Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

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Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by Deacon » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:30 am

If you're anti-gun or anti-abortion, this is really for you, but fair warning that you may get frustrated.

The vast majority of my family (immediate and extended) and many of my friends are likely to be both pro-gun and anti-abortion. So as someone who routinely ticks off both Democrats and Republicans with my libertarian tendencies, I think pointing out the similarities in the circumstances might help someone reading to view the matter in a different light. I'm not so optimistic that I think they'd change their mind either way, but both self-awareness and understanding the point of view from a someone else's perspective are important foundations in civility and reasonableness and maturing as individuals and as a society. Thoughtful debate is hard and it feels good to yell about stuff or set our jaw and plant a flag. But grown-up conversation with a clear and level head is so much more valuable.

Right or wrong, the Supreme Court has ruled that both keeping and bearing arms as well as abortion are essentially an individual right. Oddly enough, that puts abortion rights in much the same position as gun rights these days. Those who are anti-gun-rights are fighting tooth and nail to infringe as far as possible on those rights and to make exercising them as difficult and challenging as possible. While those who are anti-abortion-rights are doing the same. It's legitimately interesting to me to watch both processes and to see how often the same people support one and decry the other. The recent Supreme Court decision striking down the Texas anti-abortion laws and the Chicago and DC gun bans would both cease to be a problem if those who are disappointed by them would just pass constitutional amendments to codify the removal of gun rights and abortion rights.

I feel like the anti-gun crowd generally has good intentions and their hearts are in the right place, but they're mistaken all the same. I feel the same about the anti-abortion crowd. I think both are less rational and more emotional. I think the anti-gun activists have the roots of their position in deeply held trust of the state and and less value in true individual freedom, and because it's not a right they legitimately exercise themselves or could ever see themselves exercising, they have no problem trying to stop others from doing so. I think the anti-abortion activists have the roots of their position in deeply held cultural/religious attitudes against sexuality in general and in religious texts about being knit together in the womb and so forth, and because it's not a right they legitimately exercise themselves or could ever admit seeing themselves exercising, they have no problem trying to stop others from doing so. Both camps would generally object, but as an outside observer familiar with both, it's not like the veil is particularly thick.

PS Next time you hear a diehard liberal saying the government will never harm you and the police are all the defense you need, ask them how they feel about ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬. If they're immediately dumbstruck by the conflict inherent in their positions, then go ahead and keep the conversation going. Who knows, it might even be productive.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by NorthernComfort » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:00 am

I consider myself to the strong end of being pro 2nd amendment and pro abortion rights. This does not mean without limits. Both subjects have extremes that I am opposed to being legal.

But I think this whole dichotomy is a bit of a stretch... I understand it has a whiff of irony due to the polarization, but here's where I just don't follow.
Oddly enough, that puts abortion rights in much the same position as gun rights these days.
The abilities to own & possess firearms or have an abortion have pretty much nothing in common besides they are both legal.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by raptor9k » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:10 pm

Abortion Rights are something liberals adamantly support and would see most if not all restrictions removed.
Abortion Rights are something conservatives adamantly oppose and would see them completely removed if possible.
Gun Rights are something conservatives adamantly support and would see most if not all restrictions removed.
Gun Rights are something liberals adamantly oppose and would see them completely removed if possible.

They're also both highly debated these days and important enough that both sides have received judgments from SCOTUS several times in the last few decades.

My personal views:

Heavily pro 2nd. I'm fine with background checks and violent felon restrictions. I really don't even mind mandatory background checks for private sales and gun shows but it needs to be a free service available at every LEO in the country and an LEO would need to setup a booth at every gun show to facilitate sales. Suppressors, Short Barreled Rifles, and Short Barreled Shotguns should be removed from the NFA registry. The prohibition on manufacture of machine guns for civilian sale should be removed and the tax stamp increased to $500. I'm fine with the new rules on trusts but the LEO sign off requirement should be removed across the board. Every single instance of an attempt to purchase by a felon or a proven straw purchase should be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law (They currently prosecute less than 20 a year last I checked).

Somewhat pro abortion. Despite the fact that I think abortion past a certain point is murder, I refuse to completely legislate it's demise. It has a place in many situations and I wouldn't want to remove it as a solution to many circumstances such as rape or incest. I'd prefer to see mandatory counseling by both medical staff and an adoption counselor but I doubt that would ever be made a condition of the legality of abortion. I think abortion is generally the last ditch effort of many women, but there are tons of couples out there that would love the chance to adopt a healthy newborn. Instead, they generally end up adopting from a drug addict that kept the baby as a source of income.

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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by Deacon » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:46 pm

NC, I didn't say or mean to imply that the two topics themselves have anything in common. Rather, it's the positions on those topics, the way they're being supported or attacked, what they mean to people. You could make a form letter that would literally be identical for both, only swapping out one topic for the other and one mainstream political side for the other, almost mirror images of each other. And that's the part I find so fascinating--especially since they're generally flipped politically and it doesn't seem to occur to each side that they're doing the same thing the other side is doing (that's pissing them off so much) on an alternate topic.

To me, this is almost a metaphor for the whole dynamic:

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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by The Cid » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:13 pm

I've already said too much about guns, but I'll just go with basic history here. I never grew up with guns, but I didn't grow up in the kind of household where anyone cared whether I was playing video games in which somebody shot people with guns or watching movies to the same effect. In fact, my parents sat me down and watched Goodfellas with me when I was 11. So I wouldn't call them anti-gun really, though we never had one in the house. We're not hunters, and we've never been the type to worry about the nightmare scenario. Some people do target shooting, my dad and I played golf.

By the way, break into my apartment and I'll defend the ol' homestead with my five wood. What do I care, can't hit the thing straight to save my life and it's sort of an outdated club, maybe it'll save my life this way? Other than that I think I've exhausted every second amendment thought that I've ever had in the past few days here. You know, standard me stuff, blah blah blah why can't we work together blah blah blah shame on the major parties and so on. I'm nothing if not predictable.

As for abortion, every woman I've ever heard talk about this subject is pro-choice. I know there are many women nationwide who are not, but I've never really heard from them about it. Well, I'm a guy, it's no situation I've ever been in, so if the women I know are universally pro-abortion then who the Hell am I to say otherwise?

The only reason I would feel particularly strongly about this is, it seems that most of the pro-life arguments are religious. Now I'm not particularly Penn Gillette-style anti-religion, believe what you want, but I draw the line when people think religion ought to have a say in American government. As I recall from the time I spent in a church, religion is often about managing your own life. It's all between a person and their god. Do not bring the rest of us into it.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by Deacon » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm

The world would be a better place if more Christians and Muslims thought the same way about their religion.

But this isn't intended to be a thread to discuss gun rights or abortion rights. It's simply an observation about the way those rights are being approached and handled and the startlingly similar manner and positions held by often political polar opposites.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by NorthernComfort » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:14 pm

raptor9k wrote:Abortion Rights are something liberals adamantly support and would see most if not all restrictions removed.
Abortion Rights are something conservatives adamantly oppose and would see them completely removed if possible.
Gun Rights are something conservatives adamantly support and would see most if not all restrictions removed.
Gun Rights are something liberals adamantly oppose and would see them completely removed if possible.
I don't know any liberals who would see "most if not all restrictions removed", and I live in famously liberal NYC and my own mother works in a reproductive clinic. Most liberals I know are conflicted but ultimately agree that personal choice is the best way forward. I'm liberal and pro-2nd.

Maybe the reason this thread rubs me the wrong way is just because it's making huge assumptions about huge swaths of people in order to reinforce stereotypes. I really don't think the world is as black and white as this thread seems to suggest, which is why I just don't see the connection between these 2 issues beyond how cable news makes them both out to be polarizing.

edit: removed some stuff about conservatives since I'm speaking more from stereotypes than reality as I know way more liberals than conservatives.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by Deacon » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:22 pm

In order to reinforce stereotypes? Who exactly is being stereotyped? I'm just referring to the overwhelming mainstream attitudes toward these topics. And I don't watch cable news (honestly any news on any channel). I'm going based on broad personal experience and the kinds of stuff that continually litters my Facebook news feed from friends and family on both sides.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by NorthernComfort » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:24 pm

Who exactly is being stereotyped?
Well, you could look at the chunk of raptor's text that I quoted or you could ask obvious questions...
I'm just referring to the overwhelming mainstream attitudes toward these topics.
Removing all abortion restrictions is not mainstream, nor is removing all access to firearms. These are the extreme views, held by the extreme minority, but they are the ones that get trumped up on cable news / mainstream political discourse because they're the most sensational. It doesn't reflect reality.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by raptor9k » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:37 pm

Obviously, most people are close to middle of the road but those people never make it on the news, or attain a position of authority in our government. The same nuance you see in your liberal friends I see in my conservative friends. Might be due to the fact that we get to know them better over time. Most of the liberals I'm acquainted with stand out as fairly extreme, but they would, given that the middle of the road liberals probably share more of my viewpoints and I'm less likely to lump them into the 'them' and more likely to include them as 'us'.

As for the removal of most if not all restrictions, that's mainly pointing out the extreme points of view. There are liberals that are perfectly fine with late term abortion. Just like there are conservatives that would force victims of incestuous rape to deliver a baby. I was mainly comparing the extremes to both debates.

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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by NorthernComfort » Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:58 pm

It's so hard to get these discussions back in the realm of normalcy when extremists dedicate their lives to pushing the most radical viewpoints, while the silent majority is too sick of the issues to even reach for the popcorn.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by Deacon » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:37 pm

Of course.

But if you're not someone who is anti-gun-rights or anti-abortion-rights fighting tooth and nail to infringe as far as possible on those rights and to make exercising them as difficult and challenging as possible, then you're not the kind of person being described in my observations.

I know people who fall into each of those two camps, and almost always they are are anti-gun and pro-choice or pro-gun and anti-abortion. And they have no realization that their attempts to bolster one, because it's right, and attack the other, because it's wrong, is exactly the same, with the same kinds of tactics and hardline stances and a continued frustration at the murder of innocent children or that everyday people can get a gun if they want one, which is only designed to maim and kill. Each firmly and vehemently believes they have sole possession of the moral high ground. And they'll say things like, "And I will never apologize for fighting for what is right!"

And they hold these hardline stances within a cocooned little bubble, a feedback loop of like-agreement that gets more and more fervent and piercing the longer it's allowed to fester and build. They generally won't be friends with people who would challenge their stance. They refer to those who support gun rights as paranoid, those who oppose abortion rights as misogynists. Or on the other side those who oppose gun rights as pansies and who support abortion rights as heartless baby killers.

That their thought process and approach is the same, just flipped on the topics, seems to escape them.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by The Cid » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:04 am

I agree, but it's not particularly uncommon when it comes to politics. If people are a hardline by-the-book anything they're going to contradict themselves. That's what happens when politics in this country are dominated so much by interest groups. Platforms end up catering to a bunch of those groups, making for a contradictory hodgepodge of ideas that end up representing pretty much nobody if you add all of them up.

I think it's true of everybody. It's what comes from our need to have an opinion on every issue, including many that are so far out of our depths we need to decompress.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by NorthernComfort » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:30 am

Deacon wrote:But if you're not someone who is anti-gun-rights or anti-abortion-rights fighting tooth and nail to infringe as far as possible on those rights and to make exercising them as difficult and challenging as possible, then you're not the kind of person being described in my observations.
My worry is that these people might be a mirage, or at least such a minority that we do a disservice to ourselves to take them seriously as a group of thought. What if everybody is nuanced and understanding and we basically spend a lifetime debating bogey men? I think this happens more than we think.
The Cid wrote:That's what happens when politics in this country are dominated so much by interest groups.
I think this is a big factor. Alongside cable news and, as much as it pains me to say: the Internet. Most people don't use the Internet to connect with intelligent people of various viewpoints from diffuse backgrounds... most are content to locate the nearest echo chamber and play a game of one-upmanship on ideological purity.

I mean look at the NRA and the GOP... if you go back 30 years, you find most Republicans were disgusted by their late-80s rhetoric and vehemently opposed the organization. A few tens? hundreds? of millions of dollars later, the modern-day GOP treats a score the NRA gives like a dick size contest. We all lose.

There is only one solution: the stalwart SPPACE members must unite and form a Parliament, and become benevolent dictators for life.

I see no other solution.
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Re: Guns and abortion and...thoughtful civility...oh my?

Post by Deacon » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:03 am

NorthernComfort wrote:What if everybody is nuanced and understanding and we basically spend a lifetime debating bogey men? I think this happens more than we think.
Yeah, I think you're right in general. But there are some topics where that's not the case often enough. I think there's a slightly lighter shade of grey with gun rights than with abortion rights. Many people are absolutists when it comes to abortion. A fertilized egg is a full fledged human being, endowed with personhood at the moment of fertilization, with all the attendant rights therein. Any form of birth control that prevents implantation in the uterine wall is murder, pure and simple. These are babies we're talking about, and their friends and family will cheer them on and say they're proud of them for being a voice for innocent children that will never get one. This is not something I assume, not some sort of stereotype. This is my recurring life experience. At least on the second amendment some activists will at least pay lip service to it, though arguments like muskets are all that count are not caricatures but real positions really held by real people, not hypothetical boogeymen.
Most people don't use the Internet to connect with intelligent people of various viewpoints from diffuse backgrounds... most are content to locate the nearest echo chamber and play a game of one-upmanship on ideological purity.
You're right, of course. But I don't think that's so much an artifact of the Internet as it is the way it's pretty much already been for most people. They so often hang out, befriend, and marry people who think like them, go to the same church like them, and so on. The Internet has only increased the visibility into that and broadened reach to find more people to share a "yeah fuck them" moment.
I mean look at the NRA and the GOP... if you go back 30 years, you find most Republicans were disgusted by their late-80s rhetoric and vehemently opposed the organization. A few tens? hundreds? of millions of dollars later, the modern-day GOP treats a score the NRA gives like a dick size contest. We all lose.
I would disagree about we all lose, but I think the main mistake that made the NRA powerful was that those hostile to the second amendment pushed too far. Clinton's rubber-stamp Democrat dominated congress passed the bill that expanded the existing gun bans. They banned all rifles and shotguns from having a pistol grip, re-labeled standard magazines as "high capacity" and summarily banned them, and the whole thing was riddled with ridiculous language born from an ignorance of firearms on the part of the anti-gun lobbyists and politicians who wrote the bill. They took the term assault rifle, which was a military term for the types of firearms that would be distinguished from machine guns, submachine guns, battle rifles, sniper rifles, side arms, and so on, and played on people's lack of familiarity and understanding of it and the generally scary nature of the word "assault" in the civilian criminal sense, and applied it to essentially any rifle with a pistol grip and detachable magazine.

They made life unnecessarily hard for too many people, and it went from how far we should be willing to compromise our rights to now it's just gotten silly. The NRA narrowed its focus and rode a small but growing wave of interest in our history and founding principles and constitution. The Republicans, having been ousted from control of the elected branches, realized they could use the Democrat's overreach as an opportunity to regain power. And it worked, mostly. They weren't able to repeal the legislation, but they were able to at least ensure it sunset without being renewed, and in the mean time they talked a big game.

They were further strengthened when in 2000 a study in the JAMA showed that the Brady Bill had no impact on homocide or suicide rates, and it was revealed that almost nobody was ever prosecuted under it. And then in 2004 when the "assault weapons" ban finally went away, the streets failed to run red with the blood of innocents, turning suburbia into a third-world war zone, as its proponents shrieked was doomed to happen. People stated rediscovering shooting sports, because they're fun, and a whole new wave of young people were volunteering for the military and swept into new interventionist wars where they became familiarized with and grew to love the military versions of the firearms. The notion that we went into Iraq and Afghanistan (and cleared the way for ISIS) in order to "safeguard American Liberty" helped drive stronger rejection of a further compromise of second amendment rights.

And now with the the proliferation in the entertainment industry of attempts to make the NRA out to be an evil puppeteer--for surely no one could ever sincerely believe in the second amendment so any support must be artificial and contrived at the behest of NRA masters--it's made it pretty easy for those who aren't inclined to believe the second amendment is an evil anachronism to dismissively brush aside any such notions and in fact entrenched further the esteem and value placed on a good rating from the NRA.

The best thing the anti-gun lobby could do for themselves is to: First, start employing people who actually know firearms, instead of these clueless politicians making fools of themselves with talk of ghost guns and bayonet mounts and grenade launchers and flash suppressors and continually confusing automatic and semiautomatic and so on. Second, stop hanging their hat on these mass shootings where self defense has been criminalized, which isn't going to win new converts and might even decrease support from those who start to realize what a ridiculous and counterproductive idea criminalizing self defense really is when people with no criminal or mental health record who've passed all the tests and undergone the far more intensive background checks and submitted to being fingerprinted and so on are the least likely to be a problem and the only ones who can potentially stop attacks by terrorists and crazies. Third, stop setting themselves up to be easily busted by facts when trying play games with the numbers, like lumping in suicides with homicides and trying to redefine a mass shooting to inflate the numbers--especially in a time where even taking into account the mass shootings the death rate continues to fall. By failing in all these points, all they're really doing is causing their opponents to dig in deeper. The best they can hope for is that those who don't feel strongly either way will agree to let them have their way just to shut them up, like a pacifier in the mouth of a screaming child way too old for pacifiers.

If they actually tackled it with sense and accuracy and were able and willing to compromise instead of issuing unilateral demands, I think they'd be surprised how quickly they'd garner support.
There is only one solution: the stalwart SPPACE members must unite and form a Parliament, and become benevolent dictators for life.

I see no other solution.
There have been many far worse ideas that have seen the light of day :)
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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