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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

How to win an argument with a feminist

"School is learning things you don't want to know, surrounded by people you wish you didn't know, while working toward a future you don't know will ever come." - Dave Kellett

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From the BBC's Everyday Ethics, Sun, 23 Sep 12 (on aborting disabled fetuses).

Personages:
- William Crawley, moderator (WC)
- Professor Jack Scarisbrick, founder of LIFE (a pro-life charity) (JS)
- Kate Smurfwaite, Vice-Chair of Abortionrights.org.uk (KS)


JS: It's a clear issue here: does a just society kill people who are disabled? I think a just society does not. All abortion is defeatist and negative, but killing a child because it is less than perfect seems to me, utterly incompatible with true justice and civilization.

KS: Jack, if you're against abortion, can I strongly recommend you don't have one.

WS: Alright, thank you very much, Kate.

[Ed: He knows what's coming!]

JS: I'm sorry, I just don't understand what you're saying.

KS: As a man, really, does your opinion matter on this? Why get involved in telling women what to do with their bodies? Isn't that in itself quite offensive, Jack?

JS: Well, I'm a human being and I'm wanting to protect my fellow human beings
from being exploited and killed.

KS: Well, allow them the right to choose what happens to their own bodies, then. And you choose what happens to your body.

JS: Who gave them that right? Who gave them that right?

KS: Do you really believe people don't have have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies? I mean, if so I think you are a despicable human being, Jack.

WC: Now, come on Kate. We can't allow this kind of language, honestly. We're having a moral conversation about this. You're really not advancing your own argument here.

KS: What, to call him a despicable human being?

WS: No, you can't do that.

KS: But he says that I don't have the right to decide what happens to my body.

WS: There is an important level of civil debate that we have to do justice to here.

KS: I think I'm being very calm here.

WS: No, that's very uncivil, that's very uncivil. You can make a strong moral argument. You can make a strong moral argument, but don't attack him personally.

KS: Here's what I'm saying. I'm talking to somebody who believes that I don't have the right to choose what happens to my body. To me, that is someone who opposes basic fundamental human rights. I don't know how else to express that.

WS: You're entitled to express it that way, that's perfectly fine, let Jack reply to that.

JS: Could I ask you who gave you that right? Where did it come from?

KS: What? Ser- what a strange question. Why do I have the right to decide what happens to my body.

JS: No, not why. Where did it come from? Who gave you that right?

KS: What do you mean where does it come from? It comes from the fact that it's my body.

JS: You're claiming the right. Who gave it to you? Show me the piece of paper on which that right is written.

KS: You believe I don't have the right to decide what happens to my own body? Okay, well that's your opinion and you're welcome to it. That's your opinion. What gives me the right is that my womb and my body is attached to me.

JS: Why does that give you the right to kill a child in the womb?

KS: It gives me the right to decide what happens to my body, because it's my body. Do I have the right to take one of your kidneys? Of course not. Do I have that right? Now, I could save someone's life with one of your kidneys. Do I have the right to come and steal it? No I don't.

JS: Sorry, would you kindly focus on my question?

KS: This is my question.

JS: No, I'm asking you the question.

KS: I could save someone's life by taking one of your kidneys. No, I don't have to, it's a meaningless question, who gave me the right? I have the right.

JS: It's a very important question.

WS: It's a question we will return to because we often debate the foundations of rights here, whether it's in the Bible, religious tradition or human rights culture. But we can't resolve it at this point, and I think I better pull you two apart at this point.


Besides the ad hominem ("despicable human being"), the other classic feminist fallacies are plainly in evidence:

- "if you're against abortion, can I strongly recommend you don't have one" (the same goes for sexist jokes)
- "As a man, really, does your opinion matter on this?" (silencing tactics, rather than addressing his point - not that she would listen to pro-life women, anyway)
- "the right to decide what happens to my body, because it's my body" (a lack of appreciation of subtlety: a better ways of rebutting her would've been pointing out that you have reduced rights to decide what happens to your body when it impacts others. For example if you have an infectious disease like SARS, you don't have a right to refuse treatment and quarantine)
- Among many examples, "he says that I don't have the right to decide what happens to my body" (misinterpreting [deliberately?] the other side's point)

Keywords: argue with a feminist
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