No “Washington is Nuts” Jokes, Please

…even though they are.  Arizona can’t get anyone in DC to tell the truth about their laws, but they can get help with what’s really important: squirrel bridges.

Yep.  Squirrel bridges.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go try to forget that liberals exist for a few hours.

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A Word of Advice to the Non-Insane Paulites (if You Exist)

I’ve been in lots and lots of arguments about Ron Paul over the past several months, in which serious doubts as to the congressman’s credibility have been raised.  In response, I’ve been treated to all sorts of inane lectures of varying literacy on non-interventionism, blowback, history, progressivism, the Constitution, and, of course, those darn Jews.

What I’m almost never treated to are serious attempts to refute the facts backing up my claims (despite the fact that Paulites are pretty adamant that I’m “slandering” their prophet).  For instance, when I argue that Paul presents a biased, misleading view of the Founders’ foreign policy views, they don’t bother to explain why my read of the evidence is incorrect, or put forth new evidence that would change the picture.  When I reveal that Ron and Rand misrepresent the facts surrounding Iran (as well as other facts about the War on Terror), they’re similarly silent on the details.

Here’s a tip: If you guys wanna be taken seriously as anything other than blind cultists, evangelizing with pre-scripted talking points isn’t gonna cut it; you have to honestly consider and respond to what people actually say about your guy.  When you try to change the topic, you’re not making dents in anything but your own credibility.

Why Let Reality Get in the Way of a Good Meme?

When we last left Self-Defeating Left-Wing Zealot Scott, he was making an ethically-challenged fool of himself over abortion.  This evening, while browsing Boots & Sabers (which I really need to get back in the habit of reading more often – sorry Owen!), I came across the following comment from our pal:

Many conservatives eschew expert opinion in the first place, so what’s the big deal?  Everything from CBO reports to scientific opinion—it just doesn’t matter because you can’t trust those eggheads.  Me, I’m a big fan of learning.  I like to acknowledge someone else’s expertise and learn from it.

Again, the only proper response is:

For good measure, background behind his bull about the CBO can be found here & here, and about “scientific opinion” here.

“American Right to Life’s” Misguided Pro-Life Profiles (UPDATED)

I recently came across a website called Pro-Life Profiles (hat tip: Lisa Graas), which evaluates the pro-life credentials of various center-right figures, from GOP candidates to conservative activists.  The first thing that’s important to note about the site is that it’s a project of American Right to Life.  ARTL proclaims itself the “personhood wing of the pro-life movement,” but according to the National Right to Life Committee, ARTL is a scam that does little more than raise funds from people who confuse them with the more well-known NRLC.  Who’s right?  I can’t say for sure, but I’m inclined to trust NRLC (despite some disagreements with them) based on my familiarity with all the work they undertake on behalf of the pro-life movement, whereas I know of ARTL doing no such work.  (UPDATE: In the comments, ARTL spokesman Bob Enyart claims the ARTL that ran afoul of NRLC was a different, now-defunct organization.) I report, you decided.

Their website seems entirely devoted to tearing down other pro-lifers as traitors to the cause (or at least insufficiently devoted), and that’s the exclusive mission of Pro-Life Profiles.  Admittedly, they have found several legitimate reasons for criticizing politicians such as George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and even Sarah Palin, and they’re correct to stress that the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement must be full, nationwide legal protection for the unborn as full human beings.  Unfortunately, in their zeal to reach the ultimate goal, they make profoundly wrong moral and practical arguments against various valuable, common-sense pro-life policies.

For instance, in criticizing Concerned Women for America and its president, Wendy Wright, ARTL argues that pro-lifers should not support laws that require obtaining parental notification/consent, or require being shown ultrasounds, before obtaining an abortion.  They claim that it’s immoral to support any law that tacitly accepts abortion’s legality, and that such laws are somehow counterproductive to the goal of legal protection for the unborn.  Among their arguments (many of them are vapid & repetitive, and life is short, so I’m only going to address the highlights):

ARTL: They don’t actually reduce abortions, and in fact may increase abortions.

ME: Simply ask yourself: does having to inform or get permission from your parents to get an abortion, does that make seeking an abortion easier or harder?  If a women sees an ultrasound showing that unborn babies aren’t simply a lump of tissue, is she more or less likely to go through with it?  Though these laws won’t prevent abortions in all cases, it should be obvious which direction they move things in.  In particular, does ARTL mean to deny the enormous power of ultrasounds to change people’s hearts and minds?

ARTL: It’s immoral to support any law whose end result still permits abortions to take place.

ME: You’re not giving abortion tacit approval by voting for something less than outright prohibition if outright prohibition is not an option available to you.  If it pushes the law in the right direction, and if it saves lives, it’s not only moral, but necessary.  Strategy is not an either-or proposition; you have to pursue every available avenue.

ARTL: “Thirty years of evidence also shows that the regulation strategy has failed to move the federal judiciary, which is mostly Republican and overwhelmingly pro-choice, toward the right-to-life position.”

ME: This is just stupid—who ever said they’re supposed to move the judiciary?  Reducing abortions legislatively and getting good judges on the bench are both important goals, but one has nothing to do with another.  Again, it’s not either-or.

ARTL: Such regulations “call upon our own judges to uphold laws that regulate killing the innocent, and thus turn conservative judges increasingly against the personhood of the unborn.”

ME: Their link claims that “Antonin Scalia has publicly stated that he would strike down any law that prohibited abortion in all fifty states, and Clarence Thomas has ruled that the public has the right to decide to legalize the killing of unborn children.” I don’t know what cases/remarks they’re referring to, but in Scalia’s case I suspect he was simply noting that, as a judge, he does not have the authority to criminalize abortion.  And unfortunately, he’s right: judges are not policymakers, and even the language of the 14th Amendment discusses “born” citizens, making any judicial abortion ban shaky Constitutional ground.  That’s why pro-lifers should fight for the Human Life Amendment.

ARTL: These laws “will keep abortion ‘legal’ if abortion is wickedly ‘returned to the states.”

ME: “Wickedly” returned to the states?  Short of a constitutional amendment, you can’t make much legislative headway until you return it to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade (and popular support for state abortion bans will certainly come before enough support to pass a national constitutional amendment).  Because abortion is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the states have the right to determine abortion policy.  Reverse Roe, and abortion automatically becomes illegal in those states whose pre-Roe abortion bans remain in effect, and the rest of the states get a fighting chance.  Pro-choice politicians would no longer be able to hide behind the Supreme Court.  This scenario is bad why?

It’s absurd to think parental notification laws would prevent full abortion bans.  Even if they did give tacit approval to the principle of choice (which they don’t), they’re mere legislative acts, and can be superseded by new legislative acts with a simple majority vote.

Absent in ARTL’s analysis is any recognition of Constitutional originalism, separation of powers, or judicial restraint.  Understandably-frustrating though it may be at times, the Founders placed clear limits on how political goals—even noble and essential ones—may be pursued.  In their view, how much should the pro-life movement respect the rule of law? If they think the ends justify the means, and that the Right should embrace judicial activism, they should come out and say so.  But before that, they’d do well to brush up on how past leaders reconciled human rights and constitutionalism, and think twice before condemning the rest of us as traitors to the unborn.