Shorter RedState.org

A top right-wing blog threatens civil war over abortion.

If you don’t criminalize abortion, we’ll start another Civil War.

Gee, I wonder why it might have occurred to anyone to say that the right wing habitually deploys the rhetoric of violence?

Update For those who are hard of reading, here’s the relevant passage. It follows a not-very-well-written rehearsal of the usual wingnut analogy between Roe v. Wade and Dredd Scott

[O]nce before, our nation was forced to repudiate the Supreme Court with mass bloodshed. We remain steadfast in our belief that this will not be necessary again, but only if those committed to justice do not waiver or compromise, and send a clear and unmistakable signal to their elected officials.

Of course, this is silly history as well as appalling rhetoric. The Civil War started not because the abolitionists lost a Supreme Court decision, but because the slavemasters lost an election. But the basic threat is clear: if the lunatic right-to-lifers can’t end abortion by lawful means plus the occasional assassination, they’ll resort to mass violence. Find me a comparable threat from a source with equivalent standing in Democratic politics to the standing RedState has with the GOP, and then let’s talk about the equivalence of the two sides.

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

70 thoughts on “Shorter RedState.org”

  1. Nah, I was of the opinion that McCain was disqualified from the Presidency, (There’s not much question that he wasn’t a natural born citizen when he was born, his only defense is the claim that Congress can retroactively MAKE somebody a natural born citizen.) something I’m a lot more certain of than Obama; Only thing I’m certain about Obama’s status, is that he doesn’t want it definitively resolved. I suspect that’s because the birth certificate exists, proves his qualification to be President, and he’d rather have the birthers barking up the wrong tree, than looking for something else they might actually find.

  2. Eli, I think we’re sometimes on the same page but other times not, and maybe just not understanding one another correctly. I concede the point that what you and I are doing is essentially the same thing, we are both determining what is cosmically right based on the meaning we have interpreted from some source. The difference, where we part ways, is that we’re drawing on different sources. You are drawing upon history or popular opinion. I am drawing upon what I believe and find good evidence to be the word of God (i.e., the Bible). I realize that I’ve now thrown us into another level of conversation because you’re going to want to know what evidence I have that the Bible is the word of God. How much time do you have? But setting that aside, I’m more confident in basing my subjective interpretation of “cosmically right” on what I am convinced is the word of God rather than basing it on history or popular opinion as a source. History and popular opinion have gotten it seriously wrong over and over again. Frankly, I don’t trust that as a source. God’s word has never let me down, and despite being subjected to more higher criticism than any other piece of writing in the history of the world has stood the test time and time again. In this historically reliable document, Jesus himself claims that scripture is the word of God.

    As to your question in your first paragraph, you state that I have a worldview from which I decide what is right and wrong and so that makes my position no different than yours. I think one single word is key here- “decide”. I don’t decide, based on my worldview, what is right and wrong. I seek to interpret, based on what I believe to be the external source of authority, what is right and wrong. So I would substitute “decide” for “interpret”. I must maintain fidelity to correct principles of interpretation, similar to a languistic interpreter, to make sure I don’t distort this source of authority (i.e., the Bible). I am subjected under it though; I am not free to decide which parts of it to believe or how to interpret or what I feel is right or wrong. This is where my position makes my response different. Deciding what is right or wrong is, in my assessment, a kind of arrogance of wanting to play god. Interpreting what is right or wrong, based on an external source of what I believe to be authority, puts God as the decider and me as the responder.

    I suppose what really has to be tied to this conversation is a whole extended conversation on the evidence for a god, then the evidence for my God, then the evidence that the Bible is the word of God. Suppose for a second that I could demonstrate convincing evidence (not proof, but evidence that was the most logically consistent and the most strongly plausible according to the observed facts) that god exists, that the God of the Bible was the true god, and that the Bible was in fact the word of God. Given the acceptance of all of that, if the Bible says something is right or wrong then wouldn’t you see a stronger case than personal opinion of public sentiment for believing it to be right or wrong. What if all of this is true in an objective sense (i.e., a god is real, the God of the Bible is the real god, and the Bible is truth)? Then personal opinion would only matter to the degree of interpretation. But it would be irrelevant to the objective reality.

    As to Joel Hanes assertion that “ensoulment” only dates back to 1869, suggesting that the Catholic church never had a problem with abortion before then, I have never heard of such but then again I am not Catholic; I’m of the reformed tradition (Presbyterian). Actually I think I may have heard Joel or someone else mention this once before on this website. Joel, can you provide a link to an historical accounting of what you are describing? As far as I knew, the Catholic church has been a staunch opponent of abortion going back to the beginning of the church. But then again, I have a whole set of other problems with the Catholic church and wouldn’t be totally surprised if this position was taken early on in church history, despite the clear teaching by the Biblical authors against abortion and that life begins at conception.

  3. Oh, for heaven’s sake. Bush has never particularly denied that he went AWOL for a year. All of the surviving documents are consistent with it, and he could hardly have served in the Texas Air National Guard when he wasn’t in Texas. He has made some claim that he fulfilled his obligations later, which claims are disputed, but that he up and took a year off from the war isn’t really a controversy. Referring to it is hardly akin to Birtherism.

  4. Congratulations, you’re being targeted. Now off and moderate. Otherwise this gaff is going to troll-out and become useless.

  5. Malcolm, if the "mud hut theory" is so implausible, why is it given a respectful hearing and airing among elected Republicans, while the "inside job" theory of 911 is an absolute taboo among elected Democrats? Perhaps because the Democrats are the grown-up party, and the Republicans are now the temper-tantrum party?

    Your mention of "some of the free market persuasion" betrays more than you perhaps intended to: "birtherism" is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter.

  6. "“birtherism” is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter."

    Fancy that, I thought it was all about the allegation that the current President of the US wasn't really a natural born citizen. Hence the 'birther' part.

    Mark, have you noticed that people have this tendency, when they encounter somebody who disagrees with them about something, to attribute to them every view they disagree with? I encounter that a lot, get people attributing to me views on subjects I've never opined on, or even said contrary things about.

    "Birtherism" may be correlated with those other views you parody, but that doesn't mean it IS those views. Unless you're going to define it as "Not Mark Kleimanism".

  7. bux,

    Of course, again, there are plenty of examples in history of popular opinion leading to terrible things. Nothing is to stop popular opinion from swaying the way of the past again. You are right though that morality is something that we must figure out for ourselves. The key part of that statement is “figure out” though. This isn’t the same as saying that morality is something we define ourselves. The rules of morality can (and I say must) be defined by an external authoritative source, but still leave us with having to struggle with figuring the rules of that objective reality out for ourselves.

    First, in many cases of "popular opinion leading to horrible things" popular opinion was motivated by an absolutist view of morality derived from religious belief. I don't see how relying on some authoritative source avoids horrible things.

    Second, we need to decide which of the competing authoritative sources is correct. How is doing this is different from coming to our own conclusions about morality? Are we supposed to examine allegedly divine texts for clues, quite apart from their teachings, to their divine origins? That seems impossible, since we can't possibly know what such a clue would be.

  8. Oh, give it up Thomas. You’re done with. Go away. You’re coming across like a deranged psychopath. And regardless of what you think about Mark’s ideas, I have found him, in my “trolling” experience on this site, to be a sincere and stand-up guy.

  9. (Mark): "Malcolm, if the 'mud hut theory' is so implausible, why is it given a respectful hearing and airing among elected Republicans, while the 'inside job' theory of 911 is an absolute taboo among elected Democrats?"

    Don't you mean "some elected Republicans" and "some (or, "most" or "all" elected Democrats"?

    A. Which elected Republicans have given the contention that Ann Dunham-Obama delivered Barak Obama in Kenya a respectful hearing?

    B.Which elected Democrats have expressed disdain for the view that President Bush had actionable advanced warning of the 9/11 attack?

    C. Which elected Democrats have expressed disdain for the view that President Bush assisted the 9/11 attack?

    Show |A|>|B|>|C|.

  10. Brett, it was Malcolm, not I, who linked the birther demand to "free market" thinking. Argue with him, not with me.

  11. “birtherism” is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter."

    Wasn't Malcolm who said that. It was you.

  12. Mark's right that most elected Democrats have adopted Mark's position on 9/11 Truth: don't get caught. But Mark has been caught.

    Mark is dishonest in every single thing he does. I think someone ought to take a look at his academic work, given his track record here. Certainly no one should rely on any of it, absent independent verification. I mean, look at his bald-faced lies on this thread, and at his attempts to hide them.

    Thomas never branded Mark a truther. Thomas said that Mark trafficked in truther-friendly theories. And Mark did. Mark has pulled out a couple of irrelevancies from the archives and is pretending that that’s what the controversy is about. It isn’t.

    Mark was very interested in the story of the “flight of the bin Ladens after 9/11.” What’s interesting about that story Mark? Mark was very interested in the fact that “George W. Bush was a business partner of at least one of Osama bin Laden’s brothers.” He said, “Yes, the bin Ladens are a big family. And yes, they claim to have disowned Brother Osama.” What does Mark mean to suggest? Is he stupid enough to think that we’ll believe his insistence above that he was just talking about the Saudi royal family?

    Mark was very interested in talking about “Prince Bandar’s account at the Riggs Bank, where GWB’s Uncle Jonathan was a senior executive.” Talking about the account is fine, but what’s the relevance to the fact that “Uncle Jonathan” worked at the bank? If you want to know the relevance, go read 911truth.org. Maybe that’s where Mark picked up this little gem.

    And finally Mark was very interested in asking “Who authorized the evacuation of all bin Laden family members and other prominent Saudi citizens from the United States before the FBI had a chance to interview any of them?”

    That’s the truther question. It goes right to the truther position on 9/11. And you could read all about it here at samefacts.com.

    Mark was careful to never sully his hands with the heart of the theory. That would have been too embarrassing. No mention of explosives hidden in the WTC, and of course no mention of “false flag.” But he didn’t mind encouraging the theory around the edges, as we see above. And he never condemned it, despite the fact that roughly half of the Democratic party believes in some variant of the theory. He’s not alone in that failing.

    And now he wants to talk about the need to rein in rhetoric! What a hypocrite. What a joke.

  13. (Mark): “Note that the rejection of Trutherism is a consensus in Blue Blogistan; Daily Kos banned Truther posts early on. The contrast with the handling of Birtherism on the right is stark“.

    (Malcolm): "Maybe because the theory that two poor grad students would blow plane fare halfway around the world for the privilege of delivering on the floor of a mud hut is not as widely held or vehementally advanced as 9/11 conspiracy theories. Some of the free market persuasion believe, however, that Constitutional requirements for Presidential candidates (e.g., US citizen by birth) require proof."

    (Mark): "Malcolm, if the 'mud hut theory' is so implausible, why is it given a respectful hearing and airing among elected Republicans, while the “inside job” theory of 911 is an absolute taboo among elected Democrats? Perhaps because the Democrats are the grown-up party, and the Republicans are now the temper-tantrum party? Your mention of 'some of the free market persuasion' betrays more than you perhaps intended to: 'birtherism' is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter."

    (Brett): "" 'birtherism' is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter.”

    Fancy that, I thought it was all about the allegation that the current President of the US wasn’t really a natural born citizen. Hence the ‘birther’ part.

    Mark, have you noticed that people have this tendency, when they encounter somebody who disagrees with them about something, to attribute to them every view they disagree with? I encounter that a lot, get people attributing to me views on subjects I’ve never opined on, or even said contrary things about.

    'Birtherism' may be correlated with those other views you parody, but that doesn’t mean it IS those views. Unless you’re going to define it as 'Not Mark Kleimanism'."

    (Mark): "Brett, it was Malcolm, not I, who linked the birther demand to 'free market'thinking. Argue with him, not with me."

    (Brett): " " 'birtherism' is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter”. Wasn’t Malcolm who said that. It was you."

    Thanks.

    Mark, you said "The contrast with the handling of Birtherism on the right is stark". I have argued since my first contribution to discussions here that the one-dimensional left/right continuum unreasonably compresses and destroys information about political orientation. If we are to use the terms "left" and "right" most reliably, they refer to a preference for State action or markets in resource allocation questions. Drug policy, environmental policy, military policy, and the question of the qualifications for President are conceptually independent of economic philosophy. If astronomers were to discover an Earth-crossing asteroid that represented a serious threat, I would accept a case for a government response. If AGW presents a threat on a similar scale, the argument for climate change policy would be similar. The language of economics can contribute to the discussion, but has little to say about the facts of AGW, Earth-crossing asteroids, or the location of the President's birth. With "the right", you linked the discussion to beliefs held by "some of the free market persuasion".

    btw, I expect that State interference in markets exacerbates income inequality. I expect environmental research (e.g., into AGW) would benefit from a retreat by the State from the post-secondary education industry.

  14. Malcolm asserted that those of the "free market persuasion" think that the natural born citizen clause of the Constitution ought to be enforced. That's just a correlation, but it IS a strong correlation. People of the "free market persuasion" tend to think every damn clause of the Constitution ought to be enforced, because it's the highest law of the land, and a government that's lawless is bad for a free market. If the government can pick and choose which parts of the Constitution get enforced, it very likely will choose not to enforce economic liberties.

    This is distinct from "birtherism", which despite Mark's attempts to extend it to anybody who thinks the entire Constitution ought to have the force of law, (Because he thinks otherwise, I suppose, and rational people tend to think the 'birthers' are nuts.) means the belief that Obama isn't a natural born citizen. And nothing more.

    So, it is literally true that Mark, and not Malcolm, said, “birtherism” is all about letting the income distribution get worse and the planet get hotter.” And, for all that Mark may think that a free market will lead to increasing income disparities and rising ocean levels, favoring free markets doesn't involve favoring those things, and certainly not as a definitional matter, and that's ABSOLUTELY not "all" a free market persuasion is about. And Mark, not Malcolm, is the one who said it.

    Mark, I said earlier that you were a political hack. This sort of thing is why I claim that. Putting words in people's mouths. Routinely attributing the worst possible motives to people who disagree with you. Failing to correct convenient mistakes like your one about the '94 ban preventing the recent idiot from shooting that Congresswoman, when he used nothing that wasn't legal to buy, and fairly easy to get, too, during the ban.

    If you don't want people calling you a hack, maybe you ought to try behaving less like one. I know for a fact you're capable of it. You show it whenever you're discussing subjects, like drug policy, where you're confident you can make your case in a legitimate manner. That's why I think it's a mask you put on.

    Be careful, one day you might find the mask has become your real face.

Comments are closed.