The Defenestration of Kevin Williamson

There’s a big fuss going on in the US right now over the decision of those running The Atlantic to fire the writer Kevin Williamson, who was only recently hired. This came after several days of liberals calling en masse for his sacking because in a recent podcast he had said he thought abortion should be illegal, and women who have them be treated the same as anyone else who commits homicide. He then went further and said they ought to be hanged.

Note that he didn’t say all women who have had an abortion should be hanged. He was simply arguing that abortion should be made illegal, and when it is illegal, women who have abortions should be charged with homicide. As a conservative position this is rather unremarkable, but these days expressing views which Obama held in his first term makes you a Nazi in liberal circles. His remarks about hanging women who breach any future laws on abortion were clumsy in hindsight, but he was speaking on a podcast not writing policy.

Anyway, liberals smelled blood in the water and screamed blue murder, and The Atlantic’s Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg fired Williamson:

The top editor emphasized that Williamson’s firing was not a result of his being anti-abortion—a common position for deeply religious Americans of all political stripes—but because of how his especially violent belief conflicts with the “values of our workplace.”

What he means is that employees at The Atlantic didn’t want to work with someone who held Williamson’s views, just as Google employees demanded management fire James Damore when they learned he held different opinions to them. Naturally, demented liberal feminists stepped forward to exaggerate, misrepresent, lie, and try to convince people they would actually feel unsafe around Williamson:

Such is the level of political debate in the US these days.

I don’t have an awful lot of sympathy for Williamson, however. People call him a conservative but I think at this stage it’s fair to ask any influential American who’s worn that label for more than 10 years what exactly they have conserved. From what I can tell, they’ve ceded so much ground to liberals they might as well stop pretending they’re anything else. Most Republican politicians would much rather be Democrats, and much the same could be said about the likes of Williamson: it goes without saying he was a “never Trumper” and would rather see Democrats running government than a Republican he doesn’t like. They made a decent living from saying stuff that was a little to the right of liberals, but never so far they’d upset them and be excluded from polite company in whichever metropolitan coastal city they reside. Ben Shapiro’s another one who’s done well at this, dismantling lunatic lefty arguments but making damned sure he doesn’t stray too far off the reservation and get tossed off any list of invitations. Consider the serious, right-wing concerns that any ordinary American conservative might have and see how many people outside the Alt-Right are actually speaking bluntly about them, and not just skirting around the issue with so many caveats and contradictions they might as well not have kept quiet.

The problem Williamson has, and this will catch people like Shapiro too, is the Overton window is narrowing at such an alarming rate that even opposing abortion can now get you hounded from your job by a baying mob of lunatic women and castrated men making ludicrous claims they’re being threatened with violence. Jeffrey Goldberg obviously has no balls, or is an idiot, or perhaps both, but if you build an entire career – as Williamson did – which is dependent on people like that, and consists mainly of keeping a close eye on not offending lunatics who despise you, then I can’t say I have much sympathy. Perhaps if he spent less time bashing Trump supporters he’d have seen this coming?

The real concern here is that a baying mob of lefty lunatics are expanding the scope of who they can hound from a job. It started in academia, now it’s moved onto journalism. It’s already creeping into tech. How long before this becomes commonplace, with anyone who expresses perfectly reasonable political views suddenly finding themselves fired from their jobs, and perhaps blacklisted from their industry? A lot of people are defending Goldberg and The Atlantic on the grounds that a private company should be able to hire and fire anyone they like, but we’re on dangerous territory. What are these blacklisted people supposed to do for a living, then? Others defend the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube closing accounts of those with unapproved opinions, many of which are quite benign but fall foul of the self-appointed moral guardians of the left. Sure they’re private companies, but so are banks, insurers and electricity providers. How long before the wrong comment online causes a howling mob to descend on your health, travel, or car insurer, who suddenly pulls coverage? Or you find your credit card frozen? What options do wrong-thinkers have, short of starting their own company providing every kind of service they could ever want? And how long before everyone reading this blog is a wrong-thinker?

Something’s gone badly wrong, and liberal rent-a-mobs have found a way to seriously screw with the lives of those with different opinions while the government sits back and says “nothing to do with us”. Even if those mobs turn violent, as we see every time a “controversial” speaker is invited anywhere, we get the same line. We also get a lot of conservatives and libertarians defending the right of employers and service providers to fire someone or close their accounts when lunatics like Antonova bombard their email inboxes and Twitter feeds with unhinged rants like the one above, which makes me wonder if the right has grasped the gravity of the situation and where it could lead.

I don’t know what the solution is, and government intervention will only make things worse, but they could at least get out of the way. Having tens of millions of people in protected, unionised government jobs or working in taxpayer-funded organisations who are able to mobilise and demand CEOs of private companies clobber their political opponents is something which probably ought to be addressed. Otherwise I don’t really know, but I can see there is a problem and I’m confident in saying it won’t end well.

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46 thoughts on “The Defenestration of Kevin Williamson

  1. See also the calls to lay some type of sanction against a rugby player whose religious views are Christian and, when asked, replied that he believed homosexuals are going to hell.

    It’s confusing these days to know which religious beliefs preclude one from playing sport.

  2. To be fair it isn’t just Christian religious beliefs – Glen Hoddle was sacked for the unremarkable Buddhist/Eastern belief that the explanation for suffering in this world was that it was the result of what people had done in their past lives. Which is pretty unpalatable to many disabled/chronically ill people, though I didn’t take any offence at it even though I didn’t share his belief.

  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26868536

    I thought the removal of Eich from Mozilla was a very worrying sign – undoubtedly a person technically qualified for a senior role in a tech firm. Donated $1000 – small fry really – to a referendum campaign that was not at all fringe/outlier/extreme in the conventional sense, in fact it actually won the popular vote! Yet still enough to make his position untenable. Again, personally I think that if government is going to give legal recognition to relationships then it shouldn’t discriminate against same-sex couples when it does so. But I do also take the point that this change involved the radical transformation of the definition, and implicitly the purpose, of an institution thousands of years old, and can see why some people might have preferred an alternative, such as there to be a separate institution granting equivalent legal rights/responsibilities but under a different name. But if you believe that, even if it is in fact the majority opinion, then you’re out the door. The problem of the “tyranny of the majority” had always concerned me as a danger inherent to democratic societies but I’ve become increasingly concerned about the tyranny of the minority too.

  4. I thought the removal of Eich from Mozilla was a very worrying sign

    Yes, that was appalling – and the basis of my “Obama’s first term” remark. During the campaign, he distanced himself from support of same-sex marriage to avoid upsetting conservative Christian blacks.

  5. And once again, these people aren’t “pro life.” They’re pro forced pregnancy — and pro using violence to achieve their goals.

    “Pro forced pregnancy”? I don’t think so. Women has a vast, vast range of contraception available to them (the range is vast in formulations of the Pill alone); this includes the “morning after pill” which—for all those crying “what about rape?”—prevents conception (it is not an abortifacient) up to 72 hours after sex. Or one can go with more traditional methods.

    Or, ultimately, a woman can choose to abstain.

    There’s no forced pregnancy here.

    And to describe “these people’s” methods as “pro violence” when your own position involves the destruction of a potential life is, to be frank, incredibly hypocritical.

    I am not a pro-lifer—for many reasons, not least practical ones—but I can at least appreciate that a pro-abortionist describing other people’s methods as violent shows an incredible lack of self-awareness.

    DK

  6. DK,

    Ah yes, but here’s what Antonova has to say when that’s pointed out to her:

  7. The Eich firing was the big game changer for me, too. I battened down the hatches on what I said with my own name and used aliases exclusively after that.

  8. “Pro forced pregnancy”? I don’t think so.

    Isn’t this because most of this feminist nonsense starts with the alleged maxim “All Men are Rapists™” ?

  9. Isn’t this because most of this feminist nonsense starts with the alleged maxim “All Men are Rapists™” ?

    Indeed, and as Cathy Young points out:

  10. You sure are poking at a few wasps’ nests lately Tim! Clearly too much time on your hands…

    Suggesting abstinence to avoid AIDS and/or an abortion is off the cards too here. Suggested in a safe sex guide (as one of multiple options) and the radicals in Zaragoza went up the wall. I suppose having unprotected sex at age 14 is a human right too. Although, why any woman would want to have sex with a man of all things, I don’t know.

    Cathy Young is on the ball there, as ever, but it’s a full time job, shouting down the d*ckheads. The nastiness (and pettiness) is supported by shallow ‘thinking’ and a set of ‘beliefs’ that all ‘reasonable’ people hold. Of course, backed up by a sense of humour set at 0,5 on a scale of 10.

    May the good Lord help those of us who stray from the straight and narrow.

    I was informed by my right-on female leftie friends (when I went off message as one so often does when surrounded) that abortion was the single greatest advance in wimmens’ rites or summat like that.

    Having said that, you are no shrinking violet Tim and I am surprised you haven’t yet come in for a serious firebombing. Make a note of the crowdfunding sites for when they come for you and big oil ‘lets you go’.

  11. I have little patience for demands that women be prosecuted for abortion: it would open a highway to totalitarianism. First, the prohibition on abortion would violate women’s sovereignty over their own bodies – a major infringement of personal liberty. Second (this one’s more important in practice), unless prosecutions are highly selective and haphazard, criminalizing abortion would turn every doctor into a government snitch (in the same way that US doctors are required to report signs of child abuse) and leave women exposed to government-sanctioned harassment. Think of the innumerable losers of both sexes who would find perverse pleasure in denouncing beautiful young women to the pro-life task force. (I’m sure it would be called suitably Orwellian. Department of Life Protection or something.)

    But it’s not why I despise this Williamson guy. It’s for this piece. I hope he’s reduced to slavery at a Wal-Mart for the next couple of years. (On the other hand, my kinder, gentler self realizes that a guy anxious to see his father dead and his sister hanged probably needs to talk to a psychiatrist.)

  12. The Eich firing was the big game changer for me, too. I battened down the hatches on what I said with my own name and used aliases exclusively after that.

    Wise man. But yes, Tim N is bang on here. In a couple of years, gay marriage went from being something that even someone as right-on as Obama felt under no obligation to support, in fact it was politically expedient to oppose, to something that if you oppose it, not only can you not be president or a politician, you can’t even have a job.

    Anyone who thinks that this is a simply brilliant manner for arranging a free and open democratic society should ponder how they’ll feel if the next Great Social About-Face turns out to be one they disapprove of.

    A lesson the TERFs have found out to their cost on the issues of all-women shortlists and toilets accessible on grounds of gender or sex. And while watching that little civil war may well be amusing to some, it should also serve as a warning to everyone of anyone political or cultural hue. Even having been at the vanguard of right-on can’t protect you forever. When society turns, as defined by that minority of people who decide on such things, you must turn with it, because you will always be judged by today’s standards even if they differ radically from 5 years ago and your seat at the social acceptability decision-making table has been grappled off you by the younger generation.

    You know those middle-aged middle-class people who write in the Daily Mail about how the world’s gone mad? Well that wasn’t a club I’d ever intended to join but I’d have to sacrifice my rationality and my self-respect not to sign up now.

    (And for what it’s worth I still think Kevin Williamson is a prat and even among conservatives some of his views are pretty unpalatably extreme – the Pope’s as opposed to abortion as they come and he wouldn’t want any lass to hang for it. And I’m perfectly happy for feminists to robustly oppose his agenda as I am for the deeper arch-conservatives to argue in its favour. But the existence of thought-crimes and the increasing silo-ization of society is seriously concerning me at the moment. That Voltaire chap might have said something about this, though no doubt he would have had some unacceptable opinions on otherkin or polyamory BDSM so I suppose we aren’t meant to quote the dead white man any more. Mind you, this isn’t all that new, and back in the 90s I was genuinely aggrieved about the sacking of the Hoddle, or at least its implications. As I put it to the PC people, “are you saying that Buddhists are no longer allowed to be football managers?”)

  13. I have little patience for demands that women be prosecuted for abortion:

    Yeah, me too. As I’ve probably said before, I think abortion is a necessary evil and the status quo is fine. But I have no problem with people who disagree with that – it’s highly subjective – and if some guy who was adopted and has particularly strong views on abortion which he expresses on Twitter or in a podcast…well, meh.

    But it’s not why I despise this Williamson guy. It’s for this piece.

    It was this one which put me off him, probably for the same reasons.

  14. Must. Not. Laugh. Being fired from your post as the Atlantic’s official Republican Uncle Tom. David Brooks, watch your step at the NYT.

  15. “the prohibition on abortion would violate women’s sovereignty over their own bodies”

    You mean in the same way the State violates women’s sovereignty (and men’s too, but lets ignore them cos they don’t count as real people) over what they can put in their bodies, ie drugs? If its fine for the State to stop people ingesting what they like, they why is it suddenly so much more tyrannical to stop them terminating a life growing inside of them?

    And for the record I’m agnostic on abortion – I’m OK with it up to a certain point, but once you get to a foetus with discernible human qualities (head/arms/legs/heartbeat that kind of thing) I think such an entity is deserving of legal protection.

  16. Old joke: A right-on feminist (naturally also pro-abortion) of any one of the thirty four genders confronts God and says: “You are a disgrace. You could have sent people who would one day find a cure for cancer and AIDS and establish equality and justice everywhere, but you didn’t.”

    God replies: “But I did send them. You aborted them.”

    Other than parading something as moderately unfunny as that, I have no position on abortion as such. Child bearing genders can do what they like, but if there are later unhappy consequences it’s sometimes hard to feel sympathy.

    As for Hoddle, he made the mistake I believe of speaking “off the record” to a journalist. There is, in the world of the media, nothing off the record and anything which promises to land a “good story” is fair game to them. Normally the idea of karma doesn’t make headlines, but this one did.

  17. “As for Hoddle, he made the mistake I believe of speaking “off the record” to a journalist. There is, in the world of the media, nothing off the record and anything which promises to land a “good story” is fair game to them. Normally the idea of karma doesn’t make headlines, but this one did.”

    Of course the media only make an example of certain people. Hoddle’s mistake was to be a white man, therefore his holding some non-PC religious views was fair game for the outrage bus to start rolling all over him. Had he been a brown skinned Hindu believer in reincarnation and karma he would either a) never have been asked the question, or b) if he was the answer would have been ignored.

    Similarly Christian rugby players (and boxers) are castigated for their religious beliefs on homosexuality and the role of women in society, yet strangely enough no one ever asks Moeen Ali what he thinks on the subject……..

  18. Shorter Tim:

    “Having anything less that full-throated support for Dear Leader Trump means you’re part of the problem and deserve everything you get. And screw your principles about private property when it comes to Google/Facebook but don’t support nationalization or anything crazy like I’m implying because I really don’t know what to do about it…but…be sure to do SOMETHING about it otherwise WHAT HAVE YOU CONSERVED CUCK?!?”

    I’m being unfair but c’mon man. Don’t devolve into a cloud shouter.

  19. I’ve an acquaintance who has the misfortune to work for HMRC as a tax inspector. He frequently gets send on diversity training etc, when he invariably asks such questions as “what arrangements have to make to ensure we are employing a representative proportion of right wing fascists”.

    Apparently this leaves them nearly foaming at the mouths, but he’s very good at playing the system so he’s never actually said anything “wrong” he can be done for.

  20. I’m being unfair but c’mon man. Don’t devolve into a cloud shouter.

    Ouch! Point taken!

  21. @Jim,

    That thought had occurred to me too; before we pile on to the Christian rugby player, why don’t we see whether the Muslim cricket player believes the same thing?

    But really, the key lesson to be learned here is don’t express any personal opinion in public or even off the record about any subject other than that for which you’re employed.

    However, if that IS the lesson, and the SJWs are still allowed to speak openly about their illogical beliefs, we’re not heading for a good future, as Tim points out.

  22. “be sure to do SOMETHING about it otherwise WHAT HAVE YOU CONSERVED CUCK”

    this but unironically

    nationalizing facebook is a bad idea, but allowing your ideological opponents to literally control the discourse by banning you from it is an even worse idea. You fail to conserve anything by laying down and dying preemptively because you hold to a set of principles which – while great for most forms of private enterprise – don’t work well when applied to social media. Facebook is more than just a corporation, it is a place where millions of people talk and debate politics every day; those people shouldn’t be silenced due to report spamming or having controversial opinions Facebook doesn’t like.

  23. @theProle: “Apparently this leaves them nearly foaming at the mouths, but he’s very good at playing the system so he’s never actually said anything “wrong” he can be done for.”

    He will. They’ll dedicate their time to ensuring that.

  24. “As for Hoddle, he made the mistake I believe of speaking “off the record” to a journalist.”

    He wasn’t speaking off the record.

    Ignoring the whole Doris Bonkers, Faith Healer Extraordinaire thing, as England manager, Hoddle had dropped Gascoigne from the squad, described Owen as ‘not a natural goalscorer’ – Owen had scored that goal against Argentina during France ’98 – and instructed his players the when under pressure, they should go down to win a free kick – that is, to dive (see the Owen goal again).

    In pure footballing terms, he wasn’t without controversy.

    The problem arose with Doris Bonkers when the qualifying games for Euro 2000 began relatively poorly, and Hoddle’s beliefs as a Born-Again Christian became more widely known. Certainly, some players, of a particular mindset, had been ripping the piss out of poor old Doris, and by extension, Hoddle.

    Knocking around in the background of all this, was the re-development of Wembley. For various reasons, this itself had become a political issue, and the FA needed government support for at least, planning permission, and quite probably, some cold, hard cash.

    To deal with this, the FA arranged for Hoddle to give an interview to a newspaper that could be trusted not to go into full-on attack mode, with a journalist that could be trusted to deliver a relatively bland piece to pour some oil onto the troubled waters. They went with the Times, and got Matt Dickinson.

    Right in the middle of a pre-arranged interview, Hoddle opened his mouth and shot himself in the foot. Dickinson was somewhat surprised, but included the comments in his submitted piece because Hoddle had said it, and it was Dickinson’s job to report what Hoddle said, but expected them to be cut as they were largely irrelevant to the job at hand, and the England football team.

    The comments didn’t get cut. Blair decided to gob off, presumably for the Greater Glory of His Blairness, and the thing really kicked off.

    Hoddle, during the controversy, did attract a considerable amount of support; on the (obvious) grounds freedom of speech and religious belief (even if Hoddle’s actual beliefs weren’t particularly coherent in any traditional sense), but also from a large chunk of football fans, on the grounds that he might be a nutter, but he’s our nutter, and you can fuck right off.

    Unfortunately, during, or shortly after all this, Hoddle gave a live TV interview, on ITV I think, opened his mouth again, repeated his views, and this time managed to blow his own legs off.

    This all takes place in 1999. David Icke’s hugely influential interview on Wogan was 1991, only eight years previously. The X-Files had begun in 1993, become hugely popular and was beginning it’s final journey up it’s own arse. The Iraq situation with no-fly zones and Hans Blick’s merry crew was rumbling away in the background, and the 45 minutes claim in the WMD dossier was about three years in the future. Facebook was five years away, and only opened to the wider public in 2006. The iPhone launched in the middle of 2007, eight years in the future. By 2009, broadband (ADSL) was available to around 50% of UK premises, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, and a coalition government led by Cameron was twelve months away.

    Hoddle’s downfall is revealing; given a couple of Tim’s recent posts, it’s place in history is interesting.

    Oh, and Blair is a thoroughly nasty little piece of shit; even the neighbour’s dog wouldn’t roll in that.

  25. Alex K. the women’s sovereignty over their own bodies argument/fallacy is a hoary old chestnut that has been rebutted so many times over that it’s actually a novelty to see someone advancing it again. The other defenses of abortion don’t make any more sense either but this one is particularly risible.

  26. Tim,

    I think the critical line your piece is “… the Overton window is narrowing at such an alarming rate …” We (the right) have lost big time in the last few decades, but why? Surely the left’s tactics are a game at which two can play? Where are the howling right-wing Twitter mobs?

    Corporations are not committed to left-wing ideology. They simply want a quiet life where they can go on profitably doing whatever it is they do. If that means occasionally throwing some right-winger to the wolves for committing wrongthink, then so be it.

    So how about turning the tables? Identify the communists and Marxists and get them hounded from their jobs. It would be perfectly easy to justify: after all, they espouse an ideology which killed at least 100 million people during the twentieth century.

  27. @Ducky

    Thanks. Indeed Blair’s comments were part of what got my back up about the whole affair. I can see some views-related circumstances which might have led to Hoddle’s sacking that I could have gone with. Say, a senior player came out in opposition because his little brother had a serious disability and the resultant dressing room ructions left the FA with no choice. But for a Prime Minister to say that these metaphysical views meant he had to go was uncomfortable for me. To be honest the whole affair was not well-managed by anybody – I can’t be alone in generally preferring to hear and know nothing about either the political or philosophical views of anybody other than, defined in the broad sense, politicians or philosophers – but I thought the sacking set a dangerous precedent.

  28. Thanks Ducky McDuckface, that’s a great contribution!

    Ignoring the whole Doris Bonkers, Faith Healer Extraordinaire thing, as England manager, Hoddle had dropped Gascoigne from the squad, described Owen as ‘not a natural goalscorer’ – Owen had scored that goal against Argentina during France ’98 – and instructed his players the when under pressure, they should go down to win a free kick – that is, to dive (see the Owen goal again).

    He also didn’t pick David Beckham in the starting line up for the first two games of France ’98, instead preferring Darren Anderton, which was insane. England managed to lose to Romania in the second game (although Beckham came on as an early substitute for Ince) and hence didn’t win the group, which meant they faced Argentina in the next round. I believe Hoddle said he believed Beckham lacked maturity, which might be right given how he got sent off in the next round, but still, losing to Romania and not winning the group was absolutely pathetic. What makes it worse is how quickly this was forgotten, with England thinking they’d have “gone all the way” were it not for Sol Campbell’s disallowed goal against Argentina.

    Incidentally, everyone remembers Owens goal against Argentina; I thought the free kick move that resulted in Zanetti’s goal was equally good.

  29. We (the right) have lost big time in the last few decades, but why?

    Because most people – and I’m talking about the middle classes – don’t particularly mind the left’s goals and methods, and shit themselves at the thought of anything vaguely socially right-wing or conservative. If this weren’t the case, David Davis would have become leader of the Conservative Party years ago, but the public wanted Dim Dave; and people would be calling not for Jacob Rees-Mogg but another dozen just like him, and instead we’re getting people in supposed centre-right newspapers wetting themselves because he’s expressed unapproved opinions and he’s posh.

    So how about turning the tables? Identify the communists and Marxists and get them hounded from their jobs. It would be perfectly easy to justify: after all, they espouse an ideology which killed at least 100 million people during the twentieth century.

    The problem with that is few people mind that communism killed 100 million people, so that’s a non-starter. The best hope I can see – and it’s a real one, not fantasy – is that the situation the left have created is unsustainable, and it will either collapse or go into decline to the point that whole swathes of them will be vulnerable. That is the time to slit their throats, not with full-frontal assaults using their own tactics. The only problem is this might take another generation, but the signs are there already.

  30. In all the people I’ve ever met who are against abortion I’ve never met one who said anything about hanging women for it, and I have met some pretty far out people. Williamson was playing the let’s fill the left’s fever dreams with some red meat game. It didn’t cross his mind that they’d draw and quarter him for it.

    The Atlantic, oh, we didn’t really know, the community was blah blah blah. Bull. They wanted to do it, and they did it, knowingly. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they suckered him so that they could mount his head on the wall with that surprised look on his face.

    Good riddance to both him and The Atlantic. They deserve each other.

  31. Tim I disagree the middle class doesn’t mind.

    Its the Upper middle class (particularly woman) who see an opportunity to develop themselves as aristocrats. They tend to be in non-productive employment (govt, NGO’s, law, Hr and academy) scared of competition.

    Modern political correctness enforced by these twitter mobs could be rightly compared to courtiers surrounding a prince.

  32. @Jim: “If its fine for the State to stop people ingesting what they like…”

    But it’s not fine. It’s wrong, and a paradox, too. The US has the admirable First and Second Amendments, which no one major country has, but taking drugs (not merely buying, selling or storing them) is still treated as a crime. In most other Western countries, using drugs is not a criminal offense by itself. More generally, the US Constitution lacks explicit privacy guarantees, although courts have inferred some from the amendments, such as the Fourth.

    Incidentally, the war on drugs has been particularly detrimental to the Fourth Amendment (unwarranted searches and seizures). In most US states, it’s OK for cops to enter a house on a mere suspicion that someone might be smoking weed or cooking meth inside. State authorities may seize a vehicle on a mere suspicion it’s been used in drug trafficking (civil forfeiture). In a war on abortion, more rights would be taken away.

    @Michael van der Riet: It’s still a pretty good argument. If you don’t agree that grown-ups should have full ownership of their bodies, you won’t get far in the general defense of liberty. Sure, one could argue that beyond a certain term, fetuses are quasi-human, but to afford them protections normally afforded to humans from the very moment of conception would require imposing a religious dogma on the nation.

  33. Tim I disagree the middle class doesn’t mind.

    I realise I’m ploughing a rather lonely furrow with this, but I believe much of what we’re seeing now is a result of New Labour, which itself was brought about by a (IMO stupid) desire for vast social change driven by unprecedented societal wealth and access to cheap money which takes care of the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. New Labour was a middle class project through and through, and was particularly attractive to middle class women. Dim Dave simply picked up where New Labour left off, heading in the same direction, and May and Corbyn are doing the same.

    Although the timing was a little different, I think much the same has happened in the US, and for the same reasons. I reckon historians are going to look back and conclude that when the middle classes in a country pass a certain material wealth threshold, they start meddling in a way which brings the whole country down.

    I’d be less despondent about this if I met people who opposed things like sugar taxes, smoking bans, ever-invasive government, etc. in real life, but I don’t: they’re all supportive of it. Coupled with this, the number of people I meet in real life who would vote for someone who would properly tackle things like government expenditure, immigration, the NHS, etc. are approximately zero. Given the actual polling data and election results bear this out, I’m confident this is actually the case. At some point they’ll be forced to change, but until then we can expect more of the same.

  34. Gotta say Tim I disagree with you on abortion, reasonale regulations should be on the table.
    Although thats not the issue here.

    In 9 US States abortions are allowed at delivery. Thats sick.

    In mosr European countries its between 13-22 weeks. There is almost no reason to abort after the 18 week morphology Ultrasound that will identify any developmental problems.

  35. Gotta say Tim I disagree with you on abortion, reasonale regulations should be on the table.

    I have no problem with that, and don’t take any stance on the no. of weeks, etc. because I have no interest in it and would rather let reasonable people work it out (as they seem to have done in Europe). What I have little time for is the two extremes, i.e.

    1. All abortion is murder and should be treated as such; and
    2. Abortion is a fundamental right which is nothing whatsoever to do with anyone other than the woman concerned, even if it is taxpayers who will pay for the procedure.

    What I have to understand is a lot of reasonable people hold Position 1, and while I disagree with it, I am not going to get all upset when I learn this is what they think: they’re not going to get the law changed in any place I’ll live, so I don’t care what they think.

    I have more of a problem with Position 2, which seems to be a recent American feminist thing, but the only people I’ve seen hold it have been deranged.

    There is almost no reason to abort after the 18 week morphology Ultrasound that will identify any developmental problems.

    You’re probably right, but it’s not something which concerns me, so I leave it to others to fight those battles.

  36. “Thanks Ducky McDuckface, that’s a great contribution!”

    Blimey.

    On the Beckham v. Anderton thing; I generally don’t get heavily invested in player v player discussions for various reasons (even though Carlton Palmer’s selection drove me nuts); but…

    By ’98, Beckham had been a regular at ManU for six years; he had begun to strike me as a somewhat limited player, although he was outstanding at what he did well, and could be supremely effective. Anderton seemed far more versatile. When he was fit, anyway.

    Looking back; I suspect that to get the very best out of Beckham, Hoddle might have believed that you needed the rest of the ManU supporting cast around him. And that would have been a bit of a problem for England (Giggs and McManaman aren’t strictly comparable, I have no idea who could have filled the Cantona role). Second, Hoddle might have been far more comfortable attempting to build an England side in his own image, one that was similar to the sides he played in – he was quite successful at Monaco, or the sides he would have wanted to play in. So giving Anderton a go seems fairly obvious thing to try.

  37. So giving Anderton a go seems fairly obvious thing to try.

    Yes, plus the Spurs connection.

    By ’98, Beckham had been a regular at ManU for six years; he had begun to strike me as a somewhat limited player, although he was outstanding at what he did well, and could be supremely effective.

    Given how he went on to captain England, it’s hard to argue he wasn’t shaping up to be a solid international in 1998. And yeah, all Beckham could do was deliver 5-10 crosses per game whipped in from the right behind the central defenders onto the slap-head of the centre forwards with an accuracy of inches. Oh boy, how Man Utd miss him! 🙂

    Anderton seemed far more versatile. When he was fit, anyway.

    He wasn’t called Sick Note for nothing!

  38. “Given how he went on to captain England, it’s hard to argue he wasn’t shaping up to be a solid international in 1998.”

    Hah. Yes, rather more than merely solid. Ignoring the fact that I’m one of those people who believe that the role of the captain on the pitch in football should be to hand over a pennant and shake hands with his oppo and the ref, the problem here is Eriksson (though it was Taylor who made him captain, shortly before taking a disgraceful elbow to the face from Howard Wilkinson), whose primary goal in picking England teams and squads appears to have been not annoying the press. This later stage Beckham, pretty much a national icon by this point, is clearly useful in this. And that icon status he acquired (mainly through bloody hard work on the pitch following that red card) means things are really tricky to disentangle.

    And yes, McClaren made a serious balls up here, he seems to have been so desperate to disassociate himself from the Sven regime that he managed to lose Beckham as captain and as a player, and effectively invited the press to have a go at him at the first opportunity.

    “And yeah, all Beckham could do was deliver 5-10 crosses per game whipped in from the right behind the central defenders onto the slap-head of the centre forwards with an accuracy of inches.”

    Yeah, he was so bloody good at it, why would you want to curtail that part of his game by sticking him in the middle, where, by definition, he won’t be as effective? Another point; Beckham out wide was extraordinarily good at selling his opponent and going past him; so good it looks like just kick and run. In the middle, there is limited space beyond the opponent.

    “Oh boy, how Man Utd miss him!”

    Hmm. Yesterday evening’s second half aside…

  39. Didn’t see it. Much preferred Wednesday night’s. But then, I didn’t see that either. Roll on Tuesday.

  40. “Dim Dave simply picked up where New Labour left off, heading in the same direction, and May and Corbyn are doing the same.”

    Well apart from the major difference in that Jeremy Corbyn seems to be refusing to cooperate with the powerful Jewish lobby in London. Which makes him diametrically opposed to say a Lord Levy controlled Blair. He seems to be not interested in financial wealth, and they don’t have much dirt on him or it would have definitely been tabled by now so maybe he isn’t corruptible. Yes he is a duffle coat type old word socialist a virtue signalling ethnic panderer but he does stand out as being different from all of the above unprincipled opportunists.

  41. “but he does stand out as being different from all of the above unprincipled opportunists.”

    Yes Corbyn’s principles are downright evil ones.

  42. @William of Ockham:

    How long is a foetus in the pre-”quasi-human” phase?

    When, or which qualities indicate the foetus changes from “quasi-human” to human

    I don’t know. I can only say a week-old embryo is not quite human and a newborn is human.

  43. Hi Alex,

    “I don’t know. I can only say a week-old embryo is not quite human and a newborn is human.”

    But perhaps we can agree that a week old embryo has the potential to be fully human? Similarly, a person on life-support in a coma has the potential to recover and return to being a human, perhaps.

    But we have a much higher standard to be achieved to determine the switching off of the life support than (an increasingly over time) physical intervention required to stop the life of the embryo.

    I’m not some pro-life religious nut job but the differing standards seem illogical to me.

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