Some time ago a friend and I were debating politics, life and people. Wonderful conversations these, some of my most favorite. Wonderful times.
This friend and I find ourselves at opposite ends of the spectrum. I enjoy calling myself Libertarian and he Liberal; very Liberal. And while I agree with his views, mostly, on the tender mercies of the social issues, we are in direct contradiction when it comes to things fiscal, economic or, strangely, on Liberty.
It was the topic of Liberty, actually an extension of what I think Liberty is, just the other night. And, as so often as these conversations do, they begin rather pleasant and easy going and, unless cared for, degenerate into me in my corner and he in his. So, this time, I asked that we stop and consider each others claim.
See, I see Liberty being extended to the person. And, I see personhood being established somewhere between conception and actual live birth. I’m open to the debate about the when, but really, I don’t think that’s the critical point. The critical point is that you get someone to acknowledge that life begins sometime before actual birth.
Anyway, we were discussing abortion and I declared that I am pro-Liberty. That is, before life is established, abortion should be at the discretion of the mother. And after life is established, abortion is at the discretion of the mother is some cases:
- Life or health risk of the mother or the child.
- Cases where the mother is the victim of a crime.
As the conversation continued, we moved past this distinction and began exploring the right-wing nuts that refused to listen to any rational thought and held to a “no abortion ever for any reason period” position. At which point I realized that I thought my friend was debating the wing nuts; not me.
So I asked him, “Given that there are extreme positions on the right – no abortion ever – what is the extreme position on the Left?”
“There isn’t one”.
Now, when debating an individual about a topic and your going in position is that there are extremists, on YOUR side, that you disagree with, it normally sends a signal that you are somewhat moderate. But when you’re debating partner refuses to acknowledge the same, it sends the signal that they are not; no matter what they claim they are.
Now, to be fair, my friend does not, at least I think does not, claim to be moderate.
Anyway, when faced with this interesting dilemma that extremism only exits on the “other side” I asked him a question that would cause his Liberal tendencies to collide.
“What if the mother decided to abort because the baby was black”?
Or a girl.
Eugenics, it seemed, was the extreme.
In this case a person has to determine what to defend. And in this case, the ugly ugly consequences of a genetic means test outranked the ability of a mother to choose.
Now, to be sure, in the specific I agreed with my friend on this. I would think it horrible if someone decided to abort a child simply based on the fact that she was a she. However, I am sure that our rational behind that conclusion would be very very different.
And I find THAT fascinating.
Anyway, I was able to make my point. That there were extremes, on both sides, that we weren’t willing to go. And just because I happened to add “Or poor” to that list didn’t make me any more vile than, well, anyone else who objects to abortion based on sex.