Another Coalition for Fog

July 1, 2008 § 6 Comments

The despicable argument that subsidiarity justifies the pro-choice position, or more generally the position that the ‘right to abortion’ should be left in place while other means – and only those other, extra-legal means – are pursued to reduce abortion rates, doesn’t have many direct adherents, as far as I can tell. But there are a lot of people who seem willing to defend it as a legitimate position, while disclaiming that it is their own position: to hide its despicableness behind a fog of putative legitimacy.

I’m reminded of another despicable position, and the apologists who surround it with foggy arguments: John Yoo’s position that it is the President’s proper place to decide what to do in the interrogation of prisoners, just as some argue that it is the woman’s place to decide what to do in the case of pregnancy. She may or may not make the morally right choice, but it is nevertheless her place juridically to make it. This led Yoo to state that it is proper for the President to be able to legally decide to torture the children of a detainee. Under subsidiarity, which addresses the hierarchy of responsibilities for the individual and the common good, the President is charged with the defense of the country. Whether or not to torture the child of a detainee is best – as a legal matter – left to the President.

Torture isn’t the only issue with its Coalition for Fog.


§ 6 Responses to Another Coalition for Fog

  • discalcedyooper says:

    How big of you!Rah! Rah!

  • The torture analogy is utterly ridiculous, and shows some seriously woolly thinking. If the Supreme Court had decided on a “right to torture” that must always be protected, and if there was a substantial lobby in favor of that right, even if qualified, then yes, I would probably argue that we should also be pursuing non-legal means to eliminate torture. But in the present case, it is not a private issue as the acting moral agent is the government, and the decision to torture was made by the very person conducting the torture. None of this has any bearing on the fact that both abortion and torture are both intrinsically evil.

  • Zachary says:

    Zippy is it right to say that different intrinsic evils have different gravity? And that abortion is graver than torture?

  • zippy says:

    Zachary:To the first statement I would say yes, at least in the sense that different specific intrinsically evil <>acts<> have different gravities. I don’t know if I would say that any one <>kind<> of intrinsically evil act is necessarily always more grave than another <>kind<> of intrinsically evil act. (I started to write more, but I would really have to think it through more thoroughly before committing to a position).part of the reason I am hemming and hawing a bit is because the answer to the second question is more difficult. Is an act which deliberately subjects a person to years of torture less grave than (for example) an abortion of a doomed child in order to save the mother? I’m not so sure. I’m more inclined to say that all intrinsically immoral acts are wrong, that is, we ought never do them; but beyond that they may simply be incommensurable.MM: You are reacting just like the original Foggies did when I drew a parallel between torture and abortion. Yet at that time you seemed to agree with me.

  • Zippy,You know that’s not true. I am not defending an intrinsically evil act. I am not suggesting that the abortion is not intrinsically evil. I am not saying that abortion is ever justified based on the consequences. And I am not quibbling with your definition of abortion. I support the clear and consistent teaching that abortion is always and everywhery wrong, without exception, can never be justified defended or promoted, and is most certainly not a “right”.

  • zippy says:

    <>I am not defending an intrinsically evil act.<>Yes you are. You are making room, digging trenches, and building ramparts around it. There were lots of different foggies who took lots of different positions, keeping the castle surrounded in mist and confusion and endless nuance. Lots of the foggies claimed that they weren’t defending torture. I’m no more impressed with your dancing around than I was with theirs.

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