well- In the case of me linking the two it was clearly an unfortunate derail of the way people like to talk about things around here- I wasn't drawing a hard line and it wasn't a polemic or trick question- it was more of an idle wondering of how those things MIGHT relate. I tend to enjoy discussion for its own sake sometimes without the goal of proving anything or 'making an argument' (which ironically, seems to be what bass is uncharacteristically lecturing about above)
I was thinking more in terms of armchair philosophy and less in terms of a political/policy thing. My point was simply to get at core values and how we often make exceptions because of practicilatiy- and to look at why.
Yeah, people can and do hold inconsistent beliefs. I'm full of them. But I still maintain that there's no inherent inconsistency in being pro-life and against the prohibition on hotboxing your kids. You seem to be insisting that there is necessarily an inconsistency here, and let's talk about it because it's interesting that we are such complex animals, and so on.
As Bass mentioned, they both involve a balancing of rights. A pro-life person might view abortion as an act that definitely kills a child. They might conclude that regardless of the countervailing concerns of the mother, it is never (or almost never) justified. This same person might view smoking in the car as an act that may harm--or even probably harms a child to some uncertain extent. They might conclude that given the enormous disparity in the severity of the harm, the balancing of rights has a different result.
You clearly disagree with such a conclusion, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to arrive at it with internal consistency.
I think the point I keep trying to make is that I'm not INSISTING on this- was ASKING how that MIGHT work for someone who holds those views.
Clearly I am aware of the need to balance rights- Im not pro choice by any other means; i.e. I do believe that life begins at conception and do belief that abortion is infanticide- but, like the many people who rationalize 'necessary' wars I became comfortable with that inconsistency. I neither disagree or agree on internal consistency- Im not of an opinion- but looking to form one.
I feel like I have stressed this enough that the misunderstanding of my intent is just due to the fact that Im conversing with people newly converted to the legal profession- where the mind is trained to be binary linear and adversarial on every issue. Im not nearly so disciplined in my thinking- for me that would kill what I actually train my mind to do which is to be flex enough to take off in any direction at anytime. (intellectuals make lousy artists and vice versa), Im just romantic enough to think that there is some way of expressing respect for life and value of liberty that if, articulated correctly, will catch all these contradictory situations in its big fuzzy net and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
I do like the image of "hot boxing your kid" it fucking funny. I get a lot out of these convos when they are serious and will try to play more closely by the conventions of the edjumacated. Though I get more joy out of stupid one liners.
Well then I apologize for the misunderstanding. I don't have a comprehensive answer, but my answer would start like this: Many of us are not nearly as logical in our moral and political beliefs as we purport to be (or genuinely believe we are). We often take positions based largely on emotion and intuition, and then we reverse-engineer rationales to support them. These rationales are either inconsistent, very tortured in an effort to maintain consistency, or both. Some don't even make an attempt to come up with logical underpinnings, they just feel how they feel.
But sometimes a perceived inconsistency is not really an inconsistency at all; rather, it's the result of one side's honest failure to grasp the other side's position (or just a willful misreading). This happens all the time in the abortion debate. Both sides are always crowing about having caught the other side in an inconsistency. In reality that's almost never the case. They just fucking disagree, as William and Bass talked about.
Also, I couldn't disagree with you more about the effect of legal training. A primary goal of legal training is to teach people to be more objective, detached, and cool-headed. Judges exercise this faculty for a living, and contrary to popular opinion litigators have it in spades. They have to in order to make informed decisions about what cases to take, what strategies to employ, and so on. Advocacy--the adversarial part--is just one mode.
Last edited by Bronan the Barbarian; 02-20-2012 at 07:43 AM.
Also, I couldn't disagree with you more about the effect of legal training. A primary goal of legal training is to teach people to be more objective, detached, and cool-headed. .
I dont disagree with this- only for the value in suspending objectivity to try to express how intuition or even counter intuition informs right opinion (right being subjective)
If that sounds like bullshit- its because it may be- but like any artist knows- production of mounds of bullshit is necessary to get at one small piece of worthwhile material. Ask any photographer.
sometimes a simple musing serves as a portal- not an argument. But, well said (the part about advocacy being but one mode)
People are also undeniably bad about looking at the big picture. Tree loss causes property values to go down for everyone. In addition, look at how much money is being spent to replant trees and beautify cities after they indiscriminately removed much of the existing vegetation.
I am a little peeved that you guys would have a large pissing match without me. Why wasn't I told?
I am going to restate the above because there is more than one way to interpret it. I think it's more accurate to say that the libertarian view is that individuals left to their own value-maximizing selves do a better job than the government at seeing the picture. (A free market is better at determining the price of brooms than the smartest regulators, for example). But a libertarian might support a shade tree commission or zoning because a landowner might only seek to maximize his property's value at the expense of his neighbors' property values. This distinguishes a libertarian from an anarchist (I mean a principled anarchist, not dumb goth or heavy metal ones).
I see nothing wrong with a principle that favors small government or favors government inaction on close calls. Cass Sunstein might come to the opposite conclusion, but has made a professional reputation out of defaults. (spoiler: I know very little of Sunstein's scholarship and might be entirely wrong about that last sentence.)