Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hold Up

Yesterday I wrote about a Louisiana State Representative's proposal to pay poor people not to have children and to pay wealthy people to have more. I referred to the idea as a "watered-down version of a Nazi-style eugenics program." This prompted the following comment:

A far closer parallel to anything smacking of a Nazi style eugenics program is the current ongoing holocaust of abortion that everyday destroys the lives of unborn children. If the idea of paying women to have their Fallopian tubes tied is morally repugnant, where is the moral outrage at the unrestricted killing of unborn children?

I rarely respond to commenters on this blog, but I wanted to respond to this one because I think it's indicative of a larger trend. First, to respond to the comment:

1) As I have already said, there is no lack of "moral outrage" at abortion. If you regularly visit any political blog, you'll run across such moral outrage on a daily basis.

2) Abortion is not at all a "far closer parallel to anything smacking of a Nazi style eugenics program." The Nazis sought to eliminate certain groups of people that they had deemed undesirable. The Louisiana representative's plan seeks to reduce the population of a specific demographic. It deems certain persons less worthy to reproduce than others and suggests that society would be better off if we had fewer of "those people." Abortion, by contrast, is available to all people, regardless of income level or any other demographic factor.

The commenter's strong opinions on abortion don't bother me so much; what bothers me is that he brought abortion into a discussion that wasn't about abortion. (I guess it wasn't exactly a "discussion" either, but whatever.) He seems to suggest that "moral outrage" is not warranted for any offense that he considers less morally repugnant than abortion. It's as if he's saying, "You have no right to be upset about this unless you are first and foremost upset about abortion."

I'm guessing that the commenter doesn't even know my feelings on abortion, because I rarely write about them. I generally avoid the topic of abortion on this blog for two reasons:

1) Lots of people talk about abortion. I have nothing to contribute to the discussion that isn't already being said elsewhere.

2) I have never seen a constructive and civil discussion of abortion on the Internet.

Here's my issue: I don't understand why abortion came up in the first place. Never in my post did I mention abortion, and my intent was not to compare abortion to the proposal I was upset about. (Since beginning this post, I've said as much in the comments.) This insertion of abortion into discussions that aren't about abortion seems to happen with some frequency on the Internet. It happened to me on my old Corrupt Generation blog whenever I talked about the death penalty, and it happens all the time on sites such as Beliefnet and Politico, regardless of the political, religious, or social issue that is supposedly being discussed.

Here's the thing: Plenty of bloggers and commentators talk about abortion all the time, and there is no lack of Internet forums in which to discuss abortion. I just don't understand why people keep injecting abortion into what should be unrelated discussions.


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