Flame On

Tonight I hate post-modernism more than usual. A quote:

“Well, you have the right to your opinion but you don’t have the right to force it on me. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

There is nothing wrong with the quote itself — nothing at all. Civil people sometimes have no choice but to be quiet and change the subject, and the ability to do so respectfully is something to be admired. The problem lies just behind the words. With the most heated topics, we pretend that we can agree to disagree and both of us can go on being right. It’s not that we both think we’re right. It’s not that we both feel we’re right. We just are, both of us, with our completely different positions.

I have written about relativism before, and I find it an infuriating topic, so I had hoped one attempt would get it out of my system. Maybe it did for awhile, but the post-modern mindset is so prevalent at school that the frequent barrages are more than my slim patience will stomach in silence. Not everyone is right. If two people hold two different stances on a moral issue, one of them is holding the wrong one.

So harsh! Even as I type it I hear my professors and my peers telling me how narrowminded that is. This is why I sit in class quietly crushing my pen. Either right is right and wrong is wrong, or there is no reason to ever discuss anything. We beam about tolerance and exhort one another to consider varying views, but if no one is right, who gives a damn?

But everyone is right, you might say. Each of us must choose how we will perceive the world and find the truth from an individualistic angle. Nope. Sorry. You can accept that, with any given topic, there will be some people who are right and other people who are wrong, or you can forget about debate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not everyone is entitled to being correct. Logic simply won’t allow it.

Why am I so cranky? In class this evening we talked about abortion. The quote above comes from a recorded radio interview with a Canadian doctor who performs abortions. After listening to several minutes of a call-in from a Canadian mother who half-reasonably expressed her opinions, and several minutes of the doctor expressing his own, we discussed our reactions to the conversation. The mother was not 100% collected or prepared, but made several good points. The doctor, meanwhile, repeated several variations of the quote above (“You have no right to push your beliefs on others,” etc.) and mixed in a tangent about how aborted fetuses, like sperm and unfertilized eggs, are merely potential life.

I probably could have shrugged it off, and come home, and watched football, except that one of the students in class pointed out how “interesting” the point about wasted sperm and eggs was. No. No, you can’t connect the potential for life with LIFE. This Canadian doctor puts the capital ‘Q’ in ‘Quack,’ and one of the 20 people in class agrees with him enough to share it with the rest of us. An 8-week old fetus, with brainwaves and a pulse, is not logically or legally similar to an unfertilized egg or sperm.

Discuss. Debate. If needed, agree to disagree. But once you start blurring fact and opinion, either you can take two steps back or you can march onward into irrelevance. We talked for an hour about a woman’s right to her body, flaws in the adoption system, the injustice of teenage girls being forced to follow through with unwanted pregnancies… and never once wandered near the elephant in the middle of the room. It’s completely unbelievable how deep we will reach to justify people avoiding responsibility for their actions.

I could barrel on for five more paragraphs, but the bottom line? A woman’s right to choose, the reproductive freedom we hear about; she practices those when she decides whether or not to have sex. Exception cases – the mother’s safety, rape, incest – are the only issues that should be in contention when it comes to abortion. Mistakes can have horrible consequences, but a society which erases inconvenient lives under the guise of humanitarianism is one in desperate need of getting its priorities straight.

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