Thursday, May 10, 2007

Getting Political

I don't typically delve into politics on my blog. I'll rant and rave about certain issues, but a quick click on my "Politics" label reveals that I've done 17 posts labeled "politics" since I started this blog in '04. And none, until my little 5-line post,Right to Life, abbreviated, was directed at G.W. Bush.

While that post only generated 21 comments (paltry!), it managed to spawn a number of posts and comments on other blogs all rooted in the fact that, to some, mine was a strawman argument.

Well, I've commented at those sites, but since it was my post that started the whole stinking thing (even though it was really Grapes 2.0 who started it), I'm going to bring it on home.

I stand by the point of my post: Bush saying he won't use taxpayer dollars for the destruction of human life is an outright lie. He is with Iraq. Case closed. That point cannot be argued.

Unless, of course, you begin a new argument debating whether abortion and war can be compared. Then you can argue.

But you're not arguing about what I said. You're on a tangent. One that has nothing to do with me, because I didn't compare abortion to war. In order to tie my post to an argument about abortion vs. war, you have to first begin a discussion about what Bush meant. He didn't mean what he said. He didn't say it right. He meant innocent lives. Oh, wait, that doesn't work either. He meant unborn innocent lives. Yeah, that's it. That's what he meant. Strawman!

Sorry, you lose this one. Classic debate structure: Did Bush say he will veto any measures that “allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life"? Yes, check. Has he, in fact, allowed taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life? Yes, check. Two truths equal true. Game over.

Now, let's say I did get into the tangental debate over whether abortion and war can be compared. Were I to do that, here's what I'd say (and did say, somewhat, over at Law Wench's):

I have about as much respect for pro-lifers who support war as I do for anti-war, tree-hugging pro-choicers. And of the former crowd, I'm particularly curious as to how those who base their pro-life stance in religion (as W does) can somehow justify the concept of collateral damange.

To me the two things absolutely are related. If enlisted U.S. military personnel and terrorists were truly the only ones getting killed, like they were stuck in a big paintball complex with real bullets, this would be a different argument (though still, I don't see an asterisk and disclaimer after Thou Shalt Not Kill). But innocent lives are being lost every single day because of the war. Innocent lives who, to paraphrase Wench, do not volunteer to be killed nor have they brought it on themselves to be killed. How are those innocent lives different from unborn lives? What differentiates them? Birth. That's it. That's the only difference. One group was (un)lucky enough to be born. Those lives are worth every single bit as much as yours, mine, Ws, or anyone else's on the planet, born or unborn. They're related.

21 comments:

Joe the Troll said...

Well, to some people, no one is innocent if they're from a certain country or practise a certain religion. Remember, it's not fair to judge ALL Christians by the actions and words of Fred Phelps, but it IS fair and proper to judge all Muslims on the actions and words of Osama Bin Laden. Or something like that. (I'm speaking of an attitude I've seen in a lot of places, I'm not ascribing it to a particular individual.)

In other news...


What I find amazing is that someone who claims to respect you would snub your explanation of what your argument was in favor of her own interpretation. I guess different people have different definitions of the word "respect." As far as I'm concerned, the arguments against you are the true strawman arguments, because they rely on asserting that you said what you didn't say.

Paula said...

Joe nailed it. The people who are incorrectly calling your other post a strawman argument are MAKING a strawman argument in the process. It's very funny. The statement that only volunteer troops and terrorists are dying in Iraq is so astonishingly stupid that I can't believe anyone wrote it.

PJ said...

Good post.

About this: "The arguments against you are the true strawman arguments, because they rely on asserting that you said what you didn't say."

Oh my. This is scary but I think I have Joe in my head--because I was going to write this EXACT thing about what the true strawman is in this situation.

Not only that, but I must also have UV in my head because she wrote the rest of what I was going to say.

"Joe, move over asswipe, you're crowding me."

"UV you may be a girl but I can still hit you and I will."

God, now they're having conversations in my head. MAKE THEM STOP.

Joe the Troll said...

Hey! I'd only hit her if she hit me first, or tried to steal my boiled goat innards.

JennyJinx said...

Amen, brother!

gekko said...

I don't see an asterisk and disclaimer after Thou Shalt Not Kill

If one believed that all religious beliefs are absolute, and absolutely agreed upon the meaning/intention of the commandment you quote, you'd have a point. Point of fact -- the original Hebrew for that commandment, and the understanding of a large portion of the major Christian denominations with respect to the meaning/intent behind that commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Murder". Kill in the sense of taking a life illegally. Even God killed or commanded his children to kill in his name, after all, long after he handed those commandments to Moses and said "make it so."

That was the loophole that bazillions of Jews and Christians have used throughout time to justify killing -- state sanctioned killing. That's the asterisk your copy of the Bible failed to provide.

Remember, to thump a snippet of the Bible, you need to thump the entire Bible, including the bits you may not agree with.

Jeff Kos said...

Your points are well-taken, Gek. But while I'm certainly aware of God killing and commanding his children to kill, I'm not aware of any mention of collateral damage. In other words (and my bible-study days are a bit behind me, so I admit I may be wrong), I don't recall God sanctioning the killing of innocent people. He sanctioned the killing only of people he believe needed to die because, to oversimplify, they weren't living according to his Word.

Sour Grapes said...

Murder isn't murder just because it's illegal. The state cannot make murder okay just by passing a law that says it is. And as far as what a large part of the Christian denominations thinking it should be "murder" -- how come we're only hearing about this now? It's been Thou Shalt Not Kill as long as I've been aware, and it still is, everywhere but America.

Sour Grapes said...

Besides it wasn't me what started it, it was some other guy on the Innertubes. Blame him, not me.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheezy said...

Funny how some people always look for a bit of 'wiggle room' to justify the kinda murders they're comfortable with (usually of people thousands of miles away, who don't look like them), while still condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the other sort (usually of people rather closer to home).

On the other hand, Jeff, I found your post to be morally infallible.

Jeff Kos said...

Holy crap, Cheezy... morally infallible? I can honestly say that combination of words has never been used to describe me in my life. That's it. I'm taking the day off and going to the beach! Oh, wait, we don't have beaches in Colorado. Damn!

Cheezy said...

Hey ~ it was just that one post, Jeff! I'm sure you won't do it again ;-)

Don said...

I don't recall God sanctioning the killing of innocent people

I'm no scholar by any means but I immediately thought of Job's children, etc. Not to mention there were surely children in both Sodom and Gomorrah. So clearly, even in a righteous cause, innocents will suffer and die, but the cause being righteous makes the damage collateral and regrettable rather than self-serving and evil. Now if everyone would just agree on which is which ...

Don said...

(usually of people thousands of miles away, who don't look like them)

Where does this come from? Did we kill Germans less aggressively than Japanese? Do Arabs really look so much different from say Hispanics (which is a very American genotype)? Are we cooking up machinations against India that we never would against Russia? I've just never seen any truth underpinning this common yet entirely baseless hint at racism.

Don said...

we don't have beaches in Colorado

Dude.

Jeff Kos said...

Most of those are reservoirs, Don, not lakes, and I'm not down with the man-made swimming hole, you dig?

Joe the Troll said...

I saw Cheezy's comment in a different light, Don. For instance, when an Iraq family was driving up to a checkpoint, in order to get away from heavy fighting, and American soldiers blasted the hell out of them without any real provocation. A two year old girl caught a bullet between the eyes. Since they were in Iraq, and were Iraqis, it was an "accident". Never mind the fact that absolutely nothing that an innocent Iraqi family shoudn't have was found in the vehicle, never mind that a 2 year old girl should not be easily mistaken for a terrorist. Would we be so forgiving if it had been an American family blown away by the cops, who shot first and asked questions later?

Another good example is the Marines who seem to have raped a teenage girl, then killed her and her family to cover it up. I've actually spoken to people who see their arrest as an example of "how the liberals won't let them do the job they were sent there to do." Only because this was an Iraqi family would they defend rape and murder.

gekko said...

Funny how some people always look for a bit of 'wiggle room' to justify the kinda murders they're comfortable with

I'm with ya there, Cheez. But then, people will always look for a bit of wiggle room to justify most anything they are comfortable with, while denouncing "the other guys' way."

Mark said...

(though still, I don't see an asterisk and disclaimer after Thou Shalt Not Kill)


The commandment appears in the original text of Deuteronomy as "Thou shall not murder".

In the King James Bible, it is written as "Thou shall not kill".

The difference is hardly semantics. In Judaism, the sanctity of life is considered the single most important tenet.

But one is not beholden to a "turn the other cheek" mentality if one's life, or that of another, is threatened.

Murder is the unlawful taking of a life. Killing is killing, period.

Sometimes, there is wiggle room in that commandment, if it means acting in self-defense or the defense of others (and I'm not referring to anyone's comments here about Iraq).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Variations_between_Exodus_and_Deuteronomy

Cheezy said...

Don ~ yep, Joe's interpreted my comment accurately.