Moral Cowardice Yields Political PalatabilityJul 28, 2016
Last week, Democratic Party Nominee Hillary Clinton announced the selection of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine is, by most estimations, a safe choice for Clinton, as he helps her with a swing state while retaining a guise of moderate liberalism. The Senator has often described himself as “personally”, but not politically opposed to abortion. Clever wordplay, which allows him to seem individually moraled yet governmentally removed from an issue on which the American public is split down the middle. It is this brand of cowardice that creates a candidate who is ethically reprehensible and also tolerable for a considerable portion of the public.
The words of anyone who holds this position immediately raise more questions than they answer. Namely, the individual's reason for personal opposition, to the moral proposition that is abortion. Why does Kaine believe that abortion is wrong in the first place? The pro-life movement, which diverts heavily from Kaine’s application of his views, fervently asserts that, from the moment of conception, the human life has value. Regardless of circumstance, age, or development, this principle of inherent worth is one that must be applied to all humans. If selectively distributed, the aforementioned absolute becomes self defeating, and useless. Therefore, Kaine cannot cite this reason as the cause of his “personal” tension with abortion. That would mean his governmental view would need to follow, in order to avoid an obvious philosophical inconsistency.
And Yet, millions of Americans sympathize with the Senator’s sentiment, and toe the line whilst living in obvious contradiction. For the average citizen, intellectual laziness of this order is actually a convenience. They can preach the pro-life message at their church or in their home, and espouse the woman’s “right to choose” if surrounded by liberal colleagues. The cop-out allows for conflict to be avoided, and, even though its side effect is turning the user's moral philosophy into an amorphous blob indistinguishable from self-serving nihilism, many find it preferable to, God forbid, disagreeing with someone.
In the political landscape however, views such as Kaine’s serve another benefit altogether. The reason these ideals, which in reality raise more questions than they answer, retain popularity among American politicians, is because they are intended to do just that: muddy the waters. Regardless of philosophical inconsistency, a skilled politician is able to turn ambiguous morals into lucid pandering, hopping from one side of the fence to another, garnering as many votes as possible. Believing everything and nothing all at once.
As principled citizens, we must demand that politicians take a true stand on consequential issues. As American voters, we must ensure that our leaders views are brimming with clarity and truth. As people of intellect, we must be appalled by those who insult our intelligence by pleading that we look past their disheveled philosophy.
By Cameron Dominy
Cameron Dominy is a 2016 Summer Intern at The Family Foundation of Virginia, and the Governor of the South Carolina Student Legislature.
"Highly Unlikely" They Say
"Highly Unlikely" They Say
“Gene Editing for ‘Designer Babies’? Highly Unlikely, Scientists Say”
That’s the title from a recent New York Times piece highlighting last month’s successful modification of DNA in a human embryo by scientists for the first time in the United States.
The scientists were able to “edit” a known disease-causing mutation at life’s earliest stage in order to prevent the disease from manifesting later in the person’s life. With this sort of “germline” editing, a person’s DNA is not only permanently altered to prevent the contracting of a particular disease, but those mutations that cause the diseases would no longer be inherited by successive generations.
This means that we’re talking about the potential for significantly benefiting (or harming) the human race not just today, but in perpetuity. Talk about power and influence. The possibilities are seemingly endless to the imaginative and the motivated.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for inquisitive minds to wonder: If we can harness scientific methods to prevent “bad” traits, couldn’t we use the same methods to enhance “good” or “preferable” traits – like height, intelligence, skin or eye color, etc.? (Hence, the term “Designer Baby”) And couldn’t this create a number of foreseeable problems?
Not to worry, say the “scientists,” because doing those things would be really hard since modifying other traits is more complex. So for that reason – and that reason alone, apparently – permanently altering human embryos for purposes other than eliminating disease-causing genetic mutations is “highly unlikely” to occur.
Gee, that’s reassuring.
But as the saying goes: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Meanwhile, it’s hard to think of a scenario in which one person possesses more absolute power over another person than when the latter consists of only a few cells under a microscope, created by the former in a lab for the purposes of scientific experimentation. If human nature holds true, we can be certain, then, that no matter how much “good” may come out of this kind of “genetic engineering,” by man’s corruption that good is destined to be far outweighed by its as-of-yet incomprehensible destruction of human life.
Let’s think about this: When was the last time someone said “that’s just too complex” and everyone else simply responded “well, I guess there’s no use even trying then”? That’s just not the America I know. No – we’re the ones who resolve to put a man on the moon (and bring him safely home) within a decade for little more reason than because we don’t want the Russians to get there first! Do you suppose the Russians – who seem to have even less regard for human life than Americans – might be thinking at this very moment how they could harness this science to create a form of genetically-modified super-human for a superior military force, for example? I’d be surprised if they weren’t already working overtime to make it a reality.
If man’s ability to split an atom and harness its power led within a few decades to a nuclear arms race that brought the world to the brink of utter destruction (not that long ago), imagine what might become of man’s ability to split the DNA of a human cell and to harness the power of bending it to our will.
“Highly unlikely,” my foot. Not only is the experimentation, exploitation, abuse and destruction of innumerable human lives highly likely to occur if we continue any further down this path of embryonic gene editing. It’s a guaranteed certainty.
“Scientists” can predict whatever they want about what humans will do in the future, but as long as they ignore history and human nature, they’ll always get it wrong. And as long as we as a society fail to respect the value and dignity of every human life, we will continue to justify mass carnage upon the human race by dressing it up with words like “abortion,” “death with dignity,” and most recently, “embryonic gene editing.”
The Abortion Litmus Test
The Abortion Litmus Test
Somehow, I made it on to the campaign email lists of Ralph Northam and Mark Herring and have been the recipient of hundreds of their pleading missives over the past year or so. I’ve noticed a theme.
They love to use their gutless euphemisms like “women’s health,” “access” and “choice” to avoid the word abortion, but the message has been loud and clear:
For Democrats, the Virginia elections of 2017 are about abortion.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of emails I get from both Northam and Herring are about a single issue – the promotion and defense of the killing of unborn children.
For them, 56 million abortions just aren’t enough. We need more; a lot more.
And we need them paid for by the taxpayer, money funneled to their friends at Planned Parenthood.
And now we see where Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, attacked Republican Jill Vogel at their first debate over the ultrasound bill from five long years ago. A bill that simply required abortion centers to do what they claimed they already did – an ultrasound prior to an abortion to make sure 1) there really is a pregnancy, 2) that it’s not a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and 3) the size of the unborn child to make sure they use the right procedure to kill the child and not put the woman’s life at risk. For that, the left and media went into hysterics, and Democrats can still fundraise and motivate their base. Of course, what they really feared was the requirement that abortion centers offer women an opportunity to see the ultrasound picture before they make their decision.
That window into the womb scares the abortion industry perhaps like nothing else.
Vogel’s response, as quoted in the Washington Post, nailed it – “There was nothing in that bill that forced them to do anything against their will.” In fact, no doctor can force anyone to have a test against their will – you just have to live with the consequences of your decision to ignore the doctor.
Regardless, the irony in all this is that the party with the real litmus test on abortion is the Democrat party, which then uses the media to attack and ridicule Republicans for having a litmus test on abortion, when most Republicans talk about the issue only when asked. All while Democrats are having a now public internal debate nationally over whether they need to stop having a litmus test on abortion because it’s costing them elections. While Virginia Democrats make elections all about abortion.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Politics and elections are all about a narrative, and for Virginia Democrats, that narrative is abortion, all the time, anywhere, taxpayer funded, with no restrictions. Ralph Northam and Mark Herring are counting on it energizing their base. So is the abortion industry.
The Family Foundation Action is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization and paid for this informational communication. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
What are ethics? According to good ole Merriam-Webster, they are “a set of moral principles or a theory or system of moral values.”
Ethics, principles, values…all words that generally, throughout history, implied something intrinsic, moral, perhaps even permanent.
Of course, we now live in a culture where such notions are something at which many scoff. Everything changes, particularly ethics and morality.
So it came as no surprise in a recent meeting I attended when an “ethicist” with a major hospital association in Virginia voiced his opinion about how health care ethics “have evolved,” attempting to lend credibility to the idea that medical doctors should be allowed to help their patients commit suicide under certain circumstances. Generally, that would be when someone has a “terminal” illness with fewer than six months to live. Simply providing “relief from suffering” (i.e. helping them kill themselves) must be moral, according to this ethicist. The “ethical” argument in favor of this included that, according to some polling, it’s supported by a majority of Americans. (Another member of the group chimed in with, “like with abortion,” the morality has changed, as if one couldn’t possibly have a moral objection to killing an unborn baby.)
Now, never mind the reality that doctors are notoriously terrible at predicting the lifespan of the terminally ill, and that new treatments for many once incurable diseases are helping extend lifespans each and every day.
No, the problem with “evolving ethics” is that today’s physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the terminally ill is tomorrow’s PAS for the chronically ill. And then those who have a genetic disposition toward a terminal illness. And then those who simply want “relief from suffering,” regardless of the cause of the suffering. And what about those who aren’t really sick but who believe themselves to be sick? I mean, if you can be a biological female but headlines can scream “Man gives birth” because that woman believes themsel to be male, why can’t a healthy person claim a terminal illness?
And of those in the medical profession, including pharmacists, who have conscientious objections to participating in one’s suicide? Well, the ethicists at the table assured everyone that “no one would ever force someone to participate” in this.
Ummm…but ethics evolve, no? Today’s “no one would ever” is tomorrow’s “you’re denying access” to this “treatment” and must be required to do so (see abortion).
If ethics “evolve,” particularly medical ethics, where does that evolution end? Might makes right is a frightening thought in the world of government controlled health care and PAS. The slippery slope in this evolution takes us to some very dark places – places we should have learned from history we do not ever want to return.
An essential basis for human society is the triumph of rational thinking. Rational thought, meanwhile, demands consistency and coherency. Even in our increasingly “relativist” society, this is still something that is widely recognized.
Well…except, apparently, on many college campuses. (The historic bastions of knowledge and social progress.)
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently highlighted one of today’s most prevailing points of disconnect in rational thought involving the issue of market participants being forced to provide a service that violates their religious faith. Watch the students at UW-Madison as they are asked a series of questions about this:
The video effectively draws out the inconsistency – indeed, the incoherence – of many of the students’ thinking on the matter. While most of them found it intuitively abhorrent to force a fashion designer to create custom clothing for Melania Trump or to force a Muslim singer to perform at a Christian church’s Easter service, none of the students in the video appeared to want to admit that it would be equally wrong to force a Christian photographer to photograph a same-sex wedding when doing so clearly violated his religious convictions.
When in actuality, the only substantive difference between these examples is that the latter scenario doesn’t fit neatly within the prevailing liberal philosophy in which certain ideas are affirmed at all costs. In that case, throw rationality to the wind. Majority rules. Might equals right.
To be fair, maybe we should cut these students some slack. After all, as demonstrated by their blushing hesitations, their not-yet fully “zombie-fied” brains are clearly trying to overcome the incoherence of an ideological bent that is no doubt being spoon-fed to them by most of their professors on a daily basis. Their pause, frankly, gives me hope. It confirms that even the most tenacious indoctrinations cannot withstand the mind with even the slightest regard for rational thinking when that mind is presented with the opportunity to think.
Defining Our Own Reality
Defining Our Own Reality
The entire "transgender" movement rests on the proposition that a person can define his or her (or "ze") own reality, and that society should recognize and yield to that conception of reality at all times in all places. It appears to be yet another unwieldy extension of the Supreme Court's infamous declaration in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (upholding Roe v. Wade) that "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
Fine then, if those are the rules, two (or more) can play this game.
You can be free to define your reality by feelings, emotions, and personal experiences, as long as I am free to define my reality with biological facts, logical reasoning, and a belief in objective truth, both physical and spiritual.
For the sake of this experiment, I'll concede that your "gender" is something altogether different than your sex, and that you should be entitled to be treated as your preferred gender in every way - in bathrooms, showers, restrooms, the use of preferred pronouns, etc.. I guess if "perception is reality", then self-perception must be the ultimate reality.
Alright, now it's my turn. You have to accept that there are only two sexes - male and female - as evidenced most obviously through biological and anatomical differences, that "gender" is simply another word for biological sex, that humans were created by God as either male or female, that one's sex is immutable, and that in recognizing the profoundly unique differences between the sexes, society should honor their privacy and dignity with separate locker rooms, showers and restrooms. After all, in this game, I have an equally valid right to others' respect and official recognition of my reality.
Sounds fair enough, right?
Oh wait...except for the fact that it doesn't work at all. (Yes, I know that we BOTH innately recognize the objective "law of non-contraction" here.) That's because the realities we've "created" are in direct conflict with one another. Together they present an irreconcilable contradiction such that, no matter how hard we try, there can be no peaceful coexistence. One conception of reality will eventually succumb to the other - you can bet your next group therapy session on it.
I wish this weren't so. I really do. Wouldn't it be nice if we could "all just get along" in a world in which we each define what's real to us and then expect everyone else to live by the rules we create? Sounds pleasantly warm and fuzzy to me. Yet we all know such a place does not exist, nor could it ever. In case you had forgotten, this is precisely why we fight so fiercely over laws and public policies. We know that only one reality can prevail and that we'll have to conform our behavior to it.
The question we must answer then is: Whose reality will prevail? Will we decide that reality is defined by some person's feelings, emotions, or experiences? Will we decide to define reality by what we can see, touch, and perceive through our faculties of logic, reason, and common sense? Will it be some combination of these or some other standard altogether?
I think I know which conception of reality should prevail. But one thing I know for certain: this business of defining one's own personal reality is as nonsensical as it is untenable. We don't get to define reality, but we nevertheless have choices. We can either acknowledge its existence and align our behavior accordingly, or we can ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist until invariably it hits us like a ton of bricks.
A Message To School Boards
A Message To School Boards
I showed up on Wednesday night for Prince William County’s School Board meeting where it planned to vote on a proposed policy that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes in the school system’s nondiscrimination policy. After more than three hours of testimony and not even halfway through the speakers list, I realized that I would not be able to stay for the whole meeting or give my prepared remarks to the Board. Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary, as well over 100 parents and students signed up to speak against this terrible idea. Sometime past midnight early on Thursday morning, the Board voted to table all discussion on the policy until next summer. Had I gotten the chance to speak, here’s what I would have said to the School Board:
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board,
By now you have all heard how this policy change is dangerous, unnecessary, illegal, and fraught with ambiguities and unintended consequences. The Family Foundation, in conjunction with Alliance Defending Freedom, recently sent each of you a joint letter explaining as much.
While recognizing that you already know or reasonably should know these things, I want to pose to you a question of a different nature – a question that is really at the heart of this whole debate.
The question is this: Is there anything that is true at all? Put another way, is there any concept or belief or reality that can be objectively known and firmly relied upon? Is there anything at all that is fixed and unchanging?
Now before you suggest to your constituents that this kind of philosophical question is “above your pay grade” or that it is somehow not a relevant matter of public policy, realize that what is being proposed here tonight directly implicates this fundamental question. Because what you are in effect saying through this policy is that there is no meaningful distinction between male and female, perhaps even that there really is no distinction at all. That despite conclusive biological evidence to the contrary, boys can be girls and girls can be boys whenever, however, and wherever they so choose, and that a person’s station as either male or female makes no difference in the way that we think, live, interact, and relate with one another. And yet we ALL know that is not true.
But your assertions do beg the should-be obvious question: If we are prepared to declare that something so basic and so clear as the biological difference between male and female is no longer so, then upon what basis can we say anything at all is true? If this Board is prepared to suggest by this policy that biology and DNA and centuries of social science no longer count for anything, then please tell us what ground is left for the Board to stand on in making any decisions about the health and well-being of Prince William County students?
Given what we already know about the circumstances surrounding this proposed change – that there have been no reports of any issues for transgender students in the past ten years, that state and federal law prohibit this policy change, that there are ongoing lawsuits at all levels underway on this issue as we speak, that there is widespread opposition to this policy among parents and community members, and most significantly, that many students will be deprived of their privacy, security, and dignity – it is clear that this policy push is primarily about one thing: undermining truth and imposing a new reality consistent with a particular ideology.
But I am here to tell you, make no mistake, there are some things which really are true, and that cannot be changed, no matter how hard this School Board attempts to make it not so. Reality can only be defied for so long before its consequences show up in force. It will be no different with this policy, should you choose to enact it.
No matter what happens, we can be sure that boys will continue to be boys, and girls will continue to be girls. And you will have to deal with all of the very predictable fall-out of your attempt to deny that reality. In the meantime, unless you maintain a policy that reflects the reality that males and females are biologically and emotionally different and should therefore be afforded privacy in vulnerable settings, a lot of kids and a lot of teachers are going to be harmed. And chaos will ensue. Maybe not today. And maybe not tomorrow. But soon, you can count on it.
Truth is a stubborn thing. It will always manifest itself in reality. I urge you to abandon any attempts to defy this incontrovertible truth. The health and well-being of our kids are at stake.