

Wasn't the Second Great Awakening more about education with conversion and activism as a bonus?

If so, would improving our schools not be a better, more uniform way to educate? With an education, we can determine the activism we choose to follow in lieu of having it espoused in a singular way.

If not, and activism was the goal, would you advocate a Third Great Awakening? If so, which denominations should lead it?

BTW - Hate is a word I wouldn't use. I grew up in a Christian church, with all other family members still active members. After 9/11, and then after a week of repeating the mantra "they hate for our freedoms", I decided it was time to find out the real reasons. Of all the things I studied, books by Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels made the most sense. If you want to remain devout, I recommend never researching religion. Living in a region where stating the fact that Jesus was a Jew can get you in a fist fight, I knew taking the stance of a Naturalist would be unpopular. But I truly believe we live in a time where the answers to our problems will not come from the Torah, Bible or Koran. I think the Third Great Awakening is happening here.

SammySkull's picture

I often feel as if many of

I often feel as if many of us have been awake for quite some time and are quite ready for religious people to quit hitting the snooze button.

Average Guy's picture

Nice analogy

I could have saved a lot of typing had I thought of putting it that way.

KC's picture

Thanks for the gentle

Thanks for the gentle reminder, Gary. You always seem to me to be one of these.

Thanks for the compliment, but I don't deserve it. Many do, but not me.

WhitesCreek's picture

While I understand that many

While I understand that many on this blog hate many churches' and denominations' stands on certain domestic and international issues

I think that's inaccurate. It's certainly prejudicial.

Let's use the radical Islam position on depicting Muhammed in cartoons being a heresy deserving of death as an example. I don't have any thoughts on whether this is holy, unholy, or anything else except unproven. It is a belief and nothing more. It has no more validity in fact than if it were pure myth, which it may well be...I have no means by which to make a determination. Because someone else "says so" won't cut it for sure.

At any rate, Islamic believers are free to believe whatever they want until they cross the line into attempting to enforce something that is no more than a "belief" on folks who "don't believe it".

If I doodle an image of your prophet and you try to enforce your religion's penalty upon me, you and I have a problem.

Same goes for your forcing me to allow you to preach your religion to my child. This particular travesty is often mislabelled, "Prayer in School".

Same goes for your forcing your belief as to when life begins and your decisions as to which medical proceedures on my women friend's bodies should be punished by legal means.

I don't particularly hate any church's stands so much as I think some church's adherants are abdicating their obligations as citizens for allowing themselves to be told what their own personal position should be based on a belief, and not a critical thought process based on accurate information and the relative merits of the long term results of a decision.

What I do hate is any organization's attempt to control me based on its dogma. I also detest the intellectual laziness of the people who allow themselves to be co-opted into that same effort.

RayCapps's picture

You had me till you snuck this one in:

Same goes for your forcing your belief as to when life begins and your decisions as to which medical proceedures on my women friend's bodies should be punished by legal means.

Begin Self-Righteous Rant

At some point in the abortion argument, someone is going to force their beliefs on when life begins (or at leasts warrants protection) onto everyone else through the law. Especially if you don't believe in magical invisble beings or spirits or there being anything immortal about the human organism, you're going to have to pick a point in the development process where the human merits legal protection. Is that point conception? Is it the ever changing target point of "viability"? Is it the second trimester? The third trimester? Birth? Six months after delivery? When? There has to a point at which the human organism is entitled to the protection of the law. I see no justification in shutting out anyone from the never ending debate on exactly where that line will be drawn. No matter what provides your philosophical and moral underpinnings, it is your personal philosophical and moral beliefs that will inform your position on where the human organism warrants the protection of the law. There's no scientific, objective, mathematical, or deductive answer to the question. It is fundamentally a moral argument. Protestants, Catholics, LDS's, Muslims, Jews, atheists, liberals, conservatives, men, and women all get to have their say.

End Self-Righteous Rant

Average Guy's picture

At some point in the

At some point in the abortion argument, someone is going to force their beliefs on when life begins (or at leasts warrants protection) onto everyone else through the law.

This has already been done - there are laws. Just none of them happen to be ones the religious right can live with - which is the problem. The fact there are laws, means the process worked. There were arguments on both sides and compromises were made. But, the law is not what Dr. Dobson wants - so our government be damned.

Our government is not perfect and never will be. But for now, it's the best we got - unless you think legislation from the pews would be better.

RayCapps's picture

Oh come now!

This has already been done - there are laws

There were laws in existence prior to Roe v. Wade was well. Is your argument that those laws ought to have never been challenged by those who found them morally reprehensible? Abortion will never be settled until somehow, someway, someday, a moral consensus is developed by an overwhelming majority of Americans, and we aren't anywhere near close to that. Until then, it's the moral obligation of everyone who cares about the issue to continue to campaign - peacefully - for their point of view to prevail. The religious right have the same right to participate in that ongoing debate as you do.

Please note I'm not defending the position of the religious right, just that they have as much right to have a position and to campaign for it as any other group.

Have a good one.

Average Guy's picture

Abortion will never be

Abortion will never be settled until somehow, someway, someday, a moral consensus is developed by an overwhelming majority of Americans, and we aren't anywhere near close to that.

We should legislate morality? How do you feel about sin taxes?

(link...) Four stars!

But you're correct, this is still America, and people still have the right to say what they want - only now it's monitored.

RayCapps's picture

Softball questions?

We should legislate morality? How do you feel about sin taxes?

Of course we should legislate morality. Just about every law on the books is there to define moral versus immoral behavior. Murder, theft, fraud, OSHA, minimum wage, EPA... just about everything has a moral underpinning to it. If I may quote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The term “morality” can be used either

descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or,
some other group, such as a religion, or
accepted by an individual for her own behavior or
normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

It's hard to conceive of a law not based upon some sort of code of conduct put forward by a society. However, the converse is not nearly so true. Not everything in the majority's code of conduct ought to be turned into law. As someone who broadly agrees with social libertarian philosophy, I'm very reluctant to legislate behaviors which do not directly result in establishing a clear victim. Providing I am doing no harm to others, I generally believe I ought to be free to do as I wish. To apply that back to abortion, at what point in human development are we dealing with an "other"? That's moral decision, no?

Your second question regarded "sin taxes." I have no issue with the use of the tax code to encourage or discourage behaviors within the general population where those behaviors create a financial burden on the greater society. It's certainly less brutish than banning undesired behaviors or compelling desired ones. If the people desire to levy a tax on smoking, drinking, using gasoline, or - to steal from another thread - consuming Ho Ho's, a financial justification can be made to do it. Similarly, if the people desire to offer tax breaks for making their dwellings energy efficient, for getting a physical once a year, for living in a high population density area, for utilizing mass transit, etc., I can see the financial justification for doing those things as well. At its heart, a "sin tax" is really just a usage tax on communal resources.

WhitesCreek's picture

Actually, we have little

Actually, we have little disagreement here. I happen to have come to the conclusion that Roe v wade was a solomonicly brilliant decision. What I oppose is the "life begins at conception because god told me so" stance.

She has said no such thing! Beliefs have no place in this argument.

That argument should be framed as, "At what point in the development of a fetus does it become human enough for the state to have a vested interest in protecting the rights of a citizen?"

Roe V Wade used the viability argument and gave us extremely good guidelines. This is not good enough for the folks who want to force their "belief" that a human comes to have a soul at some other moment..say conception...for which there is no rational basis.

RayCapps's picture

Ah, but you destroy your own argument!

You say you have come to the "conclusion that Roe v Wade was a solomonicly brilliant decision." But in the absence of any objective criteria establishing the Roe v. Wade viability argument was the correct one, your conclusion is subjective - it is a Belief as you put it. Since the moment of viability is not even fixed but varies based upon the society's health care system, advances in medical science, and the health of the pregnant female, it cannot be clearly established by any objective methodology that viability is the "right" answer.

Fundamentally, then, your objection is not to the Belief, but to the source of the Belief - someone else's notion that some allegedly invisible magical being established the correct "point in the development of a fetus" "for the state to have a vested interest in protecting the rights of a citizen" is conception rather than viability. I continue to submit that the source of someone's Belief does not disqualify them from having a place in the discussion. In a debate that cannot be objectively proven, but can only be defined by subjective Belief, one opinion is as valid as the next without regard for the source of that Belief.

Rachel's picture

At what point in the

At what point in the development of a fetus does it become human enough for the state to have a vested interest in protecting the rights of a citizen?"

Very well put. I might add - "and whose rights take precedence over the rights of the person who is carrying it."

RayCapps's picture

I think that would be automatic, no?

If the fetus is recognized as a citizen, its right to exist would necessarily trump the pregnant female's right to privacy. The right to exist is the most basic of all human rights. Without it, nothing else has any meaning at all. I think the question as originally put forward accurately states the matter without embellishment.

On a personal note, I have to confess I absolutely detest the abortion question. As a social libertarian, it frustrates me to no end to have two fundamental natural rights irrevocably in conflict with each other and with the only resolution being a subjective "moral" judgment. I've wrestled with this issue and argued it with myself and others since I was sixteen. I've never reached a satisfactory resolution to the question for myself. I envy everyone on all sides of it the peace of mind their moral certitude brings them.

I think the only way I will ever find satisfaction on this question would be if it was to become biologically impossible for a female to become pregnant against her will. If there really was a just and loving magical invisible being, woman would have been endowed with such an ability.

R. Neal's picture

I've wrestled with this

I've wrestled with this issue and argued it with myself and others since I was sixteen. I've never reached a satisfactory resolution to the question for myself.

This illustrates the convenience of faith and religion.

KC's picture

I think that's inaccurate.

I think that's inaccurate. It's certainly prejudicial.

I think it's on the mark, and your comments prove it.

Same goes for your forcing me to allow you to preach your religion to my child.

This is simply inciteful hate speech aimed at me, and others I guess, who are Christian believers.

First of all, it's a lie. I've never forced you to do anything. I doubt you even know what denomination I worship with, or anything else, yet you automatically raise the red flag of "they're forcing us...."

So any defensive actions on your part would be justified, I presume?

What I do hate is any organization's attempt to control me based on its dogma. I also detest the intellectual laziness of the people who allow themselves to be co-opted into that same effort.

You say that, but your attacks are primarily, if not completely, aimed at religion and it's adherents. What about the governments of the past and present in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Mao's China, or Kim's North Korea?

Weren't those horrible episodes in the world's history based on "critical thought," and science such as eugenics, and the social theories of Marx and Engels?

Government can do alot of good. As an organization supported by the public, it has the potential to do a great deal of good. And it does do a lot of good and necessary things, as does religion.

Both can do, and have done, a lot of bad. To designate either one as an originator of "most" of the bad, or of "most" of the good done in this country, is simply a mis-reading of history.

Average Guy's picture

Crazy is, as crazy does

What about the governments of the past and present in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Mao's China, or Kim's North Korea?

That's where our Declaration and Constitution come into play. Equal branches used to be our safeguards. You list insane leaders to prove your point. I'll do the same:

Bush said to James Robinson: 'I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen... I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.'

(link...)

How do you argue with people who think their God wants war? But you're right, our government has the possibility of becoming somewhat authoritarian. Who do you think King George has the most authority over? Faith based initiatives ring a bell?

R. Neal's picture

Setting up the Office of

Setting up the Office of Faith Based Initiatives was Bush's first official act as President.

The number two guy in charge left and wrote a tell-all:

In explosive book, former Bush official claims faith-based push was political

From 2001 to 2003, Kuo served as the No. 2 official in Bush’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. MSNBC reported the book includes charges that high-ranking White House officials referred to prominent conservative Christian leaders as “nuts” behind their backs, used the faith-based office to organize ostensibly non-political events that in reality were designed to boost Republican candidates in tough elections, and favored religious charities friendly to the administration when doling out grant money.

Up Goose Creek's picture

convenience?

Are you implying that being religious means one will know what to think on this issue?

Anti-abortion advocates offer up the scripture: "before you were in the womb I knew you". To me that reinforces the belief that the soul exists outside the body. It doesn't answer "when does the soul enter the body?"

____________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

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