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  1. #21
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    There is absolutely nothing about their laws, political system, or living conditions that prevents the women in that video from promoting their causes in ways that does not include assaulting and vandalizing the property of people who disagree with them-and I would be saying the same thing about radical pro-life activists if they were doing the same thing to an abortion clinic in the United States, which, since we are apparently attributing motives and mindsets onto others in this exchange, is a standard of reciprocity in personal and public behavior which I doubt you adhere to (in other words, you seem to believe actions are only bad or unjustified if they're in support of positions you oppose).
    There are two major camps when it comes to what people feel to be the right thing to do in achieving a political goal. Very roughly and very generally, one camp believes that as long as you always behave in a way that leaves you above reproach and do "the right thing" (by whomever and however it's defined), you will have the moral high ground whether or not you win. The other camp cares more about being effective than the means by which this is achieved, i.e. the means justify the end.

    The problem with "first camp" thinking is that, most of the time, the emphasis on not stepping out of line limits your options while giving your opponent free reign -- as you cannot effectively force your opponent to do the same thing you are doing. This makes you ineffective.

    The problem with "second camp" thinking is that, when you believe that the means justify the end, and you feel free to play fast and loose with the means, you will frequently end up with Pyrrhic victories, or just chaos (if you disregard consequences and still fail, the consequences are still coming).

    I err closer to the second camp. I think what ultimately matters is effectiveness. However, I think it's important to keep two things in mind: 1)You still have the responsibility of weighing the potential consequences of your actions against the goals you are trying to achieve. 2)No matter what you choose, some people will think you went too far and others will think you didn't go far enough.

    You, personally, clearly think that the protesters went too far. I happen to disagree, because I believe that what they are protesting against is more onerous and dire than the actions they themselves are undertaking. I don't think my judgment is binding and absolute, I simply agree with their judgment of the situation. I suspect part of why you disagree with it is because you don't think what they are protesting against is any big deal. I could be wrong in my assessment: there ARE people who would agree with you even if the protesters were there for whatever cause makes THEM hot under the collar, or at least if the situation were dire ENOUGH, they are just relatively rare. So my bet (based on how you phrased your objection to their behavior) would be that if you thought their situation was sufficiently dire, they would be justified in taking the actions they did. Hence, I am attributing to you the motive of thinking that whatever they are protesting is not a big deal.
    Last edited by two cents; 12-09-2013 at 12:36 PM. Reason: clarity
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  2. #22
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    Very roughly and very generally, one camp believes that as long as you always behave in a way that leaves you above reproach and do "the right thing" (by whomever and however it's defined), you will have the moral high ground whether or not you win.
    It has much more to do with reciprocity and basic systemic functioning than with 'moral high ground', and its an indispensable characteristic of liberal democracy and is largely sustained through the expectation that one should respect the humanity of political and ideological opponents.

  3. #23
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    It has much more to do with reciprocity and basic systemic functioning than with 'moral high ground', and its an indispensable characteristic of liberal democracy and is largely sustained through the expectation that one should respect the humanity of political and ideological opponents.
    Yes, if you "behave badly" (however you define that) and escalate, that invites your opponent to do the same. This is an important consequence to consider.

    The opposite is not true, however: NOT behaving badly, and NOT escalating doesn't prevent your opponent from doing so. All it actually does is give you a moral high ground from which to point a finger and scream "not fair!". It does, sometimes, work, but neither your moral high ground nor public opinion are binding, and neither can force your opponent to behave.

    And lest I be accused of hypocrisy... as far as the radical anti-choice activists are concerned, while I vehemently disagree with their goals and beliefs, I think, given what they actually believe, their actions are justified, and their tactics are effective. I also think that what they are advocating would ruin and end many many more lives than they possibly imagine (or personally ruin or end in the course of their protests). So as far as the harm they are causing now, it's small potatoes to the harm they stand to cause.

    So yeah, when I see these protesters, I say right on, because I agree with them AND because I don't think they are going too far.
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  4. #24
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    The opposite is not true, however: NOT behaving badly, and NOT escalating doesn't prevent your opponent from doing so.

    And lest I be accused of hypocrisy... as far as the radical anti-choice activists are concerned, while I vehemently disagree with their goals and beliefs, I think, given what they actually believe, their actions are justified, and their tactics are effective. I also think that what they are advocating would ruin and end many many more lives than they possibly imagine (or personally ruin or end in the course of their protests). So as far as the harm they are causing now, it's small potatoes to the harm they stand to cause.
    In terms of domestic politics, not behaving badly does tend to overwhelmingly have a reciprocal effect....the rule of law enforces short-term compliance, which become socialized norms and expectations over time. Besides denying basic and long-recognized rights to their opponents, the actions by the women in that video do long-term damage to the social 'enabling conditions' that make liberal democracy possible.

    As for American pro-life activists, they seem to disagree with you regarding what constitutes an appropriate response to subjectively extreme circumstances; outside of an extremely small number of disorganized terrorists, they tend not to descend en masse to vandalize abortion clinics or physically assault the people working there-if the feminists in that video had simply gathered peacefully and held signs and chanted slogans outside of the church, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  5. #25
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    The opposite is not true, however: NOT behaving badly, and NOT escalating doesn't prevent your opponent from doing so.

    And lest I be accused of hypocrisy... as far as the radical anti-choice activists are concerned, while I vehemently disagree with their goals and beliefs, I think, given what they actually believe, their actions are justified, and their tactics are effective. I also think that what they are advocating would ruin and end many many more lives than they possibly imagine (or personally ruin or end in the course of their protests). So as far as the harm they are causing now, it's small potatoes to the harm they stand to cause.
    In terms of domestic politics, not behaving badly does tend to overwhelmingly have a reciprocal effect....the rule of law enforces short-term compliance, which become socialized norms and expectations over time. Besides denying basic and long-recognized rights to their opponents, the actions by the women in that video do long-term damage to the social 'enabling conditions' that make liberal democracy possible.

    As for American pro-life activists, they seem to disagree with you regarding what constitutes an appropriate response to subjectively extreme circumstances; outside of an extremely small number of disorganized terrorists, they tend not to descend en masse to vandalize abortion clinics or physically assault the people working there-if the feminists in that video had simply gathered peacefully and held signs and chanted slogans outside of the church, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

  6. #26
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    As for American pro-life activists, they seem to disagree with you regarding what constitutes an appropriate response to subjectively extreme circumstances; outside of an extremely small number of disorganized terrorists, they tend not to descend en masse to vandalize abortion clinics or physically assault the people working there-if the feminists in that video had simply gathered peacefully and held signs and chanted slogans outside of the church, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
    Well, it's not surprising that American anti-abortionists are not all one monolithic group and don't all employ the exact same tactics. They are a bunch of individuals that act on their beliefs as they see fit. Some believe that violence is wrong in general. Others that it will turn public opinion against them. And still others believe that the situation is dire enough to warrant it. And guess what, the latter group is pretty damn effective at making people aware of their agenda. Have you seen what kind of security Planned Parenthood has?

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    In terms of domestic politics, not behaving badly does tend to overwhelmingly have a reciprocal effect....the rule of law enforces short-term compliance, which become socialized norms and expectations over time. Besides denying basic and long-recognized rights to their opponents, the actions by the women in that video do long-term damage to the social 'enabling conditions' that make liberal democracy possible.
    Yeah, what you are referring to are first world countries where people are rarely protesting particularly dire things (because there are simply less dire things going on in first world countries than in less developed ones). Also, there's the assumption that people around you actually care about your rights and your problems. These two conditions don't hold everywhere, and it's naive to think that the same tactics are appropriate everywhere.

    Now, Argentina may not qualify as a first world country, but it's not that far off. However, what these women are protesting ACTUALLY AFFECTS THEM IN VERY DIRE, IMMEDIATE, AND PERSONAL WAY. These are women of reproductive age. They are protesting an institution that, through its interference in both government and healthcare DIRECTLY and LITERALLY turns them into hostages to the state of their uteruses (and btw, that doesn't cover EVERYTHING harmful that the Catholic church does, to everyone or specifically to women, it's just the most dire thing). They are protesting something dire, something that is quite literally a matter of life and death, that affects half the population of their country for 30-40 years of their life, in a place that thinks what's happening to them is no big deal. Yes, they could hold some signs and chant some slogans outside of the church, and everyone would just continue to shrug and carry on. We wouldn't be having this conversation, and no one else would be having it either.

    Apparently, on some level you also agree that what is going on is not a problem, or at least not a severe problem. If you lived in a place where an organization created a law which made it so that if you were injured in a car accident, rescuers and doctors would just stand by and let you die without rendering aid, you might feel that this organization is appalling and its interference in your life (and the danger in which this policy was placing it) was unacceptable, and that protesting its actions by ANY MEANS AT YOUR DISPOSAL was justified.

    I still think that your objection to the protesters' actions is based your belief that they don't have it that bad. You just keep coming back to this. You don't seem to believe that violent protest (and we are not talking about murder here, we are talking about assault and vandalism, so let's keep things in perspective) is NEVER JUSTIFIED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. No, you appear to believe it's inadvisable, and that the violence of the protest should be in some way commensurate with the circumstances the protesters are facing (both the thing they are protesting and the political context). And my objection to your position is the same: you are oblivious of how bad the conditions are that these women are protesting and to how hostile their compatriots are to their position, which is why you think they should protest them more politely.
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  7. #27
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    And still others believe that the situation is dire enough to warrant it.

    These two conditions don't hold everywhere, and it's naive to think that the same tactics are appropriate everywhere.

    and we are not talking about murder here, we are talking about assault and vandalism, so let's keep things in perspective
    Apparently quite a small number relative to radical feminists in Argentina.

    We are discussing Argentina, and in 'third world' countries such tactics are usually an even worse idea, as the victims under attack are liable to respond in kind, and likely in larger numbers (in such places, protestors in the political minority generally don't have the luxury of committing their hate crimes against pacifists-which is the type of 'impolite' behavior what you are defending, btw).

    It seems that the people in 'third world' countries are not the only ones who lack respect for other's basic rights.......and we are talking (among other things) about an extreme law (assuming your source is accurate) that, under fairly rare circumstances, puts people's lives in unnecessary danger. That's something any number of people (say, gun rights advocates in Chicago, or the majority of Americans concerning late-term abortions) can claim about laws they disagree with, and if everybody responded like the violent protestors in this video, we would be Beirut writ large.

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