On my flight back from that colossally depressing event last week, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a guy who fancied himself a philosopher. He was on his way to my home city to participate in a "workshop for life" (as he called it). At first I didn't get the gist, so I said, innocently, "you mean the workshop lasts until you die?" Not quite...
It was then explained to me that the US government allows-- even encourages-- the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens every year, and that this must be stopped. So I asked whether, in his view, it must be stopped by taking institutional measures designed to lower the number of unplanned pregnancies, and lower the cost (personal, financial, social, etc.) of single-parenthood, and so on. He declared that such measures "might be a part of the solution," but since "good people" shouldn't have to pay for the irresponsibility of others, the real aim was to criminalize abortion, to make the law reflect that abortion is equivalent to murder.
Then I said, "Interesting. Let's say that you're right, and let's say that you succeed in getting abortion criminalized. What should the law do about pregnant women who attempt (illegally) to get abortions?" Astoundingly, he replied, "they should go to jail, like any other murderer." I didn't raise the complication concerning the fact that we were considering a case in which no abortion had (yet) been performed, but instead replied, "So, if you're successful, we'd have a pretty large population of children born in prison. Who would pay the cost of raising, schooling, caring for them? Wouldn't it, again, be the 'good people'?"
"Hmmm..." he replied. Then he asked, "What's your line of work?" I said, "I'm a professor." Suspicious, he replied, "Professor of what?" I said (in keeping with my usual strategy), "Logic." His instantaneous, beautiful, reply: "I figured. Liberal."
søndag den 1. marts 2009
Ha! Jeg er nødt til at videregive denne historie om politik og logik. Inden den begynder, må jeg dog lige oversætte lidt af konteksten i fald der skulle være nogen, der ikke forstår amerikansk politik, som ikke altid er helt logisk: Personen, der deltager i en "worskhop for life" er ikke en, der er aktiv imod USAs dødsstraf eller krige - tværtimod er han efter al sandsynlighed for disse mord. "Pro life" er betegnelsen for fundamentalistiske total-statstilhængere, som vil kriminalisere abort (og som regel også prævention og seksualoplysning). "Liberal" betyder i USA stort set bare "ikke-konservativ", og dækker altså over alt fra liberalistiske demokrater og menneskerettighedstilhængere til egentligt venstreorienterede (her er det dansk politik, der er blevet mærkelig, idet "liberal" bruges om alt andet end i dets egentlige betydning: "frisindet"). Nå, her kommer logik-profesor Spiros' historie: