Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tiller's Death Brings Out Worst In Bloggers

Megan McArdle writes a long and bizarre post defending the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller. Authorities have captured Scott Roeder. The suspect has a long history of militia involvement and voicing his desire to kill abortion providers. The fact McArdle would want to defend the actions of such a tainted individual makes me question her common sense.


Perhaps I find the certainty of the pro-choice side so disturbing because it feels a lot like the certainty of the warbloggers in the run up to the Iraq invasion. As some of Hilzoy's commenters point out, I was myself too caught up in it, which makes me cautious of getting caught up again. The pro-choicers seem to be acting as if people who shoot abortion doctors are some weird species of moral alien, whose actions can only be understood in Satantic terms, and who cannot and should not be negotiated with, because they only understand raw displays of power. Yet it seems to me that if I were in a society that believed fervently in the personhood of a fetus, I would very possibly agree, and view Tiller's murderer the way I'd view someone who, say, assassinated Mengele.


What we learned was McArdle's judgement was horribly wrong with Iraq and now with the Tiller murder. McArdle grew up in an Upper West Side of New York City. She was educated at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania and lives in the Washington, D.C. bubble. This is a woman that has not had a tough life. McArdle views Tiller's murder and the Iraq war as an intellectual debate.


I am aware that I have constructed my beliefs about personhood in the face of these things--like any good undergrad, I know the answer I need to reason to in order to ensure both social comfort and maximum personal freedom. I like to think that I am too rigorous a thinker to be seduced by such ephemera.


Coffeehouse debates with D.C. friends has little relevance with the real world. McArdle writes that she has pro-choice leanings. Her problem is the tone of the pro-choice movement makes them fail to understand why someone would want to murder a doctor at his choice. Excuse me, but I wonder if McArdle would feel that way if Tiller was gunned down a few feet from her.


If you interpret this murder as a political act, rather than that of a lone whacko, than this should be a troubling sign that the political system has failed. So why do so many people think that the obvious answer is simply to more firmly entrench laws that are rightly intolerable to someone who thinks that a late term fetus is a person?


McArdle's worldview is influenced by Ayn Rand and Libertarian economics. Find a feminist whom supports Rand theories? Name a good Libertarian economic idea? McArdle has a history of being and and ridiculed in the blogosphere. McArdle argues in the post her parents restrict her "autonomy by continuing to be alive." McArdle makes it clear she has no desire to murder her parents. I wonder why she even went there. It is rather morbid to write on a media blog how the death of McArdle's parents would financially benefit her. That is a sick line of thinking.

In Other News: John Aravosis is angry President Barack Obama backed down on the Homelan Security demestic terrorism report. Aravovis' logic is if Obama looked "to the future" Tiller's murder could now be used for political advantage. Aravosis' compassion is underwhelming.


Note that had Obama held firm in the face of the criticism last month, he'd be riding high right now and the GOP would be cowering in shame for having basically enabled this terrorist act. But Democrats rarely look to the future, nor do they see benefit in having a spine or doing what's right. And now a man is dead.

Remember what I wrote only a month ago about the religious right demanding the right to kill. Today, in church, they exercised that right. As they have in the past. As they will in the future.


In case you are wondering, Aravosis lives in Washington, D.C. It must be something in the Potomac River. This is America. We don't gun down people in church just because we disagree with them. The one trait McArdle and Aravosis share is neither of them give a damn about Tiller. The doctor is a prop for their political arguments and bad blog posts.

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