Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Weed whacker

I will attempt to comment on this post:

It's hard to evaluate Reasnor's argument because it's hard to find his argument. It would take a weed whacker and chainsaw to cut the dead wood and clear the underbrush. And after you wipe the sweat from your brow, it's unclear what's left. Where is Reasnor's argument? His style is so diffuse and vituperative that it's difficult to discern a core argument. A specific argument. But I'll comment on these three statements:

Continuing in his before discussed muddying of the terms, he denies any standard or authority in how he defines specifically historic terms. Instead of looking to history to define historic terms, according to Wilcox, we are to just use his personal definition.

That's a very secondary issue, but since Reasnor makes such a big deal about it, I'll say a few things:

i) I'm struck by the egregious double standard. In my experience, abolitionists are extremely proprietary about who gets to define abolitionism. They do. Only they do. I got into a lengthy disagreement with a prominent abolitionist over this very issue. He takes the position that only absolutists are permitted to define abolitionism. Outsiders are obliged to submit to the insider definition. 

But by that yardstick, Reasnor is disqualified from defining incrementalism. By that yardstick, Wilcox (and his fellow prolifers) has the sole prerogative to define his own position.

ii) All things being equal, it makes sense to begin with the proponent's definition of his own position. However, that's subject to scrutiny. 

Sometimes their definition is inconsistent. Sometimes their definition is euphemistic, deceptive, or evasive. Consider how proponents of abortion and euthanasia define their terms. So there are times when it's proper and or even necessary to challenge insider definitions.

In sum, there's no uniform position on who ought to define the position in question. 

Any bill that regulates, compromises, and discriminates unrighteously assumes explicitly that Caesar has the legitimate right to dictate “from on high” (as Klusendorf says) who gets to live and who is abandoned to the slaughter. In fact, in large part Wilcox's and Klusendorf’s arguments for Incrementalism RELY on Washington DC having the ultimate authority. 

That's equivocal. What kind of authority are we referring to? Moral authority? Legal authority? 

From a Christian perspective, God is the ultimate moral authority. But from a public policy standpoint, if the objective is to outlaw abortion, then, by definition, it comes down to legal authority. Primarily, state and Federal legislative branches, but that requires the cooperation of the executive and judicial branches as well.

Since the goal of AHA is supposedly to criminialize abortion, then AHA can't sidestep Washington DC. They can't get a law passed by pulling rank on Washington DC, for any law would emanate from Congress (or state legislatures). Washington DC is the ultimate legal authority for the legal abolition of abortion in the US. 

Incrementalism as displayed and supported by the Pro Life Movement, understood by historic Abolitionists, and discussed by modern Abolitionists is incompatible with scripture because it is doing evil for good to come. An incremental strategy to end an institutional and abominable sin is doing evil because God does not allow for regulation, compromise, or partial obedience. God demands much more. Do not seek to simply compromise or regulate what God hates. Any support for a law that purposely discriminates against humans created in the Image of God, and abandons some to the slaughter does exactly that. It compromises on MURDER, and although it seeks some good (though it fails), it culturally reinforces the legitimacy of murder, and legally reasserts bad law. If we view abortion as an abhorrent sin before the eyes of God, as it clearly is, and not simply a social ill and political position, then we must ask the question “what does national repentance of the sin look like?” The answer to that question is not some sort of faux repentance in the form of regulatory acts and putting abolition off. The textual examples given in my opening statement plainly show how God views partial obedience and making compromises with evil. Support for regulationist bills assume the legitimacy of the act it is regulating. Support of regulationist bills reinforce the legitimacy of abortion in the general psyche of the culture. Scripture is not silent on incrementalism because scripture is not silent on compromising with evil. Scripture is not silent on incrementalism because scripture is not silent on doing evil for good to come. Scripture is not silent on incrementalism because scripture is not silent on partial obedience. How does one justify compromising on such basic biblical principles?

i) The obvious problem with this objection is that it begs the question. Whether a legislative compromise is equivalent a moral compromise is the very question at issue. 

ii) In addition, moral compromise depends on intent. Since passing a law requires the cooperation of many legislators, the motivation of one lawmaker will often differ from another. The intention of lawmakers who wish to restrict abortion as much as they can is virtuous even though the intention of other lawmakers to permit abortions not covered by the law is vicious. 

These are rudimentary ethical distinctions which abolitionists routinely ignore. Abolitionists aren't morally serious thinkers. They don't do the hard work of drawing necessary distinctions. Instead, they resort to simple-minded slogans, which they repeat ad nauseam, despite correction. 

iii) Reasnor disregards many examples in the Mosaic code where the law regulates evil customs. Take purchasing foreign slaves. Human trafficking is evil. In this case, the Mosaic law makes the best of a bad situation. 

iv) Scripture nowhere says or implies that "support of regulationist bills reinforce the legitimacy of abortion in the general psyche of the culture."

v) To say that "support for regulationist bills assume the legitimacy of the act it is regulating" is a thoughtless statement that makes no effort to consider easy counterexamples.

For instance, Plains Indians couldn't defeat the American infantry. As a result, Indian tribes had to negotiate treaties with the Federal gov't from a position of weakness. Did they presume the legitimacy of the process? Hardly. But it was a choice between a bad negotiated settlement and a worse alternative.  

1 comment:

  1. Also does AHA/Reasnor expect "national repentance" as a goal to be met for the abolition of abortion. Is this a reasonable or achievable goal according to Scripture? Are they universalists?