Thursday, November 27, 2014

Leftist Censorship and the Abortion Debate


This disturbing incident, in which radical leftist students effectively censored a debate on abortion at Oxford, illustrates the anti-intellectualism at the heart of left-wing campus activism.  This article is fantastic—I recommend reading it in its entirety.

The two most anti-intellectual tendencies in the abortion debate are as follows:  First, to dismiss someone’s position (nearly always a pro-lifer’s), because he is male; and second, to dismiss someone’s position (always a pro-lifer’s) because he or she is religiously motivated.

To the first tendency:  To dismiss an argument or position on the basis of the gender of the person expressing it is to commit a logical fallacy known as the ‘ad hominem’ fallacy, which occurs whenever a position or argument is rejected on the basis of the person who states it rather than on the merits of the position or argument itself.  To reject a male pro-lifer’s position on abortion on the basis of his gender is pure sexism and is completely anti-intellectual.

Also, there are many female pro-lifers; in fact, I am convinced that females are pro-life more often than males are.  Their position cannot be dismissed on the basis of their possession of a penis and testicles.

Additionally, I rarely see a pro-choice male’s position dismissed because of his gender.

Arguments and positions have their merits or demerits independently of the genitalia of their representatives.  These budding intellectual college students ought to know better.

To the second tendency:  To dismiss the pro-life position on the basis of the religious motivation of the person holding it is also anti-intellectual and, frankly, bigoted.  This is because there are, in fact, arguments for the pro-life position that make no reference whatsoever to either God, the Bible, or Jesus.  In my ethics class, I teach John Noonan’s and Don Marquis’ pro-life arguments, both of which could be theoretically accepted by an atheist.

Also, I rarely see a religious pro-choicer’s opinion summarily dismissed because it may have a religious motivation.

To dismiss any position on the basis of what one takes to be an ignoble motivation for holding the position is to commit a fallacy known as the ‘genetic fallacy.’  A person’s motivations for holding a position are not relevant to the truth of that position. 

Arguments and positions have their merits or demerits independently of the motivations of their representatives.  These budding intellectual college students ought to know better.

The educational systems are devolving into an anti-intellectual parody of political correctness.  What happened at Oxford should be horrifying to both any pro-lifers and pro-choicers who value liberty and freedom.