May 28, 2009
I once got into a loooong debate with a very good friend and coworker about abortion as it pertained to politics. I argued (and still say) that it was counterproductive politically and pragmatically to support banning abortion even if you thought it was murder because, as Ace often says, it isn't an argument based on logic and cannot be 'won.' I said the best way to approach it was to target the people actually making the decision to get abortions and convince them not to. I argued that persuasion would be far more effective at lowering the number of abortions than persecution.
Similarly, I have argued with several absolutists in the gay marriage debate that their all or nothing approach would be counterproductive and only postpone something that, at least to me, seems demographically inevitable. I argued that the only way gay marriage wouldn't become the law of the land is if the advocates were sufficiently belligerent to convince people they must be wrong.
Two recent polls seem to support my arguments. One shows an amazing increase in people that identify themselves as Pro-Choice while the other shows a severe decline in national support for gay marriage. As Instapundit notes:
I think the behavior of those arguing for gay marriage has as much to do with the polls.
Exactly right. Since, as Ace has stated* before, these two arguments run fundamentally on an emotional level it stands to reason that the general likability of the combantants has as much to do with people's opinions as their arguments. Probably vastly moreso. People see violent gay marriage protests and offensive, racist behavior and they are emotionally turned away from the cause as well as the few moronic actors.
Similarly, the general turn in the Pro-Life community from being simply anti-abortion to a more evolved, actual pro-life stance has obviously yielded amazing results. Telling someone they shouldn't get an abortion because you will love your child is far more effective than telling them they don't even have a choice.
In the end, the merits of all these arguments have never been able to convince me one way or the other. On abortion I'm pro-choice provided that society's position is one of strong lobbying for life. In other words, I think women should have a choice but that choice should pretty much always be life.
* - I can't find the link right now but I'll try to later (or one of you could find that long piece...)
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