Right-to-Work Laws, Again

 Posted by on 16 October 2008 at 11:06 pm  Business, Election, Politics
Oct 162008

On FRODO (the discussion list of Front Range Objectivism), someone objected to my opposition to Colorado’s Amendment 47 — a “right-to-work” measure that would forbid private businesses from requiring union membership as a condition of employment — on the grounds of “freedom of choice” and “natural rights.”

My reply is of general interest, as I think the legitimacy of “right-to-work” laws can be confusing. I wrote:

The idea that people have some kind of natural right to work for another person — without regard for their employer’s terms — is completely ridiculous.

If my employer says that he’s only willing to hire me if I cut my hair short, put in 10 hour days, donate money to ARI, or join a union, that’s his right. And it’s my right — precisely because I’m a free person, not a slave — to refuse employment under those terms.

To say that he is obliged to hire me, even though I don’t meet his terms, would make him my slave.

That’s why “right-to-work” laws are wrong. They are yet another violation of the right to contract — in a misguided, typically conservative attempt to make existing pro-union laws more “fair.” But in fact, freedom requires the repeal of those unjust pro-union laws — not passing even more unjust regulations to “level the playing field” or “protect choice.”

My view here is the definitive Objectivist position. In the June 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter, Barbara Branden addressed the issue of “right-to-work” laws:

What is the Objectivist stand on “right-to-work” laws?

As advocates of laissez-faire capitalism, Objectivists are opposed to any legislation that abridges the freedom of production and trade. We are, therefore, opposed to the “right-to-work” laws.

The “right-to-work” laws prohibit employers and unions from contractually agreeing to and stipulating a closed and/or union shop. As such, these laws clearly represent an infringement of the rights of the parties involved; these laws rest on the principle that the government has the right to prescribe the terms of contractual agreements-which is a Statist concept. In a free society, an employer who voluntarily negotiates with a voluntary union, may sign any agreement with the union that he wishes. Although it is doubtful whether a closed and/or union shop agreement would ever be economically wise, that choice is the employer’s to make. No one’s rights are infringed by such an agreement; a worker does not have a “right” to a job with a given employer; if he does not or cannot meet the employer’s terms, he is free to seek employment elsewhere.

Many “conservatives” champion “right-to-work” laws on the ground that today unions are so powerful they can virtually compel an employer’s agreement to a closed and/or union shop. It is true that unions have such power. But they acquired it only by virtue of legislation, which had the effect of forcing men into unions whether they wished to join or not and of forcing employers to deal with these unions. Unions did not and could not achieve, in a free society, the monopolistic, destructive power they possess in today’s “mixed economy.” The guilty party is not unionism as such, but government controls.

The solution lies, not in passing new laws, but in repealing the laws that caused the disaster in the first place.

The defenders of freedom do not serve their own cause by trying to fight their battle on the enemy’s terms, that is, by deciding that the solution to the evil of government intervention in the economy is more government intervention.

Ari Armstrong has more on his blog.

Oct 152008

The following op-ed by Ari Armstrong was released by the Coalition for Secular Government as a non-exclusive op-ed yesterday. It has a similar theme as his earlier CSG op-ed, With Palin, McCain Ignores Colorado Warning. This version includes some additional links for reference, added by Ari.

Faith-based politics costs Colorado Republicans
by Ari Armstrong

Colorado is known for its Western values of independence and economic liberty. So why do Republicans, the supposed champions of those values, keep getting trounced?

Republicans can blame wealthy Democratic donors, but in large part Republicans have beaten themselves by pushing a faith-based agenda of banning abortion and stem-cell research, discriminating against homosexuals, and directing welfare dollars to religious groups. They have subverted the law to religious doctrine and weakened the wall between church and state.

Republicans also have alienated freedom-minded independents and Republicans. Polls released by Pew show most Americans, and half of conservatives, now oppose church involvement in politics. As Ryan Sager shows in his review of 2005 Pew data, the Interior West holds a “live and let live” philosophy, with 53 percent of residents saying homosexuality “should be accepted by society” and 59 percent saying “the government is getting too involved in the issue of morality.” [See the appendix of Sager's The Elephant In the Room.]

Yet the GOP panders to its evangelical base at the expense of political victory.

This year, Republicans passed a resolution at their state convention calling for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Eighteen Republican candidates signed the Colorado Right to Life survey, saying they want to ban abortion as the will of God and outlaw stem-cell medical research.

The same candidates also endorsed Amendment 48, which would define a fertilized egg as a person in Colorado’s constitution. This would lay the ground to ban all abortion except perhaps to save the mother’s life, ban the birth control pill and other forms of contraception that may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, and ban most fertility treatments. Women would be forced to bring a pregnancy to term, even in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and health risks.

True, some of these candidates, such as Congressman Doug Lamborn and congressional candidate Mike Coffman, live in safe districts for Republicans. But Libby Szabo, a candidate for state senate in District 19, does not. Her opponents have hammered her over her answers to the survey, making sure to link her views to the GOP.

Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, the incumbent in a Republican district, has managed to fall behind challenger Betsy Markey in some polls [one and two]. Musgrave wants to outlaw abortion, and she is most well known for sponsoring a constitutional gay marriage ban.

Republican Bob Schaffer is trailing Mark Udall in the polls in the U.S. Senate race in part because of Schaffer’s faith-based politics. Udall has written, “I fully support the continued separation of church and state in this country.” He opposes bans on abortion and stem-cell research. Schaffer, evoking God’s will, said abortion is “always wrong.”

Republicans should have learned their lesson when they lost the governership to the Democrats in 2006, when Bob Beauprez touted his faith-based politics and selected a running mate of the same cloth, Janet Rowland. Like Beauprez, Rowland wanted to outlaw abortion and maintain faith-based welfare.

Yet the GOP continues to actively push its anti-abortion agenda. A recent flyer “Paid for by Colorado Republican Committee” urged recipients to vote for a presidential candidate who opposes abortion and who will appoint Supreme Court justices to outlaw it.

But some who are pro-choice across the board are fighting back. Diana Hsieh founded the Coalition for Secular Government, which issued a paper that she and I wrote titled, “Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life.” Diana’s husband Paul wrote to Dick Wadhams, head of the state GOP, “Although I’m pro-free market, pro-strong national defense, and pro- gun, the position that the CO GOP has taken against abortion is a clear breach of the principle of separation of church and state.” Doug Krening wrote to Republican officials, “I have been a Republican for my entire voting life, but cannot endorse the GOP currently because of it’s explicit endorsement of religion in government.”

On September 11, Amanda Mountjoy, chair of the Colorado Republican Majority for Choice, hosted a banquet with 240 participants to oppose Amendment 48. Former Senator Hank Brown told the crowd, “At the point that we give up supporting and defending individual freedom and choice, we give up the very core of this great party.”

Colorado Republicans have two options. They can respect the separation of church and state and defend individual freedom and choice, or they can continue to lose and deserve to do so.

Ari Armstrong is a writer for the Coalition for Secular Government and the editor of FreeColorado.com.

Fairness Doctrine for Blogs?

 Posted by on 13 October 2008 at 11:03 pm  Election, Free Speech, Politics
Oct 132008

A few hours ago, Stephen Green of VodkaPundit sent out a mass e-mail to over 100 notable bloggers (and others) with this post on the threat of Obama attempting to apply the Fairness Doctrine to blogs, if elected. What the hell, I thought. So I replied to all with the following:

Stephen (and others) –

Like you, I’m seriously worried about free speech under Obama. But damned if I’d feel any more secure with McCain. The man has absolutely no respect whatsoever for the First Amendment — and he showed that by sponsoring and passing the most severe restrictions on political speech in recent decades.

When asked whether McCain-Feingold violates freedom of speech, McCain said, “I would rather have a clean government than one where quote ‘First Amendment rights’ are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government.”

Campaign finance laws are strangling political debate in America. In recent months, I’ve been forced to spend hours of my time filling out campaign finance forms — just to spend a whopping $200 of my own money fighting Amendment 48. (That’s the Colorado ballot measure that would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs.) The money was used to print and mail copies of an issue paper I co-authored, i.e. simply to advocate my views. After that, I realized that spending money to defeat the measure just wasn’t worth my cost in time. Galt help me if I was actually taking donations — or spending serious money. I would have had to hire an army of accountants!

For more on Colorado’s Amendment 48, see:


For more on the injustice of campaign finance, see Yaron Brook’s article in Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/…0321yaro n.html

The next four years will be very bad for freedom of speech, regardless of the name of the man in the Oval Office. Blogs will likely be on the chopping block, and we’ll have to fight for our most basic right to speak our mind.


A few notes:

(1) I’m familiar with the basics of the Fairness Doctrine, but it’s not clear to me how it might be applied to online media (in general) and blogs (in particular). Does anyone know?

(2) I’m not sure that I agree with my last sentence: “Blogs will likely be on the chopping block.” The fact is that blogs are substantially dependent on mainstream media. If the government effectively controls those sources of information, then it might not need to enact any controls particular to blogs to effectively silence them.

(3) For more on the kind of campaign finance laws that I’ve dealt with in my fight against Amendment 48 in Colorado, see this post by Ari Armstrong.

Diana Hsieh’s 2008 Voting Recommendations

 Posted by on 12 October 2008 at 11:25 pm  Election, Politics
Oct 122008

Note: You also can download a two-page PDF version of this voting guide.

The Presidential Race

With respect to the presidential election, I’ll likely abstain for the reasons similar to those given in Craig Biddle’s essay McBama vs. America. Given the Republican Party’s dangerous entanglement with fundamentalist Christianity, I will not vote for Republican candidates. (For my detailed reasons, see my 2006 essay Why I’m Voting for the Democrats.) However, McCain is particularly revolting. So if I vote for anyone, I’ll vote for Obama. He’s beyond awful, but I have some reason to hope that he’ll be ineffectual. Plus, the Republicans might grow some cajones as the opposition party.

Colorado’s Senate Race

With respect to Colorado’s Senate race between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall, I plan to vote for Udall. Again, part of my reason is my unwillingness to vote for any Republican. To do so is to hasten the transformation of America into a “Christian nation,” and I do not wish to live in such a place. In particular, Republican Bob Schaffer is an ardent opponent of all abortion because it’s contrary to God’s will. In contrast, Udall has offered a wonderfully strong statement in support of the separation of church and state.

Of course, many of Udall’s views are downright awful. Although he voted against the bailout twice, he’s no advocate of free markets or limited government. However, Republicans are no better on that score: federal spending rose a whopping 68% under President Bush. Also, Bob Schaffer advocates a “refereed private sector” — i.e. an economy controlled and managed by politicians and bureaucrats. He even supports antitrust lawsuits against health insurance companies. Despite the vocal claims of his advocates, he is no friend of capitalism.

Colorado’s Ballot Measures

Colorado has an insane number of measures on the ballot this year. In my view, the two most important are Amendment 48 — which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs — and Amendment 59 — which would permanently raise taxes. Please, vote NO on both measures.

Here are my recommendations on all the measures:

Amendment 46: Colorado Civil Rights Initiative: A46 would prohibit the government from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, or contracting.

Diana says: Yes. Governments ought not discriminate on the basis of irrelevant factors like race and sex.

Amendment 47: Right to Work initiative: A47 would prohibit requiring an employee to join and pay any dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment.

Diana says: No. It is a violation of contract and property rights to prohibit businesses from voluntarily agreeing with unions to only hire only union employees.

Amendment 48: Definition of Personhood: A48 would define the term “person” to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization,” thereby granting all the rights of persons to embryos and fetuses.

Diana says: NO NO NO NO! A person is not created at conception but rather born. This measure would outlaw nearly all abortion, ban the birth control pill, morning-after pill, and IUD, and impose police controls on pregnant women. For more, see the Coalition for Secular Government’s information on Amendment 48.

Amendment 49: Limitation on Public Payroll Deductions Initiative: A49 would prohibit union dues from being automatically deducted from the paychecks of public employees by limiting the allowed deductions.

Diana says: Yes. Although this measure should not be a constitutional amendment, taxpayers are within their rights to manage the terms of government employment. Currently, union withholdings often go strait to pro-union political campaigns seeking to violate our rights. Government employees will retain their right and ability to fund any group through their own bank account. For more, see John Caldera’s damn funny video.

Amendment 50: Limited Gaming Initiative: A50 would allow residents of gaming towns to vote to extend casino hours, add games, and increase the bet limit to $100–with most of the resulting tax revenue going to community colleges.

Diana says: Yes. Limitations on gambling are a paternalistic violation of rights, and this measure would loosen some of them. While gaming regulations shouldn’t be part of our constitution, A50 only amends existing constitutional provisions. Also, the additional tax revenue will be used for government education, but that seems inevitable in our current political climate.

Amendment 51: Sales Tax for Developmentally Disabled Initiative: A51 would increase the state sales and use tax from 2.9% to 3.0% in 2009 then to 3.1% in 2010 to fund services for disabled people. It would prohibit any reduction in funding for such programs.

Diana says: NO! This tax hike is not just welfare-statist but downright altruistic. Moreover, the constitution should not limit the legislature in its budget allocations.

Amendment 52: Severance Tax & Transportation Initiative: A52 would require the legislature to spend a portion of state severance taxes on highway projects.

Diana says: No. The use of tax revenue should be determined by the legislature, not by the constitution.

Amendment 54: Clean Government Initiative: A54 would limit the campaign contributions of certain government contractors and labor groups.

Diana says: No. Campaign finance laws are unjust restrictions on freedom of speech. They ought to be repealed, not extended.

Amendment 58: Severance Tax Initiative: A58 would increase the amount of state severance taxes paid by oil and natural gas companies, primarily by eliminating an existing tax credit. The additional revenue would fund college scholarships, wildlife habitat, renewable energy projects, etc.

Diana says: NO! This measure is populism at its worst. It is a tax hike against an unpopular but vital industry for the sake of illegitimate government funding of schooling.

Amendment 59: Savings Account for Education Initiative: A59 would eliminate TABOR rebates, spending the that tax revenue on P-12 education, eliminating the required inflationary increase for P-12 education spending, and setting aside money in a new savings account for P-12 education.

Diana says: NO NO NO! This measure would be a permanent tax hike to enable more irresponsible spending by politicians. See the web site of Vote No on 59.

Referendum L: Candidate requirements: Ref L would lower the age of a candidate for the Colorado House and Senate from 25 to 21.

Diana says: Yes. Adults should be able to serve in the legislature.

Referendum M: Obsolete constitutional provisions: Ref M would eliminate obsolete provisions in the constitution about land value increases.

Diana says: Yes. Obsolete provisions should be repealed.

Referendum N: Obsolete constitutional provisions: Ref N would eliminate obsolete provisions in the constitution about intoxicating liquor.

Diana says: Yes. Obsolete provisions should be repealed.

Referendum O: Initiative Process: Ref O would increase the requirements for placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot by requiring more total signatures, with 8% to be gathered from each congressional district. The requirements for statutory initiatives would be lessened.

Diana says: Yes. Amending the Colorado constitution should not be the state sport. Those attempting to do so should have to show that their measure has substantial and broad support from across the state.

That’s all folks!

Abortion and Abolition

 Posted by on 9 October 2008 at 11:01 pm  Abortion, Election, Politics
Oct 092008

The Boulder Weekly published the following op-ed on Amendment 48 by Ari Armstrong and myself yesterday:

Abortion and Abolition
by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong

Colorado is ground zero in a national battle over the morality of abortion, and the defenders of abortion rights are ceding ground.

The opponents of abortion declare that every human life is endowed by God with an inalienable right to life. To terminate a pregnancy, whatever the circumstances, is murder.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade, then “end abortion at the state level.” His running mate Sarah Palin says she’s as “pro-life as any candidate can be.” She thinks “abortion [should] only be allowed if the life of the mother is endangered.”

Colorado’s Amendment 48 inaugurates a new strategy for ending abortion. Instead of restricting abortion via piecemeal government controls, the measure would usher in a near-total ban on abortion by defining a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights in the state constitution.

The opponents of abortion claim the sanction of divine morality, based on the premise that “life begins at conception.” Many anti-abortionists now openly seek to ban not only abortion and most fertility treatments, but also the birth control pill, morning after pill, and IUD because they may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Amendment 48 would help them do that.

Given this all-out assault on reproductive rights, traditional defenders of abortion might be expected to launch a vigorous counter-attack. Instead, they’ve dodged tough questions and conceded basic principles, leaving reproductive rights with a flimsy defense.

When Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was asked when a baby gets “human rights,” he famously declared the question to be “above [his] pay grade.” Yet he will be called on to judge such matters if elected. His running mate Joe Biden accepts the teachings of his Catholic Church: the fertilized egg is a human person. Yet he regards abortion as “a personal and private issue” — as if the state should allow every person to decide for himself whether or not to recognize the rights of others, so long as any killings happen behind closed doors. That’s clearly wrong: if an embryo or fetus is a person, then abortion is murder. If not, then it’s a woman’s right.

In response to the threat posed by Amendment 48, the traditional defenders of abortion rights — such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL — organized a broad coalition to fight the measure. They persuasively argue that Amendment 48 would have disastrous legal consequences for abortion, birth control and in-vitro fertilization.

Yet their oft-repeated slogan of “it simply goes too far” is a whopping concession to their opponents. It implies that abortion, birth control and in-vitro fertilization could be and perhaps ought to be restricted — just not as severely as Amendment 48 would do. Instead of upholding reproductive rights, the slogan implicitly welcomes further incremental controls on abortion.

Just imagine if the abolitionists of the 19th century had attempted to defend the inalienable rights of slaves based on the slogan, “slavery: it simply goes too far.” Imagine Lincoln declaring the morality of slavery to be “above [his] pay grade.” The monstrous evil of slavery would still exist today. The recognition and protection of the rights of slaves required an uncompromising defense of those rights based on the facts of human nature.

Similarly, the recognition and protection of abortion rights requires an uncompromising defense of those rights based on the all-important differences between a fetus and a baby.

Neither an embryo nor a fetus is a human person with a right to life. While still in the womb, it exists as part of the woman, wholly contained within and dependent on her. It goes where she goes, eats what she eats, and breathes what she breathes. It lives as she lives, as an extension of her body. A fetus is only a potential person without a right to life.

That situation changes radically at birth. A baby lives his own life, outside his mother. Although very needy, he maintains his own biological functions. He breathes his own air, digests his own food and moves on his own. He can leave his mother to be cared for by someone else. He has a life of his own that must be protected as a matter of right, just the same as every other person.

During a pregnancy, the only person with rights is the pregnant woman. She has a right to liberty, including a right to use her body as she pleases. So she has every right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy — for any reason. If an abortion will further her own life and happiness, then she ought to pursue that option with a clear conscience.

The growing faith-based opposition to abortion cannot be countered by vague appeals to choice and privacy. Roe v. Wade will be overturned and Amendment 48 (or its like) will be passed without a clear, consistent and positive defense of abortion rights. We must be as principled in our defense of a woman’s right to her own body as were the abolitionists in defending the rights of slaves. Liberty cannot be won by any other means.

Diana Hsieh is the founder of the Coalition for Secular Government. Ari Armstrong is the editor of FreeColorado.com. They co-authored “Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life,” available through SecularGovernment.us.

Palin Debate Disaster

 Posted by on 1 October 2008 at 4:36 pm  Election
Oct 012008

I’m really looking forward to the vice presidential debate tomorrow. Why? Because Sarah Palin promises to make a total ass of herself. Just consider her inability to answer the questions of that intellectual powerhouse Katie Couric:

Here’s the transcript. She’s often completely incoherent, almost as bad as Miss Teen South Carolina. In fact, Tina Fey did a hysterical parody of that interview on Saturday Night Live without changing a word. Just see this comparison from CNN:

So if Joe Biden isn’t totally asleep at the wheel — and sadly, he might be — she’ll be crushed in the debate. Then, if we’re lucky, the leadership of the Republican Party might engage in some hasty generalization: they might conclude that evangelical candidates are toxic.

Of course, I wouldn’t be happy about an eventual Obama/Biden win, if that happens. McCain would be a horrific disaster, and Obama is — at best — only slightly less evil. Still, I’d like to see the darling of the evangelicals get a good slap.

Keep Up the Pressure

 Posted by on 29 September 2008 at 1:51 pm  Election, Finance, Politics
Sep 292008

The proposed bailout plan has failed in the House of Representatives.

The vote against the measure was 228 to 205, with 133 Republicans joining 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans.

HOORAY! As a result, the plan is stalled, at least for the moment:

Supporters vowed to try to bring the rescue package up for consideration again as soon as possible, perhaps late Wednesday or Thursday, but there were no definite plans to do so.

That’s great news. But I’m not terribly surprised, I must say. (I can’t claim credit for the following insight, however. A friend suggested it to me last night.) Why not?

People are inundating their representatives with strong opposition to the bailout. Mark Udall, a representative from Colorado running for Senate reported: “People are mad. My calls are mixed, between people who say ‘No’ and people who say ‘Hell no.’”

Members of the House of Representatives are vulnerable to political discontent. Unlike in the Senate, the whole bunch (except those retiring) is up for re-election in just over a month. So as this vote indicates, many do not wish to risk their seat by voting in favor of wildly unpopular legislation — despite all the pressure from party leadership.

So what does that mean for us? It means: keep up the pressure. If you representative voted “no,” call or e-mail him to give your moral support. If he voted “yes” (as mine did; he’s retiring), then call or e-mail to tell him that you’re upset with him. You can find out how your representative voted here.

Unfortunately, the web site for the House (including their contact form) seems to be down, as does Congress.org. Does anyone have a working link to suggest?

Update: Reading that NY Times article in full, I’m impressed by the seemingly principled opposition to the bailout. See these descriptions and quotes:

Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, said he intended to vote against the package, which he said would put the nation on “the slippery slope to socialism.” He said that he was afraid that it ultimately would not work, leaving the taxpayers responsible for “the mother of all debt.”

Another Texas Republican, John Culberson, spoke scathingly about the unbridled power he said the bill would hand over to the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., whom he called “King Henry.”

A third Texan, Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat, said the negotiators had “never seriously considered any alternative” to the administration’s plan, and had only barely modified what they were given. He criticized the plan for handing over sweeping new powers to an administration that he said was to blame for allowing the crisis to develop in the first place.

In contrast, consider what the supporters of the bailout are saying:

When it comes to America’s economy, [Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Democratic Majority Leader] said, “none of us is an island.”

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat, said the measure was vital to help financial institutions survive and keep people in their homes. “There’s plenty of blame to go around,” she said, and attaching blame should come later.

Palin’s Pastor = Hunter of Witches

 Posted by on 23 September 2008 at 12:01 am  Election, Religion
Sep 232008

Oy, if you thought Barack Obama’s pastor was a nutjob, just consider Sarah Palin’s: “The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witchhunt against a Kenyan woman who he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells.”

Ari Armstrong has the details. Just remember Exodus 22:18: “You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live.”

Sep 152008

… from the Coalition for Secular Government:

  • Last Wednesday, Ari Armstrong and I attended a fundraising dinner for the Colorado chapter of Republican Majority for Choice. Ari and I were generously invited to the event because of our issue paper, “Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person.”

    I was very impressed with the 200-strong turnout, as well as the commitment to individual rights so clearly expressed by master of ceremonies Hank Brown. The event was a bright spot in our fight against Colorado’s Amendment 48, which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs in Colorado’s constitution. I do hope to see more pro-choice Republicans speaking up for reproductive rights within their party.

  • Ari Armstrong’s op-ed — “With Palin, McCain ignores Colorado warning” — was published by the Boulder Weekly. That op-ed was distributed by the Coalition for Secular Government.

    Independent of CSG, Ari also published an excellent op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News entitled Lessons for U.S. politicians from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this weekend. (Ari is the author of a fantastic short book Values of Harry Potter.)

The Worship of Retardation

 Posted by on 14 September 2008 at 11:05 pm  Abortion, Culture, Election
Sep 142008

I wish Sarah Palin’s youngest son Trig — afflicted with Down’s Syndrome — the best life possible to him. Yet based on my experience working with a man with Down’s Syndrome in a high school job at a movie theater, I regard his life as inherently tragic and likely quite miserable. I also wholeheartedly support the vast majority of women who choose to abort a Down’s Syndrome fetus rather than saddle themselves with a perpetually dependent child.

Most of all, however, I’m disgusted by the the worship of retardation exhibited by Christians in response to Trig’s rise to national prominence, as in this National Review article by Michael Franc:

“Children with special needs,” Gov. Sarah Palin said during her acceptance speech at the Republican convention, “inspire a special love.” As someone who grew up alongside a brother with Down Syndrome, I can attest to that observation.

But these special children, and the special adults they grow up to be, inspire something else of equal importance. When these little, unexpected ambassadors of God enter our lives, they offer us the opportunity to rise to that greatest of all challenges — to treat others as we would want to be treated. Their presence, in short, elevates all of us.

That’s a good expression of the mind-set of so many of today’s devout Christians. They are not content to limit reason to make room for faith. They go further: they laud retardation as a virtue. In the process, they must — and do — disparage normal human intelligence as a vice.

Such people are not motivated by a soft heart. If they were, they would adamantly defend abortion as a moral means of freeing parents from the prospect of endless sacrifice to a retarded child. They would regard abortion as a moral way to prevent the infliction of a miserable, degraded life on the person that will emerge from the womb. Instead, they want to create more mentally defective and perpetually dependent children by outlawing abortion.

The people who worship retardation reject human reason as a value. They’re as anti-man as the deep ecologists who regard mankind as a cancer on the earth.

Frankly, one wonders why such people don’t lobotomize themselves, if retardation is such a boon to their fellow man.

(Via Thomas.)

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha