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An Army of One

by anna at 08:52 AM on February 26, 2006

Along with the Big Lie (popularized by Hitler) the Sweeping Generality is an effective if underhanded debating technique. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick uses it thusly: "No one disputes that there are circumstances in which people have a fundamental right to assert a moral or religious objection to performing duties---such as miltary service---and thus cannot be pressed by law into performing them." She isn't talking about military service, she is talking about the doctor in California who refused to off a killer-rapist whose been languishing on death row since 6 AD; as well as hundreds of whack-job pharmacists who flatly refuse to dispense birth control or morning after pills.

I, as an Army of One, can single-handedly refute Lithwick's absurd claim. I disagree. So there: forget about "no one disputes." Because I do.

First of all, why would a so-called "moral or religious" reason for your disinclination to do something everyone else must do automatically trump some other reason, like fear or mere laziness or cruelty or an aversion to seeing somebody die?

No one disputes the notion that the death penalty should be applied for parking violations. Clearly there are too many people on Earth. Just as everyone agrees that a fire should rage across Gitmo and end all the controversy about those thrown down a legal black hole forever there.

Secondly, how do we know that the supposed conscientious objectors aren't simply lying in an attempt to shirk their duties? Just because they cloak themselves in religious or moral robes doesn't mean they aren't naked with a raging hard-on for young buys underneath. We've certainly seen enough shenanigans from preachers over the years.

As to the specifics of Angelo Morales, if anyone deserves the death penalty, and obviously some do, he is a prime candidate. He commited his heinous crime when quite young. And due to the excrutiatingly slow legal process in the nation of California, he has lived a relatively good life for many, many years. His actual conviction date was 1981, 25 years ago! I t wasn't so long ago when that was an entire life expectancy.

But I am more steamed about these drug dealers cloaked in white coats. They always look like total strangers to the sun. And who are they to defy the lady's doctor's orders such than an unwanted unborn tyke can be born into a life of misery, neglect and despair? Who'll probably grow up to be another Morales. Maybe they'll grow up and kill a pharmacist in a botched OxyContin robbery. Wicked irony, no?

Incidentally, if you're planning on having a drive-thru abortion anytime soon you better get moving now. South Dakota (motto: hey, we're further south than North Dakota) has banned abortion. They've got it set up so you could wind up in a custody battle with your rapist or your dad. If he wins you might owe him child support. You might have to have your weekly visit with the future Morales at the halfway house.

The person who has stood in the way of this madness is one Sandra Day O'Connor. She has retired to the sunny confines of Arizona. So now the swing vote is some other guy with too many vowels in his name. Don't think for a second that this outright ban is a coincidence. It's only been a few weeks since this Supreme Court sea change sailed through Congress and already the bill awaits the governor's signature. Abortion-haters are pledging millions of dollars to assist in the knock-down-drag-out legal battle to come. Stay tuned!


comments (4)

People do use sweeping generalities a lot. Unfortunately, if you never talk about assumptions or specifics, you could say anything you want. A report on NPR said that if the anesthesiologist had to intervene once the execution started, it would violate ethics and end their career. The State of California let them do it, but their professional associations would ban them. It's interesting that Lithwick glosses this over. She makes it sound like it's about the doctors' consciences, but we don't know that. We especially don't know that because it's not the real issue.

by jean at February 26, 2006 10:07 PM

Well that is the whole thing about the sweeping generality, it neatly glosses things over by ignoring important specifics. Like the one Jean cited. Maybe this guy couldn't care less about killing people but does have a decided interest in feeding his family for the foreseeable future. Alliteration!

by anna at February 27, 2006 7:47 AM

You go, Anna! It's accepted by everyone that generalities are bad. LOL

by fcsuper at February 27, 2006 8:31 PM

Everyone agrees that these are classic symptoms of a monetary squeeze.

by anna at February 28, 2006 7:36 AM

comments are closed