A revision offered to letter writer’s ‘flawed’ reasoning

To the editor:

On May 21, 2013, Alex MacArthur wrote a letter to the editor attempting to point out the hypocrisies of liberal thinking in light of the recent same sex marriage support in Minnesota. However, to simply imply that liberals must share a certain viewpoint on other forms of marriage (specifically, MacArthur listed polygamy and incestuous marriage) because of their support for same sex marriage is fallacious.

To demonstrate to Mr. MacArthur – and to any others who agree with him – why this reasoning is flawed, I have revised MacArthur’s letter to the editor to reflect a different argument that often splits liberals and conservatives. I have copied MacArthur’s rhetoric word for word, save from occasional edits that serve the purpose of altering the argument from the gay marriage debate to the abortion debate. All of my edited text has been indicated with parentheses – the text not in parentheses came directly from MacArthur himself.

The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate the flawed reasoning used in MacArthur’s letter by showing how this type of reasoning could be applied to another – or any – polarized topic, not just one supported by those MacArthur has identified as liberals.

(Note: Since Governor Dayton has not recently passed an anti-abortion bill, we will imagine for the purposes of this exercise that a bill of that nature has been passed.)

In light of Governor Dayton signing the bill (outlawing abortion), it’s clear that (the fight for life) has been won.

Or has it?

For the (conservative) who wishes to be as (protective of life) as he touts, the fight for (valuing life) is far from over. As you read this, there are thousands of (people, such as those receiving the death penalty) fighting for their inherent rights to (life) and to receive the same benefits (eggs and fetuses in the womb) do. And there are more than that: (animals, such as those being hunted for food, sport or senseless killing,) have, for centuries, been viewed as (less important), and told that their (life) is not equal to that of a (human). Will the (conservative) readily declare that (“life is valued”) when all this other (killing and lack of value for life) remains? Are these (lives) not worthy of the same recognition and status as (human fetuses)?

Despite recent success, the (conservative) must not become bigoted and throw the rights of these (other beings) under the bus. To be consistent, the (conservative) must be willing to take the next step in extending the (valued life) label to ALL (lives) that consist of (living beings) – not just (those in the womb.) Indeed, the logical follow-up of (outlawing abortion) is just this. With the criteria defining (abortion) being limited to nothing more than (saving a helpless life), the (conservative) has pigeonholed himself into a battle far from over, and one that threatens to strip (life) of any distinction whatsoever. So, to stay true to his (“pro-life”) ideology, and to convince me that (outlawing abortion) really serves no other goal than to (save lives), my (conservative) friends have a lot of work to do.

Until then, I’ll side with (the side of the abortion debate) that has been consistently shown to work best – (and that is leaving the ability to carefully choose what happens to a woman’s body in the hands of said woman, who has) the unique ability to bring about the next generation.

And so, to my (conservative) friends: If you wish to be consistent, you better get going. After all, (“life is life,”) right?

(Since Mr. MacArthur is so concerned with liberal hypocrisy, he may want to first carefully consider the hypocrisy in his own words.)

Sam Collette