Fractal Conflict Spirals & the Abortion Debate |
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The Pro-Choice versus Pro-Life split on the abortion issue in the United States is as close to right down the middle as could be.
The issue is clearly extremely divisive: pro-lifers think pro-choicers are pro-murder; and pro-choicers think pro-lifers want women to needlessly suffer from an unwanted pregnancy against their will. This makes the issue perfect from the point of view of the ruling class: divide-and-rule, with half the population against the other half. What makes the issue work so well for the ruling class is that each side views the other with utter contempt, as having a fundamentally immoral position.
There are two things that the ruling class does to deliberately (click here to see why I say "deliberately") ensure that the abortion issue will be maximally divisive.
Firstly, it uses the Supreme Court to make the entire American population be ruled by the same abortion law, saying whether it is legal or not, so that people cannot "agree to disagree" by having the law say one thing here and a different thing there. If the law on abortion could vary from place to place, people who felt very strongly about the issue could move to a location where the law was suitable in their eyes. This would reduce the intensity of the mutual anger between the two camps.
Secondly, the ruling class uses its enormous wealth and hence power to ensure that the most divisive arguments of each side are heard, and that the arguments that foster mutual respect (even if not agreement) are seldom heard. Here's what I mean.
The fundamental disagreement between the pro-choice and pro-life sides hinges on the question whether a fetus is something the killing of which is murder. Were it not for this disagreement, there would be no conflict worth talking about.
If the pro-choice argument were made in a manner designed to minimize mutual contempt between the two sides and maximize mutual respect (even if not agreement) between them, it would make the following kind of argument:
"Let's define 'personhood' to mean the property of a living organism that makes it properly protected from being killed by our laws against murder. The question, then, is whether a fetus at some specified stage in development has personhood. The pro-choice position rests on the view that there is a continuum of "personhoodness" that ranges from zero when a human egg is not yet fertilized to 100% personhood when the fetus is an unborn baby that is independently viable, and middle degrees of personhoodness in the in-between stages ranging from zero to 100%.
"Analogously, the degree to which it is morally murder to kill a living organism (the degree of "murderousness") depends on the degree of personhood of the organism. Murderousness ranges from zero in the case of killing an unfertilized human egg to 100% murder in the case of killing an independently viable unborn baby, with middle degrees of murderousness in the in-between stages ranging from zero to 100%.
"A woman's decision to have an abortion is a decision to obtain a benefit for herself at the expense of some degree (between zero and 100%) of murderousness of the fetus. It is not unreasonable, morally, to abort a fetus when the degree of murderousness is very small and the amount of benefit to the woman is very great.
"Good and reasonable and moral people can disagree about the difficult judgment call about how small the murderousness and how great the woman's benefit must be to make an abortion both moral and legal. While people will no doubt make different judgment calls, there is no reason for them to view those who disagree with them as immoral people."
But the pro-choice side does not make this kind of argument. Instead, it makes arguments that deny that there is any moral issue, any risk of committing murder, at all.
Here are some of the slogans (for sale as bumper stickers online) that the pro-choice side uses. Note how they implicitly deny that there is any moral issue with abortion; they rely on the idea that it's just a question of whether a woman should be allowed to do what she wants to do.
DON'T TREAD ON ME