THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 558, February 21, 2010
"Voluntary servitude has consequences."
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Several times L. Neil Smith has stated the caution that liberty loving people must not let them be conned into quarreling among themselves over abortion. There are a variety of reasons why he is right. If we agree to disagree on this issue and move on to creating a freer society we will have fewer abortions.
Us male characters and a lot of female types need to apply reason. In a free society a woman will control her body. This means she will have the legally and culturally recognized right to say no to sex whenever she wants to say no. This means she will actually believe she has the right to say no. This means the male jerks who con women into admitting they don't have this right will be perceived as the creeps they are.
This means she will be free to use whatever other methods of birth control she wishes. This means she does not have to fear an abusive parent or guardian who will beat her into a miscarriage so she might as well get an abortion. This means that women will be less likely to have unwanted pregnancies. This means fewer abortions.
Or we can keep the culture we have now, in which large groups of men and women still think that there are circumstances under which a woman does not have the right to say no. We can still keep people ignorant of natural (Variations of the rhythm method and celibacy basically) and artificial birth control methods. We can have people arguing over whether or not a woman has the right to get an abortion instead.
With the exception of a few who had convinced me they were lousy people before I knew they had an abortion, I have met no women who have had abortions who did not view it as a horrible and tragic choice.
So do we work for a world in which women aren't trapped into getting abortions, or do we condemn abortion even as we leave women with no other choice?
No Good Can Come of It
No good can come of me throwing in my thoughts on the abortion controversy which has once again reared its ugly head in the pages of your excellent publication. Therefore it is not a good deed on my part, and perhaps I can escape unpunished?
Nevertheless, I wish to offer a few thoughts. The first is inevitably directed at people who think that a developing human being has no rights. The second is directed at the people who think that a fully developed human being has no rights. The third is directed at people who think that because their great grandfathers did it that way, it would always be done that way.
Sharon Presley joins L. Neil Smith in pondering the meaning of an embryo or fetus which is not fully a human being, doesn't have cognition, doesn't think for itself, and therefore can be ignored as a moral actor. She does so here, and you may find some similarity to some of the arguments made by Neil and others on this issue.
My concern with this sort of reasoning has always been that human beings are not composed of different species. There are no "unter-menschen" who ought to be enslaved for the benefit of the "uber-men." My father served in the signal corps of the US Army during World War Two in the European theater of operations where he had a number of encounters, including liberating several death camps, with the results of that kind of thinking. Anyone who had expected we might have dispensed with that kind of thinking with the end of the recent unpleasantness called the 20th Century would seem to be mistaken.
A person is a person, no matter how small. If you say that they don't think very well, or at all, I won't argue with you. The fetus seems to have very few thoughts up to say, six months of development time. We can say exactly the same thing about the mentally defective adult. And, in Hitler's time, he ordered the killing of hundreds of thousands of Germans deemed "defective" or handicapped shortly after the onset of WW2.
Here is some documentation on that subject, and on forced sterilisation programs in the USA and elsewhere based on the idea of preventing the mentally infirm from reproducing. [LINK]
If you prefer the purported "objectivity" of wikipedia, a very doubtful proposition at best, you can turn to this page: [LINK]
You'll find there documentation of 70,273 persons killed by doctors under Action T4 under Hitler's orders, as well as estimates ranging to 275,000 persons slaughter.
Yes, Godwin would be vexed, because someone has again refused his commandment to ignore the history of the human race and has brought up the Nazis. Well, too bad.
Do Presley or Smith say that the fetus may be exterminated because it isn't very well equipped, mentally? Not exactly. They simply insist that it is not yet a person, a sophont, a moral actor. But I'm not clear how that is different, in kind, from the Nazi declaration "He who is bodily and mentally not sound and deserving may not perpetuate this misfortune in the bodies of his children."
Who is to say when a human being appears in the world? If a baby comes into the world, it is a human being? Or is only human after reaching age 3 or age 13? Who says? And if a baby is not quite yet born, but can be delivered by Caesarean section, is that a human being before birth? How about a premature baby? The time of development needed in the womb for a functioning human to develop from a delivered premature baby is getting shorter and shorter as technology develops.
So who gets to say when there is a human being? I say that from the moment of conception, a human being exists. To say that it hasn't yet developed into an independently functioning person is quite true. Neither has a newborn baby. I refuse to make any distinction amongst persons on account of age. An eighteen year old is not magically imbued with sufficient maturity to be indoctrinated into the military and go kill other human beings, nor is a seventeen year old unable to grasp the significance of casting a vote in an election. And if magic numbers don't create magic status for human adults, why should I believe in them for those not yet born?
But, then, does that say that the baby is an innocent? Don't believe it. The embryo emits enzymes and hormones which make changes in the woman's body, causing the uterus to be prepared for implantation. An embryo which does not do these things cannot become a fetus, and will die from miscarriage. The fetus continues to exude enzymes and hormones which cause physiological changes in the woman right up through birth and continuing into the period of wet nursing. These are actions taken by the embryo and fetus, and actions have consequences.
Anti-abortionists are not pro-life, they are anti-abortion. They deny the possibility that a woman has a right to choose for herself how her body, her mind, her property, her life would be used.
Do you deny that a woman who encounters a trespasser on her property has the right to demand that trespasser leave? I believe she has the right to use up to deadly force to enforce her will over a trespasser.
Do you deny that a woman who encounters a rapist who has his penis in her body has the right to use deadly force to remove that man from her body? I believe she has the right to use up to deadly force as she sees fit, when, as, and how she thinks best, to defend herself against outrage. And if she does not, then no man has the right to object when the police state brutalises him in the same manner. Bring your own vaseline, guys.
Actions have consequences. If a woman chooses to remove a fetus or embryo from her body by means available to her, that is her life, her body, and her choice. Yes, I think an argument can be made that what she is doing is homicide, but is it justifiable homicide or not? I say it is her body and her life and her choice, not mine. Whether she makes this choice based on a perceived threat to her life, her liberty, or her property, she has moral justification available to her.
You can argue, and you are welcome to argue, that the life of the baby should not be forfeit because of the whim of the woman. But that is exactly what it means to say that a man doesn't have to put up with being gang raped in the showers of the local jail because he was arrested by police on trumped up charges of felony gambling promotion of a lottery. If the woman doesn't have the freedom to kill to protect her body from outrage as she sees it, how does a man have the freedom to kill to protect his body from outrage as he sees it?
Finally, we come to the idiocy that things won't change just because people have used a forked stick to poke seeds into the ground for a few dozen generations. It turns out, technology is advancing all the time. Artificial womb technology is developing in South Korea. Advances in premature birth treatments have allowed successful deliveries at a very early stage of development to mature into normal adults. In vitro fertilisation with subsequent implantation into a host mother has already been proven in many species. Surrogate mothers carry human babies to term.
Gestational carriers are compensated for carrying an implanted embryo in places where it is legal to do so. And in many jurisdictions, the practice is banned on various grounds. So, we know the technology has moved forward a long way, now that the Puritanical jerks running various governments have opted to outlaw it. (When being pregnant is outlawed, only outlaws would reproduce?)
This issue of abortion continues to be two issues. There is the issue of a woman choosing to end her condition of pregnancy, which is a condition of servitude. I say she is fully empowered by all the moral laws that I understand, to end her pregnancy at any time. Others do not agree, of course. There is also the issue of killing the embryo/fetus/baby when the pregnancy is ended. As technology develops, this second and less wholesome aspect of the issue will become a thing of the past.
I think the attitude that an embryo is an untermenschen and not worthy of any consideration as a human being is wrong. It is wrong on moral grounds, on historical grounds, and on technological grounds. We won't develop the technology to transplant these embryos from unwilling mothers into willing mothers without consideration of the embryo as a human being. It is unlikely that artificial wombs and pregnancy termination without killing would be developed unless the fetus is regarded as a human being.
Finally, when these technologies are available, those of a Puritanical mind set are going to have the opportunity to put up their own money for the care and transfer of embryos and fetuses to artificial wombs and to willing hosts. Implantation of an embryo outside the uterus to successful development has been documented in women, so it should become possible for a man to be a host if he really is dedicated to ending abortion-related death. And then we'll see whether these hypocrites are dedicated to the enslavement of women, as I suspect, or the preservation of life.
No agreeing or disagreeing with your concept that abortion is murder. But to be consistant you have to want to charge every person who worked in a hospital that did one abortion and every stockholder in the hospital with 1st degree murder.
Other wise you are like the moral vegiterian who wears leather belts and shoes.
Steve, regarding your letter in the 2/14 issue of TLE, then if the fetus has natural rights within the womb, we should, in all conscience, rip it out of the womb as soon as it's detected and demand it to make up it's minddoes it 'want' to live in there or not? (Of course, at the earliest point of developmentand for a long time afterit cannot 'live' outside this environment. Even as it gets closer to the normal end of the birth cycle, leaving this womb and surviving is highly problematic without massive medical support. So perhaps it should be put to work so it can pay rent? (After all, if it has rights even at this stage, shouldn't it bear responsibility to defray the costs of guaranteeing those rights?)
Of course not! Because, while in the womb, it is a dependent symbiont/parasite of the mother! And the mother has the right to choose her own needs over that of the fetus. To look at it any other way is to reduce the mother to that of a biological preemie ward, stripping HER rights away from her. Which goes to show that the pro-life movement wants to deny the rights of others.
To the Editor:
"Failure to take the pill... insist he wear a condom... count to 28 correctly (Yes I know not all women are that regular) or otherwise use appropriate birth control?" says A.X. Perez.
"She could have chose to not have sex, to have her partner wear a condom, to have an IUD emplaced, to take birth control, to use a diaphragm, foam, etc., etc. but when she chooses to be irresponsible and just plain lazy by having unprotected sex...", says Steven Lynes, Sr.
Where the hell is the man during all this "choice" she's making? What was he doing while she was getting pregnant? Shades of the 50's, when it was HER sin, HER family's embarrassment, HER life on the line in some back room or dark alley because societyare you listening, guys? "Society" is YOU, passing judgmentdidn't approve.
And when does "baby" begin? If so far back it can't even be recognized... and her choice to have sex at all establishes the woman's guiltthen why is birth control (a choice in how she handles sex) morally acceptable? It, too, should be banned, shouldn't it, for denying life to a potential human being?
I don't "approve" of indiscriminate abortion, I would think carefully before having one, even if raped, and I would be devastated to have to choose me-vs-fetus in an emergency situationbut I dare anyone to tell me it isn't my choice to make.
And I couldn't care less what YOUR moral judgment is. Morality is an individual choice, and your voice is silent where my life and choices are concerned. Your only input is with your mateassuming you have a sufficiently loving relationship with her to have an input!otherwise it's none of your business.
This will always plague us so long as we reproduce as mammals. Very well, move the entire reproductive process outside the human body. Cloning, artificial wombs, and computer-designed genomes at and above the present human levels, will clear up the problem completely by getting rid of the dilemma, partly by making pregnancy and birth themselves, obsolete.
I have known this since about 1964.
Why hasn't anyone else seen it?
I would like to comment on some of the letters and articles I have read about the abortion debate in the most recent edition of the TLE. First of all, I disgree with the statement that a woman has given up her choice to have an abortion when she made the choice to have unprotected sex, for two reasons:
1. How do you prove the woman chose to have unprotected sex? What if she was raped? What if she used protection and it failed? What if the man claimed he had had a vasectomy, but was lying to her? What if she DID choose to have unprotected sex, but claims she was raped, or the protection didn't work? There's no real way of proving that she is lying or telling the truth.
2. You could easily apply this principal to any other area of human activities, and claim that your 'choice' to engage in risky activity A thereby nullifies your freedom to deal with unwanted consequence B. For instance, if you choose to go rollerskating, do you thereby lose the freedom of choice to go to the doctor of your choice if you break your arm?
Now, regarding the various statements about the 'souls' of fetuses or adults, I disagree with L. Neil Smith that souls are merely part of a delusional primitive belief system. There are very good reasons to think that human beings have souls. However, there is no actual evidence that they either exist, or do not exist. Until such evidence exists, either for or against the matter, any argument about souls does not belong in a debate about abortion (or any other debate, for that matter, other than a debate specifically about souls or other religious things).
Now, putting aside that fact that nobody today really has any actual knowledge about souls, we DO have at least some knowledge about the human brain, and how it functions. One of the things which we know about the human brain, is that until myelinization of the nerve sheaths in the fetal brain occurs, organized thought and sensation are simply not physically possible. This myelinization occurs during the 6th month of pregnancy. Prior to that time, organized thought and sensation are simply not possible. To my mind, a peice of tissue that is incapable of organized thought and sensation is not a human being, and does not have the rights of a human being.
I would like to point out at this time, that regardless of whether they are morally right or morally wrong, I have a great deal of contempt for the pro-life side of the abortion debate, due to the sneaky and grammatically dishonest argument which I hear repeatedly from them. This argument goes (with various unimportant variations) something like this:
The pro-life side will first claim, or get the listener to agree, that 'human beings' have certain rights, including the right to life. They will base this claim on a MENTAL definition of the term 'human beings', in that 'human beings' have these rights, due to their status as intelligent, self-aware creatures. However, once they establish this, they then play a sneaky little grammatical game, and attempt to extend this 'right to life' to fetuses, embryoes, and zygotes, based on the fact that they are 'human beings' and their listeners have agreed that 'human beings' have the 'right to life'. However, what they deliberately refrain from mentioning is that when they extend the status of 'human beings' to fetuses, embryoes, and zygotes, they are thereby sneakily changing the definition of the term 'human being' from a MENTAL definition of that term, which is the definition under which the 'right to life' of 'human beings' was originally agreed to, to a BIOLOGICAL, or GENETIC definition of the term 'human being', which is an entirely different definition than the MENTAL definition of the term 'human being'. That being the case, anything agreed to under a MENTAL definition of the term 'human being', such as a 'right to life' most certainly does not apply to something, such as an embryo or zygote, which falls under a biological, but not a mental, definition of the term 'human being'.
Changing the parameters of their definition of the term 'human being' from a mental definition to a biological or genetic one, in this often used argument, is not only very sneaky and dishonest by the pro-lifes, but extremely annoying to an INTP type personality such as myself. One of the traits of INTP's is that they tend to be extremely in tune with the precise meaning of words. It may be that ultimately, the pro-lifers are morally correct in their position, it is hard for me to tell, but I will acknowledge the possibility. However, by engaging in such dishonest grammatical games, they greatly weaken their own position, at least in my eyes. As does another one of their frequent arguments, which is a pointless appeal to emotion, regarding the fact that 'abortion stops a beating heart'. A heart is a pump. In and of itself, a heart really has no rights. Nor does it confer or take away rights from the person it belongs to. It would be ludicrous to imagine that if, say, Jeffrey Dahmer's heart had been transplanted into someone else after his death, that person should then be subject to his multiple-life jail sentence.
A human being and a human fetus both have a heart. So does a fish or an insect. The fact that something has (or does not have) a heart says absolutely nothing about it's intelligence, or whether or not it should have the same right to life that human beings do. I am impressed mainly by sound logical, or ethical arguments (ethical arguments, btw, are not the same as RELIGIOUS arguments).
I am not at all impressed by absurd emotional arguments regarding an organ that functions as a pump, religious arguments about unproven dieties or souls, or sneaky grammatical games which involve changing the terms of word definitions and not mentioning the change, in hopes that most people will not notice the change. Not only am I not impressed by those three sorts of arguments, but when one side of a debate engages in them, it tends to weaken their side of the debate in my eyes, because my reaction to such poor arguments is that if they are engaging in such poor arguments, it means that they do not have any GOOD arguments. Otherwise, if they did, they would be using the good arguments, and not such poor or dishonest ones.
There are also two other things, which tend to weaken the position of the pro-life group in my eyes. The first, is the fact that the anti-abortion legislation they come up with almost ALWAYS has exceptions contained in it for cases of both incest and rape. It is the latter exception which is most revealing as to what I believe to be their true motivations (more on that shortly). If their true goal is to protect the life of the fetus and embryo, why would they not include embryoes conceived by rape under their legislation? It is ludicrous to hold the embryo morally responsible for the actions of the rapist father, and outside of the case of incest, an embryo conceived by rape is no more likely to have genetic problems than any other embryo.
The second thing, which is related to the first one, and which also greatly weakens the position of the pro-life group in my eyes, is that a very large percentage of those people who are opposed to abortion are ALSO opposed to contraception. Or, more sneakily, to certain 'unpopular' uses of contraception, such as it's use by 'unmarried' or 'underage' individuals. But such sneakiness is merely to try to hide their real motivation, which I shall discuss shortly.
If the REAL goal of those who claim to be pro-life were to prevent abortion, then they would not only include embryoes conceived by rape under the various laws they propose, rather than nearly always having an exception for them, but they would also try to get as many women as possible to use birth control, so as not to become pregnant in the first place. The fact that they do the opposite of those two things is contradictory to their supposed, publicly claimed goal of preventing abortion.
The real goal, in my opinion, the only goal that is consistent with the above two actions which most pro-lifers take, is not that they are opposed to abortion, but that they are opposed to women voluntarily choosing to have sex, and that they wish to use the possibility of legally enforced pregnancy as a threat and a punishment to women who voluntarily choose to have sex. This is the only goal I can think of which is consistent with all the facts. All other bleating about how birth control 'doesn't always work', or that making it available to 'underage' (whatever that means) teenagers 'encourages them to have sex' (which is automatically assumed to be wrongWHY?!) is merely a distraction from their actual position of not wanting any women to voluntarily have sex at all. I am not impressed by that position any more than I am impressed by emotional or grammatically dishonest arguments.
There is NO middle ground. There is only right and wrong. It is wrong to deny homosexuals basic human rights. It is wrong to deny immigrants the ability to improve their lives. It is wrong to deny Americans their Constitutional rights, no matter the excuse. This includes, but is not limited to, the 1st,2nd,4th, &5th Amendments. Not even in an attempt to provide "Security". It is wrong for the government to deny people the right engage in ANY sexual activity that does not harm others (Meaning rape and child molesting, ONLY may be punishable by law). See, no middle ground. It is merely taking what is right, and applying it across the FALSE lines defined by the 2 party system. One of Rush Limbaugh's favorite sayings is that moderates cannot make up their minds, and that IS true. But he also says that no one who is not either Republican or Democrat can stand FOR anything. Totally wrong. I have a very specific series of positions, and NONE of them are mutually exclusive to each other. But I am NOT a moderate. Some are on the traditional "Right" side of the spectrum, and some on the "Left" side. This DOES NOT mean I can't decide what to do, it means I go strictly by right and wrong, Constitutional or un-Constitutional, and finally, if both fail me, then by my personal compass. God does not decide for me, as I doubt he exists. I will not even force my views on topics not covered by the Constitution on others. I WILL make them known, defend them vigorously, and make my reasons for it known, but I will NEVER try to set them down in laws, as I oppose 90+% of the laws on the books, and hate the thought of making even more! An example of each is as follows:
AbortionI oppose it because I can't PROVE to myself that it isn't murder. While a woman owns her body, the baby owns IT'S body, even if that body is still in the mother's body. So, except to save the mother's life, and IMMEDIATELY following an incident of rape or incest, I oppose abortion. Prove the existence of a soul, or that the baby will re-incarnate, and my objections will go away. BUT, I oppose laws against it, because it is only my belief, not a fact. And, abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, so my personal compass is the only thing I have to use.
Gun control, on the other hand, is a total violation of the 2nd Amendment. Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has upheld that the phrase "The People" means each and every individual person. And the 2nd Amendment says "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". That ends it.
Now, as everybody with intellectual honesty will admit that no matter which party they belong to, there is SOMETHING they don't agree with, unless they wrote the platform themselves. I am a Libertarian, and have been since 1988 or 89. I disagree with only ONE plank. As I said, I oppose abortion, but my party doesn't. It is my only break with it. I could not be a Republican OR Democrat, they each support far too many things things I can't accept for me to be able to go along with them. IF all parties other than these two were to be eliminated, then I would join the Republicans, and work very hard to change the platform to my standards. And I would never vote a party line with either of them, as I would always vote for the candidate that supported the Constitution the best. So to all you idiots who keep insisting that to oppose your side in EVERYTHING automatically makes someone a member of the other major party, SHUT UP AND THINK IT OUT NEXT TIME!!! Now, for all my fellow viners, do you identify yourself as one of the two major parties, one of the main third parties, or a truly "independent" party? Answer the accompanying poll, and comment, please.
I wrote this article on Newsvine a few weeks ago. The title was "Democrats and Republicans, Rush is wrong and so are you!" I KNOW that my sentiments on Abortion differ from most of my fellow Libertarians. And, as Neil Smith can attest, I have changed my stance on it a bit over the years. The only thing I hate about my intellectual honesty, though, is the sleepless nights. Because I can't be as sure about when the fetus becomes a human being as some are (my daughter, born at 24 weeks and doing great 5years later has a lot to do with it), I can't put a "Now it is human" tag. And that means, like it or not, if I support abortion, AT ANY STAGE, I may be condoning the initian of force against a fellow human being. Murder. But I can't comdemn a rape victim to the hell of carrying the result of the most tragic event of her life (or I sure as hell hope it was, that there was nothing even worse out there). So YES, I am a hypocrite. I know it, and I welcome the title. Because, if you ain't a hypocrite about anything, you are too cock-sure about everything to be trusted. At least, that's the way it looks from here.
Between 1981 and today there have been 130 shuttle launches. Using Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct type habitats and Earth Return Vehicles we could have had 65 lunar landings by now. Or using one launch every two years would have put seven missions on Mars with another one on the way.
If NASA is not going to take the lead anymore it is time for government to get out of the way and lift the restrictions on private spaceflight. For those who question the need for a space program I would ask them if they would rather see their children going into space or getting shot at in some Third World country no one cares about.
There were a number of letters in TLE about a debate as to whether or not it was repressive for the government to force people to dress LESS modestly than they were otherwise inclined to, whether out of religious reasons, or shyness, or for any other reason.
This is a bit of a tricky question. In theory, the government does not have any business telling anyone how to dress. If they want to go nude, or wear a burqa, or wear winter clothes in July or a Halloween costume in April, it is all their own business. Neither the government nor anyone else should have anything to say about it.
However that said, the specific case of the Muslim burqa is a bit more complex. There are two specific things Muslims do regarding the burqa which create problems for individuals and society:
1. They insist that they should wear a burqa, even when doing so presents a practical safety hazard, such as when they work over a flaming stove in a restaurant, and loose clothing, especially on the head, could easily catch fire.
2. Whenever Muslims are more than a very small minority of a population, they start violating the rights of woman who do NOT wear a burqa.
I might point out that this is NOT a problem with ANY other group (that I can think of) that dresses differently than the norm.The Amish, for instance either modify their dress if safety requires it, or else do not engage in activities or employment in which their preferred way of dress would be a safety hazard. Nor do the Amish assault those, even other Amish, who do not wear Amish clothing, regardless of their relative population densities.
Now, although I believe that people should be allowed to wear a burqa, practically speaking, if allowing people to wear a burqa is going to be a continuous problem for the above 2 reasons, the reaction of most non-Muslims is going to be to ban it. If the Muslims want to continue to have the right to wear a burqa, then they need to alter their behavior on those two things. Otherwise they are probably going to lose that right, regardless of whether they should lose it or not.
To which Richard Bartucci replied:
In response to Ms. Morgan's position on this subject, I am obliged to observe that there are many working conditions in which people are required to wear specialized garb far more enveloping than the burqa.
This includes not only the surgical operating theater and other clinical venues, where the risks of infection must be mitigated, but also "clean room" manufacturing environments in which the head-to-toe "bunny suit" has to be worn.
If an observant Muslim woman wishes to "work over a flaming stove in a restaurant" while wearing a burqa, her employer has to decideon the bases of safety and quality of productwhether this risk is sustainable. No employer should ever be compelled by law or regulation to put his patrons, his employees, his establishment, or his reputation at risk merely to satisfy such a person's sense of religious obligation, and the observant Muslim woman in question might well be considered as intrinsically unsuited to the job of fry cook as she is to the job of pole dancer in a strip club.
As for polities in which "Muslims are more than a very small minority of a population," efforts on their part to force either non-observant Muslims or "infidels" to dress according to their standards of modesty need to be resisted. I suggest the use of personal firearms as both deterrent and practical solution.
In the words of the late Keith Laumer:
To which Ann Morgan replied:
I would like to respond to a few points made by Richard Bartucci.
He is quite correct when he said that there are certain working conditions in which employees are required to wear garments far more specialized and enveloping than a Muslim burqa, such as the 'bunny suit' in the 'clean room' of some factories.
I never intended to suggest that it should be forbidden to dress modestly or wear a burqa in ALL employment situations. I fully agree, as Richard Bartucci mentions, that there are certain employment situations in which extremely modest dress may be required (or an extremely good idea, even if not required). I myself once had a job where on one occassion I was working outside for four hours when it was 30 degrees below zero (F), and the manner in which I voluntarily dressed on that occasion probably made a head-to-toe burqa look skimpy and shocking in comparison.
However, there are other employment situations in which certain types of dress are not allowed for safety reasons. Not allowing a loose burqa in someone working over a flaming stove is merely one example. There are many others. A lot of factories with machinery will not allow their employees to wear dangling jewelry. Someone such as, say, a Catholic, whose personal belief system required them (in their own opinion) to wear a large crucifix or rosary necklace at all times would either have to not wear it while working in such a place, or else not seek employment in such a place.
In regards to Richard's suggestion that personal firearms would make a good deterrent for attempts by Muslims to assault those who do not comply with their religious style of dress, I agree, however many countries, especially those in Europe, which have a significant population of Muslims, have disarmed all the people. This being the case, the ONLY response they have left, if the freedom to wear burqas is going to cause Muslims to create problems, is a government ban of the burqa. I would not regard the Muslims as being entirely innocent in this situation, either, as the LAST thing a fundamentalist Muslim would ever want is for either any women (muslim or otherwise), or any non-muslim males, to possess firearms.
To which Richard Bartucci replied:
Ms. Morgan's response is noted, but appears to fail of persuasiveness.
First, situations of employment dictating standards of dressfor any reason, including the uniforms of waitstaff in various kinds of restaurants, protective gear for explosives ordinance disposal personnel, even suit-and-tie "business attire"are not really germane to laws which have been enacted to prohibit the wearing of clothing in manners distinctly peculiar to Muslim standards of male and female bodily modesty.
Second, in many polities, these laws have not only prohibited the wearing of garments like the burqa but also the simple headscarf or hijab, and this is more than just a little bit nuts in parts of the world where Christian nuns routinely go about in wimples (and some orders in near-burqa-level habits) and Orthodox Jewish women wear a snood of some kind. Those of us in parts of America where we come into regular contact with the Amish Mennonite church fellowships and their adherence to their various versions of the Ordnung are familiar with their distinctive dress codes, which include for women and girls that gauzy white bonnet head covering so common in Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) and areas thereabouts.
It is understood that the hostility expressed in the Dar al Harb nations to the female styles of dress symbolic of Muslim rectitude is religious in nature. If such hostility were leveled in these United States against the Amish, against Catholic nuns, or against Orthodox Jews, we would bristle and resist, if for no other reason than the fact that the Amish, the Orthodox Jews, and the nuns have set policies in America which do not give them to seek political power over their neighbors.
Having spent my formative years in parochial schools, I'm pretty much convinced that the good Sisters know that they already exercise a helluva lot of power. I'm a stark raving atheist and a grandfather a dozen times over, and I still halt and bow respectfully at the sight of the blue-and-black habit of the order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Conditioned reflex. They got me before I was seven years of age.
Were the Muslim population in these United States to seek such political poweras I believe they have in certain townsand behave thuggishly where they have not gained political pre-eminence but have nonetheless disabled those mechanisms of government purposed to protect people from intimidation and assault, there must always be an understanding that the citizenry has to be ready to make that "appeal to heaven" of which the Founders were sensible.
I do not know what course might be taken in the European countries where the private citizenry have been deprived of the exercise of their right to arms, but I know that even in those areas of America where government agents have violated this right, the recourse to violent retaliatory force is not more than moderately impaired.
Firearms provide good "force multiplier" effect, but they are not absolutely necessary when confronting religious bigots (for example) who also lack such weaponry.
Muslims are not the only people who can break bones and spill blood, as has been proven repeatedly in the history of "good Christian" America. They push and there will be push-back, of that I have no doubt whatsoever.
To quote Mel Brooks:
Meanwhile, I recommend strongly against laws which prohibit the wear of the burqaor the hijab. Such statutes set precedents by which religious bigots (possibly, in future, a Muslim majority in some jurisdiction) might impose by law the dress codes peculiar to their barbaric customs, and this is good for nobody.
The Ratchet Principle of Tyranny
I have been mulling over some of the implications of things I have written in my first two letters this week, as well as the responses I have already gotten to them, and have stumbled across, what is, I think, a very important principal in politics and morality that has not (at least to my knowledge) ever been explicitly stated before, but which probably should have been, since it has had a very great effect on human history.
I realized this principle when I was thinking over what I wrote regarding fanatical Muslims, in that they did not wish anyone, indeed in many places have taken steps, to disarm most people, so that they cannot use a gun to defend themselves if fanatical Muslims try to assault them for not wearing a Burqa, and as a direct result of being disarmed, the only means left for people to deal with the problems which some Muslims cause regarding Burqas, was to create a government ban on ALL Muslims wearing Burqas.
I have since realized, that this is actually merely one small example of a much larger principle, which I will call (for reasons which will shortly become obvious) the 'Ratchet Principle of Tyranny'.
It has been a peculiarity throughout human history, that although countries often move slowly towards tyranny by degrees, they very seldom move slowly towards freedom. Freedom, or the removal of tyranny, is almost always acheived by violent revolution. In this regard, the motion towards tyranny is rather like that of a ratchet. The simplest example of such a device would be the humble zip tie. Once you fasten and start tightening a zip tie, it is very difficult to un-tighten it. Un-tightening it requires either extremely difficult poking around in the ratchet mechanism with a delicate tool, or else violent action in simply cutting apart the zip tie. Absent either of these two things, any changes in the zip tie will either leave it the way it is, or tighten it further.
There is a reason, I think, that the political movement towards tyranny functions like this. The reason is this: Once a person or group in a society uses collectivist, tyrannical, or rights violating means to either acheive a goal, or deal with a problem (perceived or actual) another person or group is causing them, by doing so, they then create conditions under which it becomes more difficult (or impossible) for anyone else in that society to acheive any goals, or deal with any problems by means OTHER than those of tyranny and collectivism. The long term result is that the group that first used tyranny to acheive goals at the expense of others, or deal with a problem they had with others, will inevitably find tyrannical methods used by others, to acheive different goals, or to deal with the problems that others have with them, because the imposition of tyranny has made difficult or impossible the use of NON-tyrannical methods.
The example I gave was that of the Muslims. They advocate the methods of tyranny, namely disarming most people, so that it is safer for them to assault those who do not wear a Burqa. But by doing so, as I mention, they create conditions in which the only means for which others to deal with the problems they have (or think they have) with Muslims, is tyrannical actions, that of a government ban on ALL wearing of Burqas, rather than individual, free actions, namely shooting the individual Muslims who attempt such assaults.
There are other obvious examples, now that this principle has become clear to me. When you tax other people to acheive you personal goal (whatever it might be), you then create conditions under which the only way for other people to acheive THEIR goals, is by taxing YOU. Earning their own money to acheive their goals, without getting tax money, is far more difficult for the other people, once you start taxing them in the first place.
Anyway, that's my thought for the night. I'd appreciate any feedback on this principle that people might have, especially if someone else has thought of it before that I don't know about.
Hello, everybody! This is a momentous day in Baloo annals. I just passed a milestone. There are now over ten thousand cartoons available in my archive at CartoonStock.
That amounts to a cartoon a day for 28 years or so, just to put it in perspective.
And, of course, I'm turning out new cartoons constantly. You can see them daily at my blogs:
And click on the category names under the cartoon there.
I'd like to draw special attention to my education cartoon site at
Where you can find today's special valentine cartoon... Oh, what the heckhere it is. When you forward this e-mail, you're also sending a Valentine!
Finally, the more people who visit my sites, the more I'm motivated to update them constantly. Please do forward this e-mail to anybody you know who enjoys cartoons.
New design available here.
Do you miss us yet?
Dear Friends: This is from my Aunt Kay. I am passing it on to you.
Renata Russell, Signatory (proudest day of my life)
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:19 PM
Geert Wilders is a Dutch Member of Parliament
America as the last man standing
'In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe?'
Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the Netherlands , at the Four Seasons, New York , introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem.
Thank you very much for inviting me.
I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe.
First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe. Then, I will say a few things about Islam. To close I will tell you about a meeting in Jerusalem.
The Europe you know is changing.
You have probably seen the landmarks. But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world. It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration.
All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighborhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It's the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corners. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighborhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe. These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe , street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.
There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe. With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule.
Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam , Marseille and Malmo in Sweden. In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighborhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities.
In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims.
Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear 'whore, whore'. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin.
In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity.
In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighborhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels , because he was drinking during the Ramadan.
Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization.
A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.
Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favor of a worldwide caliphate. Muslims demand what they call 'respect'. And this is how we give them respect. We have Muslim official state holidays.
The Christian-Democratic attorney general is willing to accept sharia in the Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority. We have cabinet members with passports from Morocco and Turkey.
Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots. Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs, the banlieus. I call the perpetrators 'settlers'. Because that is what they are. They do not come to integrate into our societies; they come to integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam. Therefore, they are settlers.
Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighborhoods, their cities, their countries. Moreover, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be ignored.
The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet. His behavior is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized. Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriagesat the same time. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. If it is good for Islam, it is good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad.
Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam means 'submission'. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.
Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam 'the most retrograde force in the world', and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.
This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam's territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.
The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us.. If there would have been no Israel , Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.
Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel , they can get everything. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a 'right-wing extremists' or 'racists'. In my country, the Netherlands , 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat. Yet there is a danger greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine. An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for Americaas its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem.
Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe , American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe 's children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so.
We have to take the necessary action now to stop this Islamic stupidity from destroying the free world that we know.
Please take the time to read and understand what is written here, Please send it to every free person that you know, it is so very important.
To which A.X. Perez replied:
Europe has been dying since WWII, check their birthrates. The failure of "infidels" to assert their cultural heritage in Europe has led them to this straight. Afraid of fanaticism in reaction to the excess of the Third Reich, disarmed so that they cannot defend their rights, spiritually bankrupt, and again racially dying out, the Europeans are now under pressure from fecund people who hold true to their beliefs and actively promote them. The Dutch, French, Swiss, and other react with fear and bigotry.
I recommend that the Europeans start believing in something more than being taken care of by the nanny state, arm themselves, practice their right to peacefully go about their honest business and get rid of the gun control laws and the attitudes that led to them. Then they will find they can share the continent with Moslems. They also need to have more kids.
In America we need to decide what we believe in, both privately and publicly. We need to win the fight to protect and assert the right to keep and bear arms. We must fuck more on days when our women are fertile and not use protection. We must make it clear that we will not trade repressive laws pandering to Fundamentalist Christian for those pandering to Fundamentalist Moslems. Please note that the First Amendment militates against the formation of Sharia Courts (no law establishing religion. Permitting Sharia Courts as an alternative court system sure as hell is establishing religion.).
And always, always, watch out for those who will use resisting Moslem tyranny (and yes, there are Moslems who wish to impose tyrannical governments based on Islam on both Moslems and infidels) as an excuse to impose their own tyranny.
Thank you for the warning. I will remember it to protect my freedom and that of my loved ones from wannabe American Caliphs. I will also be on the watch for those who want to impose an antiIslamic tyranny on me.
And him and his pal/alter-ego Carzy Al then replied:
Atkins and GI Joe have one thing in common. Their welcome is always for the duration. Come peace time and they are asked to go away, stay out of sight and mind. Until the drums roll and the shooting starts again. And if the war is unpopular the soldiers are unpopular also.Recently a frequent correspondent to TLE forwarded a message quoting a speech by a Dutch politician regarding the threat the spread of Islam represents to "civilization as we know it." Whether or how much she agrees with this point I do not know, nor is it relevant to this particular letter. I respect this person too well to believe she accepts the bigotry that is part of the concern expressed in the speech.
What this letter is about is the call for America to do its duty as the last bastion of Western European Civilization against ths Moslem onslaught. In effect we are being called on to be the thin red line of heroes, the designated goon. And I have to ask why should we save Western Europe's bacon again?We spent most of the Twentieth Century fighting wars that were the consequences of Europe messing up. We've endangered, if totally not trashed our people's liberty doing so, bled ourselves dry and emptied our wallets.
If the people of Europe will not have kids at a sufficient rate to hold their land against an expanding population, if they will not develop an intellectual and spiritual movement strong enough to stand up to Islam, if they are so committed to going disarmed that they cannot stand up to Islamist bullies and thugs, then they deserve to be overrun and displaced by the Moslem people of North Africa and the Middle East.
Why should we exhaust ourselves, spend ourselves broke, bleed ourselves dry, morally and intellectually bankrupt ourselves to the point of having our kids turn to Islam because they have lost their faith in Christian and American secular values which we betrayed fighting one more war for Europe? We would not be surprised to learn that many of the Europeans who call now for the US to save their bacon were among the number who have condemned our filibusters in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are happy to denounce us as gun toting red neck intellectual slobs. Yet now they want us to rescue them when all they can do about the spread of Islam into their lands is engage in the kind of bigotry they rightfully condemned us for and that we are acting to correct.Well we say this time Tommy Atkin's Cousin Jonathan should refuse to come to the party.
And as a reply, L. Neil Smith wrote our Feature Article for this issue [LINK]
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