Friday, October 22, 2010

MCCL and the Duluth News Tribune: A study in logic

Imagine a new "health care" bill that would promote the killing and dismemberment of 10-year-old children, and let's say (for the sake of argument) it would improve the quality of most adults' health care. Would it be fair to characterize an opponent of the bill as saying, "I don't care if people are sick or dying -- just that they live past the age of 10"?

Of course not. The opponent of the bill is not against good health care -- he simply recognizes that the legislation is radically unjust to 10-year-old human beings.

If the unborn are valuable, rights-bearing human beings -- like 10-year-olds and like each of us -- then a bill that promotes their killing by abortion should be opposed on the same grounds. And that is what the Obama health care overhaul does.

But an editorial cartoon in the Duluth News Tribune portrays MCCL as saying (in our opposition to Obamacare), "We don't care if children are sick or dying -- just that they be born." The suggestion that pro-lifers don't care about sick and dying children is obviously wrong, and logically it doesn't follow -- unless one starts with an absurd premise.

It's clear that in principle one could rightly -- without apathy toward the sick and dying -- oppose a bill even if it would help some people (as in the fictional example in which 10-year-old children are killed). So the cartoonist must hold that MCCL's opposition is not such a case -- i.e., MCCL does not believe that the unjust killing of innocent human beings is at stake. For if one does believe that, then opposing Obamacare no more makes one apathetic toward the sick and dying than opposing the fictional bill (on the grounds that it promotes killing 10-year-olds) makes one apathetic toward the sick and dying. So to conclude that MCCL must be apathetic to the sick and dying (as the editorial cartoonist does), one must assume that MCCL, a pro-life organization, does not really believe the pro-life position is true.

And that's ridiculous.