Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More Salt for DeLong

DeLong continues to disappoint, asking, "Can Anybody Tell Me Why Ross Douthat Rather than Hilzoy Writes an Op-Ed Column for the New York Times?"

He refers to this post by Hilzoy.

I should note that I agree with Hilzoy about one thing: Douthat's column is very peculiar. I don't really think it adds a lot - maybe that's the result of not having enough words to work with.

But Hilzoy is grossly unfair or obtuse. He simply can't parse this passage from Douthat:

The argument for unregulated abortion rests on the idea that where there are exceptions, there cannot be a rule. Because rape and incest can lead to pregnancy, because abortion can save women’s lives, because babies can be born into suffering and certain death, there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever.

As a matter of moral philosophy, this makes a certain sense. Either a fetus has a claim to life or it doesn’t. The circumstances of its conception and the state of its health shouldn’t enter into the equation.

But the law is a not a philosophy seminar. It’s the place where morality meets custom, and compromise, and common sense. And it can take account of tragic situations without universalizing their lessons.

Hilzoy responds: "First of all, the claim that 'where there is an exception, there cannot be a rule' does not make sense as a matter or moral philosophy."

But Douthat isn't proposing that it makes sense, he's proposing that it doesn't make sense. Hilzoy is in heated agreement with him. And Hilzoy proceeds in this vein for paragraphs, misconstruing Douthat's argument and missing his point entirely.

I don't have the energy to go through the rest, but it's really obnoxious. As I said, this wasn't Douthat's best effort, but if you're going to go after someone you have to have the goods on him. Hilzoy can't even read properly.

And DeLong links to it approvingly. Sigh.

Interestingly, several comments on Hilzoy's post basically point out that he's an idiot (you have to wade through egregious shit to find them, but they're there).


Blogger Grobstein said...

Sad times. Not to say I like Douthat. . . .

3:07 AM  
Blogger Sarang said...

Hilzoy's a she. DeLong does appear to suck, however.

11:55 AM  

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