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Inside the Controversy Over Man Charged with Murder for Slipping an Abortion Pill to Pregnant Girlfriend

May 18, 2013 in Blogs

By Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

Florida man told her it was an antibiotic.

John Andrew Welden is charged with the murder of a person who was never born.

As Tampa’s WFTS-TV news reports, Welden is facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly giving his pregnant girlfriend Remee Lee an abortion pill and telling her it was an antibiotic. Welden worked in his father’s Florida clinic, a “specialty infertility practice.” When Lee began bleeding and experiencing cramps, she went to her local hospital, where doctors informed her the container labeled as amoxicillin was in fact the labor-inducing Cytotec. The fetus died in utero. “I was never going to do anything but go full term with it,” she told reporters this week. “And he didn’t want me to.” It’s an appalling tale, which will once again force us to ponder what constitutes a human life — and when one has taken it.

Very different fetal-homicide laws are on the books in roughly 80 percent of American states. In Arizona, for example, the charge can apply toward “any stage of development” for a fetus, while Arkansas limits it to an “unborn child of 12 weeks or more gestation.” South Dakota stipulates the accused must have known, “or reasonably should have known, that a woman bearing an unborn child was pregnant.”

In Welden’s case, he’s being charged under the Protection of Unborn Children Act. His state has tough laws for killing the unborn that also include DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and willful killing. In Ohio, where kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro will stand trial, he faces possible charges of aggravated murder. Castro is accused of allegedly beating one of his reported victims until she miscarried the pregnancies she endured in captivity. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty has said he will pursue “each act of aggravated murder” — and a conviction could lead to the death penalty.

And in Philadelphia, of course, Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for killing three infants — by severing their spinal cords – who were born live during the late-term abortions he provided. Pennsylvania law has a whole category of offenses, …read more


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Thomas Sowell on Why the Intelligencia Pay No Price for Being Wrong

May 18, 2013 in Economics

By Christopher Westley

Thomas Sowell recently sat down with Peter Robinson to discuss his latest book, Intellectuals and Race. Here’s a short excerpt:

Robinson: …[N]ow you’re saying that multiculturalists [who argue for] bringing kids into [academic] institutions for which they’re ill-qualified — you take bright, hard-working, otherwise perfectly well-qualified students and put them in the wrong institution and you set them back in life.
Sowell: Yes.
R: And they’re culpable as well. They had ought to know better.
S: Yes.
R: Intellectuals and Race, quote: “The Intelligencia pay no price for being wrong.”
S: I think that’s the secret of their influence.
R: How’s that?
S: Well, if you come up with a lot of wrong ideas and pay a price for it, you’re forced to think about it and to change your ways or else get eliminated. But there is no such test. The only test for most intellectuals is whether other intellectuals go along with them. And if they all have a wrong idea, then it becomes invincible.
R: Tom, you’re coming pretty close to saying that intellectuals aren’t very smart.
S: [Laughs.] They are very smart in very limited areas. And they don’t realize [it]. That’s the problem.

Although Sowell’s book isn’t explicitly about epistemology, it does deal with critiques Austrians have long made to understand why false ideas persist. For instance, Keynesian ideas persist among intellectuals in large part because so many intellectuals accept them uncritically. Indeed, to point out the failures of massive Keynesian stimulus since 2008 is the intellectual equivalent today of pointing out the emperor is not wearing any clothes. In both cases, too many careers and incomes depend on ignoring what is actually quite obvious. Mises pointed this out in Human Action (Scholar’s Edition, p. 868) as well when he noted that “[t]ax-supported universities are under the sway of the party in power. The authorities try to appoint only professors who are ready to advance ideas of which they themselves approve.”

The result is a herd mentality that affects the tenor and quality of much discourse in higher education today, whether it is about race, economics, the environment, marriage and the family, or “good citizenship.” The irony is that the Keynesian notion of animal spirits is actually …read more


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Was Marx Right?

May 18, 2013 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

Not very  often, but  occasionally he hit on something of importance.

For example, he said in the Communist Manifesto  that: “The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which [ the profit system]…compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the  [ profit]… mode of production.” President Obama evidently missed that passage, since he claimed in a debate with Mitt Romney that the government could provide health services more cheaply because it did not have to earn a profit. The truth, as even Marx understood, is that  the search for profit  drives prices down.

One of the few things Keynes got right was his dismissal of Marx. He told his student Michael Straight: ” Marxism was even lower than social credit as an economic concept. It was complicated hocus-pocus.” [ Skidelsky, vol 2, p 523] Curiously, Marx had already said much the same about Keynesianism, even before Keynes was born. His scorn for Keynesianism was of course possible because there wasn’t anything particularly new about what Keynes said.

Here is the passage from Capital [ P. 827-29] in which Marx seems to be anticipating the Keynesian  system:

“The only part of the so-called national wealth that actually enters into the collective possessions of modern people is– their national debt. Hence,…the modern doctrine that a nation becomes richer the more deeply it is in debt. Public debt becomes the credo of capital. And with the rise of national debt-making, want of faith in the national debt takes the place of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost….

As with the stroke of the enchanter’s wand…, [ the public debt] endows barren money with the power of breeding and thus turns it into capital.”… [But] modern fiscal policy…contains within itself the germ of automatic progression. Overtaxation is not an accident, but rather a principle.”

It would be fitting punishment for Marx and Keynes to have to debate each other face to face forever  in some gloomy spot beyond the River Styx.

…read more