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Wanting people to pay for war, but not abortion

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 09:03 pm
In a nicely debated thread the question was raised why I would be opposed to a public funding of abortion when there are members of that public who might oppose abortion, but I would support a public funding of war despite the fact that people in that public oppose war.

My answer was "Good Answer." Obviously we live in a society that forces us to pay for things that go against our conscience.

Well, my answer was still challenged. At the time the debate was locked, I had not satisfied the opposition enough to be able to back out of that debate. I am not one to back out of any debate, but I don't have any exceptional answer. Not one that would really suffice. But, here goes a try.

I don't necessarily agree with war. When it comes down to it, adults ought to be able to handle their disagreements better. But, when we go to war, it is as an act of Congress (speaking in U.S. terms). We vote. We stage protests. We write articles and speak our minds. Then, we make a collective decision. The recent war in Iraq had little opposition before the fact. It has all the opposition now. We all in the U.S. made a collective decision to go to war. We all should back our call on this one and help fund the massive effort. We can't say we're not going to help with new roads, public buildings or welfare when our government decides to provide these things.

On the other hand are all the abortion issues. We have not collectively decided on abortion. It is legal. We know that. But, an individual makes a decision to have an abortion. Even though I don't oppose abortion, I don't think people should have to help fund abortions if they oppose them. People are charitable, but you can't exploit that just because you think they can help pay for your mistakes.

That was my try.
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Frank Apisa
 
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Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 08:24 pm
Nice try, Michael.

But, in my opinion, no cigar.

Your reasoning is contrived.

My guess: The total number of people who favor a woman's right to choose is not remarkably different from the total number of people who backed a move to war -- and if you allowed me to choose the way the questions are asked (or allow me to choose the person who frames the questions) I dare say there is no statistical difference.

Bottom line -- we live in a society where the government decides where tax money is going to be spent -- and we'd end up with anarchy if we allowed each individual to have veto power over how his/her tax dollars may or may not be used.
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Frank Apisa
 
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Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 08:27 pm
By the way, Michael, I hope we (whoever joins us) keep this very, very civil -- and I commit to that dieal myself.

The powers that be in A2K frown on people circumventing a locked thread by simply starting a new one. I was chastized for doing something like this once before.

If there is any contentiousness in this one, I'll excuse myself -- and if I can prevail on you to do the same, I would.
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MichaelAllen
 
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Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 09:46 pm
I will. And I will. I was posed a question and I only wanted to answer it. BTW, I thought my attempt was rather feeble myself. It was a great question that made me think a little and come up with absolutely nothing.

Like I've said, I don't know everything. But, don't try convincing me of that.
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Frank Apisa
 
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Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 08:39 am
Wow, we do think alike!!! :wink: :wink:
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 10:21 am
MichaelAllen: You're wrong, Frank's right.

In a representative democracy, the representative institutions are empowered to make decisions on behalf of all the people. That's part of the bargain that citizens make when they live in a representative democracy. As long as the money is spent in a legal or constitutionally permissible fashion, the citizen's only recourse is to work diligently to change the laws or change the people making the spending decisions.

And governments spend money all the time to rectify the effects of "personal decisions." The government, for instance, provides reconstruction funds and low-interest loans to people whose houses are destroyed in floods, even though it was their decision to build in flood plains. The government provides crop subsidies to farmers who have been affected by drought, even though it was their decision to grow those crops in the first place. The government provides tax incentives to parents with children, even though it was their decision to have kids. The list could be expanded endlessly, but I think you catch my drift.

The government, in other words, is constantly paying for the mistakes that individuals make. If you think abortion should be an exception, you have to come up with a better reason.
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Frank Apisa
 
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Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 10:28 am
I think Michael has pretty much acknowledged that, Joe. He was trying to make a case for something that he realized was weak.

It was a decent attempt -- and is much like the thing a lawyer often has to do.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 10:47 am
I cannot agree that Michael is wrong on this one. To quote him:
MichaelAllen wrote:
We have not collectively decided on abortion. It is legal. We know that. But, an individual makes a decision to have an abortion. Even though I don't oppose abortion, I don't think people should have to help fund abortions if they oppose them. People are charitable, but you can't exploit that just because you think they can help pay for your mistakes.


This passage was, of course, in contrast to his simple and cogent statement of how representative democracy functioned to legally support a decision to go to war. I was opposed to the war, and i think the stumblebums on Pennsylvania Avenue have made a mess of the war and its aftermath. Nevertheless, i cannot but honestly recognize the validity of Micheal's statement that the war is a legally justified act of a representative democracy (at least in terms of its internal legality).

His subsequent point that: "We have not collectively decided on abortion." is just as accurate a statement. The opinion in Roe v. Wade, which i have quoted at length in another thread among these fora, very clearly limits, without abbrogating, the right of state governments to regulate abortions. However, nationally, there has been no collective decision with regard to abortion--there have only been decisions of the Supremes with regard to the technical provisions of state legislation. I would agree with Frank's assessment that there is likely as much support for abortion as there was for war. But i have a point to make, and believe i've made it:

Michael is right.
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MichaelAllen
 
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Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2003 10:57 pm
Thanks, Setanta. That is reassuring. I thought I was losing my touch to be able to effectively take the opposition in anything.
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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 10:00 am
Setanta wrote:
This passage was, of course, in contrast to his simple and cogent statement of how representative democracy functioned to legally support a decision to go to war.

I didn't read MichaelAllen's statement this way at all, Setanta. Look at it again. He wrote: " Even though I don't oppose abortion, I don't think people should have to help fund abortions if they oppose them." In other words, we are not dealing with submission to the will of the majority in cases of policy where one is in the opposition, it is a case where one is entitled to disobey even after the majority has expressed its will.

I have some qualms about the legality of America's intervention in Iraq, but I concede that my qualms represent a minority view that would likely not be sustained by the courts. Thus I will pay my share of taxes, even though a part of my taxes goes to support what I consider an immoral and illegal war. On this, then, MichaelAllen and I are in agreement.

Now, assuming that the government funds abortions (I have no idea if this is true or not, but this is something which MichaelAllen has assumed, and so, for the purposes of argument, I'll accept it as true), the government has made some sort of decision to spend that money. Granted, the courts have been making most of the policy on the issue of abortion, but if there has been some measure, passed by Congress, to fund abortions, then that decision is as much an expression of the people's will as the decision to go to war.

It is, in other words, not the issue of abortion itself which is in question, it is the issue of the particular funding measure, enacted by the government, which is in question. And if MichaelAllen thinks that he can, on the same basis, support the people's will to go to war but not support the people's will to fund abortions, then he has to come up with a better basis for his position. Simply saying that the former is the result of a "collective decision" whereas the latter isn't just doesn't bear scrutiny.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 11:10 am
On that last point, we part company. I think it is significant that abortion policy in this country is the will of the people as expressed representatively in the several states, as further modified by rulings from one or more federal benches. I think he has an important point to make that the war was the subject of a national debate, but that abortion is a national issue the debate of which has been scrupulously avoided by politicians at the national level. As often as the political situation allows, Representatives and Senators duck the abortion issue, and it does not become the topic of widely publicized floor debates. I see your point about the will of the people, but i think there is a significant point about the manner of expression of that will.

So we will likely continue to disagree on this one.
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