The Corner has an interesting discussion of a post by HalfSigma suggesting that being pro-choice makes you pro-family. HalfSigma argues that single motherhood is the largest contemporary threat to the family and that abortion cuts down on single motherhood. So, the logic goes, If abortion as a policy leads to pro-family outcomes, than being pro-choice is one way to express pro-family tendencies.
The Corner folks, not surprisingly, go wild in response. The more philosophical posts comes from Andy McCarthy and Jonah Goldberg. McCarthy, correctly points out that “opposition to abortion is a moral position. It’s not a strategic position that you tweak to get a better [pro-family] outcome.” In other words, the Right is not anti-abortion because it leads to pro-family outcomes; they are anti-abortion because they are anti-abortion.
But the Right also claims to be pro-family, so HalfSigma’s argument is worth considering: in being anti-abortion, the Right is anti-family, to a degree. The question is which are they more: pro-family or anti-abortion? Goldberg responds: “I’m perfectly fine conceding that abortion would help to alleviate some of the problems associated with single motherhood, but I don’t see why people so often think this is a blockbuster argument that’s going to change peoples’ minds [regarding abortion].” Goldberg’s answer: more anti-abortion than pro-family.
Andrew Sullivan refers readers to a virtual exchange on whether marriage is a human right. Norm Geras, defending marriage as a human right, calls it a “liberty right”–something that can’t be prohibited.
Jake has put together one take on this. To me the operative question has more to do with what marriage is than what constitutes a right. If marriage is some kind of spiritual pledge between two people, it’s hard to imagine legitimate state restriction. If marriage is a set of privileges under the law, I have trouble conceptualizes what it would mean for gay marriage (or any kind of marriage) to be a human right. Is the argument that thriving as an autonomous individual requires tax advantages that encourage couple-dom?
Not trying to pooh-pooh the thought, but curious for more reader specification/meditation on why gay marriage should be a human right — as opposed to a legal right — in the United States.
Senator Jeff DeMint (R-SC) says that America has three core values: “faith, family and freedom.” Now, he argues in today’s Washington Times, we’ve lost the connection between lawmaking and those basic principles:
Political leaders since Mr. Reagan have destroyed our national consensus by disconnecting our beliefs and values from national policy, and by telling Americans we can have it all without making the difficult choices.
Why same-sex marriage should not be a human rights issue
Many have argued that to deny marriage to LGBT people is to deny them a human right. The Human Rights Campaign is probably the largest LGBT organization, with gay marriage obviously serving as one of their priorities. This leads us to tricky foundational questions: What is a human right, and is the right to marry one of them?
The term human right is flexible, like almost all individual moral concepts. And more than that, we as a community have not come close to agreeing upon what definition, among the many possible ones, we endorse. By comparison, the concept of “freedom” is similarly flexible, but there is more agreement within America as to what that the term definitively means. In some sense, even though the concept of human rights has been around for a long while–inspiring many individuals, organizations, and nations–it’s not unreasonable for us to sit back and analyze not only what the concept means, but rather decide what we want the concept to mean, or rather how we want to flesh it out.