15 January 2006

Unaddressed ground in confirmation hearings

I was talking with one of the other tutors at breakfast the other morning about the Alito confirmation hearings. Since the hearings were largely be about abortion (in overt or covert forms), we ended up discussing that aspect.

Here’s one of the things that does not get mentioned in our periodic national debates. If the state can compel a person to bear a child, what can it not do? Couldn’t it compel state-arranged marriages? If preventing an abortion is preserving life, why couldn’t the state then compel us to create death?

The problem is that the anti-abortion/pro-life proponents often talk about a “slippery slope” if we allow abortion, a slope to infanticide and euthanasia. But it seems there is just as problematic and just as likely a slippery slope if we forbid abortion as if we permit it.

I tend toward liberality (although not dogmatically) in my thinking, but I’m still a bit wary of the power of the state. The more you give it, the more that it often wants. Witness the national security state we’ve started to acquiesce to since Sept. 11, 2001. This doesn’t meant that we should avoid giving power to the state under every circumstance. But I think that we should be cautious in doing it and open to substitutionary or parallel uses of power.

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6 Responses to “Unaddressed ground in confirmation hearings”

  1. Zaak Says:

    I live in Guatemala. There is a high level of government power and at the same time a high level of anarchy. Very interesting juxtaposition.

    The question as to how much power the state should have always rests on the shoulders of the people. The better educated the people, the better they can assess which powers the gov’t should carry.

    My personal thoughts on the U.S. are that the gov’t has achieved the level of power where it is now able (or rather has been able, for several decades) to condition its populace rather than the other way around.

    Guatemala never had a chance.

    Hey, a Christian liberal for a change. Right on.

  2. Zaak Says:

    Dude, I’m sorry about spamming there, I didn’t think it was submitting! Nothing happens when I click submit.

  3. Nate Says:

    No worries. The server has been acting wacky of late.

  4. pp Says:

    Roe is not compelling anyone to have a child, it is preventing the state from removing the supposed right to privacy. Even if Roe is overturned all that it would result in is a reassement of when the rights of the unborn (the inalianble rights) are equal to that of the mother (privacy).

  5. Nate Says:

    Remove Roe, however, and you remove one of the two cases that are linchpins in the right to privacy.

    Regardless, if you remove Roe, then that means that the provinces/states can set their own rules for abortion, including outlawing it entirely within their jurisdiction. Then you DO have the state compelling the action I mentioned above.

  6. pp Says:

    Intersting decision came down today regarding states power to allow physician assisted suicide. The liberal contingent was against the federal side retaining this power and allowed the Oregon law to stand denying federal oversight. Decision came 6-3 so even Alito wouldn’t have swung that one. Roberts did dissent. This case does set some precedent for medical decisions being a privacy issue at the end of life as much as at the beginning….Can’t post link, sorry.