Ed Hudgins

Paul Ryan's Objective Virtues

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Robert Hartford wrote:

The least we receivers of Social Security can do, if we are financially able, is to be a little more generous in support of those organizations that are advocating for personal responsibility for one’s own life and for limiting government to its proper role.

end quote

I agree wholeheartedly. I support Objectivist Living, Tea Party Candidates, The Atlas Society, etc. I seem to remember giving money to the Heritage Foundation once. I subscribe to Rush Limbaugh’s site and he IS a fan of Rand and limited government in spite of what many libertarians wrongly think because of his pro-life stance.

Politically, we need to support a Romney/Ryan ticket. After Mitt picked Paul for Veep, I sent him $100. I may also send more to Romney’s pac Restore Our Future. And I am considering a contribution to Karl Rove’s pac Crossroads GPS.

Peter

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Peter, if I understand you correctly, your conclusions concerning what legal rights should obtain concerning abortions are in synch with Roe v. Wade. In the quote below is my understanding of some pertinent brain development and my understanding of present law within the framework of Roe (from my 1984 essay “Innocent Threats and Abortion”).

The US Supreme Court has barred the States from prohibiting abortion during the first trimester. By the end of that interval, the brain of the fetus is recognizable as a mammalian brain, but does not yet have the structural features of a primate brain. The lower brain of the human fetal brain at this stage has begun to have indications of neuronal maturity, although the higher brain at this stage has not. The fetus during the first trimester lacks an adequate neural foundation for minimal subjective experience.

The Court has allowed the States to proscribe elective abortions beginning with the second trimester. Viability will be reached towards the end of this second trimester. In my State, a fetus judged to be viable must not be aborted unless it is medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother. The same professional care must be given to the viable fetus as to any fetus intended to be born; if an abortion is needed to preserve the life or health of the mother, measures for life support must be available and utilized if there is any clearly visible evidence of viability. Violation of these requirements is a Class 2 felony, which is the level of voluntary manslaughter. Anyone intentionally taking the life of a premature infant aborted alive commits a Class 1 felony, which is the level of attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping.

The Pope and Ryan and Romney and I can agree that conception is an opportunity for something incredibly great. The Pope aims to get the first-trimester abortions, as well as the rest of them, prohibited by law, as in the pre-Roe era. He and the vast bulk of the American anti-abortionists think the human conceptus is given a human soul by God at conception (even before the blastomere attaches to the wall of the uterus). No, complicated as it might be, the soul comes later. And no, rights are not monadic attributes hanging on a person or on a person in the making; they are relationships among persons having various projects, including projects of making new persons. And no, goodness---indeed sacredness---in human sexuality is not confined to the possibility of procreation.*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

A Christian view on the morality and legality of abortion more rational than the Roman Catholic view is here.

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Stephen Boydstun wrote:

The fetus during the first trimester lacks an adequate neural foundation for minimal subjective experience.

end quote

I think we may be in agreement, though I think Roger Bissell’s and my argument take a slightly different track. To paraphrase (I can’t remember what are my ideas and which are Roger’s): consciousness in a human baby that has gestated for approximately 28 weeks is a valid prerequisite for the imputation of rights. The moment a baby becomes conscious is the moment that it becomes a person. From that first moment onward, sensations and perceptions in and out of the womb are experienced, memories are stored, a unique neural network is continuously being “wired” and “rewired” in the infant’s (and toddler’s) brains. This *new person* has an identity that will remain the same throughout its life. The baby is thinking as evidenced by the brain wave patterns alpha, delta and theta that are also found in thinking adults. I hope I got that right. That is why I maintain that a thing - is a thing and that A is always A, irregardless of its location. That is why it is crucial that Objectivism be conceptually, “pro – person,” in the abortion debate, and also considerate of “pre-persons.”

The mother’s rights are not only taken into consideration, they are paramount up until a *new person* flashes into existence. From that point onwards, there is a new dynamic in play. I would prefer that medical ethics err on the side of *life* in every situation. If the point of *personhood with rights appropriate to a human baby in the womb* is dated back to the beginning of the second trimester I mostly agree with you.

As Stephen Boydstun put it:

By the end of that interval, the brain of the fetus is recognizable as a mammalian brain, but does not yet have the structural features of a primate brain. The lower brain of the human fetal brain at this stage has begun to have indications of neuronal maturity, although the higher brain at this stage has not. The fetus during the first trimester lacks an adequate neural foundation for minimal subjective experience.

end quote

I would prefer a sliding scale of due consideration up until a distinctly *human brain wave activity* appears.

Stephen wrote about Roe v. Wade and the various State’s interpretation of that Supreme Court decision:

Anyone intentionally taking the life of a premature infant aborted alive commits a Class 1 felony, which is the level of attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping.

end quote

That is hard to agree with from an Objectivist’s feminist’s perspective but it does describe *justice.* Of course, there can always be mitigating circumstances, such as the “mental state” of the Mother and the aborting Doctor’s evaluation of her mental state.

Anyone care to describe a sliding scale of values for a human embryo, fetus, primitive thinking human, pain feeling, human thinking, the granting and recognition of personhood, viability, born, born up to age 12, age 12 up to age 21?

Thank you for the discussion, Stephen. I agree with you that, “The Pope and Ryan and Romney and I can agree that conception is an opportunity for something incredibly great . . . . And no, goodness---indeed sacredness---in human sexuality is not confined to the possibility of procreation.”

Well said, Stephen!

Peter

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Stephen linked to The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which wrote:

Human beings, created in God's image as male and female (Genesis 1:27-28), are persons of intrinsic value and dignity . . . Women, faced with unintended pregnancies, are called to be good stewards of life by making responsible decisions in light of these relationships. Women and men share equally in the responsibility and accountability for procreation, although it is women who are most intimately affected by decisions about abortion . . . Personal human life is a part of this divine drama. God creates a human being through complex genetic, physiological, and relational developments. Human life in all phases of its development is God-given and, therefore, has intrinsic value, worth, and dignity. Guided by God's Law, which orders and preserves life, human beings are called to respect and care for the life that God gives.

end quote

From Objectivism’s perspective, that is not bad for a primitive philosophy : - ) And the Lutheran Church’s nuanced words like, “unintended pregnancies,” “good stewards of life,” “unintended pregnancies,” “accountability for procreation,” and “Human life in all phases of its development . . . has intrinsic value,” are thoughtful.

And even the mentioning of a mythical “God” is reminiscent of our own Preamble and Constitution. The Declaration of Independence Axiom: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

end quote

I am proud to be an American.

Peter

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Hmm, even I’m puzzled by what this means. Is the idea that Stephen’s (over-)weighing of the importance of a candidate’s Roe v. Wade position is like Jason Alexander’s toe obsession? It’s more like an Achilles heel to my mind, but hey, Achilles was still a mighty warrior! Swift-footed, sing muse of his rage and all that rot.

Crap, look at it, what kind of casting is this? Pitt looks more like Biden, and Ryan like Hector after a shave. This is not at all how I expect their debate to turn out.

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Ninth Doctor wrote:

Hmm, even I’m puzzled by what this means. Is the idea that Stephen’s (over-)weighing of the importance of a candidate’s Roe v. Wade position is like Jason Alexander’s toe obsession?

end quote

A fine example you are Stanley. To be a person, a person has to have a brain.

Signed, Oliver Hardy

Though, you are correct. Stephen Boydstun did write:

I take the acid test of a candidate’s support for legality of elective abortions to be support for Roe.

end quote

I agree that abortions should be legal in the first trimester. But I won’t let Stephen’s sentence stand alone. He gives a further explanation, and a link to a philosophical / Christian - Lutheran site. Religiosity is a two edged sword. Different religions have their different “proofs” and most of them contradict each other. Fights break out. Faith and force go hand in hand. To be totally against all abortions because you believe a soul is implanted by God at conception is irrational. Now a better religious case could be made for a soul being implanted by God or nature when the brain “quickens” and a person is thinking around the 26th to 28th month of gestation. Since that religious position is four square with my reasoned position I won’t quibble with it.

Thanks for the link to the fight scene. I watched the whole thing, but that background singing was excruciatingly bad.

Peter

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To be a person, a person has to have a brain.

I guess you never met Biden.

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“How do you conquer Rome with no weapon other than your voice?”

Cicero

I re-saw a snippet of the Brit Hume interview with Paul Ryan and he explicitly says he loved Ayn Rand’s fictional novels, especially “Atlas Shrugged” but rejected her philosophy because it was based on atheism. That is wrong of course. Objectivism is based on *reason,* and reason, to avoid contradictions, may eventually lead to atheism.

Just watching Ninth’s film clip with Brad Pitt as Achilles shows how silly and irrational all concepts of God or the gods, are.

Everyone understands that the “old gods” were the rankest horseshit. Who in the heck were Gaia, Kronos, Poseidon, Hades, Zeus, Apollo, Cupid, and Diana? Modern people see the absurdity of believing in those false deities but leave God, Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, or L. Ron Hubbard alone! Come on, VP candidate Ryan. Wise up, and be happy.

I wrote, “To be a person, a person has to have a brain.”

Peter Reidy responded:

I guess you never met Biden.

end quote

I could have. He was in Georgetown, Delaware a few times that I noticed before he became VP. That is only about 20 miles away. And when my Dad became VFW Vice Commander and then Commander for the State of Delaware, Senator Joe Biden was supposed to show up but he sent a member of his staff instead. My Dad met Joe at other functions and they did not get along though they were both former Naval officers.

Did you see Biden talking in negro dialect yesterday when he said Mitt Romney wanted to enslave them again? That was a low blow to Mitt and to every person of color that was attending his speech.

Peter

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I don't think Biden realized, when he made that chains remark, that a lot of people are into that sort of thing and that he may thereby have made the Republicans look better to a certain segment of the electorate. What if everybody who's read Fifty Shades of Grey, not to mention Rand's sex scenes, votes for Romney/Ryan?

I used to think Obama picked him in order to look smart by comparison; yesterday I realized that he also wanted someone who could make his attempts at urban-black dialect look good by comparison.

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Hmm, even I’m puzzled by what this means. Is the idea that Stephen’s (over-)weighing of the importance of a candidate’s Roe v. Wade position is like Jason Alexander’s toe obsession? It’s more like an Achilles heel to my mind, but hey, Achilles was still a mighty warrior! Swift-footed, sing muse of his rage and all that rot.

Stephen in post #11:

"In 2012 I’ll likely be voting against the anti-abortionists once again by voting Democratic."

In other words, Stephen will be voting to sanction the certainty of the increased theft of others' property through taxes, and the massive expansion of government into every facet of everyone's life, most likely including abortion and sodomy (those who oppose abortion will probably be forced to pay for it against their will, and those who oppose sodomy will be forced to pay for its consequences), and the continued economic destruction of people's lives and livelihoods, in the name of opposing candidates who oppose abortion -- and sodomy? -- but who most likely will not do anything about those issues, and in the name of opposing the mere potentiality of those candidates appointing judges who are unlikely to have the issues come before them in court.

That's some real Peikovian "logic" right there.

J

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@Jonathan, I hear you. I asked Stephen

,"so given the cholice between a candidate who is pro liberty in every rational respect but he is anti-abortion, and a candidate who is an avowed statist (or an islamic cleric) but 100% pro abortion, you would pick the latter?" ----He never answered the question.

His arguments have been countered quite well here both from a scientific as well as moral POV. Not voting for Romney / Ryan because of this matter, to me, doesn't speak to reason at all, but irrational purtinism.

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. . .

I don't mean to insinuate that pro-choice citizens should necessarily not vote for opponents of Roe. That is only my own decades-standing principle. But I realize that sometimes pro-choice people vote for anti-Roe candidates in order to oppose another candidate who is wrong on an issue(s) even more important to the voter, with the hope that their preferred candidate, if elected, will fail in advancing the anti-Roe agenda.

. . .

Not voting for Romney / Ryan because of this matter, to me, doesn't speak to reason at all, but irrational purtinism.

Stephen, . . . Do the unborn repel you that much?

Previously, from Mr. Cristensen ("Blackhorse")*, some truly irrational puritanism:

If homosexuality is permissible then why not relations with animals?-or machines?-or plastic yard flamingos? Ayn Rand was against the moral anarchy of anything goes relationships. She understood that rational/moral happiness based upon objective criteria, and it's biological function (ie law of identity), were essential to rational happiness in an objectivist context. Sure, people can choose to live all sorts of lifestyles that they think can make them happy, but rational happiness must be defined within the context of reason or else you end up with hedonism and/or nihilism, which is prevelant in the libertarian/anarchist circles.

Mary,

. . . In Virginia we already have an amendment in our State Constitution prohibiting both legal marriage and civil unions by same-sex couples. The bigots you have with you always, even to the end of the world, but I have that you are here, and this is good.

5/9/10

. . .

One good thing for same-sex couples throughout the country is that a couple of years ago, the President issued a directive that hospitals receiving Medicare business are required to have a written policy of nondiscrimination against same-sex couples concerning visitation rights. . . .

. . . and those who oppose sodomy will be forced to pay for its consequences. . .

Sodomy has a social economic cost? Legalization of sodomy had a social economic cost? I can imagine the bigots running on that way ("AIDS was the consequence of sodomy, unnatural and immoral, yet taxpayers had to pay for all that research and care for those rightly dying faggots"), but you? Did you mean a social economic cost of unprotected sex in general, and were you thinking of gay men because most AIDS cases in the US were gay men?

. . .

The Roman Catholic Church had been able to outlaw abortion in all states until that case, as I recall. My impression has been that that situation with the State houses has not really changed since then. Even in the years when citizen support for the position of Roe was 3-1 in favor, the attempts at chipping away in the State houses seemed to never stop. After the 2010 election, I doubt the situation has improved in those institutions.

. . .

The opponents of any and all legal elective abortions, whose support any Republican candidate would require, seem always content with the prospect of having the issue settled by slugging it out in the States (once they get enough votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe). They have fair reason to expect that to work out to their ethical and metaphysical position written into criminal codes.

. . .

. . .

. . . in the name of opposing candidates who oppose abortion . . . but who most likely will not do anything about those issues, and in the name of opposing the mere potentiality of those candidates appointing judges who are unlikely to have the issues come before them in court.

That's some real . . . "logic" right there.

That we disagree in our assessments of the various likelihoods does not make either of us illogical.

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. . .

I don't mean to insinuate that pro-choice citizens should necessarily not vote for opponents of Roe. That is only my own decades-standing principle. But I realize that sometimes pro-choice people vote for anti-Roe candidates in order to oppose another candidate who is wrong on an issue(s) even more important to the voter, with the hope that their preferred candidate, if elected, will fail in advancing the anti-Roe agenda.

Speaking of Achilles Heels and abortion, I know religious people who are also single issue voters. They'd like to vote for the Democrats because they prefer their economic views, but can't because Democrats are pro-choice. They regard abortion as mass murder, and stopping it is like stopping the holocaust, they'd be willing to team up with uncle Joe Stalin if that's what it took. What made me think of this is this attack on Ryan from a nun on Lawrence O'Donnell's show.

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Sr. Campbell doesn't have a clue as to how much she is an advocate of coercion. She is a big bully as long as somebody else does the dirty work, and there are plenty willing to do it.

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A practical advantage of Ryan is, he is a Washington insider, a Capitol Hill kid. He knows how things really work, although maybe he has not been stellar in working them.

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But he has been. Weekly Standard recently ran a long profile about how he managed to go, by hard work and powers of persuasion, from outlier to the de facto head of his party in congress.

(I didn't say he was right, merely that he has been politically skillful and effective.)

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Funny coincidence. I picked up a book at the Zellers gob sale, about Dan Quayle,, by Woodward and Broder. It shows how Quayle went from golf addict to Veep choice, by hard work and powers of persuasion.

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Sodomy has a social economic cost? Legalization of sodomy had a social economic cost? I can imagine the bigots running on that way ("AIDS was the consequence of sodomy, unnatural and immoral, yet taxpayers had to pay for all that research and care for those rightly dying faggots"), but you?

The transer of AIDS on an epidemic scale was a consequence of sodomy, and the citizens of this nation have been, and will continue to be, forced, by voters like you, to pay for the consequences of sodomy, as well as other risky activities.

I have said nothing about sodomy being unnatural or immoral, nor would I ever call anyone a "rightly dying faggot" -- you see, this is an area in which I whole-heartedly share Ayn Rand's views: If I oppose being forced to pay for someone else's existence, it doesn't follow that I cheer the thought of their death.

But, Stephen, now I have to wonder about you and your mindset. You're coming across to me as very emotional and anti-Objectivist in your approach to this issue. If I oppose your forcing me to pay for, say, Sandra Fluke's contraceptives, are you going to accuse me of hating women and wanting to keep them barefoot and pregnant? Are you saying that if I don't willingly surrender my property to you and the causes that you and your fellow intiators of force believe in, then I'm a greedy, evil bastard according to your twisted thinking?

That we disagree in our assessments of the various likelihoods does not make either of us illogical.

How did you manage to miss the point of post? It began with my stating that you "will be voting to sanction the CERTAINTY of the increased theft of others' property through taxes, and the massive expansion of government into every facet of everyone's life..."

Ours is not a disagreement in the assessments of various likelihoods.

J

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Jonathan,

The transfer of AIDS on an pandemic scale was a consequence of unprotected sodomy in the USA. It was a consequence of unprotected vaginal sex in Uganda. It’s that qualification unprotected I held out for you to pick up. But in #46 you held onto the homophobic-speak that sodomy, rather than unprotected sodomy, was the major way in which HIV was spread in the USA.

I did not say in #39 that you had said sodomy was unnatural or immoral, and you are smart enough to know I said no such thing about you. Nor did I say you were among the ones pleased to see so many gay people die.* As for your opting in the conversational context of #39, in the subsequent #46, for saying sodomy over the proffered unprotected sodomy, I do not imagine that you did so because you are a bigot. I presume a person as bright as you, in our cultural setting, would not be a bigot. Far more likely, you refused the tempering I hinted in my query to you in #39 in order to form a raft in the conversation for supporting (weakly) the inflammatory scolding fun and faux-wondering fun of #46.

Yes, I would prefer that the 25% of the citizens who opposed the US invasion of Iraq could somehow not be forced to pay taxes for that non-defensive war (an aggression on our part), that citizens who don’t want their tax dollars given to assist the poor wouldn’t be forced to do it anyway, and so forth. But I expect there is no feasible way to do that.

Certainty is a probability of one. The real probabilities question will be over differences of probabilities between the two parties in an area, and that has to be joined to what weight you give to that area of expectation relative to other areas. That is, different people will give different weights to economic areas, or foreign policy areas, or personal liberties areas. Different weights and different assessments of differential probabilities can be rational. I recognize your concerns as rational as well as mine.

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The transfer of AIDS on an pandemic scale was a consequence of unprotected sodomy in the USA. It was a consequence of unprotected vaginal sex in Uganda.

Like the issue of the politicized and contaminated "science" of man-made global warming, I don't think that we can trust the self-reporting-based and activist-based tracking of the spread of AIDS. With all of the negative social consequences that have been involved in human sexuality, and with the heavy politicization of governments' funding of the disease, we don't have information that is reliable enough to conclude that AIDS on a pandemic scale "was a consequence of unprotected vaginal sex in Uganda."

It’s that qualification unprotected I held out for you to pick up.

So you want me to be more precise, and to rephrase my statement? Okay, then:

The transer of AIDS on an epidemic scale was a consequence of unprotected sodomy, and the citizens of this nation have been, and will continue to be, forced, by voters like you, to pay for the consequences of unprotected sodomy, as well as other risky activities.

But you held onto the homophobic-speak that sodomy, rather than unprotected sodomy was the major way in which HIV was spread in the USA.

It's been my understanding that, due to the fragile nature of the anatomical parts involved, even "protected" sodomy is riskier if either partner has HIV/AIDS than unprotected vaginal sex is if just the woman is the partner who has HIV/AIDS. So, no, it's not out of kinship with homophobes that I refer to the entire category of sodomy and not just "unprotected sodomy."

I did not say that you had said sodomy was unnatural or immoral, and you are smart enough to know I said no such thing about you. Nor did I say you were among the ones pleased to see so many gay people die.

Right, technically you did not directly accuse me of those things, but instead you threw the comments out there to try to intimidate me by linking me to that mindset. You're indulging in cheap smear tactics.

Certainty is a probability of one...I recognize your concerns as rational as well as mine.

Has the United States government initiated force against you for your sexual practices? Are Romney and Ryan proposing initiating force against you for your sexual practices? The candidates for whom you've voted, and for whom you've stated you'll be voting again, are currently initiating lots of force against me, and are promising to do more of it. See the difference?

J

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Jonathon,

Thanks for the rephrase in #48 and for the perfected expression of your 180° opposition to the specimen view stated in my parenthetical in post #39 and to any kin of that view.

One thing Chief Justice Roberts made clear in his confirmation testimony is that the 2003 case legalizing gay sex throughout the country would not be revisited. That is secure no matter who is elected. With respect to Roe, he would only say he would give due weight to its precedence. You and I differ greatly in our expectation of what would happen to Roe in the event that Romney is able make more Republican appointments to the Supreme Court. If he wins the election, I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that he will betray his commitment on that.

I doubt that you and I would be personally under significantly different restrictions of personal liberty (leaving aside the power to marry one’s partner), different risk of security breach, or different limitations on opportunity for prosperity if Romney-Ryan is elected. I likewise doubt that you and I would be personally under significantly different condition of those things if Obama-Biden is elected. I say that presuming that you are a middle-class person like me. Be all that as it may, I think that many, many voters vote predominately according to which policies are morally significant to them, rather than the particular applications of the policies to them personally. I am one of them, and you may be one of them too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

Are you planning to vote Republican or Libertarian in the Presidential race? I have been presuming the former, probably because of Ed's subject for this thread, but I notice that you have not said that you will be voting for Romney-Ryan.

I am looking forward to the debate between Ryan and Biden. I have enjoyed watching Ryan's efforts the past year or so concerning economic matters. Of course I liked Rand Paul's proposal even better, and he looks better on civil liberties and on American military intervention abroad in comparison to Ryan. Militarism is the chronic bulldozer of economic sense for Republicans, as Ron Paul stressed so well in his Republican primary debates.

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