Not guilty by reason of life is hard

April 6, 2016 § 12 Comments

One of the interesting things about the intramural dynamic between left and right liberals is that it is sometimes the ‘conservatives’ or right-liberals who craft the newest, latest, most progressive innovations in the ways in which liberalism attacks and destroys the natural moral order. In order to stay respectable conservatives sometimes have to out-progress the progressives.

Back in the day the insanity defense provided a kind of compromise or unprincipled exception as a way of saving liberalism from itself.  Liberalism requires public-square neutrality, so the liberal ruling class must prescind from making moral judgments. Disease is unlike moral failure inasmuch as moral agents are culpable for their moral failures but are not (necessarily) morally culpable for contracting a disease or having some sort of defect.  Under the insanity defense heinous criminals could be defined as ‘sick’, thus avoiding making substantive moral judgments while at the same time still asserting a form of politically correct authority.

However, even this vestigial politically correct pseudoauthority is intolerable to mainstream pro-life conservatives or right-liberals when it comes to women who choose a particular kind of murder. Female emancipation means that when a woman chooses abortion she must face no consequences whatsoever.

§ 12 Responses to Not guilty by reason of life is hard

  • CJ says:

    Zippy –

    I have a hard time figuring out your stance on this given posts like this or “ignorance is the eighth sacrament.” Are you saying that 1) “diminished capacity” defenses are legitimate but overused? 2) that they are legit but don’t change an immoral acts into a moral ones? 3) diminished capacity is so much nonsense? Or some combination of the three.

  • Zippy says:

    1 and 2, and also that ‘diminished capacity’ is an exception which has to be established in each individual case.

  • jamesd127 says:

    All women have diminished capacity in the sense described by Paul – that Eve was more easily tempted – therefore need to be under male supervision.

  • Rob says:

    Never change Jim.

  • Martin T says:

    Recently France changed their laws to fine those who purchase sex but not the prostitutes. Clearly the prostitutes are also guilty. I take the pro-life arguments in the same vein.

  • Zippy says:

    Insisting on no punishment whatsoever for prostitution is equally inconsistent and stupid, although at least in prostitution nobody is being murdered.

  • […] reasons why you believe that women lack moral agency is not the same as disputing that you believe that women […]

  • Ryan says:

    The Pope is *really* not helping here. Amoris Laetitia, paragraph 273:

    “A distinction is not always adequately drawn between ‘voluntary’ and ‘free’ acts. A person may clearly and willingly desire something evil, but do so as the result of an irresistible passion or a poor upbringing. In such cases, while the decision is voluntary, inasmuch as it does not run counter to the inclination of their desire, it is not free, since it is practically impossible for them not to choose that evil. We see this in the case of compulsive drug addicts. When they want a fix, they want it completely, yet they are so conditioned that at that moment no other decision is possible. Their decision is voluntary but not free.”

  • GJ says:

    In order to stay respectable conservatives sometimes have to out-progress the progressives.

    I disagree that mainstream conservatives are doing anything really new.

    One noteworthy aspect of the whole furor has been how readily mainstream conservatives reach for what they would denounce in other contexts as sob-story ‘liberal criminologies’. Such approaches to offenders excuse them by painting them as primarily a victim of factors outside their control: such as economic circumstances, pressures from peers, family, or society, miseducation or a lack of education (e.g. “women these days are misinformed about what a fetus is”.)

    So mainstream conservatives are merely co-opting left-liberal ideas and applying them to a different context and successfully persuading many, including themselves, as conservatism always heads leftwards.

  • Zippy says:


    It is true that this is basically the leftist narrative on crime, applied to women and abortion specifically: the perpetrator is really a victim because of upbringing, merely lacks education and opportunity, blah blah blah.

    The difference though is that under the ‘traditional’ (hah!) leftist narrative of crime and punishment it was still admitted that dangerous criminals who had committed murder needed ‘rehabilitation’: we reluctantly still had to exercise some sort of politically correct authority over them to ‘rehabilitate’ them, etc.

    The ‘conservative’ innovation in the case of women who procure abortion is the elimination of even that thin, politically correct exercise of ‘rehabilitative’ authority in enforcing the law.

  • GJ says:

    That’s true.
    So the conservatives’ stance is more significant than I had thought. I’ll be watching with interest to see how events proceed.

  • […] post by saying that the implications of Pro-Lifers pigheadedness to hold abortive mothers as not guilty by reason of: Life is Hard are even worse than when addressing […]

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