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There are now 16 comments on pg 130. It Gets Worse.
What are your thoughts?
  1. B.J. says

    I’ve experienced the shock before from people who thought I was with them on something when I boldly made it clear that “hey, I’m not on your team.” To a lot of people, the idea that someone might sincerely disagree with them on a point of values is a sign that the world isn’t working correctly. Something has to have gone wrong. Their neurons aren’t firing in the same direction as mine!

    • Yep. “If you’re not with us 100%, you’re not sufficiently doctrinaire, and are the enemy”. See, for example, current American politics.

      • I really think the left of the left are trying to induce just such a thing by finding what common society will tolerate, and demanding just a little bit more. Then throwing a fit when they don’t get it. I think they’re trying to manufacture “true believers”. It’s the only way I can comprehend for there even being a rationale behind some of their demands, such as biological men in women’s sports and private places, trying to transition/encourage kids into getting surgically altered to resemble the opposite sex, and the insistence on changing language to erase even the most obvious physical differences between the sexes; such as the roles in procreation and primary sex characteristics. Trying to create and maintain a common story that keeps them as the victims in all this. It’s the only reason I can see for them turning on people who were with them, up to a point, but not to the extent of the new demands, such as J. K. Rowling.

        Elements of the right might be doing it too, but to me, it feels more,.. organic. Reactive. Not pushing the envelope, but reacting to the envelope being pushed. I think if the right were doing the same thing, there’d be less tolerance of “post liberals”. Although there is a certain disregard for people who live in the cities, “getting what they voted for”.

        Which I think is unfair, as I think it’s the size and intrusiveness of government that makes it such an amplifier for finding the flaws in a system, not the politics themselves; except as it pertains to large versus small government. I think a large, centralized, top-down Conservative government would be as unwieldy and result in just as much instability of the governed area as a large, centralized, top down Liberal one, as we see in most of these cities that appear to be imploding today, such as San Francisco, NYC, and Portland. Possibly even more so, as Conservatives are more likely to incorporate individualism into their core political beliefs. The basic tenet of leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.

        • Nah, there’s no strategizing as such involved. Both sides have decided that values that oppose them must be crushed, to a greater or lesser extent, as a matter of their own survival (which is better justified in the case of the left, but is still opposed to the rule of law, while the right’s objections are more akin to what we’re seeing in these comics).

        • I hold to that idea, but those of us who do are and always have been in a small minority. The vast majority have no problem with using either social power or legal power to insist that I conform to their viewpoint.

          There is not enough space or time to list all the examples, but the requirement that polyandry be eliminated before Utah could be a state, the laws regulating who can marry, the drug laws, and the fight over abortion all come to mind in US history.

          • To nitpick, I don’t think multiple husbands has ever been legal. Outside of “Paint Your Wagon”. Yes, it should be. Adults should be able to do as they like, with whom they like, provided everyone involved is an adult, legally capable of making those decisions for themselves. This includes driving or riding in a passener vehicle without a seatbelt, drinking or injecting untested substances in a desperate bid for health, or consuming unpasteurized milk, maggot-infested cheese, real haggis, or horse meat.

            I can agree with all your examples but one. The question as to when personhood, and therefore the rights to Life, Liberty, and Prop…the Pursuit of Happiness begin, and the shouldered responsibility to not leave someone to die, or act in a way that will kill them, if you’re the one who is responsible for the state they’re currently in, are valid questions. If a clump of cells isn’t human, then there is no problem with flushing them out and being done with it. Same if it’s a full-term infant. If that is a person, be they a 9-month along fetus or a 9-hour along zygote, or a 3-year old child, then you can’t just kill them, any more than you can just decide to stop performing CPR. You’re responsible for their well-being, by your own act.

            The only possible exception I can see for this is rape. Not incest, unless it’s also rape, (as it probably is). Plenty of people live full, rich, lives with actual health-affecting genetic abnormalities, and killing the unborn because they might have such an abnormality is still killing an innocent, (unless it’s not, because the unborn isn’t a person yet.) In rape, and only in rape, the woman is a co-victim, and the matter is over which is the least harm. To force the woman to bear the child, to minimize harm to the child, or to terminate the pregnancy so that the woman can return to as close a semblance of her old life as possible, to minimize harm to the woman.
            For this last, edge, case, I look forward to the development of artificial wombs, combined with the currently legal ways to abandon an infant, as it solves the dilemma.

            • Re: personhood,

              Remove any organ in the human body, and keep that body active with machines, and we’ll still be able to interact with the person who was previously there.

              Any organ but the brain.

              To me, personhood is a matter of when an entity is deserving of legal protection from being harmed (aka, rights). And so we have to decide what ‘harm’ is, and how it differs philosophically from ‘damage.’

              I define harm as experiencing a loss of ability to freely act.

              Pain alone isn’t necessarily harm. I can consent to getting my tooth pulled. Heck, I can consent to BDSM.

              Loss of property isn’t necessarily harm. I can consent to giving it away. I can destroy it myself if I want.

              But if I want to do something that would be possible in the absence of others, but somehow those others keep me from doing what I want, that’s harm. Of course, society requires everyone balances their interests, so we learn to accept certain things as off limits, and don’t let that harm bother us. But it’s still some degree of loss of agency in one way, even if it’s fair to argue that making that sacrifice helps enable more freedom of agency overall.

              Now, if something is incapable of having agency in the first place, I’d argue it’s incapable of being harmed. An inanimate object cannot act, and has no will to act, so it deserves no rights. A dead body likewise might once have had desires, but once it’s dead beyond our ability to revive, it cannot experience harm.

              Certainly, however, people can establish they have an interest in an inanimate thing and want to do something with that thing, and if we impede that effort, we’re harming the person. I cannot harm a car, but if I break a car I am harming the person who wanted to use that car.

              With animals, it’s iffy. They aren’t as intelligent as adult humans, but they certainly have interests and many clearly feel distress if they’re barred from doing what they want. To deny an animal’s agency is to harm it, though we might still be behaving ethically if we are doing it to maximize overall freedom. (But the vegans will point out that we can get food without needing to eat animals, so the ethical imperative might be to build a food system that uses ever fewer animals as meat.)

              For fetal personhood, then, the question for me is pretty much wholly biological: what sort of brain structures are necessary before a creature can experience the world, and at what phase of development is a fetus able to have desires and feel distress if it is hindered from its goals.

              And the medical consensus is that, before 22 weeks of gestation it definitely can’t think, and probably can’t really think at even the level of a dumb animal until 28 weeks.

              Again, the interests of another person matter. If the pregnant person wants the baby, injuring it against their will is harming that pregnant person. But I believe that before 22 weeks of gestation, it isn’t harming the fetus. So for me it’s clearly obviously fine from an ethical perspective to let someone get an abortion to that point.

              And, sorta like veganism, there’s sort of an ethical obligation to help people who want an abortion get one early, long before they approach that threshold of dubious personhood. To hinder someone from getting an abortion by that point is not morally justifiable.

        • I’ve got trans friends and I work in a medical research library where I’ve learned how to interact with medical literature.

          The opposition to adolescents getting gender affirming care is grounded in one of a) ignorance of how such care actually occurs, b) ignorance of the modern conception is gender Identity and how society forcing a person to deny their genuine identity is deeply harmful to that person’s mental health, or c) religious dogma that cares only about agreeing with the group, not facts.

          I’m not saying every person who supports transgender identity is always right about everything they say, but there’s a robust ethical framework around respecting another person’s autonomy, even if they don’t adhere to what you might consider norms. If you support adults being able to transition, then you ought to support adolescents doing the same, the same way we have balanced similar things with kids for generations.

          Football and ballet both can be dangerous if done wrong, but if kids want to do it, it’s our job to meet them, work with them, and make it safe and good for them.

          At the very least, man, I wish the folks who are so loudly opposed to trans adolescents would demonstrate Christ-like love for those kids, and acceptance of their Identity, because I know from the personal accounts of numerous trans adults that they are dealing with lingering mental health issues due to the hate they got from family and community. And what helps them heal is finding people who accept them.

          • One, B and C are the same issue, as we’re establishing in this comic. It’s effectively the modern version of that vicious/virtuous circle above.

            Two, we don’t let children drink on their own volition, smoke, or enter into binding contracts, because these things have permanent effects on them that can’t be erased post-18. We probably shouldn’t let them play football, either, but somewhere along the line, much of society decided that the chance of injury, including permanent injury, was a small price to risk for the gains of playing the same team sport their parents fixate on when other adults play it. I don’t know about ballet, but if it’s anything like karate, the same goes for it. And the threshold for allowing them to make the choice to engage in a risky, life-changing, potentially or otherwise, activity should probably be older, but that cuts deeper into the productive time of the individual. Wait until you’re 25, a bit less than a third of your expected lifespan, to enter into contracts? Ouch. Got to draw the line somewhere, and 18 is, mostly, it. A bit less than a quarter of your expected lifespan.

            If transitioning, as I understand it, and as I suspect most people understand it, wasn’t so permanent, requiring irreversible changes be made to the body, I’d say go for it. They could try it on on a whim, and change back if it didn’t suit them, or no longer suited them. But medical science isn’t to the stage of making someone truly whole after cutting away large parts of their body. Apparently even “delaying” puberty, so they can act on the decision when they’re (chronologically) older, has permanent side effects, such as early onset osteoporosis. (I qualify that older as chronologically older, because much of brain development is hormone driven, and I have to wonder if delaying puberty wouldn’t also delay cognitive development, but that’s just a spur-of-the-moment speculation on my part. Assuming you can even meaningfully delay puberty without breaking it.) We wouldn’t let a child amputate a healthy arm or leg because a robot limb is inherently cooler, because no prosthetic is as capable as the natural limb. If an adult wants to cut away a limb, in order to replace it with a prosthetic, (maybe they’re really into cyberpunk, or the tall-ships pirate aesthetic.) and they’re otherwise of sound mind, let them. It’s their body. So long as only they shoulder the costs of their, in my view, poor judgement, it’s no business of mine or anyone else. Children often have to be protected from their own immature reasoning. And sometimes the vulnerable have to be protected from the insincere intentions of others, such as choosing to wear a dress to get a peek in the girl’s locker room, or what appears to me to be something related to Munchhausen by proxy, or to rake up some trophies in a lower weight bracket, but that’s a whole different group of issues.
            Now, any state that hasn’t raised the age a person can legally get married to 18 shouldn’t have a leg to stand on when it pertains to keeping a child from pursuing gender reassignment before 18, either, especially if there is no cap on the other spouse’s age.

            You’re right. Christians, and everyone, should be more accepting of differences and different choices by individuals, but, as we’re establishing in this comic, B and C are effectively the same. It hurts, wounds, to have your identity challenged, even broken, and people will fight to preserve their identity from perceived threats from the outside, or from apostates; people they thought they knew.

            • If somebody’s got a cleft palate, or a tooth coming in crooked, or a tumor, or gangrene, we don’t make them wait until their eighteenth birthday to get it fixed – even though the surgeon definitely wouldn’t be able to put it back exactly the way it was if the kid changed their mind – because virtually nobody actually changes their mind about that sort of thing once it’s been properly diagnosed, and leaving it alone means it’ll keep getting worse.
              Gender-affirming care works similarly, for those who need it. Deaths due to inadequate care mostly get lost in suicide statistics, rather than being clearly identifiable after the fact the way gangrene is, but inconvenience of exact measurement doesn’t change the moral weight of a policy decision.

              • True. We do not, however, let the child make the decision, it must be made by the parent or legal guardian. That should be the same case here is my only point.

                • In the case of gangrene we generally let a doctor make the decision, because they’re the one who knows how to tell what is or isn’t actual gangrene. There aren’t any conveniently objective pee-on-a-stick-and-see-if-it-changes-color tests for gender identity (at least, not yet), so many key decisions on treatment there need to be made by the one person who IS able to observe relevant symptoms directly – that is, the individual themselves. Second-guessing those firsthand internal observations, pressuring their judgement on such an intensely personal matter from a position of relative ignorance, leads nowhere good.

                  That being said, hard cases make for bad law, and anything starting off with an assumption of irreconcilable disagreements between immediate family members does not lend itself to perfect, fully-general solutions. Obviously, whenever remotely feasible, parents or guardians should at the very least be involved with, have a chance to discuss, major medical decisions involving their child. If the whole family checks the facts and then agrees on a course of action, great! Ugly problem only really crops up when the kid knows exactly what they want, but the parents think that’s something people shouldn’t be allowed to want. Essential conflict there isn’t unique to gender stuff, either – corporal punishment, for example.

      • Late to think of this, but it’s not just things like politics. The same factors drive everything from shipping wars, to Mac vs PC. Somehow, we’re pretty much born to form ourselves into teams and yell at each other, and even the simplest questions can drive people to the most insane hatred. This fact is going to be relevant when we get to Philadelphia.

        Also, if you use a Macintosh, or if you support Kagome x Inuyasha, you are a filthy plebeian and your neurons are plain wrong, heretic scum. :) I jest, but I’ve known people who would say that without the smiley.

        • Are we born this way, or were we raised this way? I mean, what did we observe way back when we were still small? How did adults explain the world to us?
          It seems quite impossible to raise kids without one’s own childhood indoctrinations getting in the way, I dare say. And a lot of those have to do with who we are (supposed to be) and who we “belong to” and who we do not.

          • “It seems quite impossible to raise kids without one’s own childhood indoctrinations getting in the way.”

            Well said. This thread took -quite- the tangent, but I like how you worked it all back to an insightful point.

            Over the weekend, I found out that my sister and brother-in-law are sending their two eldest kids to a private Catholic school. On the one hand, you could say that they’re choosing to indoctrinate their children. On the other hand, you could say that the parents wish to instill in their children the same values and ideals they themselves possess, the same values and ideals that have allowed them to find success in the world, the same values and ideals they hope that will lead their children to similar, productive, and successful lives. Who am I to judge? After all, I’m also passing on values and ideals of my choosing to my family, and I know my brother-in-law cringes at quite a few of the decisions I make.

            All that said, I think my dad (a proud Lutheran) is going to have to see the dentist soon, for all the gnashing of teeth that ensued after he received the news.

  2. Jonathon Parker says

    Nathan! How did your comments section attract all these heretics?

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