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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If you don't like abortion, don't have one...

"Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell


Activists for abortion and gay marriage like to claim that if you don't like abortion or gay marriage, don't get one or participate in one.

Yet the problem with this simplistic soundbite is revealed when one substitutes progressive shibboleths: If you don't like racism, don't be racist. If you don't like the word "slut", don't use it. And so on.

One objection to this is that having an abortion or gay marriage aren't harmful to other people, but racism is.

Yet, having an abortion is harmful to the fetus, harmful to the health of the mother, and could infringe on the rights of the father. Meanwhile, gay marriage (according to anti-gay marriage activists) is harmful to the gay person and society.

Also it depends on what manifestation of racism is involved. Lynching someone is definitely harmful to him, but shouting racial epithets isn't necessarily - or at least is not any more so than shouting a normal insult, or antagonising a conservative opposed to such matters with talk of gay marriage/abortion (inducing elevated blood pressure is a form of harm, no?)

And now we move from the realm of harm to the realm of rights

Do we have a right to not be offended? Or are we protected only from certain kinds of offence but not others?
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