Well, yes, but what about the actual argument?

Kevin Williamson used to be at the National Review where he did some excellent pieces. His work on the small towns of Appalachia – the solution being that they should empty out and rot away – was very good reporting however one might dislike the conclusion. I liked that conclusion myself but it takes all kinds, right? He moved on to the Atlantic and he’d not had time to wear the letters off his new keyboard before he was fired.

Essentially because the mob rose up and demanded that he get fired. It is, of course, entirely up to the people who own the Atlantic and those they employ to manage it to decide who works for them. But it’s is still interesting to ponder the specific complaint made:

Williamson may be gone from the Atlantic, but the point of view he espoused is alive and well. Now, as when he was hired, suggesting that women be punished for getting abortions is not an idle speculation or flippant joke. It’s an all-too-real proposal being floated in multiple states, and one that had the support, at least at one point, of the man who is now our president. That’s something no one should forget, no matter what Williamson does next.

Williamson did indeed state that he supported punishment for those who had abortions, up to and including hanging just as with other homicides. Apparently said as more than just a provocation.

Hmm, well, employers and their employees should take care of that. Yes, indeed, I’ve been dumped overboard because editorial staff didn’t like my views – on other matters – and while I’ve not been greatly pleased by it I do, entirely so, defend their right to do exactly that.

But now think of what Vox is saying there. Even to suggest that women should be punished for getting abortions is enough to cast you out beyond the Pale.

It’s entirely legitimate to argue that women should indeed be able to gain abortions as and when they wish. It’s equally legitimate to argue the opposite, that they should not. Even, yes, to argue that procuring an abortion should be a crime. Which it has been for most of the time any modern state has been a nation state with a functional legal system.

No, let us not try to decide that question here today. But just take one strand of that – if it is to be a crime, as it was, then who should be punished for committing that crime? We do have pretty good common law guidance here. Sure, it’s the doctor (or nurse, backstreet abortionist, whoever) that commits the actual crime of abortion, that removal of the fetus from the womb before term (that actually is the technical definition by the way). But as with varied forms of other crimes, those who act in concert can be and often are held liable for crimes not specifically committed by them. The acting in cohort part makes them guilty all the same. So the person procuring the abortion, acting in a manner to enable it even, would be under this common law principle at least a little bit guilty of the crime itself.

Again, get away from whether it should be a crime at all. Concentrate on the next stage of the argument here, if it should be then who should be punished if it is? And if the punishment is to be capital punishment, as with homicide (no, it isn’t, but imagine it was) then why wouldn’t the procurer get the same as the more active participant in said crime?

That is, there’s actually nothing wrong at all with the logic of the statement made. The error, as far as Vox and the like are concerned, is in pondering whether abortion should be a crime at all. And closing down that conversation is rather why the US has such a problem over the subject itself, isn’t it?

So, to ask the question. And it is just this question. Not whether abortion should be a crime or not. But, having assumed that it is, what should be the punishment for those who then break that law, commit that crime?

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  1. I happen to disagree with you and Mr Williamson, but yes. We had a case in the UK where a woman went to prison for 8 years for aborting a child in the last week of pregnancy. If it was banned, we’d do the same.

    Worst of all, this is how you get divided politics. This is going to fire up a bunch of people who will now raise the barricades. They aren’t going to converse or listen when you tell them anything. Their perspective is crushing your team.

  2. Even to suggest that women should be punished for getting abortions is enough to cast you out beyond the Pale.

    It’s clownworld logic, and it goes something like this: women are exactly equal to men – better, in fact – and don’t you dare suggest they should ever face negative consequences for their behaviour.

    It’s not just a lefty thing, if you remember during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump came under fire from conservatives for saying that if abortion is illegal, women who break the law should face criminal justice.

  3. The philosophical basis of the pro-lifers is that the fetus is a person and willful abortion is therefore murder. (The honest ones admit that it must therefore be a person from the moment of conception and thus the Pill is murder.) Republicans here delight in sticking text about “unborn persons” into various laws (it almost got into last December’s tax reform) though they cannot stop payments to Planned Parenthood. I wrote here about challenging a leading candidate for Congress to defend his embrace of the Bob Dole fence-straddle (“except in the case of rape and incest”).

    Williamson did nothing but carry this worldview to its logical conclusion. If a mother and a physician conspire to commit “murder,” then a nation that regards the driver of the get-away car as equally guilty of murder as the others in the gangland hit, cannot escape the fact that the mother must be imprisoned.

    But yes, if the Atlantic doesn’t want to hear that, it doesn’t have to keep Williamson on the payroll.

  4. Glenn Beck on US radio right now is claiming his firing was the result of a campaign by Media Matters. This presumably involved the same tactics as usual to exaggerate their numbers. It is not that “the mob rose up” nor least of all that management of the Atlantic reviewed his remarks and decided it didn’t want to be associated with him.

    • It’s interesting Media Matters started under the Clinton administration. They aimed to deplatform people like Rush.

      If they succeed I think the result will be violence, an actual civil war. If people views are forbidden, then those people will be forbidden.

  5. You have to put this in context: Williamson’s deplatforming is part of a trend. In saner times, a fat, gay NeverTrumper who hates working class white men would’ve made a perfect token conservative at a magazine like the Atlantic.

    These are not saner times. The Left has come to a consensus that they no longer need to pretend to want free speech or open debate. That’s why you’ll get banned from Facebook if you say “refugees not welcome”, it’s why YouTube and Twitter regularly purge right-wingers, and it’s why even wet liberal-tarians like Sargon are being chased off university campuses (campii?)

    The Left doesn’t want you to have a voice, or a job, or a country to call your own. No reasonable compromise is possible with these people.

  6. I tend to agree – their objection is to the idea of it being a crime, rather than the hypothetical question of what is the ‘right’ thing to do if is made so.

    It’s rather like asking “If being Jewish was made a capital crime, should they be gassed?”, to which the technically correct answer is “legally, yes; morally, it depends whose side you’re on”. Or to put it into a more personal context for you: “If being a white male conservative was declared a capital crime, should they be gassed?” to which the answer is of course the same.

    But nobody is interested in strict logically correct answers to academic hypotheticals. Question is, how are the paying audience going to react emotionally to you asking it? In the context of the SJW takeover of the world, and the past history of all the times when communists get power, how would you react yourself to one of them asking the question above about white males conservatives? And meaning it?