August 24, 2011

Does Vice President Biden believe China's "one child" policy is "repugnant"?

Here's what he said (to a Chinese audience):



Here's the spin provided by his press secretary:
“The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization. The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant. He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable. He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.”
Guy Benson, who extracted that response from the press secretary, is pleased to hear that condemnation of the policy, but says:
I still fail to see how publicly and proactively declining to "second guess" a policy that one finds "repugnant" amounts to "arguing against" it. If the Vice President's conviction is that China's policy is morally abhorrent, he should have said so when he raised the issue on Chinese soil.
It's a carefully framed statement. He was "arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience," but not on the moral ground. He "believes such practices are repugnant," but that's not what he chose to say to the Chinese. The argument against the policy that he made was an economic one: It's not sustainable to have so many older people supported by a too-small number of younger workers.

Benson, presenting the clip, says "Do you detect any revulsion here?" The answer is no. But why is it no? Is it because he, in fact, does not have a moral problem with the "one child" policy? I think he made a decision to set that issue aside to isolate the economic point he wanted to make. He could realistically have thought that there was nothing to be gained with this audience by expressing revulsion toward the policy. He may very well have thought that it would be a distraction and it would undercut his credibility with respect to the economic argument that he believed was the common ground.

Now, clearly, the more strongly you are opposed to abortion (and birth control), the more horrifying forced abortion and forced birth control seem. Perhaps we should all feel that it is wholly unacceptable that the Vice President should refer to that policy without making it clear that he condemns it. When can you mention an evil, then set it aside to talk about something closely related? Here's an analogy: If someone were pointing a gun at your head, you might go straight for the argument that the shooter will be caught and go to prison. That doesn't mean you don't really, really believe that murder is evil.

IN THE COMMENTS: Tim gives the clearest example of the type of comment I anticipated:
So then, Biden's argument against the Holocaust: "The diversion of critical resources from the war to identify, round up, transport, house and then exterminate as many as 20 million would severely handicap Germany's ability to win its war against the Allies."

73 comments:

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TWM said...

Jeeze, give the guy a break, he really is brain-damaged. That said, I doubt he ever gave abortion a serious thought except as a way to get votes from the abortion-loving left.

Oligonicella said...

The self-appointed 'morally superior' always want everyone else parroting their thoughts and beliefs. Not just once in a while, but every time you speak. Otherwise, you're not up to their moral level you see, because you can't focus on the *important issues*.

They apparently live in a world where, if you speak on one thing, you can't be entertaining something else as well.

Common malady in humanity.

Shouting Thomas said...

Why in the hell did Biden even decide to bring up the one child policy.

Why was this necessary?

Looks like a completely unforced error to me.

AllenS said...

A bigger gaffe occurred earlier this week, when Biden appologized to the Chinese that he wasn't able to address them in Chinese, when their main lauguage is Mandarin.

What an idiot. The gaffe that keeps on giving.

Beta Rube said...

It is the infanticide of girl babies that is especially repugnant.

I read about these horrors at a time when my daughters were quite young and it was unimaginable to me that anyone would abandon a baby girl to certain death and try again for a son.

No lefty in the 20th century ever diminished their standing among peers by looking the other way at totalitarian atrocities committed by Marxist thugs.

Biden was simply carrying on the tradition, like wearing a Che shirt. You know, enlightened.

NYTNewYorker said...

Biden believes in absolutely nothing.

It's the reason Obama picked him as vice president and it's also the reason for his political longevity.

By his own words, he revels in being a "politician".

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

So then, Biden's argument against the Holocaust: "The diversion of critical resources from the war to identify, round up, transport, house and then exterminate as many as 20 million would severely handicap Germany's ability to win its war against the Allies."

Because, don't you know, for a Liberal Democrat like Biden, one can't make these moral judgements.

Quayle said...

"On the one hand, we (who are the richest society in the history of the planet) established a safety net that over promised benefits to a generation that was too selfish to live within their never-before-so-lavish means."

"And on the other hand, you killed off the generation below you, which makes the numbers bad for the young generation to provide a safety net."

"So we really have a lot in common that we can build upon."

AllenS said...

Wait a minute. Is Biden talking about Social Security? Do the Chinese even have that? I can just imagine how the translation went down.

How do the Chinese translate WTF?

traditionalguy said...

Who has authority to say anything is outside moral bounds, much less that it is evil. (Remember God died and we don't even read his Book anymore)

Murder, and the threat of murder, is the basic power behind all governments. It is conquest by the gun holders that sets up Kingdoms and keeps kingdoms in operation.

Which is the wisdom behind the Second Amendment.

He who has the death power has the authority in that society.

What would be the purpose of using an economic argument when the one with the guns can steal whatever they want from terrorized men who can quickly be turned into dead men (See, wealth accumulation according to Genghis Khan.)

Biden is not confused at all. He spoke the truth in China, one sohisticated killer to another sophisticated killer.

Curious George said...

That's an idiodic analogy. Even for an idiot but worse for a law prof.

Biden does not simply "set aside the issue". He addresses it by saying "I fully understand...I'm not second guessing." That is clearly, by anyone with a marginal understanding of English, acceptance. He conveys that the act is okay but the consequences are not.

DADvocate said...

Biden's a near perfect combination of intelligence and idiocy. He rarely thinks more than than 15 seconds ahead. Just whatever sounds good at the moment.

Quayle said...

Plus, Biden is good to point out that the social policy of allowing abortion is diametrically opposed to the social policy of taking money from one generation and funding benefits to an older generation.

"Abortion kills a future taxpayer!" should be the slogan.

Either that, or Americans should be able to avoid paying taxes for Democrat sponsored transfer payments on the grounds of their right to privacy.

"I refuse to reveal to the IRS how much money I have on the basis of my right to privacy."

"The money is hidden in my mattress and the government has not right to be in my bedroom."

roesch-voltaire said...

The Chinese established the rule for economic means-- to reduce further wide starvation and so economic enticement, along with more Chinese who resist the rule, might change it. Biden is smart to recognize that the Chinese will respond to the economic argument, rather than some Western based moral argument.

Quayle said...

Plus, Biden openly reveals as a presumption the "magician's secret" around European/American social safety nets, which is that that the younger generation unquestioningly pays for the older one.

The American safety nets were sold to the public on the lie that the money would be taken from each generation during their productive years and set aside and invested, then given back to them when they were older.

Except that isn't isn't want happened because the benefits were over promised.

So, Biden's whole mindset reveals the stupidity and failure of the structure of the Euro/American safety net model.

If you fall off the trapeze you won't hit the circus tent floor with a splat provided you have enough innocent young kids standing under you to cushion your fall.

pm317 said...

It's not sustainable to have so many older people supported by a too-small number of younger workers.

But this 'economic' argument does not hold water there. There is a strong cultural obligation for the son/daughter to take care of the elderly parents. It is a family responsibility and obligation. Government does not figure in this equation like it would here. As long as the next generation is doing well, the older generation is taken care of by each of his/her own.

What is repugnant is the government curbing the choice that is innately human and it is not even related to abortion argument. Once an Indian ambassador was asked why India could not get a handle on its population problem while China could. He simply said India is a democracy. He said the govt can lead and educate people to make better decisions but it can't enforce it. It is morally reprehensible to take away that basic right.

The Drill SGT said...

Sixty Grit said...
Abortion lovers love abortions.


I want to make 2 points.

1. The China policy goes way way beyond "choice". It is a state policy of infanticide, forced abortion and punishment for non-compliance with a basic human drive.

2. In discussing these sorts of things, one makes an error in assuming that any liberal Democrat politican has morals. I'm serious. They have positions that they feel will get them elected. any relation to morals is coincidence.

For example: Any idiot know that the current entitlement curve forecasts result in the US spending the entire Budget on Medicare, Medicaid, and SS in the medium term, but not before today's Pols retire.

All the Dems KNOW this is unsustainable.

Their position is that making absolutely no changes to the entitlements is a moral obligation. We owe it to the poor, the old, etc. yet:

Not doing something now, assures that in the future those poor and old with be paupers, but that will happen after this generation of Dem Pols has retired, so it's not a problem.

that is the definition of moral bankruptcy IMHO. Knowing you will inflict suffering on the people that you pretend to want to protect by inaction.

AJ Lynch said...

People don't forget Biden's comment was directed at the unsustainable Chinese retirement system. Yet these are the facts here in the USA:

1973 -Joe Biden joins Senate:

FICA earnings ceiling is $10,800, tax rate is 9.7% so maximum contribution is $1,048.

2009 -Joe Biden leaves Senate:

FICA earnings ceiling is $106,800, tax rate is 12.4% so maximum contribution is $13,243.

During his term in the Senate, the max contribution increased by 1,260%! So Joe Biden should know a lot about unsustainable govt retirement systems.

Scott M said...

Looks like a completely unforced error to me.

I've been saying all along that this sentiment should be carved into the arch of the doorway leading into the Obama Presidential Library.

rhhardin said...

A 2.1 child policy would make more sense.

The Drill SGT said...

pm317 said...
But this 'economic' argument does not hold water there. There is a strong cultural obligation for the son/daughter to take care of the elderly parents. It is a family responsibility and obligation.


One huge quibble:

It is the obligation of all sons and their wives to take care of HIS parents. The wife's parents are taken care of by her brothers and their wives.

which means of course that if you are a couple and have 1 child, a girl, you are screwed in your retirement plan :)

hence abortions of girls

SMGalbraith said...

I think, perhaps, a better analogy would be to think of trying to persaude Southern slave owners that slavery was wrong.

Would you make a moral argument? Or an economic one?

I think a moral one would fail. As it did.

As to Biden's statement: he could have made both a moral and economic argument against the practice.

Royce D. said...

I'm pro choice and think that forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will is heinous.

'Cause of the whole "choice" thing.

Toby said...

In theory, shouldn't pro-choicers be as vehemently opposed to the one-child policy as they are to abortion restrictions? They both dictate to women what they can do with their bodies and infringe on reproductive rights. Different sides of the same coin, so to speak.

But a quick look around popular feminist & liberal blogs (Kos, FDL, Slate's XX, Feministe, TPM, Feministing) didn't reveal a single peep about Biden's comments. The most generous interpretation I can come up with is that they're acquiescing to the oppression of Chinese women in order to gain political power in the U.S. That, or they're not pro-choice, but pro-abortion.

timmaguire42 said...

Given that he is vice-president of a country that considers it unacceptable to encourage people to avoid abortions, he could hardly chastise the Chinese for encouraging people to have abortions--if there's a significant difference, I don't see it.

Beta Rube brings up a much more serious point--not just sex selective abortion, but sex selective infanticide. The Chinese are murdering their daughters at an alarming rate such that many of their sons will have no children because they will not have wives. They will lead lives of loneliness and sexual frustration.

And that is one of several reasons that China is on course to melt down into a civil war whose death toll will rival WWII and will bring to entire developed world down with it.

What's Biden's view of that?

Betsy said...

Biden made the choice to say that he "understands" the 1-child policy. He could have phrased this in a more neutral way, but, no, he "understands" it -- and the reality is that many Americans will ultimately agree and say that the Chinese did what they had to do. If you're not anti-abortion, if you don't believe that abortion kills a living human being, then it's not a big deal, not worse, anyway, than the multiple other restrictions of life in a totalitarian system, and possibly a reasonable trade-off if the goal is economic prosperity.

So I think he's lying through his teeth when is says now that the one-child policy is repugnant.

Quayle said...

hence abortions of girls

The parochialism and myopia of pro-abortion western feminists blinded them to this unintended consequence.

The Drill SGT said...

timmaguire42 said...
And that is one of several reasons that China is on course to melt down into a civil war whose death toll will rival WWII and will bring to entire developed world down with it.


On the other hand, the short term answer is to put those excess men in your army. The medium term solution without civil war is to look to Taiwan or Vietnam, where there would be excess women, if either country lost a war to China.

MayBee said...


Now, clearly, the more strongly you are opposed to abortion .... the more horrifying forced abortion


I really disagree.

I am pro-choice. But I can't imagine the pain of being told you have to abort your wanted child. That thought is horrifying to me, and I can't imagine being against abortion would make it any more so.

Rialby said...

The Chinese Left advocated forced abortion to limit the number of children born to a nation. The European Left advocated voluntary abortion to limit the number of children born to a continent. They'll both end up in the same position - grabbing their ankles. The Chinese are going to make a whole hell of a lot of noise than the Europeans on their journey.

Curious George said...

"timmaguire42 said...
Given that he is vice-president of a country that considers it unacceptable to encourage people to avoid abortions, he could hardly chastise the Chinese for encouraging people to have abortions--if there's a significant difference, I don't see it."

Encouraging? It's forced abortion by the state.

Seethe difference now?

Rialby said...

Drill SGT - Taiwan or Vietnam.

Yup, it will happen. China has to expand and fast. They need to find some fertile females to breed with. In the end, the world boils down to the basest of instincts - breed or perish.

MayBee said...

Biden is smart to recognize that the Chinese will respond to the economic argument, rather than some Western based moral argument.

What in the world makes it Western-based?

What other Asian countries have forced abortion policies?

Sofa King said...

The diversion of critical resources from the war to identify, round up, transport, house and then exterminate as many as 20 million would severely handicap Germany's ability to win its war against the Allies."


Well? That would be a convincing argument to the German High Command, would it not?

Rialby said...

Oh, and by the way, this is for the Libs - YOU are funding the Chinese military that is going to end up invading one or more countries in the next 20 years. It is YOU who is asking the American people to pay the service on the debt that the LEFT advocated we create. That debt service just helped the Chinese build an aircraft carrier.

Thanks! The blood is on your hands.

MayBee said...

In Hong Kong, my Mandarin tutor told me about her friend, still back on the mainland, who had found herself pregnant without having first gotten the proper permissions. The government toyed with her, trying to decide what they would make her do and how much they could make her pay. It was a nightmare.

Think of that while imagining that the Chinese woman loves her unborn child the way an American mother does. Don't let yourself think of her as the "other", happy to be part of the machine.

MayBee said...

Good point AJ Lynch and Drill Sgt.

Carol_Herman said...

He meant to say China should allow only one player on the basketball court at the time.

Two players? And, you have a war.

As to China having "all the children they want," they've got a problem feeding their population.

Heck, when I was young, and wanted to walk away from the dinner table with food still in my plate, I'd always hear about all those starving children in China.

Kids don't ask, "so mom, could you just mail this to 'em, now?" Of course, getting hit in America wouldn't solve the starvation problems in China, anyways.

Carol_Herman said...

Democrats don't suffer from having the legalized abortion card in their deck.

Doesn't hurt them either to know that stem cell research is popular.

But the GOP tends to own a religious theme they're more than welcome to keep.

Carol_Herman said...

Oh, you know, there are still women who are infertile. And, can't get pregnant, even when they want to.

I'd suggest they check into the Sofitel Hotel, though. It might cure them of infertility right off the bat.

roesch-voltaire said...

Riably and all along I thought our debt was in large part due to the two wars the neo-cons got us into and rather than putting it on the tax role, borrowed money from China. As for the aircraft carrier China built, it is a refitted former Soviet warship they borrowed, not money, from Russia, and nothing to brag about.

edutcher said...

Wanting to control population growth is understandable. Doing it by forced abortion is barbarous.

But this is the regime that redefined barbarism.

AllenS said...

A bigger gaffe occurred earlier this week, when Biden appologized to the Chinese that he wasn't able to address them in Chinese, when their main lauguage is Mandarin.

What an idiot. The gaffe that keeps on giving.


Not to quibble, but I was given to understand Mandarin was a dialect within Chinese, similar to Min and Wu.

roesch-voltaire said...

The Chinese established the rule for economic means-- to reduce further wide starvation and so economic enticement, along with more Chinese who resist the rule, might change it. Biden is smart to recognize that the Chinese will respond to the economic argument, rather than some Western based moral argument.

Yes.

Heaven knows, slaughtering 66 million people in the name of "reduc(ing) further wide starvation and so economic enticement" could never have a valid moral rebuttal.

Oy.

AllenS said...

Two wars? Are you aware that we have been bombing Libya and Yemen. That we have been taking the fight to Pakistan. Which president is doing this?

Carol_Herman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

I think that there are six different dialects in China, none of which are called Chinese.

SMGalbraith said...

I thought our debt was in large part due to the two wars the neo-cons got us into

The "neocons" got us into? I thought we were attacked on 9/11? Were those reports all wrong?

As to the costs: we have a $14 trillion nation debt. The two wars have cost us less than $2 trillion.

Fourteen minus two isn't zero.

PatHMV said...

Tim...

Suppose you were a colonel, or a young general in the German Army in 1938. Suppose you oppose the Holocaust, but you know for an absolute certainty that Hitler, Himmler, and the other architects of the Holocaust would not be persuaded by a moral condemnation, certainly not from you. But suppose you believed that they might, just might be persuaded to listen to a pragmatic argument against the Holocaust. Wouldn't your true moral responsibility, then, be to make the argument MOST LIKELY to cause the Nazis to stop the Holocaust? Wouldn't that be your moral imperative, even if doing so meant you had to pretend you agreed with Hitler et al with the goal of the Holocaust, in order to have the credibility needed to make the pragmatic argument?

Or is preserving your own moral purity the highest good, such that it would be better for a great evil to continue, as long as you have clearly stated your moral opposition to it?

No doubt, the Vice President spoke very inartfully. That in itself is hardly news, with Biden. But Althouse's analysis strikes me as entirely plausible. Biden was likely trying to say no more than "look, leaving aside the moral questions, I'm not talking about those moral issues right now, it's a bad economic policy for you guys to follow." I don't see anything wrong with that, if he believes that the economic argument has some hope of reaching them where the moral argument (which has been made against China many, many times, to the point that it's clear that making it will not influence their behavior at all) has failed.

edutcher said...

AllenS said...

I think that there are six different dialects in China, none of which are called Chinese.

Correct, but I thought they made up the Chinese language.

Cedarford said...

Rialby said...
Oh, and by the way, this is for the Libs - YOU are funding the Chinese military that is going to end up invading one or more countries in the next 20 years. It is YOU who is asking the American people to pay the service on the debt that the LEFT advocated we create. That debt service just helped the Chinese build an aircraft carrier.

Thanks! The blood is on your hands.

================
The rise of China and the decline of America as an industrial and technological power was set up in the 1980s by Free Traders and Globalists.
Ruling Elites of BOTH Parties betrayed America. Economists from the Left and Right backed them with horrific economic analysis on how making everthing in China would lead to "bigger, more exciting, better-paying high tech jobs in America" as consumer dollars were Freed!! by chinese sneakers to buy more of our computers, cell phones, McMansions for welfare mammies..
(And eventually the Free Trade for Freedom Lovers would not only create huge demand for our computers and stuff in China, but of course transform China into Democracy and Free Trade and Capitalism ALWAYS does!!)
Neither Party showed any inclination to control entitlements, Supply side spending, or money spent on global empire and "liberating Freedom Lovers".

Obama is just on the tail end of this wreckage that started with Reganomics theory and worsened under Clinton's global technology transfers and Bush's tax cut, grow Defense and Freedom-Loving! tenure in office.

China's aircraft carrier is a few weeks worth of their WalMart booty. Most Chinese WalMart booty is reinvested in creating modern Chinese infrastructure and in international debt instruments, including financing Bush's wars of neocon adventure, the Bush era housing bubble and his no-money needed prescription drug plan.
Or, otherwise, they could build 50 aircraft carriers in 5 years.

They don't have to invest in factories, as the American companies move capital and all their technology to China to profit the Owner classes in America with cheap China labor. They don't have to please Chinese welfare mammies prop them up for 30 years with baby-rearing the next, larger underclasss -- or squander wealth on entitlements.

Wealthy Chinese businessmen who import illegals into China as workers (except prostitutes) are shot as traitors to the Chinese worker.

AllenS said...

How about this, they make up the languages that the Chinese speak?

MayBee said...

No doubt, the Vice President spoke very inartfully. That in itself is hardly news, with Biden. But Althouse's analysis strikes me as entirely plausible. Biden was likely trying to say no more than "look, leaving aside the moral questions, I'm not talking about those moral issues right now, it's a bad economic policy for you guys to follow." I don't see anything wrong with that, if he believes that the economic argument has some hope of reaching them where the moral argument

Who is his audience?
The technocrats, with whom he had every opportunity to speak privately about the matter?
Or the students to whom he was speaking, who have no say in the matter and may not wish for the US Vice President to say he isn't second-guessing the policy?

edutcher said...

AllenS said...

How about this, they make up the languages that the Chinese speak?

I take it you've had some serious instruction.

Works for me.

Trooper York said...

Why are you surprised that someone who has no problem with killing babies can understand the Chinese infanticide?

His boss had no problem passing a bill that would allow it in Chicago.

Democrats just love killing babies. It is the base of their political power along with welfare and taking money from the productive to give to the indolent.

Same shit different day.

The Drill SGT said...

Trooper York said...
Why are you surprised that someone who has no problem with killing babies can understand the Chinese infanticide?


While I agree with you, I think the other point is more powerful.

For a Dem, what's not to like about all powerful big government, telling the citizens, what's good for them and backing it up with naked power

Quayle said...

In this episode with Biden, the Dems have firmly established two anchor points:

1. It is unsustainable to have few young to pay for lots of old. Biden admitted as much in his statement.

2. The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization. This from the White House statement.

The irrefutable conclusion, then, is that the Obama Administration believes that old people must be limited.

In other words, Death Panels.

There is no other way to reconcile their anchor points.

There is only one variable left to deal with.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... The Chinese established the rule for economic means-- to reduce further wide starvation and so economic enticement, along with more Chinese who resist the rule, might change it. Biden is smart to recognize that the Chinese will respond to the economic argument, rather than some Western based moral argument..."

Interesting argument RV. Seems conservatives make a similar economic argument that entitlement reform is necessary to maintain sustainability and your side argue such reform is the equivalent of starving children and old people.

Cedarford said...

Since the one-child policy, China has quadrupled its GNP. The standard of living of factory workers making goods instead of Americans has almost tripled (China using the productivity excess money not to quadruple standards of living but invest in debt instruments issued to other nations and develop Chinese infrastructure).

Those that say that it will hurt Chinese entitlements down the road or make China more warlike and unstable forget that China is not in 14 trillion in debt with 53 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities looming like America,.

And who would be more warlike - a stable population with an employed son caring for aged parents? Or a nation of 3 billion hungry for resources and land Chinese with 800 million excess people they can afford to lose in wars of acquisition.

What is a more moral, better nation? China with it's one-child policy? Or Catholic Haiti or Muslim Somalia where abortion is banned and overbreeding has run amok?

Outside the American religious right, the rest of the world is quite happy with how China's one-child policy is panning out. Especially China's neighbors - that now have a little peace of mind that China will not become a 1000 Times bigger Haiti or Somalia.

Now the trick is to find out how to get the Muslims and Haitians to go with a 1 child policy, and how to convince Mexico to go with a 2.1 child policy because an end will surely come to the days when Mexico is free to dump its surplus and unemployed citizens on America.

pm317 said...

Blogger The Drill SGT said...

pm317 said...
But this 'economic' argument does not hold water there. There is a strong cultural obligation for the son/daughter to take care of the elderly parents. It is a family responsibility and obligation.

One huge quibble:
----------

You are exactly right. Not sure why I wrote his/her.. Sons are preferred to daughters and it is culturally less desirable/acceptable to depend on a daughter.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Riably and all along I thought our debt was in large part due to the two wars the neo-cons got us into and rather than putting it on the tax role, borrowed money from China..."

If you truly believe we went from $5 trillion to $14 trillion because of Iraq and Astan then you're not very bright.

michaele said...

Oh, the irony, the irony...one of the things Joe Biden is most proud of is the fact that he "authored" the Violence Against Women Act which was passed in 1994. So, he, more than most US politicians should be particularly aghast at the Chinese policy that amounts to female infanticide.

Trooper York said...

Killing babies trumps all in the Democratic party play book.

Tim said...

PatHMV said...

"Tim...

Suppose you were a colonel, or a young general in the German Army in 1938. Suppose you oppose the Holocaust, but you know for an absolute certainty that Hitler, Himmler, and the other architects of the Holocaust would not be persuaded by a moral condemnation, certainly not from you. But suppose you believed that they might, just might be persuaded to listen to a pragmatic argument against the Holocaust. Wouldn't your true moral responsibility, then, be to make the argument MOST LIKELY to cause the Nazis to stop the Holocaust? Wouldn't that be your moral imperative, even if doing so meant you had to pretend you agreed with Hitler et al with the goal of the Holocaust, in order to have the credibility needed to make the pragmatic argument?

Or is preserving your own moral purity the highest good, such that it would be better for a great evil to continue, as long as you have clearly stated your moral opposition to it?

No doubt, the Vice President spoke very inartfully. That in itself is hardly news, with Biden. But Althouse's analysis strikes me as entirely plausible. Biden was likely trying to say no more than "look, leaving aside the moral questions, I'm not talking about those moral issues right now, it's a bad economic policy for you guys to follow." I don't see anything wrong with that, if he believes that the economic argument has some hope of reaching them where the moral argument (which has been made against China many, many times, to the point that it's clear that making it will not influence their behavior at all) has failed."


Pat, I take your point.

But there's a significant flaw in your argument.

Biden isn't a functionary in the Chinese Goverment with moral problems with their one child policy.

He's an American. And Catholic, too.

And either way you slice or dice it, forced abortions are morally wrong. He doesn't have to worry about being taken out back to have a bullet put through his head, or sent off to some prison camp for confronting the regime on that point.

And did he really think they'd respond to his argument on practical or utilitarian grounds?

So why say anything at all. He'd have been better off if he kept his mouth shut.

Ironically, I have no doubt that the Chinese one-child policy has killed more than the 20 million killed in Hitler's Holocaust.

Yet we can't say those things, can we?

Bruce Hayden said...

Years ago, when I was taking economics, it was pointed out the structural problem that third world countries faced, that their birth rates were typically higher than their GDP growth rates, and as long as that continued, they could never accumulate enough capital for their economies to take off. And, I remember thinking at that time that this might be the place where an autocratic government might be useful for the short run.

It does appear that the ChiComs were privy to the same information. And, thus, their one child policy, which does seem to be doing its job.

The problem though is that government bureaucrats are not good at taking into consideration and planning for unintended consequences. If everyone just got with their program, there wouldn't be an issue.

The Chinese technocrats failed to take into consideration some things. One important one was that Chinese society is such that sons traditionally provide their social security system. Not daughters - who help their husbands support his parents, but sons. But, approximately half of the babies born (ignoring abortion) are female, and that means that half the parents of a single child will have no one to take care of them in their old age.

Obvious, of course, in retrospect. But, apparently not so in advance by those technocrats. Or, they just thought that everyone would get with the program, since it was for the benefit of the Chines people - ignoring that loyalty to a race or a billion person nation state is much lower on the hierarchy of needs and loyalties than for person, family, etc. Or, that all these son-less parents would just be collateral damage.

Another thing that the technocrats didn't take into account is that with the abortion of female fetuses and female infanticide, the population of military aged young adults would become so biased in favor of males, with no realistic chance of marrying Han Chinese women, and the fact that if these males are not sent to war, they are likely to run in juvenile gangs, terrorizing their communities.

Finally, the technocrats failed to take into account that maintaining the 1 child policy too long would destroy the age demographics of the country - with the country rapidly coming to a place where too many old people need to be supported for the number of younger people available to do so.

So, you can also view this as a cautionary tale of what happens when you have the best and brightest technocrats planning society and the economy, and why communism in particular, and socialism in general, are fated to continually fail in the long run.

Scott M said...

Speaking of which, what is the biological control that ensures the population remains roughly 50% male/female?

Bruce Hayden said...

Speaking of which, what is the biological control that ensures the population remains roughly 50% male/female?

Not sure what you mean by biological control. Some species do just fine with different ratios, and, indeed, in some it varies significantly depending on availability of food.

I would suggest though that the controls on humans are a bit more sociological. If I remember right, the actual birth rates are maybe 1.07 males per female, so that there maybe .98 or so males per female when they each adulthood (males die at a higher rate than females at least until their 80s).

The problem seems to be our primarily monogamous nature. Most every male wants his own female, because that is in many cases the only way that he can leave descendants, and, thus, be genetically successful.

Since one male can fertilize multiple females, a polygamous society can work, with females sharing a single male. But it doesn't work out that well in reverse, esp. given how few offspring human females can have (esp. in the industrial world today). Besides, traditionally, the only way that a human male could somewhat guarantee paternity was to control sexual access to his female(s). This was accentuated by hidden ovulation. And, the only way that a human male could guarantee genetic success was to make sure that he did not raise another males' offspring.

I do not know if the tendency for excess males to be expended in warfare, to prevent them from running in juvenile gangs, when they cannot have a mate, is inherent, or just a well developed strategy.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Because it's totally more profitable to judge them that way."

timmaguire42 said...

Curious George, I didn't say no difference, I said no significant difference. China is a totalitarian state. A big part of the definition of totalitarian state is that the government makes decisions for you that we in the free world like to make for ourselves. If you do not consider abortion to be murder, than the difference between "encouraged" and "forced" is not significant.

If we were discussing China becoming a Western style democracy, then you'd have a point. But we're not.

ic said...

Ah, you simpletons don't understand: if we can't beat the Chinese cheap labor, then they will beat themselves. Biden is taking a looooong view to wait for the Chinese to get out of the cheap labor supplying business, and our unions are able to demand high wages again.

ic said...

"repugnant"? How so? His boss lobbied to stop a law when he was an Illinois senator to save the survivors of botched abortions, i.e. he wanted the hospitals to dumb survived fetuses in garbage bins.

Kansas City said...

Viewing the video showing Biden very comfortable making the statemnts leads to only two possible conclusions: (1) Biden honestly understands and does not disgree with the policy; or (2) Biden is again a fool who has no understanding of what he is talking about.

It is a close call, but with Biden, it is always safer to go wiht the fool answer.

Methadras said...

Fucking two-faced motherfuckers. You support and understand it on their home turf, but when you get back home, oh well, it's repugnant. Really, you slack-jawed chink lap-dogs? These people are national embarrassments. If any of you vote for these fucking nuts to continue their degraded lunacy in 2012, then you are nothing to me other than traitorous cowards. The whole lot of you.