Abortion: I support a woman’s right to control her own body, including her right to control her own reproductive functions, which includes her right to choose an abortion. I consider abortion an issue of individual rights, freedom and autonomy. I do not understand how anyone can say that they believe in individual rights and personal freedom, but not for women. It’s nonsense. I also consider abortion an economic issue. Modern economies rely on the contribution of all people. The most successful economies are the most open to economic participation from the broadest range of people. And women can only fully participate in the economy if they control their own lives and their own bodies. Successful economies do not limit the rights of its citizens. Societies that limit women’s rights typically have weak economies.
I talk about these issues in more detail in the following essays:
Economics, Women’s Rights, and Abortion: In the modern world successful economies allow women to fully participate in civic, social and economic life.
Science, Logic, and Abortion: Opponents of abortion say “It’s a child, not a choice,” as if every fertilized human egg results in a full term baby. The reality is much different: less than half of all fertilized eggs successfully result in a baby. This is not because of abortion but because of the vagaries of embryo development.
Abortion and the Decline of the West: Some conservative Christians date the beginning of the decline of the United States as the Roe v. Wade decision. This confuses chronology with causality, and is supremely narcissistic to boot.
Tolerance and Gay Rights: I support tolerance and that means that I support gay rights, including gay marriage. I support these things because they are the right thing to do, but I also support them because tolerance is is good for business.
Most businesses understand that tolerance is good for business and good for the economy. Most Fortune 500 companies have anti-discrimination policies, and a growing majority provide domestic partner benefits to same sex couples. They do this because they need to hire, promote, and retain the best employees regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. They need a diverse workforce because they want to sell their goods and services to a diverse public, and the most effective way to do this is to have a workforce that is broadly reflective of their existing and potential consumers. The most economically successful economies are generally also the most tolerant.
Essays on Tolerance:
The Second Amendment and Gun Rights: I support the right of American citizens to own and posses guns. Millions of American citizens exercise their Second Amendment rights in a responsible manner, and we should not let the irresponsible behavior of a few people diminish the rights of the majority.
I do not see the need to change current gun laws. The reality is that the crime rate in this country has been declining over the last twenty years, and this includes the murder rate.
Guns are an important part of the fabric of American life. They have a long history and tradition in the nation. Millions of citizens use fire arms responsibly for hunting, sports shoot, and protection, and the occasional horrific crime should not be used as an excuse to diminish the rights of the majority of gun owners.
That being said, I find many of the arguments of supposed gun rights advocates to be silly and self defeating.
Guns don’t Kill People, people Kill People.
This statement implies a number of things that are demonstrably false.
First it implies that every gun death is intentional, and this is demonstrably not true. There are nearly 1000 accidental gun deaths in this country every year. Many are simply horrific, like the two year old who shot his sister. The statement implies that if the gun was not available then the person would find another weapon to kill. Would the two year old toddle into the garage and get a crow bar to beat his sister to death? Highly unlikely. The statement completely diminishes the humanity of the thousands of victims of accidental gun deaths.
The statement also implies a certain level of depravity and murderous intent. Again it implies that if the gun was not available the person would simply find another murder weapon and kill. But if we look at the murder rate in nations with guns and without guns we find that it is much higher in nations with guns. The reality of human nature is that most people, most of the time, are not murderers.
I discuss this issue in greater detail here: Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People
Rights Shall Not be Infringed.
Advocates of gun rights like to point out the statement in the Second Amendment that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed, and suggest that this means that there can be no legitimate restriction on gun rights. But anyone who understands Constitutional history knows that this is not true. No less of a Constitutional scholar than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said that there can be reasonable restrictions on gun rights. All rights, even those under the Second Amendment, are subject to reasonable restrictions.
I discuss this issue in greater detail in the following essay: The First And Second Amendments Compared.
Marijuana: I support the move to allow the growing of industrial hemp. I tentatively support medical marijuana, if properly regulated and controlled. I do not support changing laws to allow the recreational use of marijuana, but I do support reclassification of marijuana on the Federal Controlled Substance list.
To find out a bit more about my views on marijuana, and some useful links about marijuana policies, click Marijuana.