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July 07, 2016


To get us kick-started, here's what I tossed into the other thread (edited for clarity. Thanks, Charles.):

Here's a preliminary idea on everybody's favorite fraught topic: abortion.

Every abortion is a tragedy. While it is not a good choice, it is sometimes the least bad choice. Therefore it should not be illegal. (And there are none of the cute restrictions and required notifications that have been invented to discourage it.) The only restrictions concern the cases where the fetus is viable without massive medical intervention. (The exact definition of "massive" subject to discussion.)

While abortion should not be illegal, that doesn't change the fact that Roe v Wade was a disaster for the abortion rights movement (not to mention being IMHO garbage as constitutional law). At the time, abortion was gradually becoming legal across the country. And legalization was supported by even conservative religious groups, for example the Southern Baptist Convention. (Imagine that! If you only came of age in the last 2-3 decades, you probably cannot.)

Given that every abortion is a tragedy, the right thing to do is to make them as rare as possible. Major step one: make contraception as readily available as possible. First: cheap -- including available at no charge under all medical insurance plans, including Medicaid.

Second, no restrictions (none!) on who can get contraception. That means, no, parents don't get a veto, or even a notification, if their child wants contraception. If the parents don't like it, they can teach their children their own views on not using it. Probably work about as well as abstinence-only seems to work now, but tough.

That's not to say that this is the only moderate view on the subject. Just that it is an example of a moderate view of it.

Every abortion is a tragedy.

Well, off on the wrong foot already.

Personally, I feel this issue is none of our business, which makes me a free choice absolutist. Carrying to term is a private decision to be made by the woman.

But for the sake of moderation, I'd be willing to go along with Roe and throw Casey out, bad constitutional law or no.

First off, the question isn't "Do you agree with every detail of this position?" The question is "Is this, overall, a moderate position?"

Second, I won't say you can find zero women who would consider them personally having an abortion to be a non-event. But it's not something that is chosen casually. (Unless, of course, one is the sort of sociopath who doesn't recognize anyone else as a real person.)

Notorious RBG's critique of Roe.

Spot on.

Maybe a (fun?) requirement is that when you comment in the thread for the first time, you then add a new topic and its moderate view. Probably as a separate comment so it's not too giant.

Ginsburg is, as you say, spot on.

A moderate view on Gun Control:

America has a long history of embracing personal firearms. Collecting and using firearms should not be a matter of government scrutiny, save as a factor affecting other legitimate investigations. Existing firearms should not be inventoried, though newly manufactured guns can be tracked.

A person’s right to purchase firearms should be difficult to restrict, though mental health* and felonies are valid reasons to prohibit sales. Domestic violence convictions and current restraining orders are also valid reasons to restrict firearms possession and purchase.

Specific firearms, and particularly related military equipment such as grenades and mortars, can be prohibited for personal possession nationally. States and local jurisdictions can adopt more stringent firearm type restrictions, including firearms accessories like extended magazines and silencers.

Display, concealment, and transport of firearms is regulated at the state and local level. Requirements for open carry, licensure for concealed carry, etc. should be set at a local level. Similarly, various jurisdictions within a state may vary widely on the scrutiny applied to permits and licenses.

Background checks for firearms purchases should apply to all transactions**. A waiting period before delivery of purchased firearms can be imposed by state and local jurisdictions. These jurisdictions may also impose safety class or similar testing requirements.

Safe firearm storage is important and may be regulated to prevent tragedies.

*: This level requires calibration so that gun enthusiasts do not fear seeking help for mental health.
**: Willed and inherited firearms are a possible exception. Permanently non-functional firearms are excluded.

War should be the last resort not the preferred cure-all.

I completely agree with the moderate abortion position, and in fact I share it.

Let's try a new topic: gun control.

The extreme positions are: (Anti) the 2nd Amendment forbids any infringement on the right to own and carry guns; (Pro) the 2nd Amendment was not written with modern arms in mind, so anything more modern than a muzzle-loading musket should be forbidden or at least restricted.

The actual text of the 2nd Amendment is "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

My opinion of the moderate position is:
Since the text actually refers to "a well regulated Militia", regulations about gun ownership are not forbidden. Flat-out bans on gun ownership are not allowed, nor are bans on things like so-called assault rifles, but it's reasonable to require that gun owners should be licensed like car drivers, and guns registered like cars. To get that license, you should be able to pass a basic test that shows your understanding of the dangers of guns, and the license can be revoked by law enforcement for reasons like restraining orders, history of violent crime, etc.

Shooter's licenses and gun registrations shouldn't be expensive (and thus infringing), or need annual renewal (same), but creating a register of who purchased the gun and who owns it now is not an infringement. The slippery slope argument that "someone could use that register to take away the guns" is unreasonable - that action is prima facie unconstitutional, so the creation of the registry shouldn't have to be held hostage to that worry.

Ammo shouldn't need to be tracked, but you should have to show your license to buy ammo like you do to rent a car.

It shouldn't be any more difficult to get a shooter's license than a driver's license; both show your basic competence to manage a deadly tool safely. Concealed carry is reasonable to regulate in the same way that motorcycles have extra regulation - there are extra dangers, therefore there should be extra supervision.

* * *

Another version I've seen that I'm fond of but I'm not sure if it's considered moderate is to write into law the basic NRA rules for gun safety. This makes violators legally liable for the results, which would go a long way to encourage gun owners to not leave their weapons in places where children can find them, reducing things like toddler-inflicted gunshots. For reference, those safety rules are:
* ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This is the primary rule of gun safety.
* ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
* ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Neither "a non-event" nor "a tragedy" are descriptions of abortion which seem moderate to me. "A difficult decision" - often. "Personally agonising" - frequently. "An unfortunate necessity which has no or very few long-lasting health or emotional repercussions for the woman" - I would guess just as frequently. Any or all of these seem "moderate" to me. I see that a pro-life advocate would note that these descriptions do not discuss the fallout for the fetus, but then as must be clear I do not consider a fetus to be a person.

War should be the last resort not the preferred cure-all.

extremist. ;)

Hmmmm... can I take the view that the only moderate position on abortion is that is should be legal in all circumstances? And then the debate is about how much state support should be provided to women who wish to obtain one (none vs. "free" abortions for all), with the moderate view being it should be part of medicaid coverage?

Certainly you can take that position. But I'm not sure that you will get a lot of agreement.

The salient question, as GftNC implies, is: At what point do we actually have a person/human being? Not a potential one, a real one? Because, after all, with modern technology, you can argue that every cell in your body is a potential human being.

Or, to put it in religious terms, When does the soul enter the body? Which is a question on which various churches have taken differing positions. Not just currently between churches, but for individual churches over the years.

I'd say that "at the moment of conception" is an extreme position. Especially considering the number of spontaneous miscarriages which occur in the first few days of pregnancy. But "not until the child is actually born" is also an extreme position.

Where inbetween is "moderate"? I took a stab with "when the fetus can survive outside the womb without massive medical intervention." But I'm open to alternate suggestions -- and (non-theological) arguments for why that is the right criteria.

"Hmmmm... can I take the view that the only moderate position on abortion is that is should be legal in all circumstances?"

Answer: Of course you can.

However, in the generally accepted context of the public debate, it would be considered "extreme", despite the undoubted commonsensitude of your approach to the issue.

That's the rub.

Another example is the guns thing. There is a whole political movement and industry taking an absolutist 2nd Amendment opinion. Very few are so blockheaded as to call for a total gun ban (alas, I am such). So where does the line of "moderation" fall?

"So where does the line of "moderation" fall?"

In America, it traces the same gerrymandered lines as voting districts do.

Erik, your NRA link doesn't work.
** extra close paren removed. Fixed now. wj

Anyway, I don't believe the NRA advises this, and I certainly don't believe Wayne LaPierre and company believe or practice what they preach.

* ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

But if so, then concealed and open carry is a joke.

* ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

But if so, then concealed and open carry is a joke.

Well, if you are always ready to use, problem solved!

I found it interesting to see where we overlapped on moderate gun control, Erik. I guess "moderate" applied to guns is pretty well understood--or that we're in the same echo chamber so we independently come up with similar views of moderation.

wj: Or, to put it in religious terms ...

Are you confusing moderation with popularity? Religion is certainly popular, but does it have any relevance in a discussion of "moderation"?

Maybe it does, in this sense: a highly UNpopular position would hardly qualify as a "moderate" one.


Are you confusing moderation with popularity?

I don't think so (although I could be wrong). I was trying to put the question (when do we have a person?) into terms which would resonate with a large portion of the US population.

Note that, when I asked for alternate criteria for the answer, I explicitly asked for non-theological ones. For the obvious (to me) reason that there is no way to choose between theological positions. Except, perhaps, for popularity -- which, as you say, is not a particularly good way to determine moderation.

The salient question, as GftNC implies, is: At what point do we actually have a person/human being?

The fact that this may be a "salient" question for many if not most does not make it "moderate" in the least, for it assumes a premise that can be reasonably rejected.

I don't presume to speak for GFNC, but she clearly stated she does not consider the fetus a person. It becomes a person when it is separated from the mother at birth.

I consider the Roe standard to be reasonable, i.e., moderate, insofar as under most (not all)circumstances that is a "reasonable" period of time to make the decision, even though I am of the opinion that this decision should be without restriction.

Just trying to come up with a moderate position, not one that I necessarily agree with.

Do not confuse moderate with "correct".


Note that "resonate(s) with a large portion of the US population" is tantamount to "is popular". Not that there's anything wrong with that:)

Seriously, I don't say that popularity is necessarily a bad way to define "moderation". In fact, it's hard to know how else to define it without recourse to some absolute standard. You and I may very well share the same absolute standard on many or most issues, but unless many other people agree with us our "moderation" is merely idiosyncracy.


I don't presume to speak for GFNC, but she clearly stated she does not consider the fetus a person. It becomes a person when it is separated from the mother at birth

Actually, I am pretty torn about this. I may have got the terminology of "fetus" wrong: I'm tempted to say it becomes a person when it could be viable, but that keeps changing with technology, and actually I still reluctantly prefer abortion as opposed to bearing a child to term against the woman's will. But I don't pretend that this is unproblematic for anyone involved, woman or medical practitioners.

Back in italic hell! I'm throwing my toys out of the pram and going to bed.

A moderate position:
in any calendar year, after 1000 unarmed blacks are killed by cops, it becomes open season on cops.

Does there seem to be any other way to hold them responsible? Sadly, no.


I have always read the slogan as a pun: a warning to trolls and bomb-throwers that comments on this blog are carefully moderated by the front-pagers themselves.

Thus, every front-page post is in fact written in "the voice of moderation".

Did/does no one else interpret it that way?

A bit more seriously, I truly value this forum in which flaming liberals (such as myself) and avowed conservatives can have a mostly-civil, mostly-substantive discussion, and even occasionally learn from each other. IMHO, that civility is itself "moderate", and sufficient to justify the slogan.

I dunno, Snarki, that sounds more like a modest position than a moderate one.

Interesting. I wrote a comment that was essentially what joel hanes said.

Moe Lane, I believe, came up with the cute kitty assassin and the slogan (please correct me if I'm wrong), but then Erick Erickson, Trevino, and company pointed out to him that the kitty wasn't using live ammo, which was anti-American, and besides, a kitten?

Don't we drown those, Streiff asked?

I agree with joel hanes too.

I was listening to NPR the other day and the "moderator" was pointing out to a liberal House member that yeah but Donald Trump and the Republicans would say such and such about gun control and I thought that was about as "moderate" as saying yeah but Heinrich Himmler would say fresh straw is put down in all of the boxcars annually, so what's the beef?

Yeah but Himmler was by his own words an extremist because there needed to be some of them around to do the stuff that the moderate commoners simply could not do (and should not even know about). That was the core of his most infamous (non-public, of course) speech.
Btw, this was for me among the most alarming things about the Dubya administration that they sported the exact same position.

The salient question, as GftNC implies, is: At what point do we actually have a person/human being? Not a potential one, a real one?

Well, we unquestionably have a human being in the form of the woman. She's the one that's being forced to carry a pregnancy to term against her will in the world of "no abortions past point X." Forced continued pregnancy and the subsequent birth being consequences no court could impose for violating the law, and no minor imposition as it comes with serious health impacts and a more than insignificant risk of death for the mother.

Moreover, you also have the woman with the undeniable personhood/legal rights being physically bound to the one with lesser status in both (indeed, the lesser legal right status continues after birth for the latter). In this way the entire issue of pregnancy is sui generis, making pretty much any position "moderate" in that sense (not that that helps any).

Further, it is very difficult to talk abortion in isolation from the entire spectrum of sex, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing/parental responsibility - as you yourself note in suggesting contraception be made as widely available as possible. What does that have to do with abortion?

Given all that, if the question is whether a pregnant woman should be permitted to legally obtain an abortion then the answer is "yes," unconditionally. A position I maintain is moderate - how could it ever be moderate to force childbirth on someone? - and would lead to fewer abortions in practice.


Re: tragedy in Dallas. It is just infuriating when a-holes take snark as a serious action plan, just saying.

I feel like a moderate when ranting about Western atrocities overseas. Apologists for Western crimes are boringly familiar, so I won't talk much about them in this comment, but what is disappointing is that after all the bad examples in the 20 th century showing what sort of regime you get from certain forms of " liberation" you still find nitwits on the very far left who use phrases like " by any means necessary" to justify terrorist violence and who think like perfect mirror images of the Western apologists they condemn. With this crowd you are either with them or against them. Fortunately they are found mainly in comment sections at certain blogs ( not this one).

I agree that the political spectrum is a circle and the extremes are remarkably similar. I just think the extremes are the people who rationalize killing civilians ( this includes people who overuse the collateral damage excuse) and that includes much of what passes for mainstream thought in the US. If you are a moderate in my sense you are seen as an extremist by the extremists on both sides.

Not much to say about Dallas because I don't think anyone here would defend that murderous idiocy.

I agree with joel hanes too.

It's Friday, and I don't feel like talking about abortions or shootings or military adventurism, so I'm sticking with the kitty and the tagline.

I don't disagree with joel, but I never thought about the tagline as he interpreted it. Upon reading his interpretation, though, I'm thinking, "Huh ... maybe that's it."

My thinking was always that it was an ironic joke - a so-called voice of moderation engaged in the immoderate act of taking unauthorized control of a radio station, but, in an attempt to sound moderate, didn't want to go so far as using the immoderate-sounding word "seized" to describe its actions.

I suppose it could be both. (That would be a compromise - a moderate position to take on this important issue.)

It would be more humorous as "This is the Voice of Moderation: we have taken control of the reactor..."

buy you all would probably be (rightly) critical of my humor.

Critical? I'm not sure if that was a purposeful or accidental pun.

as you yourself note in suggesting contraception be made as widely available as possible. What does that have to do with abortion?

What it has to do with abortion is that contraception is the single most effective way to reduce the number of abortions. So, assuming that those opposing abortion are really concerned about "killing a person," it's the way to achieve their goal.

Of course, if their actual interest in stopping abortions is in punishing sex (at least sex outside what they consider "proper" circumstances), then contraception is an impediment to their real goal.

And that is, IMHO, the real difficulty in coming to any kind of concensus about abortion. The goals proclaimed are not really the goals of a substantial number (not saying all!) of those involved.

the moderate position on abortion is : if you don't want one, don't have one.

otherwise, you're in the business of telling people what they can't do with their own bodies.

(which Ugh said much better)

I never interpreted the tagline the way joel hanes did, but I certainly agree with him mightily about the value of this forum, which makes it pretty much impossible to stay away. Apart from that, what Ugh and wj and cleek said.

(which Ugh said much better)

Absolutely, but that depends on what you mean by moderate in today's political climate.

I get the impression that "moderate" for many is an excuse to not give politics much, if any, thought.

I get the impression that "moderate" for many is an excuse to not give politics much, if any, thought.

Have you been talking to my father? He's bloviates a lot, but it's all generalized "one side is as bad as the other" and "vote 'em all out" kind of stuff (i.e. not much, if any, thought). He's like a David Broder for idiots.

Have you been talking to my father?

Doesn't sound as if we would get along unless he likes drinking copious quantities of beer, but (trigger warning-off topic) here's a guy talking to his father about Brexit.

Good stuff. I think Marty would like it, too. Were that my father was so eloquent or so involved.

I never read red state, so maybe I need to glance their way occasionally, but via a left wing site I found this surprisingly reasonable reaction to Dallas--


Guys, we need to start being a little more religious about doing a Preview before we hit Post. It only takes a moment, and it will give you a chance to pick up on when you've had a typo on closing italics or creating a link.

I've been cleaning things up as we go -- but only because I've been on to the host site to deal with the fact that my posts keep getting dumped straight to Spam. (Which I refuse to take as a Sign.)


As it so happens, Dallas is one large city that has made considerable improving in how the police interact with citizens. Officers actually get fired for bad judgment and behavior regardless of whether they get charge with a crime or not.

Unlike, say, Chicago where, on average, the payout is about a million dollars a week due to lawsuits against the police.

The definition of moderate involves much more complexity than I see here. I consider that an interesting symptom of a larger problem: the habit of gravitating to a linear view of political positions. I do not consider the model of politics that defines political positions as points on a line between two defined "extreme" poles useful. At its worst, this model encourages lazy and irrational political tactics such as attempts to manipulate the range of "moderate" and therefore "acceptable" positions; the so-called Overton window. At its best, the linear view of politics involves severe distortions.

For example, the "moderation" discussed here involves exclusively positions; surely moderation also applies to methods. Does someone who holds an "extreme" position they would consider changing if presented with a rational argument against it qualify as more or less of a "moderate" than someone who holds a centrist position and will shoot anyone who disagrees with it? By some measures, Joseph Stalin occupied a "moderate" position between capitalism and the anarchists who called for world revolution, but his methods had nothing moderate about them.

Then you have the vexed question of results. Canadian criminal laws currently offer no protection whatever to a fetus at any stage of gestation. In Canada, having or performing an abortion literally a week before the due date does not violate any criminal laws. By American standards, that qualifies as an "extreme" political position, but in fact, by most measures, Canada has a slightly lower abortion rate than the United States. So do you measure the position or consider the result?

I think of this site as a voice of moderation not because the writers always pick the median or modal position on issues, but because members of the community generally show a willingness to alter their positions in the face of rational argument and credible information.

I had thoughts lining up almost perfectly with what John Spragge wrote. I just didn't feel like puttin' all them words together. So WJSS.

Part of moderation is systematic:

1. Don't trust positions of your allies much more than your opponents.

2. Be open to the idea that if you haven't considered a topic that you might not need to have an opinion.

2a. Don't adopt an opinion just because your tribe did.

3. Try to be careful about the state of knowledge--is this a vaccine type clear case or a nutrition/diet case. Science operates in both, but has much weaker understanding in the latter.

4. Realize that if you agree with someone completely on everything, you're probably getting snowed or you don't care about most of those things.

5. Identifying a problem isn't the same as solving it.

6. Proposing a solution to a problem that feels good doesn't mean it actually addresses the problem.

7. If the rallying point for a solution ends up in a law named after someone, be suspicious--they are appealing to the need to 'do something'.

8. It is ok to have emotional feelings about your politics and views. But don't lie to yourself about it.

yeah, what hsh said about WJSS.

i had a half-baked idea along the lines of : moderation is willingness to accept that the other person might have a valid position, from his/her POV, and things will be better if we can find a way to both get something out of it.

but that's really just being open to compromise. which leads to creeping incrementalism.

Donald's redstate link is astounding to me, though I've never spent any time on that site and am just going by what I've heard or read about it second hand. I would have never expected that kind of post. I second the recommendation to read it (since I'm apparently riding coattails here lately).

i don't read RS a lot, but the tone of that post was much different from what i'm used to seeing. (the comments about how the welfare state is the root of all the problems is more like the RS i'm familiar with)

maybe they've become more introspective now that they're in the anti-Trump fringe of conservatism ?

"1. Don't trust positions of your allies much more than your opponents..."

And question your own opinions as often as (more often than ?) you question others'.

And think twice before you post... and once again for good luck.

And think twice before you post... and once again for good luck.

So, you're advocating reducing Internet content by 90%?...

John Spragge's post is thoughtful and thought-provoking, and I think adds to the debate. I must say I also think Sebastian H's checklist is correct in every respect, despite his point 4.

wj, sorry for screwing up on the italics front!

And think twice before you post... and once again for good luck.

Unpossible! Why, you might as well ask for an "edit comment" feature. And a pony.

Response to comment far above (re: 'critical'): if you think you see a pun in a comment of mine, just assume that it's intended. Because I *would* have, if I'd thought of it.

And I would have said 'super-critical', if not for that darn non-existent edit button.

5. Identifying a problem isn't the same as solving it.

6. Proposing a solution to a problem that feels good doesn't mean it actually addresses the problem.

5A. Some problems don't have solutions. The Universe is not arranged for your convenience. Deal with it.

Seb: 5. Identifying a problem isn't the same as solving it.

Amen, amen, amen!

But there's a corollary: denying that a problem exists is itself a problem. Cf race, cf guns, cf climate change.


8. It is ok to have emotional feelings about your politics and views. But don't lie to yourself about it.

I believe in having strong opinions, weakly held. I try to argue for my side vigorously while always trying to listen to the other argument for a reason to question my opinion.

I mostly fail at all that but it is philosophically what I believe.

This outbreak of moderation is killing me, and when did you folks add the "preview" button?

Is moderation, like all good things, in the eye of the beholder? The peanut gallery wants to know.

I mostly fail at all that but it is philosophically what I believe. Italics closed? Check.

Nothing wrong with that.

I'm against bomb wielding robots used by American police departments to kills suspects. Moderate?

But there's a corollary: denying that a problem exists is itself a problem. Cf race, cf guns, cf climate change.


cf "voter fraud"
cf "black on black crime"
cf "black culture"
cf "Democratic foreign policy = Munich under any and/or all circumstances"
cf "government spending = inflation"

Can you deny these problems and still call yourself a moderate?

I suppose what makes us moderate is perhaps that most of us here at least try to see the other side's view. I, like Marty says of himself, am far from completely successful. But at least we all do seem to try. (And those who refuse to a least try tend to get sent away.)

Bobby, I think we'd be willing to accept evidence of, for example, widespread voter fraud. But if someone has more than a handful of anecdotes in that regard, I have missed them. I'm willing to look at evidence, but all I have actually seen are people insisting that, since candidates that they and pretty much everybody they know vote for have lost, it must have been due to fraud.

I might also note that the government has been spending money like mad for decades. But since the early 1980s (i.e. the last 35 years or so) inflation has remained relatively low. It is currently around 1%. And in Japan, with enormous government spending, they have deflation.

So, "government spending = inflation"? Can you maintain that with a straight face and call yourself someone, moderate or not, with an affection for evidence?

Marty skrev :




i was spoofing by presenting a conservative's version of TonyP's corollary above, which see. Does that clarify?

Moderately yours,


Blushing at missing that. Seriously blushing.

wj: ... most of us here at least try to see the other side's view.

You do some of us (okay, me) too much honor, wj. At least, if you mean "try to grant some validity to the other side's view".

One of my favorite epigrams is what some science historian wrote about the Copernican revolution: "Nothing had changed, yet everything had changed."
I mention it because I doubt very much that Galileo was either unable or unwilling to "see the other side's view" -- but he was hardly willing to grant that the Aristotelians might have a point.

I'm no Galileo, of course, aside from being a crotchety old guy. But I can just imagine him saying: "I can see perfectly well why you might think the Sun goes around the Earth. E pur si muove."

"How is this relevant?", I hear you ask. "Abortion rights, gun rights, fiscal policy -- these are not questions with objective answers."

I can see your point:) But I'm not talking about objective truth; I'm talking about the difference between "see the other side's view" and "agree with it in any way".


Ah, but the core of what I see as civilized behavior is to see the other guy's view. To understand that he believes what he does is right. That he is (with a miniscule, albeit not insignificant, number of exceptions) not simply evil.

You don't have to agree that he is, in fact, correct. You can try hard to persuade him to change. But you don't demonize him.

For example, I don't think Mr Trump is evil. A noxious narcissistic blowhard and ignoramus who would be a disaster if elected? Sure. The scum of the earth, who is running a scam on those he has bamboozled into supporting him? That, too. But no more than that.


To me, "evil" is a practical concept rather than a theological one. He, Trump is evil -- not because he is in league with Lucifer or Voldemort or Dick Cheney, but because his presence on the political stage is detrimental to civilization.

I use "evil" in the sense that I have heard people use the phrase "an evil odor" or "an evil virus". Pernicious effects are enough for me; I don't need to identify pernicious intent. Not in odors, not in viruses, not in vulgar talking yams.



I think that "see the other side's view" is often enough. And the restatement of the positions does change. And it generates new trains of thought. Somewhere up there, Ugh, said something about forcing a woman to carry a child to term.

My first thought was that not doing that and not aborting the baby are no longer mutually exclusive in the third trimester.

So now you have to add "forcing a woman to deliver the baby if the third trimester is reached rather than abort it" as a plank in that not telling women what to do with their bodies list. (Note that I am aware of the risks of childbirth, they should be weighed against the "risk"(certain death) to the baby, it gets harder to deny that it is a baby with each successful premature birth.)

So I have to think about that now. That's hospital time and cost, then adoption. Who pays and who is the caregiver? But those questions aren't unique to that situation so are some of those questions really already answered?

But in the same comment he said:

Moreover, you also have the woman with the undeniable personhood/legal rights being physically bound to the one with lesser status in both (indeed, the lesser legal right status continues after birth for the latter).

The after birth part of that is just not true in any way pertinent to this topic. While the child lacks some agency in decisions etc. it has no less right to life than the mother, and the parents are expected, and legally obligated, to provide appropriate care. I would say that the child has a greater legal status.

My point is that we have discussed this dozens if not a hundred times in the 8 or 9 years I have been commenting here. There was a different aspect that I focused on because of the way Ugh phrased his clearly extreme position this time.

Tony, I was using "evil" more in the sense of someone who knowingly does bad things. Someone who is merely clueless, and incapable of seeing the results of his actions on others (which would include Trump), don't make the grade.

Personally I think Trump gets some satisfaction from the fact that he does harm to people*. The humiliation of his victims/marks/opponents clearly plays a large part in his personality. Let's say he had a choice of getting a million $$ fair and square or getting half that but with the bonus of totally humiliating the person he gets the money from, would you expect him to choose the first or the second option? What is funny in a board game** turns into evil on the scale and level Trump is acting at.

*not that harm happens to people but that he is the one doing it with them knowing it and unable to do anything about it
**let's be honest, that aspect is a major appeal of many board games

The word "evil" certainly should be applied to "actions", and "policies".

You have to go somewhat theological to attach "evil" to particular "beings", although if their actions are near uniformly evil, it could be justified, but a psychological diagnosis is more appropriate.

And you really have to have an 'animist' theology to call an inanimate object (a gun, a nuclear warhead) 'evil'. It really is amusing how animist belief structures persist, even in supposedly modern people.

What Hartmut said explains a lot of Trump's Atlantic City property development strategery. NO WONDER he pays his debts with Monopoly money!

A "moderate" position is that coal-fired electricity generation ought to be as environmentally clean as other thermal sources (and for argument here, ignore CO2).

The major reasons given for that not being a moderate position include: (1) We cut the industry a lot of slack for a very long time and are now changing the rules; (2) Complying with the new rules is going to be expensive; and (3) The burden of complying falls very unevenly across different regions of the country.

Are those good enough reasons? I think about the first one in particular, since that general thought cuts across a lot of different policies. Is a drastic change in the rules ever a moderate position?

I guess I'm in the moderate approach vs moderate point of view camp.

To me a valuable form of moderation is assuming that folks with another point of view are human beings like myself, with a right to their point of view. And I'm obliged to respect that. As a practical matter, what that means is that it's not my right to hate or demonize them because of our difference of opinion.

I'm less interested in moderation on the substance of the point of view. Some things are, actually and objectively, harmful, and I don't think folks should necessarily moderate the substance of what they think on topics like that, just to kind of get along.

What I think you do have to accept is that you won't always prevail in the discussion. You won't always get your way, or win the day. And, unless we're going to be at odds with each all the time, you have to accept that and live with it, as gracefully as you can.

It's a discipline, which, if practiced consistently, might actually lead to an inner change of attitude. But at a minimum, we're all obliged to try to practice the discipline.

Not just on blogs, but in all aspects of life, I think.

You won't always get your way, or win the day. And, unless we're going to be at odds with each all the time, you have to accept that and live with it, as gracefully as you can.

I came across an interesting column the other day. The author was arguing that the real problem we have today, especially but not exclusively in the political sphere, is that we've lost the knack for losing gracefully.

Someone loses an election and immediately starts demonizing their opponents. Then settles in for protracted guerrilla warfare. The idea of actually working with an ex-opponent just doesn't seem to be part of the zeitgeist any more.

And we are all the poorer for it.

Shades of stocism....



(The 1:16 was @ russel's 11:14, if I may continue to devote too much thought to an idle 3-word passing comment...)

a moderate solecism.

The Designated Hitter should not be eliminated entirely. It should continue to be used in the All-Star game.

Obsidian Wings should not cease to exist, but it should be upgraded to a platform that knows how to deal with unclosed tags in comments. (Seriously, it's 2016!)

"that we've lost the knack for losing gracefully..."

Something we Brits, for many years, were reknowned for (& of necessity exemplified by our cricket team).
These days, I'm not so sure.

Mike Schilling and I are moderately solid on the Designated Hitter rule, despite the depredations it has brought to facets of the game in the American League.

Yes, keep it in the All-Star game.

I admit to coming around to an appreciation of the DH's allowance for defensive klutzes with live bats whose careers are lengthened, but also for those fine all-round ball players who, because of injury, can't play the defensive position any longer.

I look forward to Ted Williams' head being reattached to some sort of body in the future and hearing his name called as a pinch hitter by the stadium announcer.

This doesn't subtract from my distaste for the passing of the sacrifice bunt gambit practiced by pitchers and its accompanying skills for moving the runners into scoring position, especially in the American League.

I also mourn the passing of the professional pinch hitter, whose services are not required much any longer in the American League. Not that good ones aren't still around, but there is a thrill now missing from half of the major league games, and that would be the deadly hitman professional sitting at the end of the bench the entire game with his chosen hunk of lumber (Smokey Burgess, Jerry Lynch, Matt Stairs, and yes, Willie McCovey late in his career when his knees had turned into tofu). The pinch hitter's call, (unannounced, you'd see him appear on deck; it's over) would come late in the game with two guys on when two runs were needed and we enjoyed the ritual (now missed when it happens because of the f&cking commercial break) of his deliberate time spent in the on-deck circle honing and rubbing down his bat and checking its heft one more time before entering the batter's box and then a decisive battle in the war would begin.

But what I really hate is when I know that these pitchers are superb athletes and were probably among the best hitters on their high school and college teams and now they look like cats being dandled over water in the batter's box.

My Great Aunt Minnie took better swings, and she was dead before I was born. If I were a major league pitcher, I would practice in the batting cages all of the time and beg the manager to let me hit.

I love that the pitcher had to watch that whole ritual (it's like a man lying in bed waiting for his mistress to finish her preparations in the bathroom), usually a closer like Goose Gossage who you could tell was just thinking (and staring) c'mon meat, step in already and then enjoy the walk back to dugout oblivion), because me and my winning teammates are heading for dinner in a few minutes.

Another thing (besides those great-hitting pitchers; Madison Bumgarner in the National League is a current fearsome hitter) I miss about the pitcher hitting, in the American League, is when he gets to first base on a flare to the outfield, and time is called as the bat/ball boy trots out to help him on with his jacket, even on sweltering days, the arm being a commodity to be pampered.

It's like the "Bobby, HELP me, can we count it off one mo time?" moments in a James Brown set when Bobby rushes the cape out and there is the dramatic feigning of some sort of physical vulnerability, and then "yeah, I'm good, and no, tell Casey I don't need a pinch runner either."

So, in closing, get offa my lawn, but at a moderate pace, but also I believe when UN troops are finally called in to disarm dumbass America and set up universal healthcare, they should make sure the Designated Hitter scourge is kept at its current limitations.

I thought our modern political dialog made use of a "Designated Hitler Rule", but that's probably too inside baseball.

Hah, when I first read that comment knowing it was from Count I read it exactly as the designated Hitler rule.

same here.

A rather late observation. The tagline is in quotation marks, which implies that someone else is saying this. Precisely who is not clear, but one could infer that the heat packing kitty is saying this. This makes the notion of 'moderation' ironic and given Moe Lane's trajectory, him writing this tagline essentially gives a glimpse of the (or at least his) future.

Lenny Harris -- a record 212 major league pinch hits.

You could wake him up from a sound sleep at 3:00 am and he could deliver a 2-run single while still in his pajamas in the bottom of the ninth.

But stick him in the regular lineup and just an average hitter.

I'm trying to come up with a title of a prospective memoir by a professional pinch hitter regarding his hatred of the Designated Hitler Rule.

Something that rhymes with Mein Kampf.

"Mein .... what?

Hartmut, help us out.

Joe Gandelman runs an explicitly moderate blog, "The Moderate Voice". I suppose someone reads it, but I never see it mentioned, much less cited.

The commenters mostly agree with each other, so never have to defend their ideas.

Like Russell, I see "folks with another point of view" as "human beings like myself". Unlike Russell, perhaps, I don't say that as a compliment.

Human beings like myself are mostly lazy, cowardly, selfish, gullible, stubborn, and vain. It's a good thing the world contains many human beings who are NOT like myself.

Having said that, I agree that even human beings like myself are entitled to respect in almost every way -- the exception being: intellectually. That is, bad opinions are bad regardless how entitled a human being is to hold them. Opinions are not "entitled" to respect.

For example, belief in gods is an opinion in at least the same way as belief in atoms. In this day and age, we "respect" both opinions for some crazy reason. Racism is an opinion, as is belief in witchcraft. Is it immoderate to scorn either of those opinions?

The unfortunate thing is that human beings ARE their opinions. The "soul" of a human being is the mish-mash of opinions residing in its brain. I suspect that Christian Scientists and neuroscientists would both agree that if you change the opinions inside the skull of a human being you get a different "person". The ax-murderer who finds Jesus and repents his sins is "born again", for instance -- different opinions, different person.

On a much less dramatic scale, our old friend Brett would hardly remain the same person if his opinions on the 2nd Amendment changed. I would hardly remain the same person if I were persuaded to the opinion that a human zygote is a "person". (Or that a corporation is, for that matter.) Our opinions make us what we are. They are not clothes we put on.

And this is where vanity comes in and makes us feel that an attack on our opinions is an attack on our personhood. There are degrees to this, of course. Some opinions are like our noses, some like our fingernails: we are attached to both, but we're more willing to clip our fingernails than to get a nose job. Vanity, it must be said, can work both ways, when it comes to nose jobs and manicures. Nevertheless, as a general rule, we tend to love our opinions as ourselves.

The perpetual mystery, for me, is how we acquire our opinions in the first place. A lawyer friend of mine once claimed that persuasion is argument plus elapsed time. That was long ago, so I have had time to adopt that opinion as my own. In one way, it's a depressing view which amounts to this: you can't really change a person's opinions in the moment, no matter how strong your argument. In a more hopeful view, you make your argument, "agree to disagree", and sit back and let time do its work.

After a screed like this, that last bit is what I'm now inclined to do.


The commenters mostly agree with each other, so never have to defend their ideas.

So true!

I couldn't agree more! And what hsh said.

Moderate position on the DH:
If it was wonderful, the National League would have adopted it as well. And long since.
If it was horrible, the American League would have dropped it.

But no, it's just different. You can like what it does to change strategy in the game. (Or just because it makes the game more offense oriented.) Or dislike it for the same reason. (Or just because it's a change.)

But overall, it's a lot smaller change, and probably has less impact, than banning the spitter did.

The Fat Man: Roger Ailes (Eeewwww!)




and .... even without stricter gun control, he somehow and unfortunately is still with us, given America's odd collective penchant for shooting all of the wrong people:

You'd think at least one of the hot conservative blondes Ailes put the moves on all these decades would have defended herself with deadly force, since they believe it the answer for the rest of us.


I think this a moderate statement regarding Ailes: not only do I disagree with every opinion that has emerged from and his bevy of hot blondes' mouths, but I wouldn't lift a finger to defend their right to say it.

wj, if the spitter had been enshrined with this absurd wording, it would still be permitted.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear the spitter shall not be infringed.

I think Gaylord Perry often used exactly that wording when the heavy hand of gummint, in the guise of the home plate regulator, put it to him.

The Founders had never heard of Vaseline or Hair Gel in their infinite all-seeing wisdom.

So this DH thing, do the pitchers get paid less since they don't have to hit?

Heh. Heck, there are pitchers who hung em up years ago because of sore arms who are still pulling down 10 million a year.

Don't tell the American people about it though.

It might distract from their obsession with those deadbeat public school teachers who collect a paycheck during the summer months for vacationing in the South of France or worse, double dipping by working at Walmart for three months out of the year.

belief in atoms.

Wait, what?!?

Atoms are no longer a thing?

You're scaring me now, Tony P.

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