Monday, January 29, 2007

Sticker Nonsense [SK]

Liberals were out in force this weekend demanding an end to the war on terror. In response, I thought of designing a bumper sticker which reads, "Don't like war? Don't Join the Marines."

As you might imagine, the peace loving crowds would be outraged. They were not chanting that President Bush's military action against terrorists was distasteful. They said it was evil. Suppose I reply, "You're just motivated by your emotional disgust for war--a mere subjective opinion about something personally offensive. It's fine with me if you don't like war, but don't force your personal views on everyone else." No doubt, the marchers would insist my rejoinder was question-begging and mischaracterizes their true position on the war. That is, they would insist opposition to war was grounded in objective moral principles binding on everyone.

Now consider this popular bumper sticker: "Don't like abortion? Don't have one."

I'm sure many of those same peace marchers accept the message of that sticker uncritically, believing, as they do, that pro-lifers are just trying to force their personal distaste for abortion on everyone else.

However, pro-lifers don't oppose elective abortion because they find it distasteful. They oppose it because it violates rational moral principles. Their negative emotional reaction follows from the moral wrongness of the act. Most people, for example, find rape and murder offensive, but it doesn't follow they have no good moral reason to oppose them.

It seems liberals have no problem imposing a moral view--even a controversial one--as long as it's their own. If that's the case, they shouldn't pretend that moral statements on abortion carry no more weight than one's taste for ice-cream.

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