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Chat with Damian about Abortion

In light of Roe v Wade potentially being overturned, a friend, Damian Tew, posted on Facebook about abortion.

The following is a lightly edited two-part conversation in response to his post. Others were involved, too; their names have been altered.


Damian’s original post:

Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is a simple decision.
Half of our population is being directly attacked by religious extremists that are taking over our government.
However, do not attempt to sway the fanatic. Logic is utterly irrelevant in the face of hatred and cruelty justified by faith.
This religious mind is primitive and justifies brutality to satisfy an absent god.
Religion preaches love, but manifests as hate.
Christianity is especially hypocritical as it preaches love and then imposes itself into every part, the very soul, of your being.
Love can not come from brutality, hate, and oppression.


First thread:

Dennis:
What’s the best pro-life argument you know of?

Damian:
I don’t know if any good ones.
The most common fall into these groups:
1: A soul is destroyed
2: Human life is sacred
3: Abortion is bad for society
==
The reason I say there are no best/good arguments are:
1: there are no souls
2: Polices are not in place to protect human lives outside, and pro-birth policies increase human suffering
3: data shows access to abortion is good for society
==
Do you know of a best/good argument that’s pro-birth?

Dennis:
The best one I’m aware of is that we don’t know when exactly an unborn baby starts to be conscious. That moment is when it’s able to suffer and killing it becomes wrong because it would mean snuffing out a conscious being. If we want to be careful, we should assume the onset of consciousness happens very early during pregnancy. The start of the heartbeat, which I understand to be a commonly used line of demarcation, has little to tell us on this issue IMO. The formation of the brain probably much more so, but until we understand consciousness and how it arises, it’s hard to say.
I’m personally pro choice, for one because I’m critical of arguments based on caution, but depending on the exact moment consciousness sets in, I might convert to pro life (if it’s very, very early) or be even more ‘hardcore’ pro choice (if it’s very late – I know of a good but speculative argument that babies are not conscious until after birth and certain basic interactions with other people have occurred, in which case killing a baby might be morally okay even shortly after birth, though I’m not advocating it).
All this is to say that the issue is incredibly complex, and vilifying the other side – as both sides tend to do – won’t help anyone get closer to the truth or agreement on this matter. People generally (not always, but generally) do what they think is right and are not evil. If one can’t name the other side’s best argument one typically doesn’t have a very strong one oneself. As Karl Popper said: “I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth.”

Juliette:
here you’re just replacing “soul” with “consciousness” to make the same argument again. If a heartbeat and a brain makes things conscious, we first need to outlaw meat-eating, and I don’t see that happening from the conservative right.

Roberta:
we know for sure that adult women are conscious. It’s actually not complex at all.

Roberta:
you don’t mention or consider the life, health, or consciousness of the pregnant human in your argument? Why is that?

Dennis:
Juliette wrote:

here you’re just replacing “soul” with “consciousness” to make the same argument again.

It’s not just a replacement. As Damian pointed out, souls don’t exist. It’s a supernatural concept and can be dismissed on that point alone. But consciousness is real; suffering is real. And it’s not the same argument: souls are often used to argue that life begins at the moment of conception, or even before that, which I don’t believe.

If a heartbeat and a brain makes things conscious, we first need to outlaw meat-eating, and I don’t see that happening from the conservative right.

I did say that I’m not sure how much the heartbeat and formation of the brain help us when it comes to consciousness. But, for what it’s worth, I don’t think meat-eating needs to be outlawed because I don’t think animals are conscious/capable of suffering. (You’ll probably think that’s ridiculous or that I have an uninformed opinion, which may cause you to stop engaging with me altogether – it shouldn’t as that’s a mostly separate topic.)

Roberta wrote:

you don’t mention or consider the life, health, or consciousness of the pregnant human in your argument? Why is that?

Because I wanted to focus on giving a good argument in favor of the opponent’s view, i.e. the pro-life view. For the reasons I’ve explained, I think it’s good practice to entertain the opposition’s best argument, if only to make one’s own position stronger. I’m not sure Juliette read what I wrote with that in mind either. It’s dangerous to think one has the truth in one’s pocket and to vilify those who disagree. Also I was asked to give the (IMO) best argument, not all arguments.
As I’ve said, I’m pro choice. So I probably agree with you on the “life, health, or consciousness of the pregnant” woman and the role these things play.

Roberta:
that might be their best argument, but it’s not a good argument. I’ve heard it plenty of times. I wonder if the forced pregnancy folks are doing this exercise too?

Dennis:
maybe not. Which makes us better than them. But I don’t think calling them “forced pregnancy folks” is taking them very seriously. The same way them calling you a “baby killer” wouldn’t be taking you seriously.

Roberta:
I agree it makes us better than them. But if we try to understand them, and they don’t try to understand us, then all the concessions end up coming from one side. Which seems to be the situation we are in.

Dennis:
I’d guess many of them do try to understand pro-choice advocates. Only they’re not the loudest so they don’t make it into the news. If you actively seek out a reasonable pro lifer, I bet you’ll be surprised what a fruitful conversation you end up having with them.
And even if you don’t find someone, you still get to argue from a stronger position than them because you’ve considered their points while they haven’t considered yours. As a result, you’re more persuasive, and you might even have more influence over legislation. That’s a win.

Roberta:
I highly appreciate your optimism 🙂

Roberta:
while your optimism is kind of adorable, this is an issue I’ve been thinking about for over 30 years. Not only has the optimism you hope for not developed, but the techniques you suggest have backfired. What makes you think this will work this time?

Dennis:
It can work – we know this from deep epistemological principles developed by Karl Popper and David Deutsch (those principles are universal and not limited to this matter). There’s no guarantee that it will work. But there’s virtually a guarantee that continuing to vilify each other and never entertaining the other’s viewpoint will fail.

Roberta:
I’ve been listening and compromising for a long time. What I have seen is a shift in the overton window

Damian:
if accurate description seems vilifying to you then it may not be an issue if understanding.
Republicans and religious groups argue from bad faith. They do not want to understand they seek to push the Overton window.
Another example is this same error is the equivalent sides argument, and what-about-ism arguments.
==
I understand the pro-birth argument. It is religious oppression that harms billions of humans, creates poverty, increases crime, and is used to justify murdering doctors.
If that seems like vilifying the position - let me suggest that the description is accurate and it is possible the pro-birth movement is evil.

Dennis:
Your responses so far follow a common pattern. When asked what the opposition’s best argument is, people often respond saying ‘the opposition doesn’t have one’ or even repeat their own best argument. Similarly, when asked why they might be wrong, they reiterate reasons why they are right. They don’t want to be critical of their own ideas and give the other side a chance. So they’re stuck. If they’re wrong, that means they’re also stuck being wrong and they won’t be able to correct that error. But we can all be mistaken – we’re all fallible.
You accuse Republicans of arguing from bad faith. Ironically, you argue in bad faith yourself when you say they “do not want to understand”. You assert “with certainty things that are open to question” (http://thinkaboutnow.com/2017/12/avoiding-arguing-bad-faith/ – I looked up ‘arguing in bad faith’ to make sure I didn’t have something else in mind. I think number 1, 2, 6a, and 7 apply to what you wrote.)
It’s definitely possible that the pro-birth movement is evil. But, as I wrote previously, people generally (not always, but generally) do what they think is right. So if they are evil, it’s usually not on purpose. It’s just as possible that pro choice is wrong and evil. (On that note, to avoid misunderstandings: you mention the “equivalent sides argument” – I don’t think the sides are equivalent. They contradict, so at least one of them must be mistaken. And I have previously mentioned that one is better than the other if it entertains its ability to be mistaken while the other does not.)

Damian:
people never think of themselves as evil.
Pro-birth people don’t think they are evil. Data shows they are either stupid or ignoring the data, which shows:
- forced birth is bad for the mother
- it’s bad for the child when they are born
- it’s bad for society in general
==
For example if the pro-birth movement really wanted to reduce abortion then they would fund sexual education, free access to birth control, and increase minimum wage.
Those three reduce abortion more than anything else.
==
So why are they not doing these things?
It’s because pro-birth is about forcing Christian religious ideals and behavior on everyone.

Damian:
here another example, ectopic pregnancy. It’s fatal unless the conception is aborted. Happens about 2% of the time.
So being pro-birth will kill around 80,000 women per year in the USA from this one thing.
The pro-birth stance is stupid, cruel, and evil.
When I say I am not aware of a good argument that is pro-birth. I speak from a place of study. If You have one let me know

Roberta (to Dennis):
it’s not just as possible that pro choice is evil. If you think that it may be because you are just trying to wrap your head around the argument now. I’m not arguing in bad faith. It’s just simply not a negotiation.

Dennis:
Damian wrote:

Data shows [pro lifers] are either stupid or ignoring the data […]

And which exalted institution collected that data about these brutes?

Damian:
The data itself shows this.
Outlawing abortion kills women.
Killing women is stupid and evil.

Dennis:
so you’re claiming the data is self-evident? And that the truth therefore is, too? It isn’t.
Pro life’s response: Killing babies is stupid and evil.

Damian:
Yes! As I stated at the start, this is where the bad faith argument starts.
Because if it’s about baby well-being pro-birth people would support baby wellness programs, but they do not.
Remember that at minimum 80,000 women per year in the USA will die if abortion is banned
===
Also the line of conception vs baby is not examined.
For example, artificially started pregnancy requires many embryos to be fertilized and then destroyed when not used.

Roberta (to Dennis):
yes, you have identified the point of contention, which is when “life” begins. I maintain that an embryo is not a baby. I maintain that a fetus is not a baby. For the same reason, I maintain that ectopic pregnancy is not death of a baby - but if not treated medically, could result in the death of the mother. Yes, pro lifers don’t agree. What’s your point?

Dennis (to Damian and Roberta):
My point is that, just like many pro lifers, you guys argue from a place of arrogance and zero intellectual humility. You seem unwilling to consider that you could possibly be wrong. (For example, Damian responded “Yes!” to the question whether the truth is self-evident. It isn’t.)
You don’t seem to want to talk about fallibility at all. You keep going back to the specifics of abortion (some of which I have already addressed but you’ve ignored). A conversation about something you’re less passionate about may be more fruitful, I don’t know.
Thinking that the truth is self-evident is an often-traveled road in bad political philosophy and has led to much violence over the centuries. So it’s ironic that Damian’s original post argues against “brutality, hate, and oppression” on the surface when its underlying epistemological mistakes promote those very things. For example, Popper wrote in his book Conjectures and Refutations: “The theory that truth is manifest—that it is there for everyone to see, if only he wants to see it—this theory is the basis of almost every kind of fanaticism. For only the most depraved wickedness can refuse to see the manifest truth […].”

Roberta:
why would I all of a sudden feel intellectual humility about something that I have been paying attention to for 30 years? Because you decided that I have never thought about the arguments from the other side? You think they are different from last year, the year before, or the year before that? Look, if you want to understand both sides, no one is stopping you. Your arrogance is assuming that this is new to us.

Dennis:
I didn’t assume this is new to you and I don’t know why you’d think that. But the fact that you’ve been following the debate for 30 years and still think everyone who disagrees is stupid and evil makes it worse, not better.

Roberta:
worse for whom? You? The fact that you think just listening to the other side would make a difference just makes you ignorant of the whole situation. If you come up with a meaningful way to make a difference, please propose it. Go listen all you want. You’re likely to learn something.

Dennis:
for me, but mostly for you. I don’t think I’m ignorant of the situation. I’ve explained the dangers of thinking the truth is manifest. You haven’t offered any refutations. Please offer some or explain why you don’t think the truth is manifest.

Roberta:
you say this “The best one I’m aware of is that we don’t know when exactly an unborn baby starts to be conscious. That moment is when it’s able to suffer and killing it becomes wrong because it would mean snuffing out a conscious being.”
Is it wrong to snuff out a conscious adult woman? What does snuff out mean? What if carrying the pregnancy gives her a 99% chance of dying? 80% chance? 50%? 10%? Why are “pro life” arguments pro fetus but not pro live-human?

Damian:
you seem to be doing this argument style:
1: all sides have some validity
2: all sides are flawed
3: therefor forced birth is okay
==
When I respond with data saying that forced birth is inconsistent and bad with:
- what about Entropic pregnancy that will kill 80,000+ women a year in the USA under an abortion ban
- should the abortion ban also ban artificial pregnancy?
- what about laws protecting babies (not conceptions)
==
You seem to ignore my presented data and revert back to saying all sides have validity.
So..give me data.

Dennis (to Roberta):
I could answer those questions. But you’re just not taking seriously what I’ve written. I’ve pointed out that it’s not really abortion per se that’s at stake here.

Dennis (to Damian):
that’s not my argument style. Nor have I ignored your data. I’ve criticized it.
I could give you data (for what though? I’m on your side of the abortion debate). But it’s not just a scientific question. Again, there are epistemological considerations. There are also moral ones. Trying to solve moral problems using only (or mainly) science is scientism, which is another common road to violence.

Roberta:
I am taking you seriously. That’s why I asked a serious question in response. Why not answer?

Damian (to Dennis):
Glad you support a woman’s right to choose.
==
The epistemology and philosophy of decision making is also interesting.
What are the epistemological considerations?
What are the moral considerations?

Dennis (to Roberta):

I am taking you seriously.

I disagree because, when asked to question your views, you keep arguing why you’re right. Which is the opposite of what I asked.

Why not answer?

Because I’m already in agreement with you that abortions should be legal. That isn’t at issue here.
But here are answers anyway:

Is it wrong to snuff out a conscious adult woman?

Yes.

What does snuff out mean?

I meant it as in ‘kill’ (not a native speaker though).

What if carrying the pregnancy gives her a 99% chance of dying? 80% chance? 50%? 10%?

all bad (again, I’m in agreement)

Why are “pro life” arguments pro fetus but not pro live-human?

I think that’s probably misrepresenting them. They do often have pro live-human stances liberals do not, for example, protecting people’s ability to own guns so they can defend themselves against criminals like murderers instead of disarming them.
But again, for the record, I don’t think the questions (or my answers) really pertain to what I’m getting at. We’re in agreement about abortion itself. We disagree about meta issues, mainly fallibility and methodology.

Dennis (to Damian):

What are the epistemological considerations?

What are the moral considerations?

You’ll find the answers to your questions in my previous comments (EDIT: look for notes on fallibility and manifest truth).

Damian:
Weak.

Dennis:
why? Were you looking for something I hadn’t yet said?

Damian:
Your argument lacks content.
The structure is clear when referencing the dangers of hardline stances as it relates to epistemology.
There is no content past that structure. When I pushed for content you circled back saying that hardline stances are dangerous.
The format reminds me of JAQing: Just Accessing Questions
It’s an argument style where you present questions without content

Dennis:

The structure is clear when referencing the dangers of hardline stances as it relates to epistemology.

It depends on what you mean by “hardline”. To be clear, I’m not at all opposed to what many call ‘black-and-white thinking’. I think abortion is either morally right or morally wrong. I also follow Ayn Rand in thinking that one shouldn’t compromise with evil. On the other hand, if by “hardline” you mean “infallibility”, I am strongly opposed to thinking one knows the truth for sure without wanting to consider alternatives.

When I pushed for content you circled back saying that hardline stances are dangerous.

Not because there’s a lack of content, but because I had already answered your questions. It was my impression that you either had not read, or at least had not carefully considered, what I had written.
Maybe I was wrong on both counts. Either way, I disagree that my argument lacks content. You can easily show that I was wrong by steel-manning my epistemological and moral arguments in such a way that they show the problems with your methodology/epistemology.

The format reminds me of JAQing: Just Accessing Questions

Do you mean ‘asking’ instead of ‘accessing’? And no, I’m not just asking questions. You seem to go down some list of argument styles to box me into (you tried this previously). I don’t think that will work. Please consider that I have an informed opinion on both abortion and methodology/epistemology.

Damian:
I have a poor opinion of Ayn Rand and “Objectivism” as it mixes necessary for sufficient conditions.
==
Imagine you live near the beach and have spent years turning over stones and looking under them.
So you loudly say there are no elephants under the stones.
A person nearby tells you that you are uninformed for saying with such confidence the lack of elephants. Further that you should consider alternatives.
You try to communicate that your stance is informed, but the person assures you they know what they are taking about.
Now you are confused, but the person just won’t elaborate.
==
You are that person.
Don’t be that person.

Dennis:
Just real quick on Rand. You wrote:

I have a poor opinion of Ayn Rand and “Objectivism” as it mixes necessary for sufficient conditions.

Without elaboration that seems like poor criticism. But it seems mostly unrelated so I’m not sure we should go down this route. I just wanted to state this for the record because I think Rand receives poor criticism all the time (as does Popper, btw.).
Now for my main comment. You imply that I “just won’t elaborate” on my epistemological/moral/methodological arguments. But I have. I also pointed you back at them. Then you said I ask contentless questions – but I’ve provided lots of content. I’ve written by far the most in this discussion.
Let me quote my epistemological/moral/methodological arguments here:

[V]ilifying the other side – as both sides tend to do – won’t help anyone get closer to the truth or agreement on this matter. […] If one can’t name the other side’s best argument one typically doesn’t have a very strong one oneself. As Karl Popper said: “I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth.”

For the reasons I’ve explained, I think it’s good practice to entertain the opposition’s best argument, if only to make one’s own position stronger. I’m not sure Juliette read what I wrote with that in mind either. It’s dangerous to think one has the truth in one’s pocket and to vilify those who disagree.

[If pro lifers do not entertain our position but we theirs, that] makes us better than them.

If you actively seek out a reasonable pro lifer, I bet you’ll be surprised what a fruitful conversation you end up having with them.

And even if you don’t find someone, you still get to argue from a stronger position than them because you’ve considered their points while they haven’t considered yours.

[Discussion] can work – we know this from deep epistemological principles developed by Karl Popper and David Deutsch (those principles are universal and not limited to this matter). There’s no guarantee that it will work. But there’s virtually a guarantee that continuing to vilify each other and never entertaining the other’s viewpoint will fail.

Your responses so far follow a common pattern. When asked what the opposition’s best argument is, people often respond saying ‘the opposition doesn’t have one’ or even repeat their own best argument. Similarly, when asked why they might be wrong, they reiterate reasons why they are right. They don’t want to be critical of their own ideas and give the other side a chance. So they’re stuck. If they’re wrong, that means they’re also stuck being wrong and they won’t be able to correct that error. But we can all be mistaken – we’re all fallible.

Ironically, you argue in bad faith yourself when you say they “do not want to understand”. You assert “with certainty things that are open to question” […].

[…] I don’t think the sides are equivalent. They contradict, so at least one of them must be mistaken. And I have previously mentioned that one is better than the other if it entertains its ability to be mistaken while the other does not.)

[S]o you’re claiming the data is self-evident? And that the truth therefore is, too? It isn’t.

My point is that, just like many pro lifers, you guys argue from a place of arrogance and zero intellectual humility. You seem unwilling to consider that you could possibly be wrong.

Thinking that the truth is self-evident is an often-traveled road in bad political philosophy and has led to much violence over the centuries. […] For example, Popper wrote in his book Conjectures and Refutations: “The theory that truth is manifest—that it is there for everyone to see, if only he wants to see it—this theory is the basis of almost every kind of fanaticism. For only the most depraved wickedness can refuse to see the manifest truth […].”

These are many paragraphs about epistemology and morals. They were all written before you asked your two questions (“What are the epistemological considerations?” and “What are the moral considerations?”), and they all preemptively answer them. I think there’s a lot of content there. But let me elaborate even more by commenting on your rock example.
Although the main purpose of your rock example seems to be to accuse me of not elaborating enough, it again focuses on why you’re right (that you’ve turned over countless rocks over for many years). It also reminds me of how people used to think the sun revolved around the earth. The truth was obvious, they thought, just like it’s obvious in your example that there are no elephants under those rocks: all they had to do was look up at the sun and it was right there circling the earth. They’d refer to the years they’ve spent watching the sun circling the earth, how certain they are, how any other stance is dumb, and so on. Now we know they were wrong. But they weren’t able to correct their errors because they had the wrong epistemological attitude. They weren’t self-critical.
I also suggest you read chapter 10 of David Deutsch’s fantastic book The Beginning of Infinity. Deutsch explains how epistemology and morals are connected, and he uses the conflict between ancient Athens and Sparta to show that Athenians were the good guys (because they entertained that they could be mistaken about anything) and the Spartans the bad guys (because they did not). Athens was able to make progress because they wanted to find their own mistakes, whereas Sparta was stuck because they thought they had already discovered the truth and the best way to live. The difference in progress between these two societies was mostly due to this epistemological difference. In the abortion debate, I see an awful lot of Spartans on both sides. I see very few Athenians. So there won’t be much progress, if any.
On a separate note, you previously wrote:

There is no content past that structure. When I pushed for content you circled back saying that hardline stances are dangerous.

Can you provide quotes both for when you pushed for content and when I circled back?


The second thread started with a comment by someone else on Damian’s post. We’ll name them Cameron:

Cameron:
It’s forced birth that targets the poor, simple. If it was about pro life THEY would provide free sex Ed, birth control, free preschool etc. This is giving power over our fucking bodies to the government?? The right prides their ass in FREEDOMS, just not over your body. The rich will always get their daughters and girlfriends abortions, its the poor girls who will suffer.

Damian:
yes!
If the stance is for life they could also have child support start at conception, and have life insurance from conception onward.

Dennis (to Cameron):

If it was about pro life THEY would provide free sex Ed, birth control, free preschool etc.

Lots of ppl who are pro life are also against the forced financing of ‘free’ things, so they couldn’t do what you suggest.

Damian:
yea, that’s the exact hypocrisy being pointed out.
That it’s about religious based forced birth, and not about child welfare

Dennis:
I haven’t actually heard pro lifers claim to be pro child welfare, just against the killing of children. Pro lifers can be opposed to killing people AND also to stealing money from others to help those first people live, without any contradiction.
Apply the same logic to adults and it becomes clearer: I’m both opposed to killing adults AND to financing their lives. Just because I don’t want people to be killed doesn’t mean I want to be forced to make sure they live good lives.

Damian:
yeah totally, which is why I reframe it as “forced birth”

Dennis:
Cameron had implied that being pro life while not providing childcare is hypocritical. You had agreed.
In any case, you’re still strawmanning. Pro lifers don’t enjoy forcing women to give birth, surely they see it as a necessary evil.

Damian:
hmm do pro-birthers see forced birth as “evil”? I don’t know.
Although forcing birth while being against social systems that support babies is hypocritical.
The hypocrisy is the claim that forced birth is to protect children, while then not supporting the many other systems that do support children.

Dennis:

hmm do pro-birthers see forced birth as “evil”? I don’t know.

Many on the right are generally much less authoritarian than the left and generally dislike force (at least aggressive force) so it’d make sense for them to either consider forced birth (a necessary absent better solutions) evil or not force at all or else they wouldn’t support it.

The hypocrisy is the claim that forced birth is to protect children, while then not supporting the many other systems that do support children.

Well, again, they’re against ‘socialized’ (i.e. stolen) support systems. But they may well support voluntary alternatives. At least I can’t see why they’d oppose voluntary alternatives, so there’s already no hypocrisy in that regard. And, as I’ve also said, they can be against (what they perceive as) murder while at the same time being against forced/‘socialized’ services – in the same way I said that people in general shouldn’t be murdered but that that doesn’t mean I want to be forced to financially support their lives. There’s no hypocrisy or even conflict there.
Fudging the difference is to fudge the difference between negative and positive rights. People have a negative right to life (meaning it must not be taken from them), but they don’t have a positive right to life (meaning they don’t have a claim against their peers to receive help when in need – though, again, voluntary help is fine).
Pro-lifers appear to see a need to protect a babies’ (perceived or real) negative right to life while (correctly) not recognizing its nonexistent positive right to life.
I forget if Rand came up with the distinction between negative and positive rights or not but she writes about it in The Virtue of Selfishness.

Damian:
do you have sources for the claim:
the “right” is less “authoritarian” than the “left”
I put quotes around the words who’s definitions may simply this.
== my definitions:
Authoritarian: favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government,
The left: liberal, socialist, promotes social equality, for immigration, pro choice, higher taxes on the rich, higher corporate taxes
The right: social order enforcement, economic order enforcement, against immigration , pro forced birth, lower taxes on the rich, higher taxes on the poor and middle class

Dennis:

do you have sources for the claim:
the “right” is less “authoritarian” than the “left”

I didn’t before you asked but when I looked around I found some arguments here: https://www.reddit.com/r/askaconservative/comments/6kd8bn/do_you_think_the_left_or_the_right_is_more/
Which has reminded me that the right can also be pretty authoritarian (think FCC regulations for ‘bad’ words, the war on drugs, etc, as the OP in that link points out). But right now I see the main problems with authoritarianism on the left, particularly when it comes to stealing money from people to increase the nanny state’s influence; imprisoning people in their homes, shutting down businesses, and making citizenship effectively conditional ‘for the collective health’ (as if there were such a thing as collective health); etc. With the very recent exception of abortion, the most draconian uses of authority over the past few years have come from the left. I know of no leftist politician skeptical of the government as an institution, whereas I wouldn’t put that past right wingers at all (in a good way). There’s Ron Paul, for example.

The right [calls for] higher taxes on the poor and middle class

I doubt it.

Damian:

These claims are all confusing to me, so I’m splitting them out to try to understand them. After each I’ve put my guess for what you mean:
- Stealing money: taxes?
- Imprisoning people in homes: no idea
- Shutting down businesses: no idea
- Citizenship conditional: citizenship has always been conditional.
==
The right tax policies lower taxes for wealthy people and corporations, and raise taxes on everyone else:
https://www.cslcpa.com/tax-bite/compare-and-contrast-republican-and-democratic-tax-platforms-0

Dennis:

Stealing money: taxes?

yes

Imprisoning people in homes: no idea

Lockdowns

Shutting down businesses: no idea

?? Lockdowns

Citizenship conditional: citizenship has always been conditional.

How so? To be clear, I’m not talking about naturalization. I was thinking of the requirement to test negative for covid when traveling back to the United States by air, which applies even to people who are already citizens. More on that: https://blog.dennishackethal.com/posts/covid-exile
Regarding the article you linked to, after skimming it, I’m guessing you’re referring to Trump wanting to raise the lowest tax bracket from 10% to 12%? It’s unclear whether that would raise taxes for the lowest earners since it doesn’t seem to say at what income he wants his proposed lowest bracket to kick in.

Damian:
I agree except for where the right raises taxes it’s more a democracy vs not distinction:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1468018120911567
==
US Citizenship has always had many qualifications. Often rooted in racism.
==
The word “stealing” is tricky for taxes. I generally agree I want my taxes to go toward a society that is excellent, healthcare, and the creation of an awesome society, rather than a global war machine. Thats also not a left vs right issue. Both are warmongering.
==
Imprisoning is not what the US is doing. China is doing imprisonment- where they literally bolt doors shut. Being told you shouldn’t go out is not imprisonment.
==
Pandemic response is not shutting down businesses.

Dennis:

US Citizenship has always had many qualifications. Often rooted in racism.

That still sounds like naturalization. I’m talking about the fact that, if you’re already a citizen and abroad, your citizenship is temporarily revoked based on your health status. You’re assumed sick until proven healthy, and you do not get to exercise your right as an American citizen to enter your home country until you show a negative test result. Which is disgusting.

The word “stealing” is tricky for taxes. I generally agree I want my taxes to go toward a society that is excellent, healthcare, and the creation of an awesome society, rather than a global war machine.

If a burglar breaks into your home, steals cash, and then spends it on something you agree with (such as healthcare), is it not really stealing?

Imprisoning is not what the US is doing. China is doing imprisonment- where they literally bolt doors shut. Being told you shouldn’t go out is not imprisonment.

In Cupertino they handed out citations for being outside when you didn’t ‘need’ to be. Different cities and states had different responses to the virus. Notably, some of the most draconian responses were in states run by democrats (California, New York, Hawaii). Those responses differed from the Chinese response only in degree, not in principle.
In any case, I think we’re straying a bit far from the original topic of abortion.

Damian:
Being blocked from entry for a few days is not having your citizenship revoked.
==
Theft definition: to take without permission or legal right.
I think of taxes as a subscription service. It gives me lots of stuff: some I want, some I don’t want.
It’s the fee for living in the country.
If I gave a burglar money, under fear of jail if I didn’t, and they did some things I like and some things I did t, I would not call that theft.
I might be, and I am, unhappy with how my tax money is spent. The subscription service of the USA has a lot of war money I’d rather go to social programs.
==
Citations are not imprisonment. Imprisonment is imprisonment.
==
Ah yes, a woman’s right to control over her own body.
I still support it.

Dennis:
Those are common pro-government and anti-liberty arguments, and I think they have been refuted.
But, focusing on abortion – or rather, the meta topic of epistemology, particularly dogmatism vs. fallibility, which is where we seemed to disagree (we’re in agreement about abortion itself) – can we come to some sort of conclusion or resolution on the meta topic? I like to carry discussions to a conclusion when possible, as I learned to do from a philosopher named Elliot Temple.

Damian:
Shifting topics is a common dogmatism vs. fallibility argument, and I think they have been refuted.
==Joke aside:
Stating something as true and not knowing a good counter argument is not the definition of dogmatism.
In this case I literally asked you for the forced birth argument, and you didn’t give one that had not already been reviewed and rejected as flawed.
==
Stepping back out of the actual content of this:
==definitions==
Dogmatism: the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.

Dennis:

Stating something as true and not knowing a good counter argument is not the definition of dogmatism.

Correct. The definition you give more or less applies to your abortion stance. Also, not entertaining one’s fallibility and only finding reasons one is right is at the core of dogmatism.
Since that is continuing, I think we’ve reached an impasse, and I’d like to end the conversation. I think it would be interesting for others to read, though. Do you mind if I post it on my blog?

Damian:
having reviewed and rejected counter arguments as bad is not dogmatism.
Inviting further counter arguments and finding them bad is not dogmatism.
Outlining the major points of counter arguments and indicating how they are flawed is not dogmatism.
==
I’m glad you are waking back your dogmatism stance on dogmatism by now saying the pro choice stance is only “more or less” dogmatism.
==
Happy to generate content for you, just include the entire thread (of you and I only), this comment included.
Make sure you remove any other names.

Dennis:
and the other thread too (about the best pro-life argument), ok?

Dennis (about a day later):
I’ll assume you’re fine with me sharing the other thread too since it was closely related and a lot of context would be lost without it as it was the first one. But I’ll wait another 24 hours in case you want to object.

Damian:
happy to have you share! 😊

Dennis:
I was able to omit [anonymous’] comment but had to leave Cameron’s, Roberta’s, and Juliette’s comments or else the threads would fall apart. I’ve changed their names.
The post is here, currently in stealth mode (meaning only those with the link can see it): https://blog.dennishackethal.com/posts/chat-with-damian-about-abortion
I don’t mean to create work for any of you, but I’ll give it some 24 hours in case any of you wish to object. If nobody does, I’ll publish.


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It’s happened. “Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade”: https://twitter.com/i/events/1540338546292264962

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