The fallacy of choice

I spent a good chunk of yesterday working a booth for the 40 Days for Life Campaign at a local festival.  I handed out flyers and asked people if they would pray to end abortion.  Most people ignored me or didn’t notice me.  Some people took the flyer and moved on with little to no comment.

A group of young men laughed mockingly and one declared, “Prayer solves nothing!”  It’s sad to be so hopeless.  I do think if unmarried people stopped having sex, there would be very few people seeking abortions, but I’m sure he would be even more offended by that suggestion.  I would have liked to say, “Widely available contraception has made the problem worse, not better, what do you think is the solution?”  But probably he, like many people who stopped by the booth, think abortion is only a concern for young, unmarried women.  So many women said things like, “I’m married, so abortion doesn’t affect me,” or “I’m done having kids, so I don’t care about this issue.”  

OK, people, let’s look at the big picture.  Thousands of Americans are being killed every day.  This is everybody’s problem.

The booth had a basket of tiny babies made from rubber that showed the size of a baby at 12 weeks gestation.  It came with a card that described the development of the fetus up to that time.  Week 5: arms and legs develop, Week 6: fingers and toes develop, Week 10: baby has fingerprints.  The booth also had a display showing babies at 20, 26, and 30 weeks gestation.  In most states you can easily get an abortion up to 24 weeks, and it’s shocking to see how big the baby is at that point.  Even those 12 week old fetuses are most definitely not a clump of tissue.

Children were the most drawn to the basket of rubber babies, and they would drag their parents in with them.  Women liked to come in and see how big their own babies were – we had lots of women saying how far along they were and marveling that something the size of your fist could push your belly out so far and kick you so hard.  I think most people were shocked to see how developed a baby was at 12 weeks, which was the point of the display.  One woman took a little baby to give to her granddaughter, who lost a baby at about 12 weeks a year ago and was still mourning.

One incident was the most disturbing.

I had taken a break from the hot sun (I got a bit sunburned yesterday with the clear skies and highs in the 80’s) and was sitting behind the table instead of standing in front.  Two young men came in to touch the tiny little rubber babies, and they were followed by a young woman and her boyfriend (I assume).  I pointed out the age of the baby models and handed the young woman a flyer and asked her/them to pray to end abortion.  Her boyfriend took her by the elbow, turned her away from the booth and pushed her on down the path saying, over his shoulder, “I do not agree with this at all!”

Uh huh.

What about your girlfriend, buddy?  Doesn’t she get to decide what she agrees with?  Or are you taking care of all the thinking for her?  Maybe it would be a real shame if she thought that was really a baby, if she knew it wasn’t a clump of tissue.  Maybe she might start thinking that unmarried sex was dangerous, and cut you off.  Maybe she might think that she could never end a pregnancy…and that would ruin your life, because you have no desire to be a father.  Maybe you disagree with ending abortion because it would mean being responsible for your own actions, and who wants to do that?

This is, of course, the fallacy of CHOICE.  If you are 20, unmarried, and pregnant, it is highly likely that your mother, father, sister, brother, girlfriends and boyfriend will all tell you to just get an abortion.  It’s safe, it’s legal, it’s the best, easiest solution.  If you tell them your concerns about how maybe it’s wrong, maybe you are killing a baby, they will tell you to ignore your conscience, that it’s a clump of tissue, that it’s no big deal, that’s it’s legal, so it must be ok.  If you persist, they will tell you you would be making a big mistake.  Your parents may tell you that they won’t help you.  Your boyfriend may threaten to leave you.

At some point, literally or figuratively, someone will take you by the elbow, turn you toward an abortion clinic and push you down the path.

Who made the choice?

Is this the image of a calm, resolute woman weighing all the options, carefully considering the facts and statistics concerning fetal development and medical side affects (short and long term) of an abortion, and then making an informed decision?  Or is this a scared woman, backed into a corner and desperate, being handed lies and half-truths, who is being told what to do?

We have thrown off the “shackles” of pregnancy and motherhood, only to find new and different taskmasters.

I’m sure they only have the woman’s best interests in mind, right?

No top cover

Reforming military pensions is suddenly at the top of the news.  Of course this interests my household since the promise of a pension is a good deal of why we put up with this life.  We also put money aside using the Thrift Savings Plan (like a 401k for federal employees), so the “matching funds” suggestion really has us smiling.


I see, though, that perhaps the government has figured out a different way to reduce pension benefits.

Pentagon: Army improperly tested body armor plates

 I don’t even know what to say. 

The beginning of the end of DOMA

I know there are many people who just don’t get the Defense of Marriage Act.  I know it just seems unfair that gay marriages would be denied the same respect, rights and privileges as traditional marriages.  Love is love and love should be promoted and defended above all else, right?  If only everyone loved more, and minded their own business about other people’s personal lives, it would be such a happier place for us all to live.

Even those who are in favor of DOMA don’t necessarily “get it.”  Opponents accuse supporters of being narrow-minded, right-wing, Christian, knee-jerk bigots.  And, unfortunately, that would be a true stereotyping of many.  Of course, the idea that there are some things that are True, even if you don’t want them to be true, and are Right, even if you don’t like them, is wholly rejected by modern society.

I just finished listening to an audio recording of C. S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man.  He does a much better job of explaining why traditional morality is Right and True than I ever could.

So, some (many) of those knee-jerk bigots are actually, simply, reacting to the attack on traditional morality which they don’t know why they should defend, but, really, they should.  Just because you don’t fully understand something doesn’t mean you aren’t right.

And what is Right?  Marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of a family and as the building block of society is Right.  The reality that today’s marriages often fail, that children are shuttled between two homes or are raised by grandparents or never know their fathers does not change what is Right.  Nor does it justify an “anything goes” attitude toward marriage.  In other words, just because we have failed, as a society, to do what is Right, does not then justify doing what is Wrong.  We shouldn’t say, “Oh dear, we have failed to live up to our own expectations.  The best thing to do in this case is to lower our expectations.”

I can see why gay couples have been able to elevate their relationships to an equivalent level with most traditional relationships.  If John and Jane, who married when their oldest was 3, who have a his/hers/theirs brood of 4 or 5 children (although they are rarely all together at once, since the his/hers ones spend significant time with their other parents) are considered socially acceptable, why not then the gay couple, quietly living together for a decade? I think gay relationships have been accepted socially, for the most part.  I didn’t say that they were approved of or liked, but they are as accepted as single motherhood or unwed couples raising children.  It is what it is.  And Christians can look down their noses, but it’s the reality we have to deal with.  When school/organization forms have a section where you list not only who may pick your child up, but also who may not, we have reached the point where dysfunction is the new norm.

Social acceptance is one thing, legal acceptance another.  Legal acceptance comes with much larger ramifications.  Legal acceptance means money.  Traditional marriage is rewarded financially through benefits and tax breaks.  This practice was government’s way of supporting traditional marriage as the building block of society.  When the government sees something as in its best interest, it rewards it.  That’s why there are tax breaks for people with home mortgages.  It’s not because they feel sorry for you.  It’s because they want you to have a mortgage (note that I did not say, “They want you to own a home.”  There are fewer rewards for owning a home than for having a mortgage…and having a mortgage is not the same thing as owning a home.  It’s not.)

Where am I going with this?  Those of you who are involved in the military in some way, have been, I am sure, paying some attention to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal that is imminent.  The rest of you probably don’t really think much about it, nor do you realize the effect this repeal will have on our society as a whole.  It is the death knoll to traditional marriage.  My prediction?  If Obama is re-elected, within 5 years we will have federal recognition of gay marriage.  If a non-Democrat is elected, it will be within 10 years.

This article, Activists Expect Debate over Defense of Marriage Act, shows the gross unfairness present in a policy where a gay can serve in the military but his marriage will not be recognized, even if he marries in a state that permits it.  There is a huge disparity in the privileges and benefits that I, a traditional wife, receive, and what G.I. Jane’s “wife” would receive, because G.I. Jane’s marriage is not recognized at the federal level.  Once DADT is repealed, the fighting will immediately shift to attack this inequity.  And the only logical and fair solution is for the federal government to recognize gay marriage.

I don’t see any way out of this one, folks.

How to insult someone in 140 characters or less

Alec Baldwin Spews Hate on Bachmann: ‘Inarticulate and Full of *&$#%’

I don’t care if it’s Twitter, saying that somebody is “inarticulate and full of *&$#%” is like lambasting someone for being a “bad speler” or saying that “she have poor grammar skills.”  I mean, if the best insults you have are expletives, can you really call someone else inarticulate?  Twitter does permit 140 characters, right?  The following articulate quotations are all less than 140 characters (omitting the bracketed words from the GW quote). 

“The {foolish and wicked} practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”  George Washington

“Profanity is the weapon of the witless.”  Anonymous

“Profanity is the common crutch of the conversational cripple.”  David Keuck

“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both.”  Anonymous

“Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”  Anonymous

Beware the Bradford

We have a Bradford pear tree on our property.  It’s very pretty.  And an early bloomer.

The blossoms are quite lovely…to look upon.

One tiny problem.  The blossoms, though lovely to see, have a rather unpleasant aroma.

In fact, they smell like rotting meat…or dead fish.

Ours is not the only Bradford pear in the neighborhood.  There are quite a few.  One property has at least a half dozen.

Yes, 12 or 15 or more trees all filling the air with the stench of road kill.

This plant is not native to North America.  Do not plant it

This is the crab apple tree near our home in Kansas (2008).  Gorgeous blossoms.

Pretty.  Not as shapely as the Bradford pear, I’ll admit.

But it doesn’t make you want to vomit.

Neo-Pharisees

I can not fully describe my emotions a few nights ago when I should have been in bed sleeping, but was instead surfing the Catholic blogosphere.

Flabbergasted.

Outraged.

Nauseated.

I won’t even link to the pages that so inspired these strong reactions.  However, I will link to these posts which are like a bright light cutting through murky waters.  He makes every point that I shouted at my poor husband who got the full brunt of my ranting.

Lila: Is it moral to lie?

The Lila Enigma: Selective Outrage?

Common sense, people.
 
BTW, if you, gentle reader, are ever fleeing an unjust law, come to me.  I will aid and abet.

Pray and Work

I count among my friends a certain woman and her husband.  The husband is…notorious.  I’m not naming names, not because I fear what others may think about me because of him, but because I have witnessed otherwise rational people become quite rabid at the mention of his name (in blogs, in comboxes).  It is unfortunate, because a lot of what he has to say is worth hearing.

My thoughts today are not wholly original.  It is my friend, the wife, who used the following scenario to explain her and her husband’s motives for certain controversial actions.

Suppose, one day, a woman is raped on a street corner not far from your home.  Most of us would be upset – it is a horrible crime.  Perhaps we would be concerned for our own safety or that of our friends, daughters, neighbors.  We would want to know what the police were doing about it.

Suppose another woman is raped…and another…in the exact same spot.  We would probably get angry at the situation.  We might organize a neighborhood watch to protect women in the area.  We might storm the town council and demand 24 hour protection for the area.

Suppose we found out that the town, or the state, had decided that raping women on that particular street corner was legal.  We would probably be outraged that such a despicable crime were permitted under any conditions anywhere.  Some of us might fight to abolish that law.  Some of us might stand vigil on that street to warn women.  Some who stand vigil might see women being dragged there by men who want to rape them and know they can legally do it only on that corner.  Some standing vigil might be roused to violence in defense of the woman about to be victimized.

Suppose, despite all these efforts, the act remained legal on that corner and in other parts of the country.  Suppose after a decade, hundreds or thousands of women were being raped every day, legally.  How would we, as a society, cope with that?

Would the outrage remain?  Would we get tired of trying to protect women?  Would we stop the daily vigil and only show up on days that weren’t quite as hectic (no soccer practice today, guess I have time to go rage against the violence)? 

Would we have less horror of the act of rape?  After a decade of being told that rape was OK, under certain circumstances, would youth brought up in that environment think rape is a big deal at all?  Would we begin to justify it, perhaps thinking that the women deserved it? 

How about after two or three decades?  Wouldn’t we have to begin to believe that women were less deserving of certain rights?  How, after all, can you legally permit unspeakable horrors against other human beings?

Think of the Holocaust.  Dauchau, the first concentration camp, opened in 1933.  The nightmare that occurred in the “civilized” West lasted for just over a decade.  It was only possible by dehumanizing those of Jewish descent, by fearful dominance of the populace, and by citizens who claimed ignorance of the situation.

Slavery.  It’s been with us forever, and is even still in this country, hidden.  One person given the right to decide the fate of another.  But it was ok, legally, because the slave wasn’t a full citizen (full human). 

Now, in places in Europe, doctors have the authority to decide if an older person or a sick person or a handicapped infant has the right to live.  This is not a lengthy ordeal with due process.  Today, the doctor decides and executes.

Time and again, we give legal authority to one class of people over another class of people.  Time and again, we make indefinite exceptions to the concept that each person has the right to life, liberty and property without due process.  It is one thing to deprive a convicted criminal of his liberty.  Quite another to deprive one unlucky enough to be kidnapped from a foreign country.

When we will learn?  And when will we act?  If we do not defend the freedoms of others, there may be nobody left to defend us when we become the target.

Today is the March for Life in Washington, D.C.  My friend, the husband, is actively pro-life.  There are many in the pro-life movement who revile him.  His ways do not meet with everyone’s approval.  For one, he believes that images are vital to the cause, that people need to see the horrific reality of abortion.  He has done other things and been called a self-serving showboat.  That’s not the person I know.  His ways are not my ways, but that doesn’t mean his fight isn’t valid.  There isn’t one way to fight this evil.  We all have to do our part.

Recently I read a criticism of him that suggested he should just go home and pray the rosary.  I believe in the power of prayer, wholly believe in it.  But I believe in going to the doctor when I’m sick and taking up arms against a hostile enemy.  Praying does not make my kitchen floor any cleaner.  St. Benedict said: Ora et labora.  Pray and work.

My friend, the wife, concluded by saying that we each, in the end, have to account to God for our actions.  When there was an atrocity in our midst, He will ask, what did we do about it?  They have been granted the ability to spend more time than most in working against abortion.  We each have our own job to do.  Perhaps, for some of us, praying is all we can do. 

Or blogging.

38 years of abortion.  Over 50 million dead.  No end in sight. 

When are you going to be outraged?  What are you doing about it?

No more free Vitamin D

In history classes, my children have been learning (OK, they have been taught, which is not the same thing) that ownership claims of new lands (the Americas) by foreign countries (in Europe) were bolstered by two things: exploration and colonization.

Now there is a woman in Spain who has registered at her local notary public as owner of the sun.  You know, the big, hot ball in the sky.  She has neither exploration or colonization to back up her claims.  Apparently, she has an infantile mind…the kind of mind that says, “If I saw it, it’s mine; if I want it, it’s mine.”

“I am not stupid, I know the law,” she says.

And what, exactly, does she plan to do with her ownership?  Charge everybody a usage fee.  My response would be an equally infantile: “Oh, yeah?  Make me!”

One would have an easier time withholding oxygen from a non-subscriber than sunshine.  Even if you put sunshine-thieves in a windowless jail, any food you would supply would be thanks to sunlight.  But she’s not stupid.  I’m sure she’s thought through this whole issue and has some sort of plan for non-compliance.

Interesting article

Think About Pink

That rubber bracelet is part of a newer, though related, trend: the sexualization of breast cancer. Hot breast cancer. Saucy breast cancer. Titillating breast cancer! The pain of “First You Cry” has been replaced by the celebration of “Crazy Sexy Cancer,” the title of a documentary about a woman “looking for a cure and finding her life.”

{snip}

I hate to be a buzz kill, but breast cancer is just not sexy. It’s not ennobling. It’s not a feminine rite of passage. And, though it pains me to say it, it’s also not very much fun. I get that the irreverence is meant to combat crisis fatigue, the complacency brought on by the annual onslaught of pink, yet it similarly risks turning people cynical. By making consumers feel good without actually doing anything meaningful, it discourages understanding, undermining the search for better detection, safer treatments, causes and cures for a disease that still afflicts 250,000 women annually (and speaking of figures, the number who die has remained unchanged — hovering around 40,000 — for more than a decade).

I’ve never been comfortable criticizing the breast cancer awareness campaigns.  I don’t feel it’s my fight (despite the reminder that ALL women have to worry about breast cancer).  But this article puts its finger directly on the issues that I have: not only is the campaign overdone, tasteless and sexualized, it isn’t doing any good.

Way to Go, Weston, Missouri!!!

Weston, MO is not far from Fort Leavenworth, KS.  It’s a cute little town that Bill and I enjoyed visiting while we lived there.  They have the best Memorial Day parade wherein the parade itself is 2 or 3 times longer than the parade route.  They also have a great Irish restaurant.

And they have fabulously patriotic residents who stand united against despicable abusers of our First Amendment rights.

Residents of Missouri Town Block Protesters From Picketing Soldier’s Funeral



this link has videos:
 
Hundreds Gather in Missouri Town to Block Westboro Baptist Protest at Soldier’s Funeral

The counter-protesters blocked the corner where Westboro had a permit to assemble, and they also formed a human shield at the funeral home.  I am all in favor of freedom of speech, but I think it is clearly meant to be freedom to speak your opinion against the government, businesses, and public individuals not freedom to harass private citizens.  Shouting profanities at grieving family members who are burying their dead should not be in the realm of protected speech.
 
Good job, Weston.