2016 Election

Why the Pro-Life Movement May be Damaged for Decades if We Help Elect Donald Trump for President – Guest Post

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(this is a guest post from Richard Poupard. The original post was published on his facebook wall, and you can find that here)

Authors Note: I wrote this piece prior to the video recording of Trump making light of sexually assaulting women and stating that he gets away with it because of his celebrity. I believe it bolsters my argument but I choose not to address it directly, for it is fairly self-evident.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-12-40-32-pmI have voted for the Republican nominee for president in every election since I became eligible to vote (7 in a row). I am firmly convinced of the intrinsic value of the unborn and have defended our case passionately on these pages and elsewhere. I reject the arguments of those like Rachel Held Evans who claim that the most pro-life thing to do is to vote for the more pro-choice candidate. I do not endorse any of the major party candidates for this election. However, looking at the oncoming train wreck of this cycle, I have come to a very troubling conclusion:

The election of Donald Trump has the potential to damage the pro-life cause to the point that it could take years if not decades to recover.

I believe that we sometimes forget that our goal is not only to use the political system to nominate and confirm Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v Wade. Our goal is also to impact our culture to value every human being because they are made in the Image of God. To value those most vulnerable and at risk and protect them from those more powerful. To respect other human beings not for their power or achievement, but due to the inherent dignity given to them by their Creator. To protect the life and dignity of not only human beings in the womb, but each and every one of us. Those are the bedrock principles of our movement, and without them, we are merely another group seeking political power.

I have not only been convicted of the rightness of the rational defense of the pro-life view, but I’ve been surprised that it hasn’t been more effective in the marketplace of ideas. Our rational case is very strong, and when the public is not convicted by a strong rational argument, it is often the case that the reason is fear. In this case, there is fear that in an attempt to protect the unborn, pro-life advocates desire to “turn back the clock” to many of the societal ills and attitudes that plagued women in the pre-Roe period. Compounding this is the notion that many pro-lifers believe that almost worships the time before Roe – a “Back to the good old days” mentality that reinforces that fear. We tend to forget that despite the fact that abortion was illegal then, the cultural bias against women–though not morally equivalent to abortion–was also a serious moral wrong. We can save prenatal children without making the same mistakes we have made in the past.

It reminds me of someone who speaks about how wonderful air travel used to be in the early days. Travel for those who could afford it was a glamourous event in the 60s, with beautiful stewardesses serving well-dressed travelers in an opulent setting. I can understand why it appears better than today’s experience. However, we quickly forget that this wonderful experience was provided by crass sexist policies of the airline owners. These beautiful stewardesses were fired if they weighed over 130 pounds, became married, or turned 32. Women had to endure degrading measurements of their bust, waist and hips by their bosses in order to keep their job. Yes, I too would love to improve the present experience of air travel, but at the expense of supporting sexist degrading policies that we have had in the past.

This fear often is expressed with the arguments that pro-lifers do not care or value women in an unintended pregnancy situation. Our only concern is her fetus. Of course I strongly disagree with this, and have argued that our support of pregnancy resource centers amongst others as evidence that the vast majority of those claiming to be pro-life care deeply for women. It is a standard for our movement that every human being be valued and respected and there is no need to choose between mother and child. However, I do find that the attitude of many of our opponents is that we do not care if a woman’s value is trampled as long as the fetus is protected. That we are willing to sacrifice the value of adult women as collateral damage as long as someone has the political power help us end abortion. This is absolutely not true, and we should seek to spread that message far and wide.

Enter Donald Trump.

Unlike Trump’s supposed pro-life views, his history regarding the value of women is longstanding, consistent, and well documented. The list of devaluing names that he has used in regards to women is so long that it would get downright boring to read. Just go to his twitter feed and it’s hard to go by a single day that he fails to use an offensive term to a woman. Calling an accomplished journalist a “bimbo” and stating that she had “blood coming out of her wherever” when challenged with his history of sexist comments. Comparing the attractiveness of his Republican rival Ted Cruz’ wife to his (third) wife, a not-so-veiled insinuation that the youthful physical beauty of his wife is evidence of his power and prowess. He has called women “fat”, “pig”, “slob”, “dogs”, and “disgusting animals”.

I could go on for ten more pages but I want to focus on two tweets that reveal so much about his attitude and “old-school” view that is viewed as a legitimate threat to the women that we are trying to reach with the truth of the pro-life position. During the first debate, his opponent criticized his record on treating women, bringing up the example of Trump calling his first Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping”. He is recorded openly discussing her weight, stating that she went from 116-117 pounds to 160-170 and then stated “this is somebody who likes to eat.” She has since become an American citizen and supports Trump’s opponent.

Cue Trump’s twitter feed:

“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?”

When confronted with evidence of treating women poorly he responds by attacking her sexual history, which had nothing to do with the question at hand. Furthermore, he speaks very boldly for someone who has bragged about his extra-marital affairs and has spoken on a national radio show telling the host the celebrities that he would “do”. Someone who has appeared in a playboy soft-core video himself. This harkens back to a time in which a man’s sexual history and prowess were celebrated while a single women’s history brought shame and rejection. The act in which he brags of makes her disgusting. He’s a stud. She’s a whore. And a fat one at that.

Here’s another:

“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

Trump brags about his own affairs, but has repeatedly referred to his opponent’s husband’s affairs as evidence of her inability to lead. This harkens back to the days a man’s infidelity could be blamed on his wife not performing adequately in the bedroom. A man has got to get his somewhere, and if his wife ceases to “satisfy” him he is justified in breaking his marriage vows. Somehow she’s to blame. This view is not only antiquated; it is absolutely disgusting.

The point of view that these tweets (and many more) represent should be loudly rejected and disavowed by anyone who believes that human beings are intrinsically valuable. Acceptance of anyone who openly espouses these views and treats women as he does undermines our arguments that we do care about all humans. Stating these views from the office of the presidency as a result of our support will have a devastating effect on those we are trying to reach for years to come. Making a principled argument that we care about women dissolves in the aftermath of supporting a Trump presidency. Is it worth it?

On the other hand, Trump claims to be the more pro-life candidate, and has offerred an impressive list of SCOTUS candidates that he will nominate if elected. Of course, his pro-life convictions are quite recently acquired, he did not mention abortion in his acceptance speech, his lifestyle and personal decisions are quite contrary to those with pro-life beliefs, and he tends to change his mind on many issues. Shouldn’t we automatically support the candidate that gives us the best chance to overturn Roe v Wade? The candidate with the best chance to increase our political power and thus enact just laws?

One principled pro-life argument is about power vs. intrinsic value. It is wrong to allow someone more powerful to impose their immoral will on a powerless and vulnerable human being. We do not allow a powerful individual to determine our value and worth. Yet the empty promise of short term political power is the only thing that Trump brings to the table. In our just quest to overturn a wrong court decision we may have become blind to our founding principles. As long as we endorse a sexist buffoon that merely gives lip service to the pro-life cause, we open ourselves up to the argument that we care little about other human beings. This is a sacrifice I do not believe we can afford to make.

Even under the very unlikely best case scenario, the benefits of Trump are highly questionable. If he keeps his promise and nominates pro-life judges, then somehow develops the political acumen to get them confirmed through a hostile senate, what will be actually gained? I understand that many believe that Trump will limit the potential legal damage that could occur from 4 more years of a Democratic president. However, what then? The damage that would be done to our pro-life principles could last for decades, as well as our ability to elect solid pro-life politicians in the future. Gaining a small amount of political ground while increasing our difficulty in reaching those that we need to reach is a price that we should not be willing to pay.

I do not look forward to another pro-choice president, but our movement has survived them in the past, and I believe is strong enough to do so in the future, as long as we keep our principles intact. If we are committed to long term change and remain devoted for human rights and dignity for each and every human being, womb to grave, we will insist that those who desire our support share our principles. We will reject candidates from either side of the political spectrum who degrade the dignity and respect of human beings by their actions and words. We will not be swayed by empty promises for potential short term political gain at the long term expense of our core principles.

As pro-life advocates, we all share the goal to eliminate the horror of elective abortion as soon as possible. We seek a culture that values each and every human being. Virtually every pro-life advocate I’ve encountered shares these views, and they are essential to support our viewpoint. Should we signal every politician that you may gain our support merely by stating a desire to overturn Roe v Wade? Even if they have historically disregarded virtually every principle that we stand on? I realize that most pro-lifers did not support Trump until the other Republican candidates failed. But by our continued support we still remain aligned with him, and bear some of the stink that his presidency would emit.

I believe the long term consequences of supporting Trump outweigh the potential short term political benefits from his presidency. We have a history of recovering from pro-choice presidential cycles – but our ideals and principles have never been tested by supporting someone with a disdain for human respect, value and dignity like Donald Trump.

Richard J. Poupard

10 Reasons to Vote Johnson/Weld, Even Though They Suck

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This entire election season is a joke. In terms of numbers, Clinton and Trump have more disapproval than approval ratings. The libertarian party, being the most popular 3rd party, really had a chance to shine. They had the opportunity to stand as a clear, level-headed, real alternative that reasonable people on both sides could choose. The libertarian message appeals to both progressives and conservatives, while simultaneously applying a consistent principle of liberty to all areas of life. Libertarians generally want to decrease corruption, get the government out of your personal life and let you live your life the way you see fit, support the troops in the most reasonable way possible, reform failing programs (like education and health care) that will produce real results, protect our natural rights here at home, and stimulate the economy in real, meaningful, and long-lasting ways.

But we ended up with Gary Johnson and Bill Weld.
*heavy sigh*

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-10-26-43-amI can only imagine that the delegates who chose these two were thinking of name recognition and experience as successful republican governors in democrat-heavy states. And I suppose that makes sense, from a superficial perspective. Johnson and Weld view libertarianism as the best of republicanism and the best of progressivism, even if that’s not how libertarianism is meant to be understood.
Libertarianism should be seen as a consistent application of individual liberty in all areas of life, not some kind of random smattering of this and that. If we view libertarianism like that, neither Johnson or Weld are libertarians. They approach social issues like progressives, in that they favor using government force to get people to cooperate. This is not tolerance, it is totalitarianism. With Johnson’s numerous gaffes [#WhatIsAleppo #IShouldGetSmarter], he has shown himself to be less than an ideal candidate, to put it very lightly. And Weld has shown himself to be nothing more than a Hillary Clinton apologist, which is profoundly disappointing. No, Hillary Clinton is not “honest” or “a good kid”, you butt-hole.

However, even though they both suck, I am still going to vote for them.
And here’s why:

  1. I’ve heard your arguments and I’ve responded to them all.
    • A vote for a 3rd party is not actually a vote for Trump or Clinton. Trump/Clinton never had my vote, so refusing to vote for Trump/Clinton isn’t “mathematically” a vote for Clinton/Trump.
      Stop saying that.
    • The only truly wasted vote is a vote that isn’t cast. Or a vote for someone you hate. I refuse to waste my vote. If everyone “wasted their vote” this year, we could have Johnson in the White House.
    • I am not voting against Trump because he’s said mean things. I’m not voting against Clinton because she’s a woman. I’m voting against both of those idiots because they have terrible political philosophies, bad policy plans, and they’re awful people who are dragging American political discourse through the trash.
    • If Trump/Clinton really needed my vote, perhaps they should have been more libertarian.
    • The reason a 3rd party can’t win is because no one votes for a 3rd party, and the reason no one votes for a 3rd party is because a 3rd party can’t win. It’s a vicious circle. Break the cycle.
    • I am voting on principle, not for some lame, lesser-of-two-evils, pragmatic utilitarian reason.
    • Exactly how evil do the two main candidates have to be before we vote against them both?
      I choose the 2016 election.
  2. When you compare the platforms of Johnson/Weld to the platforms of the other candidates that will be on my ballot (I’m in NY, so it’s Trump/Pence, Clinton/Kaine, Johnson/Weld, and Stein/Baraka), I am much closer to Johnson/Weld than I am to any of the other ones.
  3. I have considered myself a libertarian for several years, and if I’m going to vote along “party lines”, that would be the libertarian party. That entails a vote for Johnson/Weld. I don’t consider it a “hold my nose and vote” vote, because I agree with a fair amount of what they have done and said in terms of policy proposals.
  4. Johnson/Weld will not win. I’m not stupid. However, there is a remote possibility that Johnson could win, but it is actually impossible for Weld to win. Let me explain.
    • In order to win the presidency, a candidate much get 270 electoral votes. If this doesn’t happen (because 3rd party candidates won some states), the president is chosen by the House of Representatives. They choose the president from the top 3 (which will be Trump, Clinton, & Johnson) and the vice president from the top 2 (which will be Pence & Kaine).
      It is a slim possibility, but it’s not impossible to have a Johnson/Pence white house, and that is a combination I can support without feeling violated.
  5. Johnson has said that he does not plan on running in the 2020 election, and I am so happy. Perhaps we can get a principled libertarian who is also a good communicator in for 2020. I don’t think voting against Johnson is going to send an audible message to the moronic delegates who chose him for this election.
  6. If the libertarian party gets 5% in the election, they will qualify for federal funds for elections. I’m not saying I approve of my tax dollars going towards political propaganda, but if there’s nothing we can do about the existence and purpose of the money, I’d like to see the libertarian party get some of it. This will change the way libertarians run for president, and that’s a good thing. And the libertarian party is the only party that might actually repeal the tax-dollars-for-political-campaign-propaganda crap!
  7. I am more concerned with voting against Trump and Clinton than I am with voting for Johnson. If Johnson didn’t exist, I’d likely write in Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party or cast a blank ballot. I am voting 3rd party as a protest vote against the Republican/Democrat duopoly. It is clear that neither the republicans or democrats represent anything close to what I believe.
  8. Abortion. Yes, I know. Johnson is pro-choice.
    But Johnson also recognizes that the federal government should have never gotten involved in the abortion debate, because the constitution has not explicitly given abortion to the federal government.
  9. It has been 108 years for the Cubs.
    It has been 156 years for a 3rd party candidate. #AbrahamLincoln
    IT’S THE CURRENT YEAR!
    Q.E.D.
  10. I’ve always wanted a president without eyebrows.

Are You Seriously Voting 3rd Party? Why!? – Elijah’s Blog

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I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, but I didn’t disagree with Romney on most things. So I was voting FOR Romney, not just against Obama. I thought of myself as a conservative in 2012.

I voted for John McCain in 2008, but I wasn’t really all that informed back then. That’s when I was going through my atheism/apologetics phase, so I really wasn’t paying much attention to politics. But my parents were conservative and what they said made sense, so I went along with what they said.

I was 17 in 2004 so I didn’t vote.

My chosen candidate has lost 100% of the elections in which I’ve voted. Granted, it’s only 2 elections, but I don’t know what it’s like to have voted for a winner.
I know only loss.

This election is different for me for a number of reasons.
photo-1428976343495-f2c66e701b2bThe primary reason is that I consider myself a libertarian, not a conservative. And this is due to diligent study in the areas of economics and political philosophy. I remember, in 2013, thinking to myself, “this political game is so stupid. I don’t know what news sources to trust, I don’t know what I think the government should do, I don’t know any economics or political philosophy… I don’t know anything. And I need to know.”
I was near the end of my undergraduate studies in biology & philosophy, so I started studying. I didn’t know which direction to go, so I followed a clue given to me by 2 things:

1. A very convincing argument by professor James Stacey Taylor, who explained how a free market in human kidneys made the donor and the recipient more well off. From this, I had a direction to go in terms of economic study. I figured, if the data pointed in that direction for something as important as organ donation, it could probably work in other, less important areas.

2. The anger I felt when I was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. Who was the government to tell me that I had to be protected from myself? From this, I had a foundational principle on which to guide my study on the government role in our social lives. If the government was not justified in legislating something that only effected me, what role did it have?
(if you’re interested, I go more into that here )

From there, I’ve read books, watched debates, read articles, listened to podcasts, engaged with people of different perspectives, and ultimately landed on what many would call “minarchism”.
Minarchism is the idea that the government should be here to serve very few, very limited purposes. It is here to protect our natural rights (the rights we have by simply being a member of the human community), and to insure that we have maximum liberty in the social and economic spheres.

I say all of this because it helps lay the backdrop for why I absolutely refuse to vote for either Trump or Clinton. They do not represent me, nor do they come close to representing what I see as a proper function of government. I don’t care that Trump has said nasty things or that Clinton has a shrill voice. I care because when you vote for someone, you are consenting to being governed by them. I do not consent to being governed by either one of them.
I see them as authoritarians.
I see them as restricting liberty.
I see them both as doing damage to the US, economically and socially.

You may disagree. That’s fine. You’re wrong but I’m done trying to change your mind. However, I find it incredibly strange that so many people believe that I ought to sacrifice everything I’ve studied and believe and vote for someone who I think is slightly less totalitarian than the other.
Why can’t I vote against totalitarianism?
Why is a vote against authoritarianism a bad thing?

I have to wonder… how absolutely awful do the two primary candidates have to be before we, as informed people, think “wow, these two really, really suck. I can’t reasonably vote for either”.

Many people have chosen to vote against different flavors of totalitarianism before now. The 2016 election is so obviously that time in my mind. Perhaps 2020 will be that time in your mind.
Maybe 2024.

I’m choosing to vote 3rd party while that option still exists, even if the 3rd party candidates don’t really have a chance at winning.
I am voting against Trump.
I am voting against Clinton.

I am doing this because I care about my country.
I am doing this because I care about my kids. I care about your kids.

We have a long road ahead, but REAL change starts today.
Please join me in voting against both flavors of totalitarianism.

What is Really at Stake in the 2016 Election? – Elijah’s Blog

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ballot-voteLet’s imagine that you are a part of the vast majority of human beings in the US who thinks that Trump and Clinton are the two worst possible candidates for the president of the united states. On one hand, we have an openly corrupt, morally inept, economically illiterate, inconsistent, lying, totalitarian maniac. And on the other hand, we have an openly corrupt, morally inept, economically illiterate, inconsistent, lying, totalitarian maniac.

What should we do?

Well, there are only 2 options. But not the options you think.
Here is the real binary choice for those of you who can’t stand Trump or Clinton:

  1. Sacrifice your principles on the altar of utilitarian pragmatism and vote for corruption, lies, immorality, and totalitarianism.
  2. Retain your principles, vote against both grossly immoral, corrupt, lying, disgusting candidates, vote against the two-party system.
    Oh and the people voting for Trump & Clinton will try to guilt you into voting for their disgusting candidate, as if their candidate deserves your vote or something.

Now which one is a better option?
Should you sacrifice your principles?
Or should you retain your principles and endure a little bit of uninformed ridicule?

The choice is clear.
Principle > Party.
Principle > Pragmatism.
Principle > Utilitarianism.

Episode 13 – Is Abortion Like Getting a Tooth Pulled? (and some updates)

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iTunes LogoHi everyone! In this episode, I give an overview of the 2016 election, a brief discussion of reducing abortion rates, and explain why abortion is (and is not) like getting a tooth pulled. Thanks for listening, sharing, rating, and reviewing!

To listen to this episode in a new window, click here!