Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quote of the Day: convenient certainty

On the Corner today, Jonah Goldberg notes Fred Thompson's appearance on Meet the Press, and highlights Tim Russert's revelation that Thompson opposed early-term abortion prohibitions in the mid-1990s because he didn't know when life began and didn't think "the law ought to impose that standard on other people."

Thompson, while emphasizes that his voting history has always been pro-life,
acknowledges that Russert is accurate. However, Goldberg goes on to show how the logic of uncertainty has been used inconsistently by the pro-choice side and how the pro-life side has an opportunity to point this out (boldfaced emphasis mine):
Obviously I'm invested in defending the uncertainty case for being pro-life as it's my own position. But this is a good example of how completely the pro-choice side owns the logic of uncertainty. It seems perfectly natural and reasonable that if you're not sure life begins at conception, you have to be pro-choice. But that doesn't necessarily follow at all. As Reagan said, if you see a sack on the road that may contain puppies, you don’t go over and kick it.

Ironically, the left owns the logic of caution and uncertainty on so many issues, from the precautionary principle in environmentalism (unless you're positive it won't hurt the environment, you shouldn't do it) to its rage against cost-benefit analysis to its passionate opposition to any kind of free-market entitlement reform. So while drilling for oil in ANWR might, maybe, possibly, in some scenarios conceivably, cause harm to some caribou in a place no one will ever go and therefore it must not be done, a sweeping right to abort fetuses that quite reasonably could be called human beings is a no-brainer unless all doubt of any kind is totally obliterated.

Why couldn't Thompson have simply said: "I still don't know whether life begins at conception. But I've come to believe that it is not the place of government to decide which innocent humans [an important distinction for supporters of the death penalty] deserve the right to life and which do not. Government isn't God and cannot play God."

The problem with that statement is that the left will push to use government as deity when it fits into their worldview, while bashing religious conservatives for trying to do the same.


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