Friday, April 20, 2007

Is "by any other name" OK?

If a group wishes to name itself, are others with whom the group might disagree obliged to call them by their chosen name? Probably so.

How about if the group chooses a phrase with which to describe itself? Are others to be content to adopt that phrase, although the phrase could easily be construed to seize a moral high ground to which the group is not clearly, totally entitled?

I think not. A "Megan," (Megan McArdle) who is one of a group substituting for Andrew Sullivan on his blog, The Daily Dish (see "States rights" April 20, 7:28am), disagrees. Here are email exchanges between Megan and myself.

Everyone is also "pro-choice"; they are just against this particular choice. Everyone is against some choices, like 45 year olds wearing miniskirts, or killing little old ladies to steal their grocery money. The delusion that the label applied to the other side is a grotesque semantic travesty is prevalent on both sides of the debate; I apply the labels the movements have chosen for themselves.
-----Original Message-----From: grtou@msn.comTo: andrew@theatlantic.comSent: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 9:27 AMSubject: For Megan
Please! Stop already with using "pro-life" as though it is the sole property of anti-abortion choice proponents. Everyone is "pro-life." There are no songs celebrating abortion. "Abortions that bloom in the spring, tra-la!" is not in anyone's songbook. Nor is the sentiment in anyone's writing.
Gene Touchet

OK. So. I question the validity of her opening sentence: Everyone is also "pro-choice"; they are just against this particular choice.

Is everyone pro-choice? Do the anti-abortion rights activists argue for a particular abortion procedure which is acceptable?

Do the anti-abortion rights activists consider "pro-choice" to be "a grotesque semantic travesty"? Certainly some of us on the pro-choice side consider "pro-life" as an apt description of the anti-choice side to be a semantic travesty, if not grotesque.

If the recognizing a semantic travesty when I see one is a "delusion," Ms McArdle and I do not agree on the definition of delusion.

Methinks Ms McArdle is too thin skinned.

What think you, Dear Reader?

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