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Posted: 14 August 2012 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I am a staunch rationalist, and often find myself at odds with the rest of the rationalist community on this issue.  After the whole birth control/planned parenthood debate got started by Rush Limbaugh, I actually found myself coming down on the side of the Republicans—though for different reasons than the Republicans.  Recent Obama campaign commercials have brought it to the forefront of my mind again.

I was irritated with how the Republicans tended to focus on the alleged evils of birth control and abortion, but I was equally irritated at how the Democrats tried to argue that free birth control and public funding for abortions was somehow a right.  We are talking about public funding for such things, not actually banning them.  Even in a system where the government has a responsibility to provide health care, I’m not seeing how reproduction falls in the same category as catastrophic illnesses and the care needed to prevent them. 

Pregnancy is not something you catch on a crowded train when someone sneezes on you.  Except in extremely rare cases, pregnancy is not a condition you come by unless you either intended to, or you were being irresponsible.  Can someone please explain to me, without using an emotional argument, why the rationalist community has latched onto birth control/abortion as being a right, to be paid for with taxpayer money?  If this is your position, then what role is there for personal responsibility in the realm of health care?

I find that just broaching this topic often gets me accused of sexism, so I’m posting it here in the hopes of getting some rational responses, bereft of the rampant emotionalism that often results from the typical liberal community.

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Posted: 14 August 2012 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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The Wrath - 14 August 2012 04:39 PM

I am a staunch rationalist, and often find myself at odds with the rest of the rationalist community on this issue.  After the whole birth control/planned parenthood debate got started by Rush Limbaugh, I actually found myself coming down on the side of the Republicans—though for different reasons than the Republicans.  Recent Obama campaign commercials have brought it to the forefront of my mind again.

I was irritated with how the Republicans tended to focus on the alleged evils of birth control and abortion, but I was equally irritated at how the Democrats tried to argue that free birth control and public funding for abortions was somehow a right.  We are talking about public funding for such things, not actually banning them.  Even in a system where the government has a responsibility to provide health care, I’m not seeing how reproduction falls in the same category as catastrophic illnesses and the care needed to prevent them. 

Pregnancy is not something you catch on a crowded train when someone sneezes on you.  Except in extremely rare cases, pregnancy is not a condition you come by unless you either intended to, or you were being irresponsible.  Can someone please explain to me, without using an emotional argument, why the rationalist community has latched onto birth control/abortion as being a right, to be paid for with taxpayer money?  If this is your position, then what role is there for personal responsibility in the realm of health care?

I find that just broaching this topic often gets me accused of sexism, so I’m posting it here in the hopes of getting some rational responses, bereft of the rampant emotionalism that often results from the typical liberal community.

 

 

There is no right or wrong answer to any of these matters.
There is no form of logic that can be used to resolve a dilemma that exists only in the mind.
There are only opinions that need to be defended.

If you are unhappy with that answer, try this one:
If you factor out free will, the dilemma disappears.

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Posted: 15 August 2012 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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While I won’t comment on the abortion issue I can address some of your questions regarding birth control.  Birth control pills are dispensed by prescription.  You’ve got to see a doctor to get them.  Many cannot afford the doctor visit or the prescription.  When Americans support voluntary birth control they are investing in a society not beset by high school drop-outs, the hopelessness of poverty and the misery of unwanted children.  Isn’t it in our own best interests to do so?  Aside from moral issues, world population pressures are increasing.  Rationally, world population growth cannot continue forever.  Many of today’s intractable problems: war, global warming, pollution, and hunger, can be credited to overpopulation and even without these concerns global resources can be stretched only so thin.  Without population control (voluntary or not) we must eventually see a catastrophic population collapse.

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 03:17 PM by Wreck of M Deare]
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Posted: 21 August 2012 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Thanks for your thought-out reply.  You seem to be arguing from a “good of society” standpoint, which is different from the “women’s rights” standpoint that one often hears in the media.  I don’t really agree with your view on the issue, but it is at least consistent, and one that I could maybe endorse if I put more thought into it.

I just find the media approach annoying…discussing it as though not providing free birth control or federal funding for abortions is somehow a violation of women’s rights.  No one except the extreme right believes in banning birth control or abortions—things that would be genuine violations of women’s rights.  Most Republicans don’t even support that.  I don’t deny that many poor women probably cannot afford such things, but I think that whether or not we should provide it to them is another debate.  My issue is with people like Sandra Fluke…a law school student at Georgetown, while probably not swimming in cash, is also probably not destitute, and I’m not sure where she gets the idea that it is the responsibility of the US taxpayers to provide her with birth control.

My own view, as with my other political views, is that personal responsibility should be a primary concern.  If a woman genuinely cannot afford birth control, then whether society should give it to her is another debate—one that I think is based on doing what is best for society at-large, as you argue above.  But it should not be my responsibility to provide birth control for people who can clearly afford it, anymore than it is Sandra Fluke’s responsibility to pay for me to have a free prostate exam.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hello again Wrath.


While I’m not looking to debate, here are some thoughts for your consideration:


On the Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University issue you’ll note that she is not advocating the federal government provide birth control—instead she’s asking that Georgetown University’s private health insurer provide contraceptives as part of their coverage—this, in spite of the Catholic University’s moral opposition to artificial birth control.  You may or may not approve of her request but in either case the American tax payer is not directly involved.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Fluke


And the conservative stand on abortion may be more main-stream than you believe.  From Today’s issue of the New York Times:


“On Tuesday, Republicans approved platform language for next week’s nominating convention that calls for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest. “  This includes no emergency contraceptives (Plan B.)


The article goes on to say “Four years ago, the Republican Party adopted a platform seeking an unconditional ban on abortion, though its nominee, Senator John McCain, had urged the party in the past to allow certain exceptions. After this year’s abortion plank language was approved with little debate, the chairman of the platform committee, Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, praised the committee for “affirming our respect for human life.”  Under this rule, abortion, whether taxpayer funded or not, would be illegal.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/us/politics/todd-akin-controversy-may-hurt-republican-chances.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&exprod=myyahoo

[ Edited: 22 August 2012 03:45 PM by Wreck of M Deare]
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Posted: 25 August 2012 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Ah yes, I remember now.  It was about private health insurance.  I don’t really support the use of government coercion on private companies anyway, but that is another debate.

Regardless, there are many people who want birth control to be paid for by the government, or who want the government to force the insurance companies to provide it.  Whether or not that is sound economic/health care policy is not my point.  My point is that it has become virtually impossible to have a rational debate on this topic without being branded a misogynist.  If a man expresses an opinion that doesn’t meet with the approval of Gloria Steinem-ites, he will be shouted down by such slogans as “you don’t have the right anatomy to have an opinion” or “keep your laws out of my vagina.”

I am arguing that this is a ridiculous shifting of the goalposts.  While I may not have a vagina, I do have a bank account and a policy with a private health insurance company.  If I am expected to pay for something or will have my own premiums affected by a change in the laws regulating the insurance industry, I have a right to express my opinion on such matters.  Sloganeering uber-feminists are right to use such rhetoric against people clammoring for the banning of abortion or regulation of birth control, but it seems they do not distinguish between religious nutjobs who want to prevent women from controlling their own bodies and libertarians (such as myself) who believe that Fluke et al. are actually demanding the use of government coercion towards their own private interests.

So, while you and I obviously don’t see eye-to-eye on this, I hope I have at least demonstrated that my disagreement doesn’t make me a misogynist.

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Posted: 25 August 2012 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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There is a right answer to this.  There is no such thing as ‘group’ or collective rights.  There are individual rights and as long as no one is violating an individual’s rights, that individual should be free to use birth control, heroin or anything that doesn’t violate others’ rights.  Being forced to pay or somehow ‘provide’ rights to an individual is immoral.  Only force can threaten a person’s rights. The answer is that nobody should be forced by threat of physical harm or incarceration to provide privileges to others for the ‘common good.’

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Posted: 26 August 2012 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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While I may agree with you on some specifics, I cut my Randian apron strings long ago.  I think much of the logic underlying Randian arguments collapses when you discard the dogma of free will and accept that there really is such a thing as privilege and circumstance.

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Posted: 26 August 2012 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I still think the ‘free will’ debate is far from over.  I never for one second believed the traditional idea of free will.  Christian Koch has some interesting things to say about that and adamantly claims that are actions are our own and we are responsible for our actions.  He is on the front lines of research unlike Sam.

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Posted: 29 August 2012 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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mormovies - 26 August 2012 06:42 PM

I still think the ‘free will’ debate is far from over.  I never for one second believed the traditional idea of free will.  Christian Koch has some interesting things to say about that and adamantly claims that are actions are our own and we are responsible for our actions.  He is on the front lines of research unlike Sam.

We are responsible for our ( “decisions”) actions only in the sense that any sentient being is responsible for theirs.
A worm must suffer the consequences of its “decision” to slither onto the sidewalk in a rainstorm.

 

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Posted: 30 August 2012 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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The Wrath - 14 August 2012 04:39 PM

I am a staunch rationalist, and often find myself at odds with the rest of the rationalist community on this issue.

Rationalism is what rationalism does, and the first sign of rationalist arrogance is to declare one to be a “staunch rationalist” in your introductory post to a new forum, therefore you’re starting with me with negative points.

The Wrath - 14 August 2012 04:39 PM

Even in a system where the government has a responsibility to provide health care, I’m not seeing how reproduction falls in the same category as catastrophic illnesses and the care needed to prevent them.

And you lose more points here.  You somehow agree that government provided health care is a good thing but don’t want to include pregnancy in the realm of medicine because. . .  well. . .  someone seeking to have a good time and ends up with a medical condition as a result doesn’t deserve government provided health care due to “irresponsibility.”  This is nonsense because no where in your argument is an explanation of why sexual activity is exempt from any other form of enjoyment which may cause a medical condition, including falling down the stairs at the opera.

The Wrath - 14 August 2012 04:39 PM

Can someone please explain to me, without using an emotional argument, why the rationalist community has latched onto birth control/abortion as being a right, to be paid for with taxpayer money?

The explanation is easy but apparently your bias against sex has obscured your ability to see, so let me remove from your sentence “birth control/abortion” and replace it with every other tax payer supported government service, such as:

1. Police
2. Fire
3. Education (K - Ph.D.)
4. Military
5. Roads
6. Water retention and delivery
7. Power generation and delivery
8. Parks
9. Legal system
10. Ports
11. NASA
12. FDA
13. Social Security
14. Building codes
15. IRS
16. Telephones
17. Border control and Customs
18. Radio and Television airwaves
19. Postal system
20. Public transit
22. Center For Disease Control and Prevention
23. Child and family welfare
24. Children’s hospitals
25. Battered women shelters
26. R & D funding at public and private universities and private industry
27. Agricultural subsidies
28. Prisons

Unless you object to any of these other government services you’ll need to explain why “irresponsible” behavior (your word for “unintentional pregnancy”) shouldn’t be on it.  I’ll help you by objecting to some on the list above.  I send my kids to private school and object to paying my share of taxes to public education and therefore should have my taxes lowered because of it.  I object to the U.S. military expenditure being twice of the rest of the world combined, therefore I want my tax bill lowered accordingly.  I don’t use public transportation, am not a farmer, and don’t watch TV or listen to radio, so I want my taxes lowered accordingly.  Police protection is good, but fire protection should be included in the private fire insurance for one’s house.  Firemen should also be relieved of their paramedic duties (90% of their calls are not fire related) so that the emergency health care they provide can be done by an agency better equipped (preferably through a private insurance company) and the taxpayer burden reduced.  At least I don’t want to pay my taxes for the services to which I object, but you just want to ban anyone from paying for it.

But let’s get real, we mostly agree that the above services are good for society as a whole even if one does not directly benefit from them.  The same with birth control and abortion.  What is missing from your argument is the cost to society of an unwanted child.  You seem to think a child’s affect is only on the parents and therefore easily isolated as being only the responsibility of the parents, but you’re wrong and short-sighted.  Unwanted children have a much larger and damaging affect on society than the cost of birth control and abortion because these children are often neglected and/or abused, the effects of which include requiring more social services to protect them (police, social workers, foster parents) and their chances of being productive citizens is greatly diminished by the psychological damage done to them.  When the mother is unmarried and of a young age then her potential as a productive citizen is lost so that she may raise the child, often in poverty because she hasn’t the education, skills, or time to get a well paying job or start her own company.

So from a cost/benefit analysis denying birth control or abortion is bad business.  It is far cheaper for society minimize unwanted children than to care for them, and it is much more productive to encourage people to have children when the children are wanted and the parent(s) have the financial means to raise them properly.  Frankly, you have it backwards, parents should be required to have a license or a permit to have children and prove they have the education and means to properly care for the child so it doesn’t become a burden upon the state, and any woman who wants an abortion should be able to have one on demand with no questions asked, whereas an unlicensed and unpermitted woman who has a child should be punished.

So how about giving up the charade about wanting to protect the unborn or the cost to the taxpayer of preventing unwanted children?  Banning government subsidized birth control and abortion is not the basis of your argument, but rather a desire to enviously punish someone for enjoying and indulging in a natural desire.

[ Edited: 13 September 2012 11:12 AM by Skipshot]
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Posted: 30 August 2012 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Skipshot’s post is horrifying.  Very few of those items on that list SHOULD be monopolized by government.  Since when is accepting the bull#%% status quo the rational way to think Absolute, total nonsense!  A need is not a right.  A right does not require government subsidy.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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mormovies - 30 August 2012 07:48 PM

Skipshot’s post is horrifying.  Very few of those items on that list SHOULD be monopolized by government.

Why?

mormovies - 30 August 2012 07:48 PM

Since when is accepting the bull#%% status quo the rational way to think Absolute, total nonsense!  A need is not a right.  A right does not require government subsidy.

Hey, you don’t have to put up with the socialist policies of the American government right now.  Instead of trying to take American society back to the 19th century the hard way by waving an angry fist in the air you may test your philosophy by moving to one of the many countries that already have low taxes, few to no government services, and everyone depends upon themselves for their own well being.  Mexico would be a good start for you, but there are plenty of other Third World countries that fit the bill, too.

If that doesn’t work for you then perhaps you can point out a First World country as an example of your utopia, the one that doesn’t have my list of government services.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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That’s a lame argument and that’s not original.  It’s pretty common dogmatic rhetoric that you can find on any crackerjack leftist site.  The U.S. is supposed to be the first nation founded on reason and individual rights.  We should be the most extreme experiment in freedom.  Yes, there are many countries that have ‘weak’ and ineffectual governments but these are third world countries steeped in mysticism and anti-reason.  Take a look around the world at all the countries where governments hand out privileges by confiscating private property and you will see crashed economies, massive unemployment and nations on the verge of collapse! Our government is supposed to be strong and protective of individual rights so that no person(s) or entity can violate those rights.  Think for yourself instead of parroting others.

[ Edited: 30 August 2012 09:12 PM by mormovies]
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Posted: 30 August 2012 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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mormovies - 30 August 2012 09:02 PM

That’s a lame argument and that’s not original.  It’s pretty common dogmatic rhetoric that you can find on any crackerjack leftist site.  The U.S. is supposed to be the first nation founded on reason and individual rights.  We should be the most extreme experiment in freedom.  Yes, there are many countries that have ‘weak’ and ineffectual governments but these are third world countries steeped in mysticism and anti-reason.  Our government is supposed to be strong and protective of individual rights so that no person(s) or entity can violate those rights.  Think for yourself instead of parroting others.

Is there an argument in here somewhere?  Besides, where’s the example of an advanced First World country that succeeds today by remaining in the 18th century?

I am serious about you moving to a Third World country.  Not to stay, but to experience what your utopia is and why everyone there wants to get the fuck out and move to America or Western Europe.  No one trusts anyone beyond their family at best, which is one of the reasons they are strongly family oriented.  Nothing is protected, no one invests in the future because if they are successful it will be taken by the local strong man.  And no amount of wishful thinking of the philosophical dreams of men who lived two hundred years ago will make a difference.  The success of America is because of, not in spite of, the government programs and regulations in place today.

But if that’s not good enough for you then let’s go back in American history to September 2008 when the deregulation of the banking and financial industries had their unintended consequence of nearly destroying themselves and taking America with them on a scale larger than what caused the Great Depression.  The deregulation was fought for by the banking and financial industries with the promise not to do what caused the regulations to be put in place and that they had learned their lesson from the Great Depression, and besides the regulations hobbled their competitive advantage against foreign competition.  Deregulation meant it was every man for himself and fuck the rest and when it didn’t work out like they expected they ran with their tails between their legs to your boogy-man Big Government for help.  Do you know why the Great Depression was so great?  Because when the banks had the same problem in 1930 an asshole Secretary of Treasury told them to work it out themselves and let the Invisible Hand of the market fix their problems.  The banks decided instead of fixing it themselves they would just walk away from their problems and close shop.  This caused a run on ALL the banks in the country for fear that since everyone was on their own they had better get their money out of the banks fast, and this made the economic and financial problem worse.  When the exact same thing happened in September 2008 the government bailed out the banks and minimized the damage as much as possible. 

People can not be trusted to keep their promises or be honest in their business, which is why every sporting event has referees, umpires, and judges, because someone needs to be the mediator.  Or would you rather we use the playground rules of self-regulation and trust everyone to do the right thing?  I don’t.

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Posted: 30 August 2012 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Your ideas are tired and worn out and unfortunately shared by a lot of people who think rights are derived from government.  I would NEVER visit or want to live in a third world country.  They stand for EVERYTHING I abhor.  A strong, effectual but limited government for educated, enlightened humans cannot be compared to lawless, rights-violating sham governments oppressing starving, mystical, tribal sheep!  This is not a rational, reasoned choice.  There are other choices available.  Who in their right mind wants to move to Western Europe at this point in history??  Yeah, I hear Greece is lovely this time of century…

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