I don’t have cable anymore, so I hear this stuff kind of late sometimes. Bill O’Reilly said something on Monday night that sounds looney to me because it fails the test of reason.
From The Blaze:
“Abortion is settled law in the USA, but it should be discouraged, because human DNA is present upon conception,” O’Reilly said. “Thus the situation becomes a human rights issue.”
The host asked if Americans want to live in a nation “where potential human life…is terminated for convenience.” As for marijuana legalization, another issue he tackled during the segment, he held little back, noting that, ”Legalizing pot sends a message that it’s fine to use it.”
What on earth is he talking about here? There are a lot of problems in what he is saying.
First, abortion is not “settled law” any more than the Dred Scott decision “settled” the slavery issue.
Secondly, O’Reilly says abortion “should be discouraged, because human DNA is present upon conception.” “Thus the situation becomes a human rights issue.” Notice he avoids the use of the word “person.” He seems to be making the case that we are not talking about a full “person” here but a partial person because “human DNA is present” and that there is no just argument for banning abortion completely. The “human DNA is present” idea he has come up with to describe the new person in the womb reminds me of the “3/5 person” in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Constitution, in the Fourteenth Amendment, protects the rights of every “person,” and presumably O’Reilly knows that. So he’s come up with a “human DNA is present” characterization so that he can argue that abortion should be “discouraged” while offering no legal protection for what we pro-lifers know to be a person in the womb. O’Reilly’s position, then, is closer to the “3/5 person” argument than to any other legal argument that I’m aware of.
O’Reilly then switched to marijuana and rightly pointed out that “legalizing marijuana sends a message that it’s fine to use it.” It makes no sense that he does not apply this same reasoning to the legalization of abortion. Legal abortion encourages abortion just as legal marijuana encourages the use of marijuana. How can O’Reilly say that abortion should be “legal” but “discouraged” and then, in the next breath, say that legalizing marijuana encourages people to use it? He is not applying his reasoning equally to both subjects. Why?
The “folks at home,” as O’Reilly refers to his audience, should know that this is an example of incompetence on making one’s case regarding abortion law. Just as with the slavery issue, either we are talking about a “person” here (with the rights of every other person) or we are not. There is no such thing as a partial person. You’re either a person or you’re not. We all now see that the Constitution was tragically flawed in referring to some as “three-fifths” of a person. So, why would anyone accept that flawed reasoning in regard to abortion? Further, if you understand that legalizing something acts as an encouragement, as O’Reilly notes in regard to marijuana, then how can you say with a straight face that something should be both legal and discouraged, as O’Reilly claims in regard to abortion?
Back in Iowa, during the primary season, the Des Moines Register asked Rick Santorum what it was that he felt differentiated him from all of the other GOP candidates running for president. His response was that the other candidates see the issues as “little silos” lined up whereas he sees every issue as being related. In other words, he applies the same reasoning across the board. Other candidates see each issue as being separate, like a line of silos. If the political winds make one of these “silos” unpopular, a politician will just knock that silo down. Rick Santorum won’t do that. He won’t, for example, say that one person has the right to life while another does not. All of us have a right to life. To knock down the “silo” on abortion is to pick and choose who gets rights, based on what is politically popular. In like manner, if you believe religious freedom is a fundamental right, you will stand on that against all threats to it, including standing against “gay marriage” which is a threat to religious liberty. If you will not defend a right in areas where it is unpopular to do so, you are not defending the concept of a “right” at all. Because of picking and choosing by politicians, treating the smaller issues as “little silos” that can be knocked down when they are unpopular, political arguments that are not fundamentally based on reason that is applied across the board on what a “right” is will fail the test of reason when it is tested in a court of law. That is why, no matter how “reasonable” Bill O’Reilly’s subjective picking and choosing on abortion and marijuana may seem to you as “reasonable” at first glance, his failure to apply reasoning without bias from one issue (abortion) to the next (marijuana) would not, and should not, hold water in our courts.
It is hard to stand up for basic rights and for reason, sometimes, but it’s the only way.
Bill O’Reilly also said this:
“I believe the American people can be persuaded that the far left is a dangerous outlet bent on destroying traditional America and replacing it with a social free-fire zone that replaces it with dependency and poverty,” O’Reilly proclaimed.
I would agree with him wholeheartedly on that point, but I would say that the way to stand against the Left is to defend our basic rights based on sound reasoning. Offering politically popular ideas as if each issue is a “little silo” that can be knocked down if it’s not popular, and that fly in the face of reason is not the way to do it. We must fight back with truth. Truth hurts, but it is truth that will set us free.
Here’s the whole segment from Bill O’Reilly. I agree with a great deal of it, and am grateful for much of what he says. I’m not picking on him, but it is really important to stress that the “little silos” approach to politics is neither reasonable nor a winning argument, no matter what polls may say. In order to turn America around, one has to accept that America has to be educated that it is going in the wrong direction. We can’t do that by settling for a majority public opinion on an issue that tramples on rights and flies in the face of reason.