Is he against life, or against liberty?

I’ve been amazed to learn how many people intend to vote for Bush only because he’s against abortion.

How did this become an executive branch issue? It is a fundamental problem that we don’t have a legal definition of “life.”

We’ve had this sort of problem in the past, with defining who is a citizen, etc. Thing is, we stopped treating people like property and women like spectators by fixing the fundamentals; we modified the Constitution to clear up the issue. Changes of this sort are difficult to accomplish. This is not an accident, because a government where flag burning could become treason because it served as a fashionable issue to rile up one side of the political spectrum would not be stable.

The pro-life camp does not (or at least, believes it does not) have the public support necessary for this kind of change. Many declare that life begins at conception and the law must respect this, but no one will stand up and work to change the law. Presumably they are afraid they don’t have the public support needed.

So, they need to find a way to make it law de facto. You can’t just enforce imaginary law, so simply convincing the police doesn’t work. (But isn’t it a fun side-effect of our government structure than you can de facto repeal a law by directing law enforcement to ignore it, as has been done in some jurisdictions with marijuana possession?) You must influence the system at the “weak point” of human interpretation, by having judges read between the lines of written law. Now, the judiciary specifically avoids doing this, so the only way to pursue this is by planting sympathizers. The executive branch appoints the judges, so if you can get a sympathetic President to appoint several Supreme Court justices, then you’ll have manipulated the system to create de facto law.

Roe v. Wade, in a way, set a terrible precedent. Although the written law is ambiguous, the Court’s opinion on the issue bound the States. This turned the debate into one of judicial fashion, and now many people are willing to vote for a despot President that they openly disagree with on nearly every other issue.

One side or the other needs to define human life via a Constitutional amendment and end this foolishness. It’s only going to get worse when AIs start looking conscious.

I posted this in October 2004 during week 1597.

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