Thursday, 24 March 2005

Compromising democrats

The Democrats offered a compromise on abortion that wasn’t a compromise at all. One of Ross’s commenters (see link) made a suggestion that is a real compromise and fits quite nicely with my own views on both the death penalty and abortion: pass a constitutional amendment that bans post-first-trimester abortions and ends the death penalty in this country.

It has the benefit of matching my views, which I’m sure everyone is concerned about, and it wouldn’t come down from our robed masters at SCOTUS. If it did pass it would represent a real consensus that we don’t get from SCOTUS rulings. It won’t happen, though, because the Left isn’t interested in compromising, but rather holding their own views in place and calling it a consensus.

(þ: Jane)


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pass a constitutional amendment that bans first-trimester abortions and ends the death penalty in this country.

Did you mean to write “post-first-trimester abortions”? If not, that’s not much of a compromise you’re offering.

Personally, I think the “hypothetical compromise” game is a pretty silly one for armchair pundits like us to play. No single individual, and no sufficiently small group, is in a position to offer a compromise. There are no negotiators representing “the left” and “the right” who could make a credible commitment and bargain in good faith.

Insofar as the “left” and “right” are anything more than convenient labels for pundits to sling around, they are merely ad hoc coaliations that are no position to offer compromise on issues, trading A for B, because those interested in A (e.g. abortion rights) and those opposed to B (e.g. capital punishment) are not the same people at all.



You’re of course right. I read the sentence and saw what I wanted, rather than what I wrote.

The hypothetical compromise deal isn’t as bad as long as you have realistic expectations (to me, anyway). Ideas are put forward and a consensus can emerge once enough people have seen them. One example: Condi Rice for President. As far as I know, she hasn’t been pushing this idea, but it emerged naturally. The same could happen on abortion and the death penalty.

Either way, while I want to see the death penalty ended, I want it to be done the right way: at the state level or via amendment.

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