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2.25.2011It’s a super-volatile topic, I know… and I’m really not trying to antagonize anyone or stir up trouble. I just want to throw out, in easily referenced fashion, how I frame the “abortion debate” in philosophical terms and why I find the political side of it (in the United States, at least) really oddly positioned.Here are two contrasting principles:When we encounter a conflict between a known rights-holder and a possible rights-holder, we should…
- uphold the rights of the known rights-holder despite restricting a possible rights-holder
- guard/defend/protect the basic rights of the possible rights-holder despite restricting a known rights-holderIn most things, the “libertarian” position is A) above and the “liberal” position is B) above. (Feel free to commend with improved terminology for me here; the Democrat party in the U.S. would usually be identified with “liberal” but the Republican party has a mix that runs from “libertarian” to almost “paternalistic,” for lack of a better word.)How’s this cash out?Animal welfare: Dolphins or chimpanzees might deserve basic rights of life and liberty (nobody knows for sure) so we shouldn’t wantonly kill them even if someone says, “I captured those chimps on land I own” or “I have the right to fish these waters per international treaty and the dolphins are in my way,” etc.Slavery: People are people (and if you go back to the 1700s and 1800s that was in dispute, but you could make the argument, “Well, they sure look like people to me!”) and therefore shouldn’t be bought and sold.Women’s rights at home and abroad: Even if a culture says, “Around here, women are property,” we stand up and say that’s wrong and that they should be treated with human dignity.With me so far?Here’s where I ruffle feathers:By any measure, a fetus sure seems to be a person.An inconveniently located one, perhaps, but a person.Looks like a person.Comes from a person.Has unique human DNA.Let’s grant for the sake of argument that this particular fetus-person-thing is a horrendous physical and/or emotional burden on another person (the mother)…Shouldn’t the “liberal” position be that its right to life itself should be preserved?“But my wife dishonored me and deserves to be stoned to death” isn’t an excuse.“But freeing my slaves would have a terrible economic impact on my plantation” isn’t an excuse.“But working around dolphins and chimpanzees is inconvenient and I don’t think they matter!” isn’t an excuse.“My property, my choice” isn’t an acceptable reason for a government to ignore its obligation to protect the rights of those who can’t protect themselves.But… “My body, my choice” is?I honestly, truly don’t get it.Yes, “my body” is a deeper, more core “right” than external property… but “life itself” of an aborted fetus is the deepest right of all, isn’t it?For every argument I see about the physical, emotional and economic reasons for legalizing abortion, I can apply those same exact arguments to slavery or spousal abuse or environmental destruction.Those things are very, very bad. So abortion is too, right?Why is it okay in some cases for the government to protect vulnerable populations from choices that might be harmful to others… but not okay in other cases?Granted, we don’t “know” that a fetus is a person. When dealing with risks and rights, there are lots of things we don’t “know”.So, it comes back to our philosophical framework for making ethical decisions.When we encounter a conflict between a known rights-holder and a possible rights-holder, we should…
- uphold the rights of the known rights-holder despite restricting a possible rights-holder
- guard/defend/protect the basic rights of the possible rights-holder despite restricting a known rights-holderWhich side do you fall on? Are you consistent in that belief? If not, why not?
2.22.2011Was asked my opinion of the first paragraph and… I just don’t know what to think. How’s that for commitment?http://tachesterton.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/the-blogosphere-a-good-place-to-hide-even-from-yourself/
UPDATE: Thanks to Matt and Tod on the west coast, it seems that the video does still say that Joanna Everett is in St. Paul... so that must be hard-coded into the video and I happen to live in the lucky city that was chosen. If the rest of you want to keep watching and double-check their work, feel free... but I think it was "coincidence" rather than "extremely advanced dynamic video programming"...
I need a favor from any non-Minnesota geek friend: When I view it, the get-rich-quick video at http://hypertracker.com/go/russbrun/exhacker/ (which I swear I'm not trying to SPAM to you guys -- please do NOT waste your $47 buying "Commission Crusher"!!!) at exactly 18 minutes in makes a reference to "Joanna Everett" of "St. Paul, MN" ...in both the video AND audio track.
I'm wondering if that's a dynamic geo-targeted reference based on my IP address and that the location of "Joanna" changes when viewed from elsewhere, or if it says the same thing for everyone in the world (which would be odd to mention St. Paul, of all places, especially since a 123people.com search indicates she doesn't exist here.)
So the question is, if you're not in Minnesota, is the "testimonial" reference at the 18-minute mark different for you?
If you're geek enough to care about this, you're geek enough to have something like DownloadHelper that will let you grab the video and fast-forward to that mark, because I don't want to make you sit through 18 minutes of a Flash video that has no way fast-forward or rewind.
(If it _is_ dynamically generated, I've _got_ to find out what tool he's using to do that! That kind of thing has been around on text-based websites -- all those "singles looking for fun in [your city name here]" ads that you see aren't really people in your city -- but I've never seen it done in video before...)
Thanks in advance! :)
A random thing for me to research in my free time: a missions pastor spotted my Bible cover and said he believes it's a very typical African woven pattern and from Ghana in particular. He also said he thinks it's especially common in the Kumasi region and may be the Kente cloth of the Asante people (or Ghan).Wow. And I just thought it looked cool. The cover itself was a gift that happened to be identical to one I'd seen in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1995 but passed up because it was too expensive to splurge on. Then I had that non-buyer's remorse feeling of, "Oh, I should have gotten that when I had the chance..." ...and then it turned up as a Christmas/birthday/etc. present months later. So, I think it'll be fun to learn more about its background...
2.17.2011These are really, really good. You need to be something of a “social media geek” to really get the most out of all of them… but even if you take a poor, dim glance at them they’ll help explain what all this “social media stuff” really is…
http://mobile.twitter.com/emlarson/status/36145493650313216 2) My Quora question last night about an Ignite talk I'd seen that might hold a solution: http://qr.ae/wP40 3) The resulting find: http://www.hilarymason.com/blog/ignitenyc-the-video/ 4) Coincidentally (I had no idea this was in the works!), Patrick Rhone's podcast from today: http://mobile.twitter.com/patrickrhone/status/38260081346887680 5) And, as a point of trivia, Patrick's reference to emails as "pebbles" is a variation of the "heap of wheat" that the Greeks pondered: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sorites-paradox/ Wow. All that might not mean much to you as you're reading this... But, trust me, it's quite a collection in my brain.
Chloe is now singing: "Fluffy towels, fluffy towels"...
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