Barbarism

… in rural Bangaladesh and in Indiana. The links between religious fanaticism and misogyny are strong, no matter which holy book the fanatics pretend to read.

In rural Bangladesh, ignorant religious fanatics sometimes condemn young rape victims to flogging, which can result in death. The girls are accused of faking their victimization and punished for sexual immorality.

To “conservatives,” that proves that Islam is barbaric.

In Indiana, the ignorant religious fanatics merely condemn young rape victims to carry theur rapists’ children to term, even if doing so threatens to kill them. Again, the excuse is that the accusations of rape are false, made only for the purpose of getting an abortion.

Much more civilized, don’t you think?

And tell me again about how the Teahadis just care about “small government” and fiscal issues?

Footnote Mitch Daniels – one of the “sane” Republicans Joe Klein wants to run for President – is expected to sign the bill, which will also require physicians to tell their patients things that aren’t true.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

10 thoughts on “Barbarism”

  1. Well, yes, there is a tu quoque argument here: I think you are telling me I have a license to disapprove of the Bangladesh events only if I disapprove of the Indiana law. So, since I do disapprove of the Indiana law, I have a Kleiman-license to think the death by flogging of a 14 year old in Bangladesh who was raped when she went out of the house to go to the bathroom is monstrous, right?

    I do think these cases are different in kind: the anti-abortion activism like Indiana’s says it is motivated to stop the murder of fetuses. I don’t believe a fetus is a life, I think humanness happens after birth, by the interplay of infants and their care-givers, so abortion doesn’t bother me. If I did believe a fetus was a life, there’d be a reasonable case that women could be required not to have them killed for their own convenience. We don’t allow parents who’ve decided that their born children are interfering with their night life to kill them. So, I disapprove of the Indiana law, but if I shared the going-in assumptions of its backers, my views would change.

  2. Dave, to say that a fetus is not a life means, literally, that a fetus is not alive. But of course a fetus is alive; so is a sperm and an unfertilized egg. To say that a fetus is not alive is not to offer a reason to support the right to abortion; it is merely to state in another way one’s support for the right to abortion. Likewise, to say that a fetus is alive would not be an argument against abortion, but would merely be to state in another way one’s opposition to abortion.

    The claims that a fetus is a life or is not a life sound like empirical claims, and suggest that, if we researched the matter, we could determine which claim was true and thereby solve the moral problem of abortion. These claims avoid the true moral issue, which is whether the government should have the power to force a pregnant woman to give birth.

  3. I think the Indiana bill sets the threshold too early, but birth is WAY too late. There simply isn’t any fundamental, moral difference between an 8 month baby born premature, and an 8 month baby still in the womb. It’s just a convenient, arbitrary line, which takes advantage of “out of sight, out of mind” to justify pre-birth infanticide.

    But it’s in the nature of imposing binary laws on continuous phenomenon, that any particular line that gets drawn is arbitrary.

    Agreed, they shouldn’t mandate in law that the doctors tell their patients an abortion will raise the chance of breast cancer. Or any of the other dubious things this or that law encourages doctors to say, some of which whoppers liberals like having told.

  4. There’s some pre-packaged nonsense about how dangerous it is to have a gun in the house, that liberals are fond of having doctors feed parents.

  5. Brett,
    I’d call that a “stretcher,” not a “whopper.” It is true that guns are reasonably safe in the home of anybody with a decent notion of gun safety. Most gun owners are reasonably good about gun safety–I’m perfectly comfortable with my kid visiting my gun-nut brother’s house. But many gun owners are not. After all, the NRA, despite its excellent gun safety training, has ensured that it is easier to own a gun than drive a car.

  6. Brett, will you cite me the law that requires doctors to tell their patients that guns in the home are dangerous? As far as I know, there are no laws which require such things, but I may be wrong.

  7. Brett, for heaven’s sake, we’ve rehashed your claims about abortion several times already. There are, as you point out, important physical and ethical differences between a pregnancy at 1 week post-fertilization and 8 months post-fertilization – but then, you’re hardly the only person to notice this. In particular, the lawmakers and judges who’ve weighed in have all been aware of this point; thus, completely unsurprisingly, there are differences in how the law treats those two circumstances. Always have been. You exert all this energy in defense of something that is already legally defended; there is no legal right to abort a post-viability fetus except under extreme circumstances. Even you haven’t disagree with those rules in the past – you’ve just claimed that abortion-loving doctors will deliberately perjure themselves to perform unnecessary surgical procedures that destroy a human life in defiance of their training and the law, and you claim that there’s no reliable legal recourse. Apparently, you think that’s how doctors get their kicks, or something.

    And regarding your assertion about mandatory distribution of (really quite moderate) anti-gun propaganda: (1) can you remotely substantiate the existence of any such legislation? (2) is the relationship between patient and doctor really comparable to that between customer and gun-store sales clerk? (3) are you saying there aren’t studies demonstrating that unsecured firearms in the family home represent a significant danger to children?

  8. Leaving aside the fascinating discussion around ludicrous statements by the usual suspects, one wonders whether such refusals of abortion will be met with a higher birth rate, and if there will be more babies dropped off at churches, City Halls, and the State House.

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