Posted by: bridget | 18 December 2006

Philosophic Consistency

Abortion.  Death penalty.  Eating meat.  The pachyderm always finds it interesting to contemplate the internal inconsistency in (liberal) views on the  triumvirate of life issues. 

The typical conservative ideology is internally consistent: only guilty human life can be ended; human life is more important than animal life.  The Catholic ideology (pro-life, anti-death penalty, agnostic on meat) position makes sense in terms of protecting all human life but having little regards for animal life, as humans are not animals.  Likewise, those who are pro-choice or agnostic on all issues use the same logic with respect to all three issues: it’s your own damn choice.  

The traditional pro-abortion, anti-omnivorous, anti-death penalty stance is simply illogical.  The existance of possibly innocent life (i.e. those on death row) is used as a defense against the death penalty but not against abortion (by definition, innocent life).  Until birth, human life is of less importance than animal life or animal suffering; afterwards, humans and animals receive the same treatment.  Please explain this one to the pachyderm.

(Traditional pachyderm rant, inspired by Peter Singer’s disguisting pro-abortion, pro-infanticide, pro-vegan stance.) 



  1. Pachyderm, it’s really quite simple. We’re all human, hence we’re all flawed on some level or another.

    This reality extends beyond the issues you listed above – just turn on the TV for many examples of possible contradictions in what would be considered noble professions – cops can be criminals, doctors can be cruel, and firemen can save lives but be generally horrible human beings themselves. (The Shield, House MD, and Rescue Me)

    The only question for most people is, when they realize their flaws, do they attempt to make themselves better, or do they just accept it’s part of who they are?

  2. True, but completely unrelated to anything on this blog. A person can be horribly flawed but utterly consistent in his philosophical outlook on life. Philosophic consistency does not measure “badness” or inner contradiction: it measures how much value we should ascribe to a person’s belief. More importantly, it is a guiding post for resolving controversial policy issues.

    The point is NOT to determine whether people are good or bad based on their personal policy decisions, but to make the law a “seamless web.” Frankly, I don’t give a flying f-ck whether or not the people who hold those various beliefs are “good” or not – but I sincerely DO care whether they advocate one standard in one place and another standard in another place.

    If you would like to discuss the nobility of various professions, start your own blog.

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