Thursday, 19 June 2003

"Choose life" disingenuity

Bill Hobbs argues that Tennessee’s “Choose Life” license plate isn’t a political statement in and of itself, but rather that “pro-abortion” politicians are “racing to politicize it anyway.” Bill argues:

Of course, the lawsuit would fail—as it has in other states—because the two-word phrase “Choose Life” is neither political nor religious. In fact, the phrase is objectively pro-choice: it acknowledges that people have a choice and simply urges them to choose life over death. Courts across the nation have already shot down the kind of legal arguments the Tennessee ACLU is threatening to make.

Bill may be right about the legalities (although in the comments at, Wyeth points out that South Carolina’s courts have accepted the ACLU’s argument), but he’s being highly disingenous here—at least at the level of Glenn Reynolds’ “objectively pro-Saddam,” and James Taranto’s “Y is raising questions about X’s patriotism.”

Furthermore, the “Choose Life” plate places the state in the position of advocating a particular choice by its citizens, and, worse than the activities of the odious Office of National Drug Control Policy (but on a par with the CDC’s anti-tobacco efforts), it advocates that choice over other legal choices. Just because the message is on a individual license plate rather than a billboard doesn’t make it less offensive.

More Col. Reb blowback

As expected, today’s Daily Mississippian was full of the controversy: the editorial (laying on the “the administration lied” meme very thick, as is the wont of DM editorials), the cartoon, two staff columns (proish and conish), a reactions piece, and two letters (one picking up the “they lied” meme and the other, er, picking up the “they lied” meme).

Also, from the blogosphere (via Feedster): Mason Wilson at Unlearned Hand, an Ole Miss alum, approves of the plan, while Big Jim doesn’t.