Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Private!

What about privacy? Don't I like privacy? Yeah, I like privacy. The right to marry. The right to have a baby. The right to use birth control. The right to live with your grandmother. The right to raise and educate your children. And the right to kill those retards.

Wait, what was that last one?

I get off the privacy bandwagon when you start killing your kids. I'm not sure "infanticide" fits comfortably within the privacy family. "I'm killing my baby. None of your business. Leave me alone." Seems to me--and I am a pro-lifer, so understand my biases--it seems to me infanticide is bad. And I'll bet you many pro-choice people also think infanticide is bad. They just do not know abortion is an infanticide. Or don't want to know.

The privacy rhetoric skips the infanticide argument altogether. It doesn't refute it; it ignores it. It has a distinct odor of denial and repression and "let's not talk about it." When we do something bad, or even if we do something that might be bad, it is natural to not want to talk about it or discuss it. This is the dark side of privacy, the urge to hide our bad shit.

As a legal matter, our Constitution allows the State to invade our privacy, if the search is reasonable, and if there is a probable cause for a warrant. The argument in Griswold was that we would never allow a policeman "to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives." It's a hypothetical of the State invading our privacy when we've done nothing wrong, when we're innocent.

On the other hand, if there is a dead body in the marital bedroom, we want the police in there, invading everyone's privacy, searching for the truth. For most of us the argument that we have a right to engage in acts of violence like rape or infanticide in the privacy of our homes (or our doctor's offices) is not a winning argument.

So yes, we right-wingers are invading your privacy. Why are we invading your privacy? Because you are killing your baby. That's what we say. Are we right? The failure to address this charge, to think about it, to respond to it, is why Roe is under attack and will always be under attack. The infanticide argument is a serious argument put forth by people who believe it. Skeptics who think they are above this argument, who mock it, who can't be bothered to refute it, are going to lose this fight.

"It's above my pay grade." Obama gave this answer, when asked a question about the life of the unborn. This glib response to the charge of infanticide, that we don't know and can't be bothered to find out, is callous and cold. The indifference of it appalls people who have bothered to acquire knowledge. It is reminiscent of the Supreme Court line, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins."

Consider instead an important idea from the Hippocratic Oath. "First, do no harm." I would like our doctors, and lawyers, to follow the words of Hippocrates. Be a little more concerned about the actions you do that might kill innocent people.

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