[Vision2020] Abortion, or Schwaller if in fact he exists

Joe Campbell joekc at adelphia.net
Thu May 24 19:38:17 PDT 2007

Schwaller (if I may),

1/ I’m not sure that I understand the difference between a ‘claim’ and an ‘opinion.’ Is an opinion a mere belief and a claim something that is backed up with evidence?

In any event, I don’t find it any less interesting that you are of the ‘opinion’ that, or it ‘seems to you’ that, ‘arguments are useless when it comes to changing one's beliefs.’ If I were of that opinion, I would not contribute to these pages and it remains, to me, an interesting mystery why you choose to do so in light of your opinions or seemings.

2/ I note that you made no mention of my comment about the infrequency of pregnancies during rape as being irrelevant to the ethical and legal issues surrounding abortion. I hope that you learned from this, and not just because it would establish a counterexample to your previously noted opinion.

3/ I agree that “most laws are based on ethical and moral principles.” But it doesn’t follow from this that if something is immoral, there should be a law against it. This is the point that I was trying to establish.

I understand that you might not have liked my example, intended to illustrate this particular separation between the law and morality. Let me choose another example, which no doubt you will like even less.

Some folks think that there is no such person as ‘Glenn Schwaller’ and that you, the writer of the posts that bear this name, are someone else instead. Let me ask you first: Is your real name ‘Glenn Schwaller’?

Here is the example. Suppose that you say ‘Yes, that is my real name,’ yet as it turns out that you are lying. Most would consider such lying to be immoral – after all, ‘Thou shalt not lie’ is one of the big TEN. The question is, Would this be reason to forbid you, by law, from making posts on Vision 2020? I think not. The mere fact that I and others believe that lying is immoral and that you are lying is not, as I see it, a reason to establish laws against your actions. Something more is needed.

The purpose of the law, as I see it, is to allow for mutual protection against harm. Thus, it is only in cases of clear harms to clear persons where law intersects with morality. This is because restricting the behavior of others is itself prima facie immoral – that is, it is immoral unless one can establish a clear reason for doing otherwise. This reason must be of the highest level – something that reasonable people recognize as a genuine harm to a genuine person. To the extent that we substantively disagree about whether it is indeed a harm, or whether it is indeed a person that is harmed, the law has no place.

Let me close by calling you out, Schwaller. I’d like to meet with you, tomorrow, at the One World Café at 10 am. It is just that I find you confused and I’d like to have the opportunity to set you straight. Or maybe I’d like the opportunity to set myself straight, since unlike you I am of the opinion that people can change their minds through argument and it is clear that you are not a fool. However, if you don’t accept the challenge I will no longer believe that you are who you say you are. This might not impress you now but after a few postings you might feel differently.

If you can’t at least adhere to the top TEN commandments – things like ‘Thou shalt not lie’ – or if you should twist and bend that commandment to suit your needs while trying to shame and embarrass others for straying from principles much further down the list, then you, sir, are no Christian. Thus, my calling you out is, as I would put it, a rather strong obligation.

As always, I understand that I might be wrong, which is why I’ve given you the opportunity to prove me so. I promise that I’ll admit any mistake I have made on Vision 2020, so if I am wrong, it seems like you are left with a golden opportunity! Any reason you have to forgo it would be questionable.

All the best, Joe

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