Archives for posts with tag: Roe vs Wade

Regardless of their ‘ignorance’, these dudes had somehow managed to put together a constitution which served well for more than 250 years.
It was under the guidance of this Constitution that the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” have been welcomed.
It was under the guidance of this Constitution that the “homeless, tempest-tost” have found the inspiration to learn about atoms, to heal disease, to unearth – and understand, dinosaurs, to master the light-bulb witchcraft… and to build machine guns!

Darwin was also a ‘rich dude’. He didn’t have to ‘work’ to make ends meet. It would have been enough for him to follow in his father’s footsteps and he would have led a plentiful life.
He had chosen instead to embark in a lifelong quest for knowledge…

OK, his theory was far from perfect!
Yet his breakthrough did put us on the right track!

I could go on for ever.
There are innumerable examples of instances when people have punched above their weight. And came out with wonderful results. Not only for them but mostly for us!

For us, to stand on their shoulders.

Are we up to the task?

Are we able to appreciate the US Constitution for its true value?
Are we able to understand, once and for all, that Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” is about way more than ‘the survival of the fittest’?

According to Ernst Mayr, evolution is about the ‘demise of the unfit‘. Which is a way more ‘inclusive’ reading of Darwin’s theory than that which ‘promotes’ the ‘survival of the fittest’.

Thurgood Marshall’s ancestors had been slaves. That was how the US constitution was read in those times.
And I’m sure that at least some of his fellow Justices’ ancestors had been slave owners.

Yet under the US Constitution the members of the 1973 Scotus had found it in them to sit together and read the principles minted by the Founding Fathers in a manner wide enough to encompass the women’s right to decide about their bodies. And every individual’s right to privacy. To a privacy ‘wider’ than that expressly formulated in the Constitution and in the XIV-th Amendment.

Fast forward to 2022. To when ‘survival of the fittest’ has almost been replaced by ‘the winner takes it all’.
To when a far more inclusive Scotus has determined that abortion is something which should be legislated by each state. That a woman’s right to determine what happens to/with her body can be influenced by somebody else’s opinion.

Are we going backwards?
Darwin gave us Evolution. We use his theory as a theoretical justification for why some people are ‘more equal’ than the others.
The ‘rich dudes’ had given us the Constitution. As a protection against abuse. As a shield for us to use whenever the momentarily powerful attempt to rule our lives. And some of our contemporaries use it as a Trojan horse. To open the door for very oppressive pieces of legislation.

How was this possible?!?

Both sides of the ‘divide’ have lost their ‘perspective’. Their focus.
The Constitution, which used to be the mortar which has given coherence to the entire building, has become a ‘bone of contention’.
Evolution – which made us what we are today, has become a cuss.

How wise is this?

2017

““How could you square that statement with legal abortion?” Durbin asked him. “Senator, as the book explains, the Supreme Court of the United States has held in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the book explains that,” Gorsuch replied.

“Do you accept that?” Durbin asked. “That’s the law of the land,” Gorsuch answered. “I accept the law of the land, senator, yes.””

2022

“In a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. Collins expressed her dismay that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh misrepresented their alleged respect for precedent and private conversations with her and in their confirmation hearings. “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents,” she wrote.

Rolling Stone reported last month that Collins was deliberately manipulated by Trump officials into voting for Kavanaugh despite his judicial history indicating a liability to strike down Roe. The White House correctly predicted that as long as they “let the Susan Collins-es of the world think what they needed to think and hear what they needed to hear,” as one ex-official put it, the fence-sitters would fall in line and vote to confirm Trump’s nominee.”

2016

“My people are so smart — and you know what else they say about my people? The polls?” Trump asked a crowd at a Sioux Center, Iowa, rally Saturday. “I have the most loyal people — did you ever see that?”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” he said, referring to the major street in New York City that cuts through Manhattan’s large commercial district. “It’s, like, incredible.”

2022

“In its first hearing, the Jan. 6 committee last week played a clip of former Attorney General Bill Barr testifying that he told former President Trump that claims the 2020 election was stolen were “bullshit.” In its second hearing, the committee on Monday played several additional minutes of Barr’s testimony, during which he described unsuccessful effort to convince Trump that the election was legitimate.”

“Barr met with Trump again on Dec. 14. “He went off on a monologue saying there was now definitive evidence of fraud through the Dominion machines,” Barr said of a Dec. 14 meeting with Trump, noting that he gave Barr a report he said proves that the election was stolen and that he would have a second term in office. Barr said the report looked “amateurish” with no real evidence to support its claims that voting machines were rigged. Barr said he was “demoralized” after looking at the report. “I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality,” Barr said.”

2022-06-24

“In voters, lack of expertise would be lamentable but perhaps not so worrisome if people had some sense of how imperfect their civic knowledge is. If they did, they could repair it. But the Dunning-Kruger Effect suggests something different. It suggests that some voters, especially those facing significant distress in their life, might like some of what they hear from Trump, but they do not know enough to hold him accountable for the serious gaffes he makes. They fail to recognize those gaffes as missteps.”

“Again, the key to the Dunning-Kruger Effect is not that unknowledgeable voters are uninformed; it is that they are often misinformed—their heads filled with false data, facts and theories that can lead to misguided conclusions held with tenacious confidence and extreme partisanship, perhaps some that make them nod in agreement with Trump at his rallies.”

“….. himself also exemplifies this exact pattern, showing how the Dunning-Kruger Effect can lead to what seems an indomitable sense of certainty. All it takes is not knowing the point at which the proper application of a sensible idea turns into malpractice.”

What happened:

And what various people make of it:

Some say that history repeats itself until we figure out what it meant in the first place.
Others maintain that history’s first ‘helping’ comes as a tragedy while the second becomes a farce.

Well, I’m afraid things are a little more complicated.

For starters, history doesn’t do anything.
History is nothing but a string of events. Considered noteworthy and written down by some of those who have survived the above mentioned events.
NB, ‘winning’ is not necessary. Being able to survive – and to write, of course, is!

It is us who consider some of the events we have witnessed – or read about, to be noteworthy.
It is us who attempt to draw meaning from what we ‘hear about’.
It is us who are arrogant enough to believe we have learned anything.

Which brings me to the next step.

We live in a huge reality.
But see only a small portion of it. Understand even less than that.
But consider ourselves rational human beings. We are convinced that what we do – the decisions we reach and then put in practice, are based on reason. And good will!!!

Day to day practice tells us that individuals make mistakes.
I’ll leave ‘alone’ the actual ‘criminals’, I’m going to consider – for the scope of this post, that all of us act in good faith, all of the time.
Hence we need a mechanism to cope with the ‘honest mistakes’ made by every one of us.
No matter how low or how high in the ‘pecking order’.
No matter how feeble or how powerfull each of us is.
How much decision power each of us musters at any one moment.

We need a ‘procedure’, an ‘opening’, for each of us who sees something going amiss to be able to tell the others that ‘the emperor is naked’.

That’s what ‘democracy’ is for.

But there’s a caveat here.

Like history, democracy is a human concept. A man-made ‘tool’!

Each of the individual members of the group using this tool is ‘limited’. Has a limited knowledge and a limited ‘processing power’. By definition… Otherwise, democracy wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place. If at least one of the individuals involved would have been omniscient, they would have – somehow, climbed to the pinnacle of the hierarchy.
The fact that all imperia – all ‘arrangements’ where one individual garners a lot of power over a complex system comprising of many other people, have inevitably collapsed is a very powerful empirical proof for my assertion.
Further more, the number of individuals involved in any democratic arrangement is also limited. Also by definition. There’s no place on Earth – there are no humans living someplace else, for an infinite number of people. Hence even the ‘aggregate understanding of things’ any democracy might reach is also limited. Fallible, that is.

Thus even democracies need to follow rules. They just cannot ‘vote’ whatever their members wish to happen…

The first rule, of course, being you should not vote ‘against’ the rules of nature. You cannot, for instance, abolish Newton’s gravity by voting it ‘unlawful’…
The second rule being that the individuals comprising the democratic arrangement have be convinced that each of them is equivalent. Not equal, that’s impossible, but ‘equivalent’. That each of them should be able to vote, that each of them should have only one vote and that each of them should have the opportunity to voice their concerns. In a nutshell, that all of them have equal rights and that nobody – no individual or a smaller number of people than the entire ‘congregation’, has the right to tell anybody else what to do. Or what to refrain themselves from doing.

Now, that I have reached this point, let me go back to history.

The first ‘democratic arrangement’ known to us was the Ancient Athens.
It had evolved, for while, as an increasingly democratic form of government. During this time, the city’s fortune and influence in the region had grown almost constantly until Pericles had ‘bent’ the democratic principles so that he could yield more influence. Almost two centuries of democratic ebbing on and off followed until Philip II of Macedonia had taken over entirely. As a consequence, Athens’ influence had waned and then disappeared entirely.
The second one had dawned in Scandinavia, during the Viking era.
That democratic seed had, in time, spread in Europe, America and, gradually, in many other countries.

In the US, for example, at first only the white men were involved in the democratic process. They were the ones who voted and who were elected into office. Gradually, the democratic ‘rights’ had been extended to the female portion of the society and to the ‘members of the other races’. These successive ‘extensions’ had been parts of the general improvement of the society as a whole. During this period – not necessarily due to but certainly simultaneously with, the entire population lived better and longer lives while the country as a whole had become more and more powerful. The energy and potential of the population – of an ever increasing proportion of the population, had been put to better and better uses.

Simultaneously, individuals – an ever increasing proportion of the individual members of the society, with the criteria of sex, gender and race gradually losing the previously held power of discrimination, had enjoyed more and more power. More and more autonomy to determine their own fate.

Which brings us to the current developments in the US.

Some people, far from a majority of “The People”, would like to see the ‘other end’ of Roe v Wade.
‘These’ people seem to have somehow convinced a majority of the Justices sitting in the Supreme Court not only to hear their plea but also to ‘consider it in a favorable manner’.

In other words, a very small number of people – five out of nine, are going to restrict a previously granted right which had been enjoyed for almost 50 years by more than half of the American Population.

‘You have got it completely wrong!
Scotus isn’t going to prohibit abortion. Only the states can do that!’

Do you remember what the Civil War had been fought over?
Basically, the Confederates were claiming that individual states had the right to determine which people were to be considered ‘free’ while the ‘others’ kept maintaining that all people, regardless of their skin color, were free. That individual freedom was something which had to be determined at federal level, not by each ‘individual’ state.
Nowadays we have the very same thing. Some states claim it’s their ‘right’ to tell ‘their’ women whether, and in which circumstances, they may – or not, have an abortion.

Not a very ‘appealing’ proposition.
It opens the door for individual states claiming more and more ‘rights’ over their ‘specific subjects’.

The absolutely baffling thing about this whole development is the fact that those who want Roe v Wade to be repelled claim they do this in order to enhance individual rights (to live). I can understand that. I even sympathize with them. Ending a life, even that of an embryo, is not something to be treated easily.

But for a minority to impose their point of view – no matter how sound it might appear to some of us, to a majority… that cannot be, either, taken lightly.

So, in the name of liberty and in order to protect the lives of the innocents, the government should not mandate wearing a mask in public – for the duration of the current pandemic, but should close the public funded ‘planned parenthood’ clinics forever…

Individuals – both men and women, are to be trusted to take, on their own, the appropriate measures to protect themselves – and the others, but women are not to be trusted to decide, on their own, about what happens inside their own bodies.

Meanwhile, “The US and Brazil each recorded more than 100,000 cases over the seven days from June 15 to June 21, the WHO said, the only two countries with such high infection numbers.
Do I need to refresh your memory about the fact that neither of their presidents, Trump and Bolsonaro, have never been seen wearing a mask in public?

“A person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

This was how the United States’ Supreme Court was reading the US Constitution in 1973.

Pro-lifers oppose this view. Their main argument being that life is sacred and needs to be protected. Period. For them, abortion equals infanticide. Plain murder.

What we have here is a clash of absolutes.
The absolute right to life and the absolute right to dispose of your own body.

The United States Supreme Court has solved the conundrum by setting a time frame. “until the fetus becomes viable”.
Pro-lifers propose another solution: “make abortion and attempted abortion felony offenses except in cases where abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother“. (Alabama’s HB314/2019)

Let’s see where lie the differences between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

Pro-Choice say that agency must be reserved for those who 1. are alive and 2. are directly implied in the matter.
Pro-Life extend the definition of ‘alive’ to cover everything they consider to be ‘living matter’ and thus take the final decision from those who are directly implied into the mater. And give it to those who have to decide the seriousness of the “health risk to the unborn child’s mother”.

In both cases the absolute becomes relative.
In the first case, the absolute becomes relative to the person directly involved in the matter.
In the second case, the absolute becomes relative to those powerful enough to insert themselves, and others, into the equation.

And both sides clamor they are acting in the name of individual liberty…

Really?

Am I the first to understand that once you’ve eaten it, nobody will ever again be able to part YOUR cake from you?

It stops being a cake as you chew on it?

Well… yeah. Actually it does. But… it remains a cake in your memory! That’s what you’ll remember having eaten: A cake!

And now, that we’ve settled the ‘eaten cake’ problem, let me ask you another question.

How strange is it that so many conservatives consider taxes as an infringement upon their right to freely dispose of their property yet they have no qualms to impose their beliefs upon other people – women, to be more precise, denying them the right to freely  dispose of their own bodies?

Because all life is sacred!

Hence, in their view, all abortion is murder. Regardless of the age of the fetus. Regardless of the consequences of having an unwanted child. Too early, too many, not enough money, health problems, sexual assault… nothing counts except for the right of the fetus to be born.

Some go even further. They consider that contraception is murder too. Because it denies the right of the egg-cell to become an embryo…

As I said before.
It is not only possible but very normal to have your cake and eat it too.
Same goes for convictions.
Once embedded in our heads they become ours and nobody can part them from us, no matter what logical arguments might be involved. Invoked?

Except for us. We are the ones who can leave behind some of our old convictions and reach new ones.
Conversion is the name of the game.

A game we’ve been playing since the dawn of time.

“Why did the woman cross the road?
Who cares what women do outside the kitchen?”

I was watching a BBC documentary about sexism and I heard the ‘joke’ I quoted above. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a link to that documentary, probably because they are still airing it, but I linked the quote to Yahoo answers because it seems that this one is quite popular)

The narrator had summed up quite convincingly the phenomenon: ‘every time when people not obviously biased against women laugh at sexist jokes the misogynists feel that their convictions are ‘right’ and this enhances the sexist side of their behavior’.

I understand this line of thinking and it is correct from the a psychological point of view. People seek validation from their peers, so each ‘public approval’ for one of their action enhances that particular streak of behavior. I’m afraid though that the real problem lies some place else.

A joke is supposed to be funny. That’s what makes it a joke and it’s up to us to determine what is funny or not.
I didn’t laugh at that joke not because it’s sexist but because, for me at least, it isn’t funny at all.

Some more jokes from Yahoo answers:

“What is the difference between a battery and a woman?
A battery has a positive side.”

So no ‘generic’ woman has ‘a positive side’!
OK, this leaves open the possibility for exceptions… a mother, a sister, maybe a wife… but still, I cannot wonder what kind of women has this guy met during his life? So hugely unpleasant yet passive enough as to feel no apprehension when stating publicly such a harsh position? I wouldn’t dare tell such a joke knowing that any one of my female friends would find out, including my wife. No, not because any of them would bodily hurt me or anything but because they would pointedly and purposefully react. Adequately. Well, in fact It wouldn’t cross my mind to use this joke otherwise than as an example but I believe you got the point…

“Why is the space between a woman’s breasts and her hips called a waist?
Because you could easily fit another pair of **** in there.”

Now this is a real good one. I don’t know for sure what those **** stand for but I’m afraid that the guy who came up with this joke would rather **** a bitch than a real woman. To each, his own…

If you don’t mind rather gross humor here is one for you:
“How do you make 5 pounds of fat look good?
Put a nipple on it.”

Excuse me if you are not and in both situations please consider the real case here: where is the sense of humor?

Maybe the last one will enlighten us.

” – If your wife keeps coming out of the kitchen to nag at you, what have you done wrong?
– Made her chain too long”.

I’m sure you all have heard about the three Ks – In German it’s Kitchen, Children, Church (Kueche, Kinder, Kirche). This expression was coined over a century ago by either Kaiser Wilhelm II or his wife Augusta while trying to belittle the feminist movement that was making inroads into the classic German Weltanschaung.
More than 100 years ago?!? Shouldn’t we get over it?!?
Meanwhile the situation has changed dramatically enough for me to ask you how come the guy in the last joke has a wife in the first place? Or maybe that couple is happy, she with the length of that chain and he with her nagging?

Now seriously, are we not all born by women? Educated, in the first few years at least, predominantly by women? So how come so many men are still finding jokes like that to be funny while so many women accept this situation?

One possible explanation may be that we are experiencing a reaction to ‘feminism’.
I’ve heard, and read, a considerable number of explanations about what it is and why it is named like that.
I must confess that while I agree with many of its goals I’m extremely unhappy about its name.

I think ‘suffragettes’ was, in those times, a far better denomination. It stated clearly what goal they had in mind – voting rights for women – and ‘disbanded’ as soon as they got what they had in mind.
But ‘feminism’?
What is their goal?
To establish that women are different from men?
OK, we already know that, don’t we?

Oh, equal rights? With whom? With men?!?

With which ones of the wide range of men? Men don’t have equal rights either… only in theory maybe, but in theory women have already been recognized (by men, OK?!?) as full fledged citizens. Well, there still is that small but nagging problem of being the masters of their own body (Roe vs Wade) but other than that there is no legal difference between being a man and a women. Not in the civilized world anyway.
So why are we still enjoying the presence of so many, and vocal, feminist activists of both genders instead of them joining ranks with the rest of the human rights activists?

Maybe because the entire human rights movement has reached a dead end?

Women want to be equal with men while men want to be equal among themselves and all pretend it’s their (constitutional) right.

In what sense can a woman be equal with a man? Or a man with another? Have you ever seen two absolutely equal eggs? Or, funnier even, can somebody pretend that egg yolk is equal to egg white?

Oh, the yolk is useless without the white (except for when you want to make mayonnaise) and the white is useless without the yolk (except for when you want to bake meringues) so no sensible person would ever dream of trying to determine which comes first… as we do with people… women come first when it comes to passing through a door and last when we are talking about promotions…

But who to change all this if not us?
We, men, should acknowledge that women are just as important as us, and just as wise, even if they cannot hunt as well as we do, while women should understand that their quest for ‘equality’ doesn’t make much sense.

What we really need is equal opportunity to develop our potential, regardless of gender. If a woman is denied promotion based on her gender and a less capable man is promoted in her place the real looser is the entire organization and its stakeholders. Shortly that woman would move over to another company if she is really good.
The same rationale is valid for the rest of us.
If a child, no matter how gifted, doesn’t get the right education to fit his potential, he might loose some. But the society at large looses big.
Even if the child is less than average he might become, properly educated, a self sufficient person. If not, chances are he’ll become either a ‘welfare benefits receiver’ or a ‘repeat offender’.
We all agree that an average person has more opportunities to become a respected member of the society if he receives more education, right? I’m going to presume we are talking now about proper education, the kind that benefits the recipient, not the ‘teacher’…
If we are considering really gifted individuals  then the situation is even clearer. What if Edison, or Marie Sklodowska Curie, couldn’t have learned what they did or experiment the way they used to? And now, that we are talking about Edison, do you know where Tesla came from? Croatia? Have you ever heard of that place before? (It’s in Europe, east of Italy).
I’m sure you already know where Poland lies, the place where Marie Curie came from, but I wonder if you know that she was educated in an underground university because higher education for women was forbidden at that time in her country by Czarist Russia, the imperial power who controlled Poland in those times.
Really bright people have a habit of being able to make it more or less on their own but also of looking for greener pastures. Not necessarily because they are greedier than the rest of us but because they need more resources in order to put their ideas into practice.

I’ll leave you to do the final reckoning.

Some additional reading about how men and women complement each-other in most unusual ways and how heavily this depends both on social habits and individual choice:
– Islamic women fighting for what they consider to be freedom (and I fully agree with them): http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/12/meet_the_badass_women_fighting_the_islamic_state_pkk_kurdish
– Islamic women fighting to preserve ‘traditional values’ (To what end?!?, I constantly ask myself but I cannot find an answer) http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-60-UK-women-fighting-in-Syria-with-all-female-Islamic-State-police-374761
– What women have to experience in places where their freedom is less than it should be: http://petapixel.com/2012/12/26/portraits-of-albanian-women-who-have-lived-their-lives-as-men/ and http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/30/unmarried-women-thrown-on-scrapheap-after-years-of-living-with-a-man-4713547/
– Not only women can play the role of men. The opposite is not only possible but also sanctioned by some societies: http://theculturetrip.com/pacific/samoa/articles/fa-afafines-the-third-gender/
– For some historical perspective: https://www.facebook.com/FranciscoFilipeCruzCulturalMarketing/photos/a.569976243114253.1073742149.305394226239124/569976396447571/?type=1&theater and http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/1106316
– Even what we call ‘values’ depend heavily upon the social developments that are taking place: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/homo-consumericus/201211/be-thankful-your-liberties-and-freedoms

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