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T Shirt Hell (and other convention-related observations)

Gloria Feld of Planned Parenthood addressed the crowd at the Fleet Center last night. Yesterday, Planned Parenthood proudly announced their new t-shirt available for purchase: bq. Planned Parenthood is proud to offer yet another t-shirt in our new social fashion line: "I Had an Abortion" fitted T-shirts are now available. These soft and comfortable fitted tees assert a powerful message in support of women's rights. Like most who have already written about this shirt, I thought abortion was a privacy issue. Well, now you can proudly display your choice on a t shirt. How repulsive. I wonder how proud the Kerry people are to have invited to speak at their gala a woman who represents the group selling t shirts with this saying? The gap widens. Watching the convention on C-Span last night (there's a lot to be said for tv without commentary), I felt as if I were watching a variety show; well-rehearsed skits complete with running gags, on cue applause and scripted emotions. That's not to say those things are exclusively Democrat. I'm sure I'll be witnessing the same scripted affair come August. It's all window dressing, anyhow - just a few well-timed phrases and pretty words designed to get you to come on inside and make yourself at home. I wonder how many people are really comfortable once they get in there? I find myself staring at the Republican end of the window sometimes. No, not just Republican - conservative. Let's face it, I'm really not a true conservative (an atheist who supports gay marriage? No way), but there are days I'm enticed by all their pretty words and emotions. So I let myself in, wondering if I could truly embrace everyone inside. And then they throw this at me: bq. Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the "F-word" are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling. That's Ann Coulter, writing at Town Hall the column that was spiked by USA Today. It's a simple paragraph like that which will cause me to run screaming from the conservative base. A few days ago I said that liberalism is the new elitism. Perhaps I misspoke. Maybe extremism is the new elitism, on either side. Coulter's piece - and just that one paragraph is enough to make my point - reeks of "better than you" attitude. Basically, she is saying that Democrats are ugly and vulgar while conservatives are beautiful, religious patriots. No matter how much you want to believe that, it's just a ridiculous notion. And I'm apt to think that Coulter really believes every word she wrote (admittedly, I never liked the woman). [on edit: Yes, I know Coulter's column was supposed to be humorous - but it's a kind of humor that often gets thrown back in your face. If you are considered part of the politics that Coulter represents - which I so often am - then it gets thrown at you also and that makes it hard to have a firm ground to stand on when you're trying to claim the other party is the intolerant one] I wonder if any Democrats are equally appalled at the Planned Parenthood shirts as I am at Coulter's column? More to point, I wonder how much of either party the extremists on either end really represent? How many of us - Democrat or Republican, left or right - are left thinking, what about me? On the radio yesterday, I heard an interview with a Democrat (can't remember her name) who reiterated the tired idea that somehow we are all to blame for 9/11, that we were attacked for our culture. She spoke about family values and moral values and then blamed 9/11 on hip-hop (they hated us way before hip-hop was around, lady) violent movies (How many of the Islamofacists took the time to see Dawn of the Dead?) and our degrading televisions shows (I think they would be rather pleased with a show like The Bachelor, where woman are thought of as property to be discarded or used). I always thought the degradation of America's values, the taking down of the white picket fence, was a conservative talking point. Perhaps this just proves the idea that left extremism and right extremism are just two halves of the same whole. Suddenly the Dems are all about family values and a moral America. John Kerry is going to give America back it's lily-white virtue. Kerry and Edwards are going to bring back the days of Kennedy, when smiling white families played football on their front lawn. I wonder if anyone in the smiling families of the perfect Democrat future will be wearing "I Had an Abortion" t shirts?

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference T Shirt Hell (and other convention-related observations):

» Bragging rights from dustbury.com
Michele is not impressed with Planned Parenthood's new "I Had an Abortion" T-shirt: Like most who have already written about this shirt, I thought abortion was a privacy issue. Well,... [Read More]

» Order Yours Today! from Left & Right
They have finally arrived! Planned Parenthood is proud to offer yet another t-shirt in our new social fashion line: "I Had an Abortion" fitted T-shirts are now available. These soft and comfortable fitted tees assert a powerful message in support... [Read More]

» http://www.diversionz.net/archives/004171.html from DiVERSiONZ
Just in time for the Christmas Shopping Season! Get that hard to shop for person who has had an abortion [Read More]

» Planned Parenthood Profiteering from Backcountry Conservative
The I Had An Abortion t-shirt from Planned Parenthood takes the group's merchandising and profit-making to a new level. This isn't surprising since the group reportedly made over $895 million performing abortions from 1977-2001. James Joyner points out... [Read More]

» Bragging rights from dustbury.com
Michele is not impressed with Planned Parenthood's new "I Had an Abortion" T-shirt: Like most who have already written about this shirt, I thought abortion was a privacy issue. Well,... [Read More]

» Abortion Excess Again from Mark Time
The loony left is making it difficult to continue my liberal leaning yet again. Where do these people come from? Planned Parenthood has come up with a new T-Shirt - the "I Had an Abortion" T-Shirt. (No, I'm not making [Read More]

» Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve or Reclaiming the Pejorative? from XX
Back in the 80s, I proudly sported an "I am Rushdie" cum bullseye t-shirt. Long after that ill-fated campaign, a pregnant friend of mine often wore an "Unborn for Mondale" t-shirt. So, I'm all about having fun and making visceral political stateme... [Read More]

» USA Today Censors Coulter from New Trommetter Times
Editors refuse to print column they asked her to write [Read More]

» The New Planned Parenthood Shirt Design from Swanky Conservative
Well, Planned Parenthood isn't "laying back and taking it" over their controversial "I had an abortion" shirts. They've recently added a few more to their lineup.... [Read More]

» More on those shirts from August J. Pollak - xoverboard.com
As I kinda expected, I got some responses to the post about the abortion shirts. And I think it's more a matter of clarification than disagreement. For example, this e-mail from Steve Presutti: I read one of your posts today... [Read More]

» Spike This.. from Dan and Angi Have Something to Say
There has been much ado in the right wing-nut circles about the spiking of Ann Coulter's Monday column for USA Today. After all, the author of the anti-liberal tirade Treason adds so much to the national dialogue. It apepars that... [Read More]

» Born too soon from Twisted Spinster
I suppose I am letting myself in for it here, but I really don't give a good goddamn. As this discussion has broken down into a stupid atheist-vs.-theist/pro-abortion-vs.-anti-abortion brawl, I'll just select one special comment for extra attention. ... [Read More]

» Planned Parenthood Profiteering from Backcountry Conservative
The I Had An Abortion t-shirt from Planned Parenthood takes the group's merchandising and profit-making to a new level. This isn't surprising since the group reportedly made over $895 million performing abortions from 1977-2001. James Joyner points out... [Read More]

» Hate Mail Generator from Mother, May I Sleep with Treacher?
Via Michele Catalano, I'm intrigued by Planned Parenthood's hot new T-shirt that everybody's talking about: Kind of half-assed, though, don't you think? How about this instead:... [Read More]

» "I had an abortion" from New Trommetter Times
Planned Parenthood "I Had An Abortion" Shirts Cause Huge Uproar From Women [Read More]

» Coach Handbags from Prada Handbags
I blog too and it's like really difficult when people aren't serious. So, i've spent more time promoting our prada handbags and designer handbag site. Coach Handbags. Check it if you want if not, i'll see ... [Read More]

» Coach Handbags from Prada Handbags
I blog too and it's like really difficult when people aren't serious. So, i've spent more time promoting our prada handbags and designer handbag site. Coach Handbags. Check it if you want if not, i'll see ... [Read More]

» Ann Coulter: Unusable and Not Funny from Outside The Beltway
Townhall has published the Ann Coulter column that USA Today "spiked because it was 'unusable' and 'not funny.'" Frankly, while it's usable (for, say, lining bird cages) it's not funny. It's the same tired, worn-out cliches and insults that ... [Read More]

Comments

From the 9/11 Commission's report:

[Radical Islamism] is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground -- not even respect for life -- on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.

You let one Ann Coulter column put you off conservatives? Yep, she's the super-snarky Pit Bull of my ideological side. Take out the snark and you take out much of the reason people really read her writing.

But she's far from the only conservative writer and there are thousands of us for every one of her. Don't get scared away quite yet. :)

This Democrat is appalled by the "I had an Abortion" T-shirt.

Abortion is about fixing mistakes. Would you wear a shirt that says "I rear-ended someone on the Interstate"?

When abortion stops being about fixing mistakes, it crosses the line for me.

Anybody know where one might find a look alike with "My Mom didn't have an Abortion" T-Shirts one might carry to offer to anyone encountered wearing one of those self centered, in your face, bad taste garments so you could offer them something to change into?

Nicely, of course.

It's people like Michael Savage and, to a lesser extent (but only slightly) Ann Coulter, who give the rest of us fairly-normal, rational conservatives a bad name. I cringe every time I try to read a Coulter piece because it starts out perfectly sane. And then, about 25-35 percent through, it shoots off into crazyland.

Unfortunately, what we do to portray Dems as radicals, they do right back to us with the Religious Right, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter.

How about defining yourself, instead of letting Savage or Coulter do it for you?

The Right is supposed to be individuals, not a Collective.

Note how many of us conservatives disavow Savage and Coulter and how few liberals disavow Moore (heck, Clinton nearly supported the premise of F 9/11 in his interview with Rolling Stone!)

Do we have our extremists? Sure, but look at how we disavow them or, at worst, ignore them, compared to how liberals embrace their "desperados".

If PP is so "proud" of their t-shirts, why didn't they make the lettering bigger?

How about a t-shirt that says "I had a Dilation and Curettage & all I got was this lousy T-shirt"

Mark,

Sorry to inform you but, NOW and Planned Parenthood have dictated that males have no right to voice any opinion regarding the abortion issue. Unless, of course, you agree to everything said by the feminist movement.

NOW and Planned Parenthood do not care what you think, to them the male opinion on abortion is irrelevant.

Yes it is your sperm, your off-spring, however, NOW and Planned Parenthood advocate that females to have complete and total control over the decision to exterminate your contribution.

Males have no rights regarding 'Pro-choice' as the decision has been dictated that females only have this right.

I am a female who believes that because males contribute to half the reproduction equation, you do have rights. My sista's seem to believe otherwise.

That said, imagine where you would be had your mother and father fallen prey to NOW and Planned Parenthood's rhetoric.

The shirt is disgusting; I mentioned it earlier somewhere, either in my blog or in a comment...Can't remember which. It is promoted on Soapbox, Amy Richards other site.
Ugh.
I don't see what there is to take pride in about having had an abortion.

At least now Planned Parenthood can not take the stand that they offer anything other then the advice that you should have an abortion. Having an abortion is now akin to surviving cancer in their eyes. This is clear indication that the left and not even the far left is out of sync with mainstream america.

I just can't get past the shirt. I tried, I even read the whole post, but that damn shirt. It crawls up into my brain and picks a fight with logic. Who would wear something like that? But why? For what purpose? Ooooooowww, oh christwagons, my ear is bleeding. I think...I'm having an aneurysm.

So would the shirt be amusing if a man wore it?

I'm not apalled at all. I find it refreshing that the lunatic fringe is being good enough to so readily identify themselves. In a sense this helps make Planned Parenthoods case that some people just really shouldn't reproduce.

I was going to say that PP no more represents mainstream Dems than Coulter represents Republicans, but since Coulter is a freelance loose cannon and Feld is speaking at the convention even I'd have a hard time pulling that one out of my tinfoil Bush bashing hat. Planned Parenthoods advocacy of choice is clearly a key part of what divides the parties. Since I can't, at least with a straight face, claim she doesn't speak for the party, I can only hope that the message is sent that this is a one issue woman and there is much more going on. Kerry's ongoing inability to separate the extremists from the core base is about the only thing that can torpedo him. Even as a supporter I'm coming to dread his cabinent apointees if he can't even manage a campaign staff.

Contrast this with the RNC speaker list. A list that is a very determined effort to appeal to the center and present the Republicans as moderates. Arnold, Pataki, Liz Dole, Powell, etc. -- how Trent Lott snuck in is beyond me, Frist I guess they had to let play -- where are the Santorums and Falwells?

We Dems are so going to screw this up. We have you guys. If the vote was today it would be damn near evenly split (Remarkable in a time of war against an incumbent, you should really look at that regardless of the results. Bush is so far from a mandate he may as well be governing from Japan), but after we finishing emptying the asylums of every half-baked radical with an agenda and sixties style 'activist' we'll be lucky to get 20% of the popular vote.

I wonder if any Democrats are equally appalled at the Planned Parenthood shirts as I am at Coulter's column?

I am not a Democrat; I voted for Bush in 2000 and will vote for him again this year.

But I'm a shitty Republican, because I'm pro-choice.

And I understand what they were after with that t-shirt. And I don't think it's "repulsive."

They are trying to say, not every woman who has had an abortion is a careless whore; not every woman who has had an abortion is a selfish monster; not every woman who has had an abortion did so because she found herself knocked up with triplets and worried it would upset her lecture schedule, so hey, let's reduce it to just one!

(That last is from a recent NYT article.)

Maybe the Supreme Court had to make up a heretofore nonexistent "right to privacy" to strike down abortion laws and maybe that was a terrible way to decide the issue. You could definitely count me in that camp; on that score, I agree with many conservatives. While I happen to like the result, the decision was poor.

But I do get the t-shirt. If I had ever had an abortion myself, I personally would not want to wear such a shirt. I would not want perfect strangers accosting me in the mall to harass me about that decision.

But I can easily understand others thinking it's a good idea, a way to stand up and be counted for making a decision that I suspect is seldom as easy, as cut-and-dried, as some pro-lifers make it out to be.

(As for Coulter, what can I say?--WORD. Polarizing and divisive.)

I don't get the shirt. If I was being mugged and I had to kill the mugger to save my own life, it would not be appropriate to where a shirt that says 'I killed a man.' Although I may have felt like that's what I had to do to survive, that qualifier alone does not mean that it is something I should be proud of.

ilyka, I'm pro-choice, too, (though what would be called a reluctant pro-choice) but the shirt is beyond the pale. The great divide is no longer between pro-choice and complete abolition of abortion, it's between those who think of it as a political event to be shared/celebrated and those who think it is, at best, a personal tragedy. Pro-lifers are really not even in this last fight..their position has been set from day one. But more and more people are really rethinking the position of PP, NOW, NARAL which can be summed up as: any abortion at any time at any age under any circumstance must be available and affordable and no one has a right to question or judge or even comment on it.

re: Ann Coulter ... I read her like I do Maureen Dowd; meaning, not at all. :-)

There are SO many other thoughtful, thought provoking conservative writers, but I guess polite 6'4" grey-haired Jews aren't quite as photogenic as snarky half-starved blonde WASPs for the morning shows. Maybe Ann just needs a couple blueberry muffins to take the edge off. ;-)

BTW I was home yesterday to listen to Dennis Prager's coverage of the Dem convention and he really had some revealing interviews with delegates and others on the floor. I'm in awe of his interviewing skills. I recommend anyone who can to catch him sometime this week.

I saw Ron Reagan wearing a T-shirt that said, "My mom wish she had aborted me."

Maybe that was my imagination.

Sorry. I love Ann. I've read Slander and am in the beginning chapter of Treason. Her humor is refreshing, and she in no way can be compared to the lunatics on the left - in my opinion, anyway. I mean, at least what she says is TRUE and can be documented - unlike the ravings of Gore and the fabricating of Moore.

Sometimes the ridiculousness of the left needs to be pointed out. She doesn't need to make stuff up to be funny, she just needs to tell it like it is. I for one respect her and am glad someone like her has the...excuse me...balls to be loud and obnoxious when the situation warrants it. I wish I had the same knowledge of history that she does so when some idiot starts spouting the Democratic Groupthink I can come back with hard facts wrapped in sarcasm and humor like she does.

I'd rather have my snark with a healthy dose of The Truth. Just my $0.02.

Syn,
In light of your comments, which I agree are 100% true, I wonder when men will have the power to stand up and say "Eighteen plus years of $300+ a month child support payments would be a real inconvenience to me. I'm opting out of having this child."
NOT that I would ever say that, of course, but if a woman can opt out, I should be able to as well. After all, half of that "mass of tissue" is mine...correct?

"(How many of the Islamofacists took the time to see Dawn of the Dead?) "

In a story about Mohammed Atta's life and the experiences that ended with him leading the 9/11 mass murderers, I read that he reacted to his first US movie by sitting in the theater muttering "chaos, chaos, chaos" over and over. It was quite clear the movie didn't just leave him unimpressed, but angry and disgusted.

The movie?

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"

I wish I could remember where I read that. It seems too good to be true, so I'm thinking I may have imagined it.

Good points.

Here's a Democrat that is appalled by Ann Coulter, Michael Moore, the Planned Parenthood T-Shirt, Rick Santorum, terrorism of all stripes, corruption of all stripes...

There are a lot of us.

No party or ideology has a lock on virtue, and it would be nice if everyone remembered that.

Just read the Coulter column - you have to admit the '7-11 Challenge' part that ends with Kucinich explaining how he got taken by a couple of 11 year olds is pretty funny....

Isn't "your women are ugly" the kind of insult that rival high schools throw at each other? Ann Coulter isn't the Michael Moore of the right, she's the Wonkette.

I think Coulter is more or less the Maureen Dowd of the Right. What annoys me most about Coulter and Savage is that I get the sense they don't really believe their own shtick. They're just purposely trying to say things in the most "outrageous" way possible, and draw attention to themselves.

They are trying to say, not every woman who has had an abortion is a careless whore; not every woman who has had an abortion is a selfish monster; not every woman who has had an abortion did so because she found herself knocked up with triplets and worried it would upset her lecture schedule, so hey, let's reduce it to just one!
I don't think emblazening the fact that a woman had an abortion on a T shirt conveys the message that the woman is not a "selfish monster". If anything, it looks to me like the woman is desperate to draw attention to herself. That strikes me as a symptom of being a "selfish monster"

I consider myself a conservative; I think the governemt should butt out of our lives. That goes for abortion too! I think anyone should have a choice about abortion because if it were illegal then people would let morons do it for/to them in dirty back rooms. That would be wrong. I also feel that adoption is a good idea. Carrying your baby to term and giving it up for adoption is a fine thing and an excellent alternative to killing babies. I think adoption should be encouraged. I also think it is good to make contraceptives and prophylactics available to kids some how so that when they have that loss of self control they will be properly armed to prevent pregnancies. I also like it when young people encourage abstinence. Nothing wrong with that at all. I don't see why abstinence makes PP people so mad. But I think the government should butt out of this issue and should not be either pro or con.

I consider myself conservative and I think drugs should be legalized to stop funding gangs. And drug use should be considered a disease; If being fat is a disease then certainly drug use is. I think the government should butt out again...

And don't even get me started about taxes... Damn that huge government that tosses my money around like it was free or something...

I also do not believe in organized religions. I have a personal view that we keep coming back. But I can see a need for religion and was never offended by anyone praying or saying "In God we trust", "One nation, under God...", "Bless this food..." I am not the least offended and I am actually comforted that so many people want to profess peaceful religions that are into helping people. No problem here either. I am conservative. And there are a lot of us over here that feel like government is too large and too controlling and too intrusive but that is the fault of Congress and not the president so much.

I will vote for Bush. No question here at all.

Do we have our extremists? Sure, but look at how we disavow them or, at worst, ignore them, compared to how liberals embrace their "desperados".

And somehow, that makes us conservatives (moderates, really) the owners of some moral high road? Please. If conservatives have some moral high road, it's because we're right about things.

If you believe in something strongly enough, why can't you express it strongly enough? Because that would be "judgmental". And thanks to our lily livered, spineless society, that would not be polite. Here is a point where liberals have been very successful - emasculating the country.

I spy a lot of the standard moral equivalence BS on this thread, and to be frank, I'm not buying it. There is no comparison between Ann Coulter and Michael Moore. Moore has to lie to entertain; Ann just tells the truth.

So what if this kind of humor gets thrown back in your face? Challenge that person to disprove the points. Stand up for your beliefs.

Maybe it's time for people in this country to choose sides, and not be so damn wishy-washy. People complain when Kerry waffles, but those people are guilty of the same thing.

TV (Harry)

Well, having an abortion is nothing to be ashamed about. I see this shirt about just having a valid choice and chosing it. No different than the "I chose life" shirts you see around.

And as far as Ann goes, you must have a stronger stomach than me, because I can't read her for more than two sentences before my eyes go all wonky.

"Well, now you can proudly display your choice on a t shirt. How repulsive.....Let's face it, I'm really not a true conservative (an atheist who supports gay marriage? No way), but there are days I'm enticed by all their pretty words and emotions."

I am both a Democrat and a Buddhist and, as a Buddhist, I have a perfectly consistent moral view on the act of abortion. It is killing and the gravest karmic consequences in future lives will ripen for the individual who makes such a choice. Just as the same consequences will arise, say, for someone who bombs an abortion clinic and kills someone in the process.

I can also understand the viewpoint of the Christian anti-abortion activist. It is completely consistent with the premises of Christian belief that God has forbidden murder.
Some, generally the Catholic ones, are more lucid about it than others, but the overall logic is clear even when the experssion is sometimes, frankly, addlepated.

But I stand bewildered how anyone who is so determinedly atheist in point of view as yourself can truly say anything more than that they reject abortion solely because it offends there own private taste.

And, in the case of other "moral values" propaganda from the conservative side of the house, the principle is the same: if you have no religious belief, how can it be anything but "pretty words and emotions" or, in other words, gush and wind driven by bile and spleen.

I haven't read Ann Coulter deeply, because she repels me, but I strongly suspect that she, also, is a secular "conservative" full of gush and wind driven by bile and spleen.

When private taste meets “private choice” the results are a toss-up. So, no, I'm not particularly appalled by the t-shirt. It is only a rag, after all.

I am dismayed by killing. All killing, no matter where or who. Because I have a clear understanding of the interminable suffering which will rebound on the perpetrators and I know that no one would dare to do it if they really understood the consequences. And I pray daily that both the ignorance and the suffering eventually cease.

And this is more than just pretty words and emotions.

Whether Ann Coulter is to your taste or not, the real story there is that someone at USA Today hired her to write a daily column at the Spawn of Sat- Oops, Democrat -- convention, and then was shocked, shocked! to not get a paean of praise for the liberal Democrats. This is about like hiring a grunge band to play a wedding and then being surprised that they aren't a string quartet. Anyone who had read any of Ms. Coulter's columns or books would have known what to expect. The USA Today is the idiot in this transaction.

Laurence - I think the male equivalent would say, "I made my girlfriend have an abortion"

How's about "My Mom Didn't Have An Abortion and All I Got Was This Lousy Life"

Appalling.

I love Coulter's comment about 'gay men identifying themselves'. Snarky observations about her gay male friends aside, does this mean Republicans have to use a hanky code now? Green hanky in the left pocket if you're an Objectivitist free-marketer, right pocket if you believe in subsidies for small businesses?

Moore has to lie to entertain; Ann just tells the truth.

When even David Horowitz distances himself from Coulter you know things have gone into la-la land. She does, in fact, just make stuff up and all you do is hand the Left ammo when you reach up to reverently touch the hem of her miniskirt.

I mean, c'mon: everybody at the DNC with an American flag T-shirt is part of the Secret Republican Coalition? All "the pretty girls" are Coulter fans? (Yes, they too wish to be underfed, single-girl bleach blonde pseudo-Christians when they grow up...)

The T-shirts are probably somebody's misguided attempt at a version of those "We Are Everywhere" or "This is what a feminist looks like" buttons.

on edit: Yes, I know Coulter's column was supposed to be humorous - but it's a kind of humor that often gets thrown back in your face. If you are considered part of the politics that Coulter represents - which I so often am - then it gets thrown at you also and that makes it hard to have a firm ground to stand on when you're trying to claim the other party is the intolerant one]

Michele, you disarm them w/a laugh, roll of the eyes and and, Of course.....

You've got to stop being liked - never let them see you cry.

I mean, after all, it's not like the FORMER VP OF THE US called you a "digital brown shirt" is it? Yet when I start to rant against my dem friends, I throw it in there.

Anyone tells me they didn't need their tax refund, I'm going to ask them that it must have felt good to rip up the check. Oh, you didn't?? Did you.....

And when they ask what I did w/it, I'm going to tell the truth.

Because, you see, I'm an evil --------------republican...OF COURSE I couldn't be expected to....., especially when my husband is an evil, capitalistic white oppressor of (fill in the blank)who owns his own business - even tho it's people like my husband who are the backbone of this country - not companies like Microsoft. But when someone is more tolerant, giving, compassionate as I've been told ad nauseum, one must expect to walk the talk.

The T-shirt sucks.

I'm against Big Government, but only in the way I'm against invasion of privacy. I don't like government prying into my financial records, watching what books I read, or using my taxes to fund paramilitary groups in third world countries to topple elected leaders, or leaders we supported a short time ago but now decided we don't. (Not referring to Iraq here obviously... Iraq was not a stealth paramilitary fund campaign)

I'm NOT against big government providing jobs to people so long as the jobs DO SOMETHING VALUABLE. Having a huge government agency that provides jobs to people for the sole purpose of increasing the agency's budget is wrong. I don't mind, however, the government using surplus labor to improve our parks, rebuild our schools, and do things we at least see a benefit from.

( -- i'm separating out a section of this comment, will paste at the end)

--- As for Coulter, well I dislike that kind of "humor" as I dislike the idea of our politics turning into Jerry Springer. I feel it lowers the discourse level in America, and I'd dislike anyone on either side who did that.

Do I dislike Moore? A little, but not as much. I've never heard him mention us killing Republicans, locking them up, or any other type of "humor" thats not funny. For the record, she HAS been called on a lot of her comments that were innacurate, and she says the same thing Al Franken says... "it's just humor... it's not meant to be accurate".

I dislike any political commentary that de-humanizes the other side... especially when innacurate. It's divisive and leads to further polarization rather than understanding between groups.

(--- ok here's the excerpted part... it's on social class... i figured I'd separate it so people not interested could skip --)

Look... we're all slaves to the rich. Whether they're free-market idealouges, or limozine liberals, we're slaves to them. And as long as we realize this, it's fine to BE a slave, so long as you stand up for yourself. Here's the ultimate problem of ANY social structure that has a pyramid control structure:

The rich have three options, or perhaps four, on how to deal with the lower rungs of society when work is short.

One: let them starve. Not really a good option as it often leads to revolution .

Two: give them unemployment. Not really a good option for extended periods - we don't want people 100% dependent on government and getting used to not working at all. Entitlement is not the way to go.

Three: Provide jobs for them that accomplish some national goal. Rebuild Schools, etc

Four: Military, though that kinda fits in with three in that it provides jobs for the national goal of defense.

MOST people WANT to work. Most people are willing to put in their day's work.

I know some of you there are saying, "you're not even entitled to a job. We have no responsibility to employ you." You're right. There is no national responsibility to employ people. However... if you want to keep people enchanted with the system, then you need to make concessions. Otherwise you get civil unrest.

If you want people to buy into the American Dream, you have to provide some portion of it as reality so people don't give up and become a drain. They must FEEL their efforts matter. If the feudal lords wanted to keep their serfs from running away or rebelling, you had to make sure you really pushed the 'we're protecting you' aspect, to make them feel like they're getting something for all their effort, and that running off would have been dangerous.

I honestly wouldn't have so much of a problem with today's system even if there wasn't an opportunity for the lowest class to "move up", so long as the lowest class still had non-demeaning jobs that left them living a decent life. Feudal lords took care of their slaves. I wish ours would do the same to our nation's poor.

rawb,

Most of the poor DO move up... Your view of the rich is so 19th century. Take a look at the richest people, for everyone who inherited their wealth, there's a person who came from a poor or middle class background and got rich by busting their ass, coming up with goods or services that ADD to the economy.

You can't live in the USA that I do, rawb.

Yes, I know Coulter's column was supposed to be humorous - but it's a kind of humor that often gets thrown back in your face. If you are considered part of the politics that Coulter represents - which I so often am - then it gets thrown at you also and that makes it hard to have a firm ground to stand on when you're trying to claim the other party is the intolerant one
standing ovation

This "Ann just tells the truth stuff" is, sorry, not true.

Take a look around.

By the way, the "but my side's crazy advocate tells the truth" defense is a common one for Moore on the left. Coulter and Moore are actually very equivalent. They speak some truth, but a lot of other stuff..not so much.

I'm proud I had an abortion instead of becoming another teenage welfare mom.

There's a lot of propaganda circulated by the pro-life people about the longterm negative physical and emotional effects of abortion, and I'm standing up against those people. I've had no negative effects from having an abortion. I've successfully completed two subsequent pregnancies and raised two boys to teenager-hood. I don't regret the abortion, I don't obsess over it, I don't cry because of it, I don't wonder about the child that fetus might have grown into or what other missed opportunities arose out of my abortion.

Kris just brought up an interesting point.

There have been no post-abortion studies, IIRC.

We study cow gas, smiles, everything one can think of, but no one's ever done a study.

Kind of makes one go hmmmm......

[this part of comment has been deleted] Ed note: You crossed a line there, Inspector. You are in my home, please treat my guests with at least a bit of respect.

____________
Spinsanity.org? Maybe you could have redirected me to Democratic Underground for some of their wisdom. Maybe even dailykos. 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.

Anyway, Coulter's main philosphy is correct. The fact that she's caustic is what turns certain people off. We can all nitpick over littel facts.

Once again, thanks to our spineless culture, being caustic (unless you're a lefty) is considered judgmental and "in your face". I think it's long overdue.

TV (Harry)

Kris Hasson-Jones

As an alternative to 'welfare mom', had adoption ever crossed your mind?

Could you have given life a chance?

Who gave you the right to decide who lives and who dies anyway????

Well Kris, I'm proud of my birth mother for carrying me to term and adopting me out to family who loved me rather than killing me out of fear of becoming a teenage welfare mom. I have a wonderful life, a great husband, and two beautiful children as a result of my birth mother's sacrifice. It's not just your "opportunities" that are affected when you abort.

Kris, just because a woman decides to have the baby doesn't mean she becomes a welfare mom. Most of the women I've known who were single mothers never went on welfare, they just worked their asses off, paid their dues, and both they and their children became very successful people. A t-shirt that says 'I'm Proud I had an Abortion' practically spits on their acheivements. Maybe people defend their abortion with the 'financial burden' of children should do a cost-benefit analysis on condoms.

Hubris, I believe the New York Times has recently confirmed Ms. Coulters thesis in Slander.

Spinsanity.org? Maybe you could have redirected me to Democratic Underground for some of their wisdom. Maybe even dailykos. 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.

Huh?? You grossly misrepresent Spinsanity, methinks. Did you go to the link to Spinsanity articles on Moore I provided, where they shred him up?

Did you see today's Spinsanity column that attacked Krugman?

We can all nitpick over littel facts.

On second thought, perhaps you're a Moore fan.

Dman,

Yeah, the NYT sucks, but one partially correct thesis does not a font of honesty make.

I enjoy reading Ann Coulter. Her sarcasm is over the edge hilarious. Today I was harassed for being a fan of hers and I said, "She makes me laugh!". I happen to be a very conservative republican.
By the way, do you mean to imply the democratic party is not "The Spawn of Satan". I am so disappointed.

Fred

By the way, do you mean to imply the democratic party is not "The Spawn of Satan". I am so disappointed.

The problem is, she (along with Moore) occupy the shadowy netherworld between fact/fiction analysis/humor. Their shared defense is: Hey, I was just making a funny! I have no obligation to "facts"!

I don't know Coulter from AHITW, but I find that snarky little paragraph classically humorous. I feel nothing but pity for anyone who doesn't. The deliberate exaggeration is a clue that a certain amount of self-twitting is going on there.

Well, thank you for your pity.

What's funny about "Spawn of Satan"? It sounds like something Franken would say about the Republican convention. In either case, not funny. A non-joke. About as funny as Ted Rall.

Kris

As I said before, I'm pro-choice (reluctantly), but I have to say
I'm standing up against those people. I've had no negative effects from having an abortion.
you forgot the negative affect the abortion had on your child.

That's not a snark. And I say it in all sorrow. I have would hoped, especially in light of your subsequent children ("successful completion of pregnancy"? I find that a strange turn of phrase) might have given you pause, and at least, a moment or two of wistfulness over the unique human being that wasn't able to fulfill his/her own potential. Maybe you could look at the love your boys bring you and just feel a tad sorry that you didn't allow another family to experience what you were eventually blessed with.

I'll say it again. I do not want first trimester abortions, even for "lifestyle" choices, to be made illegal. However, abortion for convenience (and be it interrupting school, career or lecture series) is immoral. There are lots of immoral things that we don't legislate against, but it doesn't make them things to be proud of.

How many people would be "proud" to wear t-shirts that said:

I cheated on my spouse.

I married for money.

My kids have lots of daddies.

There are lots of immoral things that we don't legislate against, but it doesn't make them things to be proud of.

Well said.

Sorry, Michelle, bad choice of words - it won't happen again.

TV (Harry)

I apologize to Kris, also. Really. Just an emotional reaction on my part.

TV (Harry)

JFH:

I do not agree with the following statements:
MOST of the poor DO move up.
Most of the middle DO move up.

I DO agree with the following statements:

Most of those born into rich families remain rich.
Most of the rich are made up of those born into middle-class families.

Most of the Middle class is made up of people born into middle-class families.
Most people born into a middle class family remain middle class.

Most of the poor are people born into poor families.
Most people born into poor families remain poor.

What does it all mean? Well imagine you have 100 middle-class people and 10 upper-class. Maybe 8 of those upper were previously middle, and 2 born rich. Clearly, most of the upper is made up of former middle. However, most of the middle remained middle.

As for abortion:
I'm aware I'm a male, and so my opinion matters only marginally... however. I can't agree with the idea that every potential child is a life to be lamented. If that was the case, my girlfriend and I would go into mourning every 28 days for the potential child that was just lost. Or... I'd have to pray heavily every time I looked at some 'ilicit material' and wasted a potential 3-million lives.

American Indians had herbs they used to induce abortions. They used them if there was a drought coming, if it was just after a drought and the future was uncertain, or if they just were not prepared for what was to come. Many animals do the same thing through their own bio-processes.

For something to be Immoral depends on that culture's morals. While some of you may find "giving every potential life a chance" to be moral, others may consider "giving every life a chance to be brought up in the best environment living with their mother (and father?)" to be what is most in line with their morals.

Morals are funny things... like mushroom fights or hot pink cars

Since those children aborted represent future taxpayers who pay into Social Security, perhaps we should reduce the woman's Social Security check when she retires. Say, 1% for each abortion she has had. Each convenient abortion in her youth reduces the available tax pool that will be paying her Social Security check.

I can't agree with the idea that every potential child is a life to be lamented.

Of course, the the problem is where to draw the line between "potential" and "actual," a matter on which people will never agree.

You've used extreme examples on one end(unfertilized eggs, wandering sperm); if you were presented with an alternative extreme of a "potential" child (say 10 days prior to due date), there would be room to lament, no?

It's not quite as simple as you imply, I think.

Michele said, "Let's face it, I'm really not a true conservative (an atheist who supports gay marriage? No way)"

Maybe you'd feel more comfortable in the Libertarian party? Athiests are welcome. Libertarians like myself believe the government has no business issuing marriage licenses, so support of gay marriage isn't an issue.

Wow - just last night, as Coulter was being interviewed by Hannity, did I say to my husband how much I dislike that woman. Enough to make me too run from the ranks of the conservatives. She is so snarky, so full of herself; I said to my husband, "Look at how she sits there,,just her body language speaks volumes about how she believes she is so morally superior to anything beneath her." It's really too bad. Conservatives have a tough enough time finding voices of reason that don't make us look like complete Warriors of Evil.

Wow - just last night, as Coulter was being interviewed by Hannity, did I say to my husband how much I dislike that woman. Enough to make me too run from the ranks of the conservatives. She is so snarky, so full of herself; I said to my husband, "Look at how she sits there,,just her body language speaks volumes about how she believes she is so morally superior to anything beneath her." It's really too bad. Conservatives have a tough enough time finding voices of reason that don't make us look like complete Warriors of Evil.

(sorry about that--thunder actually struck and I hit the post key twice because I jumped :(

BUSH LIED

Hey, first she walks upright, now she can type!

You're an atheist, Michele?!

You really need to check into God.

Hub, I deleted that idiotic post.

Clark, I was a practicing Catholic for a good portion of my life. Checked into it, checked out.

Kris - I don't think most reasonable pro-lifers would claim that all women who have abortions suffer serious physical or psychological trauma. Heck, not everybody who smokes gets lung cancer, but that doesn't disprove the connection.

There have been a number of anecdotal collections on the issue; I admit that I'm not aware of whether anyone has done a serious study of the after-effects of abortions on the mothers. But the fact that one person can have an abortion and feel no guilt or pain does not answer the contention that abortions do, in some cases - how many cases? I don't know - leave such scars.

I have always wondered why a true atheist would not live their life by the "end justifies the means" rule at all times. It seems illogical to live it any other way if one were an atheist.

Just because you don't beleive in God does not mean that you have no morals or standards.

Only religious people are inherently good, then?

Geez, rawb, now we're going to have to define "poor."

Even the dems admit "the poor" don't want "the riches" taxes to be raised cos they might be rich one day themselves.

I think it was in Washington or Oregon.

And if you look over the 40++ year working span, most do move on, up and out. Now, as economist Arnold Kling just posted w/in the past few weeks of July(?), the poor are living the 70s middle-class lifestyle.

Not so bad, only 30 years behind. Kind of like Europe.....

Some comments, because I always have them ;)

If you'd like to take money out of the woman's social security check for denying us a future taxpayer, perhaps you should give money to the poor woman living in the ghetto who has an abortion for preventing a potentially no-insurance, chronically uninsured, potential drug user or gang member drain on our system etc etc etc. In short... i disagree.

Marriage liscences: I agree whole-heartedly. If there weren't xxxx rights granted to "married" couples not granted to "unmarried" couples, or even family members living together, there wouldn't be this problem. Now I can see where some of these rights came in to begin with... hospitals saying no one can visit at all now had to make concessions for the spouse. Well, how about making it generic... Hospitals must make concessions for one person at a time. Just define these laws as broadly as possible. Let marriage remain religious only. Government needs to get out.

Hubris: Yes I was using extremes, and it's obvious that the closer a child comes to being born, the more there is to lament. So I have a question for you... child poverty is on the rise and so is child mortality, especially in the black communities. Perhaps these communities should be allowed, or even encouraged, to wait until economically prepared to have children? Even if it means encouraging (or at least not villianizing) abortion?

See I have a huge problem with the Federal Government taking so much money, and my biggest beef is that they just give it back to us with strings attached. The fedgov takes x in taxes from your state. The fedgov then offers part of it back to your hospitals, so long as they don't mention abortion. Then it offers some back to your scientists, so long as they follow federal criteria. Then they offer some back to your roads, so long as you change your driving age. (Yes this happened in several states... they wouldnt get highway funds unless they did that)

I prefer a loose union for the most part. I prefer a system where every state could be 80% different, every state unique, and then people would have a choice of what kind of system they want to live in, rather than us all unifying under more and more central power. The reason I like this is because, under our original constitution which had no income tax, it could be argued that one state could be completely communist, another completely libertarian, etc etc etc. Diversity is the lifeblood of everything. Political systems are no different

syn and shank: I know I would have become a welfare mom, because my mother was one for a while; and she would not have let me give up a baby for adoption--she spent her entire adult life mourning and looking for the baby she gave up for adoption. (He finally made contact five days after she died, in March of this year.)

As for the morality: in my religion there are differing opinions, and at least some people believe abortion is not just acceptable, but required in certain situations. (I'm a Jew.) Even if I accepted that the fetus was a human being, I also accept that I chose to end that possible life, and if there are consequences for that choice, I will suffer them without protest. It was a struggle for survival against an attacker, and I defended my life.

Crank: Maybe the reason some women feel guilt is because people pressure them into it, as Analogue Mouse tries to pressure me, by implying that I cannot be a good mother or a compassionate person since I'm not even wistful about the life I ended.

Analog Mouse: Not all adopted children have great lives; some are abused, just like kids who are with their birth parents, and some are murdered (that guy in NYC who murdered his adopted daughter just got out of jail).

Perhaps these communities should be allowed, or even encouraged, to wait until economically prepared to have children?

Can you think of some ways to do that, other than abortion?

Aside from that, although I know you didn't mean it this way, the idea of encouraging birth control only among certain communities sound a bit, well, I think you know.

Sandy:
You're right... the poor think they'll be rich one day. And I honestly believe they are being deluded. Constantly watching shows like MTV Cribs, VH1's behind the music rags-to-riches stories, etc etc etc, constantly throw this myth at people. It may work. It's true for some. But for every one that makes it, dozens or hundreds or possibly thousands never do.

Honestly, and I know I can say this now because I'm not rich, but I'm a very low-maintaince person. If I made 25 million, I don't imagine I'd mind losing 2 or 3 or 4 million... and even 4 million is only a 16% tax. Hell I could probably live a 40k lifestyle and be way more than content. I don't drive. I don't consume much. I'd almost feel like I have to pay extra taxes because I know I don't spend enough to recirculate the money into the economy.

As for living the lifestyle of the 70s, well, I honestly don't see much value in our consumerist lifestyle personally. I'd actually prefer if some industries were wiped out, and those workers re-assigned into the other jobs we have now, and then everyone gets a shorter work week and more time with family.

I love the computer for one reason... even though we keep inventing new designs, its very apparent to me that a 500 mhz computer can still run today's applications, internet, linux, etc etc. It can be used to write programs, to interface with PDAs, etc. Less waste.

I'm not a consumer :-(

Hubris: I basically just meant keeping it an available option instead of squelching hospitals from mentioning it on pain of having their funds revoked.

Obviously some groups have more ability and slack economically to take time out and have children, even at younger ages, and other groups don't. And as much as I hate to say this, that means the former group can pretty much do whatever they want and still afford to pay for their mistakes, while the latter group would have a much harder time of it.

Michele,who said anything about religion. I am talking about the belief of God. I am also not saying that people that are true atheists are not or cannot be good, moral people. I am saying that it is illogical to be so if it does not benefit you first. Simplistic example. If you needed a $1000 for braces for your kid and you found a wallet with a $1000 in it, as an atheist would you keep the $1000. If not, why not? Right thing to do. says who?

Dman, that is both stupid and insulting. How does a belief or non belief in God determine whether I am an honest person? I have values that come from within. Just because my values and morality do not come from a higher being does not mean they are any less than yours.

"Right thing to do. says who?" Says ME. Because I have to answer to me, every day of my life.

The question should not be "as an atheist would you keep the $1000?," it should be "as a decent human being would you keep the $1000?"

Dman, I'm not an atheist myself, but there are plenty of moral/ethical frameworks that don't require a deity.

I would suggest glancing over Rawls as an example.

I just realized that I should emphasize that I'm not endorsing Rawls' views, I'm just giving an illustrative example.

Each convenient abortion in her youth reduces the available tax pool that will be paying her Social Security check.

What if her abortion is inconvenient? Do we only penalize women who managed to make appointments for an abortion on weekends, but leave them alone if they had to take time off work to get a bus to the clinic? And then there's the problem of women who get abortions in middle age, rather than youth.

"I have values that come from within. Just because my values and morality do not come from a higher being does not mean they are any less than yours."

Well, Michelle, I would say anyone reading your blog would guess that you have very exacting moral standards.

What is puzzling to me, however, is, if these values truly come from "within" you, why would you expect anyone else to share them with you? And why do you condemn them when they don't?

For surely this whole post is a loud moral condemnation of pro-choice activists and Planned Parenthood. Right? Aren't they morally reprehensible for buying or selling this t-shirt?

If the sole source for this condemnation is your "inner voice" why should anyone take it seriously as a statement of moral imperative?

It can be suggested that a person who believes in God (or other variations) only behaves morally out of fear of unavoidable punishment, not from personal character. Not always true, but quite often.

An athiest or agnostic behaves in a civil and moral manner out of respect for themselves and their fellow humans. When they fail to live up to ther own expectations, it is with the knowledge that they are failing themselves.

MY FETUS WENT TO THE LANDFILL
AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT

Kris Hasson-Jones: oh. So instead of having a baby, giving it to some couple that could provide for it, and possibly suffering some sadness, you killed it. It was a mercy killing. I see.

By the way, I'm adopted. Of course, I was born back when abortions weren't quite so easy to obtain (not that they weren't obtainable, and no, not all illegal abortions were back alley rusty clothes hanger deals). But still, I find your position... interesting.

I'm sorry, by the way, that your mother suffered, but she sounds like her feelings in this matter were rather selfish. Being adopted isn't a shameful thing, and unless she knew somehow that the parents her baby ended up with were unfit to raise a child, she had no reason to feel guilt and remorse.

By the way, I vote Treacher's comment as Best In This Thread.

I'd actually prefer if some industries were wiped out, and those workers re-assigned into the other jobs we have now, and then everyone gets a shorter work week and more time with family.

Well, rawb, you just blew your "libertarian" creds.

What I see in your posts is really an authoritarian libertine.

I guess my mentioning the old saw "from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" would be lost on you, eh?

Treacher has my vote.

I find the "rap music did it" comments by the Democrat spokesperson rather alarming. Their implication is that our enemies have superior morals to us.

Do people really believe that Western culture is inherently decadent and hyper-sexualized in comparison with Islam?

I can think of no better expression of chronic dirty-mindedness than the hijab.

If the sole source for this condemnation is your "inner voice" why should anyone take it seriously as a statement of moral imperative?

Michele didn't mention any "inner voice". She said that she decides herself what is right and wrong, rather than letting someone else decide this for her. This comes from a lifetime of experience and consideration, of seeing what works and what doesn't, of what produces joy and what causes misery.

That she doesn't have a document to point to and say this is my system of moral values doesn't make her position any less valid - just harder to explain to people who have never encountered the concept of personal moral systems before.

Andrea: this isn't about you. I'm glad for you that your birth mother had it within her to carry you to term and give you up for adoption. Likely I'm just not as good a person as she is--I couldn't have done that. My mother suffered her whole life, even on her deathbed, because she missed her oldest child.

FYI, I don't grant that a first trimester fetus is a baby. And my position is not that it was a mercy killing; it was self-defense. Leaving aside how my life would have turned out differently, as it is I nearly died during labor with my older child. Women still die in labor, with no predictive factors or warnings.

Of course my mother never found out about her child's adoptive parents--she died before finding him. And I won't speak about my brother here without his permission. My mother was forced by her mother to give up her child for adoption, on pain of being thrown out of her home. A child she conceived inside a marriage, that broke up before she knew she was pregnant. It wasn't some altruistic act, she wanted that baby and was forced to abandon him. That's why she felt guilt and remorse, that and the fact that she carried him inside her, and gave birth to him, and nursed him, and then was forced to give him up at great cost to herself.

Compared to that, compared to a lifelong sentence of missing someone and regretting your action, I'll pick abortion any day. In fact, if I get pregnant now, at over 40, I'll be having another one.

Kris

If you are over 40 and don't want another child, let me suggest to you to do what I have done.

Have your tubes tied.

I'm still sad you find your decision so worthy of "pride."

"I have always wondered why a true atheist would not live their life by the "end justifies the means" rule at all times. It seems illogical to live it any other way if one were an atheist."

Because there are other sources of moral guidance than words carved into a stone tablet by a burning bush. Unless, of course, the ONLY reason you to behave morally is fear of being thrown in a lake of fire after you die if you don't.

After all USA Today will have Michael Moore as a rapporteur at the GoP convention.

I don't think Ann Coulter is ANY worse than him. And I think it's very unwise to outcast the more conservative if one wants to be treated fair as a libertarian or neocon (which I consider myself to be if I was an US-citizen).

If I was Jonah Goldberg (and an American and had a pony), I wouldn't have take the job after they affront his colleague, even though I also like him better (for me Ann Coulter and WHOOPY 'aaaah, my thoughts' Goldberg are in the same league as intellectuals if not as beauties).

Michele - I actually think there's some logic to Dman's point: not that aetheists are bad people, of course, but that logically, if you are certain that there is no God, what rational reason do you have for acting other than in your own self-interest at all times? If you think about it, I'm not sure there's a good answer to that. (Of course, many people take a sort of Pascal's Wager approach and live as if at least maybe there is a God; that's another issue entirely).

Hubris - Rawls' theory, at least as I remember it from college, collapses to nonsense without a belief in God. His whole "act as if you were behind a veil of ignorance and didn't know what life you would have" idea is literally just a rephrasing of the phrase, "there but for the grace of God . . . " - but if you believe in no higher power, why would your morality ever take consideration of any set of facts other than what is and what is likely to be in the future?

Not bomb-throwing here; I just have some trouble seeing why there would be any normative principles beyond self-interest (broadly construed) if we were, in fact, put on this earth by mere chance, without purpose or meaning. How do you have a "should" or an "ought" if you believe in nothing larger than an "is"?

my 2 cent about atheist moral:

1. believers are egoistic too, if they believe in eternity or god's help during their livetimes they try to help themselves while doing good according to their believes (not necessary altruistic, see islamism)

2. furthermore altruism is by no means inherently damaging, if people trust you and you can trust people to trust you, because you are not faking but honestly at pains to act as a good citizen and friend and all, you will have a higher social standing and better human relationships, and most humans even feel joy if they are able to help another

3. I think that religion (theism or budhism) might actually be a good and inspiring thing for many, but hypocrisy is a human sin

Crank,

First, I'm probably not the best person to enunciate a counter-argument on this subject (since I've got that whole religious thing going myself). :)

That being said, your question is:

How do you have a "should" or an "ought" if you believe in nothing larger than an "is"?

Isn't it theorized that you have an interest in order based trust (a "social contract"), which will maximize the potential for your individual "good" (defined as "utility" by the utilitarians, pleasure by hedonists, otherwise by others)? An implied social contract (in Rawls' case, based on the "veil of ignorance" construct) is necessary to impose that order and maximize the "good."

I'll make a childish (and very imperfect) analogy. If you were going to be locked in a room with two other people and three sharp knives, it would behoove all of you to set up a set of rules (and an expectation for adherence to those rules), in a sort of microcosm of a moral/ethical framework that maximizes the "good" (not getting your ass sliced up by the others).

Hubris - that's fine, if all you're doing is arguing for enlightened self-interest. That's all I'm saying. But enlightened self-interest without an additional moral principle means, for example, that once you are old, you would no longer give a crap what happens to young people (other than those you care about).

Yeah, it's a philosophical point. I'm just sayin'.

But enlightened self-interest without an additional moral principle means, for example, that once you are old, you would no longer give a crap what happens to young people

Except that your genetic predisposition is to continue working for the survival of all those sharing a good chunk of your genes, which in turn depends on a stable social order with a moral/ethical framework..

Never mind, let's get drunk!

Crank,

For some of us atheists, it's the consequences of the "afterlife" that motivates our morality in old age. Yes, some of us do believe in an afterlife that does not contradict our atheist belief. I stumbled upon the following description just this morning. It expresses my belief accurately.

"[Atheists believe people continue to live, after they die,] in people's memories and in the achievements we leave behind. Therefore we have a powerful incentive to be good and kind to people, and to achieve lasting good in our lives. The kinder we are, the more good we do, the longer will be our "afterlife" in people's memories. If we do harm, then our memory will be execrated."

From www.pantheism.net
words in the brackets "[ ]" are mine.

But enlightened self-interest without an additional moral principle means, for example, that once you are old, you would no longer give a crap what happens to young people (other than those you care about).

The important thing about enlightened self-interest is that it's englightened. It takes a broad and long-term view about what self-interest involves rather than the narrow and short-term view you are implying.

If you enjoy living in a peaceful, safe, prosperous, free and open society, then in the long term your acts should be such as to promote such a society.

It's the Golden Rule writ large, and it applies to atheists as much as it does to anyone else.

Besides which, if you routinely lie and cheat and steal, the people who are trying to maintain the free and open society will lock you up. As they should.

I think Michelle Malkin pegged it pretty well when she said USA Today had buyer's remorse: they contracted for Coulter and they got pure unadulterated Coulter. In spades. ;]

I don't have a beef with USA Today for firing her: if it's capitalism at work for the Aladdin to fire Rondstat, it's capitalism for USA Today to fire Ann. They're catering to their market as assuredly as the Aladdin was. No problem.

I'm pretty unapologetic about liking Coulter, however. I don't have to agree with everything she says to appreciate her sense of humour. She's unabashedly over the top, has a way of turning a phrase that's scalpel sharp, and she skewers the left like a rapier.

Her sense of humour is vicious? Wah. Ya'll say that like it's a Bad Thing. ;)

I'm never too concerned about being " Coulterised by Association ": 1) I'm not a conservative, 2) I'd take it as a compliment if someone thought my sense of humour was as marvelously warped and as scalpel sharp as Coulter's.

The Right [and Libertarians] have tons of reasoned and articulate pundits, from Mike Hendrix to Den Beste to Lileks. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a few that are as rude as a finger down the throat emetic. In the unlikely event that Kerry wins in November, I'm rather looking forward to reading Coulter give him the same treatment the Dem's have been giving Bush for 4 years. Only she won't have to make up nearly as much material - she'll just have to check the news every morning.

And no, Coulter's not the Right's equivalent of Rall or Ivins". Neither Rall nor Ivins nor Franken nor Moore could make a devastatingly accurate quip if they had paid speechwriters. Coulter occassionally goes off the rails accuracywise to make a wisecrack work - Rall and Ivins are never on the rails to begin with.

And the Democrats are the Spawn of Satan Party. ;) Like, lighten up, d00ds.

Dude, I disagree, and I think I've already lightened up. :)

"Dude, I disagree" - Hubris

Like, your mileage may vary. ;]

You disagree on which part?

Hey Ironbear,

I guess I disagree on a few counts (but it's just my opinion):

- I don't find Coulter that funny because she essentially tells the same joke over and over. I actually don't think she's the funniest blong right-wing pundit (I think Laura Ingraham has a great sense of humor).
- I think Coulter is very similar to Moore. Both of them mix truth with distortions, lies, and exaggerations. They fall back on the "humor" defense while simultaneously trying to establish themselves as serious critics of the other side.
- In any case, since I don't believe in the idea of "they do it so we'll do it too," what folks on the left do isn't really relevant. I just think Coulter is pretty much an asshole, and that opinion isn't affected by the fact that I share some political beliefs with her.

dman:

"If you needed a $1000 for braces for your kid and you found a wallet with a $1000 in it, as an atheist would you keep the $1000. If not, why not? Right thing to do. says who?"

Says ME.

The fact that I didn't create the world in seven days does not make me incapable of such a decision.

A) I chose to have him/her, and since I've noticed that responsibility for one's actions is a good principle, I have adopted it, and therefore will provide for the needs of the not-yet-self-sufficient human being I created.

B) I am partially governed by instincts, one of which is 'survival of the species', therefore I am, barring psychological abberations, compelled by my own nature to care for my offspring as best I can.

C) And this being the most important reason - I love my child, because it is human, and because they are a part of me, and because when I am gone there will be a part of me on this earth, and because I can not do otherwise.

Now here's a question for you:

You find the same wallet, thousand bucks in it. Now, for the sake of argument, we'll assume you have no kids, or friends who have kids. The kid who needs braces is the progeny of Joe Blow in Minneapolis.

As a theist, do you keep the money or give it to a stranger? Isn't that a choice you have to make? The Koran and Bible may say something about charity and all that, but you were the one who wanted to throw RELIGION to the wind, we're only talking about belief in God (Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Thor, Zoroaster, Nyarlathotep?). Without religious doctrine, I don't see how belief or nonbelief in God can help you decide what to do with the $1000.

What you do, and what I do, and what any sane person does is use the wonderful faculty of rational thought to weigh the situation and consider what you as a human being, equipped with free will and a conscience, would, could, and ought to do.

I do not see what difference it makes whether your means are dictated by God's morality or your own - anymore than it matters what dictates your ends. It is what the means and the ends are that matter, if you or anyone else is to judge you.

Sorry for rambling, it's late. One more question, though:

If God asked you to commit infanticide, would you do it?

If yes, wouldn't that be the most horrible case of ends justifying means ever? (and it's not as if I'm making up extreme examples that would never happen - just ask Abraham)

Sorry, getting morality from God is way too complicated for me. I'll stick with good old ends-justify-means atheism, thank you.

(hate the shirt)

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