The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What To Think Of Kevin Drum

Posted on | August 9, 2014 | 42 Comments

by Smitty

He ends his Mother Jones piece on abortion with:

So don’t tell me that all the conservative Christians in DesJarlais’ district believe that abortion is murder. They may say they believe it. They may even sincerely think they believe it. But they don’t.

I wouldn’t want to get all arrogant and presume to know what people in Tennessee think. Nor would I care to sound so certain about Drum himself: this is the internet, and people make all kinds of strong assertions due to sincere belief, to stir the pot, to vent, to laugh, to drive traffic.

For me, abortion is murder because there is no logically consistent point (as opposed to legally consistent) after a human’s DNA is complete at which to declare them “life”. The motives for allowing some legal fiction to creep in seem kinda fishy.

via HotAir headlines

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  • RS

    No where is does personal expediency trump philosophical consistency more than abortion. Whenever this is a discussion, I can bring it to an immediate halt by asking the first question: What is this “thing” we are allowing to be destroyed?”

    The answer is either “Human Life” or “Not Human Life.” We either know with absolute certainty one way or the other, or we do not. Abortion is only tenable if a) this thing being destroyed is not human life and b) we know that with absolute certainty. I’ve yet to meet a “pro-choice” person who can say with absolute-you’d-risk-your-own-life-certainty that the product of conception is not human.

  • http://ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    What to think of Kevin Drum? As little as possible.

  • Art Deco

    So don’t tell me that all the conservative Christians in DesJarlais’
    district believe that abortion is murder. They may say they believe it.
    They may even sincerely think they believe it. But they don’t.

    What he’s telling you is that he does not know any ‘conservative Christians’ and does not care to learn anything about them or pay what they say any mind. Just remember though, that it’s the people over the wall who are engaged in ‘epistemic closure’.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • Squid Hunt

    They think they believe it, but they don’t. Brilliant.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    #TheScienceIsSettled

  • kilo6

    He begins his article with a false choice

    Do anti-abortion activists really think abortion is murder? Or is their opposition merely an expression of their broad discomfort with modern sexual and gender mores?

    According to this I can’t simultaneously believe abortion is murder and believe Wilhelm Reich, Franz Boas and Margret Mead were not only full of s#!t, but changed the world for the worse.

    Next comes some wishful thinking

    I guess I don’t share Kilgore’s befuddlement, since I’ve never really believed that much of anyone really, truly thinks that abortion is murder.

    Must be true since he writes for Mother Jones

    —-

    So, is Kevin Drum’s head as empty as a drum or is he deliberately misleading his readers and preaching to the choir?

  • kilo6

    Oops, format fail, must need more caffeine

  • RS

    Yet even Paglia–whom I generally like, even though I disagree with much of what she believes–misses the greater philosophical point. She claims that somehow the taking of an innocent human life is acceptable because of a greater “right” or “good” that is being protected. That way lies madness. It is the basis for every genocide the world has known during its recorded history. While she is indeed honest–refreshingly so, actually–she nonetheless ultimately espouses an ethic of pure, undiluted power of the strong over the weak and innocent. How she and others like her can claim the moral high ground is, indeed, a mystery.

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  • richard mcenroe

    When the first woman gives birth to a cocker spaniel, I’ll believe that foetus is just a clump of cells. Until then, it’s a human being, for all that it still has some growing to do.

  • richard mcenroe

    What he’s telling you is that he’s so much smarter than them he can tell you what they’re REALLY thinking even when they’re not really thinking it.

  • Commissar Kirov

    Starting from an false premise leading to a disasterous conclusion.

  • Ghost

    Well, using this metric, we know that drum is not against cronyism, murdering Mexicans, assassinating Americans, bombing all the brown people, and he’s definitely not against making sure black children in DC get the absolute worst education. After all, he supports Obama, right? He’s not against being against gay marriage, as he supported Obama in 08. He’s not against the state spying on everyone with no warrant. He’s not against the militarization of the police, and he is absolutely 100% behind Obama’s plan to go after all the medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

    In other words, we know he’s a leftist and a hypocrite, but I repeat myself.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Typical leftist projection. They don’t understand it, so they can’t believe that anyone else would believe it.

  • http://articlefiveprocess.com/ K-Bob

    I’d guess it’s because he’s conflating the technical term, “murder,” with the general concept, “kill.”

    To “kill” is to take a life under extenuating circumstances.

    Extenuating circumstances involve things like:  * Self defense,  * war,  * emergency surgery to save a baby, but   &nbspwhich will likely kill the mother  * capital punishment  * tactical decisions in extreme, near-war situations    (blowing up a car to get one high-value target    might take the life of an innocent driver)

    Murder is the unlawful taking of a life where those sorts of extenuating circumstances are not present.

    So one may argue the technical merits of declaring abortion to be equal to murder, and both sides may have very good cases to bring to bear.

    The sleazebag move by Drum is the conflation of the two concepts (even without necessarily mentioning the word “kill) intentionally, in order to defame or distort the issue.

    Conservatives might well argue over whether it’s murder. But I know of no conservatives who would argue that a human life is ended in an abortion.

    Every abortion ends a human life, Mr. Drum. Every single one of them.

  • Art Deco

    “I’m smarter than you; I’m better than you” are bog standard components of portside discourse. Implicit or explicit, stated in terms of self-congratulation or in terms of denunciation of the Other, it’s there. Among the few in the topical commentary business who avoid it are Glenn Loury and Harold Pollack. Otherwise, you expect it. It corrupts the work of serious social researchers like Mark Lilla, who find it necessary to flash these little signs in their commentary (say, an off-hand insult directed at Sarah Palin). For some of them, including academics in a public role, there isn’t much but self-aggrandizement.

  • Buffalobob

    Every abortion ends a human life, Mr. Drum. Every single one of them.

    And the vast disproportional number of the babies are black or Hispanic. What is lost to the minority communities is eugenics-based racial discrimination is rampant and perpetuated by the prog/liberal leaders.

  • Julie Pascal

    Even “murder” is not one particular concept. It goes all the way from “negligent homicide” to “premeditated torture killings.”

    Saying “yes, abortion is murder” does not mean that a person is equating it to a premeditated torture killing or demanding that anyone who had one or performed one should be rounded up and put in jail.

    The “if it was murder we’d have to pro-actively make sure no woman ever miscarried and we’d have to jail women who weren’t careful enough and miscarried” argument is always presented as such a *logical* zinger…

    Someone over there was also “logically zinging” the idea that fetuses have a right to physical support from their mothers with “Well if a living thing can demand to be kept alive by others… I can demand your bone marrow then… hand it over!”

    So, tossing pearls before swine I stuck my nose in and said, “Only if my freely chosen actions caused your leukemia.”

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Nietzscheans are like that.

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  • Jeanette Victoria

    Sadly it it were a cute puppy liberals would want to save it

  • Pelosi Schmelosi

    Obama on Human Rights: Above My Pay Grade

  • Anon Y. Mous

    For me, abortion is murder because there is no logically consistent point (as opposed to legally consistent) after a human’s DNA is complete at which to declare them “life”. The motives for allowing some legal fiction to creep in seem kinda fishy.

    There is a logic to saying that there is no personhood before the brain starts to develop in the embryo. That is the standard used when determining if someone has died: has brain death occurred.

    But, the development of the brain starts to occur very early in the pregnancy, around the 3rd week, I believe. Realistically, that logic would pretty much limit abortions to the morning after pill, since otherwise by the time the woman realizes she is pregnant, it will already be past week 3.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Come on, Squid!…do I have to think of him at all? I mean, it’s the damn weekend, Boss.

  • Nan

    Right, because the mother chooses to have a miscarriage.

  • Nan

    No, because human life begins at conception; the morning after pill has the potential to abort a life.

  • Anon Y. Mous

    You don’t seem to be following the conversation. Smitty made the claim that there was no logically consistent point at which one could draw a line after conception. There is a logical argument to be made that something changes once the fetus acquires a brain. Before that point, a logical argument can be made that there isn’t a person there yet, since there can be no individual identity without a brain. One could certainly raise moral objections to the logic, but there is certainly a logical argument to be made for drawing a line at that particular place.

  • Eric Ashley

    I’m a Tennessean, conservative, and represented by DesJarlais.

    Abortion is murder, Mr. Drum, as should be obvious even to a writer from the Atlanic, even with that handicap, you should be able to see the simple logic.

  • Quartermaster

    The argument over abortion is not about personhood, however. It is whether or not the life in the woman’s womb is a human life. That the brain has not developed yet does not enter the argument at all. It is simply a diversion from the argument.

    In actuality the argument is all on the “no life” side. The other side has already accepted it is a human life at conception and the pro-abort side can’t abide the fact that life is a human life.

  • Quartermaster

    Logic in a Leftard? You’re making a very large leap there.

  • Nan

    The only consistent factor is that, for convenience, liberals want government-sanctioned and paid feticide readily available. This is evil and is what had led to calls for euthanasia of the elderly. I’m sorry, they’re calling it assisted suicide but no doubt will become forced suicide so the elderly and infirm, anyone who can’t take care of himself, will be pressured to choose death. Nazis anyone?

  • Anon Y. Mous

    The argument over abortion is not about personhood, however. It is whether or not the life in the woman’s womb is a human life.

    And:
    The other side has already accepted it is a human life at conception […]

    You are not even logically consistent in your own argument from one paragraph to the next. The argument, for many, many people, is whether or not the fetus is to be given the same accord as a person. There is a balancing of the rights of a woman to do what she pleases with her own body vs the rights of that developing fetus. It has long been the desire of the left to abstract away that developing person as a clump of cell; to differentiate it from the baby that will be born at the end of the process.

    So, to the extent that the fetus is a clump of cells, however briefly, is relevant to the argument. What the Left would like everyone to ignore is just how small that window is. However, much as they are dishonest about the issue, it is true that there is a window. There is a period of time that the developing fetus has no brain. The cells of its body have not yet begun to form into a heart, lungs, brain, etc. To some, this is relevant. If you are going to restrict the liberty of the pregnant woman, it has to be in order to protect the rights of another person. Personhood matters.

  • Quartermaster

    If you’re looking for a doctoral dissertation in a short comment, you are going to wait for a long time. I am consistent within the context of the thread.

    When it comes to the argument on abortion, personhood matters not a, lick. Either it is a human life at conception, or it never is. The personhood/brain thing is simply a diversion. It’s a diversion that people such as myself will not chase.

    Abortion is objectively murder as it is the termination of a human life for the simple convenience of the perpetrator.

  • http://articlefiveprocess.com/ K-Bob

    What’s that whooshing noise?

  • http://articlefiveprocess.com/ K-Bob

    Yep. The bone marrow argument is a standard one. I actually had someone use that on me to identify me as being anti-coercion, as if that were the wrong position.

    But the coercion aspect is really what is being debated. Clearly the left doesn’t give a sh*t about ending lives. But they fear being called to account on it.

    Meanwhile, the right frequently fails to keep the coercion aspect out of it.

    The only way to analyze it so that human life is properly respected would be to assume, at conception, that a complete human life has been created.

  • http://articlefiveprocess.com/ K-Bob

    Exactly. While a “commonwealth” may be established for mutual protection and prosperity, no such thing as “the common good” exists.

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  • Julie Pascal

    I hadn’t heard the bone marrow thing before… the logical problem with it seems so blindingly obvious it’s hard to believe lots of people are using it.

    If I’m pregnant (and wasn’t raped) I *caused* that life to be created. That life doesn’t have the right to demand physical support and womb-space from any random person on the street. How absurd! It’s got a right to demand/expect support from *me*.

  • Julie Pascal

    I think Nan was agreeing with me?

  • Peter

    I go weeks at a time without thinking of Kevin Drum and would thank you for allowing me to continue doing just that.