December 15, 2006

Finally, an answer to the single most important question about this blog!

What do you think is the single most important question about this blog? I think it's: If Althouse is a moderate -- as she claims -- then why is she almost almost always picking on liberals and almost never on conservatives? If there's some other question -- not that I necessarily have the answer to it -- let me know. But the point of this post is to answer what I think is the single most important question about this blog: If Althouse is a liberal -- as she claims -- then why is she almost always picking on liberals and almost never on conservatives?

My standard -- inadequate -- response to this question has been something like: My way of blogging is to write about whatever gets my attention, and these are just the things that happened to strike me.

But I now know the answer to the question (and knowing the answer is likely to change what I notice in the future and what I will write about). The key thing about me is that I am -- usually -- writing from my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin. My milieu is thoroughly liberal and even leftist and has been for more than two decades. Things in the news catch my attention because they resonate with my observations in my real world life. I know the way people talk about things around here. I have a sense of how liberal and lefty folks react to things, and I am used to reacting to them. I take them seriously. They are quite real to me. They irritate, amuse, and confound me on a daily basis. I feel the urge to push back.

Conservatives? I don't know them. I know a few, but they are very amiable, moderate souls who -- maybe because they are the ones who choose to live in Madison -- don't say things that resonate with the news stories I read and, consequently, I don't have as vivid a response to the thing I read about conservatives. I don't take them so seriously. They do not irritate, amuse, and confound me in that immediate and real way that would make me feel the urge to push back.

To say to me, why do you write about liberals is like saying why do you write about Americans.

So, you may wonder: Why do I have this insight now? I'll have to answer that later. I've got a writing project that I simply must finish, but those who have been reading the blog the last couple of days have the material to discern the answer.

155 comments:

David said...

Left-wing liberals are long on criticism and short on facts. They are easy targets because of their reliance on big government, other people's money, European socialist ideas, cumbaya foreign policy, a constitution that they love to tune up on a daily basis, reliance on a judiciary involved in social change, dislike of all things military, particularly the money it uses that presumably would be better spent on drugs, and the latest junk science-global warming. They are arrogant caricatures of themselves as the prsumed leaders of the unwashed illiterati that exist outside the hallowed halls of academe like the farmers markets of old set up outside the gates of the castle.

Our fearless Professor would be remiss in not going after such an easy target!

AJ Lynch said...

Uno!

Cause you were surrounded by conservatives in Chitown? Doh!
That can't be right.

Cause you were surrounded by more sensible people than in Madison?

Cause you saw the booming downtown economy in Chicago and many friendly, diligent Hispanic workers and thought "what a great country we live in?

Cause you orderd the Pork Chops at the Weber Gill and thought "damn -red meat is the answer"?

Tim said...

That makes sense, although I had thought (and was hoping) it was because you saw a need for policing your own, as it were.

From my conservative perspective (although my situation is close to, but not analogous to your described milieu), one of the biggest problems for both liberals and conservatives is the failure of participants to restrain their passions, to conduct themselves in an adult manner. Politics is for far too many people an unrestrained exercise in which one's mind is turned off before entering the arena. Some of this is expected due to the passions in which we hold our values, but at another, deeper level it corrodes like acid the glue that should ideally hold us together as Americans. But given that the things over which we argue offer less common ground than issues before, maybe that isn't possible.

Regardless, I enjoy your site, not so much to gain insight to liberals, but rather because it is both informative and enjoyable. It also, in its own way, gives me some faith that the emotionally antagonistic divide between liberals and conservatives in not necessary. Anyway, keep up the good work, and thanks.

Dave said...

Your experience in Madison WI echoes mine in Manhattan: replete with liberals.

You are inured or immune to the Pauline Kael effect. A rare bird, that.

paul a'barge said...

Try living in Austin, TX. Same difference. It's even so bad, that the Austin liberal contingent continues to bash people who live in neighboring towns, as though their neighbors are second-class citizens.

When you're surrounded by DHIMMIcRATs, the whole word looks DHIMMIcRAT.

Here's the deal ... DHIMMIcRATs can dish it out, but they can't take it. That weakness is a fundamental aspect of liberal nature.

MadisonMan said...

So will finding the answer to that question change the tenor of the blog, or will you just be more aware of what you're doing as you do it?

michilines said...

It's simply a last push for votes.

Oh, and a weak one at that :)

Adam Peitz said...

I've lived in all blue states, and I can't recall ever having met a conservative who didn't consider themselves to be a moderate.

For example, one of my coworkers is: a staunch supporter of the iraqi war (still), a supporter of strong executive power, anti-environment, anti-big-government, anti-tax, anti-United-Nations, and anti-mainstream-media. Every day he reads a series of conservative blogs, and shuns all liberal ones. On a few issues (abortion, guns, gay rights) he professes neutrality -- thus he considers himself a moderate. I've tried to convince him that, on average, he's at best a moderate conservative. But he won't accept that.

I know of other examples (for instance, about half my extended family). I don't know if this helps any, Ann, but it puzzles me. I guess people have a tendency to consider themselves more moderate than they truthfully are. It makes sense, right? Most people want to believe they're normal.

I've heard it said that things are pretty contentious now, that there's less concession than there used to be. Maybe this has something to do with that -- a person who believes they're moderate has less reason to make concessions. "If people on either side of me would just compromise, they'd end up where I am..."

bill said...

Speaking generally, without regard to politics or of a specific individual...

What I consider to be the more interesting people usually have a cantankerous need to play devil's advocate.

A) It livens up the conversation--do you understand the issue well enough to argue the other side?

B) Sometimes, the people around you who lean the same way philosophically, don't seem to know why they believe what they believe. This is frustrating and annoying. Tough love is is needed.

C) People tend to be harder on those they know and care about.

SteveR said...

My quick thoughts. You are much more aware of the liberal mindset and performance, you are criticizing from a position of knowledge. Since you have started blogging, the biggest issues have revolved around push back related to policies and actions taken prior to 2003 which have been from the left.

You use the NYT as source material and they often present a liberal perspective on interesting issues which make for good blog posts.

Goesh said...

"...cumbaya foreign policy...unwashed illiterati.."

the best i've read in a long time

Tim, it's better to unleash passions in blogs than at home or at work. I think it's akin to road rage in many repects, though almost totally safe here, other then some hurt feelings with some folks. Nobody likes their sacred cow(s) kicked but what galls the Left and Liberals in general about this blog is they can't dismiss her as one of the unwashed illiterati. It gnaws at them I tell you! (snicker snicker)

Too Many Jims said...

I have always thought that "place" was the most important (but least emphasized) component of character development in a narrative.

boldface said...

Ann, you first realized now that that's what drives much of your commentary? I'm a NYer, in a roughly analogous situation as you, and it's very clear to me that I react as I do as often as I do because I'm surrounded by very leftie people who work off the baseline assumption that all decent thinking people are like them. It was obvious to me after the first few times I read your blog that you're saying many of the things I would because you're in the same situation as I am.

Anonymous said...

I found this phenomenon occurring with myself, as well.

At my (very liberal) college, I'm considered to be a very strong conservative. I'm well known for my (supposed) political beliefs, and since I enjoy arguing, I usually take the conservative side.

However, this past semester, I've been living in DC surrounded by more moderate (more informed) liberals and more conservatives. This has allowed me to define my political beliefs positively (This is what I really think: ) instead of negatively (you hippies are all foolish!). As a result, I've taken much more moderate positions.

I think the other factor relating to moderateness and ideologueness is how informed a person is. Someone who knows the complexities of both sides understands that the answer lies far from the extremes at either end. Of course, this isn't always true, but I think it works as a general rule.

Kirby Olson said...

Ann, I'm in a similar state. In English departments it's probably even crazier than in law departments. Almost everyone has adopted Marxism of all things as a lens through which to study (destroy) literature. I was an anarchist-liberal for years and years and then just couldn't stand it any longer. I saw Bush as a relief from the craziness of my peers.

I think if I was in a small town fire department in Oklahoma I would probably see that milieu as insane, too.

The groupthink! The groupthink!

I find your blog to be so refreshing since it's one of the few places I can go to find a perspective similar to my own. Almost all my friends are actual communists and some of them actually believe that Bush ordered the hit on the WTC.

Somehow I still have lunch with these people but often feel as if I am from Mars listening to these Marxists. How can anybody believe in Marx -- especially in a literature department -- after a century of Marxist governments who specialized in the destruction of the literati of their respective countries? Pol Pot went so far as to destroy EVERY LITERATE PERSON in Cambodia.

It's just baffling. At any rate, maintain steam. You're refreshing.

Derve said...

Goesh: You may be misinterpreting. I think she's saying the more time she spends with conservatives, the less she likes them and the more she understands the need for "pushback"... much as she has been pushing back against the dominant champagne liberal mindset she's surrounded herself with the past 20 years. Maybe change is a coming.

Either that, or she's saying conservatives seem more un-American than liberals. :) To say to me, why do you write about liberals is like saying why do you write about Americans.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I agree that this is a question that occurs to me a lot when I read your blog. I believe you when you say you have liberal opinions and a generally liberal worldview, but then it seems you hold liberals to a higher standard than conservatives in your criticisms. It hasn't stopped me from reading and defending your blog, but I've definitely noticed it and appreciate you're addressing it.

Jeff said...

Unmentioned is that Prof. Althouse is also a Boomer, which puts her in the midst of a lifelong cohort of "left is the default position" peers. I'm an X'er and grew up thinking the liberal Boomer consensus as it appeared in the media was correct and cool. I grew up watching "All in the Family" and "MASH", was taught Beatles songs in elementary school music class, etc. I didn't break with the resulting bien pensant received wisdom until I moved to NYC just prior to the Giuliani clean up.

Now my Texas friends think I'm still left of center but my NY friends all think I'm close to being a brownshirt for having some libertarian beliefs.

I don't always agree with Prof. ALthouse but she seems to arrive at her opinions by thought rather than reflex and that always makes interesting reading!

Fatmouse said...

Derve, you silly shit, she's saying that the vast majority of people she knows are liberals so that skews her perspective when blogging, just like being an American does the same.

Do you wake up in the morning with a mission to be smug?

Goesh said...

Frankly Derve, I would rather hear a tirade from you on how the planet is going to die because of George Bush. When you've got a fat portfolio like I have, you don't have to give a rat's ass what a blogger says or implies or for that matter if your words are correctly spelled and grammar is kosher. I for one appreciate your whining.

Simon said...

I apologize in advance for the off-topic comment...

Adam Peitz said...
"On a few issues (abortion, guns, gay rights) he professes neutrality -- thus he considers himself a moderate."

I find that hard to believe. I have never met anyone who is "neutral" on abortion, and most of the people who consider themselves "moderates" on the issue do so as a fig leaf for that most abhorent of all positions, on the subject, the much-dreaded "personally pro-life politically pro-choice" view. I can buy neutrality on guns. I can buy neutrality on gay rights. But on abortion? No way.

And if I'm wrong, and there are such people, if someone didn't have an opinion on abortion, that person would be a fool. And morally reprehensible. Whichever side you come down on, abortion is an extraordinarily important issue: depending on your convictions about when life begins, either there is a significant-sized (and growing) movement in this country to shackle women with a totally unjustified and massively draconian burden, or there has been a thiry-year holocaust that has claimed in excess of 40,000,000 children's lives. People complain that abortion is too divisive an issue - not me. It should be divisive. This issue is extraordinarily important. From time-to-time, when I'm talking to pro-choice people, I make this point: that I respect their passion for the subject, even though I don't agree with it, for the following reason. If I'm wrong about when life begins, the burden that I would impose on women is horrifying, and absolutely unjustified, and I am a gravely evil person for seeking to make such an imposition. But if you're wrong about abortion, then you are responsible for countless thousands of murders, and you are a profoundly evil person for standing by and letting it happen. This stuff matters. You need to have an opinion on this. If you don't have an opinion, either you don't understand what is at stake -- women's freedom; the freedom of unborn women -- or something is wrong with you.

I can respect someone who disagrees with me on abortion; indeed, in visiting this blog, I do so daily. But someone who professes neutrality? Who claims they don't have an opinion? I don't know what I can say in polite company about such a person.

Derve said...

I would rather hear a tirade from you on how the planet is going to die because of George Bush

That's news to me.
I just vote no confidence in him as protector. Him referring to the Bush team; protector to the country, not individuals
--------
That first part was rather obvious, eh fatmouse. Tell me, do you wake up angry? Your body may be talking to you; stress kills as sure as external terrorists. Crap food too

Simon said...

Derve said...
"I think she's saying the more time she spends with conservatives, the less she likes them and the more she understands the need for 'pushback'..."

I certainly hope not, but I await Part II's revelations...

Tim said...

"Tim, it's better to unleash passions in blogs than at home or at work. I think it's akin to road rage in many repects, though almost totally safe here, other then some hurt feelings with some folks. Nobody likes their sacred cow(s) kicked but what galls the Left and Liberals in general about this blog is they can't dismiss her as one of the unwashed illiterati. It gnaws at them I tell you! (snicker snicker)"

Agreed, and I don't think I was arguing, or intended to argue, against unleashed passions on blogs per se, but rather that such unleashed passions make finding common ground that much more difficult.

My real concern focuses upon the war, and what I believe is the completely self-defeating nature of our politics, which severely binds our ability to wage war.

It is my sincere belief that, as presently constituted and armed, our enemies cannot defeat us on the battlefield, but that they can defeat us by undermining our political will to destroy them before they acquire the weapons necessary to defeat us. And, frankly, I think they are winning the war on that basis, as they are winning their bet we haven't the political will to sustain the fight.

How so? It is apparent to me that far too many people disbelieve we're at war, or disbelieve the intensity of enemy's hatred for us, or disbelieve the enemy's intent to secure the weapons necessary to defeat us. Too many of us behave as if it's 9/10/01, and all the issues that separated us then are more important than the threat of an enemy seeking to destroy us. That, and the completely irrational notion that George Bush and the neocons are the real enemy, and if all we did was defeat them in the elections, EVERYTHING, including the war, would be better.

So, we argue over Bush, we argue over how to fight the war in Iraq and elsewhere, we argue over the Supreme and Appellant Courts, we argue over taxes, we argue over the environment, we seek all possible ways to divide ourselves and, in the final analysis, only the enemy benefits.

Should everyone then just get with the program and shut up? No, of course not, but I do believe folks should be more mindful of what really confronts us, and think more seriously about how we win. Our enemies care not a whit about our positions on Kyoto or the Bush tax cuts...

Anonymous said...

This is a variation on the Kaus Defense. Mickey says that everyone he knows in L.A. is a liberal, subscribes to all PC orthodoxy, etc. In his little world, there are no conservatives, so he’s taking a brave contrarian stance with his hard line immigration stuff, stubborn insistence that the Iraq War could still be deemed a success, and near-constant sniping at Democrats.

While living in a liberal area might explain the urge to set onesself apart, it’s not a license to be a right wing hack, especially if that’s not really where you come down on the issues.

And maybe if you could look beyond the borders of scenic Madison, you would notice that the federal government has been under Republican control for 6 years. In 2004 you did your part to keep it that way, so your claim not to take conservatives seriously rings especially hollow.

This is just a horrendously self-serving and disingenuous explanation for how you’ve somehow been confused with a wingnut.

Pogo said...

I'm in Minnesota, grew up here, in the only state that voted for Mondale over Reagan in 1984, in the only little town considered "conservative" (that just elected an all Democrat slate to federal and state offices). My many siblings send e-mails about how stupid Bush is. My sister was at Wellstone's funeral.

In fact, I am no moderate. I am a conservative, and for lack of other choices opt for Republicans more often than Democrats. When discussing politics with folks at work, the non-liberals have to feel each other out first, then speak only in hushed tones. Friends that saw my Bush lawn sign dropped me for good. So low profile it is.

Once you've been treated as an evil person for believing some things that just a few decades ago were planks in the Democratic Party platform, you begin to see how entrenched the left-liberal view is, and you object.

I don't know if that explains any of Althouse's approach (probably not). Her recent exposure to a conservative group in Chicago may have clarifed how different she is from them as well.

Therfore, she'd be a moderate.

Adam Peitz said...

Simon said...
I have never met anyone who is "neutral" on abortion


In my coworker's defence, I think he does have opinions on these issues, on moral grounds. He's basically anti-abortion and pro-gun, with plenty of caveats.

But that's as a moral understanding. He's very aware that these are highly technical issues, and he's modest about that. He's has no training (legal, medical, etc.), these things take years of study to understand...so he avoids these political conversations.

Maybe it's irresponsible, as a voter, not to have an opinion. But maybe it's also irresponsible to have strong opinions without understanding the situation. (Do you know any opinionated people who have never read the Constitution? I certainly do. Two years ago, I was one of them.)

David said...

GOESH:

I'm with you! I just made $300 daytrading while reading your remarks and those immediately following!

I love Capitalism!

Joseph Hovsep said...

Simon, Its an interesting point you make. I was recently relating to a friend how I thought that abortion politics was similar to animal rights in that respect. There is a general consensus that there is something morally distrubing about abortion, hence the popular support for restrictions of various kinds. There is also a general consensus that animals should not be abused, endure unnecessary pain, should live in some comfort, hence popular support for restrictions on animal abuse and experimentation.

However, the problem with both the animal rights and pro-life positions is that once you accept their premises, its too easy/logical to follow a slippery slope to extreme positions that most people simply don't want to accept, even if they make logical sense (e.g., absolute ban on abortion, no incest/rape exceptions, no killing animals for sport, vegetarianism, etc.). So, I think a lot of people aren't so much neutral on abortion as they are feeling cognitive dissonance and confusion from the competing moral discomfort they feel and the discomfort that comes from accepting the extreme logical consequences of the pro-life position.

BTW, I'm not saying that abortion and animal rights are substantively similar moral issues, just noting the similar practical political problems they face.

Henry said...

Doyle, don't Kaus and Althouse have a good argument that when they spotlighted Kerry's flaws, they were right? He was a lousy candidate. He should have addressed Iraq and national security with clear, direct proposals. If he had done that, he might be president right now.

Anonymous said...

Doyle, don't Kaus and Althouse have a good argument that when they spotlighted Kerry's flaws, they were right?

Where did I say that John Kerry ran an effective campaign? I mean really.

Also, at least Mickey technically endorsed Kerry in the general, and voted for him. Althouse actually thought 4 more years would be a good idea.

peter hoh said...

Well, while we've got our blog diva on the couch (and I use "blog diva" in the most loving way) I'll put out my theory that nothing pisses her off more than people telling her what she should think.

Anonymous said...

I think if a historian 100 years from now wanted to find out what was happening in these tumultuous times in regards to Iraq, torture of detainees - and he/she would go to the blog archives of Kaus, Althouse, and Reynolds - that they would be thoroughly impressed with imminent threats of feet first human shredders, Kerry botched jokes, and that Nancy Pelosi took a whole 2 weeks to fill a position on a committee before she took office. These were terribly important things, and I’m just glad the Chroniclers of Truth were there to report it to us. Truly great stuff.

A Menken Moment said...

Pogo said,

Once you've been treated as an evil person for believing some things that just a few decades ago were planks in the Democratic Party platform, you begin to see how entrenched the left-liberal view is, and you object.

Absolutely! I guess I'll have to give younger people the benefit of the doubt and believe that they do not realize this. But when somebody (I assume a youngster) slings around words like "brownshirt" to describe people who support what the Democratic Party supported before 1968--civil rights but not affirmative action, a firm commitment to containing a determined foreign aggressor, a positive understanding of national security, a welfare state but without the tinge of identity politics and the demands for reparations, no clamor for abortion on demand--contempt is difficult to suppress. When a fellow my age remembers all the movies about Nazi Germany, from Krystallnacht to the ovens, that used to run on TV, he must believe that those who today so blithely use this word to describe American conservatives are either tragically ignorant or criminally deranged. Add to that the fact that in those earlier years when the real brownshirts were raging, it was the Left that was calling everybody's attention to the fate of the Jews but that now some on the Left are joining in the clamor for denying the Holocaust just so that some theocratic(!) maniacs can make it come true, then the smell of sinister hypocrisy surpasses contempt.

America needs both a liberal and a conservative party; each serves as a check to the excesses of the other. But the far left component of the liberal side acts only to tear things down. I see few constructive ideas among either liberals or leftists today; they seemed to have peaked with the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, and they have been living off of past glory sense then. (I am sure they will say otherwise, but I think that is a topic for another thread.)

A Menken Moment said...

Strike 'sense,' replace with 'since.'

Anonymous said...

Naked Lunch: Since when do people have to answer to you about what they choose to write about? Is there some law of the internet which requires blogs to be all politics all the time, or certain topics that all bloggers MUST write about? Who decides what are the topics that absolutely positively must be addressed, and in the approved manner? The Blogging Czar?

bill said...

Then there are the people who can't understand how another person could hold conflicting views. Person A and B agree on 4 out of 5 issues.

Person A chalks up the difference on #5 to life being complicated and, well, the two of them still have the same general outlook on life. Right?

Person B feels betrayed and thinks Person A is an idiot asshole of an apostate and apostates always burn brighter than those who are just wrong. For Person B, it's easier to dismiss those that believe differently about all of #1-5; obviously, they are just stupid, why bother even condescending to them. But Person A, why there's so much in common, they should know better. By choosing their path toward #5 they must be evil.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not you agree what he wrote, I hope others will join me in applauding Doyle for having, at long last, contributed not one, but two, reasonably substantive comments. Thank you.

Tim said...

"But when somebody (I assume a youngster) slings around words like "brownshirt" to describe people who support what the Democratic Party supported before 1968--civil rights but not affirmative action, a firm commitment to containing a determined foreign aggressor, a positive understanding of national security, a welfare state but without the tinge of identity politics and the demands for reparations, no clamor for abortion on demand--contempt is difficult to suppress."

Well said. Too many have lost perspective, and in the process they've put much at risk. I think the generation of '68 is too consumed with their passing youth to think much about providing the leadership necessary to walk out of this ideological desert; it remains to be seen if any will actually arise.

Anonymous said...

OR, perhaps, you (Ms. A) are in the process of switching teams. It could happen! I was a yellow dog democrat till I started paying taxes for real. Then slowly, inexorably, I became a conservative. Compassionate for sure, with Libertarian tendencies, but there you have it.

It could happen.

Trey

Christy said...

Synchronicity! Among some friends I'm a flaming liberal, others see me as a brownshirt. (I concede that I am a browncoat.) I agree with several of the earlier comments. Last Saturday I confided to a friend that I suspected my politics resulted from my contrary nature. Had I stayed in Tennessee I would be ranting about the conservatives. Because I live in Baltimore, I rant about the liberals. I'm on a one woman mission to provide checks and balances to the world.

I've never understood people who take up positions because their peer group does likewise. Once upon a time I did a lot of public speaking on a fairly controversial issue. Frankly I always disdained both those that agreed with me simply because I represented the "right" group and those that disagreed with me out-of-hand. I ways wanted my arguments to prevail, but overwhelmingly people took positions for what I considered irrelevant reasons.

Additionally, because I grew up around folks who take their news from Pat Robertson, I find it easy to dismiss the far right as irrelevant. I see that I take the far left far too seriously.

But how's a girl who supports gay marriage, abortion rights, and the war (still) to define herself?

RogerA said...

Naked lunch does raise an interesting topic: what WILL historians talk about in one hundred years? The only thing I know for certain is, it probably won't be much of what gets batted around the blogs today (with a very few exceptions).

As a medicare enrollee I have a bit more historical perspective than younger folks; a mencken moment says it pretty well when he talks about the current use of the term "brownshirt." Similarly, I recall the days when Harry Truman was widely riduled as an incompetent politician from the Prendergast Machine in St Louis--it was said that Truman's presidency proved any one could be President. Much the same was said of Eisenhower, and only today are some of his accomplishments (the creation of the Interstate highway infrastructure) starting to be seen with new perspective. It was only 30 years ago when the Club of Rome predicted we would all freeze to death in the dark.

I only wish I were around in 100 years. We have gone from Chronicles and occasional memoirs, state documents and the like as source documents, to an explosion of information. The role of the historian will, I believe, be increasingly important; and role of the journalist diminished. And in the event, I prefer to read the judments of historians about past events, much more than those of pundits about current events.

The Drill SGT said...

I think Ann is perceived by the liberals and being way to the right of them because of the three major sources of material of her commentaries:

1. the Holy Book of post-Christian Liberal Thought: aka the NYT

2. Life in Leftist Madison

3. Reality TV, only a wingnut could watch anything but PBS.

reader_iam said...

Bill: You nailed it.

CB said...

TMink,

A similar thing happened to me. I remember seeing a feature in The Onion a few years ago called something like "Tips for first-time homeowners." One of them was to be prepared to have your political views swing wildly to the right. I didn't really get it at the time, but boy did it happen to me.

reader_iam said...

“The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind”
--E.B. White

Anonymous said...

Bill did no such thing.

The 4 out of 5 ain't bad thing (see: Lieberman, J.) is ridiculous when the 5th is Bush's radical, catastrophic foreign policy and contempt for the rule of law.

PWS said...

Ann,

I agree generally with what you said, but it by no means makes you a centrist. I have never understood why you are viewed as moderate; I lean left and I think you're on the left. (Being on the left myself, wouldn't I be more likely to view you as to-the-right if you are truly in the center?) You can be critical of the left and be on the left. The right doesn't resonate with you.

You're more of a contrarian who wants to make thought-provoking observations.

I remember when I had you for fed. jur years ago you said things like, "It's the great liberal dream that if everyone were just smart enough they would be liberal." It's the type of statement folks on the right like, but it doesn't make you a centrist. You're on the left, but you're an independent thinker!

reader_iam said...

Doyle, you are such a cheat.

If you can't look at what you just wrote and pinpoint at least three things wrong with it (having NOTHING to do with an opinion about Bush or his policies, by the way), you're also an intellectual fraud.

Henry said...

The 4 out of 5 thing ain't bad but when the 5th is head-in-the-sand isolationism...

Well you get my drift.

Doyle, your definition of "right wing hack" appears to be "someone who doesn't vote for my candidate."

I do not think the word "hack" means what you think it means.

stoqboy said...

Anybody know the conservative analogues to Althouse and Kaus? Do liberals read those blogs?ts

Simon said...

Christy said...
"Among some friends I'm a flaming liberal, others see me as a brownshirt. (I concede that I am a browncoat.) "

I have a more substantive comment replying to Joseph and Adam topost shortly, but I wanted to get a quick howdy out to the Firefly fan. :p

Fritz said...

Ann,
You are no leftist. Having utopian leanings is not the same as desire for power over people. While some of your ideals may be naive to an economist like me, you feel the way you do honestly and would listen to reason. One thing you get, the GWOT is real.

bill said...

Doyle, you are such a cheat.

Or a supreme ironist. Made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

cb: I remember seeing a feature in The Onion a few years ago called something like "Tips for first-time homeowners." One of them was to be prepared to have your political views swing wildly to the right. I didn't really get it at the time, but boy did it happen to me.

Ha. I saw that too. Same here. Buying a house, getting a job, and the Iraq war swung me violently from the farthest reachest of leftism to somewhere on the right out around Walter E. Williams.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon said . . .most of the people who consider themselves "moderates" on the issue do so as a fig leaf for that most abhorent of all positions, on the subject, the much-dreaded "personally pro-life politically pro-choice" view.

Not to belabor your tangent, but can you explain to me how this is the "most abhorrent of all positions"? Do I have to politically argue for the government to outlaw every thing that I personally disagree with or just some?

Regardless of whether this position is abhorent or not, it is the controlling view in American society today. I think that both the anti-choice and pro-abortion factions recognize this. In the post Roe era, most legisltative successes and all of the judicial successes for the anti-choice side (e.g. parental notification, waiting periods) can be explained by the fact that people who hold that abhorent view have supported the measures.

AJ Lynch said...

Internet Ronin:

I second what you said to the wannabe Blog Czar.

And good quote from EB White too - I plan to use it.

MadisonMan said...

Althouse actually thought 4 more years (of Bush) would be a good idea.

My read was that it would be preferable to Kerry, not that it was a good idea. Last Presidential election was definitely a choice of the lesser evil.

Re: Property Taxes. I laugh when I read complainers about property taxes. My latest was $8K for the year. But you know what? We get a lot for that, and I don't mind. I'm very grateful for the government I have. The one thing that the Democratic Party falls short in for me is Security.

Ernst Blofeld said...

Hmmm. I suspect Ann was at that Liberty Fund Fusionist confab Jonah Goldberg was going on about.

reader_iam said...

To say that White had a way with words is an understatement (and a play on words).

Who else would write the following?

“Be obscure clearly.”

(I've been revisiting his work lately, an experience both humbling and uplifting.)

Mortimer Brezny said...

And if I'm wrong, and there are such people, if someone didn't have an opinion on abortion, that person would be a fool. And morally reprehensible.

My opinion on abortion is that I am offended that you are calling me a morally reprehensible fool.

I am male. I will never have an abortion.

I am a mature adult who takes reasonable precaution in the selection of my sexual partners and in the practice of sexual intercourse. Unintended pregnancy would be highly unlikely to visit itself upon me or one of my intimates.

I do not think abortion is tied to equality. Women can vote without the right to abortion.

Both parties tend to the extreme on the issue, putting forth positions that are upsetting to most Americans. I do not care for what most politicians say on the issue and I vote on the basis of other issues. Abortion is never the tiebreaker.

I do not have any daughters, none of my older female relatives have had abortions, would intend to have them (except for some life-threatening medical reason), or are biologically capable of anymore having them.

So what exactly is my opinion supposed to consist of? If you gave me the facts of one particular scenario ("It's one day away from birth, but I just have to get to the beach in a bikini, summer's running out!") I might say that particular abortion is morally repugnant. If you gave me the facts of another ("You're having triplets, one of them is 99% likely to be brain-dead and if you have all three, there's a 98% chance of your death, so we suggert aborting the brain-dead one and saving the other two and yourself.") I might say it would be idiotic not to have one. Why is that incredible or morally repugnant?

C. Schweitzer said...

I know it's a long way back in the comments, but I had to laugh when I read Adam Peitz's that he "can't recall ever having met a conservative who didn't consider themselves to be a moderate . . . one of my coworkers is: a staunch supporter of the iraqi war (still), a supporter of strong executive power, anti-environment, anti-big-government, anti-tax, anti-United-Nations, and anti-mainstream-media."

First, I am a conservative, not a moderate. Hell, I'll go a step further, I'm an extremist conservative.

Second, "anti-environment"? Really? He wants affirmatively to kill nature and all wildlife and replace them with smokestacks. Wow, you're right, that is pretty extreme! It couldn't possibly be that he sees different solutions to problems or that he sees the problems themselves differently. He is actually against the environment. He is also for killing puppies and starving old people?

And "anti-tax"? Who the hell is "pro-tax"? I mean, even liberals aren't pro-tax--they are pro-tax on the rich and upper middle class.

I'd love to chat more, but I'm late for my appointment to take food out of the mouths of children and then rape the enviroment but not before I take my elderly neighbor's social security check and shred it. Ah, good times, good times.

Revenant said...

I have never met anyone who is "neutral" on abortion

I've met plenty of people who don't care about whether or not abortion is legal, which amounts to neutrality. Generally they're people who don't find either side's argument convincing. Given how stupid the mainstream pro-choice and pro-life positions are, that's hardly surprising.

Simon said...

Adam Peitz said...
"In my coworker's defence, I think he does have opinions on these issues, on moral grounds. He's basically anti-abortion and pro-gun, with plenty of caveats. But that's as a moral understanding. He's very aware that these are highly technical issues, and he's modest about that."

But the moral position drives the technical position. I recognize that abortion isn't an easy issue for anyone, but once you have your moral position on it, the logic of that position surely carries you irresistably to your conclusions.

This is where Simon cleverly interpolates a reply to Joseph's comment into a reply to Adam's comment: "once you accept the[] premise[], its ... [both] easy [and] logical to follow a slippery slope to extreme positions that most people simply don't want to accept, even if they make logical sense (e.g., absolute ban on abortion, no incest/rape exceptions)." Precisely. Logically, if life begins at birth, you must vehemently oppose restrictions on abortion; if it begins before birth, you must vehemently demand restrictions on abortion.

This is not to say that logic cannot yield to practical and prudential concerns. I am not a liberal; I understand that where my views are in the minority, I must make concessions and compromises. And as Joseph points out, most people cannot stomach the idea of an all-encompassing ban on abortion, with no life or health exception, which is precisely what we saw in South Dakota last month. That is why my position is and has been that legislatures should adopt a more pragmatic approach. It seems as though legislators are seized by the idea that every time they pass a bill, it must be final and all-encompassing, as if the rapture begins when the ink of the governor's signature dries on the bill. That is a remarkably silly position; it makes far more sense to start with areas where there is broad agreement: partial birth abortion and parental notification. Accomplish that, and next session, come back and ban abortion outright, but with exceptions for rape and incest, and for health and life. That is not as logically pristine as an outright ban - but less death is still less death. I don't understand why so many pro-lifers cannot wrap their brain around this concept: it is as if they would rather save none if they cannot save all.

I must add that I am not opposed to exceptions for life and health. That is not my position, which is that being pro-life "is a statement that the child's life has some worth to be considered, not a statement that in any way reduces the value of the life of the mother." That is, "[t]he obvious comparison is to Siamese twins: sometimes it becomes necessary to separate them, and sometimes that's going to happen at the likely cost of killing one or the other - but doctors usually try to save both ... [Likewise,] it stands to reason that there are certain congenital defects which are so severe that the child will be dead at or soon after birth [or which may pose grave threat to the mother] ... [Thus] [a] doctor, in my view, should always do the utmost to save both the mother and the child, acting on the assumption that both are human lives which should be accorded dignity and respect.

...Sometimes the situation may arise, however, when the calculus says that this child is very likely to die soon after birth if not before, and that continuing the pregnancy poses a dire and serious threat to the life or health of the mother, and when that happens, in those limited circumstances, and presuming a climate has been fostered wherein abortion is treated as killing a child, an option of the deepest gravity, I can potentially accept abortion as a legitimate option. I may, in the end, prove a faint-hearted pro-lifer, since I would suggest that the doctor should without exception err on the side of the mother's life.


...The health exception is, of course, [the problem] at the heart of practically every modern abortion regulation challenge since
Casey. Health is a slippery standard to define, and in practice, too often becomes an open loophole. One hesitates to [substitute] the term 'physical health'; that term not only suggests that there is no level of mental damage which would be suffice to permit (or even demand) termination (either by premature delivery or abortion), which I do not accept. Yet 'physical heath' is far too broad a term. In principle, there must be, in my view, a serious threat of significant, major and irrecoverable damage to the physical or mental wellbeing of the woman before an abortion could be contemplated."

Adam Peitz said...
"Do you know any opinionated people who have never read the Constitution? I certainly do. Two years ago, I was one of them."

Actually, I just assume that most people who are on the left -- particularly anyone who is a legal liberal, regardless of their political affiliations -- hasn't read the Constitution unless or until they demonstrate otherwise. They have the New Dealer's contempt for the structural Constitution, the mindset that believes that "if a job has to be done, to meet the needs of the people, and no one else can do it, then it is a proper function of the federal government." And even those who have read it, it seems to me, haven't really engaged with the material - they haven't considered the historical background that informs the Constitution, they haven't read Montesquieu, they haven't read the Federalist Papers, they certainly haven't read the Antifederalist papers, they haven't read Marbury v. Madison, they haven't read Gibbons v. Ogden... (Heck, I am absolutely convinced that you could fire a cannon loaded with grapeshot into a NARAL meeting, packed to the rafters with people who believe Roe is all but a holy writ, and not hit one person who has read Roe v. Wade), for pete's sake. You know, for that matter, I really think that most liberals have simply never stopped to ponder the immense significance of the mere writtenness of our Constitution. Even if they have read it, most of them haven't really understood it. Which is why they want it to be construed as an empty bottle into which they can pour whatever suits them at that moment, they want it construed so as to short-circuit the democratic process when it suits them.

Gerry said...

"If Althouse is a moderate -- as she claims -- then why is she almost almost always picking on liberals and almost never on conservatives?"

The "then why" portion of this does not seem to me to be true. Almost always? Almost never? I argue that neither allocation is anywhere near correct.

To the degree there is a disparity in frequency, I believe it is because you seem to enjoy those who react poorly to being tweaked, and the left blogosphere is extremely thin skinned.

IMO.

Simon said...

Ronin:
"Is there some law of the internet which requires blogs to be all politics all the time, or certain topics that all bloggers MUST write about?

Perhaps that suggests the answer to Ann's opening observation: "What do you think is the single most important question about this blog?" Perhaps -- speaking as if from the vantage point of the lefty trolls, the Greenwald meat puppets and sock puppets -- the question is "how can you -- a law professor -- not devote your every waking hour to the continuation of Bill Brennan's legacy? How can you -- an attractive, erudite and articulate Wisconsite -- be anywhere to the right of George McGovern? In short, how dare you? Don't you know that people like you are supposed to be on our side?" I think that's what the argument of the leftie trolls boils down to: they have been denied something that they believed they were entitled to.

Gerry said...

And I think you have hit on an observation of real value, if you would extend it beyond Madison. To Dowdify your quotation to get to it: "Conservatives...are ... moderate souls," for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the Right is always getting taken to task by Althouse. They're just better sports.

Gerry is one of the loonies.

Fritz said...

Simon,
They are cafeteria constitutionalists, pick and choose what suits their personal needs.

Simon said...

Tim said...
"I think the generation of '68 is too consumed with their passing youth to think much about providing the leadership necessary to walk out of this ideological desert; it remains to be seen if any will actually arise."

You realize that our hostess is either generation of 68 or shortly thereafter, right? I mean, I have no idea when people finished high school in Delaware in the 60s, but Ann was born in 1951, so she'd have been graduating around '68. So I don't think that it's correct - or, for that matter, prudent in this forum - to call it a generational thing.


TMink said...
"OR, perhaps, you (Ms. A) are in the process of switching teams. It could happen! I was a yellow dog democrat till I started paying taxes for real. Then slowly, inexorably, I became a conservative. Compassionate for sure, with Libertarian tendencies, but there you have it."

I think that would be just marvellous, and would ask Ann if and how we can help encourage it. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh, um, hey, so when did Simon become a co-blogger here at the Althouse group blog?

Mortimer Brezny said...

It seems as though legislators are seized by the idea that every time they pass a bill, it must be final and all-encompassing, as if the rapture begins when the ink of the governor's signature dries on the bill.

At least such legislators are taking their constitutional duties seriously and making independent constitutional judgments, rather than simply trying to predict what courts will say or adhering to what polls currently say. I cannot blame legislators for resisting the courts and even sometimes resisting the people, arguing that their state or our federal constitution obligates them to pass a categorical law instead of a political compromise that is unconstitutional or so morally and socially corrosive as to bring into being a culture that does not respect our venerable constitutional traditions.

Zeb Quinn said...

It's really simple. To put it in the common vernacular, the left, way more than the right, goes through life under the delusion that their shit doesn't stink. And you help them overcome that deficit.

Simon said...

Fritz said...
"They are cafeteria constitutionalists, pick and choose what suits their personal needs."

That's right. That's something I've never understood: Justice Stevens has written opinions appealing to the original meaning, and Justice Breyer has written opinions appealing to foreign law. And there are certainly cases where the original meaning is underdeterminate, although that's not the argument I want to have right now; the point is that there are cases where the original meaning is clear, supports the opposite result, and so the liberal justice will find something else that is supposedly more persuasive. The message seems to be that it is both relevant and, in fact, persuasive, when it agrees with you, and in all other situations, it is meaningless. Where are the comparative materials in Justice Breyer's Hudson dissent - and what happened to Justice Ginsburg's much-vaunted regard for "the experience and good thinking that foreign sources may convey" when she joined Breyer's opinion in that case? I mean, this is just incoherent nonsense. If the original meaning is authoritative in any cases, it is authoritative in all cases. If foreign law is authoritative in any cases, it must also be authoritative in all cases. There is simply no principled ground for drawing distinctions. (This is the point where I would again whore my paper on the subject).

Henry said...

To pick up, obliquely, on Simon's 1:11 comment, my sense is that Ann's interest in how an issue is presented drives some people nuts.

"How" for them is not important. All that matters is to bang out correct conclusions.

Which is boring. And it devalues what is best about exchanging ideas with people -- the fresh take, the open-ended question, the tongue-in-cheek zinger, the pop-reference asides.

Mortimer Brezny said...

There is simply no principled ground for drawing distinctions.

Yes, but we do not exist in principled grounds of a Platonic plane, we exist amidst the rambling chaos of life. We draw distinctions to survive in a manner that we deem reasonable and acceptable.

Gerry said...

I am very comfortable with the impression people get of me after reading my words here, especially compared to the impression they get of you from yours, Doyle.

In fact, while I do not accept the premise behind the supposed 'important question about this blog,' I have no problem stipulating to it for the sake of argument. If it was the case, the answer as to why would be to look at folks like you-- you deserve it badly.

Simon said...

Mort,
Perhaps I wasn't clear. My criticism of said legislators isn't that they aren't thinking about making constitutional judgements, it is that they are taking an all-or-nothing approach which bundles together regulations that may pass judicial scrutiny when the inevitable challenge is filed, along with several which are never going to pass scrutiny until the Supreme Court overturns Casey. And that is incredibly frustrating to me: I'm asking them to just take it step by step.

As to the Constitutional question - your comment almost reads as though you're suggesting that there is something wrong with a law that is a political compromise. That seems to deny the legislative process as it has existed in this country since the House of Bugesses was founded: compromise is inherent in having a legislature. My view is that the Federal Congress has very limited authority to legislate on abortion, and that such legislation should be examined with exacting scrutiny by the Supreme Court, and that state legislatures are the primary fora in which questions about abortion's legal status should be made. That's what my copy of the Constitution says, at any rate; it's absolutely clear on the subject. Now, it has been misconstrued for a short while, to be sure, but I think that period is coming to an end, and as Jeffrey Rosen has argued, liberals should be delighted about that, since, if Rosen's argument is to be believed, it will destroy the Republican party.

Simon said...

reality check said...
"Oh, um, hey, so when did Simon become a co-blogger here at the Althouse group blog?"

Right after I got cancer and died, as you hoped I would yesterday, "Reality Check." Gosh, your mom must be proud of you.

Jeff said...

"Christy said...

Synchronicity! Among some friends I'm a flaming liberal, others see me as a brownshirt. (I concede that I am a browncoat.) .... Had I stayed in Tennessee I would be ranting about the conservatives. Because I live in Baltimore, I rant about the liberals. I'm on a one woman mission to provide checks and balances to the world."

Well said, fellow browncoat! I've had the same experinece between Texas and NYC. In fact most of my friends in the South are paleoliberal Democrats who happen to be gun and homeowners. They would experience political whiplash if they moved up here to Moscow on the Hudson!

Joseph Hovsep said...

Simon: Logically, if life begins at birth, you must vehemently oppose restrictions on abortion; if it begins before birth, you must vehemently demand restrictions on abortion.

I don't agree. I see why the life-begins-at-conception crowd would feel compelled to "vehemently demand restrictions on abortion" but I don't think the mainstream life-begins-at-birth/right-to-control-one's-own-body crowd feels compelled to push for absolutely no restrictions on abortion. I'm sure you can cite examples of pro-choicers making extreme demands, but I don't think the logic of the women's right to personal autonomy demands no restrictions on abortion in the way the logic of abortion-is-murder leads to demanding a ban on all abortion. Most pro-choicers see moral ambiguity in abortion; they just don't think its murder. And that's kind of my point. Even though most people see the moral ambiguity of abortion, most people adopt pro-choice views because they see the where the pro-life road logically leads and they don't like it. Ironically, its the very clarity of the logic ends up handicapping the pro-life political agenda and muddying the logic of would-be converts views.

Even so, I don't think the personally-pro-life/politically-pro-choice view is illogical or morally repugnant at all, especially if your personal pro-life position is not based on the idea that life begins at conception.

Simon said...

Mort,
That's a discussion that I'm happy to have with you any other time, but this probably isn't the time or place.

The Exalted said...

ann,

i told you this when you were all kerfluffle over the V monologues.

nobody outside of a college campus sees or gives a hoot about the V monologues.

SteveR said...

What was this post about anyway?

Simon said...

Joseph,
But in my view, any restriction on abortion, as I suggested in the note I linked to upthread, is necessarily an "invasive, draconian and discriminatory burden upon women." And you must understand that I'm very sympathetic to 2d wave feminism; I think it demands an extraordinarily compelling reason to place that kind of burden on women, and in my view, there is only one thing that can possibly measure up: if the life of a child hangs in the balance. Women's freedom is a goal necessarily subordinated to their having been born in the first place, but if abortion isn't murder, then to regulate abortion is to indefensibly limit women's freedom.

Now, to be sure, I'm not advocating moral relativity here; I think the pro-choice position is wrong, horribly so. But if it's consistently-applied, I don't see how anyone who denies that life begins before birth and who calls themselves any kind of feminist can be for restrictions on abortion.

As to the "personally pro-life, politically pro-choice" position, I explained my hostility to that position here, back in August.

clairedm said...

Simon, why do you "just assume that most people who are on the left -- particularly anyone who is a legal liberal, regardless of their political affiliations -- hasn't read the Constitution unless or until they demonstrate otherwise" and that "even those who have read it, it seems to me, haven't really engaged with the material - they haven't considered the historical background that informs the Constitution"? Is that because no one who has actually read the thing could possibly have come to a different conclusion about it than you? Or is it because liberals are unintelligent enough to merit the assumption that even if they have read an important document they have certainly not engaged with it? I'm offended by your comments as someone who is liberal, who has a copy of the Federalist Papers on her bookshelf, and who has thought about what it means that the Constitution is written. I'm not saying I fully understand the whole amazing thing, but I am smart enough to engage the questions. Deciding on a result before really looking at the question is not just a fault of liberal judges. It seems like many people fall into that trap.
Oh, and (!) the single most important question about this blog was definitely my biggest question- good answer Professor Althouse.

reader_iam said...

Interesting that a comments thread attached to a post referencing the liberal/conservative divide should devolve into a discussion of abortion.

And along typical and predictable lines, no less.

Adam Peitz said...

I'm pretty new to blog commenting. Is it always this fun? People are saying a lot of good (and to me, impressive) stuff here. A few responses I have, although I'm afraid a lot of it is off topic:

C. Schweitzer said...

Second, "anti-environment"? Really?


Yeah, I apologize for that. I had trouble trying to say that succinctly. "Pro-industry" wasn't gonna get it across, and "anti-Kyoto" seemed too specifc. Please don't read too much into it. I dropped the ball.

And "anti-tax"? Who the hell is "pro-tax"?

Well, me for one. Not that I get much opportunity to vote for someone who promises to raise my taxes. But I'm a single individual with no dependants whatsoever, and I make earn than I need. I do wish everyone's taxes were higher, and I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't include myself. So I say "me first, and me most".

Simon said...

Actually, I just assume that most people who are on the left...hasn't read the Constitution unless or until they demonstrate otherwise.


Nice! I often assume the opposite. But I see I don't need to worry about you, as you've read your stuff, much better than I have. I'm working on it.

Even if they [most liberals] have read it, most of them haven't really understood it. Which is why they want it to be construed as an empty bottle into which they can pour whatever suits them at that moment, they want it construed so as to short-circuit the democratic process when it suits them.

Well put, and I think you're right about most liberals. I'd say it also goes for most conservatives -- most people haven't studied it, people all along the spectrum. As for those who have read it, I think there's still room for disagreement. Americans have been trying to decipher the document since day 1, and we're still trying.

But the moral position drives the technical position...This is not to say that logic cannot yield to practical and prudential concerns.

I agree with this, in bulk. But one needs information to connect the dots between practical, moral, and political (or policy) positions. Even given a clear Constitution, if a person hasn't read it, then they don't know things like: what rights do women have concerning their bodies?, and: how does that stack against another's right to life? If a person isn't versed enough in medicine, then he doesn't know much about how fetuses develop, for instance, or mental illness (which you brought up as a factor).

To put it differently: since he has a moral position, it may be my coworker does have a political position. But he doesn't know what it is...so he calls himself a "moderate".

reader_iam said...

clairedm: I thought that assumption about constitution-reading and the Left was pretty damn smug and arrogant myself.

reader_iam said...

Where's your evidence, Simon, that most people on the Right have read it, or at least in greater proportion than those on the left?

Mortimer Brezny said...

That's what my copy of the Constitution says, at any rate; it's absolutely clear on the subject.

The only stuff about compromise I see in the Constitution is the 3/5ths Compromise, which many at the time considered a moral flaw and a historical mistake of grand proportions. But, yes, a compromise that permitted some unconstitutionality to rub shoulders with some constitutionality would be a worse law than one that was only constitutional. And legislators should be praised for making those considerations rather than leaving it to the courts, or not having independent decision-making processes simply because a particular sCOTUS precedent is on the books.

DRJ said...

I disagree that Prof. Althouse is trending conservative. I credit Prof. Althouse's law school training and teaching - what some here call contrarianism - with her willingness to question, probe, and play devil's advocate. There's no better way to refine and strengthen one's beliefs than to test them through vigorous debate. In my view, Prof. Althouse pushes back against liberals because, at heart, that's what she is.

Anonymous said...

Good theory, DRJ. Surely that explains her (at first denied and then finally admitted) disappointment with the Democrats' victory in November.

She's a security mom with a JD. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

I confess! That last bit was meaner than necessary. I regret it already and would delete it if New Blogger still had the functionality.

AJ Lynch said...

Yeah Simon- I cringed yesterday when I read Reality Check's wish that you die from cancer.

Have you noticed a trait amongst far far left nutty libs to select blogger names like "reality check" which strive to announce where they stand on issues? But in fact, they are really angry whackjob near-commies.

Revenant said...

When I was young I assumed I was a liberal, because I was surrounded by conservatives and didn't agree with them. Then I went to college, and was surrounded by left-wingers. I was shocked to discover they weren't an improvement over the right-wingers I'd grown up with.

I still tend to be a lot angrier with left-wingers than right-wingers because I live in California, where right-wingers have little chance to inflict their bullshit on me and left-wingers have *plenty* of chances to do so.

Simon said...

Claire:
"Is that because no one who has actually read the thing could possibly have come to a different conclusion about it than you?

Well, at the risk of sounding Clintonian, it depends on what you mean by a conclusion.

I think that there are several sections of the Constitution for which it is very difficult to determine the original meaning, that there are some parts where the original meaning is underdeterminate, and in those cases, I think people can reasonably reach different conclusions about what one should do next. Bork and Scalia, for example, differ vastly on underdeterminacy; I'm on Scalia's side, but I think Bork's view, as a matter of practical ajudication, is little short of judicial activism, on a theoretical level, it's not an absurd position. The intersection of stare decisis is another question within this realm: this is something I'm not going to go into here (although I'm happy to do so by email with interested parties), but the question of how you reconcile stare decisis against originalism is a massively undertheorized area of originalism, and there is no widely-held, firmly-theorized conclusion about it. Justice Thomas takes one view; Justice Scalia quite another; I disagree with both.

I also think that there are hard cases where reasonable people can reach different conclusions about what construction the original meaning will bear. People have been disagreeing over how strictly or loosely it should be construed since Mssrs. Jefferson and Hamilton wrote competing opinions over he Constitutionality of the National Bank for President Washington, and that debate continues to date, most recently over whether Scalia commited apostasy in the breadth of the construction he placed on the necessary and proper clause in Raich.

But all of the above is essentially to say that reasonable people can reach different conclusions about the original meaning. That is, reasonable people can reasonably reach different conclusions within that paradigm. What is not reasonable, however, in my view, is to abandon the original meaning as the criterion, where it can be established, in either statutory construction, or particularly in Constitutional interpretation.

My most fundamental disagreement with legal liberals (which is not quite the same thing as political liberals), and the reason that I say that I am dubious about their engagement with the material, is that legal liberals believe that the Constitution is primarily rights-bearing and legal conservatives believe that the Constitution is primarily structural. The Constitution, with very few exceptions, does not seek to remove contentious policy questions from the democratic stage, it sets the democratic stage. It sets up the structure in which the debate should be held, and sets out which stage certain debates should be held on: you want to talk about interstate commerce, go to Congress. You want to talk about gay marriage? Go to the state legislatures.

To be sure, this isn't a uniquely liberal project. I'm not naive; just as there are pro-choicers out there who insist that the Constitution forbids the states from banning abortion, there are pro-lifers out there who insist that the Constitution demands that the states do so. There are conservatives who strongly support the partial birth abortion ban presently at bar at SCOTUS, even though it's absolutely clear that the Federal government has no power to promulgate such a general ban. All of these are completely wrong; the Constitution's protections are structural, which is is why it is so completely obnoxious to see liberals essentially demanding a breathtakingly broad construction of the commerce clause, yet an extraordinarily narrow construction of Article II.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

The thread has been sufficiently hijacked, so I will continue briefly. I'll never dissuade you of your view of the "most abhorent" abortion position. I don't believe that arguments like yours will ever persuade me to change my view that I am personally against abortion while politically I believe women should be (generally) free to make choices about what to do with their bodies. That said, your argument would be stronger if you did not admit that you were not sure that life began at conception. ("If I'm wrong about when life begins. . .")

dklittl said...

In my view, Prof. Althouse pushes back against liberals because, at heart, that's what she is.

Well, then this must be the most liberal comment thread on the net. If this is the case, then who plays this role for the right. The best I can come up with is John Cole, but if you look at his body of work he is clearly a conservative disgusted by elements of his idealogical breathren. Althouse can't find an element of liberalism that she can stand, nor an element of conservatism that even "gets her attention". This rationale by her is completely contradictory and extremely unserious.

DRJ said...

Doyle,

If your apology was directed at me, don't worry about it. I can tolerate disagreement and even sarcasm. However, as a born-and-bred West Texan, I don't view Prof. Althouse as a conservative and she probably wouldn't either by the standards of my conservative community.

DRJ said...

Apparently some here are having difficulty divorcing Prof. Althouse's 9/11 views from traditional liberal ideology. I agree that she trends conservative on national security issues but I don't think that makes her a conservative.

And, obviously, Prof. Althouse gets the last word on what she is and believes. This is just my idle speculation.

Anonymous said...

That said, your argument would be stronger if you did not admit that you were not sure that life began at conception. ("If I'm wrong about when life begins. . .")

Addressing the logical implications of differing conclusions is not an admittance that one is unsure of his own conclusion.

Mortimer Brezny said...

As to the Constitutional question - your comment almost reads as though you're suggesting that there is something wrong with a law that is a political compromise.

We now know why "Simon" hijacked the thread. He's really John McCain testing out his new, improved Liberty University debating skills. This is how he'll defend McCain-Feingold in the Republican primary debates.

Anonymous said...

"Simon said...

On some level I really hate to say this, but my immediate reaction is to with Sen. Johnson a swift recovery to health."

...

"reality check said...

No matter how many times you ask me, I will tell you that I am ashamed that part of me wants to see Simon get cancer and die.
"

"Simon: Gosh, your mom must be proud of you!"


Jeez Simon, you're such a whiny victim, and you don't even recognize your own statements.

Anonymous said...

However, Simon, because of you, I am thinking that this may be eligible for whiniest group blog of 2006.

Anonymous said...

Quoting from this week's Blue States Lose feature over at Gawker, "Here's a picture of Steve Aoki and Lindsay Lohan"

You may wonder what this has to do with the rest of this comment thread.

Yet, if you search deep, deep in your soul, you'll know, that it fits perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Also notable: right wingers wish death for others and then get all upset and say it's the left that is doing this.

Projection projection projection.

Bruce Hayden said...

Questionable Reality:

I am not sure what you are trying to suggest about conservatives and death, but if you want projection, maybe we should talk about the intersection between the Democrats attack on the Republicans alleged Culture of Corruption and Pelosi's problems finding senior Democrats that are barely clean enough to be committee chairs.

clairedm said...

Simon,
Why are you so sure that the Constitution is about structure more than rights? Or that liberals can’t be nuanced enough to understand what you take to be the only way to interpret the Constitution? I do not know as much about this topic as you, but in fact it seems to me that while one of the main things that the Constitution does is set up the structure of our government and assign different powers to different branches, it is also the place where rights are most fundamentally explained and guarded. And admitting this, that the Constitution can and should protect rights, and that the courts are perhaps best suited to the job, is not the same as saying that every time a minority group wants something they get it.

The Constitution, with very few exceptions, does not seek to remove contentious policy questions from the democratic stage, it sets the democratic stage.

The Constitution sets up our democratic systems and it also sets up our anti-democratic systems, most importantly the Supreme Court. And although Congress may be the man when it comes to the Commerce Clause it is the unique responsibility of the Court, given to it by the Constitution, to say what the law means and to push back when the our democratic systems get it wrong.

Simon said...

AJ Lynch said...
"Yeah Simon- I cringed yesterday when I read Reality Check's wish that you die from cancer."

My thought was "ah...the face of the inchoate left. He'll be here all week, ladies and gentlemen." I was going to post that, then I figured I'd ignore him, but I guess I changed my mind. ;)


Adam Peitz said...
"I'm pretty new to blog commenting. Is it always this fun?"

It is here. Stick around. :p

Let me add two things in reply to your subsequent comment. First, I have to clarify that I am not suggesting for a moment that the Constitution is always and in all cases clear. It is frequently excedingly difficult to figure out what it means. A perfect example of that is a case called McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commision, which concerned a law prohibiting anonymous political leafletting, and whether that law violated the First Amendment. Compare Scalia's dissent with Thomas' concurrence. Or, for that matter, compare Scalia's and Thomas' opinion in Hamdi. So it isn't always clear (which is where stare decisis comes into the picture, in my view), but for some questions, it is perfectly clear, and where the original meaning is clear and speaks directly to the issue at hand without any need for construction, it controls.

But I think you've got to be careful with questions about rights. As I explained here, I think that there is a massive difference between a natural right and a Constitutional right. Even if there is a natural law right to abortion, there is not a Constitutional right that you can ask a Court to apply against a government action abridging that right. Every time you read a right into the Constitution, you constrict the scope of democratic debate, which means that, under the structure of government the Constitution ordains, the appropriate venue for discussing which natural rights should be given legal force, and at what level, is the democratic process.

admin said...

Kudos to Althouse for admitting what so few of her commenters seem willing to - that this blog disproportionately targets liberals. It's nice to see honesty win out every once in a while.

I've read the Constitution. Fun stuff. You know what's not in it? Any kind of dictate for originalism or rigid textualism.

Bill Eskridge and John Manning have had a very lively debate about the Constitution-era understanding of judicial powers and whether or not an originalist methodology supports adherence to rigid textualism. Eskridge seems, to me, to have won pretty handily, vindicating a position that would no doubt make Simon's head explode all over his stacks and stacks of PG-13 Althouse fan fiction.

reader_iam said...

OT, but:

Over in the Bob Dylan thread, Mark Daniels posted a comment about Dylan which contained the following sentence: "He learned from Rimbaud and Garbo to cultivate a certain amount of mystery and the appearance of volatilities of unknown origin.

I think that's not a bad way to describe a certain aspect of the Althouse persona. What do you all think?

ASX said...

Ultimately, I think it was Ann's nastiness, particularly her repulsive smear of Jessica at Feministing, which cost her the Best Centrist Blog award.

People just don't like venom, and hate. Well, except for Republicans and conservatives, for whom it is a lifeblood.

If you want to know what makes Ann not moderate, it's that she's a hater.

Revenant said...

Jeez Simon, you're such a whiny victim, and you don't even recognize your own statements.

Simon's position is "I should want him to die, but I don't". Yours is "I shouldn't want you to die, but I do." The two statements are not equivalent -- and even if they were, how is "well *he* wanted his political opponents dead first!" a defense of your behavior? What are you, six years old?

Hazy Dave said...

Well, Ann, I voted for you twice today. Oh, and some people wouldn't know irony if it sat up and bit them on the ass.

Simon said...

Too Many Jims said...
"That said, your argument would be stronger if you did not admit that you were not sure that life began at conception."

I'm not sure that's so. The question is in the nature of a threshold; it seems to me that we will never know with specificity when life begins, so as a result, as I explained in the note I linked to upthread, we should err on the side of caution, assuming life is present whenever its physical prerequisites have been met, since those can be objectively determined: presence of a heartbeat and brainwaves.


Mortimer Brezny said...
"We now know why Simon hijacked the thread. He's really John McCain testing out his new, improved Liberty University debating skills. This is how he'll defend McCain-Feingold in the Republican primary debates."

Since I think BCRA is patently unconstitutional, and that Bush quite probably should have been impeached for violation of his oath of office for signing it while maintaining his belief that it was unconstitutional, probably not. I have to admit, I simply have no idea what you're talking about. I don't see how you get from my statement that the Constitution permits legislators to compromise to talking about BCRA. I'm not suggesting that legislators can make unconstitutional compromises, if that's the inference you've somehow managed to take. I'm saying that they can take a Constitutionally permissable thesis, a Constitutionally permissable antithesis, and come up with whatever synthesis they like, as long as it's within the bounds of the Constitution. Now, that compromise may be political suicide, but it isn't per se unconstitutional.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Hazy Dave. And I hope that "oh, and" was ironic!

OddD said...

Can we also get a ban on the awful:

"Oh, um, hey, so..."

offered by "reality check". I'd say it was ironic, but I see no sense of irony on display there.

Simon said...

Claire,
"Why are you so sure that the Constitution is about structure more than rights?"

Because that's what a constitution is, in the abstract, and it is very specifically what ours is. I mean, you ask upthread how I could possibly imagine that liberals haven't read the Constitution or the Federalist Papers, or Madison's notes, but I don't see how anyone who has read those things can possibly conclude anything but that the framers believed that they were engaged in the process of designing a structure, and that they conceieved of the structure as the primary means by which liberty was protected.

"The Constitution sets up our democratic systems and it also sets up our anti-democratic systems, most importantly the Supreme Court. And although Congress may be the man when it comes to the Commerce Clause it is the unique responsibility of the Court, given to it by the Constitution, to say what the law means and to push back when the our democratic systems get it wrong."

I couldn't agree more, and I couldn't have said it better myself. But I think that you and I have different ideas on the extent to which the democratic system can get it wrong in a way that implicates the Constitution. I think that there are all sorts of ways in which the democratic system can reach the wrong result, but that doesn't mean that I can turn to the courts for redress; I think it's the wrong result that when Roe is overturned, Massachusetts will immediately legalize abortion on demand by statute. That law will be wrong, but it won't be unconstitutional. I can't go to the Supreme Court and complain that a law is "wrong", only that it violates a constitutional right, structure or process. A Constitutional right is an echo of a natural right: it is not the right itself, but rather, a limitation on what government can do and how it can do it.


Lastly, I am absolutely terrified - yet morbidly curious - as to what "admin" thinks is "PG-13 Althouse fan fiction," and why on earth I would be writing it. I don't mentaly cast her as Anndiana Jones or Annakin Skywalker in dizzying, fast-paced adventures, you know.

Simon said...

Thanks, Revenant, that was artfully done, and precisely correct.

Anonymous said...

While living in a liberal area might explain the urge to set onesself apart, it’s not a license to be a right wing hack, especially if that’s not really where you come down on the issues.

Did anyone else find this comment disturbing?

Doyle, in this country, we have the "license" (although luckily we don't have to stand in line for one) to have any philosophical position we want. I shudder to think what would happen to that right if someone like you -- who thinks you have the right to tell people what they should think -- gained power.

I was all set to agree with Ann's thesis regarding why so many of us centrists seem impelled to knock liberals more than conservatives. But Doyle's comment gives a clue to a different reason: Nowadays, I run into far more intolerant liberals than intolerant conservatives.

I realize there are probably parts of this country where the conservatives conform to the stereotype of narrow-minded right-wing bigots, and I'm glad I don't live there. But the left has yet to fully recognize how they have evolved into a perfect mirror image of right-wing bigots. They don't want to even consider conservative ideas. They "consider the source" --people who are their moral inferiors could not possibly have ideas or viewpoints worth exploring. They especially hate it when people they view as their natural allies -- such as female law professors -- stray from the faith. Janeane Garofalo saying every Republican has "a character flaw" is unrecognizable to me as a liberal, but her view is the accepted liberal attitude toward anyone who disagrees with them.

Philosophically, I share so many liberal views: On the environment, civil rights, gay rights, health care, etc. But I can't stand the arrogance, elitism and intolerance. When did that start? Why has it been allowed to continue?

Don't give them a pass, Ann. Kaus is right. Liberals have to get their house in order. And they better do it quick if they want to win in '08. They're off to a lousy start.

Anonymous said...

Christ, I knew someone was going to jump on my saying "license to be a right wing hack."

First of all, I think everyone here knows that I consider "right wing hack" to be a bad thing. For me it's like saying it doesn't give you the right to be an asshole.

My point had to do with espousing certain views simply because they are the opposite of the majority of your community (and they don't represent it well or whatever).

It was about making a big show of your apostasy, rather than owning up to what you believe in.

That's what I meant by license, as a remotely charitable reading could have suggested.

Really well pontificated-upon, though.

Simon said...

John,
I think that what Garofalo actually said was that "[a] Vote for Bush at this point should be considered a character flaw."

Anonymous said...

Simon,

As I posted above, my post was entirely a reflection of your post towards Tim Johnson, nothing more and nothing less.

"Simon said...

On some level I really hate to say this, but my immediate reaction is to with Sen. Johnson a swift recovery to health."

What could this possibly mean except that on many levels you wish Johnson harm? Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

The single most important question I want to know the answer to is what do you people do all day? Do any of you work? Or are you all as old as I am?

I used to teach children to read and write. After seeing this, I wonder why.

AJ Lynch said...

Bea Arthur asked;

"The single most important question I want to know the answer to is what do you people do all day? Do any of you work? Or are you all as old as I am?"

No Bea, I am not as old as you nor as tough as you if you the real Bea Arthur. As to if I work, it's called multi-tasking if my boss asks. It's like when you bossed around you mother and the other roommates at the same time.

Simon said...

RC,
It meant then and means now that I regard Democratic control of the Senate as a national catastrophe, and as a result, on some level, anything that deprives them of such control might serve the national interest. I then qualified that view in the very next sentence by pointing out that politics has to give way to humanity, and that no matter how urgent the national need, it does not suffice to wish harm on Sen. Johnson, and that I therefore wish him a speedy recovery.

Which is precisely what Revenant explained to you upthread. If you don't understand that, there's something wrong with you.

There's an old saw about whether you would kill Hitler's mother before she gave birth, if you could travel back in time knowing what it would mean for the world. I wonder how today's left would answer that question about George W. Bush's mother before his birth. Alas, it takes little imagination.

Gerald Hibbs said...

So many content threads in this comment thread!

1. Ann as to why you combat the left more than the right: I agree with much of the commentary that since you are surrounded by leftists then they are the ones in the position to annoy you.
Further, I would say that you like to engage in pushback in general. While the right certainly has positions that infringe upon you, most of those positions are age old and therefor not as immediate and engaging (example: abortion.) Meanwhile the left seems to daily be coming up with more ways to nanny the populace (examples: ban smoking, fast foods, add PC language rules, criminalize negative THOUGHTS about other groups, and on and on.) These are newish arguments that haven't been fully hashed out yet. As such you engaging them head on can seem much more worthwhile as many minds have not yet become entrenched on the topic so you have a chance to actually be an influence for the good.
But if you take on the right's old issues like abortion? What good can really come of it?

2. Re: the Constitution. I would agree that it is structural. But what is the purpose of the document and the structures it gives? To protect rights. Looking at the history and milieu of the document writers they were not only being proactive but responding to current events. As such the purpose of the Constitution is to put in place structures that protect the people from the tyranny of government. So, I can see why people confuse the message with the method.

3. Is commenting always this fun?! It is here. Lots of blogs have comment cultures that I dislike. But, occasionally, there is one like AA's that is usually thoughtful and fosters reasonable discourse. I say this as a reasonably new commenter but I've been lurking for quite a while.

caffeine soldier said...

I just made $300 daytrading while reading your remarks and those immediately following!

$300? That ain't worth the risk. Crazy way of making a living.

caffeine soldier said...

"Even if there is a natural law right to abortion, there is not a Constitutional right that you can ask a Court to apply against a government action abridging that right."

You've got it totally wrong, Soreman. Women don't need a constitutional right for doing something with their own body. The government has no rights whatever to it.

The legal consideration is centering around a simple question: When does human life start? And the problem of the right wingers is, even the Bible isn't making a clear statement that human life begins before birth.

caffeine soldier said...

"RC,It meant then and means now that I regard Democratic control of the Senate as a national catastrophe, and as a result, on some level, anything that deprives them of such control might serve the national interest."

Uh huh. Simon, you mean, someone who would have poisoned Senator Johnson would have served the national interest? Well, just among the two of us, where's the difference between you and a fascist?

Henry said...

ASX - People just don't like venom, and hate. Well, except for Republicans and conservatives, for whom it is a lifeblood.

There's always something enjoyable about self-refuting comments.

A Menken Moment said...

ASX said

People just don't like venom, and hate. Well, except for Republicans and conservatives, for whom it is a lifeblood.

I suggest you read Daily Kos and Democratic Underground, ASX. You will learn something about hate and venom and who expresses it that apparently you did not know.

caffeine soldier said...

"I suggest you read Daily Kos and Democratic Underground, ASX. You will learn something about hate and venom and who expresses it that apparently you did not know."

D'oh. And what about Red State, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs? You don't happen to be blind on your right eye, Sir?

caffeine soldier said...

"But I can't stand the arrogance, elitism and intolerance."

You want to say, you can't stand that it's over your head, backed by facts, and supported by determined people, John?
:P

A Menken Moment said...

Caffeine Soldier:

I am not blind to those comments on LGF which are vitriolic, and I haven't said that nastiness does not exist on the right. My comment was directed to ASX, who seems to be convinced that conservatives have an exclusive franchise. I hope that neither he nor you is blinded in the sinister eye, if you can possibly avoid it.

On thing I know for sure, however, is that Charles Johnson never said "screw them" about the contractors that were beheaded in Iraq. And none of his commentors have hinted on how to cheat in a blog contest. Zuniga, on the other hand. ...

Simon said...

caffeine soldier said...
"just among the two of us, where's the difference between you and a fascist?

They're snappier dressers, usually in better physical shape than am I, they beat up people who make dumb comments about them while I just ignore it, they're more disciplined, and unlike me, they're left wing.

Anonymous said...

caffeine soldier said...
"But I can't stand the arrogance, elitism and intolerance."

You want to say, you can't stand that it's over your head, backed by facts, and supported by determined people, John?
:P


Caffeine soldier...

Did you really say this, or did a comedy writer invent it to caricature a stuck-up liberal? This read like a line from "Frasier."

Either way, I got a big laugh out of it.

Ricardo said...

"What do you think is the single most important question about this blog?"

At some deep visceral core level, blogging (like most other creative endeavors) is about "actualization" (as Mazlow might say). Writers write because they can't not write. Painters paint because they can't not paint. Photographers photograph because they can't not photograph. Bloggers blog because they can't not blog. This is what they have to do in order to see the world through the right prism. This is how they learn the lessons they are meant to learn, find the answers they are meant to find, complete their mission in life that they are meant to complete. So the most important question here is not some surface issue, but the deeper issue of "Is this blog actualizing Althouse in the way that her heart and soul are crying out to be actualized?"

Paddy O. said...

Women don't need a constitutional right for doing something with their own body. The government has no rights whatever to it.

The government does have something to say about what women can do to another body, however. The question is whether there's a difference between a house and a womb, or a fetus and a baby.

Indeed, I'd say a lot of laws have to do with my body, and how I use it, and my responsibility for how other people use their bodies. Which is why I got a ticket the other day for two of my passengers not wearing their seatbelts.

Simon said...

Paddy O. said...
"[While women don't need a constitutional right for doing something with their own body. The government has no rights whatever to it,] [t]he government does have something to say about what women can do to another body, however."

Indeed; as Burke put it, it is an inalienable right of all persons to make such choices as affect only themselves ("Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself"), but that no one has a right to trespass on the rights of others.

caffeine soldier said...

"They're snappier dressers, usually in better physical shape than am I, they beat up people who make dumb comments about them while I just ignore it, they're more disciplined, and unlike me, they're left wing."

Hehehe, some good points, Simon, but, really, "left wing" fascists? Pls consult an encyclopedia! :D

caffeine soldier said...

"This read like a line from "Frasier.""

Hehe, thx for the compliment! I'm trying hard to keep my lines above the 'south park' level that seems to be standard for many right wing blogs :P

Come to think of it, your line reminds me of the Cheers ladies: Carla complaining about Diane...
:D

caffeine soldier said...

"On thing I know for sure, however, is that Charles Johnson never said "screw them" about the contractors that were beheaded in Iraq."
I don't want to defend Kos for his insensitive comment on the beheaded contracts, it's been shameful. But Charles and his crew ain't no angels, either. Just look at their smear campaign on Rachel Corrie. Maybe she was misguided, but she wasn't exposing herself to deadly danger because of greed, but to make a stand for people she perceived to be victims. She certainly didn't deserve that hateful LGF campaign, either.

I guess we both agree that such hatemongering on both sides doesn't advance necessary discussions and intensifies the radicalisation instead.

Anonymous said...

Leftist Fascists.

Hey, any group consisting of heavyweights like John Ray, David Horowitz, Dennis Prager and Ann Coulter has got my ear.

caffeine soldier said...

"no one has a right to trespass on the rights of others."

As I already pointed out, the question is: When does a fertilised human egg start being another PERSON? A 30 days old embryo certainly isn't a person, a 6 month old fetus surely is. Where to draw the line?

caffeine soldier said...

"Hey, any group consisting of heavyweights like John Ray, David Horowitz, Dennis Prager and Ann Coulter has got my ear."

If they would only have your ear, Van Gogh, that wouldn't be very alarming, yet. But I worry those demagogues already captured your brain...

Too Many Jims said...

"A 30 days old embryo certainly isn't a person"

In Simon's view the 30 day embryo might be a person. We simply do not know whether it is or it isn't. Given this uncertainty, he thinks it is far better for the state to take away a woman's ability to exercise dominion over her body rather than allow that woman to make what might be a bad moral choice.

Anonymous said...

Caffeine

I was being sarcastic, particularly on the clinically insane racist Horowitz.

caffeine soldier said...

"I was being sarcastic, particularly on the clinically insane racist Horowitz."

Oops, sry, NL. That got lost in translation...

caffeine soldier said...

"he thinks it is far better for the state to take away a woman's ability to exercise dominion over her body rather than allow that woman to make what might be a bad moral choice."

Yes, that's how I understand his posititon, too. But this collision of interests begs the question: Which right should be upheld, a woman's right on her own body or some unscientific, not commonly shared, 'ethical' standard?

Maybe I see the US constitution in too sentimental a light, but at least for me, the answer is obvious...

Mortimer Brezny said...

I think BCRA is patently unconstitutional, and that Bush quite probably should have been impeached for violation of his oath of office for signing it while maintaining his belief that it was unconstitutional

But Simon. He was compromising.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I'm not suggesting that legislators can make unconstitutional compromises, if that's the inference you've somehow managed to take. I'm saying that they can take a Constitutionally permissable thesis, a Constitutionally permissable antithesis, and come up with whatever synthesis they like, as long as it's within the bounds of the Constitution.

Yes, but perhaps part of the wisdom of being an absolutist legislator is that it prevents the putting forth of compromise legislation that inevitably will have unconstitutional bits slipped in by imprudent legislators.

The Exalted said...

. I can buy neutrality on guns. I can buy neutrality on gay rights. But on abortion? No way.

And if I'm wrong, and there are such people, if someone didn't have an opinion on abortion, that person would be a fool. And morally reprehensible. Whichever side you come down on, abortion is an extraordinarily important issue: depending on your convictions about when life begins


well, i'm somewhat neutral on the subject. there is no way to "pinpoint" or "know" when "life begins." 9 months, yes, that is a living being. 1 month, no, that is not. in between, where to draw the line? why get so fired up over a 2 month embryo but not the actual people, all over the world, with loved ones and responsibilities, who suffer and die everyday?

caffeine soldier said...

"why get so fired up over a 2 month embryo but not the actual people, all over the world, with loved ones and responsibilities, who suffer and die everyday?"

Exactly! To me, too, this seems to be an incredible hypocritical attitude.