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The Atlantic to the Rule of Law: Drop Dead

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Some arguments are not merely wrong; they are evil.

Eric Orts is a professor in the Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He is a progressive, and like most progressives he chafes at the checks on the unbridled power of numerical majorities built into the United States Constitution.  On Wednesday Professor Orts took to the pages of The Atlantic to vent his spleen against the unfairness of one of those checks, the provision that gives each state equal representation in the Senate.  It is not fair, declares Orts, for Wyoming to have the same representation in Senate as California, because Wyoming’s population is a small fraction of California’s. 

Set aside for the moment the merits of Orts’ argument** and consider his proposed solution.  According to Orts, all that is necessary to fix this “problem” is for Congress to pass a statute providing for proportional representation in the Senate.  There is an obvious problem with Orts’ proposal.  Any such statute would conflict with Article I of the Constitution, which provides that that each state shall have two Senators, and Article V which states that the two-senator rule cannot be amended. 

No problem, says Orts. 

Article V applies only to amendments. Congress would adopt the Rule of One Hundred scheme as a statute; let’s call it the Senate Reform Act. Because it’s legislation rather than an amendment, Article V would—arguably—not apply.

Orts’ seems to believe Congress can “fix” the Constitution through legislation. That a professor of legal studies no less would make this argument is breathtaking. Moreover, his proposed solution skips over the fact that the Constitution explicitly states “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State.”  He has an answer to this too:

Constitutional originalists will surely argue that the Founders meant “equal suffrage” in Article V to mean one state, two senators, now and forever. But the Founders could never have imagined the immense expansion of the United States in terms of territory, population, and diversity of its citizens.

No, anyone who reads the document – not just constitutional originalists – knows without the slightest doubt that it provides unambiguously for one state, two senators.  Whether the founders could have imagined future events has no bearing on the meaning of the text.  There is no room for argument about what the text means.

Here is where we get into the evil part.  Orts is not calling for a constitutional amendment.  Nor is he calling for a creative interpretation of the existing text.  He argues that we should simply ignore the text because he and his friends don’t like it.  The rule of law is built upon a foundation of language.  Laws, after all, can be expressed in nothing else.  When professors call for us to ignore the express unambiguous text of the Constitution, they are calling for us to abandon the rule of law.  And that is evil.

Of course, we should not be surprised.  As a progressive in good standing Orts believes that power is the only thing that matters.  Justice Brennan once said that he only thing that matters in Constitutional law is the ability to count to five.  Brennan meant that when the actual text of the document the court is purporting to be interpret (i.e., the Constitution) interferes with achieving the result progressives such as he want, well then, so much the worse for the Constitution, provided he was able to cobble together five votes for the progressive policy choice. Brennan’s approach to constitutional law is profoundly cynical, dishonest, and, yes, evil.

Orts is a Brennan-type progressive.  He believes if he can get five members of the Supreme Court to bite on his “two does not really mean two” argument, he can achieve in the courts what he could never hope to achieve in the political process. 

But attempts to undermine the rule of law carry the seeds of their own destruction.  Sooner or later the people begin to trip to the fact that it is all a big put up job.  And when that happens you get civil war.  We are already in a cold civil war. With progressives like Orts continuing to call for the exercise of raw power outside of legitimate constitutional processes, how long before the war heats up?

————–

**The first clause of Article I, Section 3, which states:  “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State.”  Anyone who has studied the constitutional convention for ten seconds knows the origin of this clause.  The small states were afraid they would be overwhelmed and powerless if representation in the Congress were based strictly on population.  They went so far as to threaten to bolt if this issue were not addressed to their satisfaction.  After much debate during which the convention teetered on the edge of failure, a compromise (the so-called “Connecticut Compromise”) was reached.  The delegates proposed a bi-cameral Congress with representation in the House of Representatives allocated according to population and representation in the Senate equal among the states.  Arguably, the “equal suffrage in the Senate” clause is the most important clause in the entire Constitution.  Of all the provisions in the document, it alone is shielded from amendment by Article V, which states:  “no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”  Thus, as one commentator has already said, equal representation for small states in the Senate is an important feature, not a bug, of the Constitution.  Indeed, without this feature, there almost certaintly never would have been a Constitution to begin with. 

72 Replies to “The Atlantic to the Rule of Law: Drop Dead

  1. 1
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Civil war is simply the breaking out of external symptoms on an already diseased corpus.
    The USA cannot withstand the decades-long assault on her historic culture, absorbing tens of millions of aliens, without effect. It is simply not possible to mix chocolate and vanilla and have the result be more vanilla. In 10 to 15 years I expect to see 4 or 5 political entities contesting where now stands only the United States.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, why am I not surprised? Those least fit by temperament and understanding wish to reshape all that they see as blocking their way, by might and manipulation. Do we really want to play with such matches? KF

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF: “Do we really want to play with such matches?”

    Every progressive I have ever met: “Yes, burn it down.”

  4. 4
    Ed George says:

    To be fair, the founding fathers were, for their day, progressives.

  5. 5
    News says:

    Countries like the United States and Canada (I’ll speak for Canada 😉 ) very much depend on the sort of two-senators rule that Barry Arrington outlines in the OP. That is because both countries occupy very large regions of the land mass of Earth.

    Getting people to even stay in remote parts may be difficult (usually, remoteness = exotic but difficult). It’s fun until you need high tech medical care.

    How do we succeed in creating unity (defined as only one civil war and NO international war north of the Rio Grande in well over 200 years, despite 48 US states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 3 Canadian territories)?

    One way is giving what seems like extra representation to people who agree to live in remote areas. If you are willing to live in Wyoming, your Senate vote counts for more than if you live in Malibu. So? After you leave the voting booth, you head out either into the onset of a Wyoming winter or the Malibu beachfront.

    Everything costs.

    Look, it’s the same in Canada. And I am happy to report that Quebec’s independence movement collapsed last year, with the election of a centre right government with a greater interest in jobs than in street drama.

    (Can’t think why.)

    Anyway, if Prof Ort gets his five votes, one thing that would happen is massive disaffection among those who lose representation. The people who always had less representation don’t care as much; for one thing, they usually live in places like California that have ways of getting heard anyway.

    But not everyone would think mass disaffection in the United States was a bad thing, perhaps.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Wait. Clearly the Founding Fathers looked towards the future. They understood the difference between a STATE and people. That is why each STATE is equally represented in the Senate while the people are represented in the House of Representatives. The populace and diversity should be represented in the House.

    Without equal STATE representation the country would be ruled by the whim of a few States that could easily conspire against the others for their benefit.

    So yes, the Founding Fathers understood the issue and took care of it. Thankfully they were intelligent enough to get it right.

    Eric Orts cannot see beyond his own childish wants. And he clearly didn’t think it through. Adding more people into the political mix is a fool’s game.

    Next up- the Mayors of New York, Chicago an Los Angeles will be the heads of the governing body of the USA…

  7. 7
    Ed George says:

    The constitution was written back when the population was more evenly distributed, less urbanized. It is unlikely that these founding fathers could foresee this. Back in their day each state having equal power was the only way that they could get them to sign up. But even back then, there was a minimum population requirement.

    If the more populous states want more representation in the senate, is there anything stopping them from dividing into multiple separate territories and then each applying for statehood?

  8. 8
    mike1962 says:

    “Progressive” is a misnomer. Ideas of “progress” are subjective.
    He’s an anti-Constitutionalist, with Marxist/communist tendencies.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Looks like the Founding Fathers did foresee it and got it right: What Is a Bicameral Legislature and Why Does the U.S. Have One?
    Just the economics to restructure it to suit Eric Orts would bankrupt us.

  10. 10
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Looks like the Founding Fathers did foresee it and got it right:

    The two-part government wasn’t exactly their idea. Canada, The UK, etc. also have a two-part government. What the US did was make both parts elected positions. The jury is still out as to whether this is good or bad.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    The two-part government wasn’t exactly their idea.

    Ours isn’t a two part government, Ed.

  12. 12
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Ours isn’t a two part government, Ed.

    Silly me. I guess that you link to “bicameral” means something else. Or are you referring to the three “branches” of government.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Oh my- bicameral LEGISLATION. And it only constitutes ONE branch of our government.

  14. 14
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Oh my- bicameral LEGISLATION. And it only constitutes ONE branch of our government.

    And other democracies have bicameral LEGISLATION and other “branches” of government. I fail to see your point, other than to be argumentative. Have a nice evening.

  15. 15
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed George.

    The constitution was written back when the population was more evenly distributed, less urbanized. It is unlikely that these founding fathers could foresee this.

    This is pure nonsense. The founding fathers did not have to “foresee” the fact that smaller states would be disproportionately represented in the Senate at the expense of the larger states. That was the very issue they debated when they hammered out the Connecticut Compromise. You are just making crap up Ed.

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed

    If the more populous states want more representation in the senate, is there anything stopping them from dividing into multiple separate territories and then each applying for statehood?

    They could not do it unilaterally. Any such proposal would have to be approved by Congress, but if Congress approved it, it could happen. There is precedent for making two states where there was only one (West Virginia was carved out of Virginia); though the Civil War context of that even makes it problematic as a precedent. But, yes, in theory any state can get carved up if it consents and Congress approves.

  17. 17
    mike1962 says:

    Orts is apparently unaware that the founders did not set up a “democracy.” Powers were to be spread around, and simple democracy was the farthest desire in their minds. They set up a structure of a federation of highly sovereign states. Not only was power invested in The People, but also invested in the independent state legislative bodies. The original arrangement was that the two federal senators from each state was elected by the state legislators. This was changed to a popular vote within each state, and whatever you think about that, the point is, states were intended to have a very high degree of sovereignty, with equal footing as states within the federal senate with two per states manifesting this intent.

    People like Ort apparently have no respect for the philosophy that the founders in their wisdom sought to implement. People like him hate state sovereignty created by the Constitution. He wants Indiana and North Dakota to be re-made in the image of California. Our current framework is a foil to that socialist goal. He can go pound sand. It’s a pipe dream for him anyway, since enough of the less populous states aren’t about to give up the expression of sovereignty afforded by having two federal senators and the Electoral College member count (which flows from the same intent of state sovereignty .)

    Ours is a federation of sovereign states.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Ed,
    Your lack of self-awareness is amusing. Thank you.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, I note that originally, Senators were in effect accredited ambassadors of the member states of the federation to the central, strengthened gov’t. (Recall, the occasion of the drafting was issues due to the inadequate central powers under the articles of confederation.) They thus represented pre-existing governmental entities — just as the Lords of England who derived from the barons who brought John at effective sword-point to Runnymede represented an existing interest, the Lords temporal and spiritual. In effect, there were the famous three estates, and the common person was given a house of representation, the Commons. When the press and associated widespread literacy and public education through media enabled a public with a somewhat informed opinion, we then heard of how the press formed the fourth estate (which by extension includes the lawyers and the professorate as they manifestly dominate opinion formation among the elites). Moreover, the US Framers were haunted by the then commonly understood history of the failure of democracy at Athens and of the Roman Republic at the hands of ruinously selfishly ambitious politicians. (Have we forgotten that Cicero cheered on the killing of Julius Caesar, as the effective answer to tyranny? Only, to lose his own head as the situation spiralled into general civil wars?) They were also influenced by the developments since the 1500’s in the British Isles, by the Dutch and by other exemplars such as the Treat[ies] of Westphalia etc. They sought to build on a hard bought base of experience paid for in blood. Too many today cynically discredit those lessons and imagine they have the wisdom to ignore history and compromises then erect novelties to their wishes. Actually, in the first instance, they seek to manipulate and polarise factions and interests they influence, the better to advance their own policy and cultural agendas (often through manipulating the subverted arm of government, the Courts). Namely, divide and rule. KF

  20. 20
    OldArmy94 says:

    Professor Ort’s comments are indicative of a much deeper problem, namely, the rejection of absolutes. When you deny there is a Lawgiver, you also deny the possibility of absolutes. Thus, concepts such as “law”, “liberty”, and “justice” lose their meaning altogether, and the only–ONLY–alternative remaining is tyranny by those who have absolute power.

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    Kairosfocus is our resident polymath here at UD. The depth and breadth of his erudition never ceases to amaze.

  22. 22
    Barry Arrington says:

    OldArmy94

    Professor Ort’s comments are indicative of a much deeper problem, namely, the rejection of absolutes.

    Indeed, OA. You put your finger on the point of the OP and why addressing his antics is not “off topic” here at UD. Materialism serves as the philosophical foundation for progressive authoritarianism and lawlessness such as that on display in Orts’ article.

  23. 23
    mike1962 says:

    Kairosfocus

    +1000

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, we have turned away from world history and the history of our civilisation. We have compounded that by entertaining cultural marxist ideological agendas and narratives that aim to turn our perception into despair so that we will be more easily manipulated into a ruinous path of discarding hard-bought lessons and achievements; reformation has been twisted into a weapon against us all. A dark age looms, this time with nukes and other horrors in play. Would that we would turn back before the cliff’s edge comes to meet us due to a collapse. KF

  25. 25
    Ed George says:

    KF <blockquote<Would that we would turn back before the cliff’s edge comes to meet us due to a collapse. </blockquote<
    But to what time in our history would you turn back to. What time was better than today? And, more importantly, why?

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed George,

    But to what time in our history would you turn back to

    I take it that KF is not suggesting that we turn back “to” but turn back “from.”

  27. 27
    Ed George says:

    BA

    I take it that KF is not suggesting that we turn back “to” but turn back “from.”

    I understood that, but if you are turning back “from,”, that implies that there is something to turn back “to”. I am just asking what that “to” is. Personally, I think it is a “to” that never existed.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    BA [attn, EG], precisely correct. On the whole, as a civilisation we are in demographic collapse (even here in the Caribbean!). We are tossing over sound lessons of history bought with blood and tears. In 40+ years, we have committed the worst holocaust in human history, 800+ millions of living posterity in the womb snuffed out, to the cheering on of far too many. Growing at about another million per week. This alone utterly indicts us and the warping of consciences and minds to sustain that easily explains our accelerating, suicidal folly, perversity, stubborn insistence on falsity instead of truth as well as the sort of moral inversion and delighting in iniquity that now run riot.. As for the USA, it is already in a cold civil war driven by deep polarisation and hostility; with clear trends to a shooting war. The OP discusses one of several thrusts by those who feel emboldened to subvert or outright overturn keystones of the American system because they would hinder their agendas. If they don’t understand the soundness in the Connecticut compromise or the use of an Electoral College or the importance of basing changes in fundamental law on national consensus etc etc, they show that such have failed to understand what secured the advantages they enjoy. Bad governance needs no particular explanation, neither does widespread economic under-performance nor general injustice and corruption. It is how things could ever go right that needs explanation and clearly the likes of Professor Ort have failed that key test. So, let me put it this way: those who neglect or dismiss the lessons of sound history paid for with blood and tears doom themselves to pay the same coin over and over again. KF

    PS: The future has never yet existed, the past is gone, we only have now to choose wisely and act prudently. What is needed now is turning back from a march of folly and turning to sound reformation. Those who dismiss objective truth and that such truth includes moral truths, are by definition utterly unsound. I fear it is only broken-backed at the foot of the cliff that we will be sufficiently broken to repent of our folly.

  29. 29
    Ed George says:

    KF

    n 40+ years, we have committed the worst holocaust in human history, 800+ millions of living posterity in the womb snuffed out, to the cheering on of far too many. Growing at about another million per week.

    Where you and I differ is that I see the rapidly declining rate of teen pregnancy and abortion as a positive sign. Providing our kids with unbiased knowledge without the burden of judgement is the key. As has been demonstrated in meant other countries.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, you have demonstrated exactly the sort of breakdown that haunts our civilisation. The holocaust of our living posterity under false colour of law is utterly indefensible. KF

  31. 31
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, you have demonstrated exactly the sort of breakdown that haunts our civilisation. The holocaust of our living posterity under false colour of law is utterly indefensible. KF

    And how is that? Abortion rates are declining, Unwanted pregnancies are declining. How could you possibly see this as the “breakdown that haunts our civilisation. ”? I am interested in the logic you use to come to this conclusion.

  32. 32
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus is wont to quote Josiah Royce’s observation that “error exists” which, with certain caveats, is unexceptionable. Is there any doubt that the works of fallible humanity are error-prone. We have to assume that those who drafted the US Constitution were aware of the problem, else why would they have included a provision for future amendments of their work?

    For example, when they drafted the Second Amendment, it is highly unlikely that the Founders foresaw a situation in which a single individual with a single small-arm would have a rate of fire equivalent to a whole company of Revolutionary War infantry yet with much greater range and accuracy. As a Millian libertarian, I would defend the right of individuals to own and shoot firearms for recreation and sport but I would also assert that society as a whole has the right to impose whatever restraints are deemed necessary to protect all against the misuse and abuse of such fearsome firepower.

    In the case of a bicameral legislature, I think there is a place for a second chamber with powers of advice, revision, referral and – in some cases – consent. But I think the more serious problem for modern democracies is – paradoxically in an age of information – an ill-informed electorate. This is especially so where it benefits candidates – as it so often does – to try and preserve the ignorance of the electorate. This can lead to the situation foreshadowed in H L Mencken’s perceptive article in the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920 wherein he famously wrote as follows:

    The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

    The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

    I tend to the opinion that this prophecy has come to pass with the current incumbent but I also don’t see it as entirely his fault. There was a joke going around after the election along the lines of “How much did the electorate distrust Hillary Clinton? Donald Trump was how much.” Change Hillary Clinton to the Washington establishment and I think that’s a valid argument. A lot of people voted for Trump because they thought that, as an outsider, he could bring about the change they felt was needed to a complacent, self-perpetuating, unresponsive and corrupt establishment. Unfortunately, not only is he not a successful businessman, not only is he a prime example of the Dunning-Krueger effect but, as a very wealthy man, he is a part of the problem in Washington not the solution.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, that holocaust rates in the USA may fluctuate makes no difference to the root problem, holocaust, ongoing globally at 1 million per week, with major factions in the US among the global supporters. But also, global corruption of governance in support of holocaust. This is the central state sponsored crime against humanity of our generation and it is the cancer sending metastases into every corner of global affairs. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, the second amendment is tangential to the actual issue on the table and I will not follow that red herring, save to note that the sort of confiscation in view is impossible on the current US Federal system and if pushed hard enough will be a causus belli in itself. The pivotal issue is that clearly influential voices believe the Overton Window has shifted enough for them to get their own way, which clearly implies breaking the linchpin of the US Federal Republican system, imposing urban elite (“progressivist”) domination on the hinterlands. Already, the stability and legitimacy of elections is being undermined, censorship and exclusion (including that no man may buy or sell save . . .) are being imposed and the restive hinterlands are being scapegoated. Lawfare and media lynchings are already imposing cold civil war. On this trend, a shooting civil war is on track once the cracks reach critical scale and something triggers explosive propagation. March of folly. KF

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Maybe I should say a few more things, now that a key local matter has been addressed for the moment.

    The concept that the state properly holds monopoly on force is a fallacy on multiple levels. Not least, because it is the lifelong experience, commitment and cultural context of the men — yes, men, only men make first rate infantry (who are the only force capable of holding ground) — of the American hinterlands who have for a century been the under-writers of global freedom under just law. After Jutland and the Somme, Britain retired, leaving just one maritime power capable of the projection that guarantees the sea lanes, choke points and rimlands.

    The sneering about bitter clinging to God and guns by deplorables betrays, therefore, a fundamental failure to understand the loyalty of especially the celts; and, the horrific geostrategic cost of disaffection. (And yes, I personally derive from the same culture, as is written into my name. I add, we are still facing sobering geostrategic consequences of disaffection of the Syrians and Egyptians from the E Roman Empire by c 600 AD.)

    Yes, thanks to the C19 revolutions in arms technology, firearms today are far more capable than those of the late C18. And, semiautomatic long arms have been on the table since the early semiauto rifles and shotguns at the turn of C20. Intermediate power, low recoil semiauto weapons have been on the table since the Winchester M1 0.30 carbine and that was available in a full auto version since 1944/45. Its range, 200 y is a little low but it is in the relevant ballpark. (And yes, more M1 carbines were manufactured in WW2 than M1 Garands.)

    The MP42 evolved into the MP44 Sturmgewehr using the 7.92 mm x 33 kurtz intermediate cartridge, putting 400 m firepower in the hands of the German rifleman, the first actual modern assault rifle. The Russians followed suit with what we know as the AK47, then after a blind end attempt with the M14 [800 y cartridges are difficult to control on full auto] the M16 emerged as default. We thus see the true assault rifle: selective fire, ~400 y effective range, high capacity magazine infantry rifles. So called assault weapons are not a proper category.

    Semiauto versions of the M16 have become the most popular long gun for civilians in the US, though the 0.223 round is arguably marginal for hunting. And, though it and similar weapons have been used in a rash of highly publicised shootings of people in gun free zones (often by people on psychiatric meds), on overall statistics they are not favoured by criminals. In my homeland for general use, the reason is that they work well as defensive weapons (we had a small scale civil war as part of the Cold War proxy wars) but are too long compared to hand guns etc. In addition, there is a considerable place for 800 – 1200 y weapons, the 6.5 mm Grendel and Creedmoor being key current trends.

    The US has likely over 100 million gun owners, and well over 300 million firearms in civilian hands. Thus there is a deeply entrenched gun culture, one participated in by many present and former military men and police officers. These hold the very firm view that their owning weapons capable of serious defensive use is a bulwark of liberty. And judging by the sort of opposition they have faced, they have a point. A serious confiscation attempt will be a causus belli, instead what we see is part of agit prop to polarise and build momentum for the gradual dismantling of the entire republican system. As the case in the OP so clearly illustrates.

    Going back to threats, I have already argued in this blog that there is a significant soft target threat which points to target hardening by mobilising a broad based organised civilian marshal corps. I have pointed to the Tavor family and to the 6.5 mm Grendel as my favoured weapons, given the short weapon advantage of the bullpup. 800+ yard range also offers overmatch to any likely terrorist weapons. Of course 9mm or a well chosen short PDW would cover other aspects.

    In this, I am pointing to the classic Swiss model and its adaptation.

  36. 36
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, that holocaust rates in the USA may fluctuate makes no difference to the root problem, holocaust, ongoing globally at 1 million per week, with major factions in the US among the global supporters.

    Fluctuate? They have dropped continuously and significantly for the last 40 years. As they have in the rest of North America and Europe. Why shouldn’t we be celebrating this? Isn’t not killing fetuses a good thing? We still have a long way to go but to characterize it as evidence of the fall of civilization simply does not ring true.

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the global rates of that holocaust have evidently hovered at the levels I indicated at least since the 1990’s. As for the US death toll, sixty millions is ten times the Jewish part of the Nazi genocide. The tell on all of this is the refusal to recognise that the acceptable toll of a holocaust is zero. The dehumanisation and mass slaughter of living posterity in the womb under false colour of law and alleged rights is the central civilisation-corrupting evil of our time. Nothing can excuse it. KF

  38. 38
    Ed George says:

    KF@37, the secret about setting goals is to make sure that they are reasonably achievable.

  39. 39
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 37:

    The dehumanisation and mass slaughter of living posterity in the womb under false colour of law and alleged rights is the central civilisation-corrupting evil of our time.

    EG@38:

    KF@37, the secret about setting goals is to make sure that they are reasonably achievable.

    Yeah, KF. Ed has got you there. What is the matter with you? Advocating for a total end to dehumanisation and mass slaughter is totally unreasonable. Urbane and sophisticated materialists like Ed understand that accepting a certain level of dehumanisation and mass slaughter is de rigueur in polite society. After all, all of those dead humans are nothing but particles in motion, not fundamentally different from sea urchins. Or rocks.

    God help us.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, what I hear in what you replied is, in effect oh, let us ameliorate the slave trade and the conditions on the plantations. That’s the reasonable and achievable compromise. That was an actual argument, historically. Such arguments fail to address the core issue: the hardness of our hearts that has tolerated dehumanisation, degradation and an inherently unjust and abusive system. There is a place for amelioration, but that is only a part of the issue, the fundamental moral and spiritual challenge is to become aware enough to see that the matter at stake is the need to remove an evil. And it is a sign of how deeply wicked that we have become as a civilisation when we are collectively more concerned to create false rights that impose ruinous evils than we are to deal decisively with the manifest evil of the worst holocaust in human history, now progressing at about a million further victims per week. KF

    PS: A response on the moral truth question — the underlying corruption of thought issue — awaits you here: https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/logic-and-first-principles-6-reason-rationality-and-responsibility-i-e-moral-government-are-inextricably-entangled/#comment-670790

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, God, help us indeed. KF

  42. 42
  43. 43
    hazel says:

    I believe that Ed has said that he is not a materialist nor an atheist. (I think that’s correct.) Rejoinders that rail at materialism aren’t exactly on point in replying to Ed, perhaps.

  44. 44
    Barry Arrington says:

    Hazel

    I believe that Ed has said that he is not a materialist nor an atheist.

    And yet he hews to the materialist line every chance he gets. False flag.

  45. 45
    Ed George says:

    KF, BA and Hazel just above.

    Hazel is correct. I am not a materialist or an atheist. But I am a realist and a pragmatist.

    My problem with KF’s solution to abortion is that not only can it not succeed, but it will not even reduce the number of abortions. The main reason for this is that all he has done is rail against the evil holocaust of abortion without providing any real solutions.

    Yes, you could make abortions illegal again and that will cause a dip in the abortion rate, for a short time. Within a few years the underground network of back-alley abortionists will become re-established. KF’s goal will not be achieved unless you incarcerate every woman who gets pregnant. I’m sure that nobody is advocating for this.

    The way to make a real difference is to reduce the demand for abortion. This is done through education, access to contraception and real, concrete support for pregnant women. If anyone thinks this makes me an evil person, tell that to the hundreds of thousands of babies that have not been aborted in jurisdictions that have adopted these (and additional) approaches.

  46. 46
    ET says:

    OK, now there isn’t any doubt at all that Ed George is in fact William spearshake/ acartia bogart. The above comment is the EXACT SAME as what those other sock puppets have posted here @ UD.

    Look, this is the 21st century. If men an women are too stupid to understand what happens when they have unprotected sex then that is their own ignorance. And yes they should have to pay dearly for it.

    Every woman getting an abortion should be sterilized. The same for the guy who did it. And there should be fines or jail time.

    And if abortions become illegal and women go into those back allies then that too is their decision.

  47. 47
    ET says:

    And I, for one, do not care what Ed says he is or is not. His posts say it all.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    EG & H: As a note, we live in an age where evolutionary materialistic scientism (aka naturalism) holds disproportionate and ill founded ideological and message dominance. We were all influenced by it in school , in the media, in books we read and on the streets. The issue is not just strict materialism but enabling fellow-travellers. That then bleeds over into how issues such as truth, IS vs OUGHT, linked views and policies are argued. One key tell is conformity to the dominant but indefensible, e.g. relativism or subjectivism and whatever fashionable cultural marxist push-points are currently on the agenda. To address all of these we need to understand truth, logic, warrant, self-evident first or yardstick principles and the point that there are indeed moral truths: truths that accurately identify what ought to be and what ought not to be as opposed to what we morally governed creatures may or may not do and say. I should add that scientism is indefensible starting with that the claim that science rightly delimits, defines or dominates serious knowledge is an epistemological and/or ethical, thus philosophical claim. It refutes itself. Similarly, it is easy to show that evolutionary materialism is self-referentially incoherent as it entails that mind reduces to blind computation on a material substrate driven by mechanical necessity and chance, undermining rational inference. Of course adherents and fellow travellers usually get away with it because they project the problems to those they oppose, while not taking seriously the self-referentiality involved. So, we really do need to go back to logic and first principles if we are ever to get things straightened out without having our civilisation go over a cliff and break its back — as happened with classical civilisation. KF

  49. 49
    Ed George says:

    ET

    OK, now there isn’t any doubt at all that Ed George is in fact William spearshake/ acartia bogart. The above comment is the EXACT SAME as what those other sock puppets have posted here @ UD.

    I hope you realize that a large percentage (possibly a majority) of the western world believe that educatiion, access to birth control and support for women who become pregnant are successful strategies to combat the abortion problem. And many of these people are theists. Are all of these people the socks you refer to?

    Every woman getting an abortion should be sterilized. The same for the guy who did it. And there should be fines or jail time.

    And if abortions become illegal and women go into those back allies then that too is their decision.

    Interesting approach, although a little on the heartless and draconian side. I would be interested to hear if BA and KF agree with you.

    And, just for the record, I never provided my opinion on the legal access to abortion. For what it is worth, I think they should be available under very restrictive circumstances. Things like rape, incest and when the woman’s life is at risk.

  50. 50
    ET says:

    Ed, stop it. You use the SAME words and arguments as those aforementioned sock puppets.

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, pragmatism is exactly a case in point of relativism and its grave logical, epistemological and ethical defects. Many things “work” precisely because they express or enable dominant evils. Likewise, in logic of science, On theory T, observations O follow, so we infer T is so or effectively so is in fact utterly fallacious by way of affirming the consequent. To then dilute truth from that which says of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not, to “it works (for me/us)” corrupts a key concept. Yes, in science we address weak form fallible knowledge on inference to best current explanation, but that is to get something tested and reliable enough to risk much on it, it is provisional. Further, when we come to dehumanising the weak and voiceless members of our race then abusing power to do what we will with them up to killing them at will, that principle works for the powerful but is utter raw nihilism. That is why millions are turning their eyes away from the cumulative holocaust of 800+ millions and growing at another million per week. I repeat, the acceptable rate of victims for a holocaust is exactly zero victims per week. That is the sound principle, educational basis on which a good answer will eventually be found. KF

  52. 52
    ET says:

    And Ed, I don’t care that you are acartia bogart/ William spearshake. It is just bad form to be here pretending to be an ID supporter.

    “Oh look at me! I am pretending to be one of them! And because of that they aren’t banning me for using the same arguments I did as an overt evo a-mat!!1!! I have exposed their double-standards!!!11!!!1!!1 And I am now an atbc swamp hero!11!!!!1!”

    I can’t wait for you to come out and post your victory speech

  53. 53
    Ed George says:

    KF@51, but pragmatism is not the sole purvey of relativism. Prohibition was an attempt to avoid the negative impacts on people and society of drinking. But it didn’t work. Instead, a pragmatic approach was used. The legalization and regulation of alcohol was in no way a case of government condoning it. Many governments crossed that line when they started selling it themselves.

    As with you and Barry, I dream of the day when there are no abortions. But simply making it illegal alone is a failed strategy. All it does is drive it underground, where it was before the Supreme Court decision. But legal restrictions in addition to other strategies can make a big difference, as we have seen in many jurisdictions.

    I would be interested to know how you would go about getting the abortion rate down to zero. At this point I am not looking for a detailed plan, just the top four or five pillars in your plan. I think it would make for an interesting discussion.

    ET

    And Ed, I don’t care that you are acartia bogart/ William spearshake. It is just bad form to be here pretending to be an ID supporter.

    Your obsession with this guy cannot be healthy.

  54. 54
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    Your obsession …

    Again with the total lack of self-awareness. But thanks for admitting that you are a sock puppet’s sock.

  55. 55
    Seversky says:

    If you really want to end abortions except in the case of medical emergencies then simply making them illegal will not work based on past experience. It will simply drive them underground again with all the known consequences. Reducing them to a bare minimum will take three-pronged approach.

    First, there should be free and unfettered access to all safe methods of birth control and freely available education in how to use them effectively.

    Second, in my view, the proper objection to abortion should be based on asserting the right to life of a human individual as applying from the earliest stage at which it is detectable. Ultimately, abortion will end when everyone concerned recognizes that a blastocyst, embryo, fetus, whatever is just as human when it comes to deserving the right to life as a fully-developed adult.

    Third, in the case of pregnancy, there are two sets of rights to be considered and respected, those of the child and those of the mother. Traditionally, it is the rights of women as human beings that have been denied or disrespected. Many of the women driven to seek back-street abortions in the past did so out of a real fear of being shamed, shunned and de-privileged by their – often religious – societies. And is there any doubt that such attitudes still prevail in the more conservative and religious sectors of society? Changing those attitudes will make a significant contribution to reducing the demand for abortions. If that’s what you really want.

  56. 56
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed George:
    “[Making abortions illegal”] will not even reduce the number of abortions”
    Let’s go with that logic Ed:
    [Making murders illegal] will not even reduce the number of murders
    [Making rapes illegal] will not even reduce the number of rapes
    [Making robberies illegal] will not even reduce the number of robberies
    [Making kidnapping illegal] will not even reduce the number of kidnappings . . .
    Blah blah blah
    First, your logic is flawed. Making abortion illegal will most certainly reduce the number of abortions. Your assertion to the contrary is just that, a mere assertion based on abortion industry talking points.
    Second, your logic could be used to keep literally anything legal, no matter how heinous. Do you want to legalize rape? Just assert “Keeping rape illegal does nothing to reduce rape; it just drives rape underground.” Well, certainly it drives rape underground; but the assertion that subjecting an activity to severe penalties will have absolutely no affect on its incidence is idiotic, and assumes one’s listeners are stupid.
    Third, it just doesn’t matter, because even if it were true that making abortion illegal would not reduce the number of abortions (as idiotic as that assertion is), we should still make abortion illegal for the same reason that even if it were true that keeping murder illegal would not reduce the number of murders, we should still keep murder illegal.
    The bottom line is that Ed is OK with destroying innocent human life.

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev and EG, the issue is: dehumanisation and imposition of will to power over the weak and voiceless, to the extent of taking their lives at will under false colour of law. This is so corrosive to sound governance and the good of the community that it is only sustained through systematic manipulation of perceptions and suppression of the truth. The question, then, is how much damage will it wreak before we realise what is happening and wake up from our collective stupor in the cave of shadow-shows. We are playing with social system collapse, with nukes potentially on the loose. That is how ill-advised our civilisation is, and the sort of unravelling of the delicate fabric of sound governance we see in the OP is a sign that things do not look good. KF

    PS: Things already had to be pretty far gone by 1972/3 for the Judges to feel they could legislate from the bench and to feel social permission to impose such an especially ruinous policy. There is a reason why framers of modern states pulled well back from the sort of oligarchic and autocratic law making power that came down from Rome, making law makers accountable to the voting public and making judges distinct from law-makers. The best answer ties that to trends from the 1920’s or even earlier and with sharp acceleration across the 1960’s.

  58. 58
    Ed George says:

    BA

    First, your logic is flawed. Making abortion illegal will most certainly reduce the number of abortions.

    I guess you also missed the part where I said there would be an initial drop in abortions until the underground network was established.

    Your assertion to the contrary is just that, a mere assertion based on abortion industry talking points.

    No, it is based on our best estimates of abortion rates prior to Roe.

    The bottom line is that Ed is OK with destroying innocent human life.

    And I guess you also forgot that I said that I was in favour of making abortion illegal, except under very limited circumstances (eg, rape, incest and the danger of death to the mother).

    Legal restrictions would be one of the pillars of my approach, along with education, access to birth control and support for women who have unplanned pregnancies.

    With regard to your absurd comparisons to rape and murder, Are you seriously suggesting that it is these laws and punishment alone that act as a deterrence. to rape and murder? I would suggest that educating children as to why they are wrong and making tools available for self defense are equally important.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the comparisons are not absurd as the law is itself a teacher. Where, the law patently should not dehumanise the weak, vulnerable and voiceless then subject them to taking their lives at will. KF

  60. 60
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed:

    No, it is based on our best estimates of abortion rates prior to Roe.

    You really must thing we are stupid. The abortion industry’s “estimate” of rates before Roe is pulled from their ass. You have no way to back your numbers up.
    Ed @ 45:

    Yes, you could make abortions illegal again . . . I’m sure that nobody is advocating for this

    Ed @ 58

    And I guess you also forgot that I said that I was in favour of making abortion illegal,

    You are damned liar.
    No one should be surprised. You are OK with the destruction of human life on a mass scale. Lying is several steps down the moral ladder from that.

  61. 61
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, the comparisons are not absurd as the law is itself a teacher. Where, the law patently should not dehumanise the weak, vulnerable and voiceless then subject them to taking their lives at will. KF

    I certainly agree with the last part of this comment. Which is why I said that I was in favour of restricting abortion access to very specific and rare situations (rape, incest and when the woman’s life is at risk).

    But I have to disagree with you about BA’s comparison of this to laws against rape and murder. If the laws and the punishments associated with them were all that was needed to prevent these crimes, there would be no murders in states that have and use the death penalty. Yet murder rates in states with the death penalty are, if anything, slightly higher than those without it.

    But, his comparison to rape is probably more appropriate. Rape has been illegal for as long as I have been alive. Why is that? Because we are taught from an early age that the strong don’t take advantage of the weak. My parents, and I am sure yours as well, would get very angry with us if we had hit a girl. But even with that, the prosecution of rape is often problematic due to the stigma often linked to the victim for “allowing herself” to be placed in that situation (blame the victim). Slowly, this is changing.

    However, there was a category of rape that was perfectly legal in some states until 1993. Up until that year a man was perfectly within his rights in some states to have forced sex with his wife. We have made advances in this by extending rape laws to married couples and by educating people that marriage doesn’t mean subjugation of the woman to the man.

    In short, success takes more than just law. It also takes education. Abortion is the same. Changing the law alone will not succeed. We must also have strategies to 1) significantly reduce unwanted pregnancies and 2) significantly lessen the hardships for women who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy.

    I hope that this has clarified my position. For some reason, probably due to me poorly presenting my opinions, I think that you and BA have misunderstood what I have been trying to say. I suspect that we agree more than we disagree on this issue.

  62. 62
    Eugen says:

    With proper information people can form good opinions

    https://youtu.be/0xWQHhqOAcg

  63. 63
    Ed George says:

    Eugen, great point, and great video. That is what I have been trying to say. Information is power. If we want to make a difference in the abortion issue we have to make sure that people, especially kids, are provided with accurate and non-preachy information. Have faith in them that they will make the right decisions.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, you have tilted at a strawman caricature. Notice, in this very thread, there have been educational points raised on the suppressed issues and on the corrosive implications and connexions that lead to civilisation-damaging results. FYI, for 100 years after the abolition of the slave trade the Royal Navy maintained an anti-slavery patrol off W Africa. FYFI, there are entire social systems that routinely educate and train people from childhood in responsible civility that steer them away from rape, murder, pillage etc. In short, no-one imagines that words on paper are self-enforcing, or that direct policing is enough. Our civilisation has made a grave blunder that enables holocaust under false colour of law rising at about a million more victims per year, cumulatively 800+ millions over 40+ years . . . and those numbers come from Guttmacher and the UN, with a conservative growth model. I have seen estimates that show the cumulative toll is nearly double that, but I can back the estimate with a known conservative calculation. These issues and the raw visual “who broke the baby” and even the “here is the baby in the womb” facts are routinely suppressed and marginalised for a reason. All of these connect to undermining of truth, right reason, justice and more, including undermining the understanding of the sacredness and worth of human life itself. Once robbed of life, one has no further ability to enjoy one’s rights, to rob me of life is to rob me of everything else, a whole world is snuffed out. KF

  65. 65
    ET says:

    Ed George-

    This is the 21st century. Everyone has access to the information. Ignorance is not a virtue.

  66. 66
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF alludes to ancient wisdom from the Talmud:

    Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

    Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)

    Ed gives us made-up-five-minutes-ago pop psychology:

    we have to make sure that people, especially kids, are provided with accurate and non-preachy information.

  67. 67
    john_a_designer says:

    Secular progressivism has one overarching purpose and goal: to demonize and vilify anybody who believes in, follows or defends what are now derided as traditional moral values. For example:

    Family — once a beautiful joint enterprise of people overcoming differences between the sexes to support each other and their children — came to symbolize weakness, not joy. For far too many feminists, marriage is a patriarchal ploy, and love itself is manipulative. Kate Millett, author of the 1970 feminist classic Sexual Politics, wrote:

    “The concept of romantic love affords a means of emotional manipulation which the male is free to exploit. . . . Romantic love also obscures the realities of female status and the burden of economic dependency.”

    The birth-control pill, which permanently broke the link between sex and children, has irreparably changed our mores, too. Prior to the Pill, casual sex could not be quite so casual because sex usually meant the possibility of children. Men and women knew this and acted accordingly. Without any link between sex and having children, marriage’s ability to keep spouses together to nurture any resulting children became weaker.

    Childless sex and a casual approach to sex and relationships do more than fuel the #MeToo movement. They make it more difficult for women and men, especially those who do not engage in casual sex, to form families. They are the ones who have higher demands in relationships. Those who see one path to family through lifelong marriage are in a minority and will find it harder to compete in the relationship market.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/settle-down-lean-in-unhelpful-advice-to-young-women/

    Of course, abortion exists because birth control is not 100% reliable.

    And, the truth is the push to legalize “same sex marriage” was never motivated by the belief that marriage is something good, rather it was seen by activists as nothing more than a cynical tactic to further undermine society’s moral foundations. Foundations that secular progressives see as obsolete and oppressive.

    Tragically people on my side of the issue have been either asleep or spineless when trying to counter the leftist agenda.

  68. 68
    Ed George says:

    ET

    This is the 21st century. Everyone has access to the information. Ignorance is not a virtue.

    Yet some (look in a mirror) act like it is. 🙂

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, cheap rhetorical shot. Kindly, consider its self-referential aspects i/l/o what you have clearly been enabling above. KF

  70. 70
    ET says:

    Ed George:”

    Yet some (looks in a mirror) act like it is.

    Yes, you sure do. 😀

  71. 71
    Mung says:

    Why doesn’t he just advocate for creating more states?

  72. 72
    Ed George says:

    Mung

    Why doesn’t he just advocate for creating more states?

    It is legally possible, but does anyone want the country to be more Balkanized than it is now? We have to get past the polarizing nature of modern times, where one side believes that all progressive ideas are bad and the other believes that all conservative ideas are backwards thinking. Change is inevitable. We all have an obligation to participate in the discussions about how change will proceed and, in some cases, if it will proceed. This cannot happen when nobody listens to anyone who has a different idea.

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