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Changing the rhetoric

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  • #16
    This reminds me of an argument I had in school.... a girl was espusing a Pro Choice position, and in doing so she refered to Pro Lifers as "Anti Choice"
    I'm a Pro Choice Voter myself so I didn't disagree with her point of view, I did disagree with the deamonizing of the opposition.... Pro Lifers are not out there to just remove choices... anymore than gun control advocates want to remove your right to chose. They believe in removing one specific choice, because they believe that choice is harmfull. Unfortunatly, as we have seen countless times on both sides of any issue, it's far easier to frame the argument so that you appear to be the good guy, then it is to debate actual meaning of the issues.
    The leason I took from my experiances at Earlham was that Liberals can be just as small minded as conservatives.


    • #17
      Well, I think there is a difference between a discussion of rhetoric and pop terminology. Pro-life can be a deceptive term. I'm not alone in thinking that a handfull of catholics who call themselves pro-life actually 'walk the walk' while some of their evangelical counterparts don't. That is to say someone opposed to abortion could legitimately call themselves pro-life if the also oppose war and the death penalty. I know some won't agree for emotional reasons. I've heard many people here in the south who call themselves pro-life but think that US policy in the middle east should be 'nuke first and ask questions later'. There are some really hard core types in the pro-life movement that believe that male masterbation and menstruation are forms of abortion. The truth of "Every sperm is sacred" is why that Monty Python skit is so funny.

      The need for 'changing the rhetoric' says more about the assault on our language. Politics and art are reduced to sound bites and acceptable phrases. We even use words to refer to other words. The "n-word"? Am I the only one who finds it kind of silly. What is the "L-word"? Is it 'love' or 'lesbian'? I heard there is a "k-word", but I don't know what that is. I do know what the "s-word" is and I think it aptly describes the state of poltics in the US.

      I say that the US desperately needs a restoration in the art of debate. People need to educate themselves enough to think critically so that they could argue effectively more than one side of an issue. The US has one party rule at present, and we can't pretend to be a democracy when we meet the definitions of a dictatorship.


      • #18
        Okay my hypocircy detector is going off.... How are we meeting the defintion of a dictatorship?
        At I found

        dicآ·taآ·torآ·ship Audio pronunciation of "Dictatorship" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dk-ttr-shp, dkt-)

        1. The office or tenure of a dictator.
        2. A state or government under dictatorial rule.
        3. Absolute or despotic control or power.
        dicآ·taآ·tor Audio pronunciation of "Dictator" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dkttr, dk-t-)

        1. An absolute ruler.
        2. A tyrant; a despot.
        2. An ancient Roman magistrate appointed temporarily to deal with an immediate crisis or emergency.
        3. One who dictates: These initials are those of the dictator of the letter.

        Well since Bush isn't an absolute ruler thanks to our system of checks and balances... that gets shot down..

        A tyrant or a despot well lets look that up...
        desآ·pot Audio pronunciation of "despot" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dspt)

        1. A ruler with absolute power.
        2. A person who wields power oppressively; a tyrant.
        1. A Byzantine emperor or prince.
        2. An Eastern Orthodox bishop or patriarch.
        1 is already shot down...
        2. Well one can argue that, but not really viably... Bush has consolidated some power, but recent supream court rulings against the adminstration tend to shoot down this ideea...
        3. That would just be silly.

        If Kerry wins the electoral vote, I hope Bush wins the popular vote... that way we can see whose a hypocrit on both sides of the isle...

        Originally posted by Priapus
        The US has one party rule at present, and we can't pretend to be a democracy when we meet the definitions of a dictatorship.


        • #19
          I agree it's a mistake to throw around words like 'diictatorship' and Nazi when in fact we're a long, long way from that, though it's clear to me that Bush and Co have the usual right wing anal retention problems and just don't know how to give up control. We have the control, you just do what we want, should be the message constantly given to our elected politiians. Remind 'em who's boss.
          However I'm not sure that someone who comes up with such a loaded phrase as Pro Life when, as mentioned, they are usually far from being Pro Life, should fairly be called Anti Choice. If they are against the death penalty and the war, then, I agree, they are not what you'd call excessively Pro Life...
          Which brings me back to my carp about Constitutional law and how it imposes laws on people who are not yet finished with their debate.
          In England Common Law determined, via parliamentary debate, how many days a foetus can have been inthe womb before it's deemed to
          be a person, as it were. The debate accepted that it was better for women to have control of their own decisions in this matter, but determined what could reasonably be aborted (except in certain exceptional cases). It meant that although there are a few fundamentalist Pro Lifers in the UK, they aren't as aggressive in general, nor are they as numerous as the American wing.
          I've often approved of legislation imposed by Constitutional law, because it tends to reflect my progressive view. But some States inthis union are more progressive than others. I think this is another reason for considering putting more power back into the hands of individual States.
          (OK, OK, I have an ulterior motive -- but EVERYONE has suitcases of Confederate Dollars in their basement don't they ?)

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          • #20
            I meant dictatorship in the nicest possible way. One party rule is all I meant. I know I had a dictionary that had that definition. I'm not so young that I don't remember governments called dictatorships when there was one party rule and not absolute authority under one despot. If I threw the word around to easily, then I ask the question; have we refered to other governements as dictatorships that weren't, when we were prosecuting our cold war?


            • #21
              Oops, I forgot to login with that last post. Well, I accidentally washed a good dark shirt in hot with my whites. Not good. Sorry about that dictatorship remark. More because it gave the illusion that I fit on one side of an isle when I don't. I've had time to sort out my error in thinking. I still like divided government. I don't mean checks and balances. But divided government in terms of political parties. It helps with that check and balances thing, but I'd be the first to admit that I talk a lot of politics and know next to nothing really about it. Sorry about that.


              • #22
                I still have to disagree with the "Anti-Choice" lable. Yes many Pro-lifers are also pro-death penalty, but that doesn't mean that we should paint everyone with the same brush... frankly I think we should refer to them as pro and anti abortion and leave it at that.


                • #23
                  Just out of curiosity, do anti-abortionists refer to themselves as "Pro-Life"? Or is it a term that others use for them?

                  "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild


                  • #24
                    I'll probably get into trouble for saying this too, especially since I am so disinterested and ill-equiped in the abortion issue. Being male, it tends not to move me. It was my understanding that the terms 'Pro-Life' and 'Pro-Choice' are a marketing discussion. Somebody had the notion that the prefix "Pro" is far better than "Anti". "Pro" means something more positive and who would say that they are "Anti-choice" or "Anti-Life", and yet by saying you are "Pro" dash something positive, you implicate the countering view as "Anti" dash something positive.

                    While I recognize these terms as loaded, I respect both sides enough to call them "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice" because I know they mean well, and they deserve that level of respect. I think "Pro-Life" folk who oppose the war and the death penalty don't get enough press because we like these rigid lines drawn a certain way now. Being moderate or independant can get you in more trouble than taking sides.

                    I should also add that I believe in the electoral collage system and that Bush won the election. I inadvertently gave someone the wrong idea about that too. Sorry.


                    • #25
                      We need to debate ideas rather than semantics, which is made difficult by those who believe that there are no ideas, just semantics. I belive one of the key distinctions between British and continental philosophy is that the latter school assumes that there are no facts, just interpretations. :?

                      In my case, "pro-choice" is certainly more accurate than "pro-abortion." It would be wrong to characterize my thoughts and feelings as "pro-abortion," but I do believe in a woman's right to control her own body. Ergo, I am "pro-choice."


                      • #26
                        I agree with Carter on that last, fine point. The notions "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice" are, to my mind, marketing. Would the idea of "Pro-Abortion" scare off supporters? I know for me it would; I believe women should have the right to choose, but, was I ever in the position to have to deal with that situation (and in fact my wife and I were) I would not choose abortion. I would not want to be in the "Pro-Abortion" group, because that is not accurate.

                        This is important, though, becuase of the way we have become slaves to the language around us. Which, I think, is Mike's point. I take his point to use "rhetoric" not in the sense of some underlying falsehood, but "rhetoric" in the sense that we are using a set of canned words to refer to concepts, and we have lost touch with that connection or reference point. We have talked about the incongruity of Pro-lifers being Pro-death penalty, but what about on a more simple (and admittedly more obscure) level? Pro-lifers that would kill a doctor that performed abortions?


                        • #27
                          The very idea that anyone is "pro-abortion" seems callously idiotic to me. "Pro-Abortion" sounds like something a judgemental Christian fanatic would call a pro-choice person in an attempt to heap on that special brand of godly guilt.
                          "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                          --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars


                          • #28
                            I believe that both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are epetaphs chosen by their respective sidezs.
                            Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                            Just out of curiosity, do anti-abortionists refer to themselves as "Pro-Life"? Or is it a term that others use for them?



                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Kitsune
                              You meant "epithets," right? An epitaph is the inscription on a headstone.

                              I suspect the term "Pro-Life" came as a retort to the term "Pro-Choice." I would go further to speculate that it was meant to carry with it the implication that people who are "Pro-Choice" are "Anti-Life."
                              "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                              --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars


                              • #30
                                I think you are right, Psychic. It's all in the presentation, isn't it??