Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Laura Walsh being interviewed on The O'Reilly Factor, in the process of making O'Reilly look like a sputtering moron made the following argument:

I told him that he was within his rights to think late-term abortion should be illegal, and that he should work to make it so. But right now it's legal. I compared his position to that of gun opponents. We can legally, under various circumstances, own guns. But some gun opponents would like most guns, especially handguns, to be illegal. What if those folks started a crusade against gun dealers, maybe picking out one in particular, saying he had "blood on his hands," "he should be stopped," all the O'Reilly Tiller quotes?

Sadly, Bill cut me off and derided that comparison as stupid...

While O'Reilly perhaps could have better articulated, he is right on the substance.

Late term abortion is, more or less, legal despite some people viewing it as, simply, murder. Gun dealing is, more or less, legal despite some people viewing it as contributing to an increase in the number of murders. As few, if any, view gun dealing as itself, simply, murder, most would find crusading, in a disruptive and inflammatory way, against arbitrary gun dealers inappropriate.

On the other hand, if there was a particular gun dealer who, for example, had a known track record of selling guns to criminals, or of selling guns later used in murders -- activity that more people might view as akin to, or at least in the ballpark of, murder -- more people would by sympathetic to that sort of crusade.

Under any analysis, Walsh's argument holds no water. To give a slightly better (if still imperfect) analogy: Were it legal in America for trained and licensed professionals to kill homosexuals, the argument that people should simply "work" through the political system to change the law would fall monstrously flat. Crusades would be called for.

Now my faith does not teach that abortion is, simply, murder and, in this age of unlimited government, I am sympathetic to any restraint on its power (which is to say, I would prefer to see the right to privacy expanded not diminished) but it does seem to me that Walsh's argument to people who believe that abortion is, simply, murder falls similarly flat.

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