Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stifling Discourse

I just read a post that used the term "pro-life" as a euphemism for "anti-abortion" and it set me off. What arrogance. If I suggest that a woman be allowed to choose, if I suggest that you are not the arbiter of my morals, if I suggest that you do not have the right to dictate my actions unless they directly impact your life or your freedoms, then I become "anti-life"?

Chris Matthews was a guest on Countdown last night. He was talking about the use of words like "appeasement" as a hammer to prevent political discussion. If someone disagrees with government policy today, they are labelled as unpatriotic or accused of appeasement or charged with being akin to Hitler. He went on to make the very good point that the same kind of use has become common in all aspects of discourse. We use "loaded" words as labels to prevent open and honest discussion of serious and important issues.

I think that is in play with this term "pro-life." By using that term instead of admitting that they are trying to deny others the ability to decide what is morally and physically right based on their own religious and spiritual values, those "pro-lifers" are trying to put their opponents into a position whereby the mere statement of disagreement with them is in and of itself a heinous disregard for life.

Matthews made the point, and I completely agree, that rather than disagreement with government policy being unpatriotic, an open and honest discussion of policy is the very heart of patriotism.

And it seems to me that using labels to define positions tends to close minds rather than open them.


  1. You (and Chris) say it well. Amen!!!

  2. Anonymous9:01 AM

    well, I like the idea of free discourse and all. And dislike labels of any sort. This country started as a result of disagreement with government policy. And this was written into the Constitution as part of the 1st amendment.

    And yes I agree with the arrogance part. I suppose they would cry foul if I told them they could only use brick in a house instead of wood or whatever. They would cry foul and lambast my roughshod trampling of their rights. Well, guess what Bonzo, that's what you're doing!