Overturn Roe V Wade!
It may sound perverse for a pro-choice advocate, which I am, to suggest that overturning Roe v Wade would be the best outcome from the current round of anti-abortion cases being heard by the SCOTUS.
However, when it comes to existential issues like abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia et al, anyone who believes in the principle of liberal democracy should want decisions made based on the will of the majority of their fellow citizens. Not the will of an ‘almighty’, nor the adjudication of 9 Supreme Court Justices who are neither accountable to, nor representative of, the men, women and children on both sides of the issue whose lives they are literally 'messing with'.
I came to this belief after immersing myself in dozens of podcasts and commentary pieces that have been written in the last few weeks as a result of the recent challenges to abortion 'rights' being heard by the SCOTUS.
One of these was advocating for the 'Consistent Life Ethic' (CLE). A movement of passionate, sincere and well-intended activists who believe that "abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide and euthanasia, unjust war, cruelty toward immigrants and refugees, and police brutality are all equally wrong because they stem from the same dehumanization: the belief that certain human beings are disposable and can be treated like objects or property instead of people. The unborn child, the incarcerated person, the chronically ill or disabled person, the pregnant sexual assault survivor, and the Haitian refugee all have equal and immeasurable human dignity."*
It's hard to disagree with this thesis. Getting distracted by the debate as to when human life begins, or a Constitutional right to privacy, really doesn't solve the intractable problem. That pro-life and pro-choice evangelism is not based on logic or reason, but profound impregnable beliefs.
However, the more I thought about CLE it became clear to me that such a universal thesis is very 'western-centric' and comes from a place of unique privilege.
If we walk in the shoes of the 3.5 billion women and 2 billion children who don’t live in the so called ‘western world’, the admonition of pro-life supporters seems quite self-serving.
Their shoes walk through a world where an adequate healthcare system let alone neonatal care is a distant dream. A world where education is rationed and rudimentary. A world where some mothers’ have so little hope of a viable economic future for their children that they permanently disable them at birth, so they have a good physical reason to beg for the rest of their lives as a ‘way of living’. A world where children scavenge among the rubbish dumps of Lagos or Mumbai to find something to eat or sell before they find a place to sleep in slums with no sanitation.
I could go on. I’m sure you get the picture. It is a world where our rhetoric seems idealistic at best and a potential life sentence of poverty and subsistence living at worst.
In an ideal world, and outside of the force field of religious belief, the pro-life position would be understandable, even defensible. Even with the deficiencies of parental leave, child support, inadequate education etc. you and I might live in something approaching an ideal world.
Alas, the vast majority of women on our planet who choose to have an abortion do not. That applies to the US as well, where according to the Guttmacher organization, 49% of the 862,320 women who chose abortions in 2017 live below the poverty line.
Which is why I hope Roe V Wade is overturned and the issue handed back to the States and their legislature. The Founding Fathers held a profound belief in the principle that democracy required elected representatives to be as close to voters as possible. Hence the 10th Amendment. 'We the people' should choose through a democratic process where elected politicians represent our interests and are held accountable for doing so. Not everyone will like it, yet this principle is central to a functioning democracy. If the minority can persuade enough fellow citizens to their way of thinking/believing, they can prevail. For now, pro-choice advocates can rest assured that, if polling data is correct and the matter is returned to the States, abortion within reasonable parameters will remain legal in States that represent well over half the US population.
On the other hand, we should also remember that The SCOTUS decision in Roe v Wade "regulated abortion". During the second trimester, the state could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother’s health. After the second trimester, States could regulate or outlaw abortions in the interest of the potential life except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.
Related to this it is worth noting that 65% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in 'all or most cases' during the second and third trimesters. (AP-NORC Poll November 2021).
To those who profoundly and understandably remain pro-life, by all means follow your own beliefs and advocate for them. However, for as long as we live in a liberal democracy where the people get to elect representatives to make laws rather than an unaccountable elite or an even more abstract divine being, I hope pro-life campaigners appreciate that those of us who don’t share their belief would rather the choice on such matters remained a personal decision protected by the ballot box.
* Sophie Trist https://www.readtangle.com/posts/consistent-life-ethic-sophie-trist/
Clive shares his concerns about 'The Great Reset' threat to democracy.
I have always thought that politicians, bureaucrats and most individual citizens are neither creative enough nor competent enough, let alone discrete enough, to conceive and execute grand conspiracies. The moon landings never happened? 9/11 was an inside job? QAnon? The evidence for these is as scant as the evidence of massive electoral fraud in the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections.
On the other hand, recent history proves that private enterprises and their agents are more than capable of conspiring to take advantage of us, generally in pursuit of bigger profits and greater power. Witness the efforts of big tobacco, big pharma and big energy to hide from us the health hazards associated with tobacco, opioids and fossil fuel emissions. More recently it is clear that big tech companies are conspiring against the principles of free speech, not to mention manipulate global tax codes, to pay as little tax as possible. The latter two are at least not illegal, yet they are certainly immoral.
I am a capitalist. I believe in the innate value of market-based economies. However free markets that are not fair markets are an indelible stain on capitalism.
So when I read about the ‘Great Reset’ my suspicions were raised, especially as such a bold and global initiative hasn’t received much coverage in the main-stream media.
Clive shares his thoughts on how he'd vote in State & local elections....if he had a vote!
Here at iSoS we view ourselves as 'Independents' and despise partisan politics. Yet at election time democracy, by definition, means choosing one party or individual over another. At least if you have a vote it does. I don't even though I pay taxes. That's another story - see my earlier blog https://www.insearchofsanity.org/blogs/taxation-without-representation-is-tyranny-thats-a-real-political-opportunity.
Most importantly we urge our listeners and readers, hell we urge everyone who can, to exercise their democratic right and vote. As Independents, we vote based on the evidence of outcomes and values that align with our own, rather than tribal loyalty.
So it's time to make a choice. As you consider who to vote for at State, County & City level, here is what I am thinking about. Remember, it is perfectly reasonable to vote one ticket nationally and another locally.
So let's think about the 'state' of California?
Clive checks in from his home on Zanzibar.
Salamu (Swahili for Greetings) from Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania best known as the birthplace of Freddie Mercury, where we are bathed blissfully in sunshine, trade winds and best of all, mask free.
While many countries in Africa locked down, Tanzania realised very quickly that with a median age of 20, half that of Europe, the cure being worse than the disease would be an inevitable consequence of shutting down the economy. They kept their economy open.
It was a wise decision. In a country of 56 million people, only 516 cases of CV19 have been registered and 21 deaths. Given that there is no formal healthcare reporting system, it is inevitable that these numbers are under-reported. However, as 2.5 million people die every year in Africa from another infectious disease (Tuberculosis), the Tanzanian Government and healthcare community thankfully enjoy a sense of context about risk management sadly lacking among the bureaucrats and government advisers our taxes pay for.
Mark wonders why there is so much hatred and if America is beyond saving.
“Holy hyper-partisanship Batman! Our democracy is seriously dysfunctional and we’re in danger of losing our nation because our system is broken. Can you fix it Batman?”
It’s that time again folks. It occurs every four years. The nation looks for someone we can believe in….a superhero that can heal the unprecedented level of political animosity that’s turned us into warring tribes rather than united Americans who go about their lives in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
Enter the political candidates. This time it’s Trump and Biden. Different people saying the same things every four years. Mostly bullshit by the way and I confess that, I too, like many of you, tend to throw caution to the wind and get sucked into the belief that there is someone out there who can heal the polarization that has become America’s Achilles heel. The usual promise is to unite us; to bring the warring factions together because, well, only they have some kind of superpower that the other candidate doesn’t. And we find ourselves hopeful yet again.
Cars don’t kill people…..Drivers kill people. Makes sense. So much sense that in the 1960’s when America was experiencing an epidemic of deaths from car accidents, especially among younger men, the government realised that it couldn’t ban people from driving, nor could they ban the sale of cars; so they decided to invest significant resources in trying to make cars safer.
In England we have a saying for a person or a group who are speaking or acting in a nonsensical and ridiculous way. We call it ‘a load of bollocks’. That expression was sadly presented in technicolor glory by a government body in British Columbia who are investigating whether beauty salons broke the law because they refused to wax the testicles of a transgender man. Seriously, the government is spending tax-payers money on this investigation because they think the transgender man may have had his human rights violated!
Not content with predicting the imminent self-mutilation and demise of Britain, mainstream media in America and across Europe is trying to further sabotage the country by tarring Boris with the Trump brush.
On a superficial level it is fair to say that they both have a mop of blond mane, although it should be noted that while Trump’s comb over is carefully manicured, Boris deliberately dishevels his hair before going on camera. They also share a history of being profligate philanderers, of being loose with the truth (unfortunately a common mark among many politicians these days) and of being the preferred anti-establishment candidate.
On a more serious level, it is also true that both engage in the dangerous habit of race baiting; although while Trump has few ‘get out of jail cards’ to play on this accusation, Boris can legitimately claim to being a successful satirical writer and commentator. Jousting in verbal imagery like referring to the niqab as a “letterbox”, joyous excitable African children welcoming the Queen as “smiling piccaninnies” and frequenters of a notorious London homosexual nightclub as “tank-topped bum boys is clearly designed to engage readers rather than deliberately offend. (Although more judicious readers will note Johnson goes on to say that he will defend anyone's right to dress how they wish, and its only malicious virtue signaling propagandists who quote out of context). That said, it is unwise and irresponsible to indulge in a similar lexicon when also being paid to be an elected politician. To his credit, since being elected PM Johnson has shown his diversity credentials. More of that later.
Sitting under the “rockets’ red glare” on July 4th, witnessing the patriotism and pride of all Americans, irrespective of their political affiliation, I could not help but puzzle over the general animus and disdain that much of the American mainstream media and academia hold for Brexit.
How could a country forged in the flame of Independence, with a pertinacious commitment to be a united nation of “free and independent States”, be so dismissive of another united nation’s democratic decision to take back control of its own destiny?
The latest op-ed in the New York Times declares that the “United Kingdom has gone mad….and can’t even decide how to kill itself”. On the screens of this very journal, a regular essayist declares that Brexit “has been calamitous for the economy”. These allegations are worse than unsubstantiated hyperbole, they are the sort of ‘fake news’ that Trump trades in.